H-Town Trashcan Punch
9th place finish
Favorite offseason move: traded away 5th round pick for Max Kepler
Favorite draft pick: Steven Hajjar 5th round
Best auction find: Joc Pederson $3
Julio Rodriguez. The J-Rod Show. That’s all that matters here.
Kyle took over a putrid team last year, and has made the most of it. He might be another year or two from being a playoff contender, but I think he’s gonna be a problem. With his young core of Julio Rodriguez, Spencer Torkleson, Bryson Stott, CJ Abrams, and Hunter Green the future is now. He’s also stockpiling draft picks in 2023, which gives him lots of flexibility. Just like Squids is collecting all of the Mariners, Kyle is close to having all the Astros starting pitchers. Which is a pretty solid group to collect, just needs to hit up Betters for Verlander and his Astros infinity gauntlet will be complete. *snap*
I liked a number of Kyle’s offseason moves. Getting Max Kepler for a 5th round pick and winning Joc Pederson for $3 at auction provides some outfield stability along with Julio, Tommy Pham, and Harrison Bader. I also really like the Steven Hajjar pick in the 5th round, he was going to be one of my early waiver claims.
I think we see H-Town Trashcan Punch in the middle clump of teams this year. If a couple of his uber prospects take off, he’ll be battling for a playoff spot. Not bad considering where his roster was last offseason. Kudos Kyle.
2022 prediction: middle group that could jump into the playoff picture
13th place finish
Favorite offseason move: resisting the temptation to trade Brandon Lowe
Favorite draft pick: Jack Leiter 1st round
Best auction find: too many to name
Matt went into the auction with the most available budget, and did not disappoint. I usually don’t like the “build through the auction” strategy, but this year might have changed my mind. In years past we’ve seen most high dollar auction targets turn into a one year rentals because of the exorbitant cost, but not this year, and not with Lansdowne Legends. There’s just so much to like here. I see a number of these additions being multiyear guys, which I love. He also took calculated risks on Seiya Suzuki, Josh Donaldson, Patrick Corbin, and Kyle Hendricks. I started writing Lansdowne’s review before the auction, and scrapped the whole thing because he turned his team’s entire outlook around in this year’s auction.
The best decision Matt made this offseason was resisting the temptation to trade Brandon Lowe. I’m sure there were plenty of teams that asked about him. Now he has a team that is viable and competitive, and Lowe will be a big part of that. His draft selection of Jack Leiter makes so much sense for him. A high quality college arm that should move quickly and help his veteran led pitching rotation sooner than later. It’s also nice to have Bobby Witt Jr., Jo Adell, and Jeremy Pena ready to contribute offensively. Lots to like here, still think we need to see a move or two on the pitching side to get over the hump..
Props to Matt for deciding against the full rebuild and instead making solid moves, drafting well, and crushing the auction. Future looks bright for Lansdowne Legends, but needs a couple arms.
Addendum: I wrote this review before the Benintendi trade today, and didn’t feel like rewriting it. If that trade is an indication of a coming rebuild, I would tone down the positivity of my review a bit and have a more pessimistic take. Also, I would slot Dowd ahead of Lansdowne at this point. Congrats Cory!
2022 prediction: *shoulder shrug emoji*
Eastbound and Dowd
10th place finish
Favorite draft pick: Matt McLain 1st round
Best auction find: Clayton Kershaw $49
Dowd’s team keeps letting him down. On the offensive side, I see a lot of guys who have regressed or have a limited track record of success. Two years ago, a core of Cody Bellinger, DJ LeMahieu, and Anthony Rendon would have been one of the best in the league. Now I don’t know what to think about any of them. I think Dowd has played this as well as he could. Each of them went from untouchables to untradeables in the blind of an eye. What’s a man to do? Riding it out is probably the only play at this point. If they all click, you’re good. If not, I think you’re a seller at the deadline. Ugh, it hurt me to write that. On the positive end, I bet Trevor Story finds his stroke again in Boston, because playing in Colorado has to be torture. Tyler O’Neill is exciting and built like a tank, Nelson Cruz is going to be a 6 points per game player until he’s 50, and Brennan Davis will make his long awaited debut. Maybe you hope JD Davis gets a change of scenery trade and lives up to his potential? Too many question marks for me to be confident.
I like Dowd drafting Matt McLain. He’s a hit tool guy who should move quickly and will get to play in Great American Ballpark. Getting Kershaw at auction makes a lot of sense for Dowd, given how he’s constructed his pitching staff… but again, the risk. Hopefully for his sake we can see Zac Gallen return to form, Bailey Ober cement himself in the Twins rotation, and Roansy Contreras be a difference maker.
As much as I like what Dowd has done, his team has underperformed and is often injured. There is playoff team upside here, but with all the teams around him taking a step forward, I think we see an Iosim participant here. Sorry to say.
2022: Iosim Bowl participant
16th place finish
Favorite offseason move: traded away Mark Vientos and a pick for Matt Chapman
Favorite draft pick: Frank Mozicotto 3rd round
Best auction find: Corey Kluber $23
Zach got stuck with a bad roster, and has done quite a bit to start turning the ship around. His offseason additions included Mookie Betts, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, and Kyle Lewis. It’s nice to have this team owned by an owner that gives a damn. Prior mismanagement has left him with 22 open minor spots so there is still a lot this team can do to improve its future outlook. Hope you like prospects.
I liked trading away Mark Vientos and a pick for Matt Chapman. At $19 and cost controlled, he could be a cornerstone piece for Beantown Butchers. There are reports that Chapman was dealing with a hip injury that contributed to his down season last year, so there is a probable bounce back in 2022. I didn’t really love trading away Fransisco Lindor for Kyle Lewis and a 3rd round pick. I think I would have rather kept Frankie and found a way to move Rizzo. Maybe Lindor was going to be a cut and you got what you could for him, I can squint and see that I guess. If JP Crawford and Adalberto Mondesi perform this year, it probably doesn’t matter much, but I think Kyle Lewis could easily be the odd man out in the Mariners outfield this season. There’s plenty to like in Butchers outfield. Adding Mookie Betts to team up with Eloy Jimenez, the surprising mini breakout from Akil Baddoo, and the underrated Mark Canha makes for some excitement.
A healthy Jack Flaherty makes all the difference for Beantown Butchers. As much as I like Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer, Sean Manaea, and Marcus Stroman, I don’t think it’s enough to move up the rankings without J-Flare. Getting top 10 pick Frank Mozicotto in the 3rd round feels like a win, although he’s a long ways from the majors and a lot can happen between now and then. It’s the kind of risk I like a new owner taking. Hopefully Corey Kluber can turn into a deadline trade candidate, and paying $23 for that risk is a sound auction play.
The rebuild has to start somewhere, and Zach wasn’t left with many meaningful pieces. He’s started to shake things up and it’s nice to see this roster moving in the right direction.
2022 prediction: Iosim Bowl participant
15th place finish
Favorite offseason move: traded two 5th round picks for Giancarlo Stanton
Favorite draft pick: Ty Madden in 2nd round
Best auction find: Reiver Sanmartin $15
The success of Chaos’s season will come down to his pitching. He has a rotation headlined by Ian Anderson and Dylan Cease, but after that, he’s gonna need help from the baseball gods. I could easily see Tanner Houck or Cal Quantill joining his top two. Either a couple youngsters have to figure it out, or Dallas Keuchel and Chris Archer need to find the fountain of youth for him to be competitive this year. The offense is fun however. Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley offer some balance to a team with streaky hitters like Pete Alonso and Giancarlo Stanton. Chaos has a number of guys with question marks behind them. Nico Hoerner is an impact bat, but needs to stay healthy. Cavan Biggio’s strategy to try and walk every at bat hasn’t worked. How long can a competitive Blue Jays team be patient with him? Can swing happy Austin Hays stay consistent? All three have big upside, but 2022 feels like make or break time for these guys. I also like Nolan Gorman, Royce Lewis, and JJ Bleday waiting in the wings to help contribute to the squad.
This offseason Chaos used his massive available budget to acquire Giancarlo basically for free and take a number of dart throws at pitching in the auction. I like getting Ty Madden in the second round. I think there’s legitimate reliever risk with him, but Detroit will give him every chance to start. Reiver Sanmartin is getting some spring training buzz, and someone has to pitch for the Reds. Why not him?
I still think a lot has to break right for Chaos to be in the playoff hunt. The offense has some highlights, but the pitching is a roller coaster. Cross your fingers and hope that Druw Jones falls in your lap.
2022 prediction: Iosim Bowl participant
The Fantasy Baseball Team
8th place finish
Favorite offseason move: traded Carlos Colmenares for Jameson Taillon and Dylan Bundy
Favorite draft pick: Gavin Williams in 1st round
Best auction find: Jesus Aguilar $9
Russell is in the early stages of his rebuild, so it’s not surprising to see him at the bottom of the rankings. In the talks we’ve had, I can tell that he knows his stuff when it comes to prospects, and he’s gonna need it. My only offseason criticism would be the Buxton trade with Betters, still wrapping my head around that one, but I think he’s quickly retooled his minors and will be a playoff contender in short order. Given his prospect depth and how active he is on the trade market he’s already proven to be a great addition to the league.
If you like exciting young risky pitching, The Fantasy Baseball Team has tons of it. In a league like this pitching wins you championships, but it’s also the toughest thing to get right. So having a lot of cheap lottery tickets is a fun way to do it. Having a young core of Reid Detmers, Logan Gilbert, Shane McClanahan is enough to get you into the playoff picture, or make you pull your hair out. And I can’t wait to see which it is. Supplementing the young pitching with veterans like Dylan Bundy, Jameson Taillon, and Yusei Kikuchi makes for a serviceable pitching staff with plenty of upside. He’s also got tons of minor league pitching that I like. Too many guys to list.
I loved the Gavin Williams pick near the end of the first round. Really looking forward to what the Cleveland Guardians can do with a guy like that. Adding a few innings eaters in Taillon and Bundy made a lot of sense for Russell along with some veteran bats from the auction. Looks like he’ll be wheeling and dealing all season considering the kind of guys he added, and Scherzer is already on the block.
I can see the vision and like the direction that Russell is headed. I just think he’s a year or two away from competing.
2022 prediction: Iosim Bowl participant
Brickmans revenge gets
Hunter Renfroe RF $11
Adbert Alzolay SP $0 CC
Enrique Hernandez 2B, CF $10
Lansdowne Legends gets
Nate Pearson SP CC
Peyton Burdick OF
5th round pick
Nate Pearson has a big fastball and some name recognition, as at one point he was the top rated pitching prospect in the minor leagues. The shine is fading as he has been unable to stay healthy and when healthy has shown command problems. He very may well start the season in the bullpen where a lot of Jays fans are starting to think he makes the most sense at least in the short term. He needs to stay healthy obviously and get innings, to hopefully refine his command. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start as a 7th or 8th inning guy in the bullpen and then maybe he has success and gets stuck there. If he ends up a bullpen guy this trade isn’t going to be a win for Lansdowne.
Burdick, rated 14th on MLB’s top Marlins prospects. He has power and he has had some success in AA. As a 24 year old last year he hit .231/.376/.472 with 23 Hr’s and then struggled in a brief 28 AAA at bats. So its make or break this year for Burdick, he needs to tear up AAA and get a promotion this year or his chances of being more than a 4th outfielder are small. His ceiling is probably close to Hunter Renfroe with a bit higher OBP. As a 24 yr old in AAA Renfroe hit .306/.336/.557 with a bad 22BB to 115K’s.
Amador was a high bonus July 2nd signing. Hit well in rookie ball with a good approach and some power for a MI. He is also Rockies property which is always an added bonus for a hitting prospect.
Alzolay is $0 and CC and is a better pitcher than Nate Pearson right now. As a 26 year old last year he made 21 starts giving up less than a hit per inning and striking out 128 in 125 IP. WHIP of 1.16. His floor is much higher than Pearson.
We all know Hunter Renfroe and Kike Hernandez. Both are not the sexiest names in fantasy baseball but are solid starters or depth depending on your roster construction and are at very affordable prices. Both players will be 30 years old this season.
You can see why this makes sense for both teams. Lansdowne is clearly rebuilding and isn’t going to lose sleep over losing non stars like Kike and Renfroe, but to a competing team these kind of players have more value. In my mind the trade is a win for Brickman as he gets a young CC starter and two roster pieces on good contracts. The trade will morph into a win-win trade if Nate Pearson takes a step forward and joins the rotation. If he reaches his ceiling this may look like a laugher a few years from now. As a Blue Jay fan I hope that happens. A big spring training could make it happen quickly, but I am afraid patience may be needed. Its possible he gets bullpen duty with the eye of transitioning(we may need a new synonym) to the rotation later, if he can improve his command while in the pen.
Corbin Carroll OF
5th round pick
The Fantasy Baseball Team gets:
Cade Cavalli SP
Jordan Westburg SS
Jake Eder SP
Who doesn’t love a good prospect for prospect trade. Reminds me of a time, a few years back, when I over grinded by giving up Christian Pache and Gavin Lux for Luis Patino. The next year I regretted it as Lux broke out and Pache was looking great. Still in wait and see mode to see who won that trade but not looking great for me.
Anyways the headliners here are Corbin Carroll and Cade Cavalli. Cavalli has a case as the top pitching prospect in baseball in my mind. 175 K’s in 123 IP in his first minor league season, moving up to AAA, he is probably ready midseason 2022. Carroll played in A+ as a 20 year old in 2021 and had all of 23 AB’s and his season ended with shoulder surgery. Scouts think he could be a special hitter, Fangraphs gives him a 60 FV same grade as Torkelson and Greene top prospect hitters.
Does this trade get consummated if it needs the Joe Rawlings approval? I know there was a lot of Cavalli love over on that team at one point.
Generally I think hitters are the safer prospects so getting a top hitter for a top pitcher the win would go to the hitting side. But I have to say I like this haul for TFBT, as he gets one of the elite SP prospects in the game another solid hitting prospect who will play in the upper minors and a 3rd piece coming off a great season, that is having TJ surgery. If Eden stays healthy he is not going to be a throw in here, a little patience and it could pay off handsomely. Good buy low on Eden. But overall great trade for both owners as they take a risk to get what they want. Nice way to add depth and fill the prospect cupboards for TFBT. And Cavalli could pay dividends quickly.
Senior Squids gets
Salvador Perez C $20
Lansdowne Legends gets
Jordan Balazovic SP
Spencer Howard SP
Xavier Edwards SS
Luis Torrens C
Squids gets possibly the top fantasy C in the league for a couple back end top 100 prospects and post hype Spencer Howard. I really like the deal here for Squids. In my opinion it is time for him to cash in prospects and compete, and it looks like he is ready to do that. Trading Perez for not too far distant prospects also makes sense to me, if I am in the Legends shoes.
I’ll cut to the chase, I’m not a big believer in Xavier Edwards as a big fantasy asset. He has hit 1 HR in his 3 year minor league career. Its tough for a player with little power to have a lot of value. He does have what looks like great bat to ball skills, which should give him a decent floor, just don’t think the ceiling is that high. Best case scenario is a Whit Merrifield type player which would be a great outcome. I see more of a Luis Arraez with some speed. He is in the upper minors so at least he isn’t years away. But I see questionable upside, more valuable in Roto leagues IMO.
I am rooting for Balazovic as a fellow Canadian. He played in AA at age 22 last year and the stats aren’t all that impressive with a WHIP of 1.4. Scouts see something they like as Baseball America has him ahead of Joe Ryan, and listed as the top pitcher on their 2025 projected rotation. So trusting the scouts here.
Spencer Howard is your typical post hype prospect. His MLB numbers were bad…I’d rather gamble that he figures something out than get a rookie level prospect with some helium thrown in.
So to sum up my thoughts. Nice trade for Squids as his offence needed some punch and he gives up prospects who are knocking on the door but would have to add or improve tools to really increase their ceiling.
Lansdowne is trading a 31 year old catcher coming off a career year on a team friendly salary. For his team it probably makes sense to trade him at some point as he inherited a team with limited depth and a 3 for 1 trade could help. I do like the fact all prospects have AA experience. He will need something to click with Howard, or Balazovic to take another step to make this trade look a little better in my eyes. The alternate route that could be taken, is hold onto your stars , spend your auction dollars on help and see how your season starts and then look to sell him when you find yourself out of the competition. For me I prefer that route unless i am really getting the prospect I covet.