Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Capital City Ironmen

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: C Tyler Flowers ($5)
Capital City Ironmen sends: LF/CF/RF DJ Peters (minors)

Andrew’s Thoughts: What an exhilarating first trade of the offseason.

In this one, the Defending Points and League Champion 🏆 adds an okay catcher with a cheap salary whose downside is that he doesn’t start every day. But maybe that’s not so terrible! Across the last two seasons, of catchers with a minimum of 650 plate appearances, only three catchers have a better wOBA than Tyler Flowers: Gary Sanchez, Willson Contreras, and Buster Posey. Elite company! Also, while Flowers notoriously demolishes left handed pitching, last year he had a .356 wOBA against righties. Yay!

I didn’t want to trade away DJ Peters, because all of the scouting reports about him draw comparisons to Jayson Werth — and I love Jayson Werth. But when you have a chance to trade away “possible Jayson Werth” for “basically Buster Posey,” well, you just have to do it.

I doubt Hustle was keeping Flowers even as a cheap back-up. That’s fine. Maybe I won’t even end up keeping him. It’s November. Who knows? So getting a prospect that he likes for a guy he probably wasn’t keeping seems like good maneuvering to me.

But mainly we just wanted to do a trade because we’re bored (fantasy football is not fun) and we wanted to light a fire under everyone else.

Hustle’s Thoughts:  I put a cheap useful player on the block, and surprisingly only Bailey showed interest. It was the same level of surprise to discover we had a champions page on dynastygrinders.com only after Bailey won a championship, but I digress.

Tyler Flowers was pretty damn good last year and only cost $5. Problem for me is I almost always started Realmuto over him, and there were plenty of days when they shared days off. Kurt Suzuki got a lot of playing time down the stretch and I see this as a time share.  With a healthy Realmuto, the best case for me is starting Flowers on Realmuto rest days or days Realmuto is facing Kershaw, Strasburg, or someone elite.  For me, that’s replaceable.  The worst case is he’s not as good and he coincidentally isn’t in those lineups those days. Maybe I will have trouble finding a 2nd catcher next year, but it seems not too hard to find a decent guy as the season moves along. Flowers, Hicks, Avila, and Pina were just some of the useful bums at catcher that could have been free last year and I imagine some new ones will be on the street come April.

I rather take a shot on a back end top 100 guy on some lists, and a guy I particularly liked… even if it’s mostly because he homered twice of Bumgarner in one inning

Also, I really just need a prospect from Bailey to hold on to on the hope that I recoup some of that Dinelson Lamet debacle. Ugh.

#NovemberFantasyBaseballTrades

From worst to first

Per Dan Beachler’s request, here is a “how I went from worst to first” post. I suppose technically I wasn’t worst last year, and by head-to-head record I wasn’t first in 2017 either. (I was first in points!) But hey, here we are.

I should preface this by pointing out what should already be obvious: there’s a ton of luck involved in fantasy sports. Even if you talk fantasy sports a lot, for example, you’re going to find that you won’t uncover all the answers.

I thought the team I assembled in 2016 would compete. Then, Miguel Cabrera (.340 wOBA in April/May) and Joey Votto (.276 wOBA in April/May) started painfully slow. They were supposed to be my offensive anchors. Tyson Ross, a 32.52 points per game starter in 2015, got hurt in his first start and missed the season. Carlos Carrasco, my best pitcher, missed all of May. Sonny Gray turned into a pumpkin. Alex Rodriguez had a .293 wOBA in April/May. Of the first seven guys I won at our inaugural auction, only Johnny Cueto was good or even useful through the season’s first six weeks or so.

All of that is blind, dumb luck. I don’t control injuries. I don’t control Votto, one of the best hitters of our generation, hitting like Jose Peraza for over a month.

I certainly left money on the table that first auction and probably relied too heavily on boring, useful bench types as starters. I legitimately thought a cheap Trevor Plouffe was an acceptable starting 3B option. I thought I could platoon the White Sox catchers last year, an idea that played out so poorly I may as well have just played the year without a catcher slot. But mostly, my team went bust in 2016 because of random stuff that could happen to anybody. Even if they’d all stayed healthy and produced early, I probably wouldn’t have been a great team. But because that stuff did happen, I decided in May to start reworking my team by trading Cabrera and Gray for picks and prospects. That was the first step in climbing out of the cellar and to the top…

Step 1: The Miguel Cabrera/Sonny Gray trade

Sending Miggy and Gray to the Preseason Double Stuffs for Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ, Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler, and draft capitol is really what ignited my team into 2017. Bellinger, as a rookie, hit at a 1.737 points per plate appearance clip for me at a $0 cost. That’s elite production. Again, I can’t control that Bellinger hit. But he did and it helped.

The one thing I will say is, I targeted prospects that I thought would debut in 2017. Because (a) my team sucked in 2016, so if they debut and their clock starts, that’s a ding in value; and (b) points now are better than points later. I’m not super interested in an 18-year-old prospect in Single A when there’s a comparable 22-year-old prospect on the cusp of the majors. In the case of this specific trade, the Double Stuffs happened to have a few near-MLB guys that fit the bill. And I love Ian Happ, so. Obviously, there’s no science involved. The Cubs could’ve promoted Happ last year. The Dodgers could’ve called Bellinger up in September. I can’t control that stuff either. But I do think it’s possible to hedge within reason and if your goal is to get better quickly, you won’t do it with teenagers unless you’re using them exclusively as trade currency.

Happ, Soler, and the draft pick acquired from the Double Stuffs — which I assumed would suck but became the second overall pick — didn’t score me a ton, really. I did have Happ in my lineup 25 times at 5.76 points per game, so that’s pretty good. But 25 starts isn’t swinging things much one way or another. But these pieces ended up helping later on.

My other big trade was swapping Cueto for JP Crawford, Aaron Judge, and a first round pick. More on Judge in the step below. But also, damn, I had and traded Judge. Frowny face.

I should note here also that not going full scale blow-up mode helped. Hanging onto Votto and Carrasco is as big a reason as any that my team got good. The offers I got for these players were, frankly, pitiful, so that made things easy. But I could have very easily dumped them for picks and lukewarm prospects and gone into auction with $350 or whatever. I’m glad I didn’t.

Step 2: Acquiring good veterans from over-budget teams for picks and prospects at below market rates

I think this was more impactful to my team than Bellinger. Because I “tanked” the season, I was able to build up a solid minor league system and a nice cache of draft picks. But picks and prospects rarely score points. So in the off-season, when teams way over budget shopped quality veteran players, I cashed out some of those assets and bought. And because I’d sucked so badly that I had loaded up on picks and prospects, selling some didn’t mean leaving the cupboard bare.

I acquired a way overpriced Andrew McCutchen for Soler, Travis d’Arnaud, Billy Hamilton, and I think a second round pick. Cutch mostly bounced back in 2017 (1.438 PT/PA), thankfully. I couldn’t have controlled that either, but I’m comfortable betting on a player with an elite track record. It paid off. I think that’s the key to a quick rebuild. If you’ve got budget space, use it ahead of auction and buy low to lock in a guy you think can bounce back. I think budget space is worth much more pre-auction than during auction, when you’re left picking through the risky players no one wanted. I also think if your team sucks like mine did but you want to quickly improve, you need to gamble. You need to overpay a guy or two and hope for a return to form. Also, you won’t likely have an opportunity to buy a recently elite talent at auction. And if you do, there may only be one or two of those guys, so you’ll have competition.

I also bought Russell Martin for a second round pick. Martin’s another efficient, boring veteran player. But my catcher position was the worst in the league in 2016. Martin helped fixed that.

One other trade was working a three-way swap with The Foundation and Hustle Loyalty Respect that effectively landed me Neil Walker and the 16th overall pick for the 4th overall pick. HLR used the pick to take Blake Rutherford, who I think got hurt. I took Franklin Perez with the 16th pick. Today, I think Perez is more valuable than Rutherford, though to be fair, Rutherford got hurt. Even if Rutherford’s more valuable, they’re both top-100 guys. To me, any difference is negligible. But even if Rutherford hadn’t gotten hurt, there’s no chance he (or whichever other available prospect) was scoring at a 1.338 PT/PA clip like Walker did, and doing so right now. Points now > points later, and prospects are fickle, so the guy who goes 4th and the guy who goes 16th could very easily switch fortunes over a single season. At the time, I just felt like I was slightly downgrading a prospect in exchange for making a big upgrade to my current 2B spot, which was a big weakness in 2016.

Then I acquired Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre, who presumably had affordable prices because of their age and their team’s budget situation. Again, if you’ve got budget space, attacking the trade market is worth it. Beltre cost me Amed Rosario, an elite prospect, but that’s really where stacking prospects in 2016 helped. Having JP Crawford meant feeling more comfortable shipping out Rosario.

Of course, both those old dudes could’ve fallen apart. But my team was garbage in 2016. If they did fall apart, oh well, I’m in the cellar again in 2017 and then I just cut those guys and have the cap space back. But there weren’t hitters this good in the auction (granted at the time of the trades, the auction pool was a mystery), or at least players less risky. The highest paid hitters at auction were Adam Jones, Adrian Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Lorenzo Cain. There’s some hindsight present, of course, but I’m not sure pre-auction anyone would’ve honestly felt like any of those guys were better, more efficient hitters than Cruz or Beltre. If you’re cool with a multi-year rebuild, by all means, ignore trading for old dudes like this. But I think it’s prudent to do it if you want to try winning money instead of just sinking money into a multi-year plan.

I also traded Judge for Matt Holliday, and that proved very stupid. In Holliday, I saw a one-year rental with a Giancarlo Stanton-esque batted ball profile and a cheap ($10) salary. I ended up starting Holliday 57 times for 5.9 points per game, so while he didn’t go bonkers like Judge did, he did help the cause. And with regards to Judge, his 2017 season was something I don’t think anyone saw coming. I offered him to several teams and no one bit. I had to include Grant Holmes along with Judge to secure Holliday. So yeah, sometimes trading prospects for vets will backfire, but in general I think it’s a solid, less risky strategy. I’d be curious what Dan thought he was getting with Judge when he made this trade, especially since I know he’s an old guy lover as well.

One thing I’m curious to see this off-season is if over budget teams continue selling their guys short to “get something instead of nothing,” or if teams feel more comfortable dumping to auction. Cruz was had for Dan Vogelbach and a first round pick. I liked Vogelbach as a prospect and obviously Team Hydra did too, but in retrospect, might those guys have figured out a way to keep Cruz’s bat? Or might they have been better sending him to auction and seeing if maybe they could buy him back cheaper? I’m not convinced giving teams discounts on good players is effective, even if the alternative is cutting and “getting nothing.”

Step 3: Not screwing up the auction

I notoriously left like $21 on the table at our first auction. But I also made some awful bids. Buying into A-Rod’s resurgence was dumb. I came away from auction with two 1B’s and  UT player, effectively destroying all my lineup flexibility.

I did a lot better, I think, with my buys in 2017, adding Jaime Garcia, Francisco Cervelli, Lucas Duda, Chris Owings, Ryan Zimmerman, and Charlie Morton.

Once again, luck played a role here. I didn’t expect almost 900 points from a $1 Zimmerman. I liked his batted ball profile, but come on. I also didn’t think Morton would be more than a back-end starter, and he ended up being my most consistent pitcher and a solid SP2. I didn’t even want him. It just ended up being the end of the auction, he was the last starting pitcher available, and I wasn’t leaving money on the table again. Owings filled multiple crucial positions for only $8. I overpaid for Cervelli at $17, but he was a nice compliment to Martin because, again, my catcher spot needed help.

The thing about the auction is, all the players are supremely risky. Teams will find ways to keep or trade “sure things.” And so if you rely too heavily on auction, you’re lending yourself to luck. If Morton and Garcia don’t give me quality starts, my auction stinks and my team suffers. But I started Morton 21 times at 30.43 points per start and Garcia 14 times at 24.04.

But hey, guess what? Matt Harvey, Drew Smyly, Jordan Zimmermann, Collin McHugh, Carlos Rodon, Felix Hernandez, Garrett Richards, Francisco Liriano, and Shelby Miller were all in the same auction. At the time, not sure how any of those guys were too different from Morton and Garcia. I got lucky the guys I won didn’t injure their arms. I got lucky my darts landed where they did. I mean, I wanted Liriano really bad and just screwed up my bid on auction day. Bullet dodged. Blind, dumb luck.

The lesson here, maybe, is to just give yourself fewer dart throws to botch. Acquire talent you have conviction about pre-auction rather than finding yourself in a spot where your money is going to Shelby Miller or Francisco Liriano, and you’re totally uninspired either way. Your mileage may vary, of course. Having a bunch of money at auction is fun, if nothing else.

Step 4: I love you, Giancarlo Stanton

As part of that Cabrera/Gray trade, I secured the second overall pick in last year’s draft. I took Nick Senzel. I like him a whole lot. But I love Giancarlo Stanton and his moonshot home runs. And so in mid-May, I landed Big G for Senzel, Blake Snell, and a future first round pick.

From May 11 forward, Stanton was the third-highest scoring hitter behind Votto and Charlie Blackmon. As much as I like Senzel, you simply have to trade guys like him for elite production now. It helps that Stanton finally stayed healthy, but even if he hadn’t, we all know what he does when he is. In our format, he is an elite fantasy producer on a rate basis. It was a no-brainer for me.

As for Snell, well, I like him still, but if I wanted to win this year I knew I couldn’t sit around waiting and hoping that he learns how to throw strikes and pitch deep into games. The downside to young pitchers is they sometimes are slow to put everything together. If next year Snell’s awesome and cheap, oh well. I’ll still be happy with several mammoth months of Giancarlo.

Step 5: Keep on buying stuff that helps

During the course of the season, once I saw that my team was pretty good, I just kept trying to add. In a series of deals, I sent prospects Corey Ray, Albert Abreu, Julio Urias, Happ, and Jake Faria off for the likes of Max Scherzer, Miggy, JA Happ, Jason Vargas, and Danny Salazar. All those moves did not pan out.

Reunited on my team, I slotted Miggy into my lineup 31 times and he scored at a 2.61 point per game rate. That’s abysmal. Despite his highest hard hit rate since 2014 and the best line drive rate of his career, Miggy gave me nothing. He performed worse than any random bench player I already had, in fact. In Urias, I paid little. But I felt like I had to take the gamble. I expect Miggy to get his back right this off-season and return to an elite level in 2018. He reminds me a whole heck of a lot like McCutchen last year. His price seems way too high (he’ll get a raise to $75), but how can you easily bet against one of the best hitters the game has seen in the last decade plus? Like, would you really rather two $35 lottery tickets at auction (in the 2017 auction, Adrian Gonzalez + Carlos Rodon = $76) than one player a single injury-hampered season removed from being an elite hitter?

Meanwhile, Happ was a fantastic addition for me, scoring 28.04 points a game in 14 starts. I started Salazar seven times for more than 30 points per start. Scherzer didn’t do much for me in the playoffs, but in total, he logged six starts at 32.67 a pop. Net total, these were good, albeit short-term, trades for my team. Corey Ray wasn’t scoring me 392.5 points like Happ did. Albert Abreu didn’t drop a 65 point start on my roster like Salazar.

Again though, these trades could look brutal in just a few months. What if Scherzer gets hurt? What if Urias overcomes his injury? What if Ray ascends and JA Happ grows old quick? I don’t know. But I think if you’re in a spot to seize a chance to win now, you need to be okay with these types of calculated risks.

The other thing to note is that the in-season trades didn’t necessarily have a ton to do with going worst to first. The Stanton trade, sure. The other trades just bolstered a team that had been mostly assembled in the off-season.

In closing…

I think the biggest reason my team got it’s shit together so quickly was simply putting in the work to do it. When a good player became available, I asked for a price tag. When I saw a team was way over their budget, I inquired about expensive players with good track records. I wasn’t too worried about riskiness because well, my team was a dumpster fire. Getting worse than bad isn’t much of a risk. Staying worse, and paying into a league to not even try to fight for wins now, seems way riskier to me. I placed the highest value on today and worried less about if the prospect I’m sending away will be a fantasy monster in 2021 (or in Judge’s case, 2017) or if all the old guys will decide to retire simultaneously.

Clearly, there’s a strategy to this game. If there wasn’t, we probably wouldn’t play. What’d be the point?

But ultimately you only control so much. I think the only way to really approach things is to give yourself the best hand possible and hope for the best. In hold ’em poker, a 2/7 will beat a K/K, for example, some of the time. But the odds say more often than not, the stronger hand will prevail. So I just tried to do stuff that I thought made my hand stronger, then accepted all the luck I could get.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs

Preseason Double Stuffs sends: 2B Rougned Odor ($29)
Rocky Mtn Oysters send: LF/CF/RF Taylor Trammell

Andrew’s Thoughts: I’m still not a Rougned Odor fan. Too much variance. He seems to either make an out, usually by strike out, or hit a home run, which is a little more appealing in a 5×5 roto league than a H2H league. Worse, Odor has one of the most punchable faces in all of baseball. I’m firmly #TeamBautista. Still, this makes sense for Dusty, who gave up a prospect that’s like 2-3 years from scoring him points for a bench guy that he can just as easily cut in the offseason when he costs $31 (or more if someone slaps greed on him). I mean, yeah, Odor never walks so he has no real floor, but you could do way worse than a 30+ HR threat as a back-up.

For the Double Stuffs, this could be seen as flipping a $15 DJ LeMahieu for a toolsy outfield prospect that has just now started to sneak onto top-100 lists but, again, is a ways off. Looking at it that way is probably demoralizing though. Instead, just look at this transaction by itself and it’s fine. Because again, I’m cutting a $30+ Odor after the season. I imagine PDS was too. Odor has upside but that cost offsets pretty much all of it.

As for Trammell, well, I’m pretty sure I was baffled when Dusty paid budget money to move up and take him in our minor league draft. But I stand corrected. He is now a guy whose name appears on lists. And guess what? Getting your name on lists means you have trade value. I can’t find record of ever doubting Trammell here on the Dynasty Grinders dot com, but I remember doing so somewhere. And so this is me, taking responsibility for the things that I have said, and admitting that I was wrong some months back about the acquisition cost of this particular prospect.

Anyway, I’m pretty clearly okay in general with good teams acquiring bad salaries as bench or depth pieces and bad teams getting back reputable prospects for them instead of waiting around to cut.

Hustle’s Toxic $.02: Both these owners and teams should be commended for making this trade. They both wanted to make their teams better (I hope) and managed to find the courage to agree on terms despite a potential trade review looming.

PDS obviously sees Schoop as their 2b of the future and at $12 and almost averaging 7 ppg, Schoop is easily the better player and value going forward. Schoop has really cut down his Ks and while his BABIP is high, it’s not crazy high. It makes sense for PDS to get rid of Odor for a prospect they like. If Trammel is their guy, so be it, I’m not sure what their other options were. It was not that long ago when PDS traded DJ Lemeihu for Odor, so Odor’s stench on PDS has been quickly removed. That being said, with their cap space, they were probably better off with DJ and Schoop. Odor was one of the few players I pegged PDS to keep. With one less guy, I’d expect to see a lot of new faces on their team next season, I hope they enjoy the turnover.

 

For Dusty, he trades a borderline top 100 prospect for even more 2b depth. He has Cano at 2b, so Odor is pretty much looking at playing time on his team at Utility. With Taylor, Spangeberg, Priela, and Sogard… Odor might be just another guy on his team. That being said Odor does have some nice power potential and could be big down the stretch if he gets hot on the first place Oysters. It’s a low cost risk for a currently hot swinging Odor.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Trumpa Loompas

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SS Andres Gimenez
Trumpa Loompas send: RF Carlos Gonzalez ($37)

Andrew’s Thoughts: Carlos Gonzalez has been terrible this year and is almost assuredly a cut at $39 minimum next year. Trumpa Loompas’ season is over anyway, so may as well dump him for a solid prospect now and call it a day.

I like this Andres Gimenez guy. He’s only 18 and is forever away, but at two rookie ball stops last year, he had a 14.9% walk rate to just a 9.2% K rate, then a 18.7% walk rate versus a 6.7% strikeout rate. That’s crazy for an 18-year-old. Like, who knew millennials were capable of that kind of patience? Impressive! His walk/K ratio isn’t faring as well this year in Single-A, but again, he’s 18. If I’m salary dumping anyway, I’ll take Gimenez and run.

As for Hustle, this is just a reasonably priced gamble. Gimenez isn’t impacting the rest of 2017 or likely 2018-19, but with so many injuries including to regular RF George Springer, Hustle just needs points. Our minors aren’t deep enough yet to where he can’t just turn around and add a guy comparable to Gimenez for free, all while adding Car-Go to his bench. Again, Gonzalez has stunk. But he’s had superstar seasons in the not too distant past and has the theoretical floor of Coors Field going for him.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Preseason Double Stuffs

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Kyle Funkhouser
Preseason Double Stuffs send: SS Brandon Crawford ($18)

Andrew’s Thoughts: This seems alright. For Hustle, this cheaply helps fill the void of losing Carlos Correa. It also gives him a starter today at short against me, which is the part of this trade I find awful.

Speaking of awful, Brandon Crawford has been. He’s at 0.8261 points per plate appearance right now. To put that in perspective, Byron Buxton is at 0.8779. That’s gross. Kudos to the Double Stuffs for getting anything at all for Crawford. Crawford’s been good enough in the past that maaaaaybe a good stretch to end the year makes him keepable at $20, but probably not. The Double Stuffs lone option at SS is now Jorge Polanco and they still made this deal, which tells you all you need to know.

Kyle Funkhouser is whatever. I’ve heard of him, so that’s good. He’s a college pitcher so he should debut sooner than later. That’s nice. Also, he was acquired for a player worse than Buxton, so the price was definitely right.

Jordan’s Thoughts: [redacted]

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: 2018 1st Round Pick
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses sends: SS Addison Russell ($42)

Andrew’s Thoughts: In light of the news that Carlos Correa will miss 6-8 weeks, this trade happened. And I like it for both teams.

Addison Russell is still much more hype than substance. He’s the 25th highest scoring shortstop and is averaging 1.058 points per plate appearance, which is completely uninspiring. He’s got a dismal .297 wOBA, 17th among qualified shortstops. But for Hustle’s purposes, he plays every day and seems like a serviceable accumulator. He won’t fill Correa’s shoes, but doesn’t necessarily need to. I think for the rest of the season, he’s better than his year to date numbers, though maybe not by a ton. Between Russell and Jonathan Villar, Hustle likely has one competent SS to play until Correa gets back around playoff time. I don’t think the first round pick is too steep a price to rent a shortstop when your alternatives are bums on waivers or accepting my troll offers for Taylor Motter.

For WBFD, this is a no-brainer. At $44 minimum next year, he would’ve been nuts to keep Russell anyway. That cost is just way too high to pay for a former top prospect with a .308 wOBA going on 1,500 MLB plate appearances now. Corey Seager comes to mind as a big price paid for a prospect that has panned out. Russell hasn’t. He still has upside, but even a big second half doesn’t seem like it’d turn him into a keeper. So to get a first round pick for him now, while he has value as a rental to a contender, seems wise.

Trade: In Line 4 the Win | The Foundation

 

In Line 4 the Win sends: SP Adam Wainwright ($28), LF/CF/RF Josh Reddick ($7)
The Foundation sends: SP Zach Davies ($4), 2018 1st Round Pick, Player to be Named Later (SP Braxton Garrett)

Andrew’s Thoughts: I like this for The Foundation. I think trading Wainwright at $28 for Davies at $4 plus a little kick back makes sense for IL4W. They get the cheaper, younger guy in that scenario. Honestly, they could’ve traded Wainwright for Davies straight up and I wouldn’t have loved it, but it’d make sense from a budget, long-term team building standpoint.

But Josh Reddick is what tilts this deal for me. He’s cheap, qualifies at all three outfield spots, and is currently averaging over six points a game. He’s had some platoon issues in the past, but he kills RHP, so he more often than not provides value. And this year he’s even hitting lefties.

Meanwhile, the pick going to IL4W currently projects to be 13th. I guess that gives IL4W four first rounders next year, so they can dominate the draft, but what are the odds they land someone better than Reddick with that pick? And again, Reddick is cheap. This is where I think the cost control thing gets blown out of proportion. Is a free/cheap teenager that could pretty easily be nothing really that much more valuable than a proven, solid performer that costs less than $10? I don’t really think so. If you’re rebuilding, maybe it makes sense, but I think making that same type of bet enough times just prolongs your rebuilding process.

The player to be named later aspect is fun. Braxton Garrett is broken though. He had Tommy John surgery near the end of June. He’s also 19-years-old and has all of 15.1 IP at Single-A. He’ll probably miss most or even all of 2018. He was at one point a top-100 prospect, but the lead time and risk makes me feel like you could just as easily find a guy like him off waivers. Also, while IL4W can acquire him once minor league rosters expand, they also have a ton of draft pick ammunition, so unless they funnel off those picks to acquire major league talent, they’ll eventually be cutting prospects to make room for Garrett and their picks.

Hustle’s Take: I agree with almost all of what Andrew said… THIS time so I’ll just interject with a few points that haven’t been addressed.

While I hear the notion that “this draft is weak”, I do think come 2018 minor league draft, guys will start to receive hype and some of the guys will have 1/2 a season of pro ball and some of the cream will rise.  I think there will be some good values in the first round that may not seem super obvious right now.  That being said, IL4W has 4 picks in the first round and 7 overall (none after round 3). That seems like overkill unless you just love the draft. I’d expect Aaron to be never busy during the draft.

Wainwright was unkeepable last year at 50 or so dollars. It’s not crazy that if he finishes the year strong, he’s worth keeping at 22 or shopping to someone with a lot of cap space. Mike Leake wasn’t someoneI wanted to keep last year at 16 and he was moved for a buck, kept, and has done very well.  For Jordan, the problem with Wainwright (as I see it), is he’s hard to use as a matchup play. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of rhyme or reason when Wainwright has a great game or blows up based on matchup. That’s frustrating as an owner.

That’s also not to say I don’t like getting Wainwright, because Jordan didn’t pay a ton. Zach Davies was a nice sleeper heading into the year. Ks are down, HRs are up, Walks are up.  Maybe he puts it together in the second half and becomes a cheap multi year keeper for IL4W.

I’m all for sexy assets when you’re out of it, but didn’t see much here. If Davies and/or Braxton Garrett are your guys, then this is a fine grab. Wainwright and Reddick are a pretty huge boost for Jordan, and one or both might be keepable…. so that’s a big win.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Senior Squids

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: 2B/3B/SS Jonathan Villar ($12)
Senior Squids sends: SP Sandy Alcantara (minors)

Andrew’s Thoughts: I suppose last year’s stats don’t matter much, but in 2016 Jonathan Villar was the 4th highest scoring shortstop, 7th at 2B, and 5th at 3B. He’s been absolutely dreadful this season to the tune of a .271 wOBA. Of qualified hitters, that ranks 157th out of 166. Byron Buxton ranks 165th on that list. Villar being ranked near Buxton just by itself is devastating to his value. At least Villar only costs $12 and not like, I don’t know, $38 or something. Man, can you imagine paying Byron Buxton $38 to sit on your bench every day? I sure can’t.

I think if you were looking at this season alone, completely ignorant of last year, sure, dump Villar for an okay prospect. But last year exists, and so I can’t see dumping him for a prospect of Sandy Alcantara‘s caliber. I don’t even dislike Alcantara necessarily, but how much of his scouting report can be written about how many other pitching prospects?

Villar just turned 26. He’s already had a season where he finished in the top seven in scoring at three infield positions. How is his value equal to a guy with 76 uninspiring Double-A innings to his name? How does that one line on a 26-year-old’s resume, inflated as it may have been by a .373 BABIP, not trump whatever list you see where Alcantara appears?

I think Hustle will pick someone up this morning that either already is on some other list somewhere or will be before long, essentially replacing Alcantara for free, while adding Villar as a depth piece with proven upside. Villar’s isn’t prospect upside. It’s legitimate, “hey guys, I’m super young and already finished a full season as the 22nd highest scoring hitter” upside. And at $14 next year, Villar’s keepable if he closes out the year strong. He could be keepable if he merely shows life. Sure, he’s likely to be 2B-only next year and that dings his value some, but just rest of season, I’d much rather gamble on what Villar’s already done in the majors than gamble on what Alcantara might some day do.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Team Hydra

Team Hydra sends: 3B Nolan Arenado ($71), SP David Price ($75), LF/CF Tommy Pham (FA), 2018 5th round pick
HLR sends: LF/RF/CF Aaron Hicks (FA), SP Yadier Alvarez, C Zack Collins, 2018 1st & 2nd round pick

Andrew’s Thoughts: Roughly a year ago, I traded Miguel Cabrera, Sonny Gray, and stuff for Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ, Jorge Soler, and what ended up being the second overall draft pick plus other stuff. Alex from Team Hydra commented on the trade as such: “to be fair Bailey said those guys were on the block. He just didn’t say they were going to be given away for free.”

Fast forward to yesterday and, well, to be fair, Alex said these guys were on the block. He just didn’t say they were going to be given away for free.

Two of my first thoughts upon seeing this trade were that (a) Aaron Hicks is the best piece going to Hydra, and (b) Tommy Pham may as well be the same guy. I did a quick Google search and here’s some random Cardinals blog that thinks the same thing. So there’s that. Hicks is hitting at a 1.644 PT/PA clip, whereas Pham is at 1.502. Pham’s older and has one less outfield position. They were both free agent adds that will start at $5 salary next year. They just feel very same-y to me, to the point where if one is your main piece and you’re giving up the other, the point feels a tad defeated.

I really didn’t think David Price was going to go for much. He’s got a lot of mileage, has developed a homer problem (who hasn’t?), and there are lingering injury concerns. Also, he’s been pretty bad this year. At $77 next year, I think he’s an easy cut or Hustle will just give him away the moment the season ends and clog up some other team’s budget. I thought he should’ve been cut this year (pre-injury). So whatever team bought him was likely doing it on a rental basis, and I just didn’t see teams spending big to rent anyone. I thought maybe a pick and a prospect would get it done. In that vein, I don’t think sending Collins or Alvarez, or maybe even both, for Price as a rental is that bad on its own, assuming you really believe Price can get it going and help your team this year. Given the pitching landscape, gambling on Price seems like a reasonable bet.

So we haven’t even gotten to the big gun in this trade, and I feel like Hicks and Pham have cancelled each other out and a moderately valuable Price has fetched a couple pieces. There aren’t a ton more assets floating around here.

As for Arenado, well, I’m not sure all the pieces going to Hydra is enough for him alone. He’s expensive, sure, but he’s young, in his prime, plays a premium position, and plays in Coors. His salary is only going to go up by $2/year. That’s nothing. He’s a superstar, priced reasonably at $73 next year, and yet he didn’t land someone universally viewed as an “elite prospect”? I mean, maybe you think Yadier Alvarez is. That’s fair. Everyone’s prospect valuations are different. But he’s pitched 45 innings at A+. The lead time on him is a factor and that assumes that he dodges injury and experiences no developmental speed bumps. He’s already struggling with command this year.

And I like Zack Collins as a hitter, but if he doesn’t stick at catcher, a lot of his value will be sapped in a world where Ryan Zimmerman, Justin Smoak,  Yonder Alonso, Mark Reynolds, and Logan Morrison are awesome and can be had for free. Heck, the Braves are moving Freddie Freeman to third base (I imagine this factored into Hydra’s long-term calculus for moving Arenado) to make room for Matt Adams‘ bat. First base is not lacking for depth. And the cost control aspect is neat but if Collins is $1 and Alonso gets greeded up to like $5, is that really significant value?

If he does stick at catcher, that might push his MLB ETA out further. Again, for me personally, Alvarez and Collins are guys you can afford to spend on a rental player or two or just a quality lineup upgrade, not really key cogs to dealing a stud.

And those picks are… something? It’s going to be a late first rounder and a pick somewhere in the second round, but this year’s MLB Draft class was weak. Looking at last year’s draft, I feel like around the 11th or 12th pick is where it started really being a coin toss. The first belongs to Hustle and the second belongs to Haddy. Today, that’d be pick 16 and pick 27, I think. You can definitely land good talent there, but your odds of whiffing also go up considerably the deeper you go.

Look, I won’t argue anyone’s prospect evaluations. If you think Collins is going to be a star and Alvarez is going to quickly develop into an ace, awesome. I definitely think, at least in Collins’ case, he’s a better fantasy prospect than real life prospect. But I don’t really know. I doubt you know either. We’re all making our best guesses. But I really do have a hard time imagining that, in terms of prospect currency, no one was willing to beat Alvarez and Collins even if, as the buyer, you’re super high on them both. Arenado’s not some declining veteran, win-now salary sell off. He’s a player that even if you’re at the bottom of the standings, you should probably be in on. I’d be curious how many teams even inquired here.

In terms of dynasty rankings Collins and Alvarez are… top 50? Maybe top 30 guys? (The rankings are irrelevant, of course. I don’t recall Bellinger being an “elite” guy a year ago.) I’m not sure if HLR had added Vladimir Guerrero Jr to this package it’d still feel totally right, but it’d at least be closer. At least then there’s a consensus “elite prospect” in the mix.

There’s no telling how this will play out. If the prospects turn into anything decent, Hydra’s probably content. I think some of it will depend on if teams sell players at discounted prices in the off-season like last year, at which point Hydra can put some of the cap space they’ve freed up to use. I know Hustle’s probably thrilled to just plug in Arenado every day instead of oscillating back and forth between Yuli Gurriel and Nick Castellanos.

Hustle’s Take

Trade: Preseason Double Stuffs | We Talk Fantasy Sports

Preseason Double Stuffs send: 2B DJ LeMahieu ($15)
WTFS send: 2B Rougned Odor ($29)

Andrew’s Thoughts: I’m not a Rougned Odor fan at all really. His OBP last year was a crummy .296 and it’s down to .260 last year. He never walks. Basically, unless he hits a home run, he’s a zero for your team. He did hit 33 last year and has 12 so far this year, which is cool, but everyone is a home run hitter now.

To that end, LeMahieu only hit 11 home runs all of last year. And that’s playing half his games at Coors. So Odor’s power output from this season, in which he’s been a big disappointment, is better than LeMahieu’s last year, in his career season. DJ’s older and he’s boring, but his floor is pretty high.

If the costs were the same, sure, trade the boring safe guy for the flashy recent prospect with “upside,” especially if you’re retooling. I get that. In this case, I don’t really get paying an extra $14 for the riskier guy, particularly when, without walks and getting on-base, the upside doesn’t seem all that high. And LeMahieu isn’t 29 yet, so it’s not like he’s some old veteran that you need to cash out on now. But I guess if Odor suddenly decides to walk 8% of the time and stops hitting easy infield flies, there’s room for growth and the power will still be there. I just don’t feel very excited about keeping a $31 (minimum) Odor into 2018.

I like it for WTFS most, who have now freed up $14 for 2018. That money will assuredly help subsidize all Byron Buxton‘s -3 point days on their bench for another year.

Hustle’s Thoughts:

I too like this better for WTFS. LeMahieu (not an actual DJ) was the better fantasy option this year and last and is half the price. The massive power difference between Odor and LeMahieu is washed away by the walk and strikeout rates.  Unless Odor shows significant improvement in those areas, I don’t see this trade working out for Ferns.

That being said Odor is only 23 and 5 years to LeMahieu’s junior and certainly has time to improve and with the power has monster potential.