For those not already acquainted with The Dynasty Guru Experts League, it is a 20-team (40-man roster) 5×5 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.
“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.”
“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
“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
“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
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
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