Trade: Team Hydra | Rocky Mtn Oysters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trade: We Talk Fantasy Sports | Hustle Loyalty Respect

We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: SP Robbie Ray ($6), SP Ivan Nova ($5)
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: 1B CJ Cron ($4)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†Here’s a full list of qualified starting pitchers with better K/9 rates than Robbie Ray last year: Jose Fernandez (RIP). There. That’s it. That’s the list.

Yes, Ray struck out more batters per nine innings than Scherzer, Syndergaard, Bumgarner, and Archer. Clayton Kershaw didn’t pitch enough innings to qualify, but yes, he struck out more batters per nine innings than him too.

Ray’s problem was walks and homers. He issued 3.67 walks per nine and allowed 1.24 homers per nine. That’s rather bad. But the strikeouts are just insane, and his 3.76 FIP is tolerable either way. His 3.45 xFIP, a number that tries to normalize HR rates to league average, ranked eighth among all starters, which basically says if he can figure out how to give up a few less dingers (easier said than done, I know), there’s front line SP potential here. I mean, he had a .352 BABIP against last year, the worst in baseball among that same qualified SP group. That’s just bad luck. By virtue of sheer luck regression, he should show improvement. If the strikeouts stick, oh boy.

If you look back through his month to month splits, also, he had a 5.08 FIP in March/April and a 5.02 in September/October. Every other month, his FIP/xFIP numbers look great. In those months, his HR/9 rates were 1.42 and 1.84, which are just too high. Those’ll come down. Those two months jacked up his overall HR/9. In June, July, and August he was at 1.05, 0.94, and 0.90. Couple that with the K’s, and you’ve got yourself a #2 starter? Maybe better? He’s a young pitcher, so starting slow and ending weak isn’t alarming at all. I actually think it’s cause for optimism, because young pitchers can adjust and develop endurance, etc.

(Ray did have an ugly 4.90 ERA last year, which was fifth-worst among that pitcher group. But guess what? ERA is a highly flawed stat and we don’t score based off of it. It’s useless for our purposes.)

With any breakout guy, there’s skepticism. I’m not 100% convinced Ray’s the next Archer or whoever. Was it fake? Was it real? If it was real, is it sustainable? Is there more? I tend to dismiss these guys more often than not, which is dumb on my part, because the reward usually way outweighs the risk and if you dismiss them and they are for real, you’ll likely never get another chance to buy on them again. But he did enough last year to warrant giving up a $4 replacement level 1B. Even in 2015, Ray posted an 8.39 K/9, 0.63 H/9, and 3.53 FIP. Guess what? That’s really valuable! It’s actually shocking, in retrospect, he only went for $4 in our initial auction.

In over 1,000 career plate appearances, CJ Cron has a .327 wOBA. That’s alright. Of 1B’s with 800+ PAs from 2015-16, he ranks 23rd in wOBA. So he’s definitely useful, but he’s a back-up right now. He’s 27 though and doesn’t strike out a ton like a lot of the power hitting 1B’s do, so there’s certainly room for growth with him.

All of that is to say, I love this deal for HLR. I didn’t even mention Ivan Nova, who is a decent, cheap depth pitcher that rolled out a 3.39 FIP and 3.54 xFIP in the second half last year. Say it again: that’s valuable! I think this trade represents silly value for HLR¬†and even if both the pitchers fizzle out, the bet he placed on them being legit here was tiny enough¬†that it won’t really hurt him.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†Honestly I was surprised to wake up to the commotion over this trade even after looking at it. Bailey does a great job of summing up this deal.

Using the FanGraphs Auction Calculator that Dan Beachler took time out of his life to tune to the league (its not perfect, but its probably right enough that I’m not challenging him) you can see that Ray is worth something like $30 this year. Nova is at the $18 level. That’s two very valuable pieces. You could truly argue that either piece (clearly more so Robbie Ray) with that kind of value discrepancy already built in, plus Bailey’s arguments for their possible improvements, these guys are as valuable (if not more so) than the top minor leaguers in our league.

What did that return? Cron. Well Steamers says he is worth $14, so he’s coming at a value as well. If this deal was Cron for Nova, sure great whatever. Adding in Robbie Ray is just incredible.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Rocky Mtn Oysters

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: RF Hunter Pence ($19), SP Andrew Triggs ($5)
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: 2017 2nd Round Pick, $1 2017 Auction Budget

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†The STEAMER Projections mixed with our settings in the FanGraphs Auction Calc¬†suggest that Pence is worth $33 at auction. With my projections for players being kept, combined with the teams I project to have ridiculous amounts of auction money. I love this deal for Dusty. Pence is a great price at $19. I think Pence in this auction could go anywhere from $10-$50, depending on the context provided by our second auction draft. So Dusty spends two pretty weak assets to guarantee himself an outfielder who has 2017 value. Love this deal for Dusty.

I guess for HLR, this is better than just out right cutting someone. But, the return seems quite light for the timing of this deal. Clear win for RMO.

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I don’t particularly like Hunter Pence at $19, but I do like Hunter Pence. I’d probably like him more at $12 or something, at which point, how much does $7 even matter? And Dusty has an enormous amount of budget, so whatever.

I think Dusty wins this trade pretty easily, but I also realize HLR was probably going to have to cut at least one of Pence and Alex Gordon, so instead of cutting and getting nothing, he gets a pick. Pence has been on his block forever and this is what he got, so the market for him must have sucked. Better to get something than nothing, I guess.

Finally, I like Andrew Triggs. He had a¬†3.20 FIP and 3.29 xFIP in 56.1 innings last year. He mostly worked as a reliever but did start six games, and if he does manage to land a spot in the rotation, he’ll be able to toss in cavernous Oakland. I like him as a dirt cheap depth option.

Trade: We Talk Fantasy Sports | Capital City Ironmen

We Talk Fantasy Sports send: 3B Adrian Beltre ($32)
Capital City Ironmen send: SS Amed Rosario (minors), 3B Jhonny Peralta ($10), SP Martin Perez ($3), SP Charlie Morton ($5)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I really love Adrian Beltre. I do not know who¬†Amed Rosario is. I could look up these players. But what I see is three fringe keeper players for a lock at 3B at a reasonable price. The prospect could be whatever.

There’s no doubt that if I’m Bailey I’m pulling the trigger on this trade. Beltre’s production in my opinion is harder to acquire then the glimmer of hope the players returned offer in value. There’s plenty of waiver wire fodder for cheap available that could be good.

I get what WTFS is doing it, I just don’t love it. I feel like another month or two would have presented a better option.

Andrew’s defense:¬†The grandpa overhaul continues!

Amed Rosario is one of my favorite prospects and, as Mets fans, I assume WTFS feel the same. FanGraphs recently listed him as the 15th best prospect for fantasy heading into 2017. I would have liked to keep him and see what happens, but with Trevor Story and JP Crawford sitting on my roster, shortstop seemed like a depth spot to deal from.

I felt a big¬†need for a third baseman. It’s one of the deepest positions in fantasy right now and I¬†learned last year that if you don’t have someone good there, you’re really at a disadvantage. I don’t think there will be a lot of options to fill that spot at auction. I don’t envision Bryant or Arenado or Donaldson or Machado or Seager becoming available via trade, and if they did, the acquisition cost would be a lot higher I suspect.

At $32, Adrian Beltre seems like a good value to me, even if he’s about to turn 38. He went back over 30 homers last year after not eclipsing 20 in the previous two seasons, but even in a supposed “down” 2015 campaign he finished as a top-10 3B with a .337 wOBA. With or without high home run totals, he has as high a floor as anyone at the position and arguably of¬†any hitter, period.

For WTFS, this move converts a player facing off with Father Time into useful budget space, one of the better prospects in baseball, and some low cost depth pieces.

Trade: Team Hydra | Capital City Ironmen

Team Hydra sends: RF Nelson Cruz ($34), 4th round 2017 Draft Pick
Capital City Ironmen send: 1B Dan Vogelbach ($1 ML), 1st round 2017 Draft Pick (#11), $2 in 2017 Team Budget

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†Hey look, back-to-back trades for my co-commish for older outfielder stars. One thing that I didn’t consider in my opinions of the previous trade, was the potential that WTFS would need to cut McCutchen due to budget reasons. As for that deal and this deal. I don’t think it changes my opinion a whole lot.

I hope beyond hope as a Mariners fan that Vogelbach is an interesting piece to own in fantasy soon. I don’t really believe it as I see his fantasy upside something as your swing UT #2 guy. Useful, but not great.

The 11th overall pick could be interesting in the long term and has some value. But, its really only worth its weight in hype. The budget money moving one way or another I’m sure helps Hydra make one decision easier and that has value.

But, I think punting the #3 overall RF last year is a bit of mistake. At least this is a sell low. It is early in the off-season to be in this position for my liking. I know they were shopping him, but this is the best?

As for Andrew, consider his position. He sold his team, upgraded young assets, and then bought two win now assets on the market for dimes on the dollar. Is Cruz as good as he was last year next year? STEAMER projects say no, not close. But, they still have him as a serviceable starter. Again, I believe this is a high floor buy, with proven talent to reach 1,000 points.

If you believe the draft will be full of these kinds of guys, I think you’re wrong. If I am wrong, then Andrew probably would rather have kept his money and bid on things. But, he literally sent a few tiny assets and upgraded his active roster.

I hate it for Hydra, love it for Capital City. But, Hydra is the champs, and Capital City settled for #1 overall. So maybe they know more than this trade leads on.

Andrew’s defense:¬†Hydra won the championship, so I’m sure they’re not too bummed about being way above our $500 cap. But the fact remains, they’re way above the cap.

In that sense, you could assume they might cut a player like Nelson Cruz who, at $34, strikes me as a bargain. Maybe it isn’t Cruz that goes, but someone similar. They do have some easy big dollar cuts ($41 Prince Fielder, $49 Sonny Gray). Still, someone has to go. But “having to go” also could mean they trade him to someone else. Right? It doesn’t mean that player will just be there come auction time, guaranteed, when I’ve got cash to spend. I also have some doubts about what’ll be available in the auction anyway. If a guy like Cruz gets there, I think there’s a good shot he’s one of the few impact players available and as a result, goes for well more than $34. He was easily worth more than $34 last year.

As for projections and such, here’s Cruz’s wOBA over the past four years: .383, .396, .370, .359. That’s consistency. There’s some risk because he’s old and sometimes old guys see their skills erode or get hurt. But¬†Cruz seems safe to me. That is to say, if he does suddenly fall off, it’s not like I would pull up his FanGraphs page and go “oh yeah, should’ve seen this coming.” And if he gets hurt, well… it happens.

As for what I gave up, I like Vogelbach a lot. He’s fun. He’s a big old round guy that hits a ton. He’s like Ferns, but you know, hits a ton. I don’t doubt his ability to hit, but I worry for his opportunity and think the lack of defense could be a detriment to his playing time. Plus, if he’s only a 1B or UT, the bar is higher. And his cost control clock has started, so if he’s only going to get 250-300 PAs next year, that’s another year of control gone for the sake of a bench hitter.

The pick is neat. Based on my early draft rankings, the 11th overall pick translates to something around the 65th or 70th prospect on a list (an overall list, not a fantasy list). Those players are risky. Also, there are a lot of pitching prospects in the 11th overall range, and pitchers are risky too. I would have loved to use that pick, but I also spent all of last year acquiring prospects and have picks two, three, and four. I think I can spare one lottery ticket for a really good player at a good salary.

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: We Talk Fantasy Sports | Rocky Mtn Oysters

We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: SP Kyle Hendricks ($18), 2017 5th Round Pick
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: CF Byron Buxton ($32), 2017 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: What a great, great deal for Dusty’s Oysters.

First of all: I love Kyle Hendricks. You can ask Jordan, I privately gushed about him leading up to the season. I still ended up with no shares of him, but that’s fine. Here’s why I liked him so much: between 2014 and 2015, Hendricks posted a 3.34¬†FIP and a¬†0.73 HR/9.¬†In our format and in the real world, those are some pretty fantastic peripherals. After striking out barely anyone in 2014, he K’d more than eight batters per nine innings last year, which showed growth and the promise for more.

I also loved that Hendricks came into this season largely underrated. In fact, I remember reading debates about whether he or Adam Warren would win a spot in the rotation. He’s responded to the tune of a 2.89 FIP and a 0.39 HR/9¬†rate. For comparison’s sake, Jake Arrieta is currently putting up a 2.47 FIP and a 0.29 HR/9 rate. Arrieta is striking out more guys and going deeper into games, but those numbers are otherwise interchangeable. Hendricks is really, really good. On a points per game basis, he’s SP28. He’s basically a team’s number two starter.

As proof that the 26-year-old (he’s super young, too!) Hendricks was being undervalued, I present this: he went for $18 at auction. Eighteen! I’m embarrassed not to have him at a price that low. Even with a $2 raise and every team slapping him with their greed buck, he’s still a good value a year from now. And beyond, probably. Given that every single team competing in this league has been actively pursuing pitching, it’s not a stretch to suggest Hendricks as one of the league’s ten or so best values.

And then there’s Byron Buxton.

Just to lay some groundwork, here are some centerfielders paid comparably to Buxton and what they’ve done this year:

Yoenis Cespedes: $32, 334.4 points, 8.36 PPG, 2.03 PT/PA

Christian Yelich: $24, 299.1 points, 7.12 PPG, 1.71 PT/PA

Charlie Blackmon: $27, 169.9 points, 5.66 PPG, 1.32 PT/PA

You know what, I need to just stop there. Because there are so many productive centerfielders that went for so, so much less than Buxton did at auction that I’d be doing this all day. Adam Eaton went for $15, Jackie Bradley Jr. went for $3, Dexter Fowler went for $12, Charlie Blackmon went for $27, Brett Gardner went for $14, Odubel Herrera went for $2, Denard Span went for $4, Colby Rasmus went for $7, Marcell Ozuna went for $14. You get the point. There are a bunch of nicely priced centerfielders.

And then… there’s Buxton.

We all know who this guy is and what he represents. He’s a stud prospect that some have boldly compared to Mike Trout (uh, okay). He’s got all the skill in the world: speed, gap power, and athleticism to burn. He’s raked at every minor league stop. The one thing he does not have — not even a little bit — is Major League production.

Over Buxton’s first 187 plate appearances, he’s put up 117.5 points*. So he’s hitting thus far in his young career at a 0.62 points per plate appearance clip. To put that futility of inefficiency into perspective: Billy Hamilton, who can steal bases and do nothing else offensively, is hitting at a 0.91 PT/PA rate through 124 PAs this year.¬†Jeff Francoeur has had 98 plate appearances this year and has scored at a 0.83 rate. It’s only 187 plate appearances, so take it for what it is, but the point is that Buxton has been arguably the worst possible hitter on the planet in those opportunities. Factor in his salary, and he’s just been an absolute vortex of suck.

*Let the record show that in 2011, Trout debuted and had 135 plate appearances. He slashed .220/.281/.390, so he was quite bad in his first taste of the big leagues. He amassed 141.1 points, meaning he hit at a 1.04 PT/PA rate. So while Trout was bad, he was 67.7% more productive¬†over his first 135 times in the batter’s box than¬†Buxton in his first 187.

This is a good time to point out that Buxton is still a phenomenal talent that was likely rushed to the majors and then mishandled by the Twins (who buries their elite prospect ninth every day?). He could be special. He could be called back up this week and suddenly hit everything thrown his way. Two years from now, he could be a top three or five centerfielder. There’s really no ceiling to what this guy could do. I still like him a whole lot as a prospect, but the underlying theme here is that he is paid like a regular in your lineup, not like a prospect.

He’s being compensated¬†$32 to be a question mark. (Might be totally irrelevant but since our league is comparable to FanGraphs’ Ottoneu, I was curious so I looked it up: across all Ottoneu leagues, Buxton’s average salary is $11.54.) Technically, since we have no in-season cap, he’s being paid nothing and WTFS can sit on him for 2016 before making a decision leading into 2017.¬†This move is obviously WTFS’ way of looking ahead to¬†next season, but he’ll cost $34 minimum on Opening Day. Buxton is also a great target for every team’s greed. You want to make risky players like him more expensive to either force a decision from that team’s owner or make their risk even tougher to pay off. It’s conceivable that Buxton costs $40 heading into 2017 on the glimmer of hope that he becomes Trout (uh, okay), all the while getting out-produced by lesser paid players. Guys like Fowler and Span are “boring” and “old,” maybe,¬†but I’d rather have boring, old, productive, and cheap than possibly exciting, young, unproductive, and expensive.

I guess what it boils down to is that on the spectrum of good and bad values, Hendricks is one extreme and Buxton the other. Hendricks at his current rate of production won’t be priced out by raises and greed (assuming teams even hit him with greed) for two or three seasons minimum. He’s young and he plays a position that’s coveted. Every pitcher is risky, but it’s just great process on Dusty’s part to flip someone he probably would’ve had to cut for someone that will make an impact for his team now and that he can plan to keep at a good rate going forward. Hendricks’ price and production dictate that you make cuts to accommodate keeping him, not the other way around.

Buxton, meanwhile, appears at this moment in time to be unkeepable¬†into next year at $34+, and acquiring him at that price is not particularly good process. Again, maybe he hits. Maybe he emerges. It’s just that he has to hit at such a level to be worth the bloated salary he’s already getting, and then even more¬†to provide surplus value, especially when compared to his centerfield peers, most of whom are already producing and many of which are doing so at a significantly lower cost.

Jordan’s thoughts: ((picks mic off the floor))

Holy shit Bailey how do you really feel? Good lord that’s a lot to dig through and it’s about a player who offers very little for his value. I think Kyle Hendricks offers quite a bit of value to about any team in DG. So far in 2016 Hendricks has been one of the more reliable starters in the league:

h2016

This shouldn’t surprise anyone as Bailey already said, here’s what he did in 2015:

h2015

So far he’s avoided the “awful” starts, and been pretty damn good this season. I don’t need to pile on what Buxton’s worth. I think for Buxton to be worth keeping for me next season, he needs to be something sort of a top 30 hitter from the All-Star break on. I don’t believe he’s that good period, so he’s not worth keeping around.

The fact that Dusty got something for a mirage, bravo. Even if Buxton does come back and blow through and create some sentiment of an argument, great. You hit the 5% projection. Bad bets still hit.

Trade: Team Hydra | In Line 4 the Win

Team Hydra sends: C Jonathan Lucroy ($25), SP Rich Hill ($11)
In Line 4 the Win sends: 1B Freddie Freeman ($41), C Josh Phegley (FA), 2017 3rd Round Pick

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†This deal on paper makes a lot of sense. Hydra was dying for a first baseman, the unluckiest team in the league could use an upgrade at catcher and pitchers are always useful. After sitting on the trade for a couple hours I think both teams improved themselves in this trade.

Freddie Freeman is nearing enigma status. In my head a keeper at $40 makes complete sense. FanGraphs projections has him hitting 1.41 PPPA going forward. That’s pretty legit. Based on how things have been going, IL4W has really improved the team in a lot of ways. Based on projections, it appears to be more of a lateral move. I still love it for them.

For HYDRA I love the deal as well. Lucroy was not really doing enough for them. Freeman, as I said, projects to be better. That’s a pretty significant upgrade. Selling depth for a significant upgrade with easy keep-ability makes total sense.

It’s actually kind of hard to break down a trade like this. I think both teams win. Based on projections Team Hydra significantly improved their team. Based on past results, IL4W has significantly improved their team. At the worst in either direction, they didn’t hurt their respective teams. It’s a win-win.

Andrew’s thoughts: I guess the simplest way of putting it would be this: I’d rather be the side getting Lucroy and Hill.

I’ve given Alex from Team Hydra a hard time before about Lucroy, but the truth is, he’s a really good player and $25 isn’t bad for the second best catcher behind Buster Posey. I’m just not personally into paying premiums for catchers and whenever he and I spoke about a move involving Lucroy, I felt like that’s what I’d be doing. I didn’t really believe Lucroy was keepable at $27 next year, but there’s a good chance I was wrong about that.

Of course, this deal makes fundamental sense for both sides. Team Hydra has Posey, so Lucroy is a tad redundant at catcher. They also have Prince Fielder disappointing at first, so there’s an apparent hole there. In Line 4 the Win, meanwhile, has Anthony Rizzo at 1B but had been plodding along with Jason Castro, so you see where the pieces fit.

Anyway, I’m a big proponent of playing players in the position where they are most valuable. Posey, obviously, is more valuable at catcher. But in this case, I think I’d rather just shift Posey to 1B and play Lucroy at catcher than bring in Freeman to man first until Lucroy logs two more games at first, at which point he’ll have unlocked that position.

As of today, Lucroy has a higher wOBA by .028 points and ZiPS sees Freeman playing out the year with a .023 edge there. I’m not really sure I see a huge performance gap between Lucroy and Freeman heads up. These two guys are close enough that it probably didn’t warrant dumping Hill, a 30+ point per game starter at this juncture, just because Team Hydra has an abundance of pitching. Getting Hill as essentially a throw in is just good work by IL4W. Too much pitching is a gift, not a curse.

The other pieces involved are negligible. Phegley is an okay lefty mashing catcher, but he’s hurt and because he really only hits lefties, he won’t be playable most days. And even when he’s facing a Southpaw, you won’t bench Posey for him. He’s being viewed as depth though (he’s Hydra’s only other catcher now), I’m sure, so he’s fine. And the third round pick is an alright bonus too, just not a piece that really factors in much.

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.

Trade: The Foundation | Capital City Ironmen

The Foundation sends: RP Cody Allen ($10), 2017 3rd Round Pick
Capital City Ironmen send: SP Mat Latos ($1), 2017 5th Round Pick

Alex’s (Team Hydra) thoughts: With how the two players involved in the trade are currently performing, this is an incredibly unsexy challenge trade with each team hoping that the guy they added can turn it around. ¬†Just looking at the names involved, Allen seems like the guy most likely to do that. ¬†He’s coming off 3 straight seasons of an 11 K/9 or better with his ERA and FIP under 3.00 in each year. ¬†Latos, on the other hand is coming off a season where his ERA was 4.95 and he hasn’t had a K/9 over 8 since 2011.

Both have struggled this season. ¬†Despite recording 8 saves, Allen has only averaged 1.63 P/PG but this low score is weighed down from 4 negative outings which were 4 of only 5 appearances where he’s allowed an earned run. ¬†The bigger problem, at least from a fantasy perspective, is that only 2 of his 13 appearances have resulted in a score of more than 6 points which has prevented him from making up for the negative points. ¬†Steamer projects his rest of season numbers to result in the worst K/9, BB/9 and ERA since 2012 but still result in a nice bounce back from where he is now.

Latos’ value is much harder to pinpoint. ¬†Between 2013 and the half season he played in 2014, Latos put up 24 starts of over 30 points. ¬†Last year he only put up 8 such starts. ¬†He then started 2016 with 3 straight starts of 40+ points before posting 13, -14 and 9.5. ¬†Latos currently has an ERA of 2.62 but a FIP of 4.44 an ugly K/9 of 4.98 and after making big cuts to his HR rate in 2013 and 2014, it jumped up to over 1 HR/9 last year and has climbed a bit higher so far this season. ¬†Most concerning is that Steamer projects the HR rate to get noticeably worse (1.26 HR/9) while basically every one of his stats is worse than his 2015 season.

So now that I’ve proven I can copy stats off of Fangraphs, what’s all this mean? ¬†Well it’s easy to see Jordan’s thinking in making the move for Latos. ¬†Jordan has a solid bullpen already and with our league’s scoring, the best RP (Andrew Miller) has 68 points while the 30th best RP (Kyle Barraclough) – who isn’t even on a team right now – has 48 points. ¬†That’s an advantage of only 4 points per week between the best and a middle of the road RP. ¬†So Jordan could either hold on to Allen with the hopes that he regains form and either gives him a small advantage or allows him to trade him away at a high point. ¬†However we have no established trade market for RPs and as more people realize something that a few teams have known since the draft – spending money for RPs in this league makes no sense – Jordan’s decision to sell Allen seems like a smart move. ¬†The question is really, does Latos give him any advantage at all. ¬†He’s only Jordan’s 8th SP so he could use the depth and if Latos can find a glimpse of 2013/2014, or Jordan can accurately find those 5 or so 30+ point starts, then sure why not!

For Bailey, I’m not as big a fan of the move. ¬†Bailey’s team is currently last in the league in points scored which means any moves Bailey makes need to be big improvements this season or ones that focus on the future. ¬†Now Latos is not the future, even at $1, so trading him away is fine. ¬†And turning a 5th round pick into a 3rd round pick is great but a 3rd round pick isn’t really worth much. ¬†My bigger issue with the deal is that getting Cody Allen, even if he becomes 2015 Cody Allen, isn’t going to be a move that really does much for Bailey this season and as I’ve said, who knows that the trade market is for RPs. ¬†So grabbing him with the hope of flipping him seems ill advised. Allen was also $10 which wasn’t a bad price in the draft but at $12 next year, Allen would really have to go back to being elite to even be worth considering holding on to and even then, I firmly believe paying for RP is a mistake. ¬†Right now, it’s possible that Allen was all Bailey could get for Latos but if Bailey really is looking towards the future, he has all season to make these deals and selling Latos after 3 very poor starts for a struggling RP seems like a move just to make a move. ¬†If there’s one thing I learned in this league it’s that someone will always pay for SP so waiting for him to put together a few good outings and trying to sell for essentially anything besides a RP seems like the better play.

At the end of the day, I just wrote 800 words about two players who probably won’t have much of an impact in any way so I think I’m the one who lost this deal!