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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How Important is Strikeout Rate for Prospects?

Prospecting in dynasty leagues can be one of the most challenging and frustrating parts of fantasy baseball.  But, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences when things go right.  There’s no better feeling than uncovering a hidden gem that never appeared on a prospect list; having them go from a nobody to a Paul Goldschmidt.  At the same time, growing attached to an elite prospect only to have them fall victim to injury or bad performance is as infuriating as it gets. Paying large prices for an exciting prospect turned bust not only hurts, but it can ruin a fantasy team’s future.  There’s no easy way to figure out which prospects to draft, pick up, or trade for, and despite the wealth of resources out there, there’s no way to be absolutely certain about the chances of a prospect succeeding or failing in the majors.

Still, there are some common statistical indicators that can help fantasy prospectors find their way.  Often, analysts will point to plate discipline as a way to tell how prospects will fare once they climb the ladder to the big leagues.  Walk rate and strikeout rate are far from definitive measures of future success, but they can be helpful tools.  The most commonly cited of the two is likely strikeouts: it’s not rare to see a player denounced due to their high rates of swing and miss, or praised for their ability to avoid the strikeout.  The question is, how valuable are strikeout rates for evaluating prospects?

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Third Basemen, 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 hot corner, we find a new hitter atop the mountain–despite a reigning league MVP holding the top spot last season :
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How to Value Yoan Moncada in a Dynasty League

On February 23rd, a mere four days ago, the Boston Red Sox struck what was to many an unexpected deal with the latest Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada for 31.5 million dollars.  It was known that the Red Sox would be in the running for Moncada but the need was simply not there in the same way as it was for the Yankees and Dodgers.  The Dodgers refused to sign him until after July 2nd but were reportedly willing to go as high as 35 million and the Yankees felt anything past 27 million was too rich for their blood.

In getting Moncada the Red Sox keep him from a division rival and in my opinion this move vaults their farm system which was lacking impact talent at the top into the top three in all of baseball.  The Yankees roster on the other hand continues to get older as their last four major free agent hitter signings of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Chase Headley have all been over 30 years old at the time of signing.  The path to playing time would have been clearer had he ended up elsewhere but he is still worth chasing in all dynasty leagues.

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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Third Basemen, 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.

The hot corner has lost some valuable commodities in recent years, as the like of Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion no longer qualify, and it’s yet to gain ascendant talent like Anthony Rendon. Still, The Bringer of Rain proved he was more than a one-time wonder with a second straight dominant season that pushed him to the top of the third base rankings, and there’s plenty of promising prospect talent behind him:

1) Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays  (Age 29, Previous Rank: 7)

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2014 Has Been a Disastrous Year for Elite Prospects

We had a bumper crop of elite prospects to play with this Spring. We had visions of new players joining our rosters and playing like the next Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig. The consensus Top 12 prospects this year were as good as we have ever seen. The excitement was at a fever pitch for prospect hounds like us, but the season ended up being a tremendous letdown. Some of it was due to injuries, while most of it was due to flat out poor performance. It just goes to show that patience is key when it comes to prospects — even the elite “can’t miss” prospects often struggle when they reach the majors.

For this discussion let’s focus on what I consider to be the consensus top 12. These are the guys that were ranked at the top of nearly every major list that was published last offseason. We will go down the list and review each prospect. The theme of the day is disappointment. Every guy on this list except for one or two had a disappointing season for one reason or another…

1. Byron Buxton, OF Twins

Buxton has been touted as the next Mike Trout, an all around superstar 5 tool talent. His season has been absolutely destroyed by injuries. He sprained his wrist early in Spring Training and was forced to sit out until May, then he played 5 games and re-injured the wrist again. He had to sit out another two months. He played 30 games at High A Fort Myers but didn’t perform as well as he did last year. His .718 OPS wasn’t too impressive but you could still see the talent and tools in action and see a future superstar. On August 13th he got promoted to AA and what happens? He got hurt in his very first game. He suffered a bad concussion during a diving collision in the outfield. Buxton is still an elite talent and a future star but this season was a total bust. Continue reading

Prospect Smackdown: Joey Gallo vs. Miguel Sano

Do you like high strikeout rates, questionable hit tools and “hold on to your butts”-level power? If so, please enjoy the following prospect smackdown.

Prospect Smackdown No. 11: Joey Gallo vs. Miguel Sano

The Case for Gallo

A year ago at this time, it was almost unfathomable that Gallo could legitimately rank ahead of Sano on any list. While Gallo managed to hit 38 homers in Single-A in 2013, he struck out in 37 percent of his at-bats and posted an overall line of just .245/.334/.610. There was a real concern that Gallo wouldn’t make enough contact as he moved up the system to let his 80-grade power play.

But in 246 plate appearances at High-A this year, Gallo impressed greatly by increasing his walk rate and decreasing his strikeout rate while still hitting for tremendous power. He hit .323/.463/.735 in 246 PA, good for an incredible wRC+ of 218. That led the 20-year-old Gallo to a midseason promotion to Frisco, where he’s still hitting for impressive power but where some of his strikeout concerns have once again reared their ugly head.

Still, Gallo’s produced wonderfully this year and bridged the gap between Single-A and Double-A in just a few months. We’re looking at a potential late 2015/early 2016 ETA for Gallo now, and every time he proves he can hit for power at a higher level, he moves further up dynasty league rankings. Continue reading

The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Third Basemen, Nos. 1-20

From the 21st of January to the 20th of February, the writers at TDG will be taking you through our rankings position-by-position. As I mentioned in the primer, this year we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of having my personal rankings up on this site, like last year, these rankings for 2014 are of the consensus variety and being brought to you by all of the TDG staff. Everyone put a lot of work into this project, so we hope you enjoy the end result. And if you are looking for my personal dynasty league rankings, you can find them this off-season at Baseball Prospectus.

So we hope you enjoy the rankings package that we’ve put together here. And if you do, I hope that you will make a donation to show appreciation for the content you’ve seen here at the Dynasty Guru. You can do that through this link, or by clicking the “Donate” button on the top-right corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.

Third base, like last year, has some heavy hitters at the top. In fact, the top-five at the position may be as strong as any other position on the diamond (including first base). However, once you get beyond that, it’s a number of players who either haven’t proven anything or have been breakout stars without the requisite prospect status to give that extra layer of comfort. Then you have the aging third basemen who are still hanging on to their value despite being one year closer to retirement. It’s a position of power, and that’s only going to get stronger as the two prospects who clock in highest on this list both have at least 70 power potential.

Now the 20 best third baseman in dynasty leagues, starting with one of the best hitters in the game today:

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Up the Middle: Loading Up on Shortstops

I recently finished reading Joe Morgan’s autobiography A Life in Baseball. I really enjoyed it as he’s one of my favorite players and the book was written in a very honest, straightforward manner. One of my favorite parts of the book was when he discussed the “diamond within the diamond” and how important good defensive play is to building a winning team, especially at the positions of catcher, middle infield, and centerfield. That book was written two decades ago about a player who played four decades ago, and yet that principle still holds true. No matter how solid prospects start out at the shortstop position, there are many factors along the way, including the defensive ability mentioned above, that can determine whether that player will actually end up at shortstop in the major leagues.

Due to the fact that shortstop is still a very defensive position along with second base, the two positions can supply loads of value if you can find a player who is an offensive stud there as well. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to write about middle infield in the first place. But there is also the catch that the guy who you’ve projected as your dynasty league shortstop of the future ends up as a corner infielder. So what do I do as a dynasty owner? I load up on shortstop prospects and play the numbers game. Continue reading

I’ll Ask Again: Is Byron Buxton The Best Fantasy Prospect In Baseball?

On June 4, I took stock of Byron Buxton’s phenomenal campaign in Single-A and asked our readers a simple question: was the Twins’ outfielder the best fantasy prospect in the game, and if not, who was?

After examining the extraordinary numbers Buxton had posted to that point in the season, I concluded that Buxton was surely a Top 10 name, but was not yet ready to give him the top spot. After all, the likes of Jurickson Profar, Oscar Taveras and Xander Bogaerts all loomed large, and each was significantly closer to the majors.

That opinion came back when Buxton was hitting “a modest” .333/.435/.545 with a wRC+ of 174 through 240 PA. Of course, the 19-year-old would go on to finish with a .341/.431/.559 line in 321 PA in Single-A, before hitting .326/.415/.472 in 253 PA in High-A. Continue reading