The Rocky Mountain Highs and Lows

It’s not just drafting, pickups, and trades that make a dynasty league champion. It’s also the small week-to-week roster management decisions that add up over the course of the season. Beyond the must-start players, dynasty owners need to break down each player’s schedule, taking a look at how many games they play, where they are, and against whom. When it comes to pitchers, where the games are played often takes center stage, and in no place is this more evident than when Coors Field is involved. With the biggest effect on run scoring of all of the MLB stadiums, Colorado’s field poses the question: should owners sit almost all pitchers when they play in Denver?

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Bold Predictions: Dynasty League Edition

With the presidential primaries in full swing this week in my home state of New York, the gravity of this election has finally begun to sink in. In less than a year, we will make history when/if one of the remaining front-runners is elected president. Hillary Clinton would be our first female president. Donald Trump would be our first realty-TV-star-turned-president president. Bernie Sanders would be the first self-proclaimed democratic socialist to be elected president. And Ted Cruz would be our first Canadian president. America loves being first.  We were the first to punch King George right in the kisser. We were the first country to put a man on the moon. And we were the first to put cheese inside of a pizza crust. We have many fine accomplishments on our resume, which got me thinking: what kind of firsts can we expect from America’s pastime over the next decade?

What follows is my list of firsts, a collection of bold predictions for dynasty baseball leagues. This list is a bit of a departure from my previous entries in that it A. emulates our democratic process by only partially relying on fact and reason, and B. gives me license to make wild and sometimes unsubstantiated predictions. This is about as hot-takey as I get. So sit back, crack a beer, and join me as I take a break from combing through datasets and mail in this week’s TDG submission.

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Dynasty Starting Pitchers, 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.

We start our starting pitching rankings off with a pitcher so great that he once inspired a complete breakdown of his facial hair throughout his career:

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Dynasty Starting Pitchers, 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.

Starting pitcher is simultaneously the most fun and second-worst position to rank (nothing is worse than relievers). It’s phenomenally deep, especially with baseball’s offensive decline, and there’s just so many names that it’s more than a little intimidating. That said, debating the various qualities from pitcher to pitcher is a lot of fun… but then deciding who goes where and why is a bit of a headache. Let’s get to em!

1) Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 27 , Previous Rank: 1)

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Time to Sell Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright just finished a 2014 season where he posted his career best ERA and his second lowest walk rate of his career—what I want you to do now is sell him.

In dynasty leagues if you aren’t diligent about searching for new prospects and finding ways to improve your roster constantly, it is pretty easy to look at your team one year and realize that the majority of your players are on the downside of their careers. In order to prevent this unfortunate event there are many things you can do.

1. Collect the Right Prospects – Be aggressive with prospects at positions where you are aging. It is usually best practice to take the best player on the board but if you are using an aging catcher like Yadier Molina it might be better to draft Blake Swihart than Jesse Winker.

2. Make TradesALWAYS look to improve your team via trade and never say any one player is untouchable. Everyone has a value in fantasy and if you can improve your roster either by adding depth or getting younger you always need to do that. Just because Jose Bautista had a great year last year doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept an offer of George Springer for him in a dynasty format.

3. Sell High – This is what I am going to address in this article but as the great Bill Belichick often shows us it is better to be a year early on selling a player than a year late. Players, no matter how great, cannot fight Father Time, especially without the anabolic aids of yesteryear, and therefore should not be held past the time you notice a decline in their underlying stats.

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Targeting Dan Haren, the Once and Future Ace

Dan Haren was the stalwart leader of many a championship fantasy pitching rotation for almost a decade. He has won 130 major league games and made three All Star teams and has even been a Cy Young contender in both leagues. He began his career back in the days of high-octane offenses during the steroid era and has thrown 200+ innings 8 times, providing tons of production for his fantasy owners. Haren’s career 4.09 K:BB and 1.87 BB/9 ratios are the best of all active pitchers, well ahead of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Adam Wainwright, King Felix, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw in the most important peripheral stats for pitchers. In fact, Haren ranks near the top in almost all of the career statistical categorys among active pitchers. That is a very impressive feat!

Given Haren’s remarkable track record of success, why is it that he was available for free in so many fantasy leagues last summer? He was actually unowned in 50-75% of Yahoo, CBS and ESPN leagues during June through July of last year. Why would a proven ace pitcher who had been so good for so long suddenly get dropped by so many fantasy owners? Well, after a stellar year in 2011 (16-10, 192 Ks, 3.17 ERA, 1.02 WHIP!) in which he was a Cy Young contender, Haren had a shaky and somewhat disappointing season in 2012. It was not bad enough to dump him, but then came a shockingly rude stretch of poor pitching in 2013. Most of his owners gave up on him way too quickly and allowed some patient, observant bystanders to snap him up with a few well-timed mouse clicks. Let’s take a closer look… Continue reading

Nick Doran’s Eleven Bold Predictions

Its time to have fun with some predictions. Some of my predictions are bold and some are BOLD but none of them are crazy. All of these things have a decent chance of actually happening, at least in my mind anyway. I can’t wait to brag about my psychic prognostication skills come October.

I am stepping out on a thin limb here with my first bold prediction because this rare feat has been done only one time in the history of baseball…

1. Billy Hamilton will steal 100 bases while scoring less than 100 Runs.

Take a look at Vince Coleman’s strange 1986 batting line:

PA — 670
R  — 94
H — 139
2B — 13
3B — 8
HR — 0
RBI — 29
SB — 107
CS — 14
BA — 0.232
OBP — 0.301
SLG — 0.280
OPS — 0.581
OPS+ — 62

That is all sorts of ugly. Coleman got a lot of fanfare that season because of his antics on the basepaths, but he was just plain terrible batting in front of Tom Herr, Jack Clark, Andy Van Slyke, Terry Pendleton, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith. The two are often compared, but Billy Hamilton is likely to be a much better all-around player than Vince Coleman both offensively and defensively. Hamilton won’t hit many home runs but he will get a lot more doubles and will hit for a much better slash line than Coleman, who finished his career with a very poor .668 OPS. My bold prediction is Hamilton will match Coleman’s dubious feat his rookie year but will get much better as time goes by.

2. Joey Votto will be the National League MVP. Continue reading