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April 28, 2017 6:00 am

TDGX Transactions: Week 5

0

J.J. Jansons

Injuries can pinch available slots for minor-league prospects, presenting owners with a dilemma.

The Dynasty Guru Experts League is a 20-team (40-man roster) 5x5 rotisserie dynasty league founded by BP managing editor Bret Sayre in 2014. It is intended to satisfy the deep-league needs of all, down to just the right amount of Alexi Amarista. We roster 23 starters (C/1B/2B/3B/SS/MI/CI, along with two additional utility hitters, five outfielders and nine pitchers). We also roster seven bench slots and have 10 spots designated for minor leaguers, although a quick scan of the league finds that most teams utilize a majority of their bench spots for additional prospects. That means that there are an additional 100-120 prospects that are rostered above the 200 spots reserved for them.

These write-ups are intended to pair nicely with Mike Gianella’s Expert FAAB Review, as we will look at each week’s TDGX free-agent acquisitions, as well as include thoughts on every major trade that occurs during the season. The yearly budget for free-agent transactions is $100, with $0 bids allowed for major leaguers and prospects.

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What if Taylor Motter's season were set to showtunes? Is Chad too Kuhl for the room? Will they write songs about the guys filling in for the Dodgers injury brigade?

Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free-agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL. As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with $1 minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with $0 minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.

LABR Mixed
Trevor Rosenthal $11. Other bids: $4, $3, $1. Tout Auction: $99
Entering 2017, Seung Hwan Oh was considered one of the five or six “reliable” closing options in fantasy. His average ADP of 70th put him behind only Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Mark Melancon. On Opening Night, Oh blew a save in horrific fashion. It was against the Cubs, so no one thought much of it at the time, but ever since Oh hasn’t quite looked like his dominant self. The results have been solid after a rocky first week (in his past six outings, Oh has allowed one run in six innings with one walk, six strikeouts and five saves), but he also has had moments where he looked vulnerable, something we didn’t see much of with Oh in 2016.



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If Franklin Barreto and Francisco Mejia blossom, Scooter will score big-time.

This past week, I went through my fantasy investment portfolio for major leaguers across my seven leagues. This week, I’m going to walk through the minor-league side of my fantasy investment portfolio across my five leagues that allow minor leaguers.

Here’s a high-level rundown of the configuration of those five leagues:

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Sorting out the Texas Rangers bullpen might take all season, but chasing saves with a losing team can be a scary fantasy proposition. Melvin Upton Jr. will get a rebirth with the Giants soon—they just better hope he does better than he did with the Jays after being traded.

Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL.

As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.

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Who does Scooter love? How about Matt Moore six times?

This past weekend, I had my last two auctions of the season, my AL-only league on Saturday and my NL-only league on Sunday. While I love fantasy baseball, there is a sense of relief that comes from closing the book on drafting and auctioning teams for the year. With a few days of perspective, I repeated an exercise I performed last season and took a look at which players I owned the most often across my seven leagues.

Here’s a high-level rundown of the configuration of my seven leagues:

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Mark Reynolds, Kyle Freeland, Stephen Drew and Jeff Mathis (!?) getting lots of action.

Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at fantasy free-agent bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL.

As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with $1 minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with $0 minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.

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April 6, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The PFM and The Model Portfolio

3

Mike Gianella

Applying PFM valuations to the My Model Portfolio exercise and testing the results against mixed Tout Wars teams.

Every March, at least a few readers ask me “Why don’t you just use the PFM instead of your bids, Mike?”

Over the years, I have answered this question a few different ways. But today I thought I’d take a different approach. Inspired by a reader question last month, I decided to take the Player Forecast Manager's valuations for a 15-team mixed league and apply them to Baseball Prospectus’ My Model Portfolio exercise from March. As a reminder, this is what our authors did in that series.

In the “My Model Portfolio” series, the fantasy staff will create its own team within a $260 auction budget using Mike Gianella’s latest mixed-league Bid Limits for 2017. The scoring is 5x5 standard roto. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, and 9 P.

The Process
In this case, the process is simple. I took my mixed-league bids, took the valuations the PFM spit out for a 15-team league, and posted the results below. I started by using the 23 players who had the biggest differential between the PFM valuations and my bid limits, and kept adding players with less of a differential by position until I reached $260 in salary. As a reminder, every “winning” bid below equals my published bid limits plus one. One-dollar players on my team are those who were not listed in my bid limits.

The only change I made to this exercise is that I added a second catcher to the team and removed the second utility player, since my bids are designed to mirror the Tout Wars mixed-auction format. At the end of the season, I want to test this team not against the model portfolio teams but rather the mixed Tout Wars teams.

The Offense

Position

Player

Bid

PFM $

C

Gary Sanchez

25

$31.21

C

Brian McCann

10

$20.22

1B

Carlos Santana

15

$22.15

2B

Josh Harrison

5

$14.25

3B

Aledmys Diaz

7

$15.26

SS

Jose Reyes

6

$14.63

CI

Tommy Joseph

9

$15.43

MI

Devon Travis

3

$11.81

OF

Billy Hamilton

22

$28.54

OF

Andrew McCutchen

22

$28.78

OF

A.J. Pollock

19

$25.79

OF

Adam Jones

15

$27.21

OF

Kole Calhoun

8

$14.75

UT

Jacoby Ellsbury

8

$15.06

Total

174

$285.09


The PFM is far more conservative on the top players than I am, so there are no Mike Trouts on this squad. This goes against what Bret Sayre typically does in Tout Wars mixed, and the approach I tend to take in shallower auctions. Sanchez at $25 is the anchor for the team, but the PFM also is betting on a comeback from McCutchen and for Hamilton to finally achieve his potential.

This is a fairly risk-averse team. Where my bid limits are somewhat cautious with Joseph and Travis, the PFM believes that they’ll be solid contributors. Calhoun and Ellsbury are not the most exciting players, but the PFM thinks that they will at least contribute at the levels they did over the last few years.

The Pitching

Player

Bid

PFM $

Clayton Kershaw

42

$49.54

Dallas Keuchel

10

$17.15

John Lackey

10

$15.61

Jeff Samardzija

10

$15.79

Michael Pineda

6

$12.73

Michael Shoemaker

4

$9.48

Wei-Yin Chen

2

$9.69

Matt Andriese

1

$6.40

Mike Leake

1

$7.63

Total

86

$144.02

You can’t argue against purchasing Clayton Kershaw. While my bid limit sits at $42, it is admittedly a compromise with at least three separate goals: trying to spread money across a pitching staff, building in some risk because he is a pitcher, and also giving deference to Clayton Kershaw. I have no qualms with spending $50 or more on him in a mixed format.

The PFM spits out mostly veterans, which isn’t surprising. A former AL Cy Young winner, a reliable-yet-aging workhorse, and a solid arm who had one poor year with the White Sox back up Kershaw at $10 apiece. This is a very strong base for a pitching staff. With a pitching staff like this, my strategy typically would be to bottom out with one dollar starters and spend $77 on the entire staff.

The Prediction

This is the section of the model portfolio where our staff came up with predictions for their teams. For a league that doesn’t play out, going with a balanced team is a solid approach. Something the PFM cannot do that a human can is look for one-dollar fliers that the PFM puts below replacement level. Someone is going to get this year’s Aledmys Diaz—we just don’t know who that is yet.

I will revisit this team at the end of the regular season. Like any “test” of the PFM, it is far from perfect, but this is the goal of the PFM: to build a hypothetical team that is a successful fantasy franchise.

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April 6, 2017 6:00 am

TDGX Transactions: First & Second FAAB plus first big trade

1

J.J. Jansons

Dynasty Guru Experts get deep into roto.

For those not already acquainted with The Dynasty Guru Experts League, it is a 20-team (40-man roster) 5x5 rotisserie dynasty league founded by BP managing editor Bret Sayre in 2014. It is intended to satisfy the deep league needs of all, right down to just the right amount of Alexi Amarista. We roster 23 starters: C/1B/2B/3B/SS/MI/CI, along with two additional utility hitters, five outfielders and nine pitchers. We also roster seven bench slots and have 10 spots designated for minor leaguers, although a quick scan of the league finds that most teams utilize a majority of their bench spots for additional prospects. That means that there are an additional 100-120 prospects that are rostered above the 200 spots reserved for them.

These write-ups are intended to pair nicely with Mike Gianella’s Expert FAAB Reviews, and we will look at each week’s TDGX free-agent acquisitions, as well as include thoughts on every major trade that occurs during the season. The yearly budget for free agent transactions is $100, with $0 bids allowed for major leaguers and prospects.

This installment covers the first two FAAB periods and any trades that have taken place since the draft. If you missed the recap from this year’s amateur draft, you can check that out here.

Trade

Craig Goldstein (BP/TDG) trades OF Andrew McCutchen PIT and SS Kevin Maitan ATL to J.J. Jansons (BP/TDG) for SP Stephen Strasburg WAS, SS Chris Owings ARI and OF Melvin Upton Jr. TOR.

Goldstein’s thoughts:

“There's a lot of risk that I'm taking on here, but Strasburg can lead a fantasy rotation in a league as deep as TDGX, even with the requisite stint on the DL for a sore elbow/shoulder at some point. Owings and Upton might not seem inspired but I'm in dire need of speed and in something of a competitive year with mainstays such as Nelson Cruz, Yoenis Cespedes, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lucroy, and Edwin Encarnacion. I didn't have the luxury to wait on Maitan to mature, though there's a good chance I would have made a bigger profit off the pick a year from now. I like to churn my prospects, and I still have plenty of them, and while losing Cutch hurts in the present, I had 7 startable outfielders as is, in a league that allots 5 outfield spots, so it was dealing from a strength, and Upton provides speed insurance in case Leonys Martin tanks. Strasburg gets added to a rotation that includes Archer, Duffy, Nova, and Eduardo Rodriguez, which should have the upside to compete and the downside to sink me. It should be a fun season.”

Jansons’ thoughts:

“Without question, this is the biggest deal that I’ve made since joining the league at the start of last season. I ultimately felt that a staff headlined by Madison Bumgarner, Carlos Martinez, and Joe Ross, and one that also has depth pieces like Tanner Roark, Charlie Morton, and Patrick Corbin (among others) could withstand the loss of Strasburg--who truth be told I have been interested in moving since the beginning of last season due to his obvious health concerns. In this league, we start five outfielders and two utility bats, and I felt that I needed to add another bat, preferably an outfielder, and am happy to add a (hopefully) motivated Cutch to the fold. Entering his age-30 season, I’m not expecting MVP-candidate Andrew McCutchen to roll through the door anytime soon, but I do think he’ll get a bit of a BABIP bounce-back (his .297 mark was his lowest since 2011) this season, and if he hits for better than a .260 AVG and adds 20 or more home runs with 10 or more steals, that works just fine for me. My other outfielders are Carlos Gomez, Michael Conforto, Adam Duvall, Carlos Beltran and Brandon Moss, so I think you can see why I wanted to add another outfielder.

As for Kevin Maitan, I have him as No. 30 overall among fantasy prospects on my personal list, and I firmly believe he will be a top-10 fantasy prospect by the end of the season. I strongly disagree with the perception that he is “forever away” as I’ve seen referenced by some this winter. He turned 17 in February, and the Braves are an organization that started Jason Heyward in the majors from day one of his age-20 season, promoted Ozzie Albies to Triple-A last season in his age-19 season, and is currently slated to begin Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka at Double-A in their age-19 seasons in 2017. Maitan, by most, if not all, accounts, is an advanced (if not generational) talent and I fully expect him to rise quickly through the Atlanta system and see the majors by his age-19 or age-20 season. I do very much like Chris Owings, but I couldn’t let him stand in the way of acquiring Maitan’s upside.”

Week 1 FAAB Transactions

Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs - Sal Romano SP | CIN - Won at $6

Ben Carsley, BP - David Freese 3B | PIT - Won at $6

“The only first base-eligible MLBer on my entire team was Yonder Alonso, so that alone is enough to explain this move. Plus, now that Jung-Ho Kang looks unlikely to play this season, Freese should be in for more at-bats. He’s boring, but in a 20-team league he should be owned.”

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser MLB.com - Phil Bickford SP | MIL - Won at $4

Scott White, CBS Sports - Tony Wolters C | COL - Won at $4

“Stunned to pick up a member of the Rockies starting lineup this way. I already have two quality catchers, but I feel like Wolters could be J.T. Realmuto-like in that park.”

Scott White, CBS Sports - Jabari Blash RF | SD - Won at $3

“He doesn't exactly qualify as a prospect, but I have to fill my minor-league spots somehow. A player competing for the spring training home run crown seems like a fine choice.”

The #Blashtoff movement is back for another season.

Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline - Drew Robinson SS | TEX - Won at $2

Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG - Jordan Montgomery SP | NYY - Won at $2

“Montgomery had an awfully impressive spring and is still in the running for the last spot in the Yankee’s rotation. A strike-throwing SEC product with a strong minor league performance record is my kind of undervalued prospect. He will get a chance in the Bronx at some point in 2017, even if it’s not right away.”

James Anderson, Rotowire - Mitchell White SP | LAD - Won at $2

Scott White, CBS Sports - Patrick Weigel SP | ATL - Won at $1

“Hey, a prospect who went undrafted! Weigel is overlooked in the Braves' embarrassment of young pitchers, but his numbers between two stops last year were impressive.”

Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld - Jhoulys Chacin SP | SD - Won at $1

Scott White, CBS Sports - Jacob Nottingham C | MIL - Won at $0

Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld - Adeiny Hechavarria SS | MIA - Won at $0

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com - Pedro Gonzalez CF | COL - Won at $0

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com - Tyler Nevin 3B | COL - Won at $0

With a couple vacant roster spots I'll see if a pair of Rockies bats can get off to hot starts. I don't expect them to last on my roster.”

Luke Chatelain, TDG - Jacob Nix SP | SD - Won at $0

Scott White, CBS Sports - Teoscar Hernandez LF | HOU - Won at $0

Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld - Ricky Nolasco SP | LAA - Won at $0

Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG - Kyle Freeland SP | COL - Won at $0

James Anderson, Rotowire - Marcos Diplan SP | MIL - Won at $0

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser MLB.com - Domingo Leyba SS | ARI - Won at $0

J.P. Breen, BP - Felipe Rivero RP | PIT - Won at $0

Week 2 FAAB Transactions

James Anderson, Rotowire - Yandy Diaz, 3B | CLE Won at: $16

With Pedro Alvarez and Trayce Thompson starting the year in the minors and Luis Valbuena on the DL, I am not utilizing either UTIL spot, so the fact that Diaz has a shot to get everyday at-bats in the short term was appealing. I also think he has the type of plate skills to have success as a rookie, despite being a bit older than the typical prospect. I'm not expecting much power or speed, but his OBP skills could lead to some runs and RBI with the potential for a solid batting average, which made him unique among the available hitters.”

James Anderson, Rotowire - Jason Grilli, RP | TOR Won at: $13

Saves become available in this league far less frequently than in a standard 15-teamer, so the chance to bid on a guy who will have a chance, especially early in the season, is unique. I was pretty aggressive about bidding on Jeanmar Gomez last year, and not only did that work out, but there were not many other opportunities to buy saves with FAAB after Gomez.”

Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball - Jesus Aguilar, 1B | MIL Won at: $7

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts - Robbie Grossman, LF | MIN Won at: $5

Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball - Jacob May, CF | CHW Won at: $5

Craig Goldstein, BP/TDG - Rookie Davis, SP | CIN Won at: $3

Scott White, CBS Sports, Mark Reynolds, 1B COL Won at: $3

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts - Justin Smoak, 1B | TOR Won at: $3

J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG - Arismendy Alcantara, CF | CIN Won at: $2

"We all have players that we just can’t quit, and for me, Alcantara is one of them. He made the Reds opening day roster and I expect him to move around the diamond quite a bit while hopefully picking up some cheap steals. For reasons that remain unclear to me, he never really got a chance in Oakland, but ‘Mendy’s skill set is much better suited for the National League, and he could work his way into a bigger role once Zack Cosart is inevitably dealt or an injury occurs to a starter."

Bret Sayre, TDG - Alexi Amarista 2B | COL Won at: $2

This is the time of the year that Bret picks up a Rockies bench player that will both play more than people expect, and post better numbers while doing so. It’s a TDGX tradition unlike any other. Amarista is a Bud Black favorite, and stole nine bases in just 150 plate appearances in 2016 with the Padres, and I’d take the over on him toppling both marks in 2017 with the Rockies.

Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld - Trevor Cahill, RP | SD Won at: $2

D.J. Short, Rotoworld - Daniel Hudson, RP | PIT Won at: $1

BaseballHQ, Tim Beckham, SS | TB Won at $1

Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs - Ronald Torreyes, 3B | NYY Won at: $1

James Anderson, Rotowire - Ryan Pressly, RP | MIN Won at: $1

Brandon Kintzler is on the short list of worst closers in baseball, so picking up his likely replacement option who also happens to touch 99 mph is pretty self-explanatory.”

Ralph Lifshitz, Razzballl - Luke Gregerson, RP | HOU Won at: $1

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts - Ryan Rua, LF | TEX Won at: $1

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts - Mark Canha, 1B | OAK Won at: $1

Ben Carsley, BP - Matt Davidson, DH | CHW Won at: $0

Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG - Scott Feldman, RP | CIN Won at: $0

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com - Nick Tropeano, SP | LAA Won at: $0

Scott White, CBS - Rio Ruiz, 3B | ATL Won at: $0

J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG - Jace Peterson, 2B | ATL Won at: $0

The Braves bench is absolutely awful, and I expect Peterson to receive 300-400 plate appearances this season by default, and gain eligibility at a number of positions. Hopefully he can recreate the .758 OPS that he compiled in the first half of last season and not the .685 OPS of the second half.

Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG - Hector Santiago, SP | MIN Won at: $0

J.P. Breen, BP - Tyler Stephenson, C | CIN Won at: $0

Scott White, CBS Sports - Gavin Cecchini, SS | NYM Won at: $0

J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG - Derek Norris, C | TB Won at: $0

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April 4, 2017 6:00 am

The Quinton: Keeper League Auction Takeaways

2

Jeff Quinton

Attention, rebuilding teams: Fear not what early and active bidding can do for the quality of your draft.

Last weekend I partook in my respective AL-only and NL-only keeper auctions. Before we get to the takeaways, some background information as to where this year’s takeaways are coming from:

After spending the second half of 2014 rebuilding in the AL and all of 2014 rebuilding in the NL, I came into 2015 fully stocked with keepers, picks, and minor leaguers with the full intention of competing for championships; ditto 2016. The takeaways from my “Keeper League Auction Takeaways” articles over the past two years have thus come from someone entering the auctions with very few players to select (I often kept the max or nearly the max number of keepers—15.)

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Bret and Mike take some deeper dives into important fantasy topics of the week.

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April 7, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Home Cooking

22

Mike Gianella

Mike analyzes the results of his recent home keeper-league auction.

As much as I enjoy the intensity of my expert league, I also enjoy the more relaxing pace of my home league auctions. They also offer a good opportunity for keeper league analysis that the non-keeper expert leagues do not. This past weekend, I participated in an AL-only home league auction. This league is as old school as you are going to get, with the old 4x4 rules still in effect (no runs or strikeouts).

I won this league last year, so as a result, I had a very limited number of freezes coming in on Saturday.

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March 27, 2014 6:00 am

Tout Wars Recap

1

Mike Gianella

After commenting on his NL-only squad on Tuesday, Mike shares others notes from the expert-league auction held last week.

On Tuesday, I wrote about how I did in my NL-only Tout Wars auction. While I know that many readers like to read about one expert’s auction strategy, tactics, and execution, studying the Tout Wars auctions from a broader perspective can also provide a great deal of help to any fantasy player.

Tout Wars is the third and final major expert-league auction; it is preceded by LABR in early March and CBS in late February. I wrote about LABR’s AL and NL auctions earlier this spring and identified a few possible auction trends. If those trends held in Tout Wars, it’s likely that you may see similar results in your home league auctions this coming weekend. If not, they might be insignificant blips on the radar.

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