Discount Hall of Famer: Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts is just 23 years old and yeah, I am saying he has a great shot to be in the hall of fame. 2016 will be his second straight season producing an fWAR of over 4.0 and has him on pace for a career of well over 40 fWAR should he play just until he is in his early 30’s.  At 23, we can also assume that there is a lot of room for him to get better.  This is a good thing because for the once highly touted prospect has yet to reach the high ceiling that his 65-70 grade power rating as a prospect once promised.

A lot has gone very well for Bogaerts during the 2016 campaign.  For one, he was named the starter for the American League at shortstop for the All-Star game in San Diego.  This came on the back of a first half where he slashed .329/.388/.475 while playing very good defense.  Things have begun to unravel in the second half where he has been struggling to a .249/.309/.402 mark and as Matt Collins notes, he has been struggling vs off-speed offerings.  I have also noticed that as this slide has occurred public opinion on him has started to slip.

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Trader’s Corner: Everybody Wants Xander Bogaerts

We had lots of trades submitted this week by our readers. The big mover was Xander Bogaerts but his price was steep. If you own a great young player like the Red Sox shortstop or perhaps Manny Machado this might be the best time of year to trade them. Right now there are likely lots of teams in your league who feel they have a chance to win the championship this year. After the season starts some of those teams will begin their descent down the standings as they fall out of contention. Those teams will no longer be buyers and will quickly become sellers. The time to sell is when the number of buyers is highest and the number of sellers is lowest. That time is now! If you already know you will not win your league this year it is wise to start selling right now to get the players you feel will help you climb to the top of the pack the quickest.

There are some ithough-provoking deals below. I also pose you a question about trade vetoes.

You can join in the action two ways: 1) Vote on these trades to make your opinion count. 2) Submit your own trades for us to vote on in the next Trader’s Corner. Use the form below to submit your trade.

Vote for the players you would rather have.

Taylor Funk submitted this trade from his 5×5 league with contracts:

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Building a Balanced Team: Third Base & Shortstop

Over the last several weeks, we have identified catchers, first basemen, and second basemen who have the potential to contribute to three or more hitting categories. Today we continue our quest to build a balanced team and turn to the third basemen and shortstops. 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).

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Is Xander Bogaerts Fantasy Fool’s Gold?

Everybody loves Xander Bogaerts. Early NFBC ADP data has him going with the 67th pick. In a standard 15-team re-draft league, that equates to a fifth round selection. He is even more highly coveted in dynasty formats, where his combination of youth, production, and projection is one of the best in the game. Tristan Cockroft ranked him as the 29th most valuable player in his annual keeper list, and why wouldn’t he? Bogaerts will enter the 2016 season at the ripe old age of 23, and he is coming off of a 2015 campaign in which he batted .320 while driving in 81 runs and scoring 84 more. As the season progressed, he regularly batted third in a stacked Red Sox lineup, a spot generally reserved for the team’s best hitter. So why is Xander Bogaerts potentially a big ol’ lump of fool’s gold?

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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

The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty Shortstops, 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 shortstop list might be the most prospect-heavy one thus far, and there’s good reason for that. There’s ample talent at the position in the minor leagues that has yet to move off for defensive purposes. The ranks will thin out as that happens, but for now, it’s a well stocked position. To that end, some of the weaker fantasy options at the major league level won’t appear on this list. This isn’t for lack of consideration, but rather the eminent availability of such types make them less valuable than someone with even a glimmer of hope.

1) Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 1)

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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