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Welcome to the first edition of this year’s TDGX Transactions. I’ll be taking the torch from the world’s foremost expert on leaping relievers, George Bissell, who did an admirable job of recapping transactions. He also had the first pick in this year’s draft, which you’ll find plenty of thoughts on below.

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 Baseball Prospectus managing editor Bret Sayre back 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 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, as we will take a look at each week’s TDGX free-agent acquisitions, as well as 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 will look at this season's “amateur draft” and, in the next installment, we’ll look at the first two week’s worth of FAAB transactions, along with the trades that have occurred over the past few weeks.

For reference, here are the final standings for the 2016 season, with the team with the worst record getting the first pick in the 2017 draft:

Finish

Team

Bat.

Pitch.

Tot.

1

Luke Chatelain, The Dynasty Guru

79

94

173

2

Ian Kahn & Tim McLeod, Patton & Co.

84

82

166

3

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com

96

52

148

4

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts

47

91.5

138.5

4

James Anderson, Rotowire

65

73.5

138.5

6

J.J. Jansons, Baseball Prospectus/TDG

71

65.5

136.5

7

Greg Wellemeyer, Baseball Prospectus/TDG

62

68.5

130.5

8

J.P. Breen, Baseball Prospectus

84

43

127

9

Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus

66.5

58

124.5

10

Nick Doran, The Dynasty Guru/Rotoworld

47

65.5

112.5

11

Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline

44

62.5

106.5

12

Craig Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus/TDG

71.5

34.5

106

13

Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports

48

43

91

14

Wilson Karaman, Baseball Prospectus

32

48

80

15

D.J. Short, Rotoworld

14

53.5

67.5

16

Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs

39

27

66

17

Ben Carsley, Baseball Prospectus/TDG

32

30.5

62.5

18

Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball

49

8.5

57.5

19

Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ

11

38

49

20

George Bissell, BP

5

5

10

You’ll notice a few new names this season, such as Ben Diamond of Baseball Prospectus and Scott White of CBS Sports, who each have taken over teams that previously belonged to BP's Wilson Karaman, along with a team that finished in second place last season, former property of everyone’s favorite general. Adios and La Cheeserie to both departed owners.

Now, onto this year’s draft results, with thoughts from the drafters in italics:

ROUND 1

(Round 1, Pick 1) George Bissell, BP—Nick Senzel 3B, CIN

(1.2) Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ—Zack Collins C, CHW

(1.3) Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs—Corey Ray CF, MIL

(1.4) Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball—Eric Thames LF, MIL

“After taking over this prospect ghost ship from my predecessor at the onset of the 2016 draft, I've one goal, and one goal only with this team. Compete. After selling Mike Trout to Mr. Trudeau's squad for Ryan Braun, Goldy, and others I had a base with which to work. This was the sole reasoning behind taking Eric Thames 4th overall. I'm already flush with a strong minor league system, and was looking for help in the present. Had Senzel, or Collins dropped they would have been too hard to pass up. In the coming years, I may kick myself for going Thames over Lewis, Moniak, Groome, and company, but it's a calculated risk I'm fine taking.”

(1.5) Ben Carsley, BP—Jason Groome SP, BOS

“I don’t love taking a pitcher in the first round, of course, but Groome’s upside is just too good to pass up. Odds are I’ll end up using him as a trade chip at some point in the next 24 months, but given that he could rank as a top-3 pitching prospect in the game at this time next season, what a trade chip he’ll be.”

(1.6) D.J. Short, Rotoworld—Mickey Moniak CF, PHI

(1.7) Ben Diamond, BP/TDG—Blake Rutherford CF, NYY

(1.8) Bret Sayre, BP/TDG—Kyle Lewis CF, SEA

(1.9) Craig Goldstein, BP/TDG – Kevin Maitan SS, ATL

“I wasn't quite sure what to do at nine overall so I opted for Maitan because I felt like the hype around him justified an investment now that could pay off later if I wanted to pursue a trade. More on that later.”

More on that later indeed. Maitan was shipped to me as a part of a blockbuster deal shortly after the draft, but not before Craig assured me that Maitan will, in fact, be the next Miguel Cabrera. Okay, so maybe I made that last part up, but Craig did hold out for a good return, as you will find out about in the next update.

(1.10) Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline—Cal Quantrill SP, SD

(1.11) Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld—Matt Manning SP, DET

Very disappointing to learn that Adam Frost’s character in the great Saturday morning TV show Hang Time was actually named Michael Manning, instead of Matt, as I remembered.

(1.12) Bret Sayre, BP/TDG—A.J. Puk SP, OAK

(1.13) J.P. Breen, BP—Neftali Feliz RP, MIL

Luckily, gambling was not allowed in the TDGX draft room, because I would have bet a large amount of money that JP was going to take Lucas Erceg here, but fear not, he still picked a Brewer.

(1.14) Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG—Delvin Perez SS, STL

My farm system was utterly devoid of long-term upside, so my priority early in the draft was to inject raw talent, regardless of proximity. I was surprised to see so much pitching come off the board before my pick, and jumped at the chance to nab Perez. I don’t think the power develops enough to make him a fantasy star, but the speed and hit should provide a solid baseline. Now we wait.”

(1.15) J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG—Yuli Gurriel 3B, HOU

Gurriel was available because he signed a major-league deal after the conclusion of last year’s draft, making him ineligible to be plucked with FAAB money last season.

"I was targeting players capable of making an impact this season with this pick, and with Thames off the board, this was the best available player left to do so in my eyes. I usually don’t adhere to this philosophy and typically prefer to take the prospect with the highest ceiling—even in leagues where I’m trying to win—but I feel Gurriel can provide a few good years as a starting CI in a league of this size, and my team is built (hopefully) to compete this season. I considered taking Lucas Erceg or Fernando Tatis, Jr. with this pick, and if Gurriel doesn’t perform this year and is bypassed by other infield options in Houston, this pick could look pretty dumb in a few years."

(1.16) Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts—Joshua Lowe 3B, TB

(1.17) Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld—Lourdes Gurriel CF, TOR

(1.18) Ben Diamond, BP/TDG—Riley Pint SP, COL

Mr. Diamond is much braver than I.

(1.19) Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG—Lucas Erceg 3B, MIL

As surprised as I was that Perez was still available at 13, I was more shocked that Erceg was hanging around near the end of the first round. After a hugely successful pro debut that included a .281/.328/.497 line in 42 Midwest League games, I think he’s solidly a top-100 dynasty prospect who might not be as far away as you think and has ability to hit for average and power when he arrives.”

I agree with Greg completely and am sort of already kicking myself for not taking him ahead of Gurriel. As Greg touches upon, I think Erceg reaches the majors by the second-half of 2018.

(1.20) D.J. Short, Rotoworld—Matt Thaiss 1B, LAA

ROUND 2

(2.1) Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld – Ian Anderson SP | ATL

(2.2) Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ – Taylor Trammell LF | CIN

(2.3) Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs – Carson Kelly C | STL

(2.4) Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Bobby Dalbec 3B | BOS

“In the second round, I flew in the face of my first round approach snagging Bobby Dalbec. My Boston homerism coupled with my affinity for three outcome hitters led me to Dalbec.”

(2.5) Ben Carsley, BP – Justin Dunn SP | NYM

“Dunn should move super quickly as a reliever or moderately quickly as a starter. I remain somewhat optimistic he can be an SP3/4, and he just snuck into the back of our Dynasty Top 101 list. In the second round in a down year, that’s good enough for me.”

(2.6) D.J. Short, Rotoworld – Fernando Tatis Jr. SS | SD

My favorite pick of the round, and the one that has the most potential to return a huge profit on the trade market over the next couple of years if DJ chooses to go that route. I still have no idea how the White Sox gave Tatis to the Padres for the honor of taking James Shields’ craptastic contract last summer. Hopefully the younger Tatis will not make the same choices as his father; most notably not involving himself in PEDs, most importantly his hair-coloring exploits.

(2.7) Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports – Braxton Garrett SP | MIA

My contingent of minor leaguers is already slanted heavily towards pitching, but I was happy to be able to get one of the top high school pitchers available in last year's amateur draft without having a first round pick.”

(2.8) Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports – Dylan Cozens RF | PHI

“I needed to beef up the hitting portion of my farm system, but by the time my first picks were up, several of my favorite targets had been taken. With Cozens, I went for near-term impact over upside. I'm a little worried about Cozens' 40-homer season at Double-A Reading being skewed by his home park, but hopefully, he can take similar advantage of Citizens Bank Park when he arrives there, likely in 2018.”

(2.9) James Anderson, Rotowire – Forrest Whitley SP | HOU

“People should look at Whitley as a potential ace. He's my favorite of all the Houston pitching prospects, including Francis Martes.”

(2.10) Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline – Zack Burdi RP | CHW

(2.11) Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Alex Wood SP | LAD

“Someone is going down in that Dodgers rotation and Wood is shockingly overlooked considering his career body of work, with one down season in terms of production when healthy.”

(2.12) Bret Sayre, BP/TDG – Adrian Morejon P | SD

(2.13) J.P. Breen, BP – Mason Thompson P | SD

(2.14) Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ – Alex Kirilloff RF | MIN

(2.15) J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG – Jorge Ona CF | SD

"After settling for Gurriel the elder in the first round, I couldn’t help myself and selected Ona, who has huge power potential in a league that starts five outfielders. Ona will be started at Low-A Fort Wayne and hopefully reach the Cal League by the end of the season, hopefully mashing his way onto the main portion of the top-100 dynasty prospect list, where he was an honorable mention to start the year."

(2.16) Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts – Will Benson RF | CLE

(2.17) Craig Goldstein, BP/TDG – Alec Hansen SP | CHW

“Hansen has the potential to be a frontline starter which is necessary if you're going to invest in an arm. There was a heavy run on bats in this draft, so at this point the arms available to acquire managed to outweigh the risk involved in drafting pitchers.”

(2.18) George Bissell, BP – Joey Wentz SP | ATL

(2.19) Scott White, CBS – Charlie Tilson CF | CHW

“Players who get regular at-bats are a rare find in this league, and ones who excel at one of the five categories are even rarer. Tilson should play often whenever he recovers from his foot injury and will possibly run a bit as well.”

(2.20) Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs – Dakota Hudson RP | STL

ROUND 3

(3.1) George Bissell, BP – Chris Devenski RP | HOU

(3.2) Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ – Fernando Romero SP | MIN

(3.3) Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs – Dylan Cease SP | CHC

(3.4) Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Brandon Phillips 2B | ATL

“I returned to my win now ways, drafting old dog Brandon Phillips, to fill my MI spot while I wait for Yoan Moncada to finish his service clock induced penance. Here's to Phillips having a solid year, and boosting my counting stats.”

(3.5) Ben Carsley, BP – Jomar Reyes 3B | BAL

“Reyes was terrible last season, but the Orioles have been insanely aggressive with his development. If he’s allowed to slow down and catch his breath, his plus power potential should shine through.”

(3.6) D.J. Short, Rotoworld – Randy Arozarena OF | STL

Another astute pick by DJ in my eyes. Arozarena could rise very quickly in the St. Louis system and has impact stolen base ability.

(3.7) Ben Diamond, TDG – Carl Edwards RP | CHC

(3.8) Al Melchior, CBS – Dane Dunning SP | CHW

“As mentioned above, I could have used another hitter, but the pitching values at this stage of the draft were too good. Dunning's sinker should come in handy when he eventually gets to U.S. Cellular Field.”

(3.9) Ben Diamond, TDG – Skipped Pick

(3.10) Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline – Jesus Sanchez CF | TB

(3.11) Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld – Josh Staumont SP | KC

(3.12) Bret Sayre, TDG – Cristian Pache CF | ATL

(3.13) Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld – Shedric Long 2B | CIN

(3.14) Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG – Bo Bichette SS | TOR

Can he get to his raw power against advanced pitching without ironing out the funk in his swing? I have my doubts, and it’ll be a while before we find out, but I’ll gamble on the carrying tool.”

(3.15) J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG – Colton Welker 3B | COL

"I like Welker quite a bit and took him in most of my drafts this winter. In his age-18 season, Welker finished inside the top-25 in the Pioneer League in isolated power, and will move to more bandboxes as he moves up the ladder in Colorado. I had Sanchez, Pache and Long on my radar and was particularly disappointed Sanchez or Pache didn’t fall to me."

(3.16) Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts – Geovany Soto C | CHW

(3.17) Ben Diamond, TDG – Estevan Florial CF | NYY

(3.18) George Bissell, BP – Joe Mauer 1B | MIN

(3.19) Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs – Rubby De La Rosa SP | ARI

(3.20) Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Max Schrock 2B | OAK

“Schrock has speed, a track record of extreme bat-to-ball skills and a viable path to the big leagues, making him an interesting, and in my opinion underrated, stash.”

ROUND 4

(4.1) George Bissell, BP – Brock Holt LF | BOS

(4.2) Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ – Koda Glover RP | WAS

(4.3) Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs – Ariel Jurado SP | TEX

(4.4) Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Heath Quinn RF | SF

“I prefer Quinn to fellow Giants 2016 draftee Bryan Reynolds, who went a few picks later to Mike Rosenbaum of MLBPipeline. In retrospect, I missed on Hyun-Jin Ryu, who could have been a valuable asset to my staff, however his health risk at the time seemed a non-starter.”

(4.5) Ben Carsley, BP – Yeyson Yrizarri SS | TEX

“Extreme risk, high reward. The odds of Yrizarri being on my roster come, let’s say, June are pretty slim, but he could make for a solid third or fourth piece in a trade I make with a rebuilding team.”

(4.6) D.J. Short, Rotoworld – Travis Blankenhorn 2B | MIN

(4.7) Ben Diamond, BP/TDG – Kohl Stewart, SP, MIN

(4.8) Al Melchior, CBS – Logan Morrison 1B | TB

“I needed someone to fill my 1B slot and Morrison was who was available. It was that simple.”

We’ve all been there, Al. We’ve all been there.

(4.9) Craig Goldstein, BP/TDG – Carter Kieboom SS | WAS

(4.10) Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline – Bryan Reynolds CF | SF

(4.11) Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports – T.J. Friedl CF | CIN

“Friedl's an interesting story — passed over in last summer's amateur draft because most teams didn't realize he was eligible, and now he's on the periphery of the Reds' top 10 prospect list. He has a chance to be a threat in the batting average and stolen base categories.”

(4.12) Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Hyun-Jin Ryu SP | LAD

“At the time of the draft we didn't have the benefit of his solid spring. Health is concern as Ryu has always been excellent. Now that he's made the rotation and gotten through March, surely his stock is on the rise and he's comfortably among the top 400 or so dynasty assets.”

(4.13) Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld – Wander Javier SS | MIN

A very worthy gamble this late by Nick, and one that could turn a profit quickly if his work in rookie ball is as glowing as some scouting reports.

(4.14) Craig Goldstein, BP/TDG – Dustin May SP | LAD

“May has glorious red hair, a 6-foot-6 frame, and the makings of three pitches. There are worse gambles to take.”

(4.15) J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG – Daniel Montano OF | COL

"I am quite fond of Montano’s overall skill set, a profile that earned him $2 million from the Rockies in July 2015, and like Welker, he was a popular offseason target for me. I believe his numbers were depressed by a .271 BABIP in his debut against Dominican Summer League competition, as he finished second in the league in isolated power, and could be primed for a huge rise up the dynasty rankings once he reaches altitude stateside at Colorado’s rookie league affiliate this season in Grand Junction."

(4.16) Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts – JaCoby Jones 3B | DET

(4.17) Ben Diamond, BP/TDG – Hunter Harvey, SP BAL

(4.18) George Bissell, BP – Joey Wendle 2B | OAK

(4.19) J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG – Charlie Morton SP | HOU

(4.20) Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com – Bruce Rondon RP | DET

“The Tigers are going to give it the ol' college try, but should they falter, K-Rod will be traded and Rondon is in position to assume the closer role.”

ROUND 5

(5.1) George Bissell, BP – Skipped Pick

(5.2) Jock Thompson, BaseballHQ – Santiago Casilla RP | OAK

(5.3) James Anderson, Rotowire – Matt Boyd SP | DET

(5.4) Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball – Dan Straily SP | MIA

“I went with Capt. Changeup himself Dan Straily. The hope here is that he maintains his results (luck), from his strong 2016 in Cincy, and takes full advantage of the roomy confines of Marlins Park.”

(5.5) Ben Carsley, BP – Drew Storen RP | CIN

“Your standard speculative saves add. If someone better comes along he’s probably first on my chopping block.”

(5.6) D.J. Short, Rotoworld – Tomas Nido C | NYM

(5.7) Ben Diamond, BP/TDG – Jose Albertos, SP CHC

(5.8) Al Melchior, FanGraphs/FanRag Sports – Dillon Peters SP | MIA

“Peters caught my attention during his time with the Marlins in spring training, and given the team's lack of starting pitching depth, it's conceivable he could come up this season. He's a lefty who throws in the mid-90s with extremely good control.”

(5.9) Craig Goldstein, BP/TDG – Luis Perdomo SP | SD

“I kinda dug Perdomo as a Cardinals prospect, and a solid year for a Rule 5 guy doesn't take the luster off. He'll fight for innings with uh, Jarred Cosart and Trevor Cahill. So he should get plenty of innings and the stuff isn't bad.”

(5.10) Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline – Daniel Gossett SP | OAK

(5.11) Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld – Marwin Gonzalez 1B | HOU

(5.12) Bret Sayre, BP/TDG – Cory Spangenberg 2B | SD

(5.13) Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG – Eliezer Alvarez 2B | STL

I own Alvarez everywhere and wrote him up a couple weeks ago. TL;DR: plus hit, useable speed, age-at-level concerns, bet on the Cardinals development staff.”

(5.14) Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG – Grant Dayton RP | LAD

My major league pitching staff is at least a couple starters short of where it needs to be, so I grabbed Dayton to bolster my ratios and add some strikeouts while I work the wire and trade block for SP depth.”

(5.15) J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG – Hector Rondon RP | CHC

"Wade Davis hasn’t exactly knocked my socks off in my viewings this spring, and the Cubs will likely do everything possible to put him in a position to ensure his health for the postseason. That leaves Rondon will a good chance to get a few leftover saves even if the former Royal does manage to make it that far."

(5.16) Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts – Zach Granite CF | MIN

(5.17) James Anderson, Rotowire – Luis Valbuena 3B | LAA

(5.18) Ben Diamond, TDG – Skipped Pick

(5.19) Scott White, CBS – CC Sabathia SP | NYY

“He wasn't terrible last year, and it was the second-to-last pick. Just seemed like he'd get more attention in the first round of FAAB than anyone else who was left.”

(5.20) Luke Chatelain, TDG – Jesse Chavez RP | LAA

Next time: A recap of the first two weeks of FAAB transactions.

Thank you for reading

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ramtax
4/05
Safe to assume Juan Soto was already rostered?
bretsayre
4/05
Yes, and by Craig no less.
allthehardways
4/05
With 35 keepers per team, I'm surprised at some of the major leaguers that were in the draft. Ryu, CC, Straily, Perdomo, etc. Were they cuts off the 40 man or dropped during the year last year because of ineffectiveness or injury? Also, why did some teams skip picks during the transactions?
jansonsjj
4/05
Ben Diamond did have a few issues in the draft room at the time and typed a few of his picks that were added after the draft. I have updated the article to feature his three selections that were not skipped.

As for the pitchers that were unowned prior to the draft, I just don't think there was much urgency to protect those arms and they all ended up in the 'Doug Fister pile' of discarded starters. Straily was dropped by a team before the draft (but after his trade to MIA), and I don't think anybody really expected Ryu to be healthy and in the rotation to start the year.