Here at Pitcher List, we thought it would be fun to give the readers a look into the dynasty leagues of Pitcher List staff members. Two weeks ago I discussed Trent Grisham (spoiler, I TRADED HIM LIKE A FOOL), pitching and its place in fantasy and the real-life deadline. This week, I talk predominantly about the fantasy deadline and the idea of going for it as a wildcard team. This Dynasty League Review will just be one week, as it is the deadline a TON of players were moved, and the next article could use some more content there lacking deals. 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.
POOR KEVIN EDITION
This week is mostly going to be spent talking about my favourite deals made in the league this week, as it was our trade deadline. But for reference, I was one of the top teams again this week, as I scored 240.5 points beating the Detroit Tigers (Kevin) who was a game ahead of me in the standings. Jose Ramirez was great again, JD Martinez as well, you know the drill. I did, however, start Austin Brice, who before he got hurt was looking pretty decent, sporting a 1.88 ERA. He was pitching over his head, as his .233 BABIP and 86.1% LOB foretold regression and that’s what he got this week, only pitching an inning but giving up two runs.
In total this week, 26 trades were pending at one point, as lots of teams decided to go for it at the last minute and make their push (including myself). Going into week 18 we had three teams tied 19-15 (including myself) in the AL East, duking it out for the final wild-card spot and two other teams 18-16, so it was very, very close, and lots of teams had a chance to upgrade their roster.
I had originally gone into the deadline thinking I would retool of sorts, picking up value through deals and mostly looking to build for 2020. My team has the pieces to be a contender next year when (or should I say if) Luis Severino is fully healthy, and I had a lot of assets that could help me build. But, as the kids say, YOLO. My team has been on fire with Danny Santana becoming one of the best trades of the year, and Jose Altuve, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, JD Martinez and Noah Syndergaard all balling out, I think I could make a decent run. Last year the Champion Colorado Rockies barely scraped into the playoffs, and thanks to David Dahl turning into Mike Trout in September he won it all. Anything can happen once you make it. So, looking over my team, I desperately needed some pitching help and another utility bat or two.
So I started the trade deadline off by looking for a cheapish bat to insert into my lineup, as my bench was fairly baren (Tyler O’Neil being hurt, Harrison Bader demoted, both not great options). So when the Giants sent me an offer for an old chiselled vet, I was more than happy to accept.
|Blue Jays Trade||Giants Trade|
|FK RP Jordan Hicks||1B Albert Pujols|
This was a little odd, but I understand the reasoning for the Giants. He had some space on his IL and Hicks could be stashed, so Pujols was taking up valuable bench space for him as he has championship ambitions (24-10 at the beginning of this week). I had a plethora of hurt players I could stash, and Pujols would be valuable to me as someone I can insert if anything were to happen to my current bats (which, of course, something happens). Not fantastic underlying numbers, but at least he’s a warm body.
I then went and made a move for some prospects I felt could bounceback going into 2020. I figured they were good value buys and I trust the Padres dev system to help them figure out their issues
|Blue Jays Trade||Cardinals Trade|
|MLB 15||MiLB OF Tirso Ornelas|
|MiLB 12||MiLB 2B Esteury Ruiz|
|MiLB 13||MLB 16|
I felt like this was a good gamble. Both guys are younger for A+ ball and have tools leaking out the wazoo. Esteury Ruiz coming into the year was lauded for his potential above-average hit tool with some pop and speed.
Tirso Ornelas is very, very, raw, but could have a 55/60 hit/power tool in the future. For the price of a small upgrade (was originally an MLB 14, thanks for being so kind when I was dumb David!), I was willing to see what I had in these guys. They also gave me the ability to move out some prospects and still feel alright about my farm.
This next one was a biggy. I felt my starting rotation was lacking with just Reynaldo Lopez, Andrew Heaney, Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman. Four pretty volatile pitchers, who could all be amazing or have duds. So I went out and moved from a position of strength to acquire another one who I viewed having potential in a new home.
|Blue Jays Trade||Padres Trade|
|OF Trent Grisham||SP Aaron Sanchez|
|MiLB 1||MiLB 4|
Alright, I bought into Aaron Sanchez. The Astro’s just have a knack for getting the best of pitchers and Sanchez could be another one. Or he could be bad and hurt. Will I regret this? MAYBE. But along with Grisham, I was carrying Tommy Pham, Lourdes Gurriel Jr, JD Martinez, Domingo Santana, Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neil. Playing time might be an issue with Grisham as well, as Ryan Braun was trying the 1B experiment again but it so far hasn’t gone over so well.
Sanchez dazzled in his first start with the Astros, helping combine for a no-hitter. But since that, he’s been questionable, thanks in part to a sore pectoral muscle which will cause him to go onto the IL. WONDERFUL. The first-round pick will be towards the back end, so hopefully, it won’t come back to haunt me. Please just ditch the sinker Aaron.
For my final deal of the trade deadline, it was made at around 11:55 PM, literally right before the deadline. I was trying hard to acquire two more pieces, a major one being a relief arm. With relievers flying left and right, I was mad I had taken this long to get one, but I did end up getting one of the better ones moved,
|Blue Jays trade||Rays Trade|
|MLB 12||OF Mike Tauchman|
|MiLB 4||RP Zack Britton|
It hurt buying two New York Yankees, but here we are. Mike Tauchman has been a revelation for the fantasy teams that ended up picking him up. His .915 OPS would be 4th on the Yankees behind, get this, Gio Urshela, DJ Lemahieu and Cameron Maybin. FRIGGIN YANKEES. With the Yankees being so banged up he’s getting consistent playing time, and should for the foreseeable future.
Zack (Zach? Zak? Who knows) Britton is somewhat back to his Oriole-elite-self, as he’s got a 78.3% groundball rate and a 0.54 HR/9 rate, which is a boon in today’s environment. His 5.7% K:BB rate gives me pause, as that is prettttttttty not good, but he should continue to get opportunities. Keep doin’ what you do best Britton.
Alright, onto my five favourite deals from the deadline.
Favourite Trades Other Than Mine
Surprise, Surprise the Diamondbacks are on the list yet again for another deal I love for them. They’re looking towards competing in 2020, as they’ve stockpiled TJ arms from last year that should comeback either late ’19 (Jordan Montgomery, Johnny Cueto, Taijuan Walker) or ’20 (Lance McCullers) and could have a surprisingly competitive team in 2020. The Cubs, looking to win it all in 2020 (with the best team in the league in my opinion) pushed some of their chips in.
|Diamondbacks Trade||Cubs Trade|
|SP Wade Miley||SP Chris Archer|
|OF Manuel Margot||MiLB Adonis Medina|
|MiLB 4||MiLB Miguel Amaya|
I am fascinated with Wade Miley in 2020. If he doesn’t re-sign with the Astros, will his success continue? In 2019 he’s been a successful, having his 2nd best season in the majors in terms of K:BB rate (12.6%) going 12-4 and the 27th ranked pitcher in terms of CBS points. He could see some regression with both LOB% (79.1%) and BABIP (.262) as outliers.
Manuel Margot was someone I hadn’t thought about until researching for this trade. Did you know that in the 2nd half he’s walking more than he’s striking out (15.3% to 14.5%) with a .847 OPS, along with 11 HR+SB? Crazy. With steady playing time available now with the departure of Franmil Reyes, Margot should be rostered.
Chris Archer is a shell of his former self, but in points leagues, he can still be of value. His walk-rate and HR/9 are career-highs (10.8% and 1.90), which HAS to come down for him to return close to his mid-rotation upside. I like him as a real buy-low however, as the Pirates will have to figure out sooner or later that Ray Searage is utter trash and Archer will have a chance to rediscover himself. And hey, he has a 3.39 FIP in the 2nd half! What has helped fuel this stretch? Ditching the AWFUL sinker, as it allowed a wOBA of .521!
Adonis Medina this year has struggled, as his strikeouts are down and walks up from 2018. While Reading Park can be torturous for pitchers, his HR/9 isn’t too awful at 0.95. His future may be destined for the bullpen, but for now, the Phillies have every reason to try him as a starter.
Like most young catchers Miguel Amaya is going to take some time to fully develop. However, he’s done fairly well in A+ with a .770 OPS and .366 OBP thanks to a 14.5% walk-rate, good for 3rd best in the Carolina League. Amaya will have to be put on the 40 man roster this off-season, so its quite possible he’s in the majors late 2020 or 2021.
This next deal was the most complicated, but I think the Cubs win this deal. Much easier to keep it in the table originally presented.
Three-team trade! There will be another one of those (kinda) later on. This helps everyone in the deal get what they wanted. The Mariners are tanking for next year, and Sixto Sanchez could be pitching for the Marlins sometime next year. He’s got front-of-the-rotation upside but has yet to show it.
Delino DeShields Jr isn’t a major piece but is a warm body to fill out his roster.
The Cubs get a rejuvenated Jason Heyward, who is an above-average hitter for the first time since 2015. While a 107 wRC+ is nothing to write home about, he will continue to get playing time and can be plugged into the lineup seamlessly.
The boon for him here was Felipe Vazquez, a reliever that most probably wouldn’t immediately consider a candidate for the best closer in baseball (partially thanks to having the fewest IP in terms of the top 10 points for relievers) but should be. A 38% strikeout rate has him tied for 6th with Emilio Pagan, and he will continue to get saves for the Pirates.
The Cubs even got two of my favourite prospects in MiLBs Daniel Lynch and Brennan Davis. Lynch had a velocity increase coming out of college and if it weren’t for an injury would be getting more hype. He has the potential for four above-average pitches and could blossom into a mid-rotation guy. Davis was originally viewed as a toolsy OF type with a poor hit tool, but a swing change unlocked the potential for a five-tool stud. He should continue to hit and climb up rankings QUICK.
The Yankees get an OFer they desperately needed, and Eddie Rosario is a pretty dang good one. I will never trust profiles that walk as little as Rosario (3.9%) but he continues to mash the ball, with his exit velocity climbing and his strikeout rate lowering for the 3rd straight year. He isn’t outperforming his true talent too much either, as his xwOBA is only .010 lower than his wOBA.
Alex Colome has been fairly decent for the White Sox, closing out 24 games for them this year. His strikeouts are down from 2018 so that worries me, but should be a decent relief option for the Yankees for a stretch run.
The Angels, looking to possibly win the AL West with a losing record (13-22 at the beginning of week 18) made a couple of moves to buy for this year, but also pieces that could contribute for the future.
|Angels Trade||Marlins Trade|
|MiLB OF Seth Beer||SP Caleb Smith|
|MiLB 2B Jonathan India|
I like this deal for both teams. The Marlins have gone scorched earth this year and plan on keeping zero major league keepers, only having free keepers and minors. Seth Beer seems to be having some trouble adjusting to a new team but had a 163 wRC+ in AA with the Astros before being dealt. He’s going to have questions about his hit tool but could become a Kyle Schwarber Esque hitter.
Jonathan India is struggling to generate power so far into his minor-league career, and that was one of the bigger knocks on him coming out of the draft. He’s walking 17.1% of the time in AA, so he won’t have any problem in the patience department, and maybe once he hits AAA the whiffle ball will help him produce some pop.
Caleb Smith will sometimes have control issues, but the strikeouts more than make up for it (84% percentile for K% according to Baseball Savant). Nine of his 20 games have featured more than 8 strikeouts, and he will continue to strike people out. He’s been a tad lucky with a .241 BABIP and 80.5% LOB and could regress a smidge. He’s decreased his walk-rate three straight years as well, and could potentially breakout more in 2020.
The Tigers, also pushing for a playoff spot, ended up moving the best player in two (kinda one) deals, but the return helps his team a lot more and I think I prefer to be honest.
|Tigers Trade||Diamondbacks Trade|
|SS Trevor Story||SP Lucas Giolito|
|MiLB SP AJ Puk|
|MiLB SS Nico Hoerner|
|Tigers Trade||Mariners Trade|
|MiLB SP AJ Puk||SS Corey Seager|
|MiLB SS Brendan Rodgers|
So for the Tigers, it ends up being Trevor Story and MiLB Brendan Rodgers for Lucas Giolito, Corey Seager and Nico Hoerner. I think he got the better middle infield prospect and downgraded a tier at shortstop to upgrade HUGELY at starting pitching.
Like always I like the return for the Diamondbacks. Trevor Story is a legit top 10ish bat, and you need to supplement your young talent with proven stars. Coors is a helluva drug and Story will get to abuse it for the foreseeable future. His walk-rate, hard-hit rate, exit velo, pitches per plate appearance are all up. He’s a fantasy superstar.
AJ Puk will always be a favourite of mine, as tall-lanky lefties give me good vibes. He is currently in the majors as a reliever but does profile as a starter. Control has been an issue of his in the past and could haunt him in the future, but his wipeout slider and blazing fastball gives him a good foundation to be in the majors. His changeup had shown some improvements in Spring Training before he went down as well, so it’s all about the control.
Nico Hoerner has been hurt for a good chunk of the 2019 season, but when healthy showed an innate ability to hit. While the power hasn’t shown up on the box scores yet, reports from Arizona Fall League last year told that he was crushing the ball. Since he strikes out so infrequently (11.3% in AA this year), he could be a valuable middle infielder in fantasy.
Brendan Rodgers is starting to become a post-hype prospect I think. Having been on top 100 lists for the better part of four years, Rodgers has yet to show the ability to hit major-league pitching. His ability to take a walk is hindered in the majors and he hasn’t shown the pitch recognition you want from a top 10 prospect. The hit/power tool is still tantalizing and Coors is always there, so if he can improve even slightly in that aspect he could become a star. Like Trevor Story.
Corey Seager is an interesting case. Before the juiced ball, he seemed like a top 5 option at shortstop, hitting 25ish home runs and having an avg above .300. In today’s environment, and seemingly not being affected by the ball, his wRC+ of 108 is subpar. He’s still youngish and could improve, but his 2019 season seems subpar, whether he’s still feeling the effects of the hamstring strain that knocked him out earlier in the year.
The real get here I think is Lucas Giolito. Finally living up to his hyped prospect pedigree, Giolito has been a legit ace this year. He currently has a 3.41 ERA, and for the year has a 31.4% strikeout rate. While he experienced some bumps along the way, he’s started to lean more on his changeup recently, helping keep his strikeout rate so high (21.7% swinging-strike rate). He should continue to be an ace and will be a top 20 option going into 2020.
Lastly, one of the majors best pitchers was moved for one of the majors best third baseman. WOOO!
|Reds Trade||Giants Trade|
|3B Mike Moustakas||SP Sonny Gray|
|MI Enrique Hernández||OF Nick Markakis|
The Giants have had a pretty stellar pitching season. Leaning heavily on Charlie Morton and decent relievers, they felt the need they could move an ace for an upgrade at an offensive position. Moustakas instantly slots into his 2nd base position, with Hernandez being his shortstop once he’s off the IL, pushing Logan Forsythe to the bench (where he belongs).
Sonny Gray has blossomed in Cincinnati this year, by far having the best strikeout rate of his career and making “2018 Yankees Sonny Gray” look like a mirage. His slider has been lights out, registering a pVAL of 11.7 and xwOBA of .198 against, with an increase of 3.2 inches of horizontal movement from 2018. He’s an ace.
Nick Markakis is hurt and probably not a great player anymore. He’s waiver fodder at this point and probably not a Hall of Famer.
Mike Moustakas has started to take a liking to Miller Park. He’s got a chance to hit 40 home runs and hits in the middle of a dangerous Milwaukee lineup. His barrel % is up from 8.9% to 10.5%, helping fuel a hard-hit rate of 42.4%, his best since 2016. Having 2nd and 3rd base eligibility is very helpful to move him around in case of injuries.
Enrique Hernández is a swiss army knife, being eligible at 2nd, shortstop and outfield. Because he’s so versatile he will get playing time all over the diamond, and with the injuries the Dodgers currently, have he will play almost regularly. His walk rate is down and strikeout rate is up from 2018 but can still be a valuable piece to sub in when needed.
Now we’re in the final stretch. With the final three weeks filled with matchups with division rivals and teams currently tied or ahead of me in the standings, my team can make it or break it. IT’S TURBO TIME TEAM.
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!
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)