Trade: Senior Squids | TBD

SS sends: C Gary Sanchez ($27), $10 Auction Budget
TBD sends: SP Michel Baez (minors), 2B/CF Jahmai Jones (minors), RF Alex Kirilloff (minors), SP Franklin Perez (minors)

Hustle’s toxic $0.02: When the centerpiece of your sell off return is a pitcher in A-ball, you’ve done something wrong. Maybe if you weren’t selling off a big piece, sure. That being said, Gary Sanchez is 25 at the top of an elite position and comfortable priced under 30 bucks. I like Michel Baez, I’ve offered trades for him… but I’ve offered other prospects. Baez is also currently sporting a 4.71 xFIP as well as a 4.7 BB/9. The odds of Baez being an Ace in the majors is real, but slim. Franklin Perez is injured at the moment, he projects to be a decent MLB starter, but also might not be. Kirilloff is certainly a nice A-ball bat, but it’s also at outfield where it’s not particularly hard to find productivity. Jahmi Jones is just a guy. Maybe he’s the good version of Brad Miller/Brandon Phillips at 2B, a very decent depth piece to have if he hits. The chances of one of these players being a superstar like Sanchez is probably under 50%, it’s probably under 25%. You already have a young Sanchez, so trading him for risk seems like a pretty big mistake. If Gary Sanchez suffers a career threatening injury, I like this trade for Squids.

I think if you’re Squids and giving up on 2018 for some reason, it would have made more sense to try and get something out of Paxton instead of Sanchez. Paxton is 29 and has a lengthy injury history. Someone surely would have given him a few decent prospects for him too (still can!). But I think Squid’s goal of assembling the real life Mariners in a 16 team league is real and won’t be stopped.

TBD already has the best team on paper prior to this trade as well as the most points, so this only makes that stronger. In the end, things will come down to a one week playoff and certainly anything is possible. TBD has done tremendously trading non elite prospects for top tier talent. I think Squids panicked a little early in the season and once his mind was made up he was out of it he decided to play kingmaker but instead has made his team a pawn for years to come.

The $10 isn’t a big deal in terms of budget, it’s just a reminder of how cruel humanity can be.

Andrew’s thoughts: When Squids first traded for Gary Sanchez, I got my assessment wrong. That deal was for Corey Kluber, and in retrospect, it’s been alright. Sanchez has done far more than I thought he would and, surprise, surprise, the cost control aspect of these players that I harped on in that review isn’t that big a deal.

Anyway, here we are again, another chance to review a Sanchez trade. And this one strikes me as… worse.

I just don’t understand trading a young, affordable, elite hitter at the top of a thin position for a handful of non-elite prospects. I can’t even decipher who the best prospect here is. I guess it’s Franklin Perez, since he’s seemingly the closest to the majors. If I’m going to trade Sanchez to TBD and I insist on doing it for prospects, then Eloy Jimenez is involved or there’s no deal to be made. Period. I was amazed that JD Martinez and a full loan was handed over to TBD without Eloy and I’m amazed that now Sanchez has been too. If TBD says Eloy’s untouchable, then alright, move along. Whatever. There’s no clear reason that Sanchez had to go anywhere, so just keep him. He’s better than Eloy anyway. But at least in Eloy you’re getting a legitimate, consensus top flight prospect. You do him, Baez, and Jones or whatever and this seems at least explainable.

I just don’t really get the rush to punt on Sanchez. At worst, he’s $44 next year — and that’s with greed, which now will be spread out across other guys instead. Whatever salary is ultimately freed up here seems like it has very little, if any, practical value, especially since $10 also inexplicably got dumped into TBD’s pocket (kudos to Joe and/or Josh for having the balls to say, “we realize we’re getting the best catcher in the game here and he’s on a nice salary, but can we also get $10 to cover when teams greed him up?”), eating into whatever savings. And Squids spent $51 at auction this year on relievers and a broken Carlos Rodon. So like, just don’t do that next year and you can safely keep elite Sanchez. You’re way, way, way better off going into auction with a proven points-scorer like Sanchez locked in than with a bunch of money to flush on risky players.

I mean… our trade block is public, and in it, Squids insisted on “top grade” prospects and cited “major league ready” as a bonus. This batch of prospects are not “top grade.” Per FanGraphs most recent grades, Baez is a 55 FV, the other three guys are 50. That is indisputably not “top grade.” And of them, only Perez is all that close to the majors. Jones is in A+ and converting from CF to 2B, so his development may lag a little. Baez isn’t faring all that well in A+. Kirilloff is coming off surgery in A-ball. These guys won’t help this year or next, most likely, and may not be fantasy relevant until 2020.

So yeah, I just love this deal for TBD. They’ll pick up a few prospects from their watch list for $0 FAAB bids this morning and let them marinate in their minors a while until eventually they’re on a top-100 list, because on a long enough timeline that’s just sort of what happens with halfway decent prospects. And in the meantime, they’ll bank a bunch of Sanchez homer points en route to a potential points championship. Good work, fellas.

Trade: TBD | Off-season Double Stuffs

PRE sends: RF JD Martinez ($55), $55 Auction Budget
LB sends: RF Austin Hays ($5), LF/CF Lewis Brinson ($1; cost controlled), SP Brandon Woodruff ($1; cost controlled), SP Adrian Morejon (minors)

Andrew’s thoughts: When this trade first popped up I thought, “dear God, please tell me this is not the package Ferns is going to pay down JD’s entire salary for.” But guess what? It is!

I love, conceptually, a team in a punt year offering to cover a star player’s entire salary in a deal. I think its a creative way of extracting max value, and in this case, potential long-term value for a guy that, at least in 2018, doesn’t really matter if he’s there or not. And this is definitely one of those trades where, a year from now, everything I’m about to say could look very, very stupid. But… I don’t think these players are a compelling return at all for a free year of JD Martinez.

Martinez is pretty much a lock to be an elite hitter. He’s had some injury issues and maybe his skills won’t hold up as he slinks into his 30’s, but a single season of an elite player where someone else pays the salary is enormously valuable. Like, super super valuable. I believe he outproduced Paul Goldschmidt on a Pt/PA basis last year. So just imagine your team and your budget, but with Goldschmidt magically on it at zero penalty. I don’t think his free agency limbo matters, because his power translates to any park. I don’t worry as much about health or age, because the production is of zero question, and production is what matters.

I don’t think Lewis Brinson, who just got handed a full-time job but also a ballpark downgrade in Miami, is that interesting. Scouts like his power potential, but the balls are juiced. Everyone has the potential to hit homers. He’s got 60-grade speed, but SBs aren’t that valuable. I know he’s one of those toolsy, if-it-all-comes-together upside guys and he’s been ranked highly on all the lists, but I just can’t get overly excited about him. And how much of his list pedigree is defense-based? He’s got great defensive scouting grades. Again, he could blow up and I could look dumb. Of course, if he blows up in 2018, well, then his $1 season will have had very little impact for you because you’re punting and he’ll cost a few bucks more the following year (not enough for it to matter probably, but still). His projections currently peg him as a below average outfielder in 2018, which is fine, he’s a prospect, the projections rarely love them. He’s just not a prospect I’m crazy about. I also think, as many injury concerns as you may have about JD, Brinson’s got them too. At least JD can blame his on age.

Austin Hays is a guy I like, but he’s actually very similar to Brinson except he gets to hit in a friendly park. And he’s not cost controlled which, starting with a $5 salary, probably doesn’t matter much. Maybe he gets hit hard with greed next year. Who cares? I think I also may have talked myself into Hays because he’s an Oriole and I want to believe in the Orioles’ ability to occasionally develop a good prospect. I wonder if he’s going to get on base enough to provide a safe floor. He doesn’t walk at all, even in the minors, and seems like a guy that could strikeout a bunch. So really, the two cornerstone pieces of this deal — and I’d argue a team paying you to take JD for a year is maybe the most valuable singular asset ever traded — are very, very high risk. Like, all ceiling, no floor, and the ceiling is questionable in an offensive environment where both guys’ calling card tools are shared by anyone who can figure out launch angles.

The pitchers are, to me, meh. I’m a fan of Brandon Woodruff, picked him up in another league and felt like he had value, but he’s also a pitcher in Milwaukee. The home park could be an obstacle and frankly, I’m not even sure he’s got a rotation spot locked up. Roster Resource currently says he’s out. The Brewers are expected to add a pitcher. I mean… is Woodruff a swing man? Does he come out of the bullpen? I don’t know. Adrian Morejon, meanwhile, is a guy I know very little about. He’s on lists. He’s also not even 19-years-old yet and a pitcher. Dude doesn’t have 30 innings at A-level ball yet. I just don’t see it.

For an asset as valuable as $0 JD, I just don’t want every single asset coming my way to have this many question marks. I think if there’s no budget involved here, it looks a lot better, because it gives the Double Stuffs some options to add talent via auction or trade for an overpriced player before then and still gives them the lottery tickets.

Reading back over this, I feel bad for being so negative. I don’t think I really dislike the guys Ferns got back as much as it probably sounds. I kinda hope someone digs up this review in a year and we can all laugh at how stupid I was. I just don’t think this package is enough. If its me, Eloy Jimenez is in it as well, or no deal. I’m getting an unquestioned elite fantasy prospect back. I probably even want a little more still. I traded Aaron Judge (to be fair, I shopped him and no one wanted him!) for Matt Holliday last year. So eh, what the hell do I know?

 

Hustle’s Toxic $.02

I’d like to say I admire Ferns for being one of the most active members of the league over this awful time of year called “the offseason”. If you think I started this by saying something nice so I could I say I don’t like the trade for him, well yeah you’re right… but it’s also true. I always respect someone putting thought into their team and actively trying to make it better and it its better to have someone reject your trade offer 71 times and throw in some counters than just let it sit there.

The trade ironically  makes TBD the preseason favorite.  It’s a pretty no brainer to trade 4 prospects for a paid JD Martinez, especially when they didn’t have to include their best prospect, perhaps not even 2nd or 3rd depending on your taste. Ferns was in a hurry to make the deal, but I’m not sure why, especially with the season almost 2 months away. Surely if he signs with Boston/Arizona the price goes up, if he signs with the Giants, I can’t imagine this offer not still being on the table.  Paying for the contract in full, the trade doesn’t even have to be made before the Auction, you’re out the $55 either way. If Ferns knows something about JD’s health that we all don’t, kudos to him on the ultimate hustle.

As for the return?  Brinson is the most attractive piece. He’s been traded 3 or 4 times in this league, 2 times in real life, and in the least attractive ballpark  now. If he breaks out this year, which is possible, he’s in his 3rd mlb year next year already. The best part of having a good prospect is the upside of getting 2 amazing years for basically $1 like we will most likely see Bailey get with Bellinger. That’s not to say he wont have a lot of value if he’s good, but a chunk of it is certainly gone.  Looking at Ferns roster, I think he can objectively say it might be a struggle to compete in 2019, if thats the case, that’s even more value out of Brinson (we’re also still just assuming Brinson is good and stays healthy which is no given for either).  Hays being immune to walks curbs his upside, but if he hits well enough he’s a useful piece.  I actually do like Woodruff a little bit, and the fact that he might not get many starts on a crowded Miluwakee team in 2018 doesn’t really hurt Ferns at all unless that happens in 2019 too.  That being said, same issue with Brinson in terms of losing potentially the most profitable year or two because your team isn’t competing those years. Adrian Morejon is  a guy I think may be overvalued. He will be a starter down the line (unlike all the relievers Hydra seems to be drafting), but he’s also a guy who’s upside may not worth waiting on for that long.

These are prospects and I am not a scout. The scouts get them wrong all the time and I’m willing to admit I know far less than them. I agree with Bailey saying this will be an interesting trade to look back on. They are all interesting guys and could hit.

Ultimately I do think this trade comes down to patience. Ferns wanted to get a trade JD Martinez for prospects ASAP. Meanwhile TBD put Hays/Brinson on the block all offseason long, patiently waiting until someone bite on prospects that have value, but they clearly soured on.

God Speed

 

Trade: Capital City Income | Pre Season Double Stuffs

 

Capital City Income trades away
UrĂ­as, Julio ($1, first controlled year)

Preseason Double Stuffs trades away
Cabrera, Miguel ($73)

Hustle’s $.02

First things first. We must recall that a little over a year ago PDS acquired Miggy from CCI.  In sum from these two deals Bailey got a 1st round pick (Senzel…which was the center piece for Stanton), Soler (which was a big piece in his acquisition for Mccutchen), Ian Happ, Bellinger, and I guess Brett Phillips for damaged goods Urias and Blake Snell If I’m missing vital parts of these two transactions, I’ll be happy to edit.

CII gets reunited with Miggy. Miguel Cabrera is having a disappointing year and at his age, there’s a pretty high chance he’s not getting kept at $75.  That being said, I don’t think he’s dead (unlike Urias). His numbers are down, most notably his slugging, but I kind of don’t buy one of the best hitters of all-time is done at 34.  5 points a game is a disappointment by Miggy standards, but I think better times are ahead. David Ortiz had some bad stretches in his mid 30s and was a superstar late, and I don’t think he was the hitter in his prime Miggy was.

I totally get a rebuilding and moving on from Miggy and getting whatever value you can, but looking at PDS’s roster there aren’t a lot of cost commitments here. I see well under $100 bucks of keepable pitching and probably under $250 of keepable hitting. I’d say those figures are conservative and should be lower  I’d say at a minimum (without other trades) PDS is going to have a ton of cash in the next auction. Auction cash is great, I probably overrate it more than most people, but having good players is better.  PDS current projected 2018 roster highlights seem to be JD Martinez, Schoop, Jordan Montgonery (one of the year’s best pickups) and I guess Lance Lynn. All nice players. . That being said, I think this core is going to struggle in 2018, which is perfect for Urias , because I don’t think he’ll be pitching much in 2018.

As a Dodgers fan, I hope I’m wrong, but Urias’ effective or even complete career may be over.  I think Bailey was very wise to get what he could for Urias now, because the best case scenario is he’ll be an OK pitcher in 2019. He’s damaged goods.

Urias’s injury sends shock waves through the Dodgers’ organization as only a handful of pitchers have ever had this surgery, and only Chris Young of the Royals has come back and pitched effectively at the Major League level after it.  Other pitchers who had capsule surgery are Rich Harden, Mark Prior, and Johan Santana.”

Chris Young Royals upside!  I mean, he won a World Series pitching for them. #ringz.

We were all really excited that first minor league draft and Urias was in the mix to be #1 overall. I think the shine has wore off considerably just because of this unfortunate injury. At least Urias will be DL eligible throughout the entire recovery process so a roster spot won’t be wasted. I expect Urias to give PDS very little if anything next year, but at least his $3 or whatever will be a drop in the bucket and won’t prevent them from spending on available assets.

Just for fun. JUST FOR FUN.  Top 10 things I’d rather have than Julio Urias right now. (Again, I truly hope I’m wrong about Urias’ career.)

1) one first round pick

2) Aaron Hicks

3) $6 auction dollars.

4)  Jordan’s greed dollar in perpetuity

5) Byron Buxton (so I have the ability to cut him.)

6) Tyler Oneil

7) Miguel Cabrera

8) Wander Javier‘s younger brother

9) The right to mention _____ in a trade review not involving him.

10) A damaged good prospect who has a lot of value in trade.

I know you all thought I would mention Sucre, but I take this seriously.

 

 

Trade: TBD | Preseason Double Stuffs

TBD sends: RF J.D. Martinez ($36)
Preseason Double Stuffs send: 2017 2nd Round Pick, 2018 1st Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: Getting a healthy $36 JD Martinez for just a couple draft picks is a steal. Of course, Martinez is not healthy, and he likely won’t be until sometime in early to mid-August, if not later. The Double Stuffs also have the worst record in the league, so (a) Martinez won’t help this year, and (b) that 2017 2nd Round Pick is likely to be somewhere in the 17-18th overall range. Though I’m honestly not sure you couldn’t find a prospect on waivers right now comparable to whoever the 17th or 18th best draft-eligible one will be.

(Keep in mind, the draft pool will feature incoming MLB Draftees, international prospects without Major League deals — so teenagers like Kevin Maitan and Lazaro Armenteros — and any prospects that aren’t already owned. There will be guys everyone likes, but not necessarily guys that are valuable. There’s a difference, I think.)

But oh well. After his off-season raise, Martinez will cost $38 in 2017 and I think he’s easily worth it. So this is a solid future move for the Double Stuffs. I do value draft picks, but I think the cost control nature of prospects you get with them are somewhat overvalued. Martinez is a beast in his prime and is priced reasonably. Old favorite Byron Buxton costs a mere $4 less than him. Randal Grichuk costs $1 less. Michael Brantley, who is forever broken, costs $1 more. Whoever gets drafted this year and next may or may not ever even reach the majors. And if they do, they could just suck. Sure, if they make it and are at least average, the cost control aspect is nice, but I’d still rather have Martinez. I don’t love that the Double Stuffs won’t draft in the first or second round in each of the next two years, but I suspect they can recoup some draft currency at some point and I think you can probably offset lacking for picks by simply “scouting” harder.

The other bone you could pick is that before this trade, the Double Stuffs were projected somewhere around $150-160 over next year’s cap, and adding to that only increases the amount that’ll need to be cut. But I’m not sure that’ll be a problem. Looking at their roster, would anyone scoff if they sent $75 Chris Archer back to auction? Or $27 Taijuan Walker? Or $23 Carlos Gomez? That’s $125 right there. Point is, yeah, adding Martinez means they have to cut more, but I don’t think that’ll ultimately prove to be a major problem.

For TBD, I don’t love the timing. In fourth place currently, they could’ve held Martinez and been able to add a dangerous bat just in time for the post-season. Unless the picks get flipped, they aren’t helping for the rest of this season. Also, our first roster cut down isn’t until January (full off-season schedule is here). If Martinez comes back in August and finishes out the year healthy, I suspect he would have been worth significantly more than, at best, the 17th overall pick and a first-rounder two drafts away, in trade between October and that first cut down date. So if keeping him even at $38 was an issue, there would have been time to address alleviating that salary and, in the process, probably getting more back in trade.

Jordan’s thoughts: As my own chances to win have nearly evaporated, and my chances to bottom out are also faded, deals like this seems like the new soft market. I applaud our oreo loving friends. They got the option to a player who is almost guaranteed to be worth his keeper price. For the cost of a few pennies.

Say Martinez has a setback and his 2017 becomes unclear. Whatever. Bailey said it best, the prospects incoming are exciting, but they’re a long ways out. Until our minor league rosters are 25+ players, sitting on 18 year olds is a costly gamble. I think sitting on Martinez is a cost-effective gamble.

For TBD, while I don’t mind losing Martinez for draft picks, I really feel like if this is the price tag for keepable stars, I’m just holding.

Some thoughts about my team…

A few days have passed since our auction draft and I’m still not settled on how I feel about my team overall. Some things I like, some I don’t.

So I’m going to write some words and think this thing through a little. Sometimes writing helps to clarify.

You can also read Jordan’s thoughts on my team here.

As an aside: you can probably tell by now that I don’t care too much about talking about my team publicly. Some owners are tight-lipped. Personally, I don’t think sharing my thought processes gives away any competitive advantage. If I have a thought that I think becoming public does compromise some advantage then, well, I just won’t share it publicly. Simple enough.

Thought #1: I kinda wish I hadn’t won BOTH Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera.

Coming into the auction, I hoped to get two cornerstone hitters and go from there. I did not plan for them to both play the same position.

To be clear, I love both these guys. I’m not upset that I have them. But I do wish I would’ve spent the cash — $70 went to Votto, $71 to Miggy — from one of these guys on a player from a different position. Like, say, Josh Donaldson ($68), Andrew McCutchen ($69), or Jose Bautista ($62).

In a vacuum, I’ll take Miggy or Votto over all three of those guys. But given positional need and roster flexibility, I painted myself into a corner taking two top tier first basemen.

Thought #2: Alex Rodriguez is kind of an obstacle.

I don’t think $21 for A-Rod is too much. Jordan looked at some values using the FanGraphs auction calculator suggesting A-Rod is a $1 player, meaning I overpaid by $20 and cost myself significant value. I think the calculator is wrong.

Zips has a .336 wOBA for A-Rod in 2016. Steamer is much cooler on him. According to Steamer, he’ll be only the 105th best hitter. Fantrax, whose projections aren’t worth much, has him as the 71st best hitter. He was the 31st highest scoring hitter a year ago in a renaissance season.

No matter how you slice it, this is not a $1 player. Truthfully, $21 probably is a few bucks too much, but that’s true of a bunch of players. David Ortiz, who is A-Rod’s mirror image in a lot of ways (age, risk, production, position eligibility), went for $30. At 40, anything can happen with A-Rod. But I feel like I’ll get good numbers from him.

The problem is, he’s a utility-only hitter. And one of Miggy or Votto is plugged into that other spot, which leaves my options slim. I tend to try to accumulate talent first and worry about lineup composition later, but in this case I wish I hadn’t.

Thought #3: Patrick Corbin and Nick Markakis are a couple of my favorite values.

I love Patrick Corbin. (You love him too, given all the inquiries I’ve had for him already.) In his only full season in 2013, he posted a 3.43 FIP. Last year, in 16 games coming back from Tommy John, he picked up right where he left off with a 3.35 FIP. Oh, and he improved his strikeout and walk rates. He got swinging strikes on his slider 24% of the time.

The risk with him is clear. He could get hurt again, the track record is short, and he could be on an innings cap in 2016. I guess his home park is less than ideal too. But he’s also just 26 and has posted the kind of numbers most teams will seek from their SP2 or SP3.

And for $16. Marcus Stroman, who I like a lot, went for twice as much. I’ll take my $16 Corbin over a $41 Michael Wacha or $30 Masahiro Tanaka, for example. Off-season fantasy darling Raisel Iglesias, who I also like a lot, went for $29. Corbin struck out about a batter and a half less per nine, but also walked fewer and posted better FIP, xFIP, and HR/9 despite a BABIP that was higher by .041. I’m not saying Iglesias won’t be superior (because “upside!” or whatever). But $13 better? All I’m saying is I like this particular player at his particular price.

Markakis, meanwhile, is just an old favorite of mine from his time with the Orioles. Four bucks for a career .291/.359/.429 hitter makes me happy.

Of course, the “upside” here is nil and the power numbers last year were sobering. He hit three home runs all year with a .080 ISO. But in 2013, he hit 10 homers with a slightly better .085 ISO. He had a 2.1% HR/FB rate a year ago. Of players with 500 or more plate appearances, only noodle bats Alcides Escobar, Ben Revere, and Angel Pagan got less of their fly balls into the seats. Escobar went for $3 and Revere for $6, for whatever that’s worth. I don’t think getting back to double digit bombs is unrealistic — I think it’s likely, in fact — and if he does that (and frankly, even if he doesn’t) he will be a very solid starting outfielder at practically no cost.

Thought #4: I left too much money on the table.

I came in $10 short of our $500 auction budget due to trades, then proceeded to leave $21 in my pocket at draft’s end. That was very stupid.

Here’s what happened: after starting slowly, I quickly piled up some big dollar players. My first three players cost me $70, $71, and $71. Then I added a $21 A-Rod and $60 Johnny Cueto. My next two players, Sonny Gray and Tyson Ross, were had for $96 total. That was my setup through the first 98 nominees.

From there, I hybernated. I eventually grabbed Martin Prado ($4) at the 179th nomination spot. Going 81 spots and almost two hours without adding a player is a long time. The wait was deliberate. My cash was much lower than most everyone else’s, so I decided unless a player I really coveted came up, I’d sit back and let other teams spend, hopefully opening some holes for me later.

It worked, but I failed to hit those holes.

I sometimes undervalue hitters and/or overvalue my own ability to squeeze points out of lesser hitters. That cost me. I just waited and waited, and eventually the players worth spending on ran out and I was left with $21. I feel a lot better about my offense today if I’ve got an Alex Gordon ($17) or Matt Kemp ($11) to plug in. Or I could have, you know, taken that extra $21 plus the $21 spent on A-Rod and allocated it better. That’s enough to have bought a Starling Marte, Robinson Cano, Yasiel Puig, or JD Martinez, just to rattle off a few.

Thought #5: I should’ve kept pushing for Max Scherzer.

This sort of rolls into #1 and #4.

I bid Scherzer up to $85, then he went to Ferns for $86. There’s no telling how high the bidding might have gone if I’d kept pushing, but I wish I’d found out. If I land Scherzer, I almost definitely don’t get both Miggy and Votto.

I’m also not totally comfortable with Carlos Carrasco ($71) as my SP1, though I don’t mind his price. In other words, getting Scherzer would’ve likely took me out of the market for one of the hitters, but not Carrasco. Penciling him in as my SP2 behind Mad Max would’ve been fun.

Thought #6: Speaking of Carlos Carrasco

Someone commented in the auction room after Carrasco went off the board that the winning bid was influenced by “hype.” To which I say: when a guy finishes as the 17th highest scorer on only 30 starts, the ninth best FIP, the fourth best xFIP, and the fifth best K/9 rate, the hype has some merit behind it. And he did all that with a high, unfortunate BABIP and elevated HR/FB rate.

I get the risks here. He’s gone over 100 innings in his big league career just thrice and has maxed out at 183.2. That’s on my radar. I won’t sleep easy knowing this. But he’s paid as a top 12-13 pitcher and all indicators are that, if healthy (a caveat that applies to every pitcher), he should produce right in that range.

Thought #7: I won’t have trouble rooting for my guys.

I don’t really believe in targeting players I “like” as in, hey, so and so is fun to watch on TV, so I should do something totally irrational to get him. It’s a tiebreaker for me when choosing between similar players. But I ended up coming out of this auction with a bunch of unheralded guys that I generally like beyond just fantasy stuff. Mike Napoli ($4), Nori Aoki ($1), Denard Span ($4), and Johnny Cueto ($60). The latter isn’t “unheralded” but I wanted to mention him so that I could link to that photo.

I remember a few years ago — I think 2011, but I’m not sure — I had Aoki on my MLB The Show team. Except I had no idea he was a real player. I thought he was one of the random minor leaguers or a fictitious rookie the game created. But he was awesome in the game. He was a slap hitter kind of like Ichiro, lashing line drives all over the place. He was fast, too. In video game baseball, I attempt a million steals. As soon as I realized he actually existed, I liked him even more and have been fond of him ever since.

Thought #8: Please stay healthy, Corey Dickerson.

I didn’t actually mean to win Dickerson. I was sort of half bidding him up, half interested in him at a bargain basement price. But I accidentally clicked him for the $10 winning bid which, actually, you know, might end up working out quite nicely.

This is a guy with perpetual health issues who is obviously going from a hitter’s park so favorable that calling it simply a “hitter’s park” isn’t enough. His perceived value is way down. But he’s still just 26 years old and has posted some remarkable offensive numbers. Of batters with 600+ plate appearance since the beginning of 2014, he has the 23rd best WRC+ (133). Because park factors play so vividly in how Dickerson’s viewed, I used WRC+ because it’s a park adjusted stat. wOBA (.390), which is not park adjusted, ranks him 11th in all of baseball under those same criteria.

Neither Zips or Steamer expect him to continue hitting so torridly, nor do they expect him to play a full slate of games. Maybe both are true. Maybe I’m trying to talk myself into the player. I mean, Max Kepler, who has logged a grand total of seven MLB at-bats, went for the same price. Depending on your lens, Dickerson at $10 is a bargain.

Closing thoughts…

Overall, I expect this team to compete. But the path will be tougher than it should’ve been, and that’s my own fault. I’m excited for the challenge.

Not that in anyone in Grinders should or does care, but I took the salaries players went for here and applied them to my team in the Dy-Nasty league you’ve heard us mention on a few podcasts, which uses pretty much identical scoring. My 25-man roster over there went for $792 total here. I’ve got another seven guys in my minors there that were auctioned off here and aren’t included in that total.

The roster I’m starting with is going to require a lot more effort and attention on my part. The margin for error is smaller. My offense is going to require patience and caffeine, because while there are quality players all over (I can’t wait until those of you who are new to this depth/scoring start seeing the types of players that become valuable), it’s a unit about as exciting as flossing your teeth.

But navigating that stuff is part of the fun, and I doubt anyone is looking at their team post-auction and seeing perfection. Everyone has work to do. I’m ready to get started.

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.