Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Hyun-Jin Ryu ($9)
Preseason Double Stuffs send: 1B Tommy Joseph ($5)

Andrew’s thoughts: At first glance, I thought I’d rather have Ryu on my team (particularly if I can get him for someone I’m going to cut), see if he’s healthy come February, and then if not, oh well, cut him. But I looked at some stuff and changed my mind.

Joseph posted a .342 wOBA last year in almost 350 plate appearances. Steamer projects him for a .334 next year. Fantrax projects him as a useful piece. I usually defer to the pitcher, but in this case, I’d rather roll the dice on Joseph. He’s a few bucks cheaper, hasn’t suffered through a million injuries, has a clear path to playing time, and is only 25-years-old. And Dusty’s offense looks very weak, so he could immediately be a contributor at UT and seems like a reasonable back-up at 1B for Hanley Ramirez.

I think I prefer this move from Dusty’s end. I imagine Ferns was going to cut Joseph, but I probably would’ve just kept him.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | We Talk Fantasy Sports

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Max Scherzer ($86), SP Rookie Davis (minors)
We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: SP Tyler Glasnow (minors), CF Manuel Margot (minors), SP Robert Stephenson (minors), SP Lucas Sims (minors), 2017 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†This is a really interesting deal. I think for both sides, it works out well.

For We Talk Fantasy Sports, this has been a unique season. They are 9-6 and in prime spot to challenge for the final playoff spite despite being objectively bad. They are 15th in total points which, since we’re mid-week, is a little finicky because some teams have used more starts than others. Still, an extra start or two isn’t going to make much difference. My stinky team is 14th in points and has a 324.3 point edge over WTFS. To say that WTFS, who has had the fewest points scored on them by a margin of 527.95 points over the next team, has been lucky is just a massive understatement.

But whatever! I think in some ways, simply being so lucky and being in this spot is all the reason you need to push in some chips. It could be ill advised and screw future seasons, but I would hope everyone’s goal is to win championships, not just out-kick your coverage and finish seventh (their current place in the standings). It’s almost August, they’re in playoff contention, so why not go for it (especially as it looks like all the other teams are content standing pat)?

Max Scherzer is a difference maker. He instantly becomes WTFS’s¬†best pitcher and it isn’t really even close. Their second best starter is Michael Pineda, who is just around league average. Of course, the price to take on the league’s sixth-highest paid player is a big one. Tyler Glasnow was a top-5 overall pick, Manuel Margot is a prized outfield prospect (I’m not super high on him for fantasy purposes), Robert¬†Stephenson is a regular on top-100 lists (he’s another guy I don’t like because he can’t stop serving up homers and will get to pitch his home games in Coors Lite), and Dusty’s team stinks, so that pick (his own pick, which he’d previously dealt) will probably be top-20. Given all the context — that WTFS has been far more lucky than good — I assume they’re making this move with the intent of keeping Scherzer beyond this year, which seems reasonable. While I like that they aren’t taking their fortune for granted, I’m not sure they swing this move for a rental knowing that they still have tons of ground to cover, even with Scherzer on board. It’s really just your run of the mill high risk, high reward move for WTFS. I respect their aggressiveness.

For Dusty, the truth is, there was never really a good reason to ignore (and in some cases dismantle)¬†his offense in favor of his nasty pitching staff (formerly Scherzer, plus Jake Arrieta, Zach Greinke, Kyle Hendricks, and John Lackey). Instead of a balanced team, he punted offense and went all-in on arms which is probably the biggest reason he’s at the bottom of the standings. By swinging this deal, he doesn’t do much to fix his offense. Margot pretty much has to be a stud from day one to be a marked upgrade over Brett Gardner in center. To be clear, if Margot produces exactly like Gardner, that’s great, because Gardner is good and Margot would cost nothing. I think too often people get tantalized by “upside” and ignore that players can be really valuable just simply by being good. It’s just that, adding a single good hitter¬†won’t magically propel an offense. Anyway, he does free up $88 headed into next year, which gives him better odds of keeping the rest of those pitchers if he wants.

The problem is, I’d actually looked at his team recently and thought it looked fairly simple to keep all those pitchers in tact, which would then clearly outline an offseason gameplan where you need to address only hitters. I mean,¬†you can just¬†cut Jason Heyward ($50 in 2017)¬†and¬†Mike Fiers ($13) and then apply the $20 auction cash you have sitting in till to keep Scherzer. That covers him almost completely. $16 Blake Swihart looks like an easy cut, $9 Hyun-Jin Ryu probably should be dumped unless his arm regenerates itself, $18 Neil Walker doesn’t strike me as a keepable investment, paying Josh Harrison, who looks like he’ll only qualify at 2B next year, $15 seems pointless. Keeping Scherzer was certainly a realistic option. I love Glasnow’s talent though (I almost took him third overall) and if you think he hits his ceiling, he’s certainly a better value than Scherzer at over $80. Plus you get Margot, Stephenson, a Lucas Sims lotto ticket, and that pick. But if I can afford to keep my studs, I’d rather do that, I think. I’m a Scherzer fan, so I’m likely harboring some bias toward him.

That all probably sounds like I don’t like it for Dusty, but I do. Bottom line is he didn’t need all the pitchers he amassed, and this way he distributes his talent a little better and frees up significant budget space. The trade is done so I don’t think it matters now, but I had very loosely pursued Scherzer and just didn’t want to part with the prospect package Dusty wanted, and I didn’t think Dusty would find anyone who would. The package he ended up getting is lighter, I think, but it’s close. Like I said, I think both sides come out clean on this one. There’s risk — there always is — but sometimes you have to just push down on the gas and see what happens.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†It’s really boring to just say that I agree with Andrew on all points, because I do. I love this deal for Dusty. Yes, Max is very keepable. Yes, its not a bad strategy to keep Max. Yes, there is reason to not sell off despite being “out of it.” But, Dusty’s trading one major asset for a bunch of interesting ones. Some more than others obviously.

Dusty still has a formidable staff and gets to punt on Max who has shown signs of shakiness (oh wait, that’s all pitchers in 2016, the worst year of baseball since 1994) at times. The flexibility he adds in four decent minor leaguers has its¬†perks.

I love this trade even more for We Talk Fantasy Sports. Honestly, who gives two shits about prospects when you have a legit shot at a championship? I don’t. You shouldn’t. Max in this kind of a formatted league offers a huge upgrade. Late August/early September, Max will be throwing against tired and expanded rosters. Probably toss a couple of 50 spots in playoff weeks. If you get a 2-start week in the playoffs from Max, hot dog, you nailed the jackpot. Sure, any of the prospects could be hard to lose, but at this point for WTFS you’re playing for now and winning today is more important than having a chance at some serious talent in two or three seasons.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | TBD

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: C Russell Martin ($18), 2018 1st Round Draft Pick
TBD sends: SP Hyun-Jin Ryu ($7)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I think Martin-for-Ryu straight up¬†is justifiable. Since acquiring Martin on June 14, he has scored a total of 64.1 points (9.16 pts/game) while being in Dusty’s¬†starting lineup seven times. He had a .373 wOBA in June. That’s terrific¬†production for a catcher. But Dusty’s just 4-8 overall, likely won’t make the playoffs, and has a hugely expensive pitching staff. So selling off a catcher he wasn’t likely going to be able¬†to keep for an inexpensive pitcher isn’t awful. Of course, having to start Sandy Leon (lifetime .263 wOBA; .524 wOBA in 35 PAs this year though!) going forward is going to suck, probably.

Ryu at $7 seems like a great gamble to me. He’s got a fantastic track record. His career FIP is 2.97, xFIP is 3.27, he gives up a paltry 0.60¬†homers per nine, and strikes out 7.66 per nine innings. He’s pretty close to being a viable ace of staff and at worse is a SP2. He also hasn’t pitched since 2014, though he’s throwing rehab starts now, so there’s a ton of risk here. I’m not sure that his odds of returning to form are better than his odds of¬†being a middling starter due simply to the effect of injury. But given Dusty has a ton of expensive pitchers and likely won’t be able to keep them all, I like the¬†dice roll.

TBD didn’t really need a catcher, per say, since they have Matt Wieters there. But Wieters gets a lot of regular rest because of the brittle, almost tissue paper-like composition of his bones, tendons, and muscles, and so Martin provides a great¬†option when Wieters rests. And with a rotation headed by Madison Bumgarner, Corey Kluber, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Wright, there would seem to be a bit less reward to having Ryu to offset the risk than there might be for some other teams. Though, like the Oysters, keeping those pitchers beyond this year could be a tight fit and having Ryu as a cheaper alternative could have been a helpful fallback.

My only real beef with¬†this trade is punting the top-16 pick in 2018. Granted, that is two drafts away and anyone you pick is likely to be two or more years from hitting the majors (so you’re looking at an asset maybe four years off?), but still. A second or even a third rounder was probably enough to plug any perceived gap here between pitcher and catcher. Maybe two bucks at auction next year covers it. I mean, I would totally trade a first round pick for a $7 Ryu, but I think I want to see him come back and string together a few good starts first. Yeah, now may be the last opportunity to get your foot in the door on him (if he comes back and pitches to his career averages, he’s suddenly a super commodity), but it could just as easily be the calm before the storm.

Dusty has also now exhausted all his first and second round picks in 2017 and 2018, and has previously sold off all of his worthwhile prospects. This is a system headed by… Touki Toussaint? Maybe he can sell off some parts as the season winds down to replenish, but it really feels like a buyer’s market to me. Logically, yeah, you should get a haul for one of his pricey pitchers if he doesn’t think he can finagle the cap to keep. But there hasn’t been much trade action at all, which suggests to me teams have become more hesitant to pay multiple big time assets for upgrades.

You Won’t Believe Who’s #6 On This Cool Spring Breeze List of Hot Sizzling Pitchers

A few days ago we focused on hitters that have been known to get off to a hot start, and today we will focus on pitchers that we have come to rely on in April, in each of the past three MLB seasons.

topAprilpitchers

Just like with the bats, there is an arm (or two) in this list that really doesn’t belong.

Let’s start with Anibal Sanchez – prior to the start of the 2013 season, the Tigers handed him $80 mil. ¬†Looking at this list of pitchers, seems like that was a great signing. ¬†However, the first number of his ERA has increased in each of his three full seasons with Detroit, up to 4.99 last year.

That being said, we are only worried about April here.  In 2013 he won three of his five starts and finished with an ERA of 1.34, 1.04 WHIP and a 41:9 K:BB ratio across 33.2 iP.  That accounted for 47% of his April points scored over the last three years.

Only Madison Bumgarner (48% ’13) and Johnny Cueto (48% ’14) had one year (month) be such a factor in them making this list.

The other pitcher that “doesn’t belong” on this list is Jeff Samardzija.

Bias aside, he is a good example of why counting wins in fantasy baseball doesn’t really make sense. ¬†In April of 2014, Samardzija went 0-3 despite owning a 1.98 ERA across six starts (41 ip). ¬†Actually, he is just 2-9 in early baseball.

Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Aaron Harang each have two, 200 point Aprils in the last three years, but each had one year that prevented them for eclipsing 500 points.

2013
Remember when Yu Darvish was around striking out 13.7 batters per nine innings in April of 2013?

2014

Hey look, Adam Wainwright was the best pitcher in April for back to back years!

After just one pitcher reach 50 K in April of 2013, the MLB was falling in love with  Jose Fernandez, before Tommy John took him away, and saw Max Scherzer and Johnny Cueto have career years.

Stephen Strasburg also punched out 50 batters in April, but only lasted 34 innings – averaging less than six inning per start.

How did Nathan Eovaldi sneak in there?  The only other month he had an ERA below 4.00 was August, and still finished with an ERA over 5.00 after the All-Star Break.

2015

No pitchers struck out 50 batters last year in April, and only Clayton Kershaw and James Shields even struck out 40 batters Рand neither made this list.  Kershaw had an ERA nearing 4.00.  Both pitchers only lasted 31 innings over five starts.

Remember that start to the season Aaron Harang had last year?  He finished April with a WHIP under 1.00, and over 3.5 K/BB.

Dallas Keuchel, Sonny Gray, Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole all gave fantasy baseball a great year and are going to have live up to HIGH expectations in 2016.

2016 Auction Review – TBD

TBD

tbd

Is their team name to be determined, or does TBD stand for something else? We may never know. Anyway during the auction draft do you know that moment when you are kind of poking around looking at the other team to see where they’re at. TBD looks great looking at that list top down. Until you go down. They punted pitchers so hard that I had to take several looks. There’s a lot here to discuss, probably the most fun roster to look at.

Hitters – Outstanding

Yep, I had to give it to someone. 1-10 the hitters here are just outstanding. Now, Matt Wieters had not been flagged for a wuss injury again at the time of the draft so we will pretend he’s okay. Warning, fantasy all-star list incoming: Eric Hosmer, Jose Altuve, Kris Bryant, Corey Seager, Troy Tulowitzki, David Peralta, JD Martinez, Miguel Sano, phew. Power, walks, contact, everything. The floor with this line up is so damn high that its impossible to ignore. If you have to nitpick, I can say that I don’t love Pillar in centerfield, but I have a feeling that will be solved at some point. Perhaps Pillar turns into a fantasy starter. Either way, I also don’t love spending $100 on short stops, but it¬†looks like it could work out well here. There’s a chance that Sano ends up finding a position which helps this line up even more.

Pitchers –¬†Whoops

Oh Christ. Really? I mean Phil Hughes is probably the most reliable starter here. Every other guy in that long list of eleven pitchers is someone I’m starting and praying each time. That’s a lot of prayers. Lets imagine that we are¬†in a bar and talking with a buddy who knows enough about sports to not be a complete dumb ass and you are going over roster? Andrew Heaney… Yeah he could be good this year. Jimmy Nelson, yeah he seems like he could be good this year. Edinson Volquez, I mean he’s probably alright. Hyun-jin Ryu, he’s still pitching? Oh he’s recovering from injury? Is he healthy? Well I guess if he’s healthy he’s probably good. Jonathan Gray, well when he’s not pitching in Colorado. You see where I’m going here? I’m not sure Derek Holland, Jorge Lopez, Hector Santiago, Wily Peralta, and Chris Heston are recognizable to your bar buddy so we won’t ask. I’m afraid that if TBD got three above average starters from this group, it would have to be considered a raging success, and that’s not good enough. Maybe there is something in the bullpen…Well TBD¬†drafted three relievers I guess.

Depth –¬†Uh-oh

Well, first off, those four right fielders only qualify for right field. Two of them are rookies. Tulo has to be slotted for the utility slot so his short stop advantage gets washed away. Enrique Hernandez covers a lot of spots, but he does not start daily for the Dodgers. I like Chris Carter, but not enough. The pitching depth doesn’t exist. There’s plenty of bullets to grab depth on this roster, but right now it is ugly as sin.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Thigns are ugly if any less than two starting pitchers are viable from the group. If they don’t find three regular SPs, TBD’s¬†season is over. If Kris Bryant isn’t worth $75, or if both short stops fail to be transcendent hitters. The season is just over. They went all in on the hitters, I love them, but they have to show up. There is a real threat for this pitching staff to score below 100 points on a weekly basis. Considering a good weekly score should be above 500 or 600. That’s way to much to ask of any line up.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

Luck will happen here, before April seven or eight of the starters show their competency and have reliable roles. TBD then is able to trade one of them to someone else desperate for pitching and get a nice piece. TBD then is also able to cut the others to pick up depth elsewhere. Meanwhile Seager and Tulo end up being top 30 hitters overall. Kris Bryant challenges for MVP because of his bat. The hitters can hit the ceiling easily enough, just a matter of the pitchers climbing from the mud.