FAQ: Cut down dates and the auction (2017)

Our league has a bunch of moving, sometimes confusing, parts. Here are some answers to questions that have been asked or that we anticipate may be asked with regards to our final cut down date that just occurred and the upcoming auction draft…

Q: Can we cut players after final cut down date?

A: No. Free cuts are no longer allowed following our final cut date (March 27, 2017). However, the league rules do state the following:

There will be one cut related exemption: if between final cut date and auction date, you have a player that has surgery or is suspended, you will be allowed the option of dropping that player.

The only other exception to this rule is that players with green flags in Fantrax are not allowed on your roster when the auction begins, even if that player only gains a green flag shortly before the draft. Be aware and plan accordingly.

If you have a player with a green flag on your roster, we will enforce this the same way we enforce the seven day maximum rule during the regular season. You will need to either demote the player (if you have an available minor league roster spot), cut the player, or cut some other player to make room in your minors to demote the player.

Q: Can we still make trades after the final cut date?

A: Yes. Trades are still allowed, but both teams must honor roster and budget rules. This means that following a trade, both teams must be at/under their budget, at/under a 30 man active roster, and at/under a 20 man minor league roster. Both teams must also make sure that they have $1 of budget available for every open active roster spot.

If after a trade a team is in violation of roster and/or budget rules, the trade will be reversed.

Q: Where can I find every team’s budget?

There’s a spreadsheet here with that information.

You can also use the Rosters drop down on this site to view each team’s roster, budget, and projected available money.

We advise that all owners track and monitor their own budgets independently as well. It is ultimately your responsibility as an owner to account for and manage your team’s budget.

Q: Something in Fantrax looks incorrect. What should I do?

First, let’s be clear: Fantrax sometimes makes things harder than they should be, but it’s the most customizable platform we’re aware of. We do not believe in being limited by software.

At the bottom of every team’s roster, Fantrax displays the amount a team has spent. It does not, for whatever reason, display a team’s budget. The salary amount used is the total cost of all the players on your roster, both active and minor league.

The mobile app has it’s own issues. The Used field here is accurate, but the Remaining and Cap fields are not. Inexplicably, the mobile app displays as each team’s cap the league norm, rather than what the team may actually have. For example, if your team has $510 worth of cap, it will still say $500.

Our advice would be to use the mobile app for basic lineup changes and transactions only.

In the draft room itself, Fantrax does not count the salaries of players in your minor leagues. Yes, this is baffling. For example, if your team truly has $100 worth of budget, but you have a player that costs $5 in your minors, the draft room will display your team’s budget as $105. We will make manual adjustments pre-auction to account for and resolve this.

We have reached out to Fantrax about all of these issues.

Q: When and how can I fill empty minor league spots?

You can fill these spots when free agency opens after the draft or by trade. Reminder: per league vote, we will have a FAAB system beginning in 2017 with a minimum bid of $0.

Between final cut date and auction, you can trade for minor leaguers that have green flags in Fantrax to go into these open spots. Just remember, if they do not have a green flag, you will be unable to demote them and they will occupy a spot on your active roster until they get green flag status, which may or may not occur by the time the auction begins.

Q: So when is the auction?

This year’s auction will be on Saturday, March 18 beginning at 11 AM/EST.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Preseason Double Stuffs

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: 3B Maikel Franco ($25), SP Wily Peralta ($3)
Preseason Double Stuffs send: 3B Nick Castellanos ($18), LF Michael Conforto ($23), 2019 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: I think I might rather have Castellanos than Franco at even money. Those two are close though. I assume some of Ferns’ willingness to spend an extra $7 on possibly the same player is based on Phillies fanhood, which is totally fine. If Vladimir Guerrero or Cal Ripken were still in the player pool, I’d gladly pay them $7 a season just to sit on my bench and look pretty.

The rest of the trade feels like a dart throw. Michael Conforto is basically Byron Buxton: a hot prospect that’s already priced like a steady contributor, so the bar he has to jump is higher. I like Conforto and he was awesome in a small 2015 sample. If he hits like that, he’s easily worth $23. If he doesn’t or if he can’t find regular at-bats, wasting $23 sucks but isn’t the end of the world. Almost every projection system likes Conforto to be around a .335-ish wOBA player, but with only 300-400 plate appearances. I think you could make a case that 400 PA of a .335 wOBA is worth $10-$15 or so by itself. It’s a decent gamble.

Wily Peralta was awful in the first half and pretty good in the second half. I watched him pitch a game once last year and man, it was brutal. He just threw slider after slider after slider and the batters just took ball after ball after ball. But yes, sorry, good in the second half. He also seems like a decent gamble, but with a much cheaper price. I need to ask Ferns how much Chris influenced acquiring Peralta. Peralta is such a Chris player. If there’s one thing Chris loves, it’s filling a roster with “sleepers” and “post-hype sleepers” and guys with “upside.” Chris is the Steve Bannon of the Preseason Double Stuffs. His only objective is to see the whole roster come crumbling down into chaos and disrepair. And Ferns over there, well, he’s too distracted by getting angry at what people say on the internet to notice.

Jordan’s thoughts: I really like Peralta. I really think he is the difference in this trade. I think Franco’s ceiling is higher as well. I think I’d prefer the Double Stuffs side on this trade. Michael Conforto can’t seem to break through in New York despite the hype and that makes me worried about his ability to come through.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Team Canada

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Ervin Santana ($9)
Team Canada sends: UT Victor Martinez ($8)

Andrew’s thoughts: Seems reasonable for both teams to me. One team needed an extra hitter, the other needed a pitcher. I think I’d rather have Victor, but I don’t feel strongly about it either way.

Jordan’s thoughts: I like Big Erv’. I like that now as the ace of his crappy team, he needs to probably pitch deeper into games by default. Our scoring system gives lots of points for outs. This is good for Santana. However, I really think V-Mart is the better player in this deal. Reluctantly I have to prefer the HLR side.

The 2017 Minor League draft has been completed!

Our 2017 minor league draft has been completed. You can check out the full draft board and results right here.

This year’s draft kicked off on February 1 and wrapped up today, so it took us two weeks to get through five rounds and 80 picks. If my count is correct, there were 10 trades during that time, mostly of the auction budget-for-pick variety. So that was fun.

Jordan and I were asked if we were going to do a recap post of some kind and weren’t super interested. Aren’t people sick of our opinions on trades and stuff? Apparently not!

So just for fun — and because we have nothing to do until our final pre-auction cut down on February 27 — I decided to skim over the draft board and share some random thoughts as they pop into my head. Here goes…

Thought #1: Picking second, I was really shocked that Kevin Maitan went first overall. That’s what comparisons to Miguel Cabrera will do for you. For my own taste, a player that just turned 17-years-old is a bit rich for my blood here regardless of what the “upside” might be.

Thought #2: TBD had a great draft, both cashing in their own picks and aggressively acquiring others. Their haul: Alex Kiriloff, Cal Quantrill, Lucas Erceg, Walker Buehler, Jahmai Jones, Heath Quinn, and Bryan Reynolds. I hadn’t heard of Quinn, but all the other guys check boxes for me.

Thought #3: Defending champs Team Hydra did well too. They got Leody Taveras and Ramon Laureano early, two guys that are rising up lists fast, and then added Dustin Fowler and Jorge Bonifacio later. So they addressed a future outfield quite well. Plus, they somehow turned later picks into a total of $12 auction budget. I think if you can get a couple wildcard prospects and cash instead of just wildcard prospects, you’ve killed it.

Thought #4: So, speaking of trading picks for auction budget…

Look, I shipped out $6 to pick up Lourdes Gurriel because I’ve got a bunch of money and he’s major league ready. Or at least close. But man, Dusty dropped $26 by my count on assorted picks (Taylor Trammell, Will Benson, Joey Wentz, Mason Thompson, Cionel Perez, Jorge Ona). I have a really difficult time seeing how any of those guys are significantly better than whoever will be available after auction when free agency opens. The difference, of course, is $26. All prospects are gambles. I’d rather gamble that $26 on a bounce back player at auction who has the chance to be worth $40-$50 as soon as 2017 then to spend all that money just to fill roster spots.

Thought #5: Who’s Your Haddy? added $22 of auction budget by trading picks and still ended up with Miguel Andujar, who is close to contributing for the Yankees, and Adonis Medina, who shockingly came in at #91 on Baseball Prospectus’ top-101. This, to me, is just an awesome draft and a great use of non-premium picks.

In other words, the deeper you get into a draft, the less and less separation between players. We’re all throwing darts, but the bulls eye starts to shrink. So the difference between a fourth round pick and 10 assorted guys who will go undrafted and be picked up after the draft is slim. Why not take cash for those picks then and just add the undrafted guys for free?

Thought #6: The Wilfred Brimley Fightin’ Diabeetuses had a really good draft too. He tabbed Mickey Moniak and Delvin Perez in the first round, then took the lead on Rockies’ pitcher Riley Pint. That’s a lot of talent to take away from the draft. Pint’s a huge risk, obviously, but it’s not like he’s guaranteed to be in Colorado forever.

Thought #7: I like Senior Squids grabbing Zack Burdi in the last round. Relievers probably aren’t worth big salaries in our league right now, but he could be a closer in Chicago as soon as this year and costs nothing, then be $1 next year. Getting MLB-ready RPs in the draft seems like a good cheat code at the position assuming they perform decently.

Thought #8: The first player I didn’t immediately recognize was Daniel Gossett, who We Talk Fantasy Sports took in the back half of the second round.

Thought #9: Speaking of WTFS, they took Zack Collins with the 9th overall pick. He’s a catcher that is probably destined for 1B, which would obviously hurt his value. But I’ll be honest: if Nick Senzel had gone first, I was taking Corey Ray and then Collins. I obviously like guys that are close to the majors, and Collins provides extra value at catcher and his bat would play, at worst, as one of the two UT positions.

Thought #10: Shocker, Jordan took pitchers! Jason Groome, the first pitcher taken, is young and a ways off but felt like the obvious choice at #8. Adding Braxton Garrett and Ian Anderson, two guys on most top-100 lists, was good value too.

Thought #11: I love the gamble of Dinelson Lamet to cap a strong draft by Hustle Loyalty Respect with the very last pick. He’s not a highly thought of prospect, but he’s posted big minor league K numbers, has made it to Triple-A, and have you seen the Padres rotation? If he can simply crack the big league rotation, it’ll be worth it. And if he’s anywhere around average, he’ll be cheap and have value.

Thought #12: Okay, one more quick compliment for HLR: I like the Andres Gimenez pick a lot. He spent $1 to trade up a few spots and probably didn’t need to, but whatever. This is an 18-year-old at rookie ball, so make of that what you will, but last year he walked 46 times and had only 22 strikeouts in 275 PAs. That’s just silly.

Thought #13: In the group chat, Chris of Preseason Double Stuffs balked at Trumpa Loompa’s pick of Wladimir Galindo in the fourth round, saying, “18, GCL, questionable bat speed. No thanks.” Two things: first, I had no clue who this guy was so I looked him up. Second: he’s apparently not 18, he’s 20 (he was 19 during last playing season). And he didn’t play in the GCL, he played for the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League. The Cubs don’t even appear to have a GCL team. Nice right hand man you’ve hired, Ferns.

Thought #14: In Line 4 the Win picked someone named Jesus Luzardo was drafted. It made me think of these guys.

Thought #15: I can muster no more thoughts at this time. We’re having grilled cheese and soup for dinner, I think. Soup is awful but grilled cheese is pretty good. I put pickles on mine. Goodbye.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Who’s Your Haddy?

Rocky Mountain Oysters sends: $10 2017 Auction Budget
Who’s Your Haddy? sends: 2017 4th round pick & another 2017 4th round pick

Andrew’s thoughts: Haddy swinging this deal from court is ironic since I think he should be put on trial for robbery. Hey-ooooooo!

I traded $6 and one of the 4ths in this deal for the 24th overall pick. So for some reason Dusty’s paying basically the same price for picks two full rounds later. Whatever, I guess. Feels like an overcorrection to having a ton of auction budget and no draft picks. Aren’t Will Benson and Joey Wentz the type of guys you can wait and find on waivers later? Meh. Maybe they’re awesome and I have no clue what I’m talking about. Better hope they sprout trade value by July.

Jordan’s thoughts: The price of getting on the draft clock seems to be roughly $5. This is for back to back picks. Cool I guess.

Trade: TBD | We Talk Fantasy Sports

TBD sends: C Matt Wieters ($13), RP Brad Brach ($5)
We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: 2017 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: I had lukewarm interest in Matt Wieters all off-season but only because I assumed TBD was definitely cutting him (so he could be had for cheap) and because the catcher position sucks so much. He intrigued me as a back-up option. I just couldn’t bring myself to dump anything for him and never imagined actually keeping him at $13. He’s hurt too much and hasn’t been good or efficient at the plate since 2014. Meh.

Having said that, I do like this deal for WTFS. Bryan Reynolds is an interesting prospect and I like him, but in his best case scenario, he’s not going to arrive in the majors until mid-to-late 2018 and it’s not super difficult to find productive outfielders. In other words, not having a guy like Reynolds does nothing to hurt WTFS, whereas Wieters might be a league average catcher? I sound down on him, but he did finish as the 13th  highest scoring catcher last year.

For TBD, it’s fine too, because as I said I assume they were dumping Wieters. This way, they get a prospect they like instead. Good deal for both sides.

Hustle’s thoughts: Keith seemed like he really wanted a starting catcher heading into the draft (and everyone seems to know Squids isn’t trading one of his 3). Keith has Travis D’Arnaud (22) and Kurt Suzuki (5), but this trade signals to me that he isn’t keeping either of them. Is Wieters the best value out of the bunch? I’d say if he gets a full time catcher at bats for whoever he signs with, probably. That being said, that’s no sure thing, he’s not that great, and he gets hurt a lot. He’s also likely going to worse ballpark than Camden. If everything clicks right for Wieters and he stays healthy, it’s a decent grab.

Brad Brach for $5 is about market rate for a good non closing reliever. It’s a fine piece. A 70+ IP 10 + k/9 guy over the last 2 years. Keith already has a $14 pair of Ken Giles and Craig Kimbrel, so maybe this trade signals he wants to go cheaper on RP or these are the 3 he’s marching into 2017 with.

TBD gets a 3rd rounder which they used to choose giants OF Bryan Reynolds. I’ve been told by Bailey I’m allowed to gush over Reynolds because he has him in Dy-Nasty (which I will add is the least creative name for a Dynasty league possible). Reynolds is 22 and mashed in rookie ball last year. I’m personally weary of most Giants hitters because of the park, and they seem to have a lot of OF prospects at the moment. That being said, the Giants are probably going to have some OF openings. I have about 20-30 names on my list of players I’m looking to draft and Reynolds isn’t on it. That’s pretty meaningless at this point, because you draft who you want.

One could argue TBD could have probably waited a bit to make this pick, but they really didn’t pay much to get it. PREDICTION: TBD and Squids make a trade involving a catcher within a year.

Nobody really gave up anything of great value to declare a winner of this trade. Maybe Keith could have gotten a few bucks out of the deal considering Joe traded up from a 4th rounder to a 3rd for 4 bucks earlier this round.

Now I know why Jordan/Bailey moan about writing over trades as I see that I have compiled 400 words on Matt Wieters and Bryan Reynolds. Shit, it’s my turn to pick in the draft.

Trade: Team Hydra | Rocky Mtn Oysters

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: $10 2017 Auction Budget
Team Hydra sends: 2017 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: Not to pick on Dusty, but he desperately needs an infusion of assets into his minor leagues. I’ll never fault someone for valuing veteran talent that actually scores points over teenagers that might, maybe, someday score points. But Dusty right now has basically no picks and his best prospect is… Touki Toissaint? Is Tyler Kolek the second best? Is he just broken?

Ten bucks is a good chunk of change, but there’s likely to come a time where Dusty will want to improve and will be limited because his prospect stable is empty. So it makes sense. But the pick ended up being… Taylor Trammel? I don’t know if he’ll end up having trade value or not. I’ve never heard of him. The guy who writes the fantasy blurbs for Baseball Prospectus’ top-10 lists says Trammell’s roster-worthy if your league rosters 200 prospects. We roster 320. I don’t know that “yes if your league rosters 200 prospects” is a particularly ringing endorsement.

Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs only put a 45 FV on Trammell. His scouting report doesn’t sound super interesting. But hey, maybe he’s the next Anthony Alford, a former football player that’s athletic enough to improve and become a real prospect. We’ll see. I can’t believe I just wrote this many words about this prospect.

For the defending champs, the $10 probably buys them another keeper and they have a good enough farm system to where one less prospect shouldn’t matter.

Jordan’s thoughts: Bailey already put in more words than this deal is worth. Dusty got what he wanted, paid a fine price. Moving along.

Trade: Who’s Your Haddy? | Capital City Ironmen

Who’s Your Haddy? sends: 2017 2nd Round Pick
Capital City Ironmen sends: $6 2017 Auction Budget, 2017 4th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: So for six bucks, I moved up from the 51st to the 24th pick and took Lourdes Gurriel. Yay.

I felt like this was a fair risk/reward scenario. I pay six bucks and if Gurriel sucks, oh well, I’m out six bucks in a year where I’ve got a bunch of budget space and the pool may be weak. If he’s good, then he’s $1 next year and cost controlled for six seasons total. Even if he just ends up being a bench piece, it’ll be worth it I think.

I have no idea what Gurriel will be, but the good news is I’m not buying a teenage prospect here. He should see the bigs sooner rather than later, maybe even this year, so it’s not even like it’s going to take years to know whether or not the $6 investment will pay off.

Jordan’s thoughts: Again, who they actually pick I don’t think really matters here. We’re at the point of the draft that the picks are as long as a long shot can get. If you like it, its worth pulling the trigger. Again, the price and market seems to have corrected here, and I like it.

Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

TBD sends: $4 2017 Auction Budget, 2017 4th Round Pick
Who’s Your Haddy? sends: 2017 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: So TBD traded four bucks to move up and draft San Francisco Giants outfielder Heath Quinn. I’d never heard of Quinn, so obviously I’d rather have the four bucks, but I trust and defer to TBD’s prospect judgment here (and Beach Bum said he was poised to take Quinn, so it’s a good thing TBD jumped to get their guy).

Jordan’s thoughts: I just like that deals like this are getting made now. I feel like $4 would have bought the moon last year, I think the market has corrected itself a bit. Hooray for that. Nobody wins or loses here.

Trade: Long Ball to LF | Rocky Mtn Oysters

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: $30 2017 Auction Budget
Long Ball to LF sends: SP Dallas Keuchel ($69), 2B Devon Travis ($11), 2018 4th Round Pick

Jordan’s thoughts: My initial reaction was praise towards this deal for Dusty. I like what he’s doing here. Get two keepable players, only shell out some auction cash that is potentially not valuable.

Breaking this down for Long Ball to LF. You’re cutting Keuchel most likely. He was not quite elite last year, and while a bounce back is possible, its not probable. If you have to cut someone, he’s easier to manage. Devon Travis was hurt last year, and while quite keepable at $11, there was at least a decision to be made. But, now with an offer of $30 which is unheard of in this league so far, this was an easy trigger to pull. Long Ball turns nothing into another decent player.

Back to Rocky Mountain. I still understand what’s going on. He is still going into the draft, having essentially spent $110 on two reasonably good players that he gets to keep going forward for less. Was that available in the draft anyway? Possibly. Could Dusty have done better? Possibly. I think my biggest concern is the price paid, but it could be reasonable. If you like Keuchel and Travis going into 2017 I can like this trade.

Andrew’s thoughts: Keuchel was 100% getting cut. Travis is good (.349 wOBA over his first 670 PAs), young, and cheap. Spending auction budget on Travis is fine. Thirty bucks seems steep though and my impression was that Keuchel could have been had for next to nothing.

So I guess I would hope he was just a random throw in here that Dusty plans to cut, but at least now he’s guaranteed his availability at auction. Like, how much of the $30 was allocated for Travis and how much for Keuchel? Does it even really matter? I feel like $10-15 is more than generous for Travis. Buying him sort of acts like a front-loaded deal, where after this season you just have Travis starting at $13. Also, Travis has been in the majors for two seasons and has been hurt in both. It’s not like he’s a sure thing. With $41 ($30 + his $11 salary) you might be able to buy two or even three similar gambles at auction and hedge a little.

Long Ball lost a good talent but is in a much better keeper/auction position now. Dusty went from having more auction budget than almost every team to having very little to spend. Even if the pool does end up being rough, it feels like a sudden panicked shift in game plan given recent — like for instance the seeming salary dump of Jake Arrieta. Weeee!