Oh snap, I blinked and it’s almost mid-season. Apologies for the radio silence, but life keeps happening. As a catch up, let’s take a look at some strategies I’ve applied as we enter the first phase of the season in which some teams commit to buying or selling. Here’s a super general look at where my teams are / have been in the past few weeks:
- FGPTs A – 1st
- FGPTs B – 10th
- FGPTs C – 10th
- 5×5 – 3rd-5th
Spoiler alert: ever the optimist, I’m not selling on any of these teams just yet.
Running at the Front is hard
Let’s start with my best team. With a super elite bullpen and a rotation that’s been greatly helped by youngsters Mike Soroka and Domingo German, this staff is sitting pretty at 6.1 P/IP. My greatest area of need is OF, where I suffered some injuries and some fliers didn’t pan out. I decided to make a move for Giancarlo Stanton while he was still a few weeks from returning, paying what I think was a little less than full price in a deal that centered around my deep pitching. A waiver wire score on Oscar Mercado has further bolstered a unit in need of reliable performance. I’m also hoping Austin Hays (another waiver wire score) ends up with a starting job by mid-July or so.
The desired outcome: Make a move that can separate an already strong team from the field without losing my shirt in a deal by being a first-mover.
The outcome so far: Stanton has only just returned from the IL, but the aforementioned Mercado has been absolutely golden. I still need one of Hays, LoCain, Teoscar, and Joey Wendle to step up.
Using the Waiver to Make a Deal
On the first of my struggling FGPTs teams, my powerhouse offense keeps building up, but a minefield bullpen was killing me. With a surprisingly deep rotation here, I saw an opportunity to grab Jameson Taillon after he was cut and passed through waivers. I then flipped Taillon for three strong relievers, including taking the Kimbrel flier with some weeks of waiting to spare. Elite relief pitching is essential to competing and can be the single factor that sets a winning team apart. Languishing along with a bunch of six point wild cards just won’t cut it.
The desired outcome: Turn a dud bullpen into a strength in one fell swoop.
The outcome so far: Fair to middlin’, but it’s about to get way better with Craig Kimbrel just a few AAA appearances away from suiting up at Wrigley.
Keep Tabs on How the Other Half Lives
In contrast to the teams above, this team is lurking near the back of the standings with a rather low innings pitched total. I have so few innings pitched, in fact, that I considered whether I might still be a dark horse. A quick look at the standings revealed that three of the top five teams have been outpacing their innings pitched projections by hundreds of innings. (So you’re saying there’s a chance.) Not only that, but the guy who’s furthest out ahead of his expected innings has Chris Sale ($48) and Max Scherzer ($50) at prices that suggest he isn’t likely to keep both, and perhaps not either. It just so happens that I’ve been rostering 4 very good SS – Bogaerts ($33), Segura ($22), Tatis ($5), and Andrus ($2). I offered Bogie for either ace and with some minor negotiation about an ancillary piece added on each side, and now Mad Max will be leading my staff into the breach that is late summer.
The desired outcome: Maximize the opportunity of having the most innings pitched available the rest of the year.
The outcome so far: Max is magnificent and I scored Framber Valdez on the waiver. Fingers crossed.
Restocking the Farm
My 5×5 wasn’t too young to begin with this season, but I made an aggressive early play to add Paul Goldschmidt and that wiped the minors cupboard bare. As I’ve been waiting for a handful of vets to come around and come off the IL, I wasn’t in a rush to grab more minors players. That being said, if you’ve got a couple idle roster spots around the time of the MLB draft, it can be a great time to stock up with some $1 futures shares. Bear in mind that a good number of the top 25 prospects in a given year were ranked 35-60 the previous year, and at that rank they still come cheaply at mid-season. Accordingly, my approach is generally to fish for the highest ranking prospects I can score at $1 the week of the MLB draft, while other owners are watching for the new names (see all those guys bidding on Bobby Witt, Jr. right now?). This year that scored me Nico Hoerner and Jon Duplantier. I also broke my own mold a bit by unexpectedly winning Nick Madrigal and his apparent 30-steal potential for $4.
The desired outcome: Steal a buzzy 2020 prospect for $1.
The outcome so far: Duplantier may prove to have value in 2019 (and beyond?). I like Hoerner as a sleeper, just like the Cubs did. And I’m chuffed with the Madrigal score, just hope they don’t keep him down too long in 2020.
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)