Keeping an eye on the future while reloading for the stretch run is just about as difficult in fantasy as it is in real life. The wrinkle is that the fantasy player universe is smaller, so fantasy players deal with stars for the most part. Non-elite or low-level prospects can easily get overvalued — there’s little use for an organizational player or a backup shortstop in fantasy ball, and Double-A separates the real from the Formica.
So I’m really psyched that I traded some of my stars for non-elite prospects this week.
Let’s take a look at the most recent trades in the FanGraphs Experts League on @ottoneu to get a handle on this. There’s a $1000 of prize money on the league (courtesy ottoneu), and I finished fourth last year, but my team fell apart and I am currently selling. I’m not alone, as you’ll see, but I’ll start with my trade, as it was the most recently completed. We’ll go sellers first in each trade listing.
Newman wrote about Story recently, and was generally positive about the Rockies shortstop prospect. But he sorta glossed over the crazy home/road splits for Story. The 19-year-old shortstop is hitting .285/.394/.537 at home and .246/.331/.405 on the road. You know what, though? I hear his major league park is pretty nice to hitters, and he’s only in A-ball. Leonys Martin‘s numbers are all over the place. He’s shown .200+ ISOs in his smaller samples, but his biggest sample had him under .100 in 192 Double-A plate appearances. The 24-year-old Cuban is stuck in a timeshare with Craig Gentry for now, and that might last, but knowing that ottoneu has deep benches and five outfielders makes me feel like I can get some use out of Martin in a 5×5, if from his legs alone. Then again, in 2011, he stole 23 bases and was caught 12 times, so the speed is not no-doubt. What is no doubt was that I wasn’t going to keep Upton at $56 — I got a $5 credit on him in this year’s auction and ‘only’ paid $49 for my arbitration player, but even if I believe in him still, I wasn’t going to drop that much dosh on him. I’d rather see what he’ll go for in the auction. $3 Oswalt? He could play again next year, but $5 is a bit much to bet on that balky back.
Amateur Hour (Chad Young) trades $25 Billy Butler and $17 Michael Pineda to
Team RotoWire (Jeff Erickson) for $1 Anthony Gose and $3 Wilin Rosario
For a while, I was talking to Chad about selling him some of my players. Then you jerks convinced him not to buy. Thanks. This is an interesting trade because all of the players in the deal are probably keepers. Personally, I think even a Utility player like Butler is worth maybe a little more than the two prospects Young got — Gose has strikeout problems, and Rosario has some plate discipline issues himself — but he did get much cheaper talent. And they are exciting. $19 seems like it is a lot to spend on a returner from labrum surgery. A few guys have done it — Anibal Sanchez comes to mind — and Pineda is young, but I bought Jon Lester for $20 this season and would still rather have him at $22 next year than Pineda. And I own a $x Pineda in the FanGraphs staff league I have to think about. If Young had gotten a cheap arm in this deal as well, I would have liked it a little better. I bet he loves Rosario.
Miguel Sano‘s fault is as prodigious as his best quality: The 19-year-old bat has a .251 ISO (and 20 home runs in 406 PAs) and a strikeout rate north of 28%. So far, that’s been his MO — lots of whiffs and jacks. Maybe his batting average won’t be nice. Maybe he’s still two years away. But Lance Berkman suddenly looks like old Lance Berkman again this year, and if he limps his way through the next two months, it’s not a lock that Moore will even keep him at that reasonable price. But for Moore, currently in second place (three points behind Newman), the gamble looks worth it. If Sano ends up at first base, as his glove might require, his low batting average, high-power game might be worth a little less. Behrens, in last place and 4.5 points behind me, doesn’t care. He’ll take the youth.
This trade, completed last week, is pretty interesting because of the high salaried players Behrens took back. It’s doubtful that Santana will regain that sort of value in a 5×5 league like this, but could Hosmer be a $39 player next year if he shows how great he can be for the next two months? Possibly. For his swap, Behrens gets a shortstop prospect and a pitching prospect that are close to the major leagues — Segura is actually in the bigs right now, and Hultzen is in Triple-A. They aren’t without their questions, though. Is Segura only legs and glove? Does Hultzen have a command issue? I wonder if Behrens could have gotten more if he didn’t get the buy-low veterans, but there is a chance with Hoz at least.
There was a time when I was talking to Moore about Moore (I traded my $20 Josh Johnson for a $7 Matt Moore in the staff league), but the price tag wasn’t impressive enough that I felt I had to make the move. It’s probably because of that higher price tag that Moore had to include the $1 Bradley, who is part of the Diamondbacks’ trio of great prospects, allbeit the furthest away one in A-ball. An $11 Alex Gordon and a $36 first baseman next year should outproduce Fielder and a $1 outfielder, so well done to the professor. It does look like some of the power suppression we feared from Comerica is hurting the burly firstbaseman.
Yup, the Mets fan traded away the Mets prospect just a week or two before his debut. Who’s going to be tougher on his own than a fan, though. Harvey struck me as a college righty using a fastball to dominate the minor leagues, and his iffy command and changeup left me skeptical. In any case, his ceiling is similar to Drew Smyly, another college/polished lefty, but Smyly uses his offspeed stuff and command to overcome his iffy fastball. A challenge trade with just those two guys in it would be very interesting. But really Harvey was just another teaser to get a cheap Beachy out of Fiorentino. I figured Beachy wouldn’t get arbed because of his injury, and I don’t mind elbow injuries. It’s the shoulders that are terrible.
Thus concludes our wrap of the trading season so far in the experts league, and it’s an appropriate conclusion. Because Morneau is now Moore’s utility player at best, and neither of the guys he gave me are on my team. Hopefully these trades have given you an idea of how to value your prospects in dynasty/auction leagues as you buy for the final two months. Good luck hunting.
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