Rate My Team: A Knowitallism Series
This being my first season in the underbelly of the seedy world of fantasy dynasty baseball, I noticed one particular characteristic that everyone seems to obsess over. They will spend every dang free moment of their day, on every dang platform to show off to every dang manager that they have this fixation. It is like a rite of passage to become part of this world! And please know I suffer from this sickness as well! I am not a hypocrite. I am waist-deep in this world now and am sinking deeper each day! Now you might be wondering to yourself what the hell is this dude talking about and do I possibly have this too? Well, my friend. If you are reading this, in all likelihood you have it.
Take it from a guy who got a C+ in Psychology 101 about twenty years ago. You can be in denial all you want, but deep down you know you have it! For whatever reason, fantasy baseball brings it out of us, especially if you are in a dynasty league. You can’t discuss any player EVER without someone throwing their two cents in. And God have mercy on your soul if you’re wrong and someone with this illnesss finds out.
I bet you noticed an extra “s’ ‘ to that “illness” and got excited because you caught a mistake! I told you! You are one of us!
Now, this is where that plus from my C+ in Psych 101 comes into play. Let’s dive deeper into the psyche of those who suffer from Knowitallism. Most people with this affliction don’t really think they know everything about fantasy baseball. Some could care less! All they crave is the sheer praise they receive from others. And to peel the final layer as I aforementioned, the only other infatuation they relish more than praise is pointing out when someone is wrong.
- So think back to when you commented on that tweet from that fantasy baseball analyst you despise about a prediction using hindsight! How did that feel?
- How about when you predicted some prospect that no one heard of will be the next fantasy stud and now is in everyone’s rankings? Did you spend ten minutes looking for that tweet just to retweet it with that emoji that has a monocle to shove it in all your followers’ faces? Did each like or comment feel like a shot of adrenaline coursing through your veins!?
- Tell me this: some random person that doesn’t even follow you replies to one of your fantasy baseball hot takes and you took it so personally that you came back with a rebuttal that makes him look like the biggest idiot on Twitter. So you retweet your reply along with a screenshot showing his account blocked you! C’mon! I know you love the feeling you get from that!
- Okay, last scenario for all of you still in denial. Everyone in your league gave you sh*t on the group chat about a trade you made three years ago and said anyone in this league who is dumb enough to do that trade should be kicked out. Fast forward and that trade is the reason you won that league’s championship. So in the group chat, you send a screenshot of that trade with one of those crying LOL emojis. Yes!
So now what do you do to get that feeling back? I know after reading all of those scenarios you yearn for that feeling again! The MLB season is over and no one is talking about fantasy baseball except a couple of analysts with their way-too-early 2023 fantasy baseball rankings that only degenerates like us would bookmark. You keep looking and the only other thing you can find online about fantasy baseball is an NSFW video clip titled, “Backdoor Slider” and we both know you’ve already seen that like ten times. You are itching for the feeling!! The Knowitallism inside you is demanding satisfaction! It won’t subside ‘til spring training! You’re about to combust unless you receive some praise!
Well, hold on you sicko! I got what you need! This off-season, I will try to curb some of you know-it-alls’ appetites with much-needed acclaim. I’ll take a dynasty team sent to me and analyze it using that league’s rules, scoring system, and any other information you send me that you feel I should know. I’ll go over your strengths, weaknesses, and give you an idea of who you should target next draft or trade for. You’ll also get a grade using my patented 1 to 10 Knowitallism scale. That way you can receive that praise you are longing for! Have roses thrown at your feet! Tell everyone that you are the G.O.A.T. of fantasy baseball! Orrrrrr maybe I’ll just write a couple of paragraphs ripping all of those delusional thoughts out of your head, light them on fire, chuck them on the ground, and stomp on the pieces. C’mon, I need my fix too!
Here We Go
TEAM INFORMATION, LEAGUE SETUP, AND RULES
This week’s team belongs to Tim Cote (he asked me that his Twitter handle not be on here) and his team name is Hot Pocket Corner. Here is some advice outside of baseball for you, Tim-bo. Don’t eat too many of those unless you don’t mind chugging half a bottle of Pepto Bismol each time you even think of them after the age of 40. So, he is in a ten-team CBS league with two divisions that use a head-to-head points league scoring format with weekly time periods. Starting lineups consist of one C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, U, and four OFs along with five SPs and three RPs. Position eligibility for this league is that a player has to play at least ten games at a different position if that player hasn’t played or been assigned that position by CBS. He has to keep 20 players, plus 5 MILB players with a total of a 35-player roster with IL. He is allowed to keep more minor league players but they will take bench slots on the major league roster. Tim joined this league last year and admittedly TANKED after a rough start. Looks like that was the only thing he succeeded in. He finished dead last in the league with a record of 6-17. He did trade away a couple of veteran players during the season to pick up draft picks along with prospects. That is why there are a lot more minor league players than the five minor league slots. He does have the first overall pick in the draft in a snake format, and with the additional picks he now has six picks within the first forty selections. Not too shabby at all!
ROSTER AND BREAKDOWN
C – Alejandro Kirk, 1B – Josh Bell, 2B – Nico Hoerner, Brandon Lowe, 3B – Bobby Witt Jr, Miguel Vargas, SS – Willy Adames, Oneil Cruz, Royce Lewis, OF – Randal Grichuk, Luis Robert, Corbin Carroll, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Nick Castellanos, Jarred Kelenic, Andrew Benintendi, Alex Kirilloff
SP – Dustin May, Roansy Contreras, Shohei Ohtani, Jesus Luzardo, Logan Gilbert, Trevor Rogers, Aaron Ashby, Freddy Tarnok, Taj Bradley, Grayson Rodriguez, Christian Javier, MacKenzie Gore, Shane Baz
RP – Jorge Lopez, Ryan Helsley, Tanner Scott, David Bednar, Drew Rasmussen
Minor League Roster – 2B – Nick Gonzales and Nick Yorke, SS – Ezequiel Tovar, OF – Brennen Davis, and SP – Caleb Kilian
WHAT I APPROVE aka THE BACON, EGG, & CHEESE w/ PANCAKE CRUST HOT POCKET
Hot Pocket Tim has a ton of young talent that can make for an interesting core. Almost the entire roster is under the age of 30, and I count 14 position players and 10 pitchers that were in many top 100 prospect rankings in the last couple of years. Many feel Corbin Carroll is the top prospect in all of baseball. (check out what the king of Knowitallism, @RJensen12, says in https://thedynastyguru.com/2022/08/16/scout-the-statline-top-hitting-prospects-since-2006/). Combine that with Grayson Rodriguez who is the consensus top pitching prospect, and Shohei Ohtani, and he’s off to a nice start. Having all three of these players should make any fantasy owner envious.
Let’s start with your pitching, Tim. May, Gilbert, and Javier are all guys that will be in the TDG top 50 SP rankings this offseason. If both Rodriguez and Bradley also end up starting the season in the majors, you, my friend, will not be the bottom feeder of your league anymore. It will be tough to keep a guy like Shane Baz since he is already out until 2023 (unless you have a loophole in which you can stash him on the IL), but hey, he’s probably worth it.
I do believe relief pitchers shouldn’t be kept unless your league gives a good amount of points for saves and holds (this league does). However, even if they do I still would only recommend keeping guys who are or will be top-ten-caliber point guys with limited mileage on their arms. Every year, relievers pop up and you can fill at least a slot if you follow the trends at the beginning of the season. I do believe Ryan Helsley (who had a rough postseason, which gives me Rick Ankiel vibes) and David Bednar (if he gets traded to a contender like the Braves) can be elite and rack up points for you. With all of the extra picks, you accumulated you should be able to get back at least one of those guys if neither makes the cut.
WHAT I DISAPPROVE aka THE BEEF TACO HOT POCKET (it just sounds like trouble)
Okay….what is up with all these middle infielders? I get that shortstop is a premium position, but Tim, you have five young and really good players in Cruz, Adames, Lewis, Witt, and Ezequiel Tovar for one position. This is a great luxury if your team is stacked at every other position and you have a 50-man roster. Coupled with the other logjam at 2B with Hoerner, Brandon Lowe, Yorke, and Gonzalez? It’s too many. I guess if you could start six middle infielders this team is a f*ckin’ juggernaut. Luckily, we have an off-season to make a trade to clear this up a little and get help at other positions. Later on, I will get into how and who you can move to disentangle this mess. I’m 99.9% sure you won’t like it.
Another weakness is in the outfield with Luis Robert’s injury history, Castellanos drop in production, and Kelenic’s fall from grace; there are just too many uncertainties. I wouldn’t keep Castellanos or Kelenic and keep my options open in the draft. At catcher, Alejandro Kirk is now part of a three-headed rotation in Toronto, so I’d start brainstorming a back-up plan even though I absolutely love him!
Bell at first base is alright, but maybe you can cash in on his 2022 production and get a younger dude instead because your team is at least a year away. I’d prefer to have Ohtani as a hitter, personally, but I understand with the way the team was set up last year that Ohtani was primarily in the starting rotation. Perhaps we can figure out a way to change that. As for the minor league roster, you have a couple of players who haven’t played in the majors on your bench so I’d recommend reshuffling so you can keep more major league players. Damn dude, this is longer than a shopping list for a family of ten! That is a lot of hot pockets!
WHO I’D KEEP
Position players – (10) Kirk, Bell, Witt Jr, Cruz, Adams, Robert, Carroll, Kirilloff, Tovar, and Hoerner (over Lewis because of his injury. I do think Lewis has more potential so that is a toss-up).
Pitchers – (10) May, Ohtani, Gilbert, Rogers, Javier, Gore, Rasmussen, Ashby, Helsley, and either Contreras or Bednar (if Bednar gets traded to a contender to close in the off-season).
Minors – Davis, PCA, Gonzales, Bradley, Rodriguez (since PCA, Rodriguez, and Bradley haven’t played in the majors I assume you can move them from the bench to your minor league roster).
THE PHILLY STEAK & CHEESE w/CROISSANT CRUST HOT POCKET TRADE
First, I had no clue that in Philadelphia they usually put American cheese on their Philly cheese steak sandwiches ‘til this World Series started. No! No! No! The people who made this hot pocket were 1000% right in putting Provolone cheese otherwise I would have ranked this hot pocket last. After looking at the teams in Tim’s league, I came up with a mega-trade idea. Hot Pocket Corner will send Oneil Cruz, Josh Bell, Taj Bradley, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Nick Yorke, Drew Rasmussen, and one of his extra 3rd-round picks to Team Mookie Monsters (FYI this team doesn’t have Mookie Betts so what is up with that?) Andrew Vaughn, Nick Lodolo, Daulton Varsho, Brett Baty, and a 6th-round pick. When looking over the league, I started to gravitate to a team that had Varsho in their outfield because they have also Will Smith at C (so they can presumably be talked out of trading Varsho). They also only have Javy Báez as their starting shortstop and Colson Montgomery on their depth chart, so perhaps they’ll bite on one of the shortstops named above. This team has two young guys who happen to be very high on my priority list to obtain in Lodolo and Vaughn, but both are on the bench because this team has pretty solid starters blocking them.
Now, I know some of you just spit out half the hot pocket you were eating when I said I’d trade Cruz. You probably said something like, “he had the hardest hit ball in the majors this year with a 122.4 Exit Velocity and is in the top 15 in Barrels per Plate Appearance at 8.9% you idiot!” Well, I’d rebut with, “First you shouldn’t talk with your mouth full, and second, his strikeout rate has hovered over 30% since 2017! Even though he has the most upside out of any of those middle infielders on this roster, he also has the most downside with his swing-and-miss approach. And yes I know he can adjust, but he hasn’t shown that ability to do that in five years and strikeouts for a hitter are too much of a liability for a points league. This trade doesn’t happen with any other of the second basemen or shortstops besides Witt Jr (who I’d rather have).”
Also, this trade only makes sense by getting the younger guy in Andrew Vaughn who can be your first basemen for the next seven to ten years. Sure, adding Bradley and Rasmussen to this package is risky for Tim’s pitching depth, but I hate relying on Tampa starters because of the wacky ways they tend to use them at times. Especially a rookie like Bradley who has a 50/50 shot in making their MLB roster this year. This is where I go boom or bust with a possible ace in Lodolo. He really looked the part in the last two months of the season with the Reds. Baty is also slated to play third base or in the outfield in Queens next season. These are both weaker positions on this team if Witt is no longer third base eligible as a starter in the outfield.
I know there are a lot of moving parts, but it makes sense for both teams. Don’t be afraid to trade picks for established guys to shore up this team. You have plenty of high-upside prospects on this roster already.
DRAFT TARGET STRATEGY
I have never been a fan of drafting the best available player unless you are starting your team from scratch. So, if you don’t make any trades this off-season, I’d prioritize major league outfielders, then third basemen (if Witt is moved to shortstop only on CBS), and then look for an upgrade at first base. Of course, that goes out the window if you can draft top-tier major league starting pitching, but that usually doesn’t happen! The beauty of the trade I suggested is you can focus on pitching and depth because you won’t have any major needs.
FYPD TARGET: Kodai Senga, P, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
You don’t pass on this guy. I doubt there will be a major league player that has more fantasy impact than Senga next season. After Senga, I’d rank Druw Jones, Kumar Rocker, and Temarr Johnson as far as priority adds for your rebuilding fantasy team. I don’t care that this team is filled with middle infielders – Johnson is too good to pass up. I feel he will be better than Jones or Rocker, but again, the roster construction of this team played a part.
THE PATENTED KNOWITALLISM SCALE
Overall, this team has a ton of young talent that any rebuilding fantasy team would envy.
So, Hot Pocket Tim, this is what you were waiting for!
Drumroll please…..The Knowitallism scale graded your team at a 2.6!
In your case, the equivalent of a ham and cheddar hot pocket. Not that bad when you have it at 3 am after a night of drinking, but not really that good either. If you only remember one thing from this Tim, please, for the love of God!! Tim! Tim! DO NOT draft any more second basemen or shortstops! But if you do, you might as well go all-out Gollum and keep all of your precious middle infielders and also draft every other one available. Eventually, that should ruin everyone else’s teams!
In all seriousness, you don’t want to keep waiting on prospects and pay three or four years of league fees without placing. Do you know how many hot pockets you can get with that much money? Sometimes trading a highly touted prospect that is just sitting on your bench is the next step to building a championship fantasy team. I truly hope this suppresses your Knowitallism till February 24th, 2023. If not, go get yourself one of those ten packs of hot pockets and go to town! That will give you a rush of something!