I’ve never agreed with the thought process that a complete tear-down is the way to re-build a dynasty team. It can work and it can be fun, but it takes forever to see improvement in the standings. Drafting can be a crapshoot and you really can’t afford to miss. A top five pick in 2014 landed you Kyle Schwarber, Nick Gordon or Alex Jackson. I can’t imagine you would be very pleased about two of those today and the other probably won’t see catcher eligibility again.
I have found incredible success in actively trading players like stocks month-to-month and year-to-year. The goal is simple, buy a player today who could or will be more valuable in one year relative to what you paid. It can happen week-to-week if you are diligent. In three leagues, I moved on Matt Shoemaker the day after his May 21st start where he threw 50% change ups and plan on selling at the deadline. His acquisition cost was so low, that the return on this short investment will be immense. This strategy can and should be employed by teams who are contending as well.
The following six players are guys that I am investing heavily in before the trade deadline:
Wilson Ramos (C) WAS – Buster Posey, Jonathan Lucroy and Willson Contreras aren’t going anywhere in your league. Since Mike Piazza did it in 2000, four catchers have finished a season with a higher ISO and lower K rate than Ramos is flashing this year. Ramos has stopped swinging at pitches out of the strike zone and popping up. This is peak Victor Martinez stuff. He is a free agent this winter and if he ends up in the American League with the ability to DH on his days off from behind the plate, we could be looking at the new #1 dynasty catcher moving forward. Pay the price.
Derek Dietrich (2B/3B/OF) MIA – Remember this guy? Me neither. He never appeared on a top 100 list, but he’s hit at every stop in the minors. Dee Gordon’s suspension forced him into an everyday role at second base and all he’s done since is hit like a top 10 second baseman. With Martin Prado set to be a free agent at the season’s end, Dietrich has positioned himself for the lion’s share of the third base plate appearances in Miami in 2017. If he can improve a bit versus left-handed pitching, he has the ability to produce a top ten second baseman season next year.
Justin Turner (3B) LAD – Since the beginning of 2014, Turner has quietly been an elite hitter. His 141 wRC+ is ranked 17th among qualified hitters, one point behind Michael Brantley and J.D. Martinez. He combines borderline elite plate discipline with loud contact and lots of fly balls. Turner is a free agent this winter and feels like a New York Yankee. Holes at first base, third base and designated hitter create a perfect fit. This is a top ten fantasy hitter in Yankee Stadium even without the luxurious beard.
Jason Heyward (OF) CHC – Heyward’s value has essentially bottomed out. Here is the link to his 7-day rolling wOBA since 2014. It can’t get any worse than this. However, his plate discipline hasn’t eroded and his BABIP is over 30 points lower than his career average. This is an easy buy-low call. His value one year from today will be substantially higher than it is now.
Robbie Ray (SP) ARI – His terrible win/loss record and ERA likely make him very available in your league. Ray is 24-year-old starting pitcher who throws left-handed and averages nearly 94 miles per hour with his fastball. He is currently sporting nearly identical strikeout and walk rates as Jake Arrieta while maintaining near elite contact rates. If the light turns on in 2017, the return on this investment will be colossal.
Matt Bush (RP) TEX – Bush is holding elite velocity and consistently throwing three pitches. He’s pretty clearly next in line for saves in Texas and Sam Dyson is starting to look like the overuse is catching up to him. Bush has mentioned on several occasions that he would like the opportunity to start in the future and the Texas Rangers under Jon Daniels have shown a willingness to allow relievers to give starting a run. It hasn’t always worked, but C.J. Wilson has an extra 50 million dollars in his account because of it. I do have to mention that Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers and Alexi Ogando appeared to all break almost immediately, but they did get their shot.
I’ll continue to touch on this series weekly with pop-up dynasty buys and sells.