Here is the second installment of Dynasty Divorces! Every year, fantasy baseball websites release their Top 100 Prospects lists. In this series, Brett Cook (@beautyofgrace32) and Taylor Case (@TCasesLoaded) will both highlight one player who they see dropping on these lists. Keeping a highly coveted prospect too long could lead to you feeling regret for not ending things sooner. With each highlighted player, we will advise on what to do with that prospect. Follow us on Twitter and send us a response if you want to further discuss these guys!
Yusniel Diaz, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Analysis by: Brett Cook
Let’s rewind to 2018. The rebuilding Orioles traded a generational talent in Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a championship and we all know how that ended up…trash can sign stealing. In return, the Orioles acquired Yusniel Diaz. Signing Diaz as an international prospect did not come without its risk as the Dodgers paid a steep price to sign him. In paying over the allotted bonus pool, the Dodgers were forced to match financially what they paid to sign him, 15.5 million, totaling 31 million dollars.
Knowing this information about Diaz is important because it shows how much the Dodgers believed in the talent. What brought the Dodgers to the point where they moved Yusniel Diaz to the Orioles? Were they still very high on his talent? At the time of the trade, Alex Verdugo and Keibert Ruiz were dominating in the minor leagues. Will Smith, Dustin May, and of course Gavin Lux started to break out at this time as well, but none of these five guys were included in the deal.
Looking at the deal in hindsight, were the Orioles higher on Diaz over the other guys mentioned, or did the Dodgers let the Orioles know that certain prospects were off-limits all the while the Orioles believed they were getting a steal in Diaz? With the Dodgers’ recent success in developing star players within their system, the temptation is to attribute this to the latter reasoning. The problem with this assumption as a whole is that Diaz could have been traded to the Orioles as highly touted as he was talented. My point is that both teams could have fully believed that they were gaining something that helped the vision for where their organization was at that moment. Which is why trades happen, right?
I believe it is possible because in 2019, a year after the trade, Diaz was in the top 40-50 of four lists and found a top 100 spot on at least seven other websites. Then 2020 reared its ugly head, and Yusniel Diaz, from all of my research, made only one website’s top 100, filling out the last spot on that list. To be on all of those lists one year and seemingly disappear the next is a huge red flag to me, so I did some more research. In all of this research, one thing came to the surface that scared me worse than The Woman in Black, and that is quite a feat.
What the Orioles did with Yusniel Diaz that scares me is they tweaked his stance. This works in some cases but it can also spell disaster. Looking at the metrics in this small adjustment sample, this could be the case for Diaz’s dismissal from so many of these sites. In researching the flyball data for Diaz, you will see an increase in fly balls but the problem is those fly balls are now less frequently line drives. With this tweak also came the heaviest pull percentage of Diaz’s career (43%) when he had at least 100 at-bats in a league, a 5% increase from his previous highest mark that was set the year before.
Verdict – Three Strikes – You are out.
If someone in your league still believes the talent is there with Yusniel Diaz, then trade him for as much value as you can. Don’t get me wrong, Diaz could be a potentially solid player, but he’s dropped off many lists over the course of a year, a fact that shouldn’t be overlooked. If a trade makes sense, then go for it.
Taylor Trammell, OF Seattle Mariners
Analysis by: Taylor Case
It’s Taylor Trammell trade season again!
What a ride it’s been for this talented kid. Expectations were high after being selected by the Cincinnati Reds early in the 2016 draft, but unfortunately, the speedy center fielder is now on his third team in the last 14 months. So, what are we to do? Is it more telling that teams keep trading him away or that teams keep trading for him?
We ultimately have no idea what is motivating teams to make these trades. Other than, hopefully, winning games. Which is vexing, to say the least, and, incredibly effing confusing to say the most. If we had minor league games, this may be an easier question to answer. Alas, who knows when they will return.
I, for one, was very excited about the Padres trading for Trammell last summer, especially with how well hitters are developing in that system (see Tatis Jr., Fernando). At the time, it seemed as if San Diego was getting the short end of the stick in 2019, but they weren’t competing, and 2020 appeared to be the start of their window for contention. Which made me even more excited about Trammell signing with the team. How does his latest trade to Seattle affect his current outlook, though? I don’t think it’s changed anything! Nor do I think he’s warranted the drop he’s seen on most prospect rankings lists across the industry.
Look, it’s not as if Trammell toiled away in the minors for years and lost his game. As far as we know, he’s healthy. As far as we know, he’s made a positive impression at Mariners camp and should be ready for his cup of coffee in 2021. He presumably still possesses his signature speed and defensive skills after spending most of the season at the Padres alternate training site. His offensive numbers weren’t especially great as a whole in 2019, as he slashed just .234/.340/.349. However, he still stole 20 bases, the fourth year in a row that he has hit that mark, and blasted 10 homers as well. He also maintained a solid 13.0% walk rate, and while his strikeout rate was a tad higher (23.7%) than his career norm, I’d be willing to blame that on the team transition and adjusting to a new league. The fact remains that even through the adversity he’s seen in the last few years, he’s put together some very solid offensive campaigns.
Verdict – Put those papers back in the drawer.
I believe that Trammell has a bright future as a big-leaguer. If you have an opportunity to trade him to get back a more polished hitter for a title run, or if you’re scared of him losing time to Seattle’s other stud outfield prospects, I guess I understand. Otherwise, be patient. He’s got a great head on his shoulders and appears more determined than ever to make a mark on the game. Even though he’s been involved with quite a few teams lately, he has the potential to be a top-35 fantasy outfielder with sneaky upside in OBP leagues once the dust settles and he finds some consistency.