Trade: The Wilfred Brimley Fightin’ Diabeetuses | Hustle Loyalty Respect

The Wilfred Brimley Fightin’ Diabeetuses send: SP Luis Perdomo ($1)
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (minors), 2018 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: Seems alright for both teams. HLR can afford to punt a promising teenager with several years between him and his first MLB at-bat in exchange for a cheap, quality starting arm.

Perdomo gets to toss in a favorable park and league and his FIP and xFIP both look good, plus he’s striking out more hitters this year than last. His 0.32 HR/9 rate will probably regress (he was at 1.41 last year over 146.2 IP), but it’s 2017, so even a HR/9 around 1.00 is passable.

I like Tatis as a prospect, but our minors aren’t yet deep enough and the salary aspect makes me give priority to guys with closer ETAs. If you’re WBFD, it’s fine, because Perdomo likely isn’t carrying you out of the cellar anyway. But I prefer HLR’s return here.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Hustle Loyalty Respect

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: 3B Matt Davidson (FA)
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: 1B Hanley Ramirez ($17)

Andrew’s thoughts: I see this as HLR cashing out a guy that was on waivers five days ago and only cost $1 of FAAB in exchange for a guy who was the 35th highest scoring hitter as recently as last year. That seems like good decision making to me.

As for Davidson, well, I don’t dislike him. I once had him in my minors in another league, so I liked him enough for that. Anyway, he’s currently rocking a 2.5% walk rate (awful!), 42.5% strikeout rate (Byron Buxton is the only player alive who thinks this is good), and a totally sustainable .556 BABIP.

I’m really not sure why you’d punt a player with Hanley’s track record of performance for a guy with 40 good plate appearances, particularly when the numbers behind those 40 plate appearances all scream regression. But hey, whatever.

EDIT: This review was written on April 25 and I forgot to publish it. But it has proved true so far. Since the 25th of April, Hanley has gone bonkers, scoring 77.6 points at a 9.7/game clip. Davidson, meanwhile, has -6.5 total points and six at-bats in his team’s last four games, seemingly becoming a bench option for the White Sox. HLR robbed on this one.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Preseason Double Stuffs

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

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

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

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

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

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Team Canada

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

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

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

The 2017 Minor League draft has been completed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trade: The Foundation | Hustle Loyalty Respect

The Foundation sends: LF/CF Rajai Davis ($5), 2017 5th Round Pick
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Christian Friedrich ($5)

Andrew’s thoughts: I begrudge both of these teams for making this deal because I will never get the time back that I have spent creating this post. Seriously: Christian what, Rajai who?

Anyway, I like this one for HLR, I guess. Both guys seem like they probably would have been cut if they weren’t traded and it’s possible they both still will be. Rajai Davis posted a 1.196 points per plate appearance last year and 1.202 the year before. That is good. He’s old and pretty much just a platoon guy, but at $5, eligible at two positions, and with 30 man rosters, he’s a solid bench piece. I mean… cutting him is whatever, you can replace lefty mashers like this. But if you win a guy like him right back at auction for, say, $3, does it really leave you noticeably better off? Getting him now saves some energy later.

Friedrich pitches in a pretty good NL ballpark, so what he lacks in obvious skill he makes up for in circumstantial benefits. Yay, he’s akin to the crappy third string running back that is suddenly valuable because the two guys ahead of him got hurt.

He kept homers down at 0.90 HR/9 last year, so that’s decent. He also struck out fewer than seven per nine and had a BB/9 of 3.62. The 4.16 FIP is about league average, but his xFIP of 4.75 says he could regress in the wrong direction. And his profile is one where regression takes him from useful to useless real quick. Of pitchers with 120 IP last year (hooray arbitrary cut offs), Friedrich’s xFIP ranked 98th out of 110 guys. He ranked 63rd in FIP. He’s a pitcher though, and every pitcher that has ever pitched is in an all-way tie for the #1 ranking in Jordan’s heart.

A fifth round pick is essentially the difference between filling a minor league spot at the end of the draft, after 64+ prospects have already been taken, and just waiting until free agency opens to fill the spot. The former is slightly more valuable than the latter, but I’m wasting keystrokes blabbering on about it.

If you have read this far, I regret to inform you that this is it. The post is over. There is no grand pay-off. No, unfortunately, you have just spent your time reading about Christian Friedrich and Rajai Davis.

Trade: Who’s Your Haddy? | Hustle Loyalty Respect

Who’s Your Haddy? sends: 1B Carlos Santana ($29), SP Ervin Santana ($9), 2018 2nd Round Pick
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: 1B Jose Abreu ($64), 3B Austin Riley

Andrew’s thoughts: All else being equal, I’d probably take Abreu over Carlos Santana. It’s not a slam dunk though. And things aren’t equal.

Santana is $35 (!!) cheaper than Abreu, outscored him by 106.9 points last year, and is projected by Steamer and ZiPS to finish with a higher wOBA in 2017. (I know it’s easy to poo-poo projections systems because “OMG they aren’t 100% right all of the time and sometimes they get a player really, really wrong,” but data is data and data is valuable, so…) Even if Abreu’s better, he has to be pretty significantly better to justify the extra $35 in cost. To date, Abreu has a career wOBA just .018 higher than Santana.

I’d much rather have Santana than Abreu straight up at their respective prices.

Plus, HLR added a cheap innings eater in Ervin Santana. He’s not awesome, but he was above average last year and definitely has standalone value. And because the cap savings between Abreu and Santana is so big, he’s basically just a free player for HLR. Even with Santana, HLR’s netting $26 against the cap with this deal, which means buying himself the option of keeping a guy like Garrett Richards.

The other two pieces, the pick and Riley, are whatever. Riley’s interesting and Haddy’s a Braves fan, so I get it. The pick is forever away. They don’t matter much in the grand scheme of this trade.

Jordan’s thoughts: I’m really going to disagree with Andrew on the main point. I’d rather have Jose Abreu, even with the higher price tag. While his points still ring true and make a certain amount of sense, I think Abreu’s ceiling is significantly higher still, and that’s worth paying for.

However, I do think Ervin Santana on top of the price tag difference, makes the trade a little sour to me. I really enjoy watching Jose Abreu, I like the potential, but its hard for me to part with a useful starting pitcher as well. I like the trade for Haddy, but the price was high.

I feel like Haddy bailed out Iosim here, and paid to do so. Come August though, it is not hard to imagine seeing Haddy as a clear winner here.

Trade: The Foundation | Hustle Loyalty Respect | Capital City Ironmen

The Foundation sends: 2B Neil Walker ($18) [to CAP]
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Adam Wainwright ($49) [to CAP], C Yadier Molina ($6) [to FND], 2017 1st Round Pick [to CAP]
Capital City Ironmen sends: 2017 1st Round Pick [to HLR]

Andrew’s thoughts: So in summation: HLR gets the 4th overall pick, I slide back to the 16th overall pick, get Neil Walker and his back problems, plus Adam Wainwright, and The Foundation gets Yadier Molina. This was a fun trade.

I really needed a 2B and didn’t like any of the options already sitting in free agency or on the trade market. I also felt really torn with the fourth overall pick. My list is pretty clear for the first two or three guys, but after that, it’s just a random dart throw for me between players with low ceilings versus players that are three years away from debuting, much less being fantasy relevant. So I hedged a bit on the pick front, moving back to 16th where there are some names I like and going ahead and adding my 2B.

Walker ranks 11th in wOBA at 2B from 2015-16 and 6th if you go back to 2014-16. I have no doubts about his skills. He walks a good bit, doesn’t strike out much, and has some pop. He had the back surgery last year, which is where my doubts lie, but $18 is really not that much. I don’t see how, at that price, he’s any more risky than some 19- or 20-year-old that’s just getting their feet wet in the minors.

Oh, and Adam Wainwright! I like him. Whether or not I keep him at $49 remains to be seen, but I like having the option. He’s a little over-priced, but last year was basically the only sub-par year he ever had and pitching at auction isn’t likely to be deep, so I’ll take the wildcard. Inquire if you’re interested in him! Absolute worst case, I kept HLR from trading him to someone else for $1 and ensured that if he makes it to auction, it’s because I made the call.

Jordan’s defense: I have been after a catcher since the off season started. Yadi was on the trade block, but Jonny and I had issues making a deal that fit well. Yadi’s Steamer projections have him as the 8th best catcher next year while taking a significant step back from last year’s production.

I enjoy not having to deal with Derek Norris or catcher streaming going forward. It cost me Neil Walker who was a borderline keeper for my team anyway. I would rather have Neil Walker than not, but since I picked him up off the waiver wire (shouldn’t have been there), I felt little connection to him. I will take a starting catcher for the sacrifice of not having a good back up at 2B and UT.

For HLR the motivation for the deal is clear. Moving to the fourth pick of the draft is both exciting and potentially profitable for a catcher slated to be a back up on his team and starting pitcher headed to the auction pool.

For Andrew, well I actually think he could have sold the pick for more. But, when you have three of the top four picks, securing a starting 2B and an option on a former ace with potential to return to glory, there are worse deals.

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: We Talk Fantasy Sports | Long Ball to LF

We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: 1B Chris Davis ($48)
Long Ball to LF sends: 1B/3B Travis Shaw ($5), SP Matt Moore ($11), 2017 1st Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: Long Ball to LF needed a 1B and got one of the better ones without giving up any significant pieces, so I definitely like this deal for them. Chris Davis is one of the best power bats in the game and at $48, he’s priced well.

On the WTFS side, I guess I get it here. They’re cutting costs and trying to find surplus value. On the cutting costs front, I’m just having a hard time figuring out who they’re chipping off value to keep. Like, with Hustle Loyalty Respect, he’s got a $49 Adam Wainwright and a $42 Garrett Richards that if he can finagle his budget enough, he might like to keep. They’re overpriced, but pitchers are valuable, whatever. With WTFS, I’m not sure if they’re hoping to have budget space for auction or positioning themselves to keep certain players.

I can’t really identify any players that make the latter seem likely. Punting Davis in order to keep, like, $17 Elvis Andrus and $27 Colin McHugh, for instance, seems weird. I want to imagine they’re dumping to keep $38 Byron Buxton. Because that means he’s got to perform that much better not just to justify his own salary, but to justify the dumping of quality talent to keep him around. :buxton: If it’s the former, well, that’d be kind of a fun “zig while everyone else zags” strategy, since it seems like the consensus is that the auction won’t have a ton to offer.

I’m not a Matt Moore fan because he’s HR-prone and that’s a dagger in this format, but pitching in San Francisco helps suppress bombs and raises his floor quite a bit. He’s worth $11 either way, as most any competent pitcher is. And Travis Shaw is only $5, moves to a full time role in hitter-friendly Milwaukee, and has bonus 3B eligibility. Downgrading from Davis to Shaw is a massive drop-off though.

And the pick is whatever. It’s the ninth overall pick, so they’ll land a top-100 prospect there almost definitely. Depending who they get and how well that player does through May or June, they could turn around and flip whoever they draft for profit.

Jordan’s thoughts: I think the haul for Chris Davis here is a bit light. Not so much that you need to make a big fuss about it. I know that Davis was shopped around and if this was the most attractive package they could get, well that’s the market. Bravo to both teams.