keyboard_arrow_uptop

Welcome back to TDGX Transactions, BP’s weekly series providing fantasy owners with an inside look at The Dynasty Guru Experts League (TDGX), a 20-team (40-man roster) 5×5 rotisserie dynasty league. It is the literal embodiment of the phrase “deep dynasty.” It’s also populated by some of the most talented fantasy baseball analysts and competitors on the planet. In addition to taking an in-depth look at each week’s TDGX free agent acquisitions ($100 FAAB budget per team with zero dollar bids allowed) we will also break down every major trade that occurs during the season.

Just like Bartolo Colon’s epic tater took over your Twitter timeline, Baseball Prospectus’ own Greg Wellemeyer flooded the TDGX newsfeed this past week, with a flurry of impact trades netting him Javier Baez and Jurickson Profar, most notably. While several contending teams continued to swap prospects for an immediate infusion of veteran talent, it’s hard not to like what Rotoworld’s D.J. Short did on the opposite end of the contention cycle, picking up a pair of immensely talented up-and-coming outfield prospects in Trent Clark (Brewers) and Alex Verdugo (Dodgers). Let’s start there.

Nick Doran (Fake Teams) acquires:

Ben Zobrist 2B Chicago Cubs

D.J. Short (Rotoworld) acquires:

Trent Clark OF Milwaukee

A savvy pickup by a legitimate contender (Doran), to aid in his effort to unseat back-to-back champions Ian Kahn and Tim McLeod (Patton & Co.), Zobrist is hitting .364/.464/.955 with four home runs and 13 RBI since the deal was finalized last week. While Zobrist has been a household name for nearly a decade, Clark is a left-handed corner outfielder deep dynasty league owners need to have on their radar.

The hit tool is strong with this one and he’s done nothing but rake ever since the Brewers tabbed him with 15th overall selection last June. In 252 plate appearances in Rookie-level ball last summer, Clark hit .309/.424/.430 with a pair of home runs and 25 stolen bases at just 18-years-old. Ranked the 99th-best prospect in the game by BP’s prospect team coming into the year, he’s an excellent target for dynasty owners entering a long-term rebuilding process.

Ian Kahn & Tim Mcleod (Patton & Co.) acquire:

Jayson Werth OF Washington

Zack Cozart SS Cincinnati

D.J. Short (Rotoworld) acquires:

Alex Verdugo OF Los Angeles Dodgers

Short has kicked off his long-term rebuild with several substantial trades over the past two weeks and while this deal won’t grab any headlines, much like the Clark trade, it has the potential to pay off in a major way down the road. Verdugo, a second-round pick by Los Angeles in 2014, tore the cover off the ball in his professional debut, hitting .337/.404/.485 while striking out just 21 times and drawing nearly as many free passes (20) in 228 plate appearances against Rookie-level pitching. He got off to a slow start last spring before overhauling his swing, eliminating a high leg kick and transitioning to a simple toe tap. The results were instantaneous as Verdugo finished the campaign, hitting .311/.343/.442 with 33 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 575 plate appearances between the Midwest League (Low-A) and the California League (High-A). He turns 20 years old next week.

“I'm trying to collect as many young position players as possible here. Hopefully I'll hit on a number of them, but I also look at them as potential trade chips down the line. I wonder about Clark’s power and if he'll stick in center field, but there are tools across the board and he runs quite a bit. I'll just have to be patient. Verdugo's best tool is his arm, so I've certainly heard that he has more real-life upside than fantasy, but he makes a lot of contact and has shown some power/speed ability.” –D.J. Short

Tom Trudeau & Craig Glaser (MLB.com/STATS Inc.) acquire:

Drew Pomeranz SP San Diego

Brandon Barnes OF Colorado

Hunter Renfroe OF San Diego

J.J. Jansons (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:

Ryan Madson RP Oakland

Evan Gattis C Houston

Mark Canha 1B Oakland

Adam Ottavino RP Colorado

J.J. Jansons’ Perspective

“I have had extreme difficultly trying to swap pitchers for hitters since joining TDGX prior to the season. Even legit aces like Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner haven't drawn remotely the type of interest that I expected. That has left me with a rotation of the two aforementioned studs, along with Carlos Martinez and Patrick Corbin as my top four. I was dangling depth guys like Pomeranz, Tanner Roark, and Anibal Sanchez in search of an additional bat and/or a closer and this deal hopefully gives me both. I think Madson has a strong grip (for the time being anyway) on the closing job in Oakland and a closer is not something currently on my roster with my squad somehow in fourth place in the early going. Tom and Craig also did a nice job of tapping into my soft spot for El Oso Blanco, a personal favorite who should get a boost in value if he gains catcher eligibility, as is planned. I have been adding Ottavino in most of my leagues as he's now a full year removed from Tommy John surgery and there is zero doubt in my mind that he regains the closing job in Colorado at some point this year, or the beginning of next year at the latest. Canha had a productive rookie year and he'll serve as bench depth capable of filling in at a number of positions.

I may end up regretting trading Pomeranz, whose peripherals back up his good work to this point, but he'll likely be on an innings limit this season and from a roster construction standpoint a pitcher simply had to be dealt for other needs at some point, and I'd certainly rather deal him than one of my top four starters-particularly if Pomeranz decides to start punching things again. Renfroe was roughly league average at the Double-A level and while he's posted good numbers in the Pacific Coast League, I suspect the truth lies in between. This minor deal with hopefully give me a boost in the saves category, but won't matter one bit if Miguel Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki, and Carlos Gomez continue to hit well below their career norms.”

Tom Trudeau’s Perspective

“This started as a proposed two-for-two (Gattis and Madson for Renfroe and Pomeranz) which expanded to include two sweeteners, although Canha was about to be a cut for me. After acquiring Scherzer, Salazar, and Pineda in the last two weeks all for prospects, I continued to add pitching with a bet on Pomeranz who checks a lot of boxes for me: strikeout rates backed by a double-digit whiff percentage, young, nice park, good projections and enough groundballs that I don’t have to worry too much about homer problems. I’m not really sure why I didn’t register him as a more interesting pitcher until recently. I guess you could say I’m a believer in what he’s doing with health being the major concern for him.

Since the trade happened Gattis, who I wanted to sell because I was sure he would become a weak side platoon bat imminently, was sent to the minors to get some catching reps. Needless to say if that becomes a thing then his value gets a significant spike. Fortunately, Renfroe has heated up since I acquired him to offset that sting and now has a wRC+ of approximately 155 across over 200 Triple-A plate appearances, which screams “call up” to me. The fantasy profile isn’t sexy when combined with the park, but PETCO isn’t quite as pitcher friendly as it used to be and the opportunity for him to be a regular is there. My sense is that people think he strikes out more than he actually does and it’s an opportunity to get a young power bat for an old, declining one.

I have no concerns with Madson, but I prefer not to hold any closer shares until it’s clearer whether I can actually win, at which point I’ll buy saves. Ottavino remains an interesting closer spec, but Castro’s presence in Coors muddies the waters just enough that I don’t mind selling.”

Greg Wellemeyer (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:

Javier Baez 2B/SS/3B Chicago Cubs

Mychal Givens RP Baltimore

Archie Bradley SP Arizona

J.P. Breen (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:

Jung-Ho Kang SS Pittsburgh

Ender Inciarte OF Atlanta

Dylan Cease SP Chicago Cubs

Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B Pittsburgh

Greg Wellemeyer’s Perspective

At the beginning of last week I found my team in the back half of the table, thanks mostly to a putrid start by my offense. I thought this would be a decent unit, with Goldy and Votto leading the way, Lindor and Kyle Seager headlining a solid middle class, and full-time players in every lineup slot, which is a harder feat than it sounds like in a league of this depth. The main problem was that a few of those back-end players were among the worst in the league in April. Logan Morrison, Erick Aybar, and Jace Peterson co-conspired to dig a batting average hole that’s going to be tough to climb out of. I exacerbated it by continuing to run them out there, in part because I stubbornly believed it couldn’t continue to be this bad and in part because I had no other viable options.

When J.P. came calling on Kang, I figured it might be a good time to look towards the future. I knew I didn’t want to fully give up on the present and undertake the full teardown that you see often in dynasty leagues, and that several teams in TDGX already have underway. My preferred strategy—especially when I have a couple core building blocks like Goldy and Lindor—is to pay up for high-level talent in or near the major leagues. I knew pretty quickly that Baez was my target in this negotiation, not just because he fits that description, but also because I had a huge hole at the keystone that he could plug and immediately make my team better. J.P. and I had a long, tough back-and-forth, in which I tried hard to get a more valuable second piece than Givens. I had Kang and Baez pretty close in value before the season, so tacking on a young, starting outfielder like Inciarte and getting back a reliever with closer stuff but an unclear path to saves was a tough value swap in a vacuum. Ultimately, I didn’t want to pass up the chance to add a premium talent who could be a perennial top-50 player, while helping keep my competitive window cracked open this year.

If 2013 top prospects were a category, I’d now be lapping the field. Like Baez and Profar, Bradley will be a full-time player soon and fits squarely into this week’s theme of adding young talents in the upper levels. Bradley was a guy I tried to get as the second piece of the Baez deal, so I was happy to spend a little prospect capital to get him, especially since I acquired both Hayes and Cease for $0 in the first FAAB period. Hayes has shown more power than expected to go with his plus hit tool, while the reports on Cease out of extended spring training hint at progress towards realization of his significant potential. Still, they’re both years from the major leagues, there is plenty of time to reload my farm with pop-up guys, and I needed young pitching with enough swing and miss stuff to dream on SP2 upside. Bradley has a ways to go to become that guy, but there is hope yet.

Greg Wellemeyer (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:

Jurickson Profar 2B Texas

Trey Mancini 1B Baltimore

Bret Sayre (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:

Kyle Seager 3B Seattle

Jace Peterson 2B Atlanta

Greg Wellemeyer’s Perspective

Everything I said above about the Baez trade applies to this deal too, with this one being even more of an admission that my team likely isn’t quite ready to compete right now. To be clear, this had nothing to do with Seager’s somewhat slow start. He was providing power and contextual stats even as his batting average lagged in the first few weeks, and I had little doubt he’d end up right where he always does. To wit, he had a strong week in which his batting average climbed from .181 to .233 (thanks for the parting gift, Kyle).

Profar lacks the extreme upside of Baez and I don’t need to remind you about the health risk. If he can stay on the field, he has the kind of well-rounded game that could make him a fixture atop his positional ranking for a decade. What position that will be is an open question, with the Rangers pretty well-stocked up the middle. Profar has worked exclusively at shortstop at Triple-A so far and even though Elvis Andrus is having his best offensive year in some time and signed through 2022 (2022!), Profar seems more likely to unseat him than the 22-year-old stud they have at second base. I had my choice of a few different secondary pieces and opted for Mancini because he most closely fit my desire to add pieces close the big leagues. He smoked seven homers in 17 Double-A games and earned a quick promotion to Triple-A, where I imagine he’ll spend the remainder of the season. As a powerful guy with some feel to hit, he could conceivably be a utility piece for my squad in 2017.

Bret Sayre’s Perspective

It’s never easy to trade a player that you have a special kind of affection for, and it’s never been much of a secret that I’m pretty locked in driving the Jurickson Profar bandwagon. I’ve stayed bullish on him throughout the injury setbacks, and now this year, he’s been both healthy and productive—sitting on the cusp of the majors, though without a natural spot ahead of him. He’s going to be a great major leaguer and a really good fantasy infielder. The other player in the deal was someone I continually get crap for from Craig Goldstein, who thinks he knows SO MUCH about prospects being our minor league editor and all. Yet I ranked Mancini in my Dynasty 101 to start the season and he’s done nothing but continue to smash the ball in 2016. These were the last two remaining prospects on my farm team in the upper minors, leaving me with a healthy group of upside plays—though that’s the life of a contending team.

On the other side of the coin, I finally have a long-term solution to one of the weakest spots my roster has known since this league began. A little over two years ago, I drafted Ryan Zimmermann (who lost 3B eligibility after 2014) and Aramis Ramirez (who lost effectiveness after 2014). So for most of the last year, I’ve been relying on 2014 waiver wire add Luis Valbuena—who, to his credit, has been pretty passable in a league this size. However, the opportunity to acquire an in-his-prime third baseman who can make me not worry about the Valbuenas of the world doesn’t come around too often. He’s as consistent as they come, despite the rough park, and at the very least, I’ll probably get Meg Rowley’s good juju on my side. Peterson is literally nothing more than a throw in, as I just told Greg to give me whatever crap he didn’t want as the second player. I’ll probably hold onto him for a couple of weeks just in case he turns things around, but otherwise he’ll be gone for that next hot prospect.

Greg Wellemeyer (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:

Steve Pearce OF Tampa Bay

Asdrubal Cabrera SS New York Mets

Luke Chatelain acquires:

Fernando Rodney RP San Diego

Bartolo Colon SP New York Mets

Greg Wellemeyer’s Perspective

Despite sporting a 0.00 ERA, Rodney was pretty clearly the fourth best closer on a team that leads the league in saves. I shopped him around a little and couldn’t get any future value I was satisfied with, so decided to go the other direction and make a move to fortify my 2016 offense, pairing Rodney with Bartolo. Colon has been terrific, but I had no problem taking my profit here given how soft his competition has been and my pitching depth. In return, I get Cabrera, whose plainness is underwhelming in standard leagues, but valuable in a league of this size. He was especially enticing to me since I now get to park Aybar on the bench. Pearce is a low-cost power play. HR and RBI are tightly packaged categories and I could theoretically move up several spots in each with a burst of power. Perhaps Pearce can help me do that and clarify my 2016 competitive position in the process. If not, turning two 40-year-olds into a middle infielder for next season is still a worthy move.

Craig Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:

Tim Anderson SS Chicago White Sox

2017 2nd Round Pick

Tom Trudeau & Craig Glaser (MLB.com/STATS Inc.) acquire:

Jake Odorizzi SP Tampa Bay

Jarrod Dyson OF Kansas City

2017 3rd Round Pick

Craig Goldstein’s Perspective

Pitching is probably my weakest point right now, so trading from it is something like sending up the white flag. On the one hand, I have Eduardo Rodriguez coming back soon, which should help. On the other, he's not going to help enough. But I felt this was a half-measure worth taking, ultimately. There's no small risk in Anderson, who started off the season with a bum wrist and a horrific slash line, but he does two things that are hard to come by from a TDGX perspective, in that he's a shortstop and he's got double-plus speed. When I dealt Xander Bogaerts this offseason for Andrew McCutchen, Huston Street, and the aforementioned Rodriguez, I thought I'd be able to deal from outfield depth to cover that hole. I was wrong. It turned into a yawning chasm the likes of which Jimmy Rollins cannot fill. Hopefully Anderson is the first step in correcting that, and while I had to move a talented mid-rotation arm to get him, I still get him and Cutch/Street/Rodriguez going forward. I have more faith in my ability to find a mid-tier SP than I do a potential impact bat like Anderson, so the swap had to be done, even if it effectively signals the end of my season only one week into May.

TDGX FAAB ACQUISITIONS

Reynaldo Lopez $37 (Greg Wellemeyer, Baseball Prospectus)

When Lopez was curiously cut last week and sitting on a pile of FAAB dollars, I decided to bid aggressively. Pitching prospects are not typically my preferred investment in dynasty leagues, but there’s no hiding from the fact that my staff is loaded up with veterans on the way down (I’m looking at you Wainwright) and some early season surprises that realistically lack long-term ability to keep performing at the current level (Porcello, Conley, Hendricks). With the price of prospects steadily creeping up as we get deeper into the season, new rebuilders emerging, and it becoming tougher to find free agent targets to spend on, I thought I needed to go big to land a guy who was considered a top 100 prospect a year ago. He lost a little shine after a mildly disappointing 2014in High-A, but there’s still the makings of an SP2 here if Lopez can refine his changeup and sharpen his command. –Greg Wellemeyer

Cody Reed $10 (Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts)

“The other Cody Reed.” I know. It’s a bit confusing. It doesn’t help that they’re both left-handed. However, it is within the realm of possibility that we one day get to see an all Cody Reed pitching matchup. Don’t rule it out! Anyway, the 19-year-old southpaw owns a 0.51 ERA over three Midwest League (Class-A) starts this season. He’s struck out 31 and has yet to walk an opposing batter over 17 2/3 innings.

Brandon Guyer $9 (Luke Chatelain, The Dynasty Guru)
Matt Andriese $9 (Luke Chatelain, The Dynasty Guru)

The 26-year-old picked up a win in his 2016 debut, giving up just one run on four hits with a trio of walks and strikeouts over seven innings against the Angels floundering offense. Andriese is unlikely to stick long-term in a loaded Rays rotation, especially with Blake Snell on the way, but he’s had success limiting right-handed batters (.362 SLG over the past two years) and his ability to function as a futuristic version of a long- gives him some value in deeper formats moving forward.

Wuilmer Beccera $6 (J.J. Jansons, Baseball Prospectus)

“After being outbid on virtually every hitting prospect that I liked to this point in the season, I get Becerra to replenish the loss of Hunter Renfroe. He will hopefully emerge as a trade chip as he's hitting .424/.468/.494 in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League to begin the year. He could be moved up to Double-A sooner than expected if his good work continues.” –J.J. Jansons

Ivan Nova $6 (Craig Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus)
Jason Castro $5 (Wilson Karaman, Baseball Prospectus)
Ryan O’Hearn $5 (Ian Kahn & Tim Mcleod, Patton & Co.)
Chi Chi Gonzalez $5 (Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus)

“Gonzalez hasn't shown much over the past 12-14 months that lends itself to optimism, but remember that he's a recent top-100 prospect who's still just 24, and that he's dominated every level below Triple-A. Am I confident he's going to blossom into a no. 3 fantasy starter? No. But in a league with 20 teams, I'll take a $5 flier on a guy who I do still think has back-end starter upside, and who has some name value to boot.” –Ben Carsley

Yonder Alonso $4 (Greg Wellemeyer, Baseball Prospectus)
Eric Jenkins $4 (Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts)
Ben Gamel $3 (Jeff Zimmerman, FanGraphs)
Daniel Mengden $2 (Mike Rosenbaum, MLB Pipeline)
Andrew Stevenson $2 (Brent Hershey, BaseballHQ)
Alex Presley $2 (J.J. Jansons, Baseball Prospectus)
Aaron Hill $2 (Jeff Zimmerman, FanGraphs)
Mac Williamson $1 (James Anderson, Rotowire)
Tim Lincecum $1 (Ian Kahn & Tim Mcleod, Patton & Co.)
Brett Wallace $1 (Greg Wellemeyer, Baseball Prospectus)
Cam Bedrosian $1 (Brent Hershey, BaseballHQ)
Zach Eflin $1 (Brent Hershey, BaseballHQ)
Jaime Schultz $1 (Brent Hershey, BaseballHQ)

There were 14 additional zero-dollar FAAB acquisitions, but trust me, you really don’t want to go there. If we were bidding based solely on a pitchers wardrobe choices for his showcase, Lincecum would’ve gone for much more than $1.