From worst to first

Per Dan Beachler’s request, here is a “how I went from worst to first” post. I suppose technically I wasn’t worst last year, and by head-to-head record I wasn’t first in 2017 either. (I was first in points!) But hey, here we are.

I should preface this by pointing out what should already be obvious: there’s a ton of luck involved in fantasy sports. Even if you talk fantasy sports a lot, for example, you’re going to find that you won’t uncover all the answers.

I thought the team I assembled in 2016 would compete. Then, Miguel Cabrera (.340 wOBA in April/May) and Joey Votto (.276 wOBA in April/May) started painfully slow. They were supposed to be my offensive anchors. Tyson Ross, a 32.52 points per game starter in 2015, got hurt in his first start and missed the season. Carlos Carrasco, my best pitcher, missed all of May. Sonny Gray turned into a pumpkin. Alex Rodriguez had a .293 wOBA in April/May. Of the first seven guys I won at our inaugural auction, only Johnny Cueto was good or even useful through the season’s first six weeks or so.

All of that is blind, dumb luck. I don’t control injuries. I don’t control Votto, one of the best hitters of our generation, hitting like Jose Peraza for over a month.

I certainly left money on the table that first auction and probably relied too heavily on boring, useful bench types as starters. I legitimately thought a cheap Trevor Plouffe was an acceptable starting 3B option. I thought I could platoon the White Sox catchers last year, an idea that played out so poorly I may as well have just played the year without a catcher slot. But mostly, my team went bust in 2016 because of random stuff that could happen to anybody. Even if they’d all stayed healthy and produced early, I probably wouldn’t have been a great team. But because that stuff did happen, I decided in May to start reworking my team by trading Cabrera and Gray for picks and prospects. That was the first step in climbing out of the cellar and to the top…

Step 1: The Miguel Cabrera/Sonny Gray trade

Sending Miggy and Gray to the Preseason Double Stuffs for Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ, Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler, and draft capitol is really what ignited my team into 2017. Bellinger, as a rookie, hit at a 1.737 points per plate appearance clip for me at a $0 cost. That’s elite production. Again, I can’t control that Bellinger hit. But he did and it helped.

The one thing I will say is, I targeted prospects that I thought would debut in 2017. Because (a) my team sucked in 2016, so if they debut and their clock starts, that’s a ding in value; and (b) points now are better than points later. I’m not super interested in an 18-year-old prospect in Single A when there’s a comparable 22-year-old prospect on the cusp of the majors. In the case of this specific trade, the Double Stuffs happened to have a few near-MLB guys that fit the bill. And I love Ian Happ, so. Obviously, there’s no science involved. The Cubs could’ve promoted Happ last year. The Dodgers could’ve called Bellinger up in September. I can’t control that stuff either. But I do think it’s possible to hedge within reason and if your goal is to get better quickly, you won’t do it with teenagers unless you’re using them exclusively as trade currency.

Happ, Soler, and the draft pick acquired from the Double Stuffs — which I assumed would suck but became the second overall pick — didn’t score me a ton, really. I did have Happ in my lineup 25 times at 5.76 points per game, so that’s pretty good. But 25 starts isn’t swinging things much one way or another. But these pieces ended up helping later on.

My other big trade was swapping Cueto for JP Crawford, Aaron Judge, and a first round pick. More on Judge in the step below. But also, damn, I had and traded Judge. Frowny face.

I should note here also that not going full scale blow-up mode helped. Hanging onto Votto and Carrasco is as big a reason as any that my team got good. The offers I got for these players were, frankly, pitiful, so that made things easy. But I could have very easily dumped them for picks and lukewarm prospects and gone into auction with $350 or whatever. I’m glad I didn’t.

Step 2: Acquiring good veterans from over-budget teams for picks and prospects at below market rates

I think this was more impactful to my team than Bellinger. Because I “tanked” the season, I was able to build up a solid minor league system and a nice cache of draft picks. But picks and prospects rarely score points. So in the off-season, when teams way over budget shopped quality veteran players, I cashed out some of those assets and bought. And because I’d sucked so badly that I had loaded up on picks and prospects, selling some didn’t mean leaving the cupboard bare.

I acquired a way overpriced Andrew McCutchen for Soler, Travis d’Arnaud, Billy Hamilton, and I think a second round pick. Cutch mostly bounced back in 2017 (1.438 PT/PA), thankfully. I couldn’t have controlled that either, but I’m comfortable betting on a player with an elite track record. It paid off. I think that’s the key to a quick rebuild. If you’ve got budget space, use it ahead of auction and buy low to lock in a guy you think can bounce back. I think budget space is worth much more pre-auction than during auction, when you’re left picking through the risky players no one wanted. I also think if your team sucks like mine did but you want to quickly improve, you need to gamble. You need to overpay a guy or two and hope for a return to form. Also, you won’t likely have an opportunity to buy a recently elite talent at auction. And if you do, there may only be one or two of those guys, so you’ll have competition.

I also bought Russell Martin for a second round pick. Martin’s another efficient, boring veteran player. But my catcher position was the worst in the league in 2016. Martin helped fixed that.

One other trade was working a three-way swap with The Foundation and Hustle Loyalty Respect that effectively landed me Neil Walker and the 16th overall pick for the 4th overall pick. HLR used the pick to take Blake Rutherford, who I think got hurt. I took Franklin Perez with the 16th pick. Today, I think Perez is more valuable than Rutherford, though to be fair, Rutherford got hurt. Even if Rutherford’s more valuable, they’re both top-100 guys. To me, any difference is negligible. But even if Rutherford hadn’t gotten hurt, there’s no chance he (or whichever other available prospect) was scoring at a 1.338 PT/PA clip like Walker did, and doing so right now. Points now > points later, and prospects are fickle, so the guy who goes 4th and the guy who goes 16th could very easily switch fortunes over a single season. At the time, I just felt like I was slightly downgrading a prospect in exchange for making a big upgrade to my current 2B spot, which was a big weakness in 2016.

Then I acquired Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre, who presumably had affordable prices because of their age and their team’s budget situation. Again, if you’ve got budget space, attacking the trade market is worth it. Beltre cost me Amed Rosario, an elite prospect, but that’s really where stacking prospects in 2016 helped. Having JP Crawford meant feeling more comfortable shipping out Rosario.

Of course, both those old dudes could’ve fallen apart. But my team was garbage in 2016. If they did fall apart, oh well, I’m in the cellar again in 2017 and then I just cut those guys and have the cap space back. But there weren’t hitters this good in the auction (granted at the time of the trades, the auction pool was a mystery), or at least players less risky. The highest paid hitters at auction were Adam Jones, Adrian Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Lorenzo Cain. There’s some hindsight present, of course, but I’m not sure pre-auction anyone would’ve honestly felt like any of those guys were better, more efficient hitters than Cruz or Beltre. If you’re cool with a multi-year rebuild, by all means, ignore trading for old dudes like this. But I think it’s prudent to do it if you want to try winning money instead of just sinking money into a multi-year plan.

I also traded Judge for Matt Holliday, and that proved very stupid. In Holliday, I saw a one-year rental with a Giancarlo Stanton-esque batted ball profile and a cheap ($10) salary. I ended up starting Holliday 57 times for 5.9 points per game, so while he didn’t go bonkers like Judge did, he did help the cause. And with regards to Judge, his 2017 season was something I don’t think anyone saw coming. I offered him to several teams and no one bit. I had to include Grant Holmes along with Judge to secure Holliday. So yeah, sometimes trading prospects for vets will backfire, but in general I think it’s a solid, less risky strategy. I’d be curious what Dan thought he was getting with Judge when he made this trade, especially since I know he’s an old guy lover as well.

One thing I’m curious to see this off-season is if over budget teams continue selling their guys short to “get something instead of nothing,” or if teams feel more comfortable dumping to auction. Cruz was had for Dan Vogelbach and a first round pick. I liked Vogelbach as a prospect and obviously Team Hydra did too, but in retrospect, might those guys have figured out a way to keep Cruz’s bat? Or might they have been better sending him to auction and seeing if maybe they could buy him back cheaper? I’m not convinced giving teams discounts on good players is effective, even if the alternative is cutting and “getting nothing.”

Step 3: Not screwing up the auction

I notoriously left like $21 on the table at our first auction. But I also made some awful bids. Buying into A-Rod’s resurgence was dumb. I came away from auction with two 1B’s and  UT player, effectively destroying all my lineup flexibility.

I did a lot better, I think, with my buys in 2017, adding Jaime Garcia, Francisco Cervelli, Lucas Duda, Chris Owings, Ryan Zimmerman, and Charlie Morton.

Once again, luck played a role here. I didn’t expect almost 900 points from a $1 Zimmerman. I liked his batted ball profile, but come on. I also didn’t think Morton would be more than a back-end starter, and he ended up being my most consistent pitcher and a solid SP2. I didn’t even want him. It just ended up being the end of the auction, he was the last starting pitcher available, and I wasn’t leaving money on the table again. Owings filled multiple crucial positions for only $8. I overpaid for Cervelli at $17, but he was a nice compliment to Martin because, again, my catcher spot needed help.

The thing about the auction is, all the players are supremely risky. Teams will find ways to keep or trade “sure things.” And so if you rely too heavily on auction, you’re lending yourself to luck. If Morton and Garcia don’t give me quality starts, my auction stinks and my team suffers. But I started Morton 21 times at 30.43 points per start and Garcia 14 times at 24.04.

But hey, guess what? Matt Harvey, Drew Smyly, Jordan Zimmermann, Collin McHugh, Carlos Rodon, Felix Hernandez, Garrett Richards, Francisco Liriano, and Shelby Miller were all in the same auction. At the time, not sure how any of those guys were too different from Morton and Garcia. I got lucky the guys I won didn’t injure their arms. I got lucky my darts landed where they did. I mean, I wanted Liriano really bad and just screwed up my bid on auction day. Bullet dodged. Blind, dumb luck.

The lesson here, maybe, is to just give yourself fewer dart throws to botch. Acquire talent you have conviction about pre-auction rather than finding yourself in a spot where your money is going to Shelby Miller or Francisco Liriano, and you’re totally uninspired either way. Your mileage may vary, of course. Having a bunch of money at auction is fun, if nothing else.

Step 4: I love you, Giancarlo Stanton

As part of that Cabrera/Gray trade, I secured the second overall pick in last year’s draft. I took Nick Senzel. I like him a whole lot. But I love Giancarlo Stanton and his moonshot home runs. And so in mid-May, I landed Big G for Senzel, Blake Snell, and a future first round pick.

From May 11 forward, Stanton was the third-highest scoring hitter behind Votto and Charlie Blackmon. As much as I like Senzel, you simply have to trade guys like him for elite production now. It helps that Stanton finally stayed healthy, but even if he hadn’t, we all know what he does when he is. In our format, he is an elite fantasy producer on a rate basis. It was a no-brainer for me.

As for Snell, well, I like him still, but if I wanted to win this year I knew I couldn’t sit around waiting and hoping that he learns how to throw strikes and pitch deep into games. The downside to young pitchers is they sometimes are slow to put everything together. If next year Snell’s awesome and cheap, oh well. I’ll still be happy with several mammoth months of Giancarlo.

Step 5: Keep on buying stuff that helps

During the course of the season, once I saw that my team was pretty good, I just kept trying to add. In a series of deals, I sent prospects Corey Ray, Albert Abreu, Julio Urias, Happ, and Jake Faria off for the likes of Max Scherzer, Miggy, JA Happ, Jason Vargas, and Danny Salazar. All those moves did not pan out.

Reunited on my team, I slotted Miggy into my lineup 31 times and he scored at a 2.61 point per game rate. That’s abysmal. Despite his highest hard hit rate since 2014 and the best line drive rate of his career, Miggy gave me nothing. He performed worse than any random bench player I already had, in fact. In Urias, I paid little. But I felt like I had to take the gamble. I expect Miggy to get his back right this off-season and return to an elite level in 2018. He reminds me a whole heck of a lot like McCutchen last year. His price seems way too high (he’ll get a raise to $75), but how can you easily bet against one of the best hitters the game has seen in the last decade plus? Like, would you really rather two $35 lottery tickets at auction (in the 2017 auction, Adrian Gonzalez + Carlos Rodon = $76) than one player a single injury-hampered season removed from being an elite hitter?

Meanwhile, Happ was a fantastic addition for me, scoring 28.04 points a game in 14 starts. I started Salazar seven times for more than 30 points per start. Scherzer didn’t do much for me in the playoffs, but in total, he logged six starts at 32.67 a pop. Net total, these were good, albeit short-term, trades for my team. Corey Ray wasn’t scoring me 392.5 points like Happ did. Albert Abreu didn’t drop a 65 point start on my roster like Salazar.

Again though, these trades could look brutal in just a few months. What if Scherzer gets hurt? What if Urias overcomes his injury? What if Ray ascends and JA Happ grows old quick? I don’t know. But I think if you’re in a spot to seize a chance to win now, you need to be okay with these types of calculated risks.

The other thing to note is that the in-season trades didn’t necessarily have a ton to do with going worst to first. The Stanton trade, sure. The other trades just bolstered a team that had been mostly assembled in the off-season.

In closing…

I think the biggest reason my team got it’s shit together so quickly was simply putting in the work to do it. When a good player became available, I asked for a price tag. When I saw a team was way over their budget, I inquired about expensive players with good track records. I wasn’t too worried about riskiness because well, my team was a dumpster fire. Getting worse than bad isn’t much of a risk. Staying worse, and paying into a league to not even try to fight for wins now, seems way riskier to me. I placed the highest value on today and worried less about if the prospect I’m sending away will be a fantasy monster in 2021 (or in Judge’s case, 2017) or if all the old guys will decide to retire simultaneously.

Clearly, there’s a strategy to this game. If there wasn’t, we probably wouldn’t play. What’d be the point?

But ultimately you only control so much. I think the only way to really approach things is to give yourself the best hand possible and hope for the best. In hold ’em poker, a 2/7 will beat a K/K, for example, some of the time. But the odds say more often than not, the stronger hand will prevail. So I just tried to do stuff that I thought made my hand stronger, then accepted all the luck I could get.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs

Preseason Double Stuffs sends: 2B Rougned Odor ($29)
Rocky Mtn Oysters send: LF/CF/RF Taylor Trammell

Andrew’s Thoughts: I’m still not a Rougned Odor fan. Too much variance. He seems to either make an out, usually by strike out, or hit a home run, which is a little more appealing in a 5×5 roto league than a H2H league. Worse, Odor has one of the most punchable faces in all of baseball. I’m firmly #TeamBautista. Still, this makes sense for Dusty, who gave up a prospect that’s like 2-3 years from scoring him points for a bench guy that he can just as easily cut in the offseason when he costs $31 (or more if someone slaps greed on him). I mean, yeah, Odor never walks so he has no real floor, but you could do way worse than a 30+ HR threat as a back-up.

For the Double Stuffs, this could be seen as flipping a $15 DJ LeMahieu for a toolsy outfield prospect that has just now started to sneak onto top-100 lists but, again, is a ways off. Looking at it that way is probably demoralizing though. Instead, just look at this transaction by itself and it’s fine. Because again, I’m cutting a $30+ Odor after the season. I imagine PDS was too. Odor has upside but that cost offsets pretty much all of it.

As for Trammell, well, I’m pretty sure I was baffled when Dusty paid budget money to move up and take him in our minor league draft. But I stand corrected. He is now a guy whose name appears on lists. And guess what? Getting your name on lists means you have trade value. I can’t find record of ever doubting Trammell here on the Dynasty Grinders dot com, but I remember doing so somewhere. And so this is me, taking responsibility for the things that I have said, and admitting that I was wrong some months back about the acquisition cost of this particular prospect.

Anyway, I’m pretty clearly okay in general with good teams acquiring bad salaries as bench or depth pieces and bad teams getting back reputable prospects for them instead of waiting around to cut.

Hustle’s Toxic $.02: Both these owners and teams should be commended for making this trade. They both wanted to make their teams better (I hope) and managed to find the courage to agree on terms despite a potential trade review looming.

PDS obviously sees Schoop as their 2b of the future and at $12 and almost averaging 7 ppg, Schoop is easily the better player and value going forward. Schoop has really cut down his Ks and while his BABIP is high, it’s not crazy high. It makes sense for PDS to get rid of Odor for a prospect they like. If Trammel is their guy, so be it, I’m not sure what their other options were. It was not that long ago when PDS traded DJ Lemeihu for Odor, so Odor’s stench on PDS has been quickly removed. That being said, with their cap space, they were probably better off with DJ and Schoop. Odor was one of the few players I pegged PDS to keep. With one less guy, I’d expect to see a lot of new faces on their team next season, I hope they enjoy the turnover.

 

For Dusty, he trades a borderline top 100 prospect for even more 2b depth. He has Cano at 2b, so Odor is pretty much looking at playing time on his team at Utility. With Taylor, Spangeberg, Priela, and Sogard… Odor might be just another guy on his team. That being said Odor does have some nice power potential and could be big down the stretch if he gets hot on the first place Oysters. It’s a low cost risk for a currently hot swinging Odor.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Preseason Double Stuffs

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Kyle Funkhouser
Preseason Double Stuffs send: SS Brandon Crawford ($18)

Andrew’s Thoughts: This seems alright. For Hustle, this cheaply helps fill the void of losing Carlos Correa. It also gives him a starter today at short against me, which is the part of this trade I find awful.

Speaking of awful, Brandon Crawford has been. He’s at 0.8261 points per plate appearance right now. To put that in perspective, Byron Buxton is at 0.8779. That’s gross. Kudos to the Double Stuffs for getting anything at all for Crawford. Crawford’s been good enough in the past that maaaaaybe a good stretch to end the year makes him keepable at $20, but probably not. The Double Stuffs lone option at SS is now Jorge Polanco and they still made this deal, which tells you all you need to know.

Kyle Funkhouser is whatever. I’ve heard of him, so that’s good. He’s a college pitcher so he should debut sooner than later. That’s nice. Also, he was acquired for a player worse than Buxton, so the price was definitely right.

Jordan’s Thoughts: [redacted]

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: RockyMountain Oysters | Pre Season Double Stuffs

 

THE REVIEW

rocky mtn oysters trades away
LĂłpez, Reynaldo ($1) *prospect controlled

Preseason Double Stuffs trades away
Pirela, José ($3)

 

Word on the street was Priela was on the market today.   This trade was good for both teams.  Priela isn’t a great major leaguer and Lopez isn’t a great prospect. I think Ferns got some more upside here. It’s essentially a free look at Lopez later this year.  All it cost him was a relatively unknown Padres prospect that was picked up off the wire a little over a month ago.

Priela has averaged over 6 points a game so far and has been a very useful piece. I think those ppg comes down, but there’s certainly some value here.  Dusty’s team already has great 2b/LF flexibility with guys like Cano, Chris Taylor, Gyorko, Gardner etc.  Dusty didn’t need to do this trade, but at the same time I don’t think he gave up much. Lopez has a 4.41 FIP in AAA this year with an 8.6 k/9.

Fine trade for both teams in their current spots in the standings.  I’m not sure which or either of these guys will be kept because it could go a number of ways for both these players in the 2nd half.

 

*Disclaimer: I felt since Dusty was involved with this trade, I should be allowed to mention his name. I’m not sure what his preference is on the matter, but for the sake of trade review integrity I must. Remember

Trade: We Talk Fantasy Sports | Preseason Double Stuff

 

We Talk Fantasy Sports trades away
DeSclafani, Anthony ($11)

Preseason Double Stuffs trades away
Garza, Matt ($3)

Hustle’s .02: I guess the most interesting part of this trade is that Desclafani was $11 in auction or as a keeper. He isn’t due back until August at the earliest. Desclafani was better in 2016 that I remember, but I think he goes for cheaper than $13 in auction.  This was a dead player for WTFS and they got some pitching help.

Garza has produced double digit positive points in 5 consecutive games, which in 2017 is something. Averaging 22 points a game certainly isn’t exciting, but very useful in 2017 if he keeps that up and you play his matchups well.

He seems like a top 7 SP on WTFS’s current roster (maybe top 5), so this is a  trade for WTFS vying for a playoff spot.

As for PDS, even though I do not like this trade for them, losing Matt Garza will more then likely not come back to haunt them.

 

Andrew’s thoughts: 

This is a perfectly fine trade for both teams.

Matt Garza is very boring, but serviceable. WTFS needs pitching behind Max Scherzer in much the same way they need a time machine to go back and reverse the decision to keep Byron Buxton for $38. Garza’s been roughly a league average pitcher this year. I think he’s a decent, cheap guy to plug in for a while. If he’s decent, he could also be a keeper into 2018, though he’s unexciting enough that maybe you just toss him back into the pool.

The Double Stuffs’ season is over, so they get the younger guy with presumably higher upside in Anthony DeSclafani who might still be around next year. He was a 26.65 per start pitcher last year which is solid in Cincinnati. He’s hurt, but so what? At $13, they can keep him into 2018 if they want, or if he stays injured all year, just dump him. Whatever. I really don’t see a dramatic difference between trading Garza for some random, meh pitching prospect or trading him for DeSclafani, who may as well be a prospect too but has at least proven he can pitch in MLB.

Trade: Preseason Double Stuffs | We Talk Fantasy Sports

Preseason Double Stuffs send: 2B DJ LeMahieu ($15)
WTFS send: 2B Rougned Odor ($29)

Andrew’s Thoughts: I’m not a Rougned Odor fan at all really. His OBP last year was a crummy .296 and it’s down to .260 last year. He never walks. Basically, unless he hits a home run, he’s a zero for your team. He did hit 33 last year and has 12 so far this year, which is cool, but everyone is a home run hitter now.

To that end, LeMahieu only hit 11 home runs all of last year. And that’s playing half his games at Coors. So Odor’s power output from this season, in which he’s been a big disappointment, is better than LeMahieu’s last year, in his career season. DJ’s older and he’s boring, but his floor is pretty high.

If the costs were the same, sure, trade the boring safe guy for the flashy recent prospect with “upside,” especially if you’re retooling. I get that. In this case, I don’t really get paying an extra $14 for the riskier guy, particularly when, without walks and getting on-base, the upside doesn’t seem all that high. And LeMahieu isn’t 29 yet, so it’s not like he’s some old veteran that you need to cash out on now. But I guess if Odor suddenly decides to walk 8% of the time and stops hitting easy infield flies, there’s room for growth and the power will still be there. I just don’t feel very excited about keeping a $31 (minimum) Odor into 2018.

I like it for WTFS most, who have now freed up $14 for 2018. That money will assuredly help subsidize all Byron Buxton‘s -3 point days on their bench for another year.

Hustle’s Thoughts:

I too like this better for WTFS. LeMahieu (not an actual DJ) was the better fantasy option this year and last and is half the price. The massive power difference between Odor and LeMahieu is washed away by the walk and strikeout rates.  Unless Odor shows significant improvement in those areas, I don’t see this trade working out for Ferns.

That being said Odor is only 23 and 5 years to LeMahieu’s junior and certainly has time to improve and with the power has monster potential.

 

 

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Touki Toussaint (minors), SP Cody Sedlock (minors), 2020 1st Round Pick
Preseason Double Stuffs sends: SP Dylan Bundy ($9), RP Zach Britton ($12)

Hustle’s thoughts: I probably value first round picks a little bit more than most people, but even saying that, I like this trade for Dusty. The two pitchers Ferns are getting are a bit away and really aren’t too exciting for me. Maybe one is a diamond in a rough that Ferns knows something about that I don’t , but I see them combined as a 25% likelihood as putting together what Bundy has so far this season (and even that may be a high percentage). The first round pick is a nice piece to your team 2-3 years down the line if you make a good pick (which per the average fantasy player is probably well under 50%). I know Ferns didn’t have a 1st or 2nd rounder last year so maybe there is some desire to start making picks as this is the second high pick Ferns has acquired recently.

Still, this trade screams “I just want to get rid of Bundy”. He’s averaging almost 30 points per game and costs $9 and was once the top (or close to) pitching prospect in baseball. He’s probably not as good as he’s been so far, but he seems like a cheap starter you can have for a few years (with some upside). At least I believe Bundy was shopped and this was the best offer they could get.

The main problem for me with this trade is the 2 prospects acquired are somewhat borderline. If you’re going to tank, you need those prospect roster spots for top end guys you could aquire, locking yourself into Touki and Sedlock seems unwise. They are on the level of a deep guy who gets hot and starts getting some publicity who will be available on the wire. Edwin Rios (who Ferns dropped this morning) might not be that far off either guy he just acquired. If Ferns continues to make moves for the future he has less spots for minor leaguers or has to start releasing guys from previous hauls (like this one), making those previous trades less valuable.

Andrew’s thoughts: This is a weird one. I don’t trust Dylan Bundy at all despite the 29.11 points per game he’s scoring. He’s not striking guys out (6.09 K/9) and he had been suppressing homers at a crazy rate. His career HR/9 is 1.28, but he’s at 0.94 today. His career HR/FB rate is 11.2%, but it’s at 8% today. His 4.78 xFIP is way higher than his 3.92 FIP. I just see so much regression in this profile.

But, I mean…. 29.11 fantasy points per game. At some point, fantasy points are really what matters, right? Given that, I’d rather have Bundy for cheap ($11 next year is nothing) and just hope he hangs on. Toussaint and Sedlock are fine, but they also both have 40-ish IP at A+. They’re two years away? Three? And they’re pitchers, so that assumes they don’t hurt themselves at any point along that timeline.

And the first round pick is almost three years away from even being made. To me, the pick is more exciting as a future trade chip if the rest of the team can turn the corner. If the Double Stuffs can be competitive early next year, now that draft pick is another asset in play for a trade to improve.

I don’t fault the Stuffs for selling high on Bundy, but this to me isn’t high. Also, if they’re punting the year and rebuilding, they might have essentially clogged two minors spots with risky pitchers that aren’t close. We really need like 50 minor league spots so that you can acquire guys without being forced to dump comparable ones, and so that you don’t reach a threshold where roster spots prohibit improvement. Again, I don’t love Bundy, but he’s been good enough fantasy-wise and he’s cheap enough, that even a rebuilding team should want him.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: 3B Ryon Healy ($5)
Preseason Double Stuffs sends: SP Matt Cain (FA)

Andrew’s thoughts: I don’t find either of these players super exciting, but I’d much rather have Healy because he’s only 25 and has a .355 wOBA over his first 403 MLB plate appearances. That’s quite good, though he’s probably more of a back-up than a guy you want starting. Also, his parents spelled “Ryan” wrong and I find that irksome.

Cain, on the other hand, was most recently a passable starting pitcher in like 2013. I guess you could use him as a streamer exclusively when he’s pitching at home, but he’s been awful there over the last few years. It’s not like we award points for getting Cy Young votes six seasons ago.

Like… Scott Feldman, who I picked up off waivers last week, has out-performed Cain’s FIP since 2013, when he had a 4.03 and Cain had a 3.93. So even then, it was close. So why trade Healy for Cain when you could just grab Feldman off waivers for free? Also, can I please trade Feldman now for a decent hitter? Please and thank you.

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.