The Dynasty Guru Podcast Episode 4: Third Base Rankings

The Dynasty Guru Podcast Episode 3 is live. Listen below, subscribe on iTunes or stream here. – Tom Trudeau, Nick Doran, and Tyler Baber discuss the consensus third base consensus rankings from the TheDynastyGuru.com.

Topics include:

  • Will one of Anthony Rendon, Alex Bregman, or Kyle Seager jump up to the same tier as Josh Donaldson?
  • What to make of Miguel Sano
  • Vets vs Youth: Justin Turner and Adrian Beltre or Jose Ramirez, Nick Castellanos and Maikel Franco?
  • Third Base Prospects: Rafael Devers, Nick Senzel and beyond
  • The back half of the top 50:Hernan Perez, Ryon Healey, Jeimer Candelario and the ghost of David Wright
  • We don’t talk about Mike Moustakas

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Building a Balanced Team: Conclusion

Over the last several weeks, we have identified catchers, first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, shortstops, and outfielders who have the potential to contribute to three or more hitting categories. Today, we’ll compare our evaluations of each position to determine relative values and scarcity. As a reminder on the methodology behind this series, I began this exercise by gathering data for each position over the past decade (plus a bonus year because why not?) to determine the average production for each hitting category. In order to eliminate outliers resulting from limited sample sizes, I used a 400-plate appearance qualifier for all positions with the exception of catcher, for which I set the threshold at 300 plate appearances. I also wanted to control for lost playing time resulting from unforeseeable injuries, so rather than calculate the average counting stat totals for each category, I calculated the ratio of plate appearances to each counting stat (e.g. 30 plate appearances per home run as opposed to an average of 20 home runs).

After calculating the baseline for each category and year, I tallied the number of players who met three or more category thresholds as a measure of positional scarcity. I then calculated the average for each category and position over the 11-year period to reduce the noise and determine the baselines we will use to identify multi-category contributors in our draft.  Once the 11-year baselines were calculated, I converted the ratios back to counting stats based on 600 plate appearances (450 for catchers) so that we could easily compare each position. Finally, since not all positions will produce the same value, I calculated the composite z-score for each, which reflects the sum of standard deviations each position falls above or below each of the categorical averages over the 11-year period. Since most five-category players are properly valued in drafts and dynasty leagues, this value will help us prioritize the positions we should target when attempting to build a balanced roster.

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Building a Balanced Team: First & Second Base

Last week we started this series by looking at the (few) catchers who have the potential to contribute in all five categories, and also highlighted those most likely to help out in three or four categories as well. Today we turn to the first and second basemen. As a reminder on the methodology behind this series, I began this exercise by gathering data for each position over the past decade (plus a bonus year because why not?) to determine the average production for each hitting category. In order to eliminate outliers resulting from limited sample sizes, I used a 400-plate appearance qualifier for all positions with the exception of catcher, for which I set the threshold at 300 plate appearances. I also wanted to control for lost playing time resulting from unforeseeable injuries, so rather than calculate the average counting stat totals for each category, I calculated the ratio of plate appearances to each counting stat (e.g. 30 plate appearances per home run as opposed to an average of 20 home runs).

After calculating the baseline for each category and year, I tallied the number of players who met three or more category thresholds as a measure of positional scarcity. Finally, I calculated the average for each category and position over the 11-year period to reduce the noise and determine the baselines we will use to identify multi-category contributors in our draft. For those who have the time, I highly recommend creating your own player projections and comparing them against the following baseline calculations, but for this article, I am going to use the Steamer 600 projections provided by Fangraphs. For reference, current NFBC ADP figures for each player are listed in parenthesis.

So here’s how the first basemen stack up:

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Second Baseman, Nos. 1-20

It’s the time of the year where we offer congratulations to those of you brave dynasty league owners that survived the offseason. The greatness that 2016 will surely offer is upon us and that means we’ll be spending the next six weeks moving our way through the positional landscape, offering thoughts on the respective values of roughly 700 players throughout the process.

We sincerely hope that you enjoy the countless hours of hard work that went into these rankings and continue to support The Dynasty Guru by showing your appreciation through this link or via the splendid ‘donate’ button located on the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated.

Players are ranked where they played 20 or more games at during the 2015 season at their highest position on the defensive spectrum, e.g. Chris Davis played 30 games in the outfield, meaning he’s an outfielder for our purposes. We can’t assume that a player will have eligibility at a position in the future (so no Hanley Ramirez at 1b for these rankings) or that a player will lose eligibility at a position in the future. This should clear things up for all non-Javier Baez/Jurickson Profar players, and we’ll do our best to explain where those players are ranked when the time comes. All DH types, such as Evan Gattis and David Ortiz, appear on the 1B rankings, as we will not be doing a UTIL rankings list.

As we move to the second base portion of our rankings, we start with a player whose height has opened the door for a new measurement system to be implemented throughout the world:
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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Second Baseman, Nos. 1-20

Congratulations on surviving another off-season. Now that the new year is upon us, it’s time to spend the next month  traveling across the positional landscape, labeling players with numbers that correspond to their value. It’s the very definition of freedom. A ton of hard work was put into these rankings, and will continue to be put in as we bring you just an ungodly amount of information over the next month. We hope you enjoy the product we’ve created, and if you’d like to show appreciation for that work you can do so through this link, or via the donate button on in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.

As we move around the infield, we arrive at the keystone, where a new name is atop the rankings. We have a few newcomers to the top 20 in general, but for the most part, it’s a small reshuffling of familiar faces. There’s not a lot of impact talent here, and while there’s some depth in terms of upside into the mid-teens, it falls off fairly quickly after that. As usual with this position, there will be a few early selections and then a ton of options later in the game.

1) Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 8)

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Manny Machado: This Year’s Anthony Rendon

I live in Washington, D.C. and from a baseball standpoint I was absolutely spoiled in 2014. I subscribe to MLB.tv so I can watch my hometown Red Sox and anything else going on in the league, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood to fire it up and I find myself watching the local games. Watching the local games wasn’t half bad this year since I was able to see the Nationals and Orioles both win their divisions, and I got to witness one of my favorite young players, Anthony Rendon, enjoy a breakout year.

There are few things in baseball more impressive to me than rocket line drives down the left field line that get caught by horizontal third basemen, or balls stopped deep in the hole and rifled to first. Third basemen do it all from flashy defense to putting the ball over the fence, and no one was better in 2014 than Rendon. I am here to tell you that even though Rendon is the guy coming off the MVP-vote type season, it’s Machado you want to target in your dynasty leagues.

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Ben’s 2014 It’s All Good Team

Last week, I took a look at my all-disappointment team; a group of 15 players who have murdered my fantasy hopes and dreams in plenty of leagues this year.

This week, I’ll attempt to be more positive, even though it is once again Monday morning, which is, as always, the worst. Once again, this is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of the best players this season — rather, this represents some of my personal success stories as the season nears the halfway point.

I encourage you to share some of your own biggest hits in the comments below.

C: Evan Gattis, ATL
1B: Justin Morneau, COL
2B: Jose Altuve, HOU
3B: Anthony Rendon, WAS
SS: Xander Bogaerts, BOS

Thank god for several of the players listed above — without them, I’d be in even deeper trouble in many leagues than I am now. I’ve never been a big Gattis believer, but he fell to me in several drafts in shallower leagues and I figured I’d roll the dice and pray he received ~450-plus PA. Not only is Gattis right on pace to meet that mark, but he’s hitting .297/.348/.589, which is pretty much best-case scenario. Continue reading

Breakout or Fakeout: Grading the April Hitting Stars

Last week I evaluated some unexpectedly hot pitchers (Breakout or Fakeout: Are These Hot Starting Pitchers For Real). This week I will do the same for hot hitters. Coming into the season none of these guys were ranked in the top 200 overal players on most cheat sheets, yet they are all ranked in the top 30 hitters in fantasy leagues right now. We are more than a month into the season, so sample sizes are no longer all that small. It is getting harder to say these guys are just off to fluke streaks in the early going. Could these guys actually be legitimate breakout studs? Or will they fade back into oblivion after a brief month of glory? Read on to find out… Continue reading

Trader’s Corner: Big Names, Big Trades

This week features several top ten talents changing hands. As I’ve been reading through the emails sent in for this column, I can’t help but notice two things:

1. Our readers are really smart fantasy players who make savvy trades.

2. Our readers sometimes play in really complicated leagues!

Seriously, the response has been great so far and I think it’s a lot of fun to vote on fantasy trades like the ones coming in to Trader’s Corner. What gives it another dimension is we’ll be able to look back through some of these posts later to see how the trades really pan out. If you’d like to submit a recently completed or pending trade for a vote, send it to traderscornertdg@gmail.com. I can usually respond to most emails within a day or two to give you my take, and at the very least every trade submitted gets posted in the column. Without further ado…

Trade #1

12-team keeper, keep 6 (count as first 6 rounds), keep forever

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TDGX Draft Recap: Rounds 1-20

We’ve been flying through this Dynasty Guru Experts League draft. Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #TDGX, or just check back here for recaps from myself and other writers. It’s been a lot of fun and there have been a number of different strategies employed. My co-owner Paul and I decided we wanted to go as young as possible without sacrificing any big values that fell to us as the draft unfolded. Some of those values came in the form of bounce-back candidates that we chose to bet on. We also made a decision not to draft pitching or prospects too early. Through the first half of the draft (400 picks) we’re very happy with our team. As we head into the deep, uncharted waters of rounds 21-40, we’ll probably have to get more creative and a little less picky! I guess you could look at it as no big deal, since half of our team will be cut heading into 2015 anyway. More on that here. Enough chatter, let’s get to the breakdown…

1.1 Mike Trout

2.40 Jason Heyward

3.41 Starlin Castro

The only question surrounding Trout at this point is whether the 15-keeper price we paid for the rights to him will do us more harm than good. We’ll have to wait to find out. Price aside, he’s the best player in baseball and at 22 has no blemishes to make us think twice about drafting him #1 overall. Heyward and Castro are both looking to come back from bad years in 2013. Both are also young, talented baseball players that we are willing to invest in. Machado went one pick before us, and he would have been our choice over Castro had he fallen. We discussed taking Profar instead of Castro as well, but we felt that Castro’s position as well as his (slightly) longer MLB track record made him a more comfortable pick for us. More on the Castro pick here.

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