Deep Mixed Wire: Trevor Bauer, Corey Dickerson

When I’m determining what I’m going to spend on players during my leagues’ FAAB runs, I think about the long term. We all do, right? In my experience, however, most fantasy players tend to base their bids on the here and now: The players on hot streaks fetch the most dollars. The exceptions include recently named closers and promoted prospects of great esteem, among others, but you get the idea.

I’ll talk more about FAAB strategy in future columns, I’m sure, but I wanted to plant the seed: Bid according to what kind of returns you figure to receive from the player for the rest of the season, regardless of recent performance. A player’s latest feats can factor in a little, sure, especially if characteristics of them indicate skills growth. In the latter instance, though, you’re already wisely influenced by possible long-term gains.

One of the two players I list here Jason Collette and I discussed in Sunday’s podcast, so I’m a little ashamed that I’m dropping his name in this column. But only a little, because both of these cats:

1)      are interesting players, at worst, for mixed leaguers;

2)      provide examples that will help me to discuss aspects of FAAB strategy.

SP Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians

Ownership: ESPN 0.5% | Yahoo! 6% | CBS 30%

He’s arguably the Tribe’s top pitching prospect. When this season is finished, the argument may look quite silly in retrospect. As many know, Bauer was one of the game’s top-rated talents just a couple of years ago, but control problems and makeup concerns, among other things, dropped his stock considerably. “Control problems” is putting it mildly, really, at least when it comes to his limited major league exposure.

The organization has invested a lot of time and effort in Bauer’s development. This past winter saw the right-hander consolidate the mechanical changes that Cleveland has tried to instill and his natural delivery. The spring training results were no good, but his first four regular season starts have been eye-opening. He’s fanned 21 and walked only six in 18 2/3 innings (three starts), yielding only 13 hits and two runs, for Triple-A Columbus. He made a spot start for the Indians on April 9, and in it he allowed four hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks, with eight K’s, in six frames against the San Diego Padres.

Bauer, 23, is a pitcher of remarkable intellect, particularly when it comes to his craft. The April struggles of both Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar have already forced the club to answer questions about their places in the rotation. If either of their stumbles last into May, then it can’t be long before Cleveland makes a change.

Bauer’s potential return is immense. His past failings and his roster status should keep his price down, but I wouldn’t wait. I scooped him up in Tout Wars (15-team mixed league) and had to pay $4 ($100 budget with a Vickrey bidding system) only because one other person bid on him (for $3, naturally). This is a 12-team mixed league stash, too, in my book.

OF Corey Dickerson, Colorado Rockies

Ownership: ESPN 0.7% | Yahoo! 4% | CBS 13%

We must have interest any time a position player in Colorado gains playing time. We don’t have to like or want the player, but we have to investigate. Of course, most fantasy owners are familiar enough with Dickerson because he was one of 37 outfielders in competition for the team’s starting spot in center field this past spring training.

Dickerson, 25 in a month, is the same intriguing hitter who for some warranted a late-round flier in mixed leagues this past March. He can hit for a quality average, belt 15 or so homers and swipe roughly the same number of bases if he plays a full season. In his first start after Michael Cuddyer’s placement on the disabled list for a strained hamstring, on Monday, Dickerson went yard for one of his three hits and thieved a base.

We know that Dickerson’s foray into fantasy relevance is in all likelihood going to be short-lived. He’ll probably platoon with Brandon Barnes in right until Cuddyer returns. It appears that Charlie Blackmon has sold his soul in exchange for Ted Williams’ powers, so the job is his for the foreseeable future.

But Dickerson is the kind of minimum-bid add in a mixed league about which you can feel good, as opposed to the one of several bucks it may have taken to land David Murphy. Similar type of production, probably similar shelf lives. Come on, we’ve seen the Tribe’s right-fiend platooner have good stretches for a month or six weeks. Is there reason to expect more?

Besides, Cuddyer could have a setback. Carlos Gonzalez is never that far from a DL stint. Justin Morneau is healthy, but are we certain that’ll last? Can we be sure that Blackmon’s success will? There are multiple ways that Dickerson may maintain significance, and you would have saved some dough in the process if any of them comes about.

We know you play in all sorts of leagues. So to help you fine-tune the analysis you’d like to read, we’ve added three tags to the categories on the right: Roto, Head to Head, and Daily Fantasy Update. Use these to get the information that is most relevant to your leagues!

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Nicholas Minnix oversaw baseball content for six years at KFFL, where he held the loose title of Managing Editor for seven and a half before he joined FanGraphs. He played in both Tout Wars and LABR from 2010 through 2014. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasMinnix.

42 Responses to “Deep Mixed Wire: Trevor Bauer, Corey Dickerson”

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  1. Bil Bo Baggins says:

    how can do different websites vary so much in ownership%? 30 percent for CBS but less than 1% for espn? explain

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    • It’s mostly because of the types of players that each host attracts and the hosts’ standard format. This is based on my somewhat limited knowledge of and exposure to each, but I think it sums well:
      CBS has been a staple of the roto community because it has kind of led the way in development of features that appeal to those who run deep leagues (AL- and NL-only, particularly). Its standard league, I’m guessing, is a 12-team mixed format. Same goes for standard format for Yahoo!, which has long appealed to the more casual gamer. Yahoo!’s product has pretty much always been solid, a little flashy, somewhat easy to use. ESPN’s standard format is the 10-team mixed league, and it also appeals to the casual player, as you might imagine.
      The deeper the league, the greater the number of relevant players, of course.

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    • buddyglass says:

      I’ve noticed that ESPN ownership rates for starting pitchers seem to be way lower than what I’d expect. I play in a 12-team mixed league at ESPN and we always end up drafting way more starters than the ownership rates would project. Plenty of sub-5% SPs end up being drafted whereas 20%+ hitters aren’t taken.

      I suspect it *may* be because some ESPN league options require you to carry middle relievers, or some high-ish number of relief pitchers. That would cause the ownership rates of “fringe” SPs to be low. My league has no such requirement; you get 9 pitcher slots and 3 bench slots and you can put whatever kind of pitcher into them you want. So most teams tend to carry zero middle relievers, 2-4 closers and the rest of their slots (plus the bench slots) are filled up with starters.

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      • I’d say that’s at minimum in part because ESPN’s default settings impose a limit of 180 games started by pitchers. Counting stuff accumulated in innings besides those of starters’ is quite valuable. ESPN and Yahoo! defaults provide more reason to stream.

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      • buddyglass says:

        @Nicholas: Yeah, the league I’m in doesn’t use default settings. We have no whole-season GS cap. Instead, we have an 80 IP weekly cap. To me, this makes non-closer RPs more or less worthless. Even a fringe SP, e.g. Nate Eovaldi, Drew Hutchinson, Jon Niese, etc., is more valuable than the best non-closer RP.

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  2. harpago17 says:

    “But Blackmon is the kind of minimum-bid add in a mixed league about which you can feel good, as opposed to the one of several bucks it may have taken to land David Murphy.”

    Did you mean to say Dickerson instead of Blackmon here?

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  3. Cameron Dunlop says:

    Just so you catch the mistake…Bauer never pitched for Triple-A Indianapolis, as they are the Major League Pirates Triple-A affiliate. He pitched for Triple-A Columbus, the clippers

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  4. Adam says:

    I started Dickerson over Mike Olt in the utility spot in my 20-team mixed league last night. Dickerson didn’t play. Olt hit a three-run homer :(

    How to know when he’ll actually play?

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    • Andrew says:

      They have a daily MLB lineups page. Also follow on twitter, very helpful to fantasy players!

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      • Satoshi Nakamoto says:

        Wow! Awesome. Now I don’t have to set my phone to buzz 15 minutes before each set of games start.

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    • Andrew’s suggestion is a great one. They also do weather updates in theirs, I believe. A number of sites nowadays track lineups, but the feature isn’t always as easy to find — some used to post them in community forums or the like. A few outlets, especially on Twitter, exist just for the sake of lineups. has a series of official Twitter feeds that includes one for lineups:
      I don’t know which is faster, theirs or Alarm’s, typically, but it wouldn’t take much to determine, obviously.

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    • If you’re in a jam, though, as long as you know who the opposing starter is that day, you should be good to go. Dickerson will play vs. RHPs. He’ll probably continue to sit vs. LHPs.

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    • centerfield ballhawk says:

      Bumgarner was on the mound last night. Dickerson bats left handed. Watch and see what happens on Friday when Dickerson faces Robbie Erlin. It might be a straight platoon in right field until Cuddyer returns from the DL>

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  5. Andrew says:

    Nick, how sustainable to you feel Bauer’s control/command is? I heard he had stopped moving around on the rubber and focused on one spot. His velocity is back, has 3 plus pitches and if is attacking the zone, 10 team mixed relevant correct? Can you rank Bauer, Eovaldi and Wily Peralta for ROS?


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    • I think it’s plenty sustainable. But of course we can’t dismiss the possibility that he’ll put up the occasional clunker or even lose it altogether again. I’m encouraged because this command/control improvement came about as the result of a long process, but reality is that it’s impossible to say he’s resolved the issue going forward, obviously.
      I don’t see Eovaldi maintaining an attractive K/9. But if he’s really made great strides in the suppression of BBs, then this will be a big breakthrough. I like him more than Peralta, whose control I don’t expect to advance much, if it does.
      Bauer is the wild card. I like him more than Peralta without reservation, but Eovaldi gives me pause. It’s at least in part my Bauer bias (for all the K’s potential) that has me putting him ahead of Eovaldi, too. 10-team mixed? Yes. Need to stash him in one? I’d figure not, but IDK your league’s setup.

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  6. Satoshi Nakamoto says:

    I grabbed Dickerson the moment I saw Cuddyear landed on the DL.
    Cargo has knee tendinitis and has been scuffling for about 5 games.
    Morneau is one smack to the head away from being forced into retirement due to concussion issues. The dude has enough money he’s not gonna risk his well being.

    *** And look at the Rockies schedule for May and June! So many juicy matchups versus bad pitching staffs, at great hitters parks both away and of course in Coors field.

    Any and all Rockies hitters are gonna explode. Buy now while you can.

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  7. Kaline's Ghost says:

    Is Bauer the better stash than Gausman at this point?

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  8. chris says:

    Any chance in the future we could see Ottoneu ownership % as well?

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    • I hope I’m not missing them, but I haven’t seen them in the game. I’d be glad to include them once they are. I’ve asked about them and hope to share more or start to use them once we find out.

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  9. pj says:

    Been adding both in my leagues over past couple weeks. Really think Bauer will come up next week and Dickerson should be productive when he plays.

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  10. stuck in a slump says:

    Ok, so I have Dickerson on my team, but I put him on the NA list when he was optioned. Now I can’t figure out who to drop to get him back in my lineup. I’m thinking Withrow, but he’s been so good for my rate stats and K’s. Otherwise I’d have to drop Almonte. Is it worth it to drop one of them? No one seems interested in Almonte or Dickerson as part of a trade.

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    • I like Almonte, and I understand why he was a semi-popular sleeper in very deep leagues, but I’d rather take the chance on Dickerson, hope he retains some PT in what’s a better run environment. Having said that, Almonte has a clear speed advantage, so if you’re desperate for that, maybe you hang on. I just think he’s still a little overmatched at this level.

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    • Emcee Peepants says:

      Agreed, I like Almonte as well and owned him for a little while, but his 34.4% K rate(!), .270 wOBA, and 68 wRC+ do not make him worth owning right now. I would pick up Dickerson if I could, he should be able to beat those numbers if even in a limited number of ABs.

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    • Bob the Dog says:

      I took the late-round flier ion Dickerson n my 14-team mixed – then when he was sent down I replaced him with Almonte. Now he’s back, I’ve dropped Almonte and picked him back up.

      I’m a bit concerned about the platoon, but Almonte has really cooled off and his average was starting to kill me. And Cargo’s injury worries should help firm up more playing time for Dicko.

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      • stuck in a slump says:

        Thanks for the advice you guys. Perhaps I should also mention that this is a near dynasty level keeper league. So even if Almonte is flailing now, do you think that he could prove worthwhile to hang on to?

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      • Well, I still think Dickerson has at least as much upside in the long term as Almonte, and he has a serious advantage in terms of the run environment. I wouldn’t let that affect my decision.

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  11. Mario Mendoza says:

    Is the humidor broken or something? It looks like the old rule of drafting all COL hitters is back in full force.

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  12. Satoshi Nakamoto says:

    Dickerson getting benched vs Lefties.
    Oh well it sounded like a good idea to grab him.
    Waiver fodder…

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  13. mike says:

    what do you think we can realistically expect from Polanco when he gets the call? he’s absolutely destroying AAA pitching at the moment albeit in a very small sample size. Is he worth a stash now?

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    • Good things. Perhaps kind of like Starling Marte debut things. In 15-team mixed leagues, he is, I think, yes. I have a feeling that his call-up isn’t imminent, not quite like the impression has come across by local media. Polanco has virtually no exposure to AAA. I think Pittsburgh is still kind of committed to seeing what they can get from Travis Snider and even Jose Tabata. Signs from Snider are mildly encouraging now that he’s 100%. Pittsburgh’s designs to leverage the situation will be less predictable than they were with Marte, I imagine.

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  14. Ralph says:

    Would love to hear authors opinion now!

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  15. Ralph says:


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    • It’s really not much different. Still like the player. Remains a potential liability against LHPs because of the raised K% against them, but in small sample, he’s hit them somewhat hard. Much TBD, but when Cuddyer returns, like to think Dickerson will still be getting in there regularly, ROS, displacing Drew Stubbs. COL should probably shut CarGo down.

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  16. Ralph says:

    Thanks! I would like to see that k rate drop a lefties too.

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