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

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.

milbArms1 milbArms3 milbArms4 milbArms5

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.

milbBats1 milbBats2 milbBats3

Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

TBD sends: SP Kyle Gibson ($7), CF Lewis Brinson (minors), SP Amir Garrett (minors), 2017 2nd Round Pick
Who’s Your Haddy? sends: SP Jacob deGrom ($64), SP Steven Wright (FA), 2017 4th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: Man, where to begin?

I guess it makes sense to link to the Johnny Cueto trade from over the weekend, because I think he and deGrom are close to the same guy. deGrom costs $4 more and is younger, but Cueto has the longer track record and is having the better season (by like 10 points/start) so far. For the sake of argument, I think we can just call them equals.

In that light, this trade comes up a bit short for Haddy, I think. Cueto netted a viable replacement for him in James Shields, two top-25 prospects, and a 1st round pick. deGrom brought back an okay starter in Kyle Gibson, who isn’t better than Shields but does cost $21 less, but he also tossed in Steven Wright so it kind of nullifies getting back Gibson. He also gets a top-15 or so prospect in Brinson (9th in our draft), and a top… I don’t know — 75? — prospect in Garrett (he went 83rd in our draft), plus a 2nd rounder. Compare that to the Cueto return. I guess what I’m saying is, deGrom appears to have been sold at less than market value. Anything can happen with prospects. Who knows? But that’s how I see it today.

For Haddy, I think getting back the blue chipper Brinson is a big deal. I know TBD was reluctant to deal him at all, but if you want big time pitching you simply have to be willing to part with big time pieces. TBD’s been shopping their $10 Max Kepler for pitching for a while and the writing there just appeared to be on the wall. No one’s paying $10 and a premium pitcher for Kepler, without the cost control benefit of other prospects, to sit in their minors.

Brinson is a great get though. I’m less sold on Garrett. Baseball Prospectus ranked him 77th, Baseball America has him 73rd, and MLB.com slots him in at 65th. Rankings aren’t gospel and we should all probably discredit them more than we do, but Garrett’s the second piece here, right? He just doesn’t seem like a big enough Player B in a deal to land deGrom. A lot of the scouting reports I’ve read of Garrett say he could end up in the bullpen and if that happens, that’s a big loss for Haddy. There’s certainly upside if he sticks as a starter, but it’s a risky profile.

As I mentioned, Wright and Gibson more or less cancel each other out. I’d rather have Gibson personally, but both guys are just rotational filler.

I think, just like Haddy’s other deal, I come away feeling like a piece is missing. I try to look at picks less as rounds and more as where the pick will be, and in my deal for Cueto I got what is likely the 14-16th overall pick. Team Hydra’s 2nd rounder could realistically end up being 17th-20th or so, in which case the two picks are essentially the same. Never the less, I think Haddy should’ve pried a 1st away instead of a 2nd. I think that’s a small price for TBD to pay to get deGrom on their roster and for Haddy, every extra asset helps.

TBD looks so much stronger after this deal. The benefit of trading minor leaguers is that it does nothing to weaken your team today, so essentially TBD added deGrom without giving anything up (there’s a word for that, I think it starts with an “f,” but I can’t think of it; maybe I’ll peruse our Slack chat to see if anyone’s used this word?). That’s big. Aside from Madison Bumgarner, TBD’s pitching was kind of a mess, so this really helps to stabilize that. It seems possible that we look back at this trade in September and credit it for thrusting TBD into a postseason spot.

Jordan’s thoughts: I’m actually going to disagree with Bailey here some. I think Haddy got a good price for deGrom here. I know he references his own trade with Cueto, and he’s not wrong in what he got. But, I am not sure that trade exists a second time in this market. I think Bailey got more value for Cueto than he should have, and this deal looks more in line with where I had players valued in my head.

TBD needed this piece and did pay a significant price to get it done. Brinson is a known quality prospect. Garrett less so, but I’m higher on him than Bailey was above. Garrett in 7 AA starts this year is killing it. I’d be shocked to see Garrett not climb those arbitrary lists that Bailey references.

Bailey references that there’s a piece missing. I’m not really sure. Brinson was one of the top minor league qualified prospects in our league, Garrett is a solid prospect worth paying attention to and we’ve both written about Gibson before in how he can be useful.

I actually like this trade for both teams. If you’re TBD you needed the ace capable pitcher. If you’re Haddy you need these assets. I think its a win win for both sides.