The Dynasty Guru Experts League 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, 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 most 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, as 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 Week 6 and Week 7 FAAB period, along with any trades that have taken place over the past week.
Week 6 FAAB Transactions
Tommy Pham (OF)—Cardinals (Won for $8) by J.J. Jansons—Baseball Prospectus/The Dynasty Guru
Pham was coming off his two-homer, one-stolen base game against the Braves on May 7 when I grabbed him, as I was desperate for outfield help. Those two home runs gave him a total of three in his first three games in the majors this season, and he has gone on to hit zero since. At least he’s swiped two bases (in four attempts) in his past four games, along with adding four RBIs. He’s also batted second in the Cardinal order in four of his past five starts, and while trying to figure out what Mike Matheny is thinking most/any of the time is impossible, I think there’s a real chance that Pham sticks around and plays quite a bit over the rest of the season, even when Jose Martinez and Stephen Piscotty return to the lineup.
Yanio Perez (OF)—Rangers (Won for $7) by Greg Wellemeyer—Baseball Prospectus
Perez, a 21-year old Cuban signed by the Rangers last September for $1.1 million, has been absolutely crushing the ball at Low-A Hickory this season after not playing in an organized league since 2014 (in Cuba). Perez has eight home runs, and quite surprisingly has stolen three bases, while posting a stellar .354/.430/.600 line over his first 151 plate appearances. Perez has been scooped up in every league that I’m in that rosters more than 200 prospects, but he’s going to have to prove it at a more age-appropriate level before I’m buying him as anything more than this year’s Andy Ibañez. I’m skeptical that his hit tool is going to translate nearly as well as he climbs to a more age-appropriate level, but for a nominal $7 investment, Wellemeyer might very well be able to spin him into something more useful prior to that happening.
Ariel Miranda (SP)—Mariners (Won for $6) by Nick Doran—The Dynasty Guru/Rotoworld
Jacob Turner (SP)—Nationals (Won for $5) by Brent Hershey—BaseballHQ
Andrew Romine (UT)—Tigers (Won for $4) by George Bissell—Baseball Prospectus
Rubby De La Rosa (RP)—Diamondbacks (Won for $4) by George Bissell—Baseball Prospectus
Seemingly thousands in the fantasy community have been enamored with De La Rosa’s lively arm over the years, and I was going to simply remind everybody how terrible he’s been against lefties—910 lefties have hit .282/.363/.489 against him over his career—but with Bud Norris closing out games these days, I can’t be nearly as dismissive of this pickup by George as I’d like to be.
De La Rosa, who was reportedly hitting 100 MPH while at Single-A Visalia, is still somehow only 28-years old, and has made six (all relief) appearances in the minors as he works his way back from Tommy John, currently doing so at Triple-A Reno.
Tim Adleman (SP)—Reds (Won for $2) by Jeff Zimmermann—FanGraphs
Tyler Mahle (SP)—Reds (Won for $2) by Brent Hershey—BaseballHQ
Mahle generated plenty of buzz after his 89-pitch perfecto on April 22nd against Double-A Mobile, but the seventh-rounder from the 2013 draft has been plenty effective the rest of the season as well, posting a 1.59 ERA in his first nine starts of the year and limiting opponents to a .177 average against while punching out 58 in 56 1/3 innings. Mahle’s reported velocity increase, which has seen him touching 98-100 MPH this season, has led to a bump in his strikeout rate, going from 24.7 percent at High A, and 21 percent at Double A (14 starts) in 2016, to 26.8 percent this season.
Mahle has certainly been one of the more impressive starters this season, as his 1.28 DRA, seventh overall at the Double-A level (min. 20 IP) reflects, and should be owned in leagues that roster 200 or more prospects.
T.J. Rivera (UT)—Mets (Won for $1) by Greg Wellemeyer—Baseball Prospectus
Jake Gatewood (1B)—Brewers (Won for $1) by Brent Hershey—BaseballHQ
Turns out that being able to actually see the ball is helpful in a prospect’s development. Raw power has never been a question for Gatewood, but I’m very interested to see if his new contact lenses can help him maintain his current 12.8 percent walk rate, which would nearly quadruple the 3.4 percent rate that he posted in his second taste of Midwest League action at Low-A Wisconsin a season ago.
Max Schrock (2B)—Athletics (Won for $1) by Brent Hershey—BaseballHQ
Alex Wilson (RP)—Tigers (Won for $0) by Ben Carsley—Baseball Prospectus
Jim Adduci (OF)—Tigers (Won for $0) by Chris Mitchell—RotoExperts
Anthony Swarzak (RP)—White Sox (Won for $0) by Scott White—CBS Sports
Brad Hand (RP)—Padres (Won for $0) by Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser—MLB.com
Nick Burdi (RP)—Twins (Won for $0) by Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser—MLB.com
Lucas Sims (SP)—Braves (Won for $0) by Greg Wellemeyer—Baseball Prospectus
When people say prospect development is not linear, they’re talking about Sims, selected 21st overall in 2012. Sims’ journey to Triple A has had so many bumps in the proverbial road that it included an actual bus crash while at High-A Carolina in 2015. After pitching to a 7.56 ERA in 11 games at Triple-A Gwinnett last season, Sims has allowed more than two earned runs in only one of seven starts this season, putting up a 2.16 ERA and 1.93 DRA.
Ozzie Albies (2B)—Braves to Luke Chatelain—The Dynasty Guru
Aaron Altherr (OF)—Phillies to Luke Chatelain—The Dynasty Guru
Aaron Hicks (OF)—Yankees to Luke Chatelain—The Dynasty Guru
Domingo Leyba (SS)—Diamondbacks to Luke Chatelain—The Dynasty Guru
After winning the league in 2016, it came as sort of a surprise to me to see Chatelain pivot towards the future by trading the ace of his 2017 staff, Max Scherzer. A closer perusal of Chatelain’s team, currently sitting in 13th place, supposes that losing likely his next three pitchers after Scherzer (Felix Hernandez, J.A. Happ and Hisashi Iwakuma) to the disabled list for extended periods dampened his enthusiasm in making another run at the title this season.
I’m quite possibly the world’s biggest fan of Albies, but this feels like the MLB.com crew did an outstanding job of “selling high” on Altherr and Hicks to me. There’s no question that both Aarons have raised their dynasty stock immensely this season, but to the point where they are a huge portion of a deal involving a true (and healthy) SP1 in Scherzer, a secure closer in Johnson, and Nunez, an undoubtedly flawed player, but one who finished last season ranked 44th overall and is currently ranked 149th overall with tasty MI/CI/OF eligibility? I’m not sure. I couldn’t have imagined that this package would have garnered Scherzer by himself at the beginning of the season. That, I am sure of.
Week 7 FAAB Transactions
Eddie Butler (SP)—Cubs (Won for $24) by J.J. Jansons—Baseball Prospectus/The Dynasty Guru
I could have assuredly saved myself $23 by scooping up Butler a week ago, but I wanted to see him pitch in the majors before taking the plunge. I grabbed Butler in several other deep leagues this winter after the Cubs rescued him from Colorado, but I will admit to being skeptical of his 1.17 ERA at Triple-A Iowa this season, an ERA that was not backed up by his 13.7 percent strikeout rate—or his 5.20 DRA. It was only one start, but as somebody who has monitored Butler’s career pretty closely since being selected 46th overall in 2012, I was highly impressed with his Cub debut, and agree completely with Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation when he wrote: “All in all, though, it was just impossible to watch and not see the bones of a very good starting pitcher there.” Or, for the rest of the league who may inquire about his services via trade, he’s clearly Arrieta 2.0.
Zack Godley (SP)—Diamondbacks (Won for $16) by Jeff Zimmermann—FanGraphs
“Picking up Zack Godley was a no-brainer but I just didn’t want to overspend. In the majors and in Triple A, he’s posted a near 9 K/9. Besides a decent amount of strikeouts, his groundball rate over 70%. The key pitch is his sinker, which has generated an 82% GB%. This is basically a Zach Britton’s sinker. The high ground-ball rate will help keep his ERA under his ERA estimators because hitters will be station-to-station and ground into a ton of double plays. Walks are hindering his upside. He’s at 4.3 BB/9 in the majors while posting a 5.3 BB/9 in the minors. If he gets the walks under control, he could be a top 20 pitcher.”
Jordan Zimmermann (SP)—Tigers (Won for $8) by Ben Carsley—Baseball Prospectus
I genuinely looked to try and find a single positive indicator of a bounce-back for Zimmermann this season, but I just couldn’t find one. At the beginning of the year, I’d have said that it couldn’t have gotten any worse for Zimmermann than his career-worst 2016 campaign—but it has gotten worse this year, much worse.
Vladimir Gutierrez (SP)—Reds (Won for $5) by Greg Wellemeyer—Baseball Prospectus
Can I interest you in a 32.2 percent strikeout rate and a 1.23 DRA in seven starts? Gutierrez has yet to surrender a homer in his first 36 2/3 innings of his career stateside and could be on the move to Double-A Mobile in short order.
Rickie Weeks (C)—Rays (Won for $5) by Al Melchior—Fangraphs/Fanrag Sports
Pat Valaika (SS/3B)—Rockies (Won for $3) by Ralph Lifshitz—Razzball
I’d love to use this space to kill Bret for saying prior to the season that Wisler was better than offseason darling Jharel Cotton, but they are both plying their trade at the Triple-A level these days. I’d wager Cotton reclaims a rotation spot much more quickly than Wisler does, as the Braves have shown virtually no indication that Wisler is in their future rotation plans.
Chris Young (OF)—Red Sox (Won for $1) by Ralph Lifshitz—Razzball
Keibert Ruiz (C)—Dodgers (Won for $0) by James Anderson—RotoWire
Lamonte Wade (OF)—Twins (Won for $0) to Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser—MLB.com
Kyle Funkhouser (SP)—Tigers to Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser—MLB.com
Wandy Peralta (RP)—Reds (Won for $0) by Scott White—CBS Sports
A.J. Minter (RP)—Braves (Won for $0) by Scott White—CBS Sports
Phil Bickford (RP)—Brewers (Won for $0) by Scott White—CBS Sports