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 went over how my team seemed destined to miss the playoffs, and this week it won’t be much different. While I haven’t started a full-scale rebuild yet, I’ve started moving accessory pieces that won’t be important to me in the coming weeks, and received some picks and interesting players in return. 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.
This week I crawled my way back to .500, going 2-0 and scoring 212 points. Danny Jansen finally showed some signs of life, hitting his first two home runs of the season and posting a 3:4 BB:K ratio for the week. While he’s still got just a 35 wRC+, he’s been fairly unlucky according to Statcast, as he has the largest difference as a catcher between his wOBA and xwOBA with a -.066 difference. Surprisingly, his xwOBA is higher than that of Robinson Chirinos, which shows just how much regression Chirinos probably has coming. Francisco Lindor is another bat of mine starting to heat up as well, after returning in April and starting slowly. From April 20th to May 8th he was hitting just .258/,299/452, good for a wRC+ of 92—not something you want from your young stud. Since May 8th however, he’s hit a more characteristic .289/371/.461 with two home runs and five stolen bases. While the power is still down, his Statcast data all match last year’s numbers other than a small decrease in Launch Angle, so a power burst should come sooner than later.
Finally in regards to my team, after a couple of iffy starts and wondering if Father Time had finally come, Rich Hill had one of his patented starts with his NASTY curve. While he pitched just six innings, he only allowed two hits and struck out ten against Cincinnati, which was exactly what I wanted when I had traded for him. He had 37% CSW percentage (Called and Swinging Strike percentage) in this start and the league average this year is 28.9%, so Hill had his best stuff going in this start. If you haven’t read the piece on CSW by Alex Fast and Colin Charles, you really should. It’s an amazing metric created by Pitcher List staff and it is awesome. Earlier today, Colin wrote about CSW+, a version of the stat that aims to account for the strength of the opposing team’s offense.
So this week I ended up selling a pitcher and buying a catcher, which wasn’t how I expected this week to turn out BUT HERE WE ARE.
|Blue Jays Trades||Royals Trades|
|SP JA Happ||FK2 1B Rowdy Tellez|
I decided it was finally time to move on from JA Happ. While I considered him a safe arm going into the year, he has not proven to be as reliable as expected. He’s currently got the fourth highest HR/9 rate for starters in MLB, and while his strikeout rate is still above average, he’s started to rely more on his sinker this year. Which is probably for the best, as his four-seamer is getting CRUSHED, resulting in 62.2% flyballs and a -5.9 pVAL so far—a massive drop off from his 19.3 pVAL on it last year.
I might have been selling Happ fairly low, but I’m higher on Rowdy Tellez than most people (NOT because I’m a Jays fan. OK, maybe a little). His Statcast data backs up my sentiment as well, as he’s raised his launch angle, hard hit percentage, exit velocity, and barrel percentage from last year. While he’s always going to strike out a ton, Statcast also believes he won’t hit poorly, with an xBA of .260 for him. He may never be a fantasy stud, but for a free keeper for two years, he will be a decent utility bat for me.
|Blue Jays Trades||Dodgers Trades|
|MiLB Sean Reid-Foley||C Jason Castro|
I sent this offer on a whim and really didn’t expect it to get accepted. I’m not sure why, as the Dodgers are somewhat rebuilding and Castro wasn’t a piece he needed to keep. OH WELL! Sean Reid-Foley is an interesting young arm, but much like most of his short career, he’s battling major control issues this year. He’s currently sporting a 16.3% walk rate in AAA, and was hit HARD in his brief MLB stint the last two seasons. I decided I was okay moving on from him for Jason Castro, a catcher that currently is in the strong-side of a platoon with fan favorite Willians Astudillo. Mitch Garver will eventually come back, but Castro in the meantime should get to start, and thanks to Al Melchior, I realized just how well Castro was hitting the ball. Danny Jansen was/is still not hitting that well, and Castro is good insurance.
I knew Jason Castro was crushing the ball, but yikes! pic.twitter.com/34p8LIMAef
— Al Melchior (@almelchiorBB) May 16, 2019
Favorite Trade Not Mine: Surprise, Surprise, the Giants made another 16 moves this week. Never satisfied with his roster, the Giants owner decided to move on from one of the hottest post-hype young arms currently in the MLB. At this point, however, it still hadn’t been decided whether it was all smoke or mirrors.
|Giants Trades||Diamondbacks Trades|
|SP Lucas Giolito||MiLB William Contreras|
|SP Matt Moore||MiLB J.B. Bukauskas|
|C Robinson Chirinos|
I really like William Contreras as a catching prospect. But that’s just it, catching prospects as a whole tend to be quite annoying to own as fantasy assets. The package now seems a little light for Lucas Giolito, who this year sports a 2.81 FIP and 28.5% K%. Robinson Chirinos has hit quite a few home runs, but as mentioned earlier, probably has some negative regression coming. J.B. Bukauskas is still somewhat intriguing as a starter, however, I do think his future holds him being a lights-out reliever, which is still very valuable.
Favorite Waiver Wire Add: Hanser Alberto – Minnesota Twins. While two weeks ago I mentioned that I snagged Giovani Urshela, the person who actually got him after I dropped him was also the Twins. SO CONGRATS TAK. Hanser Alberto so far has been starting regularly for the Baltimore Orioles, and while that may not be exciting, he’s hitting for enough average to stay relevant in points leagues each week. He’ll never hit for much power and doesn’t walk much, but he also doesn’t strike out often (11.5%) and is eligible at 2B/3B/SS, so he’s a decent MI option.
End Of Week Record: 7-7
IT’S LOURDES GURRIEL TIME! Wait, Cavan Biggio also got called up? Oh, that’s cool too I guess. I am SO pumped to finally have Gurriel back, and Biggio up with the big club. Both have the ability to be impactful bats in the short and long term, and Biggio is proving he has MASSIVE power.
Like father, like son: Cavan Biggio mashes his first big-league home run 💪
— SI MLB (@si_mlb) May 26, 2019
Now to how my actual team did. I went 1-1 this week, which was disappointing considering I had one of my strongest weeks so far, scoring 237.5 points. Also sadly, it seems as though everyone scored a ton of points, so I was more middle of the pack. Newly acquired Rowdy Tellez made an immediate impact for me, having a two home run game and scoring 24 points total. He had a pretty lackluster 1:9 BB:K ratio which will always drag him down in points formats, but I will live with it. Along with Rowdy for top point scoring was Tommy Pham, who does almost everything right according to Statcast except for hitting the ball into the ground way too often (2.3% launch angle), but this week he hit three home runs, scoring 31.5 points. His hard-hit rate is an absurd 55.8% and he’s walking almost as much as he’s striking out (15.3% walk-rate and 17.9% strikeout-rate).
My top scoring pitcher was Marcus Stroman with 25 points, and while I will take the points he is starting to concern me a tad. Only six strikeouts to seven walks here and, while he only allowed 10 hits, a 1.55 WHIP isn’t going to cut it (a HAISTFMFWT as Nick would call it). While I have hope his slider will become his main pitch as it did earlier in the season, he’s recently started using his sinker more again, leading me to believe it might be hard to trust him as a strikeout pitcher again.
This was the week I decided to sell off some pieces. Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Flores have been decent accessory pieces, but they weren’t doing my mediocre team much good and I had pieces to start instead of them (Harrison Bader, for instance, has been doing much better, and getting regular playing time).
|Blue Jays Trades||Cincinnati Reds Trades|
|OF Brian Goodwin||MLB 13 pick|
|MiLB Jose Suarez|
Goodwin had been a pretty decent waiver wire pickup for me. This year he had dropped his strikeout rate and upped his walk rate, all while getting steady playing time thanks to Justin Upton’s foot injury, while hitting for his normal amount of pop. I like Jose Suarez quite a bit as a back of the rotation type, and while this year his peripherals seem to be down (strikeout rate dropped, walk rate increased, BABIP low, groundballs down) he’s still just 21 years old and pitching in AAA. The change for three average to above-average pitches with command intrigues me.
|Blue Jays Trades||Arizona Diamondbacks Trades|
|MI Wilmer Flores||RP Francisco Liriano|
|MLB 16th Pick||MLB 14th Pick|
Flores has been quite mediocre as a fill-in middle-infielder, and even worse after this trade he proceeded to go and break his foot. Sorry John! His power has been bad, with a hard-hit rate in the fifth lowest percentile according to Statcast, but he is young and was getting semi-regular playing time before the injury. Francisco Liriano was a very interesting piece for me, even if it’s just a small sample size. In mostly small leverage work, Liriano has been a different pitcher as a reliever. He’s started using the sinker less and less this year, relying on his slider as his primary pitch and using his changeup a lot more. Both of them having positive pVAL have allowed him to generate a lot of weak contact, ranking in the top of the MLB in hard-hit percentage, exit velocity against, and xSLG. It might just be a small sample (as evident by his recent blow up against Cincinnati (1.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 H and 2BB).
Favorite Trade(s) Not Mine: This week I couldn’t decide between two trades that happened in the league, so I’ll be going over both instead!
|Padres Trades||Phillies Trades|
|C Gary Sanchez||MiLB SP Sixto Sanchez|
|MiLB 2B Kevin Maitan||MiLB SP Logan Allen|
|MiLB 2B Shed Long|
|C Jorge Alfaro|
SCARY GARY! I really like this deal for both sides, if Jorge Alfaro turns out to be a decent catcher. That’s a big if however, as Alfaro at this stage of his career has some major issues that may keep him from reaching his potential. A 35% strikeout rate will always hinder a profile, even if he’s hitting the ball hard like he is. Sixto Sanchez is a hard prospect to gauge, as he’s shown immense upside in the past, but the injury profile will always exist with him. The Marlins moved him up to AA after a mediocre start in A+ and he’s rewarded them so far. Hopefully, he can build up his innings this year. Logan Allen has performed decently in AAA this year, and should be able to provide big-league innings for the Padres this year. He’s turned it up another notch in May, with a 1.08 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 25 innings. Shed Long might never hit for a high average thanks to a mediocre hit tool, but he offers an intriguing power/speed combo. He’s currently starting for the injured Dee Gordon and if he shows enough could be here to stay. The biggest piece though (and the side I would take every day) is Gary Sanchez. Sanchez is on an INSANE tear this year, proving his 2018 might have been the fluke year, and his power is here to stay. He’s currently sporting the leagues best PA/HR rate at 8.2, tied the Yankees record for fewest games to hit 17 home runs with MICKEY FREAKING MANTLE, and is easily the best fantasy catcher. I personally think having such a strength at a position that’s SO HARD to get value from, especially one as young as Sanchez, is helpful in fantasy. There are concerns over his ability to stay at catcher long term, but right now Sanchez is a top-15 fantasy hitter AS A CATCHER. Give me that every freaking day. Do I even need to talk about Matian? He’s got a 63 wRC+ in A ball.
|Diamondbacks Trades||Rockies Trades|
|MiLB OF Kristian Robinson||FK2 Brandon Lowe|
|MiLB SS Issac Parades||FK1 Fernando Romero|
|OF Melky Cabrera||MiLB Mickey Moniak|
|MiLB 1st||MiLB 2nd|
This was a costly price to pay for Brandon Lowe, who I love, but it could end up not being too bad for both teams. The Rockies were looking for an outfielder and Melky Cabrera has proven yet again to be a steady and reliable bat. Kristian Robinson is so, so, young, but he’s a bat I can see taking off this year and rising to the top of prospect lists thanks to his already-present power. Isaac Parades is a somewhat undervalued commodity, hitting a tad worse repeating AA this year but with a 0.95 BB:K ratio. He’s been comped to Jhonny Peralta in the past and that would be a pretty stellar fantasy outcome. The MiLB first here is the BIG get, as the Diamondbacks currently sport the worst record in the league, and the chance to get Andrew Vaughn or Adley Rutschman next year could be massive. For the Diamondbacks, Lowe is a very very good piece to be getting. The Rays keep finding ways to churn out talented bats, and Lowe is no different. He’s been quite lucky so far this year, however, sporting a .389 BABIP with a 36.3% strikeout rate. I think the strikeout rate eventually comes down, but whether it’s this year or next is the big question. Fernando Romero is an interesting relief option who still has a chance to start, as he’s got two elite pitches in his slider and fastball and could potentially fill a fireman role like the one Josh Hader fills. Mickey Moniak may never live up to the 1st overall prospect status that was thrust upon him, but he could still be a decent fantasy option one day. He’s hitting for a 106 wRC+ in AA this year and has been hot as of late, hitting for .304 in May.
Favorite Waiver Wire Add: Lucas Sims – Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals. I must say I’m quite glad the Royals added and dropped Sims this week, as he proved in his spot start that he might have some intrigue and upside to him. In AAA this year he sports a 32.8% strikeout rate with an inflated .352 BABIP. He came up for a double header on May 28th, striking out nine and cruising until the eighth when he loaded the bases and giving up a grand slam to Kevin Newman. His stay in the majors may be short, but he’s proven that he should be the first guy up if needed.
End Of Week Record: 8-8
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
1. I was / still am stupid for trading Giolito, I blame my sheets and Eno. I think he’s due to cool off.
2. I will have you know that Robinson Chirinos is better than avg in BB%, FB%, GB%; he cooled off so much that he’s now a progression guy.
3. Trade me Rich Hill.