Digging for Diamonds: Dynasty Basketball Edition

I’m a sucker for two things when it comes to dynasty basketball prospects – efficiency and sexy defensive stats. If players are efficient, they’re more likely to get playing time and put up stats. Sexy defensive stats make for a high floor, because the player can be deployed as a useful specialist at minimum.

That’s why when I saw the ease and versatility with which Willy Hernangomez scores and the pace with which Richaun Holmes blocks shots and steals basketballs, I new I had to rip off the baseball writer’s “Digging for Diamonds” column.

Indeed, it does require some digging to find these two on anyones watch list. They only average about 30 minutes per game combined right now, but both have flashed per minute numbers that have piqued my interest.

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Digging For Diamonds: 2016-17 Post-Hype Catchers

It’s everybody’s favorite time of year! No, not the holidays, I’m talking about prospects list season! This is the beginning of a series on sleepers, breakout, and post-hype prospects, starting today with post-hype catchers. These are guys who may or may not have exceeded rookie status (130 Major League at-bats) but who aren’t valued perhaps as highly as they were in years past. Next week, we will be discussing sleepers, following with everybody’s favorite, breakout candidates. After that will come post-hype middle-infielders, sleeper infielders, etc. So here they are, without further adieu, your 2016-17 post-hype catchers: Continue reading

Combing the AFL Desert

As the various minor leagues wrap up their seasons, there is one more event for prospect seekers, the Arizona Fall League. This is a five-week baseball extravaganza that includes top prospects, injured prospects, and a mix-match of everything in between. While not all of the rosters are completely filled, a few names caught my eye as particularly interesting with regard to dynasty fantasy baseball. While not all standouts in this league will continue to see their prospect status rise – here’s looking at you, Adam Engel – some of these players will be future top prospects.

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Scouring The Lower Minors

A few weeks ago, my deep dynasty league had their monthly minor league auction which is the only time that true minor leaguers may be added to our rosters. Considering that there are 20 teams with up to 50 roster spots dedicated to minor leaguers, this is an important time. Since the team I took over hadn’t had any minor league transactions to date, I had the full $100 to work with. I quickly proposed about 20 one-dollar bids after a quick look at high performers at the Rookie and Low-A levels. One of the names I identified was Samir Duenez. When another owner bid $2, I let him go and laughed to myself at his effort to raise the price on a player I didn’t really care much about. A month later, I’m wondering if the other owner was in fact laughing at me. Duenez has seen a significant rise in value after a season in which he has seen him earn promotions from full season A ball to Double-A. It’s too soon to draw conclusions from his Double-A performance, but his other two stops were rousing successes. Leading up to 2015, Duenez, while young for his placement, did not show much success with the bat. He hit a total of two home runs in his first three seasons and generally had an OPS in the .650 range. This year has been a different story. For the season, he has posted a triple-slash line of .288/.348/.451. He’s probably not going to be a future star, but players with his profile – low strikeouts, decent walk-rate, a little speed – tend to have a high floor. He’s not a must-add in regular formated dynasty leagues, but in my league that rosters 1000 prospects, he was a great find.

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Using ISO and Age to Unearth Fantasy Gems

The key to continued success in a dynasty fantasy league format is to continually identify quality future major leaguers before other owners do. This often means culling through minor league statistics, reading scouting reports, and generally keeping one step ahead of the competition. I began thinking about strategies that would give me an advantage over my league mates. After a bit of unsuccessful trial and error with regression equations and correlation tables I happened upon something much simpler and more effective. I started by brainstorming a list of what I considered the most informative statistics and settled on ISO . I chose this based on personal preference towards hitters that specialize in run production at the expense of players with value dependent on speed. I also hoped that it would be more predictive – Garin Cecchini once stole 51 bases after all! I applied a point value to players with ISO in different ranges from 1 through 6, then did the same with age versus average age in that player’s league.  Then I cross referenced players that exceeded my filter against their draft position and highest prospect rank at Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America. My goal was to identify players who were ranked outside the top 50 prospects but had the draft pedigree and statistics/age qualifications. From the statistics of all minor leaguers in 2010, I came up with the following retroactive information.

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Digging for Diamonds: Finding Value in Last Year’s Draft Class, Part Five: The Final Frontier

As we discussed in the introduction post to this series, more and more dynasty leagues are rostering upwards of 150-200 minor leaguers these days, and some ridiculously deep leagues (like a few that I’m involved with) roster double or triple that amount. Often times performances from the previous year’s draft class go largely unnoticed before the end of the minor league season, which we’re rapidly approaching. These performances are highlighted when various prospect lists come out and some prospects that should be owned in deeper leagues end up in the same player pool as the year’s most recent draftees during offseason dynasty drafts.

If you’re able to beat your competitors to the punch and pick up these types of prospects before the end of the season before rosters freeze, you’re essentially getting free draft picks, which was the goal of this exercise and we hoped you’ve enjoyed all four prior editions. If you missed any of the previous four, they are linked here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4.

Let’s take a look at a few prospects from the 2014 draft class that have seen their value rise this season and might not be owned in your league:

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Digging for Diamonds: Finding Value in Last Year’s Draft Class, Part Four

As we discussed in the introduction post to this series, more and more dynasty leagues are rostering upwards of 150-200 minor leaguers these days, and some ridiculously deep leagues (like a few that I’m involved with) roster double or triple that amount. Often times performances from the previous year’s draft class go largely unnoticed before the end of the minor league season, which we’re rapidly approaching. These performances are highlighted when various prospect lists come out and some prospects that should be owned in deeper leagues end up in the same player pool as the year’s most recent draftees during offseason dynasty drafts.

If you’re able to beat your competitors to the punch and pick up these types of prospects before the end of the season, you’re essentially getting free draft picks, which is always fun for the whole family.

Let’s take a look at a few prospects from the 2014 draft class that have seen their value rise this season and might not be owned in your league:

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