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: In Line 4 the Win | TBD

In Line 4 the Win sends: C/1B Alex Avila ($5)
TBD sends: CF Denard Span ($8)

Andrew’s thoughts: Oh man, am I pumped to see a Denard Span trade!

I like this small deal for both teams. Good job, fellas.

In two days, TBD has cheaply solved their catcher position for 2018 by adding Robinson Chirinos and brand new Arizona Diamondback Alex Avila. I highly doubt TBD was keeping Span for $8 just given their roster construct and cap situation, so in some ways this is a free #2 catcher for them. They’ve got what should be a sufficient platoon behind the plate now.

Meanwhile, In Line 4 the Win obtains former Ironmen legend Denard Span, who is basically generic Adam Jones but much cheaper. No, seriously, look. They aren’t all that different. I mean, as always with this metric, obviously Jones is  better because he scores more points in total, plays more often, has more pop, better home park, etc. You can set him and forget him in your lineup. But if you can pay Span $30 less than Jones, you can probably chip another $10 (or less) away to find another Span-like guy to platoon in center, and still come out with  $20 to spend. In fact, IL4W already has that guy in a $6 Cameron Maybin. I legitimately ran Maybin and Span’s numbers last year against Jones for some reason, and they’re comparable. I’m not going out of my way to pick on Jones here, it just so happens I’ve already done the math. I do submit that a Span/Maybin platoon for $14 total will give you equivalent production to a $39 or whatever he is Jones, with $25 to spare.

IL4W came into the offseason with a very frustrating OF of potential and salary, but not much production. Randal Grichuk‘s move to Toronto helps a great deal, but he’s still $16. Joc Pederson is a $24 platoon hitter. Jason Heyward at $17 may not even be replacement level. Kyle Schwarber has almost no room for surplus value with a $61 salary, and all hope of catcher eligibility is gone. So I like adding Span, who should unlock LF eligibility in Tampa, to the mix. He’s old and boring, but safe, and safe is one thing IL4W doesn’t have in their outfield.

Added bonus for IL4W: Denard Span is a player that knows what it’s like to go from the bottom to a championship caliber team here in Dynasty Grinders. He’s got experience. He’s got leadership. He will no doubt improve IL4W’s clubhouse morale which, let’s face it, must be pretty bad following a 1-19 catastrophe.

Also, I was literally just yesterday contemplating asking TBD what they’d want to reunite with Span. Just because. I’d probably rather dump him back to auction and try my hand at winning him for $3-4, but the thought did cross my mind. Maybe I’m just bored. I’m probably just bored.

I do wonder what IL4W is going to do at catcher now. Are they really keeping Jonathan Lucroy for $30 after the season he had? I like Chris Iannetta at Coors for $5. Should be interesting, but it does seem like Avila could’ve been useful to them as a starting catcher in a good home park with a low salary.

Hustle’s toxic $0.02: I haven’t read what Bailey has said, but I’m sure Avila is better than posey too. .365 woba from Avila last year and now he’s moving to Chase Field (standard Hustle humidor reminder). TBD has hustled their way to a very productive cheap catching core. As for Span? He’s useful, but I’m not sure he’s an attractive use of budget for a rebuilding team who likely won’t be competing in 2018. I’d rather have Avila here considerably because of catcher scarcity. I think you probably need to shoot higher upside for outfielders unless Span is just depth piece, which in this case it isn’t. TBD has really been working magic this offseason.

Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

Who’s Your Haddy? sends: C Robinson Chirinos ($6)
TBD sends: 2018 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:  Remember when I sort of jokingly compared Tyler Flowers fantasy rate stats to Buster Posey? Well how about this: last year, Posey scored at a 1.507 PT/PA clip. That’s very very good. Robinson Chirinos scored at a 1.555 PT/PA clip. That’s better than Posey!

Okay, so clearly I’m not saying Chirinos is better than Posey. But his plate appearances were objectively more productive than Posey’s last year. He just had 259 fewer of them. Which is… a ton. I would not bet that going forward Chirinos scores more per plate appearance than Posey either, but I point it out just to say that TBD did a nice job here of adding value. I think more teams should be punting 3rd, 4th, and 5th round picks if it means immediate improvements to their team.

And for Haddy, I get it. He’s got a $21 Sal Perez and a $5 Tucker Barnhart. And I doubt the market for Chirinos is buzzing. And he wants to get salary. So, yay, take the pick and move on.

Hustle’s toxic $0.02: I like that Haddy has been reunited with his 3rd round pick.

Trade: TBD | Night King’s Undead Army

Night King’s Undead Army sends: SP Alex Reyes (cost controlled), SS Jean Segura ($10), SP Alex Wood ($16), SP Mike Soroka (minors)
TBD sends: SS Corey Seager ($64), $35 2016 Auction Budget

Andrew’s thoughts:  This is one of the bigger trades we’ve ever had and its clear to me that both teams were thinking outside the box on this one. I think last year we saw $30 moved for, like, Dallas Keuchel and Devon Travis if memory serves me correctly, so there is some precedent to moving big time auction budget. I will say that $35 of auction moving doesn’t seem like a huge deal. I think the willingness to part with chunks of budget is a big market inefficiency. I can’t tell you how many people offer me $1 for a player as if $1 really matters. Generally speaking, I think auction budget should probably be swapped in $5 increments before it starts having any impact whatsoever. Go look at the results of last year’s auction and then try and tell me you think $1 really matters in a significant way. I don’t think you can convince me.

Moving on: Jordan is getting the best player here in Corey Seager. Granted, he’s $64. With getting $35 in the deal, he’s essentially locked Seager up to a one-year, $29 contract, which is obviously favorable in the short term. As a long term asset, who really knows. Seager’s young, obviously, and just tapping into his potential. But depending how cuts and auction go, he may still be unprotected again next year and vulnerable to greed, which is probably insignificant but could become an issue once he starts pushing $70. So a year from now, barring a future trade, Jordan will have to shuffle things around this contract. But he’s an elite talent, so oh well. I think you can find a real edge in not fixating on the long term ramifications, and instead just operating year to year and trying to be competitive. If enough other teams are operating with 3-5 years in their mind just because “dynasty,” that should present opportunities to improve on a one-year basis almost every single offseason.

Speaking of market inefficiences and game theory, how much value does sending budget to offset larger salaries help facilitate deals and return real talent? I think Jordan, Joe, and Josh unlocked an avenue (that should’ve been obvious) for everyone. Hey, if you’ve got a $40 player that no one wants, but will send $20 along with him, you can probably actually get something done!

TBD, meanwhile, has added several players with clear paths to surplus. Alex Reyes is the big get for them. Despite all the hype, he’s still unproven and coming off injury. I love the potential though, and he’s likely going to cost only $3 even after arbitration. He’s more appealing long term, because his usage and effectiveness this year offer a wide range of possible outcomes. I won’t be surprised if he’s a top-10 SP this time next year, which can’t be said of most pitching prospects.

At $10, I think Jean Segura is probably undervalued by the league. I don’t see much difference between some unproven, mediocre SS on a cost controlled salary and a guy as good as Segura’s been for $10. Over the last two seasons, two qualified shortstops (Seager, Correa) have wOBAs better than Segura. In some ways, you could actually argue the entire framework of this deal is busted because Jordan punted on several potentially valuable assets for a marginal upgrade from Segura to Seager at short, plus whatever long term hindrances Seager’s salary brings. Segura isn’t exciting but he’s been productive.

Alex Wood is not super exciting to me. At $16, he’s certainly affordable, and the talent is very real, but he’s so hard to trust. He spent time on the disabled list again last year (when it mattered most, during H2H playoff time, if I recall) and just doesn’t look like a guy you can ever bank a full season from. Maybe that’s irrelevant though, as TBD continues building a dirt cheap rotation, high upside around Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom. I don’t mean to knock on Wood (lol unintentional), and I like him, I just think he’s a tough guy to really pin down as a trade piece.

Mike Soroka is, to me, a throw in and I don’t have it in me to waste more words than this on him.

I actually think TBD “wins” this trade over the long haul, but I give the edge to Jordan for 2018. I also sort of wonder what the point is of amassing prospects and cheap salaries if you’re not going to be willing or able to keep your Seagers. These are smart owners, so I know they know what they’re doing. I’d probably just rather keep Seager than, I don’t know, shuffle stuff around to free up money to keep Justin Upton and/or Chris Davis (I think they’re cutting both, but you get the point) or roll the dice on Reyes. I’d sooner cut and re-bid a guy like Jacob deGrom than deal Seager, though obviously they got a pretty big haul here. I don’t know. Although, here’s another market inefficiency: actually making good prospects available. Most teams, in my experience, won’t even talk to you if a guy’s name appears on a list somewhere. I think there’s several teams that want to offer up, at best, like their 8th best prospect for real talent. If TBD stocks up on cheap resources and then actually makes them available while other teams won’t, it gives them a real edge on the trade market to add elite players at high salaries in season, simply because no other team is willing to part with the cost controlled guys.

 

Hustle’s Toxic $.02

Bailey said a lot of things, most of which I agree with. The cash coming over is quite interesting and creative. I don’t really track other people’s budgets and I’m not going to start for the sake of trade reviews. So good on Jordan for getting $35, I’m assuming Joe could afford it without Seager!

I thought before this trade, while Jordan may have not had a top 2-3 SS, he has the best SS depth in the league with Didi, Dejong, and Segura.  I do think Seager is a clear upgrade, but he costs a lot more.  When Seager starts against any RHP, he’s an obvious start every time which pushes Dejong and Did to Util, which isn’t ideal. I guess Dejong also has 2b eligibility this year but Jordan also has a cheapish Kinsler, Lowrie, and Albies for 2b.  It’s not an ideal situation to maximize value, but this could sort itself out with injuries or subsequent trades.

What I don’t love about this trade for Jordan is that it decimates his SP depth. Currently sitting on an aging Lester and Gio Gonzalez, the Undead army is lacking punch from the rotation.  I think Wood and Reyes represented cheap near ace production from pitcher spots and I don’t love the idea of getting rid of both guys with roster construction, and I don’t think Kyle Zimmer is coming up from the minors to save the day… although that Zombie like emergence would be very Undead Army of him.  I think Wood could be a pretty fine sell high after last season (probably would have been better after the 1st half), but allowing Joe to “buy low” on Reyes seems like it could be a hiccup down the line. I also don’t have much of a hot take on Mike Soroka, but TBD usually knows what they are doing with prospects. Soroka is in AA already and has been successful thus far.  I don’t think the Jordan had a particularly deep rotation before this trade, and now it seems quite worse even if Reyes and Soroka weren’t immediate help.

I would look for Jordan to move some middle infield depth for some starting pitching.  It seems like every team is going to be looking to add multiple starters during the auction, so I really can’t see how Jordan (or anyone) can feel confident coming away from the auction with value at SP. Maybe I’m just having flashbacks last year to spending most of my budget on Smyly or Rodon, but the auction isn’t pretty.

I think TBD downgrading at SS for a bunch of SP assets seems fun and interesting. With all the high cost players TBD has, trading one away for multiple interesting assets seems like the way to go and he finally found a suitable buyer for one of them.  If Wood, Soroka, and Reyes all bust (which I see as highly unlikely), then you still have yourself an affordable and good SS in his 20s for a few more years.

Something something, grinding differently.

 

 

 

 

Trade: TBD | Capital City Income

Capital City Income trades away
Lamet, Dinelson ($1 cost controlled)
Zimmerman, Ryan (5)

TBD trades away
Lamb, Jake ($9)
Roark, Tanner ($9)

 

 

 

 

 

Hustle’s Toxic $.02:  This trade is pretty triggering for me because I traded the best two pieces in this trade. 1 week before the 2016 Season I traded TBD a $1 Lamb for a $2 Souza. 1 week after the 2017 Minor League Draft I traded CAP a prospect Dinelson Lamet for a 4th round pick in 2020 (can’t wait to make that pick btw).  In my defense I had too many prospects and because of green flag rules, I was going to drop Lamet. Now that we’ve talked about myself, let’s move on to less interesting matters.

CAP’s haul

I personally see Jake Lamb as the best asset of this trade. He had a bad second half last year (for the second year in a row), but I think Lamb was hampered by a hand injury. He seems like he has the safest floor ( and a pretty high one) of a guy Bailey can keep for multiple years, but let’s see how he does with the rumored humidor!  With Beltre as his primary 3b, Jake Lamb provides depth and future at the position for CAP.   Most importantly, Bailey finally has someone we can greed on his team

Tanner Roark? Probably the weakest part of this entire trade. I don’t really wanna look into Tanner Roark. He’s fine at $9 and Bailey follows the Nationals, so OK.  Maybe him and Lamet are a wash, that’s what he would hope for.

TBD’s Haul

Dinelson Lamet!  Lamet has the upside to be the best part of this trade if he turns into a consistent pitcher who can go late into games and keep up his k rate. He also has considerable downside as evidenced by his 5 walks per 9 in the second half. He’s a sexy name right now and has plenty of time to figure it out, but he’s still a bit of an unknown.

Ryan Zimmerman has always been an underrated hitter who couldn’t stay healthy. In 2017 he played more than he has in the last 4 years and exploded for 36 bombs.  I think it would be kind of ridiculous to expect a repeat (he faded pretty bad in the 2nd half), but he’s surely worth his price and TBD was looking for a 1b.  Lastly, one should probably question a Nationals fan trading away a National.

Conclusion: I think think Bailey did a good job of selling high on guys coming off good season and buying low on 2 disappointing seasons. Ultimately, I think it really comes down to what Dinelson Lamet is in 2018 and beyond. If you’re a big fan of D.L.  you like this trade for TBD, if you’re not you like it for CAP.

These two teams are amongst the more successful teams in this league primarily through effort and paying attention. Other members of the league will create fake conversations in order to pretend to be strategic to justify inactivity.  Both these methods take effort and ultimately are examples of grinding ,but grinding differently.

 

 

Trade: Team Hydra | TBD

TBD sends: SP Madison Bumgarner ($85), $5 2018 Auction Budget,
Team Hydra sends: RF Dustin Fowler ($1; prospect), SP Tyler Chatwood ($7)

Andrew’s thoughts: This is an interesting one. Hydra appears to have a ton of budget and can afford to punt a meh prospect and a cheap innings eater to add an expensive but elite pitcher. I actually thought about asking Hydra about Chatwood myself just because, like TBD, I could use some safe, boring pitching options to fill in some roster spots on the cheap.

Anyway, alright deal here. It’s probably somewhat disappointing to just get these two players — and have to kick in $5 — for an elite talent like Bumgarner. I imagine that at $85, and with some teams watching their wallets for Shohei Ohtani, there weren’t a ton of bites on Bumgarner. I don’t know what TBD plans to do or if they’ll have the money to make it work at auction, but this is the kind of return where I’d seriously consider just cutting Bumgarner and giving myself the option to re-bid. Not saying the pieces coming back aren’t useful, but they are rather unexciting, so this is salary dump territory.

Hustle’s toxic $0.02: Just cut him huh Bailey? Well maybe Joe thinks that Bumgarner is very overvalued at $85 that it’s worth it to him to stick Bumgarner on another team to eat almost a 1/5 of his salary? If  anyone else gets a cheaper Bumgarner for free in auction, that’s a loss for Joe compared to even selling him for $1.

Chatwood is getting some hype because hes moving away from Coors field to Wrigley, and rightfully so.  We’ve seen some pitchers like Pomeranz turn their careers around just by leaving Colorado and Chatwood seems potentially next. Mix in the fact that hes going to Chicago and you have a vintage TBD target. Potentially a rich man’s Eddie Butler!

When I saw Hydra’s roster the other day I noticed they have a ton of $1 players, so I’m guessing Fowler is a guy they aren’t keen on. I’m not sure what his upside is glancing at his minor league numbers, his walk rate is bad and seemingly only has moderate power. We won’t know what Fowler will provide for a while, but at a cheap cost it’s worth a gamble.

$5 for a cheap Fowler and Chatwood seem reasonable. We still might see Bumgarner in the auction, maybe not.

 

Grading the Dynasty Grinder Minor League Systems

First, this is my first and probably my last attempt at writing for Dynasty Grinders. Since I retired I’ve had more time on my hands and over the last month I’ve dived into each and every Grinders minor league systems. There were a few reasons for the deep dive in the minor league systems:

  • I wanted to learn more about the minor league systems
  • Prepare myself for the upcoming draft
  • Educate myself on the other team’s minor league rosters for possible trades

Finally, as I was going through each team, I’m convinced there are the “haves and the have-nots” and I want to even the playing field. I’m hoping those at the bottom will be motived to do better. I also realize that some owners have different ideas how to manage their teams and I understand that too. My life experience tells me “Knowledge is Power”. The ultimate goal is to make the Dynasty Grinder league better and more balanced.

I’m no minor league expert and I have used a few web sites to grade each minor league player that is on our rosters. Additionally, some teams have players on their roster that weren’t ranked because I couldn’t justify giving them a star. Remember they are minor league players and could be late bloomers. There is a high probability that I’m full of crap, which is probably the case. Column “2018 MLB Ready” below means players could be breaking into the MLB this year. The teams are ranked from the best to worst.

The Key

3 Stars = Elite MLB Player
2 Stars = Solid MLB Player
1 Star = Average MLB Player

#1 HLR

Loaded, more than loaded………………………. Lead by Vladimir Guerrero, if you’re looking to trade for prospects HLR is the place to go. Beware HLR is a hustler and values his prospects and in a few years his team is going to be killing it. Hustle is going to win many championships if you believe in building from the bottom up. The only downside is HLR only has one prospect who might make the majors this year, he’s a good one too, Willie Calhoun. Minor League score 50.

2018 MLB Ready

  • TEX OF Calhoun, Willie

3 Star Players

  • ALT SP Allard, Kolby
  • NYM UT Alonso, Peter
  • TOR 3B Guerrero Jr., Vladimir
  • LAD LF Heredia, Starling
  • MIN SS Javier, Wander
  • DET SP Manning, Matt
  • PHL RF Ortiz, Jhailyn
  • MIL LF Harrison, Monte
  • TB LF Sanchez, Jesus
  • HOU RF Tucker, Kyle

#2 TBD

Almost the top minor league team, it was very close that’s for sure since the Joey Wentz trade. TBD was going to drop Brian McCann anyway, good for TBD. The rich get richer in my opinion………………………. TBD’s minor league team is stacked with Eloy Jimenez, who is a year away, and Walker Buehler, who could be the NL Rookie of the Year in 2018. TBD probably has the best 2018 MLB ready players, led by Buehler and Lewis Brinson. TBD’s experience evaluating minor league talent is unquestionable. Minor league score 49.

2018 MLB Ready

  • BAL RF Hays, Austin
  • MIL CF Brinson, Lewis
  • HOU SP/RP Paulino, David
  • MIL SP Woodruff, Brandon
  • STL SP Helsley, Ryan
  • LAD SP Buehler, Walker

3 Star Players

  • CHC SP Albertos, Jose
  • MIL CF Brinson, Lewis
  • CHW LF Jimenez, Eloy
  • LAD SP May, Dustin
  • DET SP Perez, Franklin
  • LAD SP Buehler, Walker
  • BAL RF Hays, Austin
  • Alt SP Wentz, Joey

#3 IL4W

IL4W was only one three-star pitcher away from being the top minor league squad. IL4W team is led by strong pitching with Michael Kopech, Braxton Garrett and Cal Quantrill. IL4W has the best group of minor league pitching in the league. IL4W also has young Kevin Maitan who found a new home in Anaheim. IL4W has help on the way this year with Alex Verdugo and Victor Robles, who are projected to be fantasy stars. HLR, IL4W and TBD’s minor league systems are killing it and the rest of us wish we had ¼ of the 3-star prospects they have. I tip my hat to all three teams. Minor league score 47.

2018 MLB Ready

  • PHI UT Alfaro, Jorge
  • KC SP Skoglund, Eric
  • LAD CF Verdugo, Alex
  • WAS RF Robles, Victor

3 Star Players

  • OAK LF Armenteros, Lazaro
  • MIA SP Garrett, Braxton
  • CHW SP Kopech, Michael
  • OAK SP Luzardo, Jesus
  • ATL SS Maitan, Kevin
  • SD SP Quantrill, Cal
  • MIL RF Grisham, Trent
  • WAS RF Robles, Victor
  • LAD SP Sheffield, Jordan

#4 Long Ball

Long Ball =’s Ronald Acuna, the favorite to become 2018 NL Rookie of the Year. Acuna ripped through three levels of the minors and AFL, there’s no doubt Acuna is ready to be a MLB All Star. Sean Reid-Foley has a 97-mph fast ball with a competitive edge. Long Ball also has some nice power coming up with Bobby Dalbec and pure hitter Bo Bichette just a couple of years away. Minor league score 37.

2018 MLB Ready

  • MIL SP Ortiz, Luis
  • CHC C Caratini, Victor
  • STL OF O’Neill, Tyler
  • ATL OF Acuna, Ronald

3 Star Players

  • ALT CF Acuna, Ronald
  • WAS SS Kieboom, Carter
  • TOR SP Reid-Foley, Sean
  • WAS RF Soto, Juan
  • SD SS Ruiz, Esteury

#5 Night King’s Undead Army

The Night Kings have the best pitching prospect in the game, Alex Reyes, but coming off TJS surgery. They also have eight two-star prospects. MLB ready players include Hunter Dozier, who will probably start the season with the Royals but playing time will be a question. Kyle Zimmer also has a chance to break camp with the Royals. Why did The Foundation change their name? Just to confuse me?????? Minor league score 36

2018 MLB Ready

  • KC 2B Dozier, Hunter
  • STL SP Reyes, Alex
  • KC SP Zimmer, Kyle
  • CHW RP Fulmer, Carson

3 Star Players

  • ATL SP Anderson, Ian
  • BOS SP Groome, Jason
  • BAL 3B Reyes, Jomar
  • STL SP Reyes, Alex

#6 Senior Squids

Not an earth shattering minor league roster. After the 2016 season the Squids reconstructed the minor league roster and concentrated on pitching. Hoping the likes of Honeywell, Alcantara, Duplantier and Whitley will be the foundation of his team for years to come. News broke recently that Mariner prospect Eric Filia was suspended 50 games for a second positive drug test. Filia hit .326 at Modesto in 2017 and won the Arizona Fall League battle title with a .408 average. Hopefully he gets his drug addiction taken care, and get back on the field and bring a world championship to Seattle. It’s kind of weird evaluating my own team, feel free to throw me under the bus. Minor league score 35

2018 MLB Ready

  • CIN LF, Winker, Jesse
  • TB SP Honeywell, Brent
  • SD RF Renfroe, Hunter
  • MIA SP Alcantara, Sandy
  • TB SP De Leon, Jose
  • CHW RP Vieira, Thyago

3 Star Players

  • TB 3B Lowe, Josh
  • SEA RF Lewis, Kyle
  • MIA SP Alcantara, Sandy
  • ARI SP Duplantier, Jon
  • HOU SP Whitley, Forrest

#7 Beach Bum

The Beach Bums have a balanced minor league team with lots of up and coming MLB talent, led by Gleyber Torres. Torres is slated to bat ninth and play 2B for the Yankees, who have the best line up in the majors. The Beach Bums have quite a few minor players that will hit the majors this year, especially with Oakland A’s. I’m a big fan of A J Puk who has huge K upside. The Beach Bums also have Austin Meadows who is #17 on MLB’s prospects and could make the Pirates roster if Andrew McCutchen is traded (ed. note: he was!). Minor league score 33

2018 MLB Ready

  • OAK SP Puk, AJ
  • OAK SP Holmes, Grant
  • NYY SS Torres, Gleyber
  • PIT CF Meadows, Austin
  • MIN SP Gonsalves, Stephen

3 Star Players

  • PHI 2B Kingery, Scott
  • PIT CF Meadows, Austin
  • OAK SP Puk, AJ
  • PHI SP Sanchez, Sixto
  • NYY SS Torres, Gleyber

#8 Team Hydra

Hydra has a very strong group of 2-star minor leagues, which include Corey Ray if he can find his stroke after a sub par 2017 season. Hydra’s strength is his MLB ready prospects. Francisco Mejia and Jorge Mateo both will make strong pitches for regular playing time this year. Additionally, Daniel Volgelbach will be fighting to win the 1B job with the Mariners, who adds lots of pop if he can do it in the majors. Minor league score 29

2018 MLB Ready

  • SEA 1 Vogelbach, Dan
  • CLE C Mejia, Francisco
  • OAK OF Fowler, Dustin
  • OAK SS Mateo, Jorge

3 Star Players

  • LAD SP Alvarez, Yadier
  • OAK SP Kaprielian, James
  • PIT SP Keller, Mitch
  • TEX CF Taveras, Leody

#9 The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

First, “The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses” has to be the strangest / craziest fantasy team name I’ve ever heard. What’s the story behind the name, WB? Does anyone know? WB has a strong core of three-star prospects that include Jack Flaherty, who could find himself in the Cardinals rotation and be a solid #3. Riley Pint is a complete pitcher with a plus fastball who is a top of the rotation pitcher. Fernando Tatis Jr is going to be an All-Star with an already loaded Padres prospect squad. The Padres are going to be a force to be reckoned with in a couple of years. Minor league score 26

2018 MLB Ready

  • COL 1B McMahon, Ryan
  • MIL SS Dubon, Mauricio
  • TEX 1B Guzman, Ronald

3 Star Players

  • SD SP Espinoza, Anderson
  • STL SP Flaherty, Jack
  • COL 1B McMahon, Ryan
  • COL SP Pint, Riley
  • SD SS Tatis Jr, Fernando

#10 Troompa Loompas

Jimmy Kimmel’s team has three high end prospects that includes Dylan Cease a power pitcher who’s a 97 MPH fastball, he’s the 58th ranked prospect on MLB.com. TL should have three players get some MLB playing time this year led by Franklin Barreto who is line drive hitter and could hit .280. My favorite player on his roster is Matt Thaiss who can hit HR’s and knows how to work the count. Minor league score 25

2018 MLB Ready

  • OAK SS Barreto, Franklin
  • ARI SP Banda, Anthony
  • NYY SP Adams, Chance

3 Star Players

  • CHW SP Cease, Dylan
  • NYM SS Gimenez, Andres
  • NYM SP Scapucki, Thomas

#11 Preseason Double-Stuffs

The Oreos have two of the best up and coming infield prospects in our league, Brendon Rogers and Nick Senzel. Late word out of Cincinnati is they want Senzel to learn how to play the OF, which should speed up his callup and he might make the Cincinnati team to start the season. Senzel is Cincinnati’s #1 prospect and 9th overall. Brendon Rogers is the 7th overall prospect and is a middle of the order player at Coors Field, the Oreos will be double stuffing their two prize prospects this year. They also have Luiz Gohara, who Atlanta got from my Mariners. Gohara has #2 stuff. On kind of a strange note, the Double Stuffs have two of the top catching prospects in the league, Chance Sisco and Carson Kelly. However, Kelly is stuck behind Yadier Molina and he’s not going anywhere. I really like the Double Stuffs minor league roster. Minor league score 23.1

2018 MLB Ready

  • CIN 3B Senzel, Nick
  • COL SS Rodgers, Brendan
  • STL C Kelly, Carson
  • ATL SP Gohara, Luiz
  • BAL C Sisco, Chance

3 Star Players

  • COL SS Rodgers, Brendan
  • CIN 3B Senzel, Nick
  • CIN UT Trammell, Taylor
  • ATL SP Gohara, Luiz

#12 Capital City Ironmen

The Capital City Ironmen have nine two-star major league prospects and no three-star prospects. That could be all fake news and CC could have 9 three-star prospects and championships the next five years. This could cause the Hustler to curl up in the fetal position in a bathroom at Dodger Stadium. His squad is led by JP Crawford who will finally get his chance with Phillies batting 7th. They also have Oscar De La Cruz who is on the fast track and will be a middle of the rotation pitcher with fantasy upside. I also like Yordan Alvarez who has 25 HR upside. Minor league score 23

2018 MLB Ready

  • PHI 3B Crawford, JP
  • CLE SP Bieber, Shane
  • LAA SP Barria, Jaime
  • TOR LF Gurriel, Lourdes
  • PIT SS Newman, Kevin

3 Star Players

  • N/A

#13 Who’s Your Haddy?

Who’s Your Haddy’s top two prospects are a few years away. Adonis Medina is slated as a #2 with lots of K upside in his future, but could end up in the bullpen. Their top prospect, Estevan Florial is capable of .300+ BA, 20+ HR, and 25+ SB. Major League ready David Dahl is on Haddy’s minor league roster and will be Colorado’s OF of the future. Amir Garrett is slated to start in the bullpen but has #3 starter stuff and will start on the major league roster in 2018. Minor league score 18.1

2018 MLB Ready

  • CIN SP Garrett, Amir
  • COL LF Dahl, David

3 Star Players

  • NYY CF Florial, Estevan
  • PHI RP Medina, Adonis

3 Star Players 2018 MLB Ready
NYY CF Florial, Estevan CIN SP Garrett, Amir
PHI RP Medina, Adonis COL LF Dahl, David

#14 Team Canada

Team Canada’s minor league has limited 3-star talent except for Isan Diaz who has huge power upside but is a few years away. However, they do have a few players that should make their MLB debut this year. Tyler Mahle has an excellent chance to become a solid fantasy contributor this year. Jordan Patterson can contribute a .270 avg and 20 HR’s. Finally, Erick Feddie should also make his debut, however he did have Tommy John surgery in 2014. He has #3 stuff. Minor league score 18

2018 MLB Ready

  • CIN SP Mahle, Tyler
  • COL RF Patterson, Jordan
  • WAS SP Fedde, Erick

3 Star Players

  • MIL SS Diaz, Isan

#15 Evil Otters

First, like The Foundation/Night King’s Undead Army, the Otters also changed their name and ownership. We miss you Dusty and I hope your health is improving. I was a little surprise the Otters traded one of their top prospects for a part time catcher for the coming season. There not much squid in the cooler but the Otters do have a couple of sleepers I really like. Jorge Ona and Will Benson are capable of 30 HR’s a season. The only player I see making it onto an MLB roster this year is Domingo Acevedo, who is slated to start in the bullpen. FYI, I’m not a fan of the Otters short name “666” What’s up with that???? Minor league score 16

2018 MLB Ready

  • NYY RP Acevedo, Domingo

3 Star Players

  • TEX SP Speas, Alex
  • NYY RP Acevedo, Domingo

#16 We Talk Fantasy Sports

Momma’s cupboard is empty with an open jar of stale Oreo cookies. Slack chatting with We Talk mentioned that his priority was drafting major league ready players, which explains why he has no fresh cookies. We Talk has two really nice prospects, Adbert Alzolay and Corbin Burnes, who are high level prospects that could see action in 2019. In 2018 We Talk Fantasy Sports should have Dillion Peters fight for a rotation spot with MIA, which shouldn’t be that hard considering what has happened down south, and he still has Byron Buxton right? Minor league score 10

2018 MLB Ready

  • MIA SP Peters, Dillon

3 Star Players

  • CHC SP Alzolay, Adbert
  • MIL SP Burnes, Corbin

Conclusion: I had a lot of fun and learned a lot putting all of this together. Absolutely no hard feelings towards any of the teams, it’s just one opinion. I believe to be successful is a dynasty baseball league it’s a must to have a strong minor league squad. I asked my baseball friends on the right and the left and they said the article is “fake news” because they are only minor league prospects and you never know, plus most of them are young adults. If I missed on any prospects or you disagree with the article please post on slack. Please, I have no intention to be mean and only trying to make the league better.

– Senior Squids

Trade: Night King’s Undead Army | TBD

TBD sends: CF/RF Max Kepler ($15), 2018 4th Round Pick
Night King’s Undead Army sends: 2018 2nd Round Pick

 

Andrew’s Thoughts: Well, Night King’s Undead Army gets the centerfielder that Jordan coveted.

I’m a big Max Kepler fan. I went to a Twins game in Minnesota last year and took pictures of him, and of stuff with him on it. It was creepy. Having said that, I’m torn on him as a $15 option. I do think there’s pretty solid upside in him — when he’s hot, he’s quite good, so consistency as he matures will help — but, I don’t know. I guess for the cost of moving back two rounds, it’s fine. I think if sent back to auction, Kepler probably takes a slight pay cut. But I also like getting my guys before auction and not having to roll those dice, so.

For TBD, seems good. Another salary dump of an obvious cut in exchange for what might be an okay prospect. TBD’s farm system continues to stockpile without really spending resources that matter to them, so that seems fun.

Hustle’s toxic $0.02: Joe turning another cuttable asset for something in return is always going to be a good move, so I like this for TBD. He’s also been arguably the best at extracting value from picks and minor leaguers, so this is another asset for him.  This also saves Jordan at least one awkward DM to me during the minor league draft asking if drafting player X is a good choice.

$15 for Max Kepler seems steep for a somewhat averaging scoring outfielder.  He does have CF eligibility which is nice. Jordan has Josh Reddick at 9, but maybe he doesn’t feel comfortable there. Either way, I think Jordan losing a 2nd round pick doesn’t mean a lot for his team and adding a hitter who can play at RF. CF or UTIL certainly will add value and flexibility to his roster. That being said I always think back to Bailey’s cheap outfielders from last year like Span and Markakis… I was able to add Avisail Garcia and Robbie Grossman.  Does Kepler have significantly more upside than Kepler to justify 3 times the salary and a 2nd round pick? He might, but he might not. Maybe Span and Markakis don’t have the year like they did last year, but I think there will be comparable unsexy outfielders available in the auction or for cheap once the  season starts. If you acquire that type of player during the season, I’m sure a 2nd rounder is close to what gets it done, and you probably save the $15, and that’s under the premise you didn’t lock one up for under $5 at auction or pick one up for free. If you think Kepler has significant upside, I can see the justification here.

Trade: Evil Otters | TBD

TBD sends: C Brian McCann
Evil Otters sends: SP Joey Wentz (minors)

Andrew’s Thoughts: This makes sense for both teams.

Brian McCann is a solid catcher that I think is worth $15 for the reliability alone. Catcher is a fickle position. I tend to value guys that you can simply trust to not suck. McCann is one of those guys. At this price though, I assume TBD saw him as an insignificant piece in the grand scheme of things and a way to shave $15 off their budget. Seems fine to me. This Joey Wentz guy is a 20-year-old, back-end of top-100 lists pitcher with 131 innings at Single-A. He’s whatever. If you’re getting him for a guy you didn’t want to keep, I think that’s fine. Maybe he shoots up lists a tad between now and June, and TBD flips him for profit.

For the Evil Otters, I also like this move. As you can tell, I don’t think Wentz is particularly special. He’s exactly the type of prospect I’d punt to improve my team now. McCann gives the Otters a reliable starting backstop, and this team should have a ton of budget to spend, so yeah, I’d rather have the boring old vet that’ll help now. Tacking on the $15 is nothing. Also, the Otters farm system is in complete disarray. All first and second round picks for the next three years are gone and Wentz was essentially the only prospect in this system that you’ll see on a list as we head into the new season. Ryan Howard is in the minors for this team. It’s dark. And so from that lens, Wentz or not, this wasn’t a strong system. And remember, this roster lucked into a first place record last year. So from that perspective, I think it makes sense to spend whatever little prospect currency you’ve got, try to gear up for the start of the season, and if things putter out early, well, then maybe you consider trying to rebuild the farm a bit.

Hustle’s toxic $.02: There isn’t to much to say that Bailey already didn’t. I think $15 is probably pushing it in terms of value out of Mccann. That being said $17 for a combined C platoon with Barnes seems reasonable.  Also, there’s a lot of money available for Evil Otters to be spending, so if McCann is slightly overpaid, it’s probably not  a big deal.

Hustle Media likes Joey Wentz was a prospect, but an A ball pitcher has a long way to go in terms of risky and development.  It’s hard to hate trading one away. TBD currently doesn’t have a catcher on their roster outside of Nick Hundley, so unless they make another trade, they’re likely to be looking at a few guys in the auction.

Seems like a fine trade for both teams.