Welcome back to the latest installment of 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, with perspectives from both sides of the deal.
With the season’s midpoint rapidly approaching, we’ve reached the territory in most dynasty leagues where franchises that find themselves on the periphery of contention begin to consider pushing the reset button on their contention cycle. As a result, we saw three trades completed and several low-risk, high-reward speculative pickups from the free agent pool. Let’s dive in.
Tom Trudeau & Craig Glaser (MLB.com) acquire:
J.P. Crawford SS Philadelphia
Harold Ramirez OF Pittsburgh
Geoff Pontes (Razzball) acquires:
Miguel Sano OF Minnesota
“Sano was not someone I expected to place “on the block” coming into the year, but the acquisition of Khris Davis, Carlos Santana, and Corey Dickerson at relatively cheap prices made Sano, and his prodigious power, expendable. We would have preferred to deal one of the vets to Sano, but it’s important to be flexible about where you find value as a dynasty owner and dynasty owners are weary of one-trick-ponies, even if that trick is 30-homer power. We’re currently tied for second in batting average, but it was hard to imagine staying there this season and next with no fewer than four batting average drains in the lineup.
Our hope is that Craig and I acquired two “buy-lows” in Crawford and Soler that give us a chance to profit in short order. Crawford has struggled in his first taste of Triple-A, which is to be expected for a 21-year-old, but he’s shown the advanced control of the strike zone that he has throughout his career. It seems at least plausible that, given positional premium and Sano’s strikeouts, he could be the most valuable standard league dynasty asset from this deal in a year’s time.
Soler has disappointed (again) in 2016, but he has career best walk and strikeout rates, so there’s reason for optimism. Just 24 years old, I think it’s reasonable to dream on a Marcell Ozuna-esque breakout. Not for nothing, but Soler’s 92.1 mph average exit velocity in a tick below Manny Machado’s 92.3 and a tick above Ozuna’s 92.0. Soler has been frequently mentioned as a trade chip to bring the Cubs a relief ace. Wrigley is a nice place to hit, but a trade to a team that offers a chance for more regular playing time may be a boon to his development and dynasty stock.
The third piece that got us from on the fence to yes was Pirates’ outfield prospect Harold Ramirez. He drew multiple 55 grades this off-season thanks to his hit tool and surprising speed for his size. Unfortunately, he has pumped the breaks on his base stealing and has not had a power breakout. Overall he’s more than held his own against older competition at Double-A this season. Not yet 22 years old, I think he still has a reasonable shot at becoming a solid future regular, although 30 steals now seems wildly unrealistic.” –Tom Trudeau
J.P. Breen (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:
Brent Hershey & Jock Thompson (Baseball HQ) acquire:
Yasmany Tomas OF Arizona
Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B Pittsburgh
“I've been after Osuna for the better part of four months, so I'm pleased to have finally cobbled together a workable deal. Trading for closers isn't always advisable. However, two things: (1) he's only 21 years old and potentially locks down saves for me for the next half-dozen years (more, if the league still exists); and (2) he could legitimately move to the rotation down the road, a la John Andrew Smoltz or Ryan Scott Dempster. Osuna has a career 2.43 ERA and strikes out over a batter per inning. Those numbers are attractive enough on their own, but they appear to be sustainable, given his 2.75 DRA and 75 cFIP. In a league this deep, having a perennial top-10 closer who can help in the strikeouts category is key.
I've been consciously trying to accumulate big-league position depth over the past few months. It allowed me to move Tomas, who was on my bench and is conceivably nothing more than a platoon bat for the Diamondbacks. He's hitting .221/.269/.338 against right-handed pitchers. That's going to erode his playing time, even if he does have a 1.064 OPS against southpaws. Moving Tomas plus a low-minors guy like Hayes for a potential top-five closer felt like good business.” –J.P. Breen
“Obviously we liked Osuna and his future, but the opportunity to get a 25-year-old hitter like Tomas and a prospect with good upside was tough to pass up for a rebuilder. Obviously Tomas’ upside from here remains a question, but he’s rebounded a tad from a forgettable 2015 after which some were writing him off. Despite his pedestrian plate skills, we liked his hard contact and the potential power uptick, if he can figure out how to lift the ball just a little more. Hayes is at least three years away, but he’s well regarded, holding his own as a 19-year-old in A-Ball. It’s a dynasty league and we’re a bottom-dweller. We have nothing but time.” –Jock Thompson
Ian Kahn & Tim Mcleod (Patton & Co.) acquire:
Adam Wainwright SP St. Louis
Greg Wellemeyer (Baseball Prospectus) acquires:
Travis Shaw 3B Boston
Hyun-Soo Kim OF Baltimore
“This move is yet another in a string I've made to add big-league depth to my squad, while getting younger and trying to stay competitive, in lieu of a full tear down and rebuild. As Wainwright struggled through the first six weeks of the season, I was fielding offers of major-league roster filler, eminently replaceable prospects, and mid-round picks in 2017's talent-poor draft. I shopped him publicly when Ian expressed interest, and given Wainwright's rebound over the past month, I was a little surprised that only one contender could muster up an offer that included anything even moderately valuable. I'm not huge fan of either Shaw or Kim, who could both be platoon bats in 2017, but both are in still in their twenties with room for growth, and easily more attractive than the teenagers and flawed prospects that were my alternatives. I didn't have to sell Wainwright, of course, but holding 35-year-old pitchers is bad practice for a middle-of-the-pack team trying to reshape for a future run.” –Greg Wellemeyer
TDGX FAAB Acquisitions: Week 12
“I added Knitzler because Twins "closers" are great investments. On the real though, he's two-for-two, so that's something, and as FAAB prices go in this league that's quite cheap for saves, especially since there's ostensibly a chance for him to run with the gig for a while. I had the money to spend, and while my team has been stuck in obnoxious neutral for most of the season saves is a category I can make up nominal ground in, and I needed another option to fend off a couple of teams right behind me in the wake of Papelbon's injury.” –Wilson Karaman
$13 Tom Koehler (Ian Kahn & Tim Mcleod, Patton & Co.)
Featured in last week’s BP Free Agent Watch for deeper mixed leagues, Koehler fired six shutout innings, allowing just a pair of hits and striking out six, against Colorado over the weekend. The only problem was that he also issued a season-high six walks. The 29-year-old right-hander has feasted on some weaker lineups over the past month and while the surface stats (2.93 ERA over his last seven starts) look fantastic, especially for a deeper dynasty league, his command remains lackluster. Blindly assuming he can continue to operate with that much traffic on the base paths without getting burned is a stretch, but he deserves to be owned in a league where quality major-league starters are non-existent in the free agent pool.
$5 Brandon Guyer (George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus)
After leading the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in slugging average (.729) and ranking among the top five hitters in home runs (15), batting average (.355) and on-base percentage (.432) over the first two months of the season, Schimpf earned a promotion to San Diego last week. He’s hit an underwhelming .188/.300/.312 in his first 20 major-league plate appearances, but there’s some optimism that he will be able to stick for awhile.
Like a shorter version of former Padre Seth Smith, the LSU product possesses a strikingly similar offensive profile, making it extremely likely that he sticks around as a low-risk, versatile bench option in San Diego for the immediate future. In addition to showing a propensity to take free passes, Schimpf has the pull power #DeadLeftSchrimpf to drive the ball into the gaps and over the fence, despite being just 5-foot-9.
Over the past decade, there’s simply very little historical precedent (excluding international free agents) for a hitter to make their major-league debut at age 28 or older and go on to make a significant impact over the remainder of their career. Ironically, Schimp’s best comparison may be Brandon Guyer, who I also grabbed off the scrap heap this week. The 30-year-old was off to a fantastic start filling in for an injured Logan Forsythe out of the leadoff spot, hitting .271/.365/.472 with six home runs before landing on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. In a dynasty league that requires 100 starting outfielders, he’s a viable option.
$5 Anthony Banda (George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus)
In 13 starts at Double-A Mobile, the 22-year-old southpaw owns a stellar 2.12 ERA while racking up 84 strikeouts (9.9 K/9), trailing only Montgomery’s Jacob Faria (94) for the Southern League lead, over 76 1/3 innings this season. The D-backs main return in the Gerardo Parra deal with Milwaukee two years ago, Banda punched out over a batter per inning and posted the second-lowest ERA (3.32) in the California League, an offensive environment that’s more jacked than Dave Chappelle these days, over 151 2/3 innings last season.
Lacking an overpowering fastball, Banda’s heater sits consistently in the low-90’s, it’s his solid curveball and changeup, combined with vastly improved command over the past two seasons, that will eventually propel him to the major-leagues. Rolling the dice on back-end rotation starters rarely works out, but given that he’s a southpaw with stellar strikeout rates, I’m willing to take the chance on Banda beating the odds. He’s an excellent speculative pickup in deep dynasty formats like TDGX.
Released by another TDGX owner on the heels of his recent knee injury, the 36-year-old elected not to undergo season-ending surgery, and is expected to return to the Yankee lineup this weekend. However, Teixeira acknowledged to reporters this week that he would undergo the procedure if he experienced any setbacks with the knee this season.
After two years marred by injury, Teixeira stayed healthy for the majority of last season and enjoyed a renaissance campaign, hitting .255/.357/.548 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI. There are no guarantees that he will even make it through the remainder of this season, but when he’s on the field, he’s generally been productive. It’s not a bad risk to take, especially in a league this deep, but if Teixeira’s career were a golfer, he’d be standing on the tee box at the 18th hole with the clubhouse in plain view up ahead.
The 23-year-old right-hander has been solid in nine appearances (two starts), recording a 3.76 DRA and striking out 24 batters in 22 2/3 major-league innings this season. Unfortunately, he’s also walked 11 batters (4.4 BB/9) during that stretch. He’s exhibited much better command (2.7 BB/9) across 43 innings at Triple-A this year, which provides some optimism for the future. Given his age, four-pitch mix and flexibility to shift between the rotation and the bullpen, he’s could morph into a next generation version of Yusmeiro Petit. Which is, well, something.
$3 Ryan Mountcastle (D.J. Short, Rotoworld)
The 36th selection overall in the 2015 MLB Draft, Mountcastle is hitting .297/.362/.450 with 20 extra-base hits (five home runs) and three stolen bases in 232 plate appearances as a 19-year-old shortstop in the South Atlantic League (A-Ball) this season. The majority of scouts reportedly question his ability to handle the position defensively long-term, but it’s impossible to rule it out at this point. For a rebuilding franchise in a deep dynasty league, this is a smart risk to take.
$2 Robinson Chirinos (Geoff Pontes, Razzball)
$2 Cory Gearrin (J.J. Jansons, Baseball Prospectus)
$2 Drew Hutchison (Greg Wellemeyer, Baseball Prospectus)
Of this group, the intriguing name is Hutchison, who has excelled at Triple-A Buffalo in 2016. In 13 starts, the 25-year-old right-hander owns a 2.87 ERA and trails only Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow with 85 strikeouts over 75 1/3 innings. There isn’t a huge fantasy ceiling here, but at the very least, the strikeouts will always be there with Hutchison once he gets another opportunity in a major-league rotation.
$1 Manny Banuelos (Ian Kahn & Tim Mcleod, Patton & Co.)
$1 Rookie Davis (Geoff Pontes, Razzball)
$1 Silvino Bracho (Geoff Pontes, Razzball)
$1 Yasiel Sierra (Geoff Pontes, Razzball)
$1 Adam Frazier (George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus)
$1 Ryne Stanek (George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus)
Profiled in greater detail by my colleague Greg Wellemeyer yesterday, I was impressed with Frazier, who leads the Triple-A International League with a .333 batting average in 283 plate appearances, when I saw him reach base in all five of his plate appearances a few weeks ago. He doesn’t offer much in terms of power (three career home runs) and he’s been caught stealing nearly as many times (15) as he’s been successful (17) in 2016, but thanks to a line-drive stroke Frazier owns a .299 batting average and .362 on-base percentage in 347 career minor-league contests. In addition to handling a pair of premium defensive positions (shortstop and center field), the 24-year-old has displayed the versatility to fill in at various other positions, which should make him a valuable big-league reserve (in the mold of a Brock Holt type role) at the very least. Not bad for a guy who didn’t even get a lineout in this year’s BP Annual.
The 29th-overall pick out of Arkansas in 2013, Stanek had fallen off the prospect radar over the last year after a toxic combination of injuries and control issues made a permanent move to the bullpen seem imminent. Instead, the 24-year-old has excelled both as a starter and a long reliever at Double-A Montgomery this season. In 15 games (11 starts) he owns a 3.93 ERA with 82 strikeouts over 71 innings. Given his age and versatility, he could move quickly if he continues to miss bats and stay healthy.
$0 Jake Smolinski (Luke Chatelain, The Dynasty Guru)
“With injuries to Gerardo Parra, Austin Jackson and Jose Bautista, I'm simply trying to catch lightening in a bottle so that someone can hold down my outfield spot until one of my injured players returns. Is Jake the answer, probably not, but I might be able to squeeze a week or two of decent play out of him.” –Luke Chatelain
$0 Darren O’Day (Jeff Zimmerman, FanGraphs
$0 Adrian Sampson (Jeff Zimmerman, FanGraphs)
Both Sampson and Tyler Danish, who I released to make the move, are low-strikeout, low-walk, and high ground-ball pitchers. Both have struggled a bit in the majors, but Sampson is getting the call as a starting pitcher while Danish is up in middle relief. I still like Danish, but I like Sampson a bit more right now. O’Day was dropped last week, so I picked him up with Bryan Shaw being unplayable at this point.” –Jeff Zimmerman
$0 Connor Harrell (George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus)
$0 Teoscar Hernandez (Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus)
$0 Keon Broxton (Ian Kahn & Tim Mcleod, Patton & Co.)
$0 Stephen Gonsalves (Geoff Pontes, Razzball))
$0 Dustin Fowler (James Anderson, Rotowire)
$0 Jhailyn Ortiz (James Anderson, Rotowire)
$0 Ariel Jurado (James Anderson, Rotowire)