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“Alluhring Strategy” Real Deal Dynasty Primer: Opening Series Reactions

“Real” Baseball is finally here!!! Opening Day expanded to three games this year and there have already been some exciting moments. It’s time to root for your team and stress over your fantasy teams. All the hard work you put in the off-season is now going to be tested. Dynasty style fantasy leagues are growing in popularity. Although not quite to the extent of football, dynasty baseball leagues are beginning to force websites, bloggers and analysts to address this growing fantasy sub-culture.

Just as fantasy baseball as evolved over the last 25+ years from reading box scores and updating standings weekly with a pencil and paper, dynasty leagues have become more in-depth and often appeal to the hardcore fantasy owner. Whether you play in traditional 12-14 team leagues to 30 team leagues, contract, salary cap and/or empire style leagues (more common to football), more owners can be engaged throughout the season (and off-season) because even bad teams have something to play for. I believe the increased percentage of league activity is one of the main reasons that dynasty leagues are growing in popularity.

With this in mind I will be spending the next two months discussing dynasty relevant topics and players. I will be highlighting players that are particularly relevant to dynasty leagues but many of these players and analysis will be helpful to those in standard, keeper and roto leagues. Settings and style do play a roll in strategy and player valuation, but the concepts can carry over any league. Main criteria to keep in mind is that the players that are highlighted with be 25 years and younger exclusively. These are the players that are most important to dynasty owners. Perform now AND for the next 5-10 years. Acquiring these players will help you build a successful dynasty.

We will kick of the season by (over)reacting to the surprise starts for two intriguing dynasty players. One is one of the premiere young pitchers in the game. The other is a rookie debut for the record books. What should we take away from this first few days?

 

Jose Fernandez

W L IP TBF H R ER HR BB SO K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP
4/6/16 0 1 5.2 23 5 5 5 1 1 13 20.65 1.59 1.59 .500 21.7 % 22.2 % 33.3 % 7.94 1.54

 

At first glace, the average baseball fan would see the stat line of 5 ER in 5.2 innings and subsequent 7.94 ERA and say, “JoFer got bombed today.” This is simply not the case. Yes the runs were earned and he did give up a HR to Salty of all people. However, it would be unfair to brush past the 13 strikeouts he had over those 5.2 innings. In other words, 13 of the 17 batters he retired via the strikeout. Let’s take a closer look…

Jo Fer began the game striking out the side with all three batters swinging at the 3rd strike. In fact, he did the same thing in the 3rd inning. Kinsler and Upton were victims in both innings and they are no slouches at the plate. Sandwiched between this was the 2nd inning where he gave up a lead-off walk (his only walk of the game).  The old baseball adage say that “walks will kill you.” This was no exception as Salty takes an 0-2 pitch over the right field wall. He got back on track retiring 11 of the next 12 batters including 9 in a row after the HR.

The 6th inning the wheels came off the rail as the lineup turns over for the third round. Kinsler and Cabrera singles and he strikes out two more swinging, including Justin Upton for the third time in the game. Mattingly keeps him in to try and get him through the 6th facing Nick Castellanos with two on and two out. This was the final straw as Castellanos lines a double to left-center driving in Kinsler for the 3rd run of the game. JoFer leaves the game giving up 5 hits and 3 ERs. Unfortunately, Dustin McGowan came in and promptly gave up a two run double to drive JoFer’s final stat-line to 5 ERs.

So what should be take from this? Is this a little rust? Is he not as good as we thought? Should we panic and “sell” before his value drops?

This start simply wasn’t as bad as the stat line indicates if you look at the advanced stats. (Courtesy of Fangraphs)

 

Command

  • 20 of 23 hitters went to two strikes and only 6 of 23 went to three balls
  • 42 of his 72 strikes were non-contact strikes (looking or swing & miss)
  • 13:1 K to BB
  • Swing% = 43.4%
  • Contact% = 63.0%

Stuff

  • Only 9 balls hit in play
  • Four-Pitch Mix with all used 10% of pitches and better
  • Three plus pitches and curve ball is plus-plus

Luck

  • BABIP = .500 (batter reached base on half the balls hit in play)
  • FIP = 1.43
  • Sierra = 0.69
  • The above compared to 7.94 ERA indicates bad luck

 

The Real Deal Take…

If you have him, don’t do anything!!! Continue to run him out there every start against any team in any park. He has plus command with a nasty arsenal of pitches. He made a few pitches he

No Worries, here!!!

No Worries, here!!!

wishes he could have back, but generally, the hits dropped in and he dominated everyone else. If there is an owner in your league that is looking to sell based on a few more lucky earned runs that he normally does…get the deal done!!! The 23-year-old pitcher is my #1 ranked dynasty starting pitcher and no one else is close. Remember, in evaluating overall player value in dynasty leagues, I take out everyone over 25. Sure Cershaw, MadBum and Scherzer will lead you team in the next few years if you are ready for a deep playoff run. In regards to building a dynasty, JoFer IS the pitcher to build around.

 

Trevor Story

Season PA H 2B 3B HR R RBI SB CS BB SO BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
4/4/16 – 4/6/16 14 4 0 0 4 4 7 0 0 0 4 0.0 % 28.6 % .857 .000 .286 .286 1.143 .598 240

 

Even after the opening day bombs, I was fully intended to talk about Carlos Correa this week. He has proven worthy as well. How can I ignore the record setting rookie debut by Mr. Trevor Story.

Trevor was the "Story" during the first few days of the 2016 Season

Trevor was the “Story” during the first few days of the 2016 Season

Even winning the starting SS role out of Spring Training, he was thought more as the bridge to Brendan Rodgers. He is not nearly the prospect as Rodgers (or the aforementioned Correa), but with 4 HRs in his first three Major League games…he is worth looking into a little deeper. I have seen Story owners (who paid hardly anything for him) throwing out names like Syndergaard for straight up trades. Let’s pump the brakes for a minute and take a closer look.

Story hits four home runs in his first three career games. There is no question that this is an amazing feat. I also noticed that those four HRs were the only four hits he had in 14 plate appearances leading to a .000 BABIP. He had no walks and 4 strikeouts leading to a .286/.286/1.143 slash line. The power is impressive as two of the HRs were hit against Ace Zack Greinke. The sample size is small, but with the four Ks, that leaves 10 balls hit fair with a 70% FB rate. He has been crushing the ball with a 30% Med Hit rate and 70% Hard Hit rate. Surprisingly he has had an 82.6% contract rate. All these advanced stats are extremes that can’t be maintained, but they were accomplished outside of Coors Field. We need to determine what this all means.

 

The Real Deal Take…

After bursting onto the scene as a Top-50 prospect in 2013, Story had not progressed the way it was expected over the last two years. He was barely a top 10 Rockies prospect going into this season on most rankings. He projects as a Major League regular SS, but nothing special beyond that. What’s the issue?

No True Plus Tools — The power is real and is above average for sure, especially for a middle infielder. He never displayed the raw power need to develop a “plus” tool. His power seems to be a result of his upward swing. He has a natural lift to his swing which will result in a lot of fly balls. Those that are hard hit will have a chance to leave the yard. Lack of ground balls will hurt batting average.

Plate Discipline — 25%+  K rate is likely at this level. He has struggled with drawing walks each time he starts a new level. Eventually he gets up to 11-12% BB rate, but I’m not sure he bats of .250 so he is OBP might not get much higher than .310.

Bottom line is that Story’s hot start reminds me of when Albert Pujols debuted without imagesmuch fanfare. He has had an impressive career, but I don’t see Story living up to this ceiling. He doesn’t have the hit tool that Pujols did nor the raw power. Playing half his games in Coors along with this swing’s propensity to hit fly balls, he could exceed 25 HRs this year. If Reyes doesn’t come back or Story doesn’t relinquish his starting gig, he could hit more. The Rockies still view him as the bridge to Brendan Rodgers and so should fantasy owners. He could be a top 10  SS this year, but dynasty leagues should get traded within the next few years and his value will take a hit with any trade. There is a reason he won the job and the Rockies weren’t concerned about his service time. They don’t expect him to be on the team when he hits arbitration. This year begins his audition and he’s off to a great start. Nonetheless, he should not be bringing back young starting pitching. If you have him, explore selling high. Just be realistic of what that looks like.

 


 

Bryan Luhrs

Major League Fantasy Sports
Writer & Contributor
Real Deal Dynasty Sports
Owner, League Developer & Executive Commissioner

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday April 7th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #8 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Our Thursday night show will do some weekly recaps, player updates, and preview the coming week end games.

Our guests this week are Hernan Batista and Nick DeSisto. Both Hernan and Nick are veteran owners in Major League Fantasy Baseball Leagues. Hernan and Nick will also be frequent guests on our shows this year.

“You can find our show on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section.”

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday April 10th, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss the coming week’s games Mon-Thu, do some recap of the previous 3 days, and general fantasy news.

Our guests this week are Mark Rush and Phil Weiss. Mark is the Professor of politics and law at Washington & Lee University, an author, writer, and a frequent guest on National Public Radio as well as the Arabian News Network. Mark was part of the writing staff at Ron Shandler’s old site shandlerpark.com. Since Ron shut that project down Mark has joined our writing staff here at majorleaguefantasysports.com, and also does some editing.

Phil Weiss’s resume includes working as a CPA with a large public accounting firm as well as private industry (Fortune 500), specializing in international corporate tax planning. Chief Financial Analyst for Independent RIA.

Media Experience: Frequent guest on CNBC and Bloomberg television. Multiple appearances on Bloomberg radio, local and national radio. Regularly quoted in Wall Street Journal, Reuters, New York Times, AP, thestreet.com, local news, Financial Times

“You can find our show on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section.”

 

Faith, Family and Fantasy Sports.These are the three words that best describe me. I am a faithful husband and father of 6 amazing children. I work to earn a living, but I live for every precious moment I can spend with my family and a passion for sports.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Joe Iannone

    April 8, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    I loved this article Brian. Serious analysis. As a seasoned fantasy player I know that the first week and the last week of the season are pretty meaningless in the grand scheme. So, I would not worry about Fernandez at all, nor would I think Story is going to keep this up all year. I own Story in 3 of my 5 leagues and I’ll tell you this is mnore fun than I have had in fantasy in a long long time. In fact he hit another HR after your article was written. 5 HR is a good month for most players, but how about a 5 HR week? But, yeah, I’ll trade him high. It will be tough to let him go though, LOL. Thanks for helping us keep our heads on straight.

    • Bryan Luhrs

      April 8, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      no doubt exciting to follow this “Story.” He actually got a hit other than a HR too so that is a good sign. Once pitcher’s figure out what he likes, he won’t see those pitches any more and we will see him settle in. He has shown the ability to make adjustments so far this week, but his track record in the Minors doesn’t support that trend continuing. I don’t see him keeping up this pace like Pujols did in 2001 and then the next 10 years. That being said, 5 HRs in 4 games is quite a feat for anyone, let alone to start a career.

      Thanks for the love, Joe!

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