Trade: TBD | Senior Squids

TBD sends: SP Brent Honeywell (minors)
Senior Squids sends: 3B Rafael Devers (minors)

Hustle’s thoughts: There was a time in the offseason when I predicted Joe would make a trade with Elton for a catcher.  Both of them privately told me they would never make a trade with each other.  Then a few months later TBD acquired a catcher from Squids.  Now they trade again.  Was the point of these first few sentences to gloat? Mostly.  

Moving on to the trade. If we were to redo our initial minor league auction with players who have yet to debut (like we did in early 2016), I would think both these guys would be late first round picks.  It’s rare to see a top prospect get traded for another.  Calling someone a winner and a loser here would be more foolish than most trades.  I think Devers is safer here. He is only 20 and mashing in AA to a 220 ISO and near 400 WOBA.  Squids made it known he’s looking to improve on pitching, and while he’s acquired one of the best near MLB ready arms, it’s far from a given Honeywell will produce out of the gate.  Most pitchers take a while to figure it out or get hurt. Honeywell’s upside is probably a #2, maybe an Ace, so I definitely see the appeal here, but both these guys could be a while from mattering if ever.  Squids also has Kyle Seager reasonably prices for a few years, so Honeywell’s upside gives him a chance to have a more balanced team.

Andrew’s thoughts: Oh, the rare prospect for prospect trade. And I think it’s a fair swap for both teams.

I personally would rather have Devers, just because he seems less risky somehow and all the scouts and lists like him more. But Honeywell’s good too, he’s likely going to debut sooner, and he’s a pitcher, so if you’re hunting for guys who throw baseballs, he’s a solid target as far as prospects go. This is one of those trades where if it’s uneven at all, the difference is something small like a late draft pick or an auction buck.

So yeah, nice, simple, even trade.

Trade: TBD | Hustle Loyalty Respect

TBD sends: SP Robert Gsellman ($5)
In Shorter Line 4 the Win sends: LF/RF Avisail Garcia ($3)

Andrew’s thoughts: Garcia currently has a .418 BABIP, so his numbers are likely to fall. I suppose the power could be real, but everyone hits for power these days.

Gsellman’s FIP/xFIP (4.86/4.06) have him not too far off line from a league average pitcher. I think as your SP5 or SP6, he’s an okay gamble that you can roll out in favorable match-ups. He’s also only 23 so… “upside.”

I’ll take the pitcher.

Trade: TBD | In Shorter Line 4 the Win

TBD sends: 3B Yoan Moncada ($1), SP Michael Kopech (minors), SP Cal Quantrill (minors), two 2018 1st Round Picks
In Shorter Line 4 the Win sends: SP Noah Syndergaard ($82)

Andrew’s thoughts: This trade occurred on April 26 and immediately became a disaster for TBD.

Syndergaard was supposed to take the mound on the day this trade was processed, but that start got pushed to the next day. On the 27th, he was scratched from a start due to “biceps tendinitis.” Then, he started on Sunday, April 30. In that start, he promptly got knocked around by the Nationals — five hits and two walks in 1.1 IP — before injuring himself on a pitch to Bryce Harper. He came out of the game having scored -4.5 fantasy points. Turns out, he has a partial tear in his lat. He’ll be on the shelf for three months or so. Just horrible, horrible luck for TBD. Like… if Syndergaard misses the year, which seems well within the range of possible outcomes here, how do you keep him at $82 next year? Or if he comes back but is rusty and struggles, or re-injures himself, or displays any sign of long-term volatility, how do you not send him back to auction? It’s totally possible that TBD spent three very good prospects and two premium draft picks to get -4.5 fantasy points.

Hindsight here is 20/20 but man, this just sucks for TBD. Ultimately, because they dealt picks and prospects, their already very good team is mostly unaffected. But they’re now down a lot of trade chips.

Before the injury though, I thought this swap was okay for both squads. I would rather have healthy Syndergaard than all the stuff IL4W got, but I understand why, if your team isn’t scoring points and is sitting at the bottom of the standings, you’d do this. Pitchers are time bombs. Obviously. So Aaron and his cohorts at IL4W mitigated some risk, took on a bunch of young, cheap talent with upside, and gave themselves a few more paths to being good down the road. Even if only two of the five pieces they got become useful, they’ll be useful and cheap. But pitchers are also a big part of winning games in this league (especially in 2017 when all the pitchers stink) and Syndergaard has essentially been Clayton Kershaw Lite since last year. To me, Kershaw is the type of talent you empty the chambers for. Syndergaard is that same type of talent.

If I’m TBD, I pull this trigger too. Not now, of course. But at the time they did it. Clearly they couldn’t have predicted the injury. And yeah, they surrendered Corey Kluber and Dellin Bettances in the midst of a pennant race just last year for Moncada alone. But trade markets aren’t static and, again, that was a late season deal. You pay more earlier. Go look at last year’s trade log, you’ll see. I don’t have a huge problem with the seemingly faulty logic of trading an ace for a prospect, then later on trading that prospect plus a bunch of other prospects for a different ace. Stuff changes. I also think if you get the opportunity to land a transcendent talent and really want to take it, well, take it, even if it means forking over a bunch of your best lottery tickets.

As arguably the best team in the league with or without Syndergaard, I really like the killer instinct and the aggressiveness it takes to get a deal like this done. And hey, it’s conceivable that TBD gets Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner back in time for the playoffs. I’d argue the potential of that is worth the same, if not more, than the potential that Moncada becomes a dirt cheap version of 2016 Jonathan Villar*.

* So… we realize Moncada’s clock started last year and so he’s in his $1 season, in which IL4W seems unlikely to compete, right? Next year he’s $3 minimum, more if his projections are good. Three bucks is nothing if he becomes 2016 Villar or even Anthony Rendon or whoever. But the point is, the two most valuable years of a player’s cost control status are the year they’re first promoted ($0) and their sophomore season ($1). IL4W is effectively getting zero tangible benefit from those two years from Moncada. If Moncada kills it for them in his $1 season, that’s cool and all, but IL4W still probably isn’t making headway as a team and the better his stats are this year, the better his projections will be next year, and the higher that salary will jump. This certainly isn’t a huge knock to Moncada’s future value, but is something to keep in mind, I think.

Speaking to Moncada specifically though, I do wonder just how amazing he can be here. He strikes out a ton, which I don’t think will matter, because when he makes contact it’s really, really good contact. But the stolen bases aren’t big factors in our scoring like they are in a 5×5 and if he’s whiffing more than 30% of the time against Triple-A pitchers, what happens when he steps into an American League with Sale, Verlander, Carrasco, Kluber, Darvish, Keuchel, etc? It’s not like he’ll get to tee off against Mike Fiers every day, y’know?

For IL4W though, I can speak from experience that the decision to start selling sucks. It means your team is poop emoji. But aside from the super lucky timing, I like that they recognized not just a poor win/loss record, but also a deep deficit in points, and went ahead and made that call early. By doing so, they didn’t have to compete with any other teams, could set their own market, and could come away with the assets they wanted. And I actually think they still have a decent roster and can win some weeks this year, even if their playoff odds aren’t particularly good.

The 2017 Minor League draft has been completed!

Our 2017 minor league draft has been completed. You can check out the full draft board and results right here.

This year’s draft kicked off on February 1 and wrapped up today, so it took us two weeks to get through five rounds and 80 picks. If my count is correct, there were 10 trades during that time, mostly of the auction budget-for-pick variety. So that was fun.

Jordan and I were asked if we were going to do a recap post of some kind and weren’t super interested. Aren’t people sick of our opinions on trades and stuff? Apparently not!

So just for fun — and because we have nothing to do until our final pre-auction cut down on February 27 — I decided to skim over the draft board and share some random thoughts as they pop into my head. Here goes…

Thought #1: Picking second, I was really shocked that Kevin Maitan went first overall. That’s what comparisons to Miguel Cabrera will do for you. For my own taste, a player that just turned 17-years-old is a bit rich for my blood here regardless of what the “upside” might be.

Thought #2: TBD had a great draft, both cashing in their own picks and aggressively acquiring others. Their haul: Alex Kiriloff, Cal Quantrill, Lucas Erceg, Walker Buehler, Jahmai Jones, Heath Quinn, and Bryan Reynolds. I hadn’t heard of Quinn, but all the other guys check boxes for me.

Thought #3: Defending champs Team Hydra did well too. They got Leody Taveras and Ramon Laureano early, two guys that are rising up lists fast, and then added Dustin Fowler and Jorge Bonifacio later. So they addressed a future outfield quite well. Plus, they somehow turned later picks into a total of $12 auction budget. I think if you can get a couple wildcard prospects and cash instead of just wildcard prospects, you’ve killed it.

Thought #4: So, speaking of trading picks for auction budget…

Look, I shipped out $6 to pick up Lourdes Gurriel because I’ve got a bunch of money and he’s major league ready. Or at least close. But man, Dusty dropped $26 by my count on assorted picks (Taylor Trammell, Will Benson, Joey Wentz, Mason Thompson, Cionel Perez, Jorge Ona). I have a really difficult time seeing how any of those guys are significantly better than whoever will be available after auction when free agency opens. The difference, of course, is $26. All prospects are gambles. I’d rather gamble that $26 on a bounce back player at auction who has the chance to be worth $40-$50 as soon as 2017 then to spend all that money just to fill roster spots.

Thought #5: Who’s Your Haddy? added $22 of auction budget by trading picks and still ended up with Miguel Andujar, who is close to contributing for the Yankees, and Adonis Medina, who shockingly came in at #91 on Baseball Prospectus’ top-101. This, to me, is just an awesome draft and a great use of non-premium picks.

In other words, the deeper you get into a draft, the less and less separation between players. We’re all throwing darts, but the bulls eye starts to shrink. So the difference between a fourth round pick and 10 assorted guys who will go undrafted and be picked up after the draft is slim. Why not take cash for those picks then and just add the undrafted guys for free?

Thought #6: The Wilfred Brimley Fightin’ Diabeetuses had a really good draft too. He tabbed Mickey Moniak and Delvin Perez in the first round, then took the lead on Rockies’ pitcher Riley Pint. That’s a lot of talent to take away from the draft. Pint’s a huge risk, obviously, but it’s not like he’s guaranteed to be in Colorado forever.

Thought #7: I like Senior Squids grabbing Zack Burdi in the last round. Relievers probably aren’t worth big salaries in our league right now, but he could be a closer in Chicago as soon as this year and costs nothing, then be $1 next year. Getting MLB-ready RPs in the draft seems like a good cheat code at the position assuming they perform decently.

Thought #8: The first player I didn’t immediately recognize was Daniel Gossett, who We Talk Fantasy Sports took in the back half of the second round.

Thought #9: Speaking of WTFS, they took Zack Collins with the 9th overall pick. He’s a catcher that is probably destined for 1B, which would obviously hurt his value. But I’ll be honest: if Nick Senzel had gone first, I was taking Corey Ray and then Collins. I obviously like guys that are close to the majors, and Collins provides extra value at catcher and his bat would play, at worst, as one of the two UT positions.

Thought #10: Shocker, Jordan took pitchers! Jason Groome, the first pitcher taken, is young and a ways off but felt like the obvious choice at #8. Adding Braxton Garrett and Ian Anderson, two guys on most top-100 lists, was good value too.

Thought #11: I love the gamble of Dinelson Lamet to cap a strong draft by Hustle Loyalty Respect with the very last pick. He’s not a highly thought of prospect, but he’s posted big minor league K numbers, has made it to Triple-A, and have you seen the Padres rotation? If he can simply crack the big league rotation, it’ll be worth it. And if he’s anywhere around average, he’ll be cheap and have value.

Thought #12: Okay, one more quick compliment for HLR: I like the Andres Gimenez pick a lot. He spent $1 to trade up a few spots and probably didn’t need to, but whatever. This is an 18-year-old at rookie ball, so make of that what you will, but last year he walked 46 times and had only 22 strikeouts in 275 PAs. That’s just silly.

Thought #13: In the group chat, Chris of Preseason Double Stuffs balked at Trumpa Loompa’s pick of Wladimir Galindo in the fourth round, saying, “18, GCL, questionable bat speed. No thanks.” Two things: first, I had no clue who this guy was so I looked him up. Second: he’s apparently not 18, he’s 20 (he was 19 during last playing season). And he didn’t play in the GCL, he played for the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League. The Cubs don’t even appear to have a GCL team. Nice right hand man you’ve hired, Ferns.

Thought #14: In Line 4 the Win picked someone named Jesus Luzardo was drafted. It made me think of these guys.

Thought #15: I can muster no more thoughts at this time. We’re having grilled cheese and soup for dinner, I think. Soup is awful but grilled cheese is pretty good. I put pickles on mine. Goodbye.

Trade: TBD | We Talk Fantasy Sports

TBD sends: C Matt Wieters ($13), RP Brad Brach ($5)
We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: 2017 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: I had lukewarm interest in Matt Wieters all off-season but only because I assumed TBD was definitely cutting him (so he could be had for cheap) and because the catcher position sucks so much. He intrigued me as a back-up option. I just couldn’t bring myself to dump anything for him and never imagined actually keeping him at $13. He’s hurt too much and hasn’t been good or efficient at the plate since 2014. Meh.

Having said that, I do like this deal for WTFS. Bryan Reynolds is an interesting prospect and I like him, but in his best case scenario, he’s not going to arrive in the majors until mid-to-late 2018 and it’s not super difficult to find productive outfielders. In other words, not having a guy like Reynolds does nothing to hurt WTFS, whereas Wieters might be a league average catcher? I sound down on him, but he did finish as the 13th  highest scoring catcher last year.

For TBD, it’s fine too, because as I said I assume they were dumping Wieters. This way, they get a prospect they like instead. Good deal for both sides.

Hustle’s thoughts: Keith seemed like he really wanted a starting catcher heading into the draft (and everyone seems to know Squids isn’t trading one of his 3). Keith has Travis D’Arnaud (22) and Kurt Suzuki (5), but this trade signals to me that he isn’t keeping either of them. Is Wieters the best value out of the bunch? I’d say if he gets a full time catcher at bats for whoever he signs with, probably. That being said, that’s no sure thing, he’s not that great, and he gets hurt a lot. He’s also likely going to worse ballpark than Camden. If everything clicks right for Wieters and he stays healthy, it’s a decent grab.

Brad Brach for $5 is about market rate for a good non closing reliever. It’s a fine piece. A 70+ IP 10 + k/9 guy over the last 2 years. Keith already has a $14 pair of Ken Giles and Craig Kimbrel, so maybe this trade signals he wants to go cheaper on RP or these are the 3 he’s marching into 2017 with.

TBD gets a 3rd rounder which they used to choose giants OF Bryan Reynolds. I’ve been told by Bailey I’m allowed to gush over Reynolds because he has him in Dy-Nasty (which I will add is the least creative name for a Dynasty league possible). Reynolds is 22 and mashed in rookie ball last year. I’m personally weary of most Giants hitters because of the park, and they seem to have a lot of OF prospects at the moment. That being said, the Giants are probably going to have some OF openings. I have about 20-30 names on my list of players I’m looking to draft and Reynolds isn’t on it. That’s pretty meaningless at this point, because you draft who you want.

One could argue TBD could have probably waited a bit to make this pick, but they really didn’t pay much to get it. PREDICTION: TBD and Squids make a trade involving a catcher within a year.

Nobody really gave up anything of great value to declare a winner of this trade. Maybe Keith could have gotten a few bucks out of the deal considering Joe traded up from a 4th rounder to a 3rd for 4 bucks earlier this round.

Now I know why Jordan/Bailey moan about writing over trades as I see that I have compiled 400 words on Matt Wieters and Bryan Reynolds. Shit, it’s my turn to pick in the draft.

Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

TBD sends: $4 2017 Auction Budget, 2017 4th Round Pick
Who’s Your Haddy? sends: 2017 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: So TBD traded four bucks to move up and draft San Francisco Giants outfielder Heath Quinn. I’d never heard of Quinn, so obviously I’d rather have the four bucks, but I trust and defer to TBD’s prospect judgment here (and Beach Bum said he was poised to take Quinn, so it’s a good thing TBD jumped to get their guy).

Jordan’s thoughts: I just like that deals like this are getting made now. I feel like $4 would have bought the moon last year, I think the market has corrected itself a bit. Hooray for that. Nobody wins or loses here.

Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

Who’s Your Haddy? sends: CF AJ Pollock ($54), CF Lewis Brinson (minors), 2017 2nd Round Pick
TBD sends: SP Zack Greinke ($80), SS Willy Adames (minors), 2017 4th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: I don’t love Greinke at his price or Pollock at his, but their track records are certainly cause for optimism. But man… was Greinke even getting kept? TBD was tight against their budget, he’s really expensive, and he’s coming off a discouraging year. I think it was like 60/40 he was getting sent to auction. So trading Pollock, a top-25-ish fantasy prospect, and a pick upgrade for him is a lot given that so many players that were going to end up cut seem to have been dealt at discount prices. I mean, within this same off-season, Greinke was already dealt straight up for David Peralta. So this looks like a really great short term investment for TBD.

The difficulty with Greinke or any $80 player, really, is that they have to be elite to return value. And I love Greinke historically. I’d rather gamble $80 on him than some other guys and I think every now and then you have to roll the dice on guys that have been great year in and year out. But still, it’s a big gamble.

And I sort of hate to do it, but because it was such a hot button deal when it went down, I have to circle back to it: Pollock was originally acquired, along with David Dahl, for Mookie Betts. Remember that? Pollock was hurt and Betts at $61 seems totally reasonable, so at the time, everyone was just so taken aback. It looked so much like a deal to save some cash and turn attention to 2017, which is fine. But here we are, and now Pollock got swapped for Greinke, who is $10 more costly than Betts. It’s just really hard not to connect these two. It’d be different if Pollock was healthy at the time, but his arm was broke and he was effectively done for the year, so there was no other way to look at it then “eyeing 2017.” Dahl still came of that deal, and with Coors setting his floor, he looks like he’ll be solid. But Brinson’s a similar prospect, right? Worse park, obviously. But a year or two from now, might Brinson and Dahl be interchangeable? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, including Brinson kinda chews into some of the value of Dahl from that original deal.

But that’s a totally different trade. For this one… I just really prefer the TBD side. Their pitching can absorb not having to take the Greinke gamble. Pollock should be good. Brinson should be decent at some point. I like Willy Adames, but shortstop isn’t as weak as it once was, so how much is his playing there really worth? And jumping up two rounds in the draft is just a nice bonus.

Jordan’s thoughts: Haddy gets another play that I really enjoy and like. Greinke. He’s awesome. But, what in the fuck are you doing here man? I believe Greinke bounces back, but Pollock should too right? There’s just something going on here. What does Haddy know that I’m not seeing? I’m lost.

Is Willy Adames the secret? Is his stock rising or something? Guh.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | TBD

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Mike Leake ($16)
TBD sends: $1 2017 Auction Budget

Jordan’s thoughts: Per usual, I’ll take the potentially useful pitcher for the price that’s just a bar higher than what Jesus Sucre goes for. I don’t love Mike Leake. But, I’d rather have the option to cut him or keep him if I potentially have a spot for another pitcher, than the dollar.

Andrew’s thoughts: Mike Leake isn’t great, but he’s a consistent innings eater. He had a 3.83 FIP and 3.76 xFIP last year, so he was better than league average there. His career numbers aren’t as good though and because he doesn’t strike anyone out, there’s not much upside here. Sixteen bucks doesn’t strike me as ideal and he was probably getting cut, but I get this move for both sides.

I prefer the TBD side adding Leake for basically free and avoiding having to bid on him, if he’s a guy they really want.

Trade: TBD | Capital City Ironmen

TBD sends: 1B Chris Carter ($5), 3B Ryan McMahon (minors)
Capital City Ironmen send: 1B Mike Napoli ($10), SP Franklyn Kilome (minors)

Jordan’s thoughts: Mike Napoli received the most greed votes for Capital City. This obviously identified, for Bailey, that he had something worthwhile on his roster left. So he promptly jettisoned this undervalued good player for a player who was recently designated for assignment because his major league team decided they wouldd rather not have a first baseman over paying Chris Carter a small sum of seven million dollars. Classic Bailey move.

In all honesty, they swapped mediocre players and mediocre prospects probably due to boredom.

Andrew’s thoughts: The Brewers dumped Chris Carter this morning, so he’s in as much free agent limbo as Mike Napoli now. I think Napoli’s perceived as the safer free agent gamble, but they’re very similar players — especially for fantasy purposes. They both walk a good bit, strike out a ton, and hit for power. Last year, Carter had a 0.3% better walk rate, Napoli had a 1.9% better strikeout rate, and Carter had the superior wOBA by .03 and the better wRC+ by 1. So… same guy. In fact, here’s a chart:

Same guy!

So I felt like, what the hell, going from Napoli to Carter saves me $5 and gets my roster five years younger.

Between Ryan McMahon and Franklyn Kilome, meh, I’m just hedging on a prospect that might get to play his home games at Coors Field one day. He’s blocked at third by Nolan Arenado though, so who knows. Kilome has the greater upside, but he’s also further away and comes with significant risks. Swapping two prospects like this is essentially flipping a coin.

As a funny side note, go look at who TBD put their greed dollar on for my team.

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