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 Review’s, as we will take a look at the TDGX free-agent acquisitions each week, 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 Week 3 and Week 4 FAAB periods, along with any trades that have taken place over the last two weeks. If you missed the recap from this year’s amateur draft, you can check that out here.
Week 3 FAAB Transactions
Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports – Clayton Richard RP | SD – Won at $6
Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts – Geovany Soto C | CHW – Won at $5
Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Jeff Mathis C | ARI – Won at $4
Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Joe Biagini RP | TOR – Won at $4
Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts – Tyler Collins CF | DET – Won at $2
Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Jett Bandy C | MIL – Won at $2
Nick Doran, The Dynasty Guru/Rotoworld – Eduardo Escobar SS | MIN – Won at $1
“Come back soon, Gary (Sanchez).”
Greg Wellemeyer, Baseball Prospectus/TDG – Chris Young LF | BOS – Won at $1
“I start Avisail Garcia, Hyun Soo Kim, and Eddie Rosario in the outfield and my only bench option is Nick Franklin. With some short-term playing time available in Boston because of Jackie Bradley's injury, I grabbed Young to add desperately needed depth.”
Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs – Antonio Senzatela SP | COL – Won at $0
Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Nick Plummer CF | STL – Won at $0
Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports – Nick Ahmed SS | ARI – Won at $0
Nick Doran, The Dynasty Guru/Rotoworld – Erick Aybar SS | SD – Won at $0
Greg Wellemeyer, Baseball Prospectus/TDG – Khalil Lee CF | KC – Won at $0]
Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Andrew Moore SP | SEA – Won at $0
Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Cedric Mullins CF | BAL – Won at $0
Mullins has been a popular early season add in formats of many sizes and, as a Buck Showalter spring favorite, he’s a solid no-risk add here by the MLB.com crew. Mullins is an intriguing power/speed outfielder who has hit four home runs and swiped three bags in his first 12 games of the season at Double-A Bowie. Mullins should be owned in leagues that roster 200 or more prospects at this point, and he’s certainly rewarded the Orioles faith in his aggressive assignment (he skipped High A) to start the season.
Week 4 FAAB Transactions
Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Joaquin Benoit RP | PHI – Won at $40
George Bissell, BP – Jason Vargas SP | KC – Won at $21
“In the words of Matthew Berry, Vargas is a true fantasy zombie. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of 2015, it’s been nearly two years since the 34-year-old southpaw had a shred of fantasy value. After turning in a pair of stellar starts (vs. the Astros and Athletics) in which he allowed just one run on 10 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 14 batters over 13 2/3 combined innings, he deserves to be back on mixed-league radars. As I wrote in Free Agent Watch last week, armed with an 86-mph fastball and 81-mph changeup combination, the Vargas renaissance has the feel of a smoke-and-mirror act. Still, Vargas has a rotation-spot locked down. The Royals are still solid defensively and Kauffman Stadium is an extremely pitcher-friendly home park. In a 20-team, 40-man roster league, where there is almost zero pitching available, I feel like he’s worth the risk.”
“Through the first few years of this league, I've struggled to spend my FAAB budget. This was partially due to my prolonged rebuild; however, I've also been too worried about 'value' on the waiver wire. Such a strategy has traditionally left me with $50+ FAAB in my budget at the end of the year. Value rarely exists in TDGX. There are too many teams and too many players owned. Sure, sometimes guys like Mr. Anderson make us feel stupid by grabbing Mitchell White for a couple of bucks—I should've done that—but in general, you have to overpay on fringy players and hope you get lucky. Motter profiles as a quintessential Quad-A player. He does everything pretty well, but nothing great. He's on a nice hot streak right now, though, and should continue to get some playing time for the Mariners. I'm taking a shot in the dark that he'll somehow take the next step. I liked Motter in Double A and Triple A back in 2014 and 2015. Maybe he can wiggle his way into regular at-bats for Seattle.”
I agree with much of Mr. Breen’s thoughts regarding Motter and “value” in TDGX. I put in a $12 bid for Motter and in retrospect, I probably should have just coughed up the few extra bucks to secure the hair/player that I wanted, particularly with Marcus Semien (my MI starter) hitting the disabled list. However, as much as I personally do like Motter, I’m probably not going to regret extending for him when Jean Segura is back and he likely struggles to find playing time floating around the diamond in Seattle.
George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus – Marco Hernandez 2B | BOS – Won at $15
“After narrowly missing out on Taylor Motter, I landed my secondary target with a rather aggressive bid. Spend your FAAB early folks. My personal affinity for Hernandez has been well documented on the Flags Fly Forever podcast in recent weeks. According to a report by Brian MacPherson, the 24-year-old infielder joined the launch-angle revolution during the offseason, and the results were immediate as he led the Dominican winter league with four home runs and slugged .672 with 13 extra-base hits in 61 at-bats in spring training. I firmly believe he’s the Red Sox best option at utility infielder, and that he’s going to have value in extremely deep leagues like TDGX very soon.”
Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs – CC Sabathia SP | NYY – Won at $11
J.J. Jansons, Baseball Prospectus/TDG – Norichika Aoki LF | HOU – Won at $8
With Brandon Moss and Carlos Beltran struggling to begin the year, Aoki was picked up to provide some depth in this five-outfielder format, as he’s not nearly as likely, at a minimum, to continue to kill me in batting average like Moss and Carlos Gomez currently are. Aoki looks like he’s the starter in left field against righties in Houston and hopefully he can be a stable placeholder until help returns from the delightful 10-day disabled list.
George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus – Miguel Rojas 2B | MIA – Won at $7
Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus – Jesse Chavez RP | LAA – Won at $6
Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline – Joe Jimenez RP | DET – Won at $6
“Trading for a closer in the this league likely would cost me either young big leaguers or top prospects I’d prefer not part with, so I’ve made an effort over the last two seasons to add future closers (even if I didn’t realize it at the time). Jimenez might not get a true chance at the ninth inning this year unless K-Rod suffers an injury but, in my opinion, this is a low price to pay for saves in 2018 and beyond.”
George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus – Alec Asher SP | BAL – Won at $4
“Have you seen the Orioles rotation? Outside of Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, there are no surefire locks in the Charm City right now. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out five in his 2017 debut against Toronto last week. The Blue Jays lineup no longer bears much resemblance to the juggernaut of recent years (especially with Josh Donaldson hurt) but it’s still really good. Asher, who made five solid starts for Philadelphia last season (2.28 ERA, 0.94 WHIP over 27 2/3 innings), could stick in Baltimore. There’s no upside to dream on, but quality starts are worth their weight in gold in deeper dynasty formats.”
D.J. Short, Rotoworld – Mike Montgomery RP | CHC – Won at $3
Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports – Nick Pivetta SP | PHI – Won at $3
Craig Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus/TDG – Tony Barnette RP | TEX – Won at $3
Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Adam Rosales 3B | OAK – Won at $3
Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Jeremy Jeffress RP | TEX – Won at $3
Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports – Jose Leclerc RP | TEX – Won at $2
Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Chase Anderson SP | MIL – Won at $1
Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline – Carlos Rincon RF | LAD – Won at $1
“With a roster to spot to spare, I decided to take a flier on Rincon based on his power pedigree and his strong start to full-season ball in 2017. He’s years away from being a contributor, obviously, so for now I’m just crossing my fingers that his power continues to translate as it has thus far.”
Rincon is a slugger who has placed himself firmly on the radars of many deep league owners thanks to his absurdly hot start this season, one that has seen him smack five home runs in his first 39 plate appearances of the year at Low-A Great Lakes in his first taste of the Midwest League. Those homers have also come with a slightly less than ideal 41 percent punchout rate in the early going, but Rincon’s prototypical right-field profile is one that caught Prospect Team member Matt Pullman’s eye during his viewings in the Arizona League last summer, and I’ve already seen him added in much shallower leagues than TDGX this year.
George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus – Reyes Moronta RP | SF – Won at $1
“Moronta was added to the Giants 40-man roster in the offseason after posting a 2.59 ERA while striking out 90 batters in just 59 innings at High-A San Jose. Nasty. In four innings at Double-A Richmond, he’s allowed just one base runner while striking out 10. There’s a good chance that he’s in San Francisco by the end of the summer.”
Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Ross Stripling SP | LAD – Won at $1
George Bissell, Baseball Prospectus – Nik Turley SP | MIN – Won at $1
“After being released by the Red Sox in 2016, the 27-year-old southpaw was pitching in Indy ball before the Twins inked him to a deal this offseason. He’s been converted to a multi-inning, quasi-long-relief role in the mold of a Chris Devenski-type and has been downright dominant at Double-A Chattanooga, allowing just five base runners while striking out 18 batters over 8 1/3 innings of work. There might be nothing here, but you just never know. Have you seen the Twins bullpen?”
Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ – Enyel De Los Santos SP | SD – Won at $0
“I really wanted to add Daniel Brito, and while I didn't want to part with Cubs pitching prospects Jose Albertos or Trevor Clifton (whom I had to cut after activating Trevor Rosenthal), taking an age-appropriate middle infielder with five-category potential over a rookie-level pitcher in Albertos, and a potential back-end arm in Clifton, made sense. Brito is off to a hot start in the Sally League, and is worth adding in all formats where 200-plus prospects are owned.”
Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Max Povse SP | SEA – Won at $0
Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Ti'Quan Forbes 3B | TEX – Won at $0
After slugging .335 at Low-A Hickory last season, the ultra-athletic Forbes (selected 59th overall in 2014) was sent to the South Atlantic League again to start 2017, and he’s responded by already eclipsing his home-run total from last season by clubbing five in his first 13 games. In his age-20 season, Forbes is just now starting to translate his tools into production, but he’s also striking out at a 29 percent clip (a six percent higher rate than last season) and is probably more of a “watch-list wait-and-see add” than a player who needs to be rostered in leagues with less than 250-300 prospects at this point.
J.P. Breen, Baseball Prospectus – Ofelky Peralta SP | BAL – Won at $0
J.P. Breen, Baseball Prospectus – Nolan Jones 3B | CLE – Won at $0
J.P. Breen, Baseball Prospectus – Mario Feliciano C | MIL – Won at $0
J.P. Breen, Baseball Prospectus – Hunter Harvey SP | BAL – Won at $0
“My prospects largely suck. They've either graduated into the big leagues, like Blake Snell, or they crapped out, such as Javier Guerra. My goal is to explore the lower levels to find potential breakout candidates. I expect to fail more often than not, but all four of these prospects have the tools to be major-league regulars. That's more than I can say for some prospects owned in the league, including some of my own.”