Grading the Dynasty Grinder Minor League Systems

First, this is my first and probably my last attempt at writing for Dynasty Grinders. Since I retired I’ve had more time on my hands and over the last month I’ve dived into each and every Grinders minor league systems. There were a few reasons for the deep dive in the minor league systems:

  • I wanted to learn more about the minor league systems
  • Prepare myself for the upcoming draft
  • Educate myself on the other team’s minor league rosters for possible trades

Finally, as I was going through each team, I’m convinced there are the “haves and the have-nots” and I want to even the playing field. I’m hoping those at the bottom will be motived to do better. I also realize that some owners have different ideas how to manage their teams and I understand that too. My life experience tells me “Knowledge is Power”. The ultimate goal is to make the Dynasty Grinder league better and more balanced.

I’m no minor league expert and I have used a few web sites to grade each minor league player that is on our rosters. Additionally, some teams have players on their roster that weren’t ranked because I couldn’t justify giving them a star. Remember they are minor league players and could be late bloomers. There is a high probability that I’m full of crap, which is probably the case. Column “2018 MLB Ready” below means players could be breaking into the MLB this year. The teams are ranked from the best to worst.

The Key

3 Stars = Elite MLB Player
2 Stars = Solid MLB Player
1 Star = Average MLB Player

#1 HLR

Loaded, more than loaded………………………. Lead by Vladimir Guerrero, if you’re looking to trade for prospects HLR is the place to go. Beware HLR is a hustler and values his prospects and in a few years his team is going to be killing it. Hustle is going to win many championships if you believe in building from the bottom up. The only downside is HLR only has one prospect who might make the majors this year, he’s a good one too, Willie Calhoun. Minor League score 50.

2018 MLB Ready

  • TEX OF Calhoun, Willie

3 Star Players

  • ALT SP Allard, Kolby
  • NYM UT Alonso, Peter
  • TOR 3B Guerrero Jr., Vladimir
  • LAD LF Heredia, Starling
  • MIN SS Javier, Wander
  • DET SP Manning, Matt
  • PHL RF Ortiz, Jhailyn
  • MIL LF Harrison, Monte
  • TB LF Sanchez, Jesus
  • HOU RF Tucker, Kyle

#2 TBD

Almost the top minor league team, it was very close that’s for sure since the Joey Wentz trade. TBD was going to drop Brian McCann anyway, good for TBD. The rich get richer in my opinion………………………. TBD’s minor league team is stacked with Eloy Jimenez, who is a year away, and Walker Buehler, who could be the NL Rookie of the Year in 2018. TBD probably has the best 2018 MLB ready players, led by Buehler and Lewis Brinson. TBD’s experience evaluating minor league talent is unquestionable. Minor league score 49.

2018 MLB Ready

  • BAL RF Hays, Austin
  • MIL CF Brinson, Lewis
  • HOU SP/RP Paulino, David
  • MIL SP Woodruff, Brandon
  • STL SP Helsley, Ryan
  • LAD SP Buehler, Walker

3 Star Players

  • CHC SP Albertos, Jose
  • MIL CF Brinson, Lewis
  • CHW LF Jimenez, Eloy
  • LAD SP May, Dustin
  • DET SP Perez, Franklin
  • LAD SP Buehler, Walker
  • BAL RF Hays, Austin
  • Alt SP Wentz, Joey

#3 IL4W

IL4W was only one three-star pitcher away from being the top minor league squad. IL4W team is led by strong pitching with Michael Kopech, Braxton Garrett and Cal Quantrill. IL4W has the best group of minor league pitching in the league. IL4W also has young Kevin Maitan who found a new home in Anaheim. IL4W has help on the way this year with Alex Verdugo and Victor Robles, who are projected to be fantasy stars. HLR, IL4W and TBD’s minor league systems are killing it and the rest of us wish we had ¼ of the 3-star prospects they have. I tip my hat to all three teams. Minor league score 47.

2018 MLB Ready

  • PHI UT Alfaro, Jorge
  • KC SP Skoglund, Eric
  • LAD CF Verdugo, Alex
  • WAS RF Robles, Victor

3 Star Players

  • OAK LF Armenteros, Lazaro
  • MIA SP Garrett, Braxton
  • CHW SP Kopech, Michael
  • OAK SP Luzardo, Jesus
  • ATL SS Maitan, Kevin
  • SD SP Quantrill, Cal
  • MIL RF Grisham, Trent
  • WAS RF Robles, Victor
  • LAD SP Sheffield, Jordan

#4 Long Ball

Long Ball =’s Ronald Acuna, the favorite to become 2018 NL Rookie of the Year. Acuna ripped through three levels of the minors and AFL, there’s no doubt Acuna is ready to be a MLB All Star. Sean Reid-Foley has a 97-mph fast ball with a competitive edge. Long Ball also has some nice power coming up with Bobby Dalbec and pure hitter Bo Bichette just a couple of years away. Minor league score 37.

2018 MLB Ready

  • MIL SP Ortiz, Luis
  • CHC C Caratini, Victor
  • STL OF O’Neill, Tyler
  • ATL OF Acuna, Ronald

3 Star Players

  • ALT CF Acuna, Ronald
  • WAS SS Kieboom, Carter
  • TOR SP Reid-Foley, Sean
  • WAS RF Soto, Juan
  • SD SS Ruiz, Esteury

#5 Night King’s Undead Army

The Night Kings have the best pitching prospect in the game, Alex Reyes, but coming off TJS surgery. They also have eight two-star prospects. MLB ready players include Hunter Dozier, who will probably start the season with the Royals but playing time will be a question. Kyle Zimmer also has a chance to break camp with the Royals. Why did The Foundation change their name? Just to confuse me?????? Minor league score 36

2018 MLB Ready

  • KC 2B Dozier, Hunter
  • STL SP Reyes, Alex
  • KC SP Zimmer, Kyle
  • CHW RP Fulmer, Carson

3 Star Players

  • ATL SP Anderson, Ian
  • BOS SP Groome, Jason
  • BAL 3B Reyes, Jomar
  • STL SP Reyes, Alex

#6 Senior Squids

Not an earth shattering minor league roster. After the 2016 season the Squids reconstructed the minor league roster and concentrated on pitching. Hoping the likes of Honeywell, Alcantara, Duplantier and Whitley will be the foundation of his team for years to come. News broke recently that Mariner prospect Eric Filia was suspended 50 games for a second positive drug test. Filia hit .326 at Modesto in 2017 and won the Arizona Fall League battle title with a .408 average. Hopefully he gets his drug addiction taken care, and get back on the field and bring a world championship to Seattle. It’s kind of weird evaluating my own team, feel free to throw me under the bus. Minor league score 35

2018 MLB Ready

  • CIN LF, Winker, Jesse
  • TB SP Honeywell, Brent
  • SD RF Renfroe, Hunter
  • MIA SP Alcantara, Sandy
  • TB SP De Leon, Jose
  • CHW RP Vieira, Thyago

3 Star Players

  • TB 3B Lowe, Josh
  • SEA RF Lewis, Kyle
  • MIA SP Alcantara, Sandy
  • ARI SP Duplantier, Jon
  • HOU SP Whitley, Forrest

#7 Beach Bum

The Beach Bums have a balanced minor league team with lots of up and coming MLB talent, led by Gleyber Torres. Torres is slated to bat ninth and play 2B for the Yankees, who have the best line up in the majors. The Beach Bums have quite a few minor players that will hit the majors this year, especially with Oakland A’s. I’m a big fan of A J Puk who has huge K upside. The Beach Bums also have Austin Meadows who is #17 on MLB’s prospects and could make the Pirates roster if Andrew McCutchen is traded (ed. note: he was!). Minor league score 33

2018 MLB Ready

  • OAK SP Puk, AJ
  • OAK SP Holmes, Grant
  • NYY SS Torres, Gleyber
  • PIT CF Meadows, Austin
  • MIN SP Gonsalves, Stephen

3 Star Players

  • PHI 2B Kingery, Scott
  • PIT CF Meadows, Austin
  • OAK SP Puk, AJ
  • PHI SP Sanchez, Sixto
  • NYY SS Torres, Gleyber

#8 Team Hydra

Hydra has a very strong group of 2-star minor leagues, which include Corey Ray if he can find his stroke after a sub par 2017 season. Hydra’s strength is his MLB ready prospects. Francisco Mejia and Jorge Mateo both will make strong pitches for regular playing time this year. Additionally, Daniel Volgelbach will be fighting to win the 1B job with the Mariners, who adds lots of pop if he can do it in the majors. Minor league score 29

2018 MLB Ready

  • SEA 1 Vogelbach, Dan
  • CLE C Mejia, Francisco
  • OAK OF Fowler, Dustin
  • OAK SS Mateo, Jorge

3 Star Players

  • LAD SP Alvarez, Yadier
  • OAK SP Kaprielian, James
  • PIT SP Keller, Mitch
  • TEX CF Taveras, Leody

#9 The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

First, “The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses” has to be the strangest / craziest fantasy team name I’ve ever heard. What’s the story behind the name, WB? Does anyone know? WB has a strong core of three-star prospects that include Jack Flaherty, who could find himself in the Cardinals rotation and be a solid #3. Riley Pint is a complete pitcher with a plus fastball who is a top of the rotation pitcher. Fernando Tatis Jr is going to be an All-Star with an already loaded Padres prospect squad. The Padres are going to be a force to be reckoned with in a couple of years. Minor league score 26

2018 MLB Ready

  • COL 1B McMahon, Ryan
  • MIL SS Dubon, Mauricio
  • TEX 1B Guzman, Ronald

3 Star Players

  • SD SP Espinoza, Anderson
  • STL SP Flaherty, Jack
  • COL 1B McMahon, Ryan
  • COL SP Pint, Riley
  • SD SS Tatis Jr, Fernando

#10 Troompa Loompas

Jimmy Kimmel’s team has three high end prospects that includes Dylan Cease a power pitcher who’s a 97 MPH fastball, he’s the 58th ranked prospect on MLB.com. TL should have three players get some MLB playing time this year led by Franklin Barreto who is line drive hitter and could hit .280. My favorite player on his roster is Matt Thaiss who can hit HR’s and knows how to work the count. Minor league score 25

2018 MLB Ready

  • OAK SS Barreto, Franklin
  • ARI SP Banda, Anthony
  • NYY SP Adams, Chance

3 Star Players

  • CHW SP Cease, Dylan
  • NYM SS Gimenez, Andres
  • NYM SP Scapucki, Thomas

#11 Preseason Double-Stuffs

The Oreos have two of the best up and coming infield prospects in our league, Brendon Rogers and Nick Senzel. Late word out of Cincinnati is they want Senzel to learn how to play the OF, which should speed up his callup and he might make the Cincinnati team to start the season. Senzel is Cincinnati’s #1 prospect and 9th overall. Brendon Rogers is the 7th overall prospect and is a middle of the order player at Coors Field, the Oreos will be double stuffing their two prize prospects this year. They also have Luiz Gohara, who Atlanta got from my Mariners. Gohara has #2 stuff. On kind of a strange note, the Double Stuffs have two of the top catching prospects in the league, Chance Sisco and Carson Kelly. However, Kelly is stuck behind Yadier Molina and he’s not going anywhere. I really like the Double Stuffs minor league roster. Minor league score 23.1

2018 MLB Ready

  • CIN 3B Senzel, Nick
  • COL SS Rodgers, Brendan
  • STL C Kelly, Carson
  • ATL SP Gohara, Luiz
  • BAL C Sisco, Chance

3 Star Players

  • COL SS Rodgers, Brendan
  • CIN 3B Senzel, Nick
  • CIN UT Trammell, Taylor
  • ATL SP Gohara, Luiz

#12 Capital City Ironmen

The Capital City Ironmen have nine two-star major league prospects and no three-star prospects. That could be all fake news and CC could have 9 three-star prospects and championships the next five years. This could cause the Hustler to curl up in the fetal position in a bathroom at Dodger Stadium. His squad is led by JP Crawford who will finally get his chance with Phillies batting 7th. They also have Oscar De La Cruz who is on the fast track and will be a middle of the rotation pitcher with fantasy upside. I also like Yordan Alvarez who has 25 HR upside. Minor league score 23

2018 MLB Ready

  • PHI 3B Crawford, JP
  • CLE SP Bieber, Shane
  • LAA SP Barria, Jaime
  • TOR LF Gurriel, Lourdes
  • PIT SS Newman, Kevin

3 Star Players

  • N/A

#13 Who’s Your Haddy?

Who’s Your Haddy’s top two prospects are a few years away. Adonis Medina is slated as a #2 with lots of K upside in his future, but could end up in the bullpen. Their top prospect, Estevan Florial is capable of .300+ BA, 20+ HR, and 25+ SB. Major League ready David Dahl is on Haddy’s minor league roster and will be Colorado’s OF of the future. Amir Garrett is slated to start in the bullpen but has #3 starter stuff and will start on the major league roster in 2018. Minor league score 18.1

2018 MLB Ready

  • CIN SP Garrett, Amir
  • COL LF Dahl, David

3 Star Players

  • NYY CF Florial, Estevan
  • PHI RP Medina, Adonis

3 Star Players 2018 MLB Ready
NYY CF Florial, Estevan CIN SP Garrett, Amir
PHI RP Medina, Adonis COL LF Dahl, David

#14 Team Canada

Team Canada’s minor league has limited 3-star talent except for Isan Diaz who has huge power upside but is a few years away. However, they do have a few players that should make their MLB debut this year. Tyler Mahle has an excellent chance to become a solid fantasy contributor this year. Jordan Patterson can contribute a .270 avg and 20 HR’s. Finally, Erick Feddie should also make his debut, however he did have Tommy John surgery in 2014. He has #3 stuff. Minor league score 18

2018 MLB Ready

  • CIN SP Mahle, Tyler
  • COL RF Patterson, Jordan
  • WAS SP Fedde, Erick

3 Star Players

  • MIL SS Diaz, Isan

#15 Evil Otters

First, like The Foundation/Night King’s Undead Army, the Otters also changed their name and ownership. We miss you Dusty and I hope your health is improving. I was a little surprise the Otters traded one of their top prospects for a part time catcher for the coming season. There not much squid in the cooler but the Otters do have a couple of sleepers I really like. Jorge Ona and Will Benson are capable of 30 HR’s a season. The only player I see making it onto an MLB roster this year is Domingo Acevedo, who is slated to start in the bullpen. FYI, I’m not a fan of the Otters short name “666” What’s up with that???? Minor league score 16

2018 MLB Ready

  • NYY RP Acevedo, Domingo

3 Star Players

  • TEX SP Speas, Alex
  • NYY RP Acevedo, Domingo

#16 We Talk Fantasy Sports

Momma’s cupboard is empty with an open jar of stale Oreo cookies. Slack chatting with We Talk mentioned that his priority was drafting major league ready players, which explains why he has no fresh cookies. We Talk has two really nice prospects, Adbert Alzolay and Corbin Burnes, who are high level prospects that could see action in 2019. In 2018 We Talk Fantasy Sports should have Dillion Peters fight for a rotation spot with MIA, which shouldn’t be that hard considering what has happened down south, and he still has Byron Buxton right? Minor league score 10

2018 MLB Ready

  • MIA SP Peters, Dillon

3 Star Players

  • CHC SP Alzolay, Adbert
  • MIL SP Burnes, Corbin

Conclusion: I had a lot of fun and learned a lot putting all of this together. Absolutely no hard feelings towards any of the teams, it’s just one opinion. I believe to be successful is a dynasty baseball league it’s a must to have a strong minor league squad. I asked my baseball friends on the right and the left and they said the article is “fake news” because they are only minor league prospects and you never know, plus most of them are young adults. If I missed on any prospects or you disagree with the article please post on slack. Please, I have no intention to be mean and only trying to make the league better.

– Senior Squids

Three Up Three Down – Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana signed a 3 year $60 mil deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, after 8 MLB seasons with the Cleveland Indians.  It was the Los Angeles Dodgers that signed him as an amateur free agent back in 2004, before trading him to Cleveland for Casey Blake, near the 2008 trade deadline.  He started out as a catcher, but by 2014 he would no longer play the position, moving to 1B/DH.

With the addition on Edwin Encarnacion last offseason, the Indians felt comfortable letting Santana walk in free agency.  They also just signed Yonder Alonso for 2 years and $19 mil, a bargain compared to Santana’s price tag. Cleveland also has two 1B prospects in Bobby Bradley and Nellie Rodriguez.  Both are big HR and SO guys.

Philly and Santana were not exactly a perfect match, but they worked things out.  The Phillies already have a future 1B in Rhys Hoskins, who took the MLB by storm this past summer, hitting 18 HRs in 212 PA.  That was a 58 HR pace!  Hoskins will turn 25 before the 2018 MLB seasons throws its first pitch and now has to share an OF with Nick Williams (24), Odubel Herrera (26) and Aaron Altherr (27).  There is also Tommy Joseph (26), who is likely to get his ABs at 1B.  The Phillies either have a trade in mind, or they just stunted the growth of some of their top prospects who might never reach their full potential.  Only time will tell.

Overall, the switch-hitting Santana has turned in a .363 OBP in nearly 4600 plate appearances since establishing himself as a Major League regular back in 2011, averaging 153 games played and 24 homers per season along the way. One would think that a move to a much more hitter-friendly environment, Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, should help to improve his power output as well (though his .196 ISO in that time is already plenty strong). – MLB Trade Rumors

Let’s take a look at how Carlos Santana compares to other 1B and the rest of the league over the past two seasons. We will look at HRs, ISO, wOBA, OBP & BB%. When sorted by each category, we will find Santana and then list the players ranked 3 spots above and below him.

Home Runs

Of the 22 qualified 1B, according to FanGraphs, Santana ranks 10th over the last two seasons in total home runs with 57.  The average total is 51.2 with a high of 80 (Edwin Encarnacion) and a low of 18 (Joe Mauer).

$92 Paul Goldschmidt 60
$66 Jose Abreu 58
$19 Wil Myers 58
$31 Carlos Santana 57
$75 Miguel Cabrera 54
$19 Hanley Ramirez 53
$3 Ryan Zimmerman 51

*2018 Salary

Zimmerman’s 51 HRs for $3 is the highest $/HR at 1B – 17.  Goldschmidt ranks last at .65.  Santana ranks 10th at 1.84.

16 of the 48 qualified hitters with 50 home runs over the last two years are 1B eligible.

There are 131 qualified bats according to FanGraphs.  Santana ranks 32nd in HRs since 2016.

ISO

Santana ranks 9th of 22 at 1B.

Only 7 1B eligible players have more XBH than Santana over the last two years.

Santana ranks 30/131 eligible bats in the MLB since 2016.

The Phillies new 1B ranks 25th overall in XBH during his final two years with the Indians.

wOBA

Carlos Santana ranks 10th in wOBA at 1B.

He ranks 31st out of 131 eligible bats at all positions.

OBP

Santana ranks 9th in OBP at 1B.

He ranks 31st out of 131 eligible bats across all positions.

BB%

Carlos Santana ranks 7th in BB% since 2016.

He ranks 10th in the MLB with Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista being the only non 1B eligible.

When looking at these five categories and focusing on just 1B, Santana ranks very similarly to Goldschmidt, Abreu, Cabrera & Belt.  When you take it into the league, of 1B that cost at least $20 and have scored a total of 1,000+ fantasy points over the past two seasons, Santana has the 2nd highest fantasy points per dollar, behind Belt, while Goldschmidt & Cabrera sit at the bottom.

 

Another look at stolen bases and their value…

Almost a year ago to the day, Jordan wrote a post exploring Billy Hamilton‘s value in our league. To sum his piece up: Hamilton doesn’t have much value because his only offensive skill is stealing bases, and our scoring system does not reward those much (and in fact, penalizes caught stealings more heavily than it rewards the steals themselves).

So the first question then is: why aren’t SBs worth much here?

The short answer to that is, our scoring system uses linear weights, which tries to match how points are awarded to how valuable real life events are. I suggest pausing this post, reading this explanation of linear weights, and then coming back. It does a better job explaining it than I would, and the explanation is already written. So go do that, then come back.

OK, got it?

Now that you’ve read that and understand the philosophy behind our scoring mechanisms, let’s ask this question: what, then, are SBs worth? We do give points for them, so they aren’t worth nothing.

Of hitters with 1,000 plate appearances between 2014 and 2016 (235 qualified hitters), Hamilton ranks 219th in on-base percentage, 192nd in batting average, 217th in home runs, 232nd in slugging percentage, and 234th in wOBA. Objectively speaking, these numbers define Hamilton as one of the worst offensive players in all of baseball over the last three seasons.

Of course, he ranks first of that same group in stolen bases with 171. Dee Gordon comes in second with 152.

These two players are actually very interesting, because Gordon has proven valuable in our scoring while Hamilton has not. It’s not like Gordon has any pop at all. They have very similar infield hit and line drive percentages, but the dramatic difference is a whopping 14.8% disparity in ground ball percentage and fly ball percentage. Basically, by putting the ball on the ground more, Gordon avoids easy outs, gets singles instead, and ratchets up his points totals little by little.

(To be fair to Hamilton, he’s a tremendous defender. I guess ideally defense would be rolled into our scoring, but there’s just not a good way of doing that just yet.)

Anyway, in a category (4×4, 5×5, whatever) league where stolen bases count, Hamilton goes from being one of the worst offensive players in baseball to being a weapon that can singlehandedly win you a category. Current NFBC ADP data has him as the 12th outfielder off the board and the 54th overall player off the board. But we’ve already established that he has only one offensive skill, that that particular offensive skill is not particularly valuable to real life run scoring, and that literally every other component of his offensive profile ranks at or near the bottom of leaderboards over an ample three year period. So you see the flaw here? Like, it’s very, very clear, right?

Through the lens of our league’s scoring, let’s look at Hamilton over the last three years with (top) and without (bottom) stolen bases:

In 2014, Hamilton got caught stealing a bunch of times. Getting caught stealing a base is one of the worst things a baseball player can do on the offensive side of the ball, and so doing it 23 times in a year will wipe away most of the value provided by those successful steals. Even still, he added over 70 points in 2014 from his baserunning abilities. He’s been more efficient in the two seasons since.

Without the steals, Hamilton is just kinda… bad? He would have scored 288.2 points in 2015 and 417.1 points in 2016. Even with the steals, he’s not worth much. But in 2015 he gained 118.5 points from steals and in 2016 his totals were bumped up by 122. That’s a lot! His steals are essentially adding almost six per week to his totals. It seems small, but in 2016, the difference between being worth 418.1 points and 539.1 points might be rosterability. The former might not even warrant a spot. The latter seems like a useful bench piece.

The other problem with Hamilton specifically is that, because he’s such a horrible hitter, he lends himself to being used as a pinch runner. This means that he likely isn’t in the Reds’ lineup on a particular day, thus he’s not in your fantasy lineup that day, and maybe he pinch runs and steals a base or two. So he’s accruing those points, but your team isn’t. That matters.

But this isn’t about Hamilton. It’s about stolen bases. So let’s look at a couple guys near the top of the SB leaderboard in 2016…

Last year, Jonathan Villar led baseball with 62 stolen bases. But of qualified hitters, he also ranked 23rd in OBP and 42nd in wOBA. So SBs aside, he had quite a good season hitting the baseball. With SB and CS included, he scored 1,042.2 points last year. Without them, he scored 941.2. But while he led the league in steals, he also led the league in times caught stealing, so he sort of cannibalized some of the value of his stolen bases. Still though, what he did on the base paths added more than 100 points to his total. That’s significant.

One of the most efficient base stealers last year was, surprisingly, Paul Goldschmidt. He swiped 32 bags and only got caught 5 times. With those factored in, he amassed 1,197.1 points and without them he would’ve accrued 65 fewer. So that’s 6.5 points per week which, again, is quite a lot even if it doesn’t seem like much.

My take away from this is that stolen bases actually are valuable in our league, but the offensive profile that goes with them must be sound. It’s not really a new revelation, rather confirmation of an existing one. Being fast and fast alone does not (and I’d argue should not) morph you into a valuable player, but being a quality hitter that is also fast can provide a nice opportunity to grab some extra points along the way.

Dynasty Grinders Class-A All-Star Bats

Using our scoring system, I pulled all Class-A hitters stats from MILB.com to find out who has been dominating the league.

Just 10 of the top 50 hitters there are owned, including three by Hydra – Yoan Moncada, Bobby Bradley and Jorge Mateo.

TBD was the only other owner with more than one – Eloy Jimenez and Josh Ockimey.

The Cleveland Indians feature seven players in the top 50:

  • Greg Allen
  • Tyler Krieger
  • Nathan Lukes
  • Bobby Bradley
  • Yu-Cheng Chang
  • Connor Marabell
  • Francisco Mejia

Add those prospects to Bradley Zimmer, Clint Frazier and a handful of pitching prospects and the Indians are setup for a very successful future.

This is the farm system of a team that just won 14 games in row and sits 6.5 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers, in first place of the American League Central division.

Thanks to 40 doubles, yes 40, Brian Mundell has 20 more total bases than Eloy Jimenez, who is 2nd.  That, plus just 48 strikeouts = future major league hitter.

He was drafted out of college in the 2015 draft and at 22 years old could speed through the Rockies farm system.  It is also very likely that an American League team would love to have him as a DH.

HLR’s Travis Demeritte has hit 20 home runs but also has 105 strikeouts.  He has already served an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance and the Rangers moved him to 2B with Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo ahead of him.  But now with the rise of Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar back, it could be a while before Demeritte finds a spot with the Rangers.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see him dealt at the deadline or this offseason.

a1-20 a21-40 a41-50

Seven Starts – Choose Wisely

We have now played 10 weeks, and things are clear – pitching is VERY important. Not only do you need to make sure you can get seven starts out of your roster, but you need to choose the RIGHT seven starts.

Take us for instance – we acquired Colby Lewis, Mike Leake and Collin McHugh in the last couple of days and saw Anthony DeSclafani make his season debut. Add that to Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Kennedy and Michael Pineda and that is seven starters. We also have Robbie Ray and Chase Anderson as insurance.

We had to make tough decisions to choose just seven of the 13 starts our rotation had this week. Unfortunately, we picked nearly all the wrong ones.

Lewis was brutal on Monday, with a 14.5 point start, but rebounded nicely on Saturday with a 43 point day. Unfortunately, by Saturday, we had used up all of our starts.

Leake was even worse in his first start of the week, posted 7.5 solid points. But wouldn’t you know it, on Sunday he pitches a 49.5 point gem, that we could not use.

McHugh was just brutal on Thursday, failing to complete four innings and earning just 6.5 points.

DeSclafani’s debut wasn’t great, as he earned just 4.5 points.  The only run scored was on a solo HR, but he allowed 11 runners to reach base in six innings, walking three with just 2 strikeouts.

Zimmermann went negative on Wednesday night, as the Blue Jays hit two home runs off him in less than 5 innings. It was the first time Zimm went negative all year.

Kennedy was at his worst, allowing four home runs to the White Sox and posting a season low -34 fantasy points.

Pineda was our only good pitcher that counted this week, earning 72 points across two starts. However, we only saw 32 of those points from his first start.

We missed out on a 53 points gem from Anderson and a 59 point night from Ray.

Needless to say, it was a tough week.

On a more positive note, here are the top 10 pitchers through 10 weeks and the graph shows their weekly point totals.

spTop10

Jon Lester is the only pitcher in the top 10 to have had a negative week.

Clayton Kershaw has been the weeks top pitcher three times, while Jose Fernandez has done so twice.

Despite being the 2nd best pitcher in the league through 10 weeks, Johnny Cueto has two of the lowest weekly point totals among the top 10 pitchers.

TC (Cueto, Strasburg), IL4W (Syndergaard, Quintana) & TBD (Kluber, Bumgarner) each own two of the top 10 starters.

What’s Going On Down in the Minors?

We are getting close to the Super Two deadline, which FanGraphs explains here.  That means that teams will start calling up some of their more talented prospects from the minor leagues.  I went and got all the stats from MILB.com from all AA and AAA leagues and used our scoring system to calculate which players were having the best seasons.  I then downloaded the list of all players from Fantrax to see which of these players were owned and by who (whom?).

Starting Pitchers

There are 46 pitchers with at least 300 points scored between AA/AA compared to 39 MLB pitchers. Beach Bum (Daniel Mengden, Zach Eflin, Josh Hader -67th pick in rookie draft) and Long Ball to LF (Jameson Taillon – 28th, Chad Kuhl, Joe Musgrove – 69th) each had three minor league pitchers make the list

Teams With 2

Teams With 1

Musgrove, Mengden, Herrera, Jason Wheeler, Ben Lively and Aaron Wilkerson have been impressive in both AA and AAA.

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Batters

Making 300 points the cutoff again, I found 34 hitters in the Minor Leagues compared to 57 in the Majors. TBD owns four of the top 36 bats – Peter O’Brien, Tyler O’Neill – 187th, Willy Adames – 115th and Matt Chapman – 130th.

Teams With 2

Teams With 1

Healy, Mancini, Nicky Delmonico, David Washington, Hunter Dozier and Mike Yastrzemski have had success in both AA and AAA this year.

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Every team’s most valuable one dollar player

Clayton Kershaw went for $117 — or 23.4% of a total team budget– at auction and was totally worth it. He’s that good. But there are a bunch of other players on the opposite end of the cost spectrum who have been good as well. Not Kershaw good, but good. And at $1, they’ve proven to be steals.

The cool thing about dollar players is that the team who nominated them can bask in all the credit. It’s not like a $20 player where five teams were in on the bidding but only one won and gets to look smart.

Here’s a quick look at each team’s best currently-rostered $1 player, starting from the top of our current standings and working down…

TEAM CANADA: SP Martin Perez – 273.5 points, SP53

Getting a borderline top-50 starting pitcher for a buck is just unreal value. His numbers aren’t particularly good though. He’s striking out just 5.43 batters per nine, walking 4.21, and has posted a FIP/xFIP slash of 4.39/4.59. Basically, he’s been super lucky and he’s getting by without particularly good stuff.

But hey, he costs a buck! As of this post, first place Team Canada has only started him three times, so he’s clearly not being relied on too heavily, which is exactly what you want for a guy like Perez.

HUSTLE LOYALTY RESPECT: LF/RF Seth Smith, 228.5 points, OF62

The Mariners’ platoon outfielder was the fourth-to-last player auctioned and at just $1, has rewarded Hustle Loyalty Respect handsomely. Smith has been in HLR’s lineup 14 times to date and has hit at a rate of 4.88 points per game in those opportunities, which is a better than league average clip. He’s a really good bench option.

TRUMPA LOOMPAS: 2B/3B/LF/RF Brandon Drury, 244.4 points, 2B18/3B22

Brandon Drury has thus far been one of the best values in the league. Not only has he hit the hell out of the ball, but he can play three positions. At the absolute worst, he’s a flexible bench player capable of being deployed on days where better players are out. But the Loomps have started him 30 times this year, so he’s played his way into a key role.

Having said that, he’s only hit at a 2.68 points per game rate over the last two weeks. Even if he cools though, he’s still been worth every bit of that dollar investment and with all that positional eligibility, he can still deliver value even if he hits at right around replacement levels.

TBD: 3B Jake Lamb, 312 points, 3B11

Jake Lamb has been on my prospect radar for a while now, so it’s cool to see him getting playing time and making the most of it. For just a buck, TBD has gotten an every day third baseman that is currently outscoring Todd Frazier, Miguel Sano, Adrian Beltre, and Evan Longoria.

Like his Diamondbacks teammate Drury above, Lamb is certainly one of the best $1 buys and one of the better values of any dollar amount leaguewide.

TEAM HYDRA: SS Zack Cozart, 235.3 points, SS13

The shortstop position is no longer as weak as it was, so coming into this year there were a few savvy teams who opted to punt the position knowing that they could come away with a good option for cheap instead of paying a position premium. Hydra didn’t necessarily do that, as they dropped $23 on Marcus Semien at auction, but Cozart made him expendable and their team is better for it.

Cozart won’t wow you most weeks, but at such a negligible cost, he’s proved a really valuable piece to a team vying for a playoff spot.

BEACH BUM: 1B/LF, Hyun Soo Kim, 96.9 points, 1B62

Okay, I realize this looks bad. The Orioles’ international signee has barely played and, in fact, Dan just scooped him up from free agency after the owner who won him at auction opted to cut bait. But the reason he’s here is twofold.

First, there isn’t really a better option on this team. And second, if there’s one owner in this league who I think is capable of recognizing a potentially valuable player that can be had for free and then have the patience to sit on him, it’s Dan. Kim hits when he plays, it’s just a matter of opportunities. On this roster, there’s a good chance he’ll just linger until those opportunities present themselves, at which point value should follow.

THE WILFRED BRIMLEY FIGHTING DIABEETUSES: 2B/3B/SS Danny Espinosa, 172.9 points, SS27

Nothing to see here, move along.

THE FOUNDATION: SS Jean Segura, 298.3 points, SS8

Jean Segura has cooled off considerably from his hot start. Over the last 21 days, he’s been only the 31st ranked shortstop and is hitting at a below replacement level points per game clip. But the first few weeks to his season were insane, illustrating the potential that’s here. You could argue that Segura is the biggest reason The Foundation is 4-4 and not below .500, and in that regard he was definitely a dollar well spent.

WE TALK FANTASY SPORTS: SP Ubaldo Jimenez, 154 points, SP125

 

 


WHO’S YOUR HADDY?: RP Addison Reed, 81.7 points, RP24

Admittedly, it’s weird choosing a reliever. But the only other viable option here was Lonnie Chisenhall, and I actually like Reed more. I’m not a big believer in spending big to build a bullpen, so Reed is pretty much exactly what you want: a cheap guy that performs comparably to guys who are paid well. As a top-25 reliever, he’s tremendous value at a position where spending a lot doesn’t seem advisable.

LONG BALL TO LF: SP Mike Foltynewicz, 116 points, SP143

Mike Foltynewicz has only started six games and he hasn’t been particularly good overall, but four of those starts were quite good. Two of them were toxic. The former top prospect is young and still developing, so you need to be cautious about deploying him. In other words, if you’re using him as anything more than your emergency seventh starter, you’re probably not going to fare too well. But for a buck, I really like the risk and the potential for reward.

ROCKY MTN OYSTERS: 3B/LF Adonis Garcia, 91.1 points, 3B58

Nope.

CAPITAL CITY IRONMEN: LF/RF Michael Saunders, 304.1 points, OF24

Finally, it appears Michael Saunders is healthy. That’s always been his bugaboo. When on the field, he’s always performed well, though right now he’s experiencing a true renaissance. And at just 29-years-old, his low cost and great production suggests plenty of future surplus value as well.

IN LINE 4 THE WIN: N/A

This team does not have a single $1 player on it. That doesn’t mean they don’t have any good values. Just no good values for a buck.

SENIOR SQUIDS: N/A

Um… is this a trend? Remember, we’re going in standings order. Suffice to say, if you do not have a $1 player on your roster, period, you will lose. Let this be a lesson to you.

PRESEASON DOUBLE STUFFS: 1B John Jaso, 235.6 points, 1B29

John Jaso rules. Like Saunders above, he’s always been a really good player, he’s just struggled to stay healthy and put full seasons together. To date, his on-base percentage is a cool .369 and he’s a .362 guy for his career, so he’s basically just doing what he does. He lacks the power you want at 1B, probably, but when you’re walking a lot and barreling up base hits, you’ll take it. In fact, it’s the lack of power that makes guys like Jaso sneaky valuable in this league.

While teams are targeting the big home run hitters because they’re capable of dropping 30 point games, guys like Jaso, who will just quietly put up above average weeks without the long balls, will slip through the cracks.

After five weeks, a reflection on the projections

What the hell are projections good for anyway? Every year before the season starts, for a few baseball fans words like ZiPS and STEAMER and PECOTA among others become very popular. And then April happens and we forget all about them.

Before the season started I created a document using the Depth Charts Projections from FanGraphs. This document took the best possible line ups based on those projections for each team and spit out a best case scenario of what teams could expect to end up finishing. I used this for my post-draft analysis.

We are now five weeks finished, 25% of the of the regular season done. How have those projections done?

Projected Finish Team After 5 Weeks
9th TC  1st
5th TL 2nd
2nd BB 3rd
13th IL4W 4th
6th HLR 5th
1st FND 6th
10th HYDRA 7th
15th LB 8th
16th TBD 9th
8th RMO 10th
12th WBFD 11th
4th HADDY 12th
7th WTFS 13th
14th PRE 14th
11th SQUIDS 15th
3rd CAP 16th

Most notable takeaways: Capital City has had some awful luck with Carlos Carrasco and Tyson Ross going down. Haddy’s team is awfully under performing, Team Canada has a lot of things going right, and despite not winning any weeks, In Line 4 the Win has been way better than advertised.

It’s been five weeks, projections tend to be what they are, but it is pretty interesting. It doesn’t really mean anything, we play in a head to head weekly league so results vary even more. But, I think its important to note that in just five weeks the best looking teams can get ugly and vice versa.

So FanGraphs depth charts projections do daily Rest of Season updates. This is awesome. Using the same tool as I did at the beginning of the year, here’s where teams line up going forward:

1 – Trumpa Loompas (3-2)
2 – Team Canada (5-0)
3 – Beach Bum (3-2)
4 – The Foundation (3-2)
5 – Capital City Ironmen (1-4)
6 – Rocky Mtn Oysters (2-3)
7 – Team Hydra (2-3)
8 – Longball to LF (2-3)
9 – Who’s Your Haddy? (1-4)
10 – In Line 4 the Win (1-4)
11 – We Talk Fantasy Sports (3-2)
12 – TBD (3-2)
13 – Hustle Loyalty Resepect (4-1)
14 – Senior Squids (1-4)
15 – Preseason Double Stuffs (2-3)
16 – The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses (3-2)

I think what we can take from this is that we’re so far from started, not near being over. The question has come up: when will the first team bail? I think in another five weeks, the standings could be a bigger mess. I would stick it out.

Baseball’s Best Leadoff HItters

Having a reliable leadoff hitter is important once a game. But these guys also get the most opportunities at the plate so you better make sure that guy can hit in any situation, as well as being a spark plug in the 1st inning. Every team has a different approach with their leadoff hitter.  Some managers just slot their fastest player at the top of their lineup, while other managers make sure whoever is leading off, has a high on base percentage.

You will have a hard time finding any fantasy baseball scoring system that ranks anyone above the Houston Astros Jose Altuve.  His .305/.400/.611 slash has let to 20 runs scored, 13 RBI and 9 stolen bases after just one month.  On top of that, he has 17 XBH, including six home runs.

Right behind Altuve, you find Dexter Fowler hitting .347 to begin the season with 13 XBH.  Fowler’s 17 walks drawn has led to a .474 OBP.

Mookie Betts has been a bit of a disappointment, owning a .266 BA and just 5 walks drawn, but he has managed to score 19 runs while driving in 17.

Ian Kinsler and Jean Segura are the only leadoff hitters with 30+ hits, but Kinsler’s has yet to find his power with just 8 XBH (4 HRs) while Segura’s Diamondbacks teammates have struggled to knock him home as he has crossed the plate just 12 times, including four home runs.

Over his last 10 games, Logan Forsythe has seen his BA rise from .250 up to .341 thanks to three 3 hit games, and three 2 hit games.

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Stats via FanGraphs

Overreaction Thursday, you paid what for this?!

Welcome to Overreaction Thursday! Today we are looking into the first half of Week One and overreacting to how the star players have performed already. For some of these guys, the weekend cannot get here soon enough.

$117 Clayton Kershaw – 65 points.

Good lord I told you guys he was good. How in the hell did he go for JUST one hundred and seventeen dollars!? He’s worth two hundred at least! We are all idiots for allowing BetterNameLater (by the way, when it that better name coming?) to rob us blind like this.

$109 Bryce Harper – 23.1 Points

You’re the highest paid hitter and you are getting out scored by CHRIS IANETTTA! What in the world is going on here. Just one home run? Trevor Story has four! He’s two months younger than you, you’re getting old son.

$95 Mike Trout – -8 points

This is some serious bullshit. Negative points? The could-have-been four time reigning American League MVP has negative eight points? Sucks to suck, Who’s Your Haddy’s?. You bought a complete shit bowl of a player. He’s awful. Add him to the waiver wire and pick up Leonys Martin.

$93 Chris Sale – 48 Points

For being just $24 cheaper than Kershaw, you have no reason being 17 points worse than him too. You faced the Oakland Athletics who are due for contraction sometime soon. Just eight strikeouts? The 18 swinging strikes are really nice, but Jeremy Hellickson beat you by 1.5 points. Loser.

$88 Paul Goldschmidt – 30.3 points

I bet you want me to be proud of your 10.1 points per game, huh? Well I’m not. You should be scoring 100 point weeks. You’re behind pace. Do you know who’s outscored you this week, Paul? DJ LeMahieu! We’re not even certain that guy is a real person. But, he has more points than you do. Get with it.

$86 Max Scherzer – 28 Points
$84 Jake Arrieta – 56.5 Points

$83 Jose Fernandez – 40.5 Points
$82 Corey Kluber – 9 Points
$81 Madison Bumgarner – -3 Points

It’s a God damn perfect bell curve from awesome to dog shit. Bumgarner and Kluber dropped flaming bags of poo for their investment, while Arrieta and Fernandez both did alright. Max, my buddy, you’re better than that. C’s don’t get degrees here in Dynasty Grinders. Figure it out.

$81 Carlos Correa – 52.1 points

Have mercy on our souls. How in the hell did Alex Rodriguez clone himself into a younger and better version? This Correa kid is only being bested by some guy named Yasiel Puig. Correa is unlucky he cannot be bidded up for by a greed vote. He’d be rich, bitch!