Here at Pitcher List, we thought it would be fun to give the readers a look into the dynasty leagues of our staff members. Two weeks ago I discussed my inevitable downfall (REYNALDOOOOOOOOO). This week I discuss the wild-card week, quarterfinals and my team as a whole going into 2020, rating each player I talk about through my keeper rating. Just as a point of reference, I go over free keepers and our MiLB system in my first dynasty post if you are unsure what some of the terms mean.
IT’S WILD-CARD WEEK! For the wild-card week, the scoring period is only five days as opposed to the standard seven days, to feel more like a real wild-card game. The RD Yankees played the RD Red Sox, while the RD Phillies had to play the RD Brewers. The ALWC matchup ended up being 131-130, with the RD Red Sox winning thanks to a Madison Bumgarner implosion (6 ER in 5 IP, only 2 Ks). The RD Phillies would end up scoring the most points during the WC week, winning 220.5-172. James Paxton was exactly what fantasy owners drafted him to be, throwing seven innings with only one hit and one walk while striking out 12.
My team during this period scored more than both AL wild-card teams (I’m not BITTER, I SWEAR) thanks to my pitching. Which is weird to say, as it usually is my detriment.
WHO ELSE OTHER THAN REYNALDO LOPEZ WOULD THROW A COMPLETE GAME SHUTOUT? This angered me so irrationally, as I really could have used this start last week. This should be expected from Lopez, however, as he’s been an inconsistent pitcher over the second half. This start was one of his lower-velocity games of the second half as well, showing just how impressive he can be when his command and slider are on. The downside of Lopez these last couple of starts is he’s completely ditched his changeup, throwing it a total of three times in this start. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Chicago White Sox went out and signed an ace this offseason, pushing Lopez to the ‘pen if Michael Kopech can show some health. ReyLo is so maddening to own, as I can really see him exploding and becoming an ace in 2020, but consistency will be the No. 1 thing holding him back.
10-keeper likelihood: 80%, as the upside is too high. In a trade, I would be looking for a high pick or prospect close to the majors to help my team continue competing, and it’s quite possible I do end up moving him.
Guess who else was amazing this week? Noah Syndergaard continues to aggravate fantasy owners, and maybe even the Mets. After the trade deadline, in which rumors had Syndergaard likely being dealt, he has struggled. Partially thanks to his slider becoming fairly bad again and poor results when working with his most common batterymate, Wilson Ramos. He’s requested many times to have Tomas Nido be his catcher, to no avail until recently when Renee Rivera caught his most recent game. The stats don’t lie, via the New York Post:
You know the numbers: Syndergaard owns a 5.20 ERA in 16 starts throwing to Ramos — including his past two, both Mets losses — and a 2.22 in a combined 11 starts pitching to either Nido (10 starts) or Rivera (one start). You know, from reading The Post, that Syndergaard pled multiple times to multiple team officials to pair up with Nido or Rivera, only to be denied.
This week, however, Syndergaard was his old self, going 7 IP with 10 Ks and only 3 hits against. I think Syndergaard next year will be in that second or third tier of starters taken (according to the 2early mocks, he’s going as SP 17/55 overall), which feels too early for me in redraft. I’d much rather take guys like Charlie Morton (62nd overall), Zack Greinke (63rd overall), Jose Berrios (78th overall) and even Chris Paddack (80th overall). Thankfully this isn’t a redraft league.
10-keeper likelihood: 100%. I don’t think I’ll get an offer for Syndergaard I like enough to move him, so I almost guarantee he will be on my 2020 roster. The upside is too high with him, and the chance he’s moved always exists.
Favorite Waiver-Wire Add: Robert Duggar, Made by Toronto Blue Jays
With it being a short week, the waiver adds weren’t amazing, but Robert Duggar has a chance to fill innings during the final couple of weeks. Three of his last four starts have been of the quality variety, and while he doesn’t post strong strikeout numbers (4.1% KK:B rate is real bad), he will get to face the Washington Nationals at home (not great but at least at home) and then the New York Mets. It’s not great, but he’s been decent in points leagues.
What a wild week! The RD Phillies pulled off the upset of the RD Cubs with the two teams having the best and third-best scores this week (305 to 294). The RD Phillies offense was firing on all cylinders, with Paul Goldschmidt showing he’s still an elite first base option with 30 points. Wade Miley was, unfortunately, the deciding factor for the RD Cubs as his disastrous start cost him -23.5 points! The RD Giants continued proving everyone wrong with their old-as-dirt roster beating the RD Mets 267-233.5. Mitch Garver continued to show he’s a top-three catcher and deserves to be draft as so in 2020, hitting four bombs en route to scoring more points than any player on the RD Mets other than Luis Castillo (who only was 0.5 better).
The RD Mets were partially beaten by their own pitchers, with Jose Quintana and Tyler Mahle both giving up 4 ER in only 3 and 3.1 IP, respectively, and both have question marks going into 2020. The RD Rangers (the AL West winner with a stellar 16-26 record) DOMINATED the reigning champion RD Indians 297-203.5 points. This season high in points for the RD Rangers couldn’t have come at a better time for them as Rougned Odor went 8-for-23 with four home runs and scored 42 points, Nick Solak hitting the ground running for his MLB career with a 10-for-23 week scoring 36 points and Wil Myers (and his 35.7% first-half strikeout rate) went 11-for-27 with 27 points. The RD Indians had no answer as Mike Trout would miss most of the week with a hurt foot, later requiring surgery and causing him to miss the rest of the season.
Finally, the RD Red Sox would end up beating the Eastern Conference-leading RD Orioles 218-184 (a score I would have beaten myself, lame). Corey Dickerson helped lead the bats for the RD Red Sox with 25 points and before his season-ending injury was hitting quite well for the Phillies, with a 122 wRC+ and 886 OPS. Xander Bogaerts had an uncharacteristically bad week for the RD Orioles, going 3-of-19 with a double for his only extra-base hit. All in all it was a great quarterfinals week.
My team this week was again decent (finishing the year strong even when eliminated; I LIKE THE HUSTLE BOYS). It was once again my studs, Francisco Lindor and Jose Altuve, doing most of my scoring. I am #blessed to have both of these guys on my team. Lindor scored 29 points, going 6-of-23 with five of the hits going for extra bases (two doubles and three home runs). He is a top-five pick in redraft leagues for 2020, as he’s one of a handful of guys who showcase 30+ home run power with 20-plus-steal potential. Factor in 180ish runs + RBI and he’ll be an anchor for whoever drafts him.
10-keeper likelihood: 10,000%. He is someone I think I will never trade, as he’s an elite dynasty option. No discussion.
Altuve this year proved to still be an elite second base option even if he didn’t steal a ton. Funny enough, he posted the HIGHEST sprint speed of his career, according to Baseball Savant, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he returned to stealing some bases in 2020. He’s got a few worrisome trends, including a three-year decline in xwOBA and increase in strikeout rate from 13.2% to 15.3%. Even with those trends, he posted a career-best ISO at .252, over .050 points better than his previous high and has 29 home runs even with the injury and slow start. He’s got an ADP in the 2early mocks of 32nd, and I will be taking that nine times out of 10 if I can.
10-keeper likelihood: 100%. I don’t think I will be able to get value I like for a player I consider elite, so I will enter 2020 with him as my starting second baseman.
Poor Mike Tauchman. He would break out of his month-long slump with a home run and then go on to partially tear his calf, ending his 2019 season. His 2019 can only be viewed as a success, posting a 128 wRC+ in limited playing time filling in for regulars. I don’t think Tauchman will be draftable in the top 300 if he stays a Yankee, as I just don’t see a path to playing time without injuries happening (much like this year). IF, and big if, he’s moved, I will be much more interested. While Baseball Savant thinks he overperformed, he posted respectable walk/strikeout rates this year, and Alex Chamberlain proved he was a tad unlucky, as his strikeout rate should have been even lower. If playing time somehow becomes available, he becomes someone I can see going 25 + 15ish while hitting around .260, and at his current 2early ADP of 285, he could be a bargain.
10-keeper likelihood: 25%. With my keeper situation, he’s on the outside looking in. Depending on who I end up moving out, he could work his way in, but it really depends on his real-life situation.
Favorite-Waiver Wire Add: Trent Thornton, Made by Boston Red Sox
Trent Thornton has been owned for 95% of this year and was dropped finally by the RD Cubs. The RD Red Sox ended up scooping him up, as he’s still somewhat of a starter, and it could end up being a good move. Up until recently, Thornton had been a fairly unreliable pitcher with a 5.23 ERA and not much better 4.89 FIP. However, something clicked in his start this week against Boston. Thornton ended up throwing five no-hit innings versus the Boston Red Sox, striking out seven and only walking one. The cause? Teammate Clay Buchholz showed him a different curveball grip, allowing him to get more vertical drop on it, per Sportsnet:
Thornton’s grip change was subtle – he essentially turned the ball around, moving his fingers from the seam along the fat part of the horseshoe to the narrow part – but “for some reason, it was just coming out of my hand a lot better.”
“I looked at the TrackMan numbers on it and I was getting a lot more vertical depth and it was a lot more out of my fastball arm slot,” Thornton added. “Before my curveball (release point) was a little bit higher. So I had to make that adjustment where guys weren’t picking it up that easily.”
His next start wasn’t as dominant but was also good, throwing 5 IP with 1 ER and 4 Ks. He could be a sneaky buy-low this offseason, depending on league size, and for the rest of the season could get you some much-needed points (be warned: It will be versus the New York Yankees), but I have a feeling they may be resting guys at this point).
Thanks for reading my article! If you have any questions about dynasty, my reasoning for deals, players in general, etc, feel free to ask! I can be reached on Twitter, Reddit or here! Next piece will be my final one for the year, in which I go over the finals, the moves I plan to make, players I will be targeting through draft or trade, and all that stuff!
(Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)