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 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, 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 13 FAAB period, along with any trades that have taken place over the past week.
“This is admittedly a calculated gamble that Mancini is a better player than I thought two months ago. My team is lacking in high-quality big-league hitters under 27, which is a problem. I was looking to flip Lorenzo Cain for a young position player whose contributions would come in the power and batting average categories. In order to accomplish this, I needed to take on a bit of risk. There are still people who understandably doubt the legitimacy of Mancini's first-half production. If there were no doubters, I would not have been able to acquire him for a player like Cain, who is on the wrong side of 30 and will struggle to impact the game on offense when he inevitably slows down. This could look like a fairly bad trade a year from now, but it could also give me a quality power bat for the next 10 years.” —James Anderson
Week 13 FAAB Transactions
Santana made the most of his 47 plate appearances in June, hitting for a tasty .302/.362/.512 line that included two home runs, but oddly (for him), no stolen base attempts. Santana ripped off three key steals in a win July 1 against Oakland, and now has four steals in four July contests. However, with Freddie Freeman, professional third baseman, now back in the Braves lineup, and Sean Rodriguez reportedly back from his horrific spring car accident in about a month, Santana will battle Johan Camargo for the leftover playing time around the diamond on a much-improved Braves bench. Santana likely needs an injury to crop up in the Braves outfield (see Kemp, Matt) to see any type of regular playing time over the second half.
Rasmus’ left hip injury, which has kept him sidelined since June 18, will keep him out of action past the All-Star break, but Doran opted to scoop up the Rays outfielder a few weeks in advance, as he’s quietly been one of the best slugging outfielders in baseball this season—while healthy. Rasmus has played in only 37 games, but he has swatted nine homers in his limited duty, and his .579 SLG places him eighth among all outfielders (min. 120 PA). That production pairs quite nicely when it’s combined with an un-Rasmus-like .281 AVG, and although the batting average almost assuredly will drift toward his .242 career mark, as will his 28.1 HR:FB rate, it’s hard to see how Rasmus isn’t worthy of an $11 bid in a league that starts 100 outfielders.
My perception of Burnes is that he’s ultimately a mid-rotation starter, but all he’s done this season is dominate. At High-A Carolina, he posted a 1.05 ERA in 10 starts, backed up by a sparkling 1.74 DRA and 25 percent punchout rate. He was promoted to Double-A Biloxi at the beginning of June and has continued his stellar work, posting a 1.99 DRA in his first six starts, along with a 28 percent strikeout rate, which would rank only behind Michael Kopech’s 30 percent rate among Southern League starters if he had enough innings to qualify. He’s also walked just 21 in the 16 starts between the two levels.
Burnes looks like a starting pitcher who has taken one of the biggest steps forward, in all of the minors, in terms of value.
Minor has very quietly put together a stellar campaign (1.91 ERA, career-best 27 percent strikeout rate) out of the Kansas City bullpen, generating Comeback Player of the Year buzz, as much as one can generate buzz for such an award. Minor’s been throwing 2-3 MPH harder out of the ‘pen than he did as a starter, and his four-seam fastball has the third-highest spin rate of any pitcher this season (min. 100 pitches).
Difo should see quite a bit of time at shortstop with Trea Turner out, but after stealing 31 bases in 42 attempts between Double A and the majors in 2016, just how much more he is capable of providing in fantasy than empty speed remains an open question, as he’s hit for a .218 tAV in 192 major league plate appearances. Difo was slotted as the 36th ranked dynasty league second baseman by Bret Sayre before the season, so there’s talent here, but any fantasy production this season is primarily going to come from his wheels.
Brandon Marsh (OF)—Angels (Won at $2) by James Anderson—RotoWire
My favorite pickup of the week; Anderson grabbing Marsh here for $2 is just outstanding value at this point in the season. The 60th overall draft pick in 2016, Marsh is one of the most exciting short-season fantasy prospects, and the left-handed hitter has split his time nearly equally between center and right field in the early going at rookie-level Orem. Marsh is primed to post outstanding numbers in the thin air of the Pioneer League, and has already given fantasy owners a glimpse of his potential five-category prowess by hitting for a .500 AVG with one homer and four steals in his first seven professional games. Marsh is certainly one of the prospects this season that I’m most excited about getting my first in-person look of, which should come in a few weeks.
“Marsh is a rare breed of hitting prospect to be available on waivers in this league. He is a potential five-category contributor with pedigree and no obvious flaws. The reason he was available is because he did not make his professional debut until a couple weeks ago, as a back injury sidelined him after he was drafted 60th overall by the Angels last year. He could work his way up to Low-A before the end of 2017 and could be a top-150 dynasty league prospect heading into next year.” —James Anderson
Barnes—also known to some as Craig Goldstein’s favorite catcher—has done enough in 119 plate appearances (.290 AVG, four HR, four SB) to rank 15th among catchers on ESPN’s Player Rater. Although TDGX is not an OBP league, Barnes’ .403 OBP, which ranks fourth overall at the position (min. 100 PA) should ensure that his name is penciled into the Dodger lineup plenty over the remainder of the season. Simply put, he’s doing all of the things that led to some to dub him as “J.T. Realmuto-lite,” before the season, but he’s doing them better than Realmuto himself this season—albeit in a part-time role.
Ramon Laureano (OF)—Astros (Won at $0) by Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser—MLB.com
Life as a prospect is much harder when you’re not running a BABIP of over .400, as Laureano—one of the popup prospects from a season ago—did for the entirety of 2016 between High-A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi. His BABIP of .254 this season should rise a bit, but Laureano hasn’t done much this season from a fantasy aspect other than swiping 17 bases in 21 attempts.
He’s probably worth a shot for $0 here by the MLB.com crew to see if Laureano can recapture his 2016 glory over the second-half, but it doesn’t look pretty so far.
Gonzalez caught my eye in the fall after his good work in the AZL, where he hit for a solid .303/.342/.566 line (with eight homers and four steals) in 40 games, but the unsightly 37 strikeout rate that he displayed as an 18-year old kept me from investing heavily this winter. Gonzalez has cut his strikeout rate to 21 percent in his first 14 games after making the jump to the New York-Penn League, while hitting for about the same line (.350/.365/.500), and certainly is a short-season deeper-league name to watch.
“I dropped Jeisson Rosario for Gonzalez. They are both lottery tickets, Gonzalez just happens to be producing through 50 plate appearances in the New York-Penn League, while Rosario is struggling. Gonzalez has monster raw power and may not be able to hit enough to get to it consistently in games. Such is life.” —James Anderson
Jose Fernandez (2B)—Dodgers (Won at $0) by Greg Wellemeyer—Baseball Prospectus
Derek Dietrich (2B)—Marlins (Won at $0) by George Bissell—Baseball Prospectus
Sims should be up next in the Atlanta rotation when Jaime Garcia is dispatched before the trade deadline, but hasn’t knocked anybody’s socks off this season in the International League.
Tyler Jay (P)—Twins (Dropped) by Chris Mitchell—RotoExperts
Jay, the sixth overall pick of the 2015 draft, was taken 33rd overall in our amateur draft the following winter. Jay has made two appearances this season and now could be done for the season—and in need of thoracic outlet surgery. Pitchers, man.