Trade: Team Hydra | Capital City Ironmen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trade: TBD | Capital City Ironmen

TBD sends: C Russell Martin ($20), 2017 5th Round Pick
Capital City Ironmen send: 2017 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: I don’t love the $20 salary but it’s tough to argue with the consistent production of Russell Martin. Here are his ranks at the catcher position over the last six seasons, working backward from 2016: 8th, 3rd, 4th, 11th, 10th, 8th.

The catcher position sucks. Being the 10th best catcher isn’t a special accomplishment. But last year, I opted to punt the position with platoon players and free agent streamers and it was just a horrible mess.

I started Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, the White Sox tandem that had decent career platoon numbers, a combined 101 games at catcher. I figured one of them would be in the lineup every day and they’d combine to produce mediocrity which, because it cost me nothing, was fine. But the active, starting catchers in my lineup (Avila, Navarro, and random scrap heap guys) last year scored 358.15 points and averaged 2.94 per game. That’s really just embarrassing. Twenty three individual catchers scored more than that. Gary Sanchez played in just 53 games and Willson Contreras and Sandy Leon played in fewer than 80 a piece and they scored more than that. Martin was garbage all of March, April, and May (which I don’t think he’ll do again and which I think suppressed some of his perceived value right now) and still totaled 628.4 points. He outscored my catchers by 270.25 net points.

So, for me, it’s pretty much that simple. I’ve got cap room to spare. I’ve still got four of the top-11 minor league draft picks, and my rankings start to feel really boring around the 15th spot anyway.

Jordan’s thoughts: C

Trade: Senior Squids | TBD

Senior Squids sends: SP Corey Kluber ($82)
TBD sends: C Gary Sanchez ($5), 3B Matt Chapman (minors), LF Peter O’Brien (FA)

Andrew’s thoughts: This just looks like theft to me.

Matt Chapman is clobbering minor league pitching, so there’s that. Scouts will tell you though: when it comes to minor leaguers, scouting the stat line is often a bad idea. But while Gary Sanchez and Peter O’Brien are “prospects” in real life, they are not cost controlled prospects here because they debuted in 2015. So to start 2017, which Squids is focusing on now, they’ll cost $5 (O’Brien) and $7 (Sanchez) — and that’s before potentially getting hit with any greed. Twelve bucks and two roster spots is an interesting investment. Those aren’t prohibitive salaries and ultimately five poorly distributed dollars won’t hurt you much. But the point of the cost control aspects for prospects is to mitigate against busts, which prospects do quite often. This is why I don’t like the idea of trading for a $32 Byron Buxton or for Sanchez/O’Brien here. There’s nothing padding you from these players busting. There’s no real incentive for risk.

To be clear: I don’t think trading for salaried prospects is fundamentally wrong, but I don’t like making them the key cogs in a trade. If Gary Sanchez is an add-on to a larger trade, it makes sense because his salary isn’t so much an albatross that it’s not worth some risk. But looking at this one, he’s like… the main piece.

Prospect lists are not gospel. I get that. But Chapman is unranked on Baseball America’s list and Baseball Prospectus’ list (BP’s regular list as well as their dynasty fantasy list), and ranks just 100th on MLB’s. Again, not gospel. You could argue that these rankings are altogether meaningless and I wouldn’t bother fighting you on it. But I’m just not sure how this is the only prospect — and I’m defining the word here as cost controlled prospect in our league — in a trade for a pitcher of Kluber’s pedigree. I’m not sure how you send Kluber off without securing yourself the type of prospect that is universally coveted.

With regards to Sanchez, he’s already being paid more than Wilson Ramos (#2 catcher), Yadier Molina (#5), Welington Castillo (#6), and Jason Castro (#12). It’s easy to say in hindsight just pick up those guys instead of acquiring Sanchez, but my point is just that all three of those catchers took years and years to be even serviceable options and still cost less than $5. Catchers develop slowly. The odds are good that Sanchez follows the same career path, except he’s already more expensive than them.

Sure, Sanchez has “upside.” But he just doesn’t strike me as a very good value. And that ignores all the catchers that are already producing and are priced more than Sanchez, but within just a few bucks. I still feel like in order for a catcher to be worth a lot, they have to be a Posey (or Lucroy!) type that really separates from the pack. Is Sanchez that guy? I don’t think he is.

Oh, and O’Brien sat in free agency for like six weeks not that long ago. TBD added him on March 24, cut him on April 2, and added him back on May 16. Maybe that’s a bit like saying, six months after a draft, “well I took so-and-so in the secound round, I can’t give him up for this-or-that because you took him in the fourth.” Values change. But it warrants mentioning that for 43 days, O’Brien sat free to any team.

Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

TBD sends: SP Kyle Gibson ($7), CF Lewis Brinson (minors), SP Amir Garrett (minors), 2017 2nd Round Pick
Who’s Your Haddy? sends: SP Jacob deGrom ($64), SP Steven Wright (FA), 2017 4th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: Man, where to begin?

I guess it makes sense to link to the Johnny Cueto trade from over the weekend, because I think he and deGrom are close to the same guy. deGrom costs $4 more and is younger, but Cueto has the longer track record and is having the better season (by like 10 points/start) so far. For the sake of argument, I think we can just call them equals.

In that light, this trade comes up a bit short for Haddy, I think. Cueto netted a viable replacement for him in James Shields, two top-25 prospects, and a 1st round pick. deGrom brought back an okay starter in Kyle Gibson, who isn’t better than Shields but does cost $21 less, but he also tossed in Steven Wright so it kind of nullifies getting back Gibson. He also gets a top-15 or so prospect in Brinson (9th in our draft), and a top… I don’t know — 75? — prospect in Garrett (he went 83rd in our draft), plus a 2nd rounder. Compare that to the Cueto return. I guess what I’m saying is, deGrom appears to have been sold at less than market value. Anything can happen with prospects. Who knows? But that’s how I see it today.

For Haddy, I think getting back the blue chipper Brinson is a big deal. I know TBD was reluctant to deal him at all, but if you want big time pitching you simply have to be willing to part with big time pieces. TBD’s been shopping their $10 Max Kepler for pitching for a while and the writing there just appeared to be on the wall. No one’s paying $10 and a premium pitcher for Kepler, without the cost control benefit of other prospects, to sit in their minors.

Brinson is a great get though. I’m less sold on Garrett. Baseball Prospectus ranked him 77th, Baseball America has him 73rd, and MLB.com slots him in at 65th. Rankings aren’t gospel and we should all probably discredit them more than we do, but Garrett’s the second piece here, right? He just doesn’t seem like a big enough Player B in a deal to land deGrom. A lot of the scouting reports I’ve read of Garrett say he could end up in the bullpen and if that happens, that’s a big loss for Haddy. There’s certainly upside if he sticks as a starter, but it’s a risky profile.

As I mentioned, Wright and Gibson more or less cancel each other out. I’d rather have Gibson personally, but both guys are just rotational filler.

I think, just like Haddy’s other deal, I come away feeling like a piece is missing. I try to look at picks less as rounds and more as where the pick will be, and in my deal for Cueto I got what is likely the 14-16th overall pick. Team Hydra’s 2nd rounder could realistically end up being 17th-20th or so, in which case the two picks are essentially the same. Never the less, I think Haddy should’ve pried a 1st away instead of a 2nd. I think that’s a small price for TBD to pay to get deGrom on their roster and for Haddy, every extra asset helps.

TBD looks so much stronger after this deal. The benefit of trading minor leaguers is that it does nothing to weaken your team today, so essentially TBD added deGrom without giving anything up (there’s a word for that, I think it starts with an “f,” but I can’t think of it; maybe I’ll peruse our Slack chat to see if anyone’s used this word?). That’s big. Aside from Madison Bumgarner, TBD’s pitching was kind of a mess, so this really helps to stabilize that. It seems possible that we look back at this trade in September and credit it for thrusting TBD into a postseason spot.

Jordan’s thoughts: I’m actually going to disagree with Bailey here some. I think Haddy got a good price for deGrom here. I know he references his own trade with Cueto, and he’s not wrong in what he got. But, I am not sure that trade exists a second time in this market. I think Bailey got more value for Cueto than he should have, and this deal looks more in line with where I had players valued in my head.

TBD needed this piece and did pay a significant price to get it done. Brinson is a known quality prospect. Garrett less so, but I’m higher on him than Bailey was above. Garrett in 7 AA starts this year is killing it. I’d be shocked to see Garrett not climb those arbitrary lists that Bailey references.

Bailey references that there’s a piece missing. I’m not really sure. Brinson was one of the top minor league qualified prospects in our league, Garrett is a solid prospect worth paying attention to and we’ve both written about Gibson before in how he can be useful.

I actually like this trade for both teams. If you’re TBD you needed the ace capable pitcher. If you’re Haddy you need these assets. I think its a win win for both sides.

Trade: Preseason Double Stuffs | Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mtn Oysters send: OF Giancarlo Stanton ($72), SP Lance McCullers ($26) SP Luis Severino ($17)
Preseason Double Stuffs send: OF Bryce Harper ($109), SP James Shields ($28)

Jordan’s thoughts: I have now rewritten the introduction to my thoughts on this trade six or seven times and I copped out to talk about how flabbergasted I am. I enjoy trades, I do. They give me breath of life into writing which I always need practice doing. Clearly. This one is another fascinating one, but as we are all learning (or for some of us relearning) Dusty is shooting for the moon constantly.

Let’s look at this trade on the table. I see it as the second best hitter in MLB and a fringe #2 tier starting pitcher on his way down traded for a top ten MLB hitter capable of being a top three, a tier #3 starter and a fringe tier #4 starter. That’s where my pre-draft rankings had them. High/low whatever.

On paper I’d rather have Harper, Shields. Hands down. I’m still quite high on Shields and I would buy the over on any Shields over/under, and would bet the under on both Severino and McCullers. I think if both Harper and Stanton play a full season, Harper is the better OF four out of five times. Both have a checkered enough past, that its easy to say whoever ends up playing more games, ends up being better.

Dusty was in a great position, created by himself, to make this trade. He trades two decent, younger, and inspiring pitchers who could be great this year for an aging former ace who you know at any time could fall off or return to greatness. Pitchers are fickle.

Frankly if you like the two pitcher package, you could argue that both could be or will be better than Shields and I’d take your commentary as valuable as mine. So lets review the trade as it currently fits their teams.

Dusty wins this trade on his side. He upgrades at right field with Bryce over Giancarlo. If Buxton flops, he slides Bryce into center and rolls the dice with Preston Tucker or Josh Harrison. He gets a better player and has some flexibility back. Less reliant on Buxton. As far as my projections go, Shields is rated higher than both pitchers traded away, so Dusty replaces their output with better output. A win on both levels. RMO is now rated at 581.6 points per week, good enough for 4th best. Bravo!

Sadly I believe our Preseason Double Stuffs lose this trade. You trade away Bryce for a right fielder that you did not really need. The best three hitters by projection are Stanton – RF, Shin-Soo Choo – RF, and Jorge Soler – RF. That inflexibility limits what you can really do. Or forces you into future moves. Gomez in center is fine. Shields to McCullers is a slight drop in projected value, more so in that McCullers is only projected for 26 starts this year. Severino is however 26 projected starts of improvement over Ian Kennedy and Jerad Eickhoff. Why not shop Bryce around?

Andrew’s thoughts: Correct me if I’m wrong, but in the end, the Preseason Double Stuffs have traded Max Scherzer and Shields for Stanton, Severino, and McCullers. Is that correct? Because if so, that seems sub-optimal.

I know Ferns wasn’t thrilled with his team post-auction, but I feel like this may be an over-correction. I disagree with Jordan on Shields. I’d rather have Severino and McCullers, for no other reason than Shields burned me in Dy-Nasty last year and I’m not overly interested in more stock. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that both of those guys are 30 PPG starting pitchers and, if so, the dynamic changes.

I think my big objection is that I had no idea Harper was available. Did you? Not that I have the pieces to go get him and probably wouldn’t have tried, but you’d think the market would be tested a little. Maybe it was and I just wasn’t aware. I don’t know.

I also think salaries are being insanely overrated in the early trade market. You can go over your budget in season, people. You have a year to get right for 2017. To me, if you’re selling one of the 3-5 best players overall (Harper), you need to hold out for bonus pieces. You need to pry a prospect or two, a pick, some budget cash next year, something else extra away. The season is still two weeks away. There’s no urgency to rush this stuff. You mean to tell me that if you don’t sell Bryce this week, you won’t ever have a chance to free yourself from his $109 salary? I get that sometimes you just find the pieces you need and take it, but I just think I would’ve tested the market first.

And for Dusty, I just don’t even know. I’m a fan of big game hunting in trades too. What’s the point of expending energy trading for replacement level guys that you can manufacture through platoons or otherwise? I like turning Stanton into Harper and he doesn’t have a particularly big use for Severino and McCullers, particularly if the latter’s injury is a big deal. He’s clearly all-in for 2016, and that’s cool.

But I also see a team with two gaping holes at the UT spot (depressingly, Ryan Howard and Yonder Alonso are there now) and a team where Byron Buxton went from the first or second guy off the bench to the starting CF. Maybe Buxton pops this year. He’d better, because if he plays like last year, that’s a black hole in your starting lineup. There’s no quality depth at 2B, 3B, or SS, or in the outfield. Actually, even 1B is lacking on the depth front. The offense just looked so, so much better before all the wheeling and dealing and while the pitching is improved, I didn’t think it was a glaring problem to begin with.

Of course, Dusty still has pitching to deal, and if there’s one thing Dusty will do, it’s deal. I said yesterday and I stand by it: a smart team looks at Dusty’s roster and recognizes that he needs to turn pitching into hitting, then uses that for leverage. And frankly, I’m not sure you’re getting an impact hitter for Mike Fiers or Hishashi Iwakuma (and I’m a big Kuma fan). Maybe you try to convert Kenta Maeda‘s strong spring into a haul and someone bites, I don’t know. At some point Dusty runs the risk of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s clear there are more moves to come and so in two, three, four days, we’ll have to completely reevaluate how we perceive this roster anyway.

ICYMI: Review of last week!

Last week was a busy week for Dynasty Grinders. As of today we’re now a full week removed from auction draft day. That 8 hour marathon was capped off this week by reviews, thoughts, notes and a monster trade. If you missed any of it catch up below!

The Auction Draft is Over! – Jordan writes a post last Sunday reflecting on the his immediate thoughts post draft.

Where was the value at? – Jordan follows up with a post looking at where the auction value was left in the draft. Or maybe where it was not.

Trade: Beach Bum | Rocky Mtn Oysters – Andrew and Jordan break down a minor yet fun trade.

The Best of What’s Left – Keith of We Talk Fantasy Sports reviews what could be found on the waiver wire/free agent pool after the 480 selection draft.

Some thoughts about my team… – Andrew reviews his draft and breaks down his own team point by point.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs – Andrew and Jordan break down the first major trade of Dynasty Grinders history.

Fun with similar price points… – Andrew looks at the draft again to compare players bought at the beginning and end of the draft showing how the nomination order probably played a large role in determining some players values.

Bryce vs Max part duex – Jordan takes a second and likely final look at the biggest trade of the week. Compares the two players’ 2015 campaigns on a week by week comparison.

Team by team auction draft review and rankings! – Jordan kicks off his team by team auction review with a primer.

Each team’s auction review:

Overvalued Minor League Draft Picks

While preparing for minor league drafts, the easiest way to get started is to find some top prospect lists by top sites like Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.  However, it is important to remember that these sites are creating lists for real life, not fantasy, so defense and intangibles are part of the thought process.  As fantasy owners, our scouting report is much simpler, and predetermined by league settings.

In Dynasty Grinders, we do not count runs scored or RBI, and ERA is not a big deal.  So while scanning all of these lists, it’s important to look a bit deeper into a players’ past production, read the scouting reports, and find players that fit our specific league scoring system.

A member of the r/FantasyBaseball community on Reddit was kind enough to put together a top 100 list that combined multiple top 100 lists from reputable sites.

I’ve complied a list of multiple Top 100 Prospect lists into one. This is purely a mathematical based list not based on any scouting. The formula is based on how many lists they are on, the rage of their positions on the list, their high and low position, their average position and scores weighted more towards fantasy than real life prospect lists.

Now again, your league will determine how valuable each individual player is, and in this league, we could not draft certain players that had limited MLB experience.  After removing them from the list, leaving us with 85 players and moving what was left up the rankings, here are the players that we overvalued by 10 or more draft slots, when you compare our draft slot versus their ranking.

MILB Draft Overvalued

FND, HYD, LB and WYH each selected two players at least 10 spots ahead of their top 85 ranking.

However, it was GAU with the “worst” pick of the draft, selecting Brady Aiken with the 34th overall selection, when he was rank 70th. The differential, 36, was actually higher then the draft slot! Obviously Aiken is a well known name around baseball after being selected 1st overall in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft by the Houston Astros. However, he did not sign and was then selected 17th in the following draft by the Cleveland Indians. He has yet to throw a pitch in a game that counts as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

We have discussed the Foundation’s selection of Jeff Hoffman with the 18th pick a lot in our Slack chat, so I will let this one go, as to not embarrass his owner any more. But FND also selected Jesse Winker ahead of his rank, 34, with his first round pick and did so even before selecting Hoffman in round two. Prior to 2015, MLB.com ranked Winker the 26th overall prospect in baseball and with 14 Top 100 prospects removed from our list of eligible players, the selection does make some sense. He is often compared to Jay Bruce, mainly because they came up through the Reds farm system. If Winker turns into 2012/2013 Bruce, this pick will be a steal.

Team Hydra may have reached for Pirates 2B Alen Hansen, but I think they got a real nice piece in Bobby Bradley, a player we were targeting with our next pick. Hanson is slotted in at 2B for the Pirates this season with Neil Walker being traded to the Mets and Jung-Ho Kang out to start the season. Hanson can fly and if he can get on base could be a valuable piece to the Pirates as a utility player this season. However, our league does not count runs scored and Hanson has a .320 OBP despite a .275 BA over two seasons at AA ball.

The Rays drafted Taylor Guerrieri way back in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Spring Valley High School in South Carolina.  Who’s Your Haddy selected him 30 picks ahead of his rank, with the 53rd pick.  Over four minor league seasons, and 206.1 IP, he owns a 1.61 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP with 178 strikeouts.  Those are some nice numbers.  He just turned 23 in December and will look to join the Rays rotation by early 2017.  However, he is one full season removed from Tommy John surgery and has faced a 50 game suspension for a positive drug test.  The Rays are loaded with pitchers and Guerrieri is their 3rd or fourth best pitching prospect.  WYH hopes to not see him land in the bullpen, and a trade wouldn’t be the worst thing, as long as it is not to the Colorado Rockies!

With the 44th pick, WYH drafted Cubs OF Billy McKinney, despite being ranked 71st.  Chicago is loaded in the OF, signing Jason Heyward this offseason in addition Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler (just re-signed), Jorge Soler and prospects Albert Almora and Ian Happ.  MLB Pipeline ranks McKinney the Cubs #2 prospect behind SS Gleyber Torres, ahead of Almora and Happ.  He is actually a perfect prospect to own as he is a high BA/high OBP guy.  He just needs Soler to be traded.

Long Ball to LF drafted two MLB ready players ahead of their rank, but I like both Jameson Tallion and Willson Contreras, despite both going a round earlier than their rank suggests.

Trade: Capital City | BNL

Capital City Ironmen sends: 2016 30th overall selection (2nd round) & $11 in ’16 Auction Budget
BetterNameLater sends: 2016 13th overall selection (1st round)

Jordan’s thoughts: With the second trade in the Dynasty Grinders history I like it again for both teams. It’s easy to assume that BNL felt that the player they could pick wasn’t likely to be useful right now and they move down to a spot where they’ll get a similar prospect anyway. There’s a lot of ways to spin that $11 they got, in an auction knowing you can one up 2-3 players you want a few times adds some nice insurance. For Capital City, they use the selection immediately to grab prospect Blake Snell. Snell shot up the prospect rankings in 2015, and pitches in the Tampa Bay organization that is well known for churning out good pitchers. Bravo to both sides.

Update: The picks are in, so I felt like commenting on that as well. We already knew that Snell was the 13th pick. The 30th pick turned into SS  Franklin Barreto, a top prospect for the Athletics. It remains to be seen if Barreto pans out in a league like this, but he has as high hopes as any of the other top rated short stops. It wouldn’t have been a huge jump to see Barreto to go in the 1st round. I like this trade for both teams. That being said, I’d rather have Snell.