In the debut edition of their new column, Ben and Craig start a tour of the best young players in each division.
There are plenty of reasons why people love dynasty leagues. To some, they do a better job of simulating the feeling of being a GM, as your decisions have ramifications beyond a single season. They foster closer connections between owners, given the sizeable time commitment, and add an element of reading your opponents, too. They require expansive knowledge of a wide group of MLB and MiLB players, and they require a relentless attention to detail throughout the season.
Yes, dynasty leagues are growing in popularity, and as they grow it becomes important for us to deliver content that caters specifically to dynasty league owners. And that’s why Craig and I will seek to put aside our differences once a week in order to impart the collective wisdom that we’ve siphoned off of others and would like to pass off as our own.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Now almost back to full health, the Dodgers look like the winners we thought they were.
Almost six weeks ago, Sam Miller and I spent some time talking about the four most disappointing teams of 2013: the Blue Jays, the Angels, the Dodgers, and the Nationals. Were we to have that discussion again today, at least three of those teams would still be in the discussion. The Jays got hot, then went cold again; they’re in last place, seven games under .500 and 13.5 out, and their playoff hopes are in hospice care. “Maybe we were overrated,” Mark Buehrleadmitted this weekend. “Maybe we’re not as good as we thought we were.”
The Angels have been a winning team since the start of June, but were bad enough in April that they’re still four games under, with a double-digit deficit in the AL West. And the Nationals were swept at home over the weekend, running their record to 48-50 and putting them half a game behind the Phillies. Publicly, at least, their self-esteem is still stronger than Toronto’s—“We’re a good team,” Jayson Werthsaid after the sweep—but they haven’t played much like overwhelming first-place favorites. The Nats’ Playoff Odds are down to 12.5 percent, which makes them look like a lock compared to both the Angels and the Blue Jays, whose chances have sunk to the low single digits.
The Angels and Dodgers lose close games they badly wanted to win.
The Tuesday Takeaway
If the Angels and Dodgers narrowly miss the postseason, they will look back on Tuesday’s defeats with the utmost regret. Each of the Southern California contenders lost by a run in a game that it badly needed to win.
The Dodgers went first behind Clayton Kershaw—who was scratched from Sunday’s series finale against the Giants with a sore hip—but they might as well have put 76-year-old Sandy Koufax on the mound. After all, you can’t win if you don’t score.
Despite an early deficit, the Diamondbacks are making up ground in the NL West. Also, a conversation with Chris Sale, and tons of notes from scouts and front-office types.
Kirk Gibson understands as well as anyone that the improbable can happen for baseball. All he has to do is think back to Game One of the 1988 World Series, when he hit one of the most unlikely and dramatic home runs in baseball history that sparked the Dodgers to an upset victory over the Athletics.
Three home runs were hit by three improbable players during last week's action.
Sometimes there is no obvious story. Sometimes there is just the beauty of the thing. Baseball's limitless capacity to surprise keeps those of us afflicted with fandom enthralled. This past week alone bore witness to three unexpected home runs, among other things. Such are the moments that define any given game, season, or lifetime of watching baseball.
Monday, April 30: Ransom vs. Buehrle
In the second inning of a scoreless game at Miami, the Diamondbacks' Cody Ransom stepped to the plate against Mark Buehrle. With Paul Goldschmidt on second and Gerardo Parra on deck, Ransom got ahead in the count, 3-0. Buehrle then grooved an 85 mph two-seam fastball down the middle, and Ransom drove it over the 386-foot sign in left-center for his second home run of the year.