Quick recap if you missed Part 1. Although, you should read part 1. I can guarantee you that you have never played in a dynasty league where the commissioner and defending league champion give up his loaded squad to take the absolute worst team in the league. I did this. It was easier to run the team myself than put up with the revolving door of crappy owners that left the team worse than when they found it.
So, let’s pick up where we left off. Having used an insane amount of cap space to acquire “fringe” prospects in bulk, I was tasked with actually filling out an active roster. The goal was not to tank and do the bare minimum. Hanley Ramirez had just been placed on the trade block. I have always liked Hanley and the reports about his healthy shoulder were intriguing. I knew I could get him for cheap with the hopes of extracting more value out of him at a later date. So I sent newly acquired and quite useless Devin Mesoraco and his $13m contract with a 2nd round amateur draft pick (AMAT) and Pittsburgh power hitting teenager Conner Uselton for Hanley and his $22m tag.
I followed up that trade with shipping Marlins’ closer Brad Zeigler and his 2 year contract with an AAV of $4.38m for a 6th round AMAT pick. I was just happy to get anything for him and wanted to make sure I moved him before he imploded and lost his job. Acquiring Hanely after trading all my available cap space had put me over the cap.
In the effort to free up cap, I traded $6m in 2019 cap space for $5m in 2018 cap with Rajai Davis(1yr/$500k). By this time, the free agent market was pretty dry and still had a lot of spots to fill. Davis would at least give me a warm body and some SB in the process.
As March rolled around and the inevitable slew of spring training injuries, the opportunity to move Hanley to a contender presented itself. I shipped Hanley and his $22m salary off for Cole Hamels ($20m) and prospects Steven Duggar and Spencer Turnbull. Duggar was one of the more impressive players I saw in the Arizona Fall League and Turnbull could be a fast mover this season after a healthy 2017. Turnbull was dynamite last season when I saw face off against Sixto Sanchez.
Two weeks later, Hamels was traded for Rangers RHP Michael Matuella and Mets slugger Peter Alonso. Furthermore, I did not have to cover any cap space, which now freed me up to use money in future deals. All in all, I turned a 2nd round AMAT pick and Conner Uselton into Steven Duggar, Spencer Turnbull, Michael Matuella, and Peter Alonso.
With the new-found cap space from moving Hamels, I sent $7.5m in 1 year cap for Harrison Bader and Ryan Vilade. This was a trade that I did not expect to pull off and should pay huge dividends in the future.
Since the season began, I have stayed pat with trades, waiting for injuries and timing to open the market. In a league this deep with our rules structure, free agency is always rather slim pickings. I signed Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Tom Koehler, Charlie Culberson, Matt Joyce, Chris Ianetta, Luke Gregerson, Clayton Richard, Miguel Gonzalez, Chase Utley, Colby Rasmus, Tyler Clippard, Tim Hill, and Ichiro all to cheap 1 year deals to fill out all the holes in my line-up.
I was able to sign Daniel Robertson of the Rays to a 3 year $500k AAV contract. I was hoping to acquire him via trade but due to a roster crunch, he had been released. There were reports that he had re-tooled his swing and the results have been awesome. Robertson has a 1.037 OPS through April.
Shane Carle, Chaz Roe, and Richard Bleier were recently signed to bolster the Sv/Holds category since injuries to Tom Koehler and Luke Gregerson left me with nothing. Both should have tremendous value based on the scarcity of holds and the volatility of relievers.
After a month, my record sits at 25-21-2, 11.5 games out of first and 1 game out of the Wild Card. Now I have zero notion of winning this division or the wild card. The team in first is loaded and just added Ronald Acuna, Jr. to their lineup. However, my goal was to be competitive. In terms of roto rankings, which determine draft order, I am 17th out of 24 teams, giving me the 8th pick in the AMAT draft if the season were to end. I would say that is a pretty awesome start to a rebuild. Part 1 has pictures of what I started with.
Mountain West Standings through April 30
- Seattle 37-10-1
- San Francisco 25-21-2
- Minnesota 16-29-3
- Colorado 13-33-2
So what has gone right? Ohtani has provided tremendous value both as a SP and a hitter. Daniel Robertson posted a 1.037 OPS. Eduardo Escobar hit .301 in April. Caleb Smith has struck out an insane 41 hitters in 28 IP. Marco Gonzalez and Steven Matz have struggled but are healthy. Walker Buehler has made two starts and was impressive in both.
On the minors front. I’d like to highlight some of the acquisitions I made that have made me look like a genius or at least like a Baseball Morpheus. From the AMAT draft: Parker Dunshee (taken in round 8 of AMAT draft) has a 2.28 ERA and 38 K in 27.2 IP. Zac Lowther (AMAT rd. 3) 1.23 ERA and 39 K in 22 IP. Eli Morgan ( AMAT rd. 6) has a 1.37 ERA with 35 K in 26.1 IP. Nick Margevicius (AMAT rd. 6) has struck out 35 in 26 IP with a 3.12 ERA. Kevin Smith (AMAT rd. 4) is slashing .330/.381/.568.
Players acquired via trade: Peter Alonso is slashing .408/.505/.776 with 7 jacks in AA. Steven Duggar has a .394 OBP in AAA after a red-hot spring. Dillon Tate has posted a 3.00 ERA in AA with a .192 average against. Kyle Muller has a 1.90 ERA in A ball. Michael Matuella has really struggled with command coming back from injury but the fastball has topped 98.
Speaking of minors. This league allows 1 pick up of a minor league free agent per week. Through 9 weeks, I have added:
- Burch Smith, RHP, KC – provides IP and depth on the major league roster. Was lights out in the Arizona Fall League
- Braxton Lee, OF, MIA – has already seen time in the Marlins OF
- Maximo Castillo, RHP, TOR – teenager holding his own in A ball. Big kid. 256 lbs.
- Wladimir Pinto, RHP, DET – Smaller RP. Saw him in spring training. Has 13K in 6 IP with 4 saves.
- Carlos de la Cruz, OF, PHI – Tall kid. Only 18. came out of nowhere and has impressed in Phillies camp
- Bligh Madris, OF, PIT – 2017 9th rounder. Has some pop.
- Lou Trivino, RHP, OAK – We talked about him on the Bottom of the 9th podcast. Jason Pennini saw him and came away impressed. Said he would make a splash in the Oakland bullpen with his 97 mph heater and wipe out slider. Has been impressive in limited action in the bigs.
- Angel Aguilar, 3B, NYY – This kid has a plus arm and a quick bat. Not sure how much his power will play up and he is extremely aggressive at the dish. I like what I have seen in person.
- Austin Listi, 1B, PHI – plus bat speed and a good approach. In a line up of Moniak and Haseley, this guy stands out.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I will update again in June. I anticipate to fall completely out of the Wild Card race by then as the first round of non-conference scheduling begins and the strength of schedule gets incredibly tougher.