Micheal Pineda Has Ace Potential

Generally speaking it is true that a player’s future tends to look a lot like his past — especially for veteran players. When a player is coming off a couple of bad seasons in a row chances are good he is not going to be highly drafted in fantasy leagues the next year. But what if there is something buried in his advanced metrics that shows he actually performed better than his traditional statistics indicated? You might have a diamond in the rough that could be a real steal in the middle rounds of drafts. Michael Pineda is such a player and I will show you why.

Pineda started 32 games this year and won only six of them. He threw 175.2 innings and finished with an unsightly 4.82 ERA. That was even worse than his 4.37 ERA the year before. But before you write him off let’s delve a little deeper into his stats.  Continue reading

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The Verdict on 3 Struggling Aces: Keuchel, Archer, Wainwright

We are one fifth of the way into the season already. That is a pretty good chunk of games so the sample size is getting big enough to be meaningful. There are quite a few elite pitchers who are off to rough starts. It is hard not to get alarmed when your team’s best pitcher is falling far short of your expectations and sliding down the rankings deeper and deeper.

Today we will examine three such struggling aces to see if we should freak out or keep the faith. I will go over their stats and peripherals to render my verdict on each of these guys. Hopefully this will give you a good idea of how you should handle them moving forward. Each of them have started 7 games already, which represents about 20-25% of their season if they start 32-34 games. Their stats are looking scary but maybe things will get better. Or they might get even worse. Let’s find out…

Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays — 2 Wins, 4 Losses, 4.23 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 49 Ks, 17 BBs in 38.1 innings. Continue reading

The Value of a Prospect

In a deep dynasty league, the quality of your minor league roster can be nearly as important as the major league portion. There isn’t an easier way of improving your major-league team without losing any current contributors and the majority of future all-stars are rostered here.

 

In early 2013, I lost patience with my dynasty team as it appeared to be fated for yet another fourth or fifth place finish. So I pulled the trigger and put the Houston Astros to shame. I unloaded every player of value, except for Giancarlo Stanton, for as many top prospects as I could. Concurrently, I turned my focus to the minor leagues and scooped up every top available tooIsy prospect I could identify.

 

Flash forward to 2016 and I am one of the three contenders for my dynasty league championship. So who is on my current roster? Lots of stars, but very few of the prospects I attempted to build my team with. As I watched my second summer in last place pass by I started to worry. How many of my prospects will fail? What if half fail? More? A quick look at the success rate of Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus annual prospect ranks showed that even in the top 20, a success rate of 50 percent is about the best that you could expect, and even then not in a timely manner. Combine that with the fact that not every successful major leaguer is a quality fantasy contributor and I became a bit more skeptical of my anticipated end game.

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Early Pre-Season Peak Value: Hitters

It’s a new year. Your league’s keeper deadline is not far away. Top prospect lists are being shared and debated. Mock drafts are upon us. Everyone else in your league is finally done with fantasy football. All of these factors combine to mean the dynasty hot stove season is in full swing.

For this series I’m going to look at a couple players at each position whose trade value has peaked this offseason. In some cases, it’s possible– even likely– that the player could see his trade value continue to climb. In other cases, this may be the most valuable the player will ever be. In either case, I am focusing on players who should be able to return more to you in a trade during this offseason than they are likely to provide on a roster spot for 2016. For each player, I’ll be looking at the June 2015 midseason TDG Top 500 as a window into where the player’s value was 6 months ago, what they’ve done to improve their value since then, and what I’m calling their ‘Volatility Factor.’ The volatility factor tries to measure how stable of an investment this player is right now– is he likely to lose value, hold it, or continue to improve?

Catcher

Gary Sanchez
June 2015 TDG Top 500 rank: 341
How He Improved: After losing a lot of his prospect luster after spending what felt like forever in the Yankees farm system, Sanchez saw his value tumble over the past 2 years as prospect hounds started questioning the makeup and the ability to stick at his position. When he started 2015 in AA again for the third time in as many years, many owners were ready to give up. A midseason promotion to AAA and a stellar performance in the Arizona Fall League have brought back the shine. Enough experts are now confident that he’ll stick at catcher, and the power remains alluring. The questions around Sanchez were always whether he could put it together enough to fulfill his promise. Those questions seem to have been answered, and Sanchez is likely to start 2015 as the Yankees’ backup catcher behind Brian McCann. Continue reading

I Love Prospects, I Hate Prospects!

It goes without saying that a good knowledge of prospects is mandatory for long-term success in dynasty leagues. No matter how good your team is right now you still need to plan for the future. If you can build up a solid core of the top prospects in baseball chances are your team is going to be good for a long time, right? That is true — but maybe not to the degree we all expect.

Let’s face it: prospecting is like rolling dice. Sometimes you get boxcars sometimes you get snake eyes. No matter how good you are at evaluating prospects you are going to be wrong a lot. You can study all the major Top 100 Prospects lists each offseason, watch tons of video and go to minor league games and still make the wrong decisions regarding which prospects to invest in.

Let’s take a look at the 21 players who appeared on one or more consensus top five overall prospects in baseball lists in the last five years (2011-2015). We will organize them into three groups depending on how they have fared since being ranked as uber-elite prospects: Continue reading

Dynasty Dynamics: The State of the Draft Pick

There’s nothing both more overrated and more underrated than a dynasty league farm team, as it (like with most other things in life) all depends upon how you use it. If you sit around waiting for the players you identified to be great and continue to supplement with other prospects for whom you’ll wait, you’ll find that a farm system can be an impediment to success. If you view them as assets and are unafraid to trade them (even the very good ones) when the right situation presents itself, a farm system can instead be a fast forward button to contention.

These prospects are acquired in many different ways, but for those of you who don’t find yourself in the early-to-middle stages of a rebuild will likely find that a good portion of your future talent will arrive via the draft. And before these players arrived on your roster, you knew them by another name: a draft pick. Often the most liquid of fantasy assets, draft picks are almost universally available as equalizers in trades that start off without them, and understanding the basic value of those picks is a way to gain an advantage over your league mates.

For example, we collectively fawned over the depth available in last year’s dynasty drafts; a collection buoyed by the strength of the Rule 4 draft, but augmented nicely with some international talent (though not the top-shelf variety we’ve grown accustomed to, unless Yoan Moncada was available). So how do the next two draft classes shape up, and what price should we be putting on those draft picks?

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

We as discussed in the introduction post to this series, more and more dynasty leagues are rostering upwards of 150-200 minor leaguers these days. Often times performances from the previous draft class go largely unnoticed before the end of the calendar year 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, and that’s always a nice feeling.

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 Two

If you missed last week’s introduction post, shame on you, but I’ll be nice and summarize what we’re trying to touch upon with this series of posts. There is a lot of value to be found this time of the year in reviewing the previous draft class as more data becomes available to peruse and explicate. If you can beat your fellow owners to the punch and identify some prospects that might generate buzz over the rest of the season and into the winter, you might be able to use a few roster spots to turn a profit as soon this offseason if you need to include a few prospects as tack on pieces to help close trades for bigger fish, or even find a few long-term pieces, if that’s what you’re aiming to accomplish.

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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Scouring Midseason Prospect Rankings

We’ve reached the middle of July, which is when most prospect purveyors update their respective lists to reflect the multitude of changes that have occurred since the beginning of the season. As we’ve touched on before, it is extremely important to stay abreast of the constant changes in the valuation of prospects in order to run a profitable dynasty league franchise. Perceived value in the prospect world is very important, especially in trade talks where it can sometimes be the final piece of information that closes a deal, particularly if your trading partner lacks the knowledge of prospects (and life in general) that you, The Dynasty Guru reader has in spades.

We’ll be diving into the midseason rankings of:

John Sickelsthe proprietor of the outstanding SB Nation site Minor League Ball (who ranks 75 prospects)
Baseball America (who ranks 50 prospects)
Keith Law of ESPN.com Insider (who ranks 50 prospects)

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