Welcome to my little warm and dark (someone needs to install some lights) corner of this site. This week I'm going to be discussing how to value prospects in a lockout.
First thing. I cannot stand 3000-word essays when all I am trying to do is get to some fantasy advice so I promise I will always provide a link (like this one), that lets you skip my "hilarious" ramblings and go straight to the good stuff.
A little backstory. The name DapScout came from a stupid idea I had that I would write how well professional athletes gave each other dap. The idea lasted for a couple of tweets and a few fake mailbags that I thought were funny. Then I realized it was a terrible idea so to punish myself, I kept the handle so I would always be reminded to never do that again. However, having people say "Hey Dap" or "Dap you need to put down that appetizer it was meant for the entire table" has started to grow on me.
This is what can you expect from me every week.
- No rankings. I don't have the patience to do them and I envy those that can. The real reason? The amount of hate mail that people send because they can't believe a player is number 32 instead of 30. It is a thankless job and I can't take that much hate mail from User-878973#86 about some labor of love that took me three days and required some rudimentary Calculus. Here is a great place to get rankings: Dave Eddy's Dynasty Baseball Rankings.
- Generally Baseball stuff, but honestly I will probably go all over the place until my editor yells at me.
- Much like financial analysts, I will try to highlight if I have ownership in a player that I am talking about. That way you know if I am being overly optimistic about that player's future to try to trade them in my leagues.
- My grammar is terrible it is embarrassing but I have learned to accept that it sucks.
- I hold grudges. If a player has burned me in the past (I'm looking at you Every Pitcher I Have Ever Acquired At The Deadline) I will try my best to let you know and work hard to look beyond the deep-rooted hatred.
- I will always value position players over starting pitching except in unique situations such as league set up or someone is all in for the championship and needs pitching stats to win.
- This is fantasy. Just take a breath and take a walk if it gets too serious.
Next week I will explore what you should do during the lockout. Let's jump in.
How To Value Prospects in a Lockout
I am not a Baseball insider, nor am I even an insider at my house. However, I am expecting the ETA of all players outside roughly the top 120 to be pushed back a full season. Why? A lockout means no coaching, working on individual drills, correcting mechanical failures, meeting with team doctors, or using team facilities.
Some players will be able to use private coaching and facilities but not all prospects have that kind of money or support network. Typically top 120ish prospects are an arbitrary cutoff since players around or past that point may not have the private resources necessary to get better independent of their team. Just something to think about when weighing trade offers.
There was a video up this week of Vlad Jr. and Wander Franco working out together. There are amazing facilities like Driveline that seem to spit out better pitchers daily. However, Driveline costs money and not everyone has Vlad Jr and Wander's phone numbers. So for the other 99.8% of prospects, they have to keep grinding and relying on what got them here. That doesn't necessarily mean that they will get better during the lockout and you should factor that into how you value them on your team.
What are two things you should expect next season?
Injuries and more injuries. If we learned anything from our last shortened season and shortened offseason, we should expect a huge jump in soft tissue injuries. I love going after players with an injury discount, who are coming off Tommy John or an Achillies Injury. Not this next season, I'm staying away from anyone who is "nursing a hamstring", "just can't get loose", or "likes AVG instead of OBP categories".
Using Fangraphs amazing Injury Report tool let's look at how many injury list visits occurred by body part:
So a couple of immediately noticeable things
We should avoid players with feet, knees, and necks. The trend is obvious that players that utilize those parts of their bodies are more likely to get injured a lot in 2022.
In all other areas, we saw a decrease in the number of IL visits. Some of this can be based on a less condensed schedule so teams could take a "wait and see" approach with some of their injured players during a day off or a travel day.
Ignoring Spring Training 1.0, Spring Training 2.0 (or Summer Camp as the league rebranded it) started on July 3rd, and teams had their first games either July 23rd or July 24th. Roughly 21 days to ramp up and get stretched out. In 2021 pitchers and catchers reported on February 23rd and Opening Day April 1st. 37 days to get ready for opening day.
When I asked Nic Civale, who holds a doctorate of Physical Therapy, (please follow him on Twitter) about why the shortened season has such a huge effect on players' health he said, "I think overall it's the idea that a shortened season is more of a sprint than a marathon that gets guys. They are pressing to deliver and maybe change the way they approach the game. Additionally, they aren't allowed to be with their team's PTs and doctors during the lockout. That could make it like 2020 when they weren't allowed in team facilities early on due to COVID."
If the lockout affects the length of Spring Training 2022, then pay close attention to all injuries, especially injuries to the shoulder: soreness, strain, inflammation, discomfort, and fatigue. If I see any of those words I am going to be very concerned and push that player's draft grade back to later rounds.
Some players I want to get on all my teams
Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Chicago Cubs
I am the President of the Patrick Wisdom Fan Club. If you are in an OBP and OPS league Mr. Amazing can be had for cheap. I own him in almost all of my leagues. (Bottom Line: Look to add in 12 Teams or more, any NL Only League, OBP/OPS leagues)
Gleyber Torres, SS, New York Yankees
Find out how much of a discount a frustrated Gleyber owner will give you. If they were expecting a middle infielder who routinely goes for 30+ home runs with 200+ total bases, then they will be very underwhelmed by Gleyber's nine home runs, 168 total bases, and .366 SLG in 2021.
The first thing to notice is his OBP in the last four years has been incredibly consistent: .340, .337, .357, .331. His line-drive percentage was similar to 2019 (24.3% compared to 25.8%).
The main issue was his ISO, down a whopping 149 points from 2019. Also, his home run percentage was down 4.6%, and exit velocity was down 2.9 mph.
I expect the home run numbers and slugging to go up this year as he continues to make improvements on his contact. If I can get Gleyber cheap, and he gives me .331 OBP with 15 steals in the Yankees lineup, I'm not too upset. But I expect there will be much more in 2022. (Bottom Line: Look to trade for Gleyber in 10 teams or more, AL Only leagues, and leagues that have a MI roster spot)
Cavan Biggio, 2B/3B, Toronto Blue Jays
Look my job is to highlight players that might be out there who could be cheaper compared to their actual value. Stop booing! Biggio had an awful season. This is a family site so I'm not allowed to show you his slash line for 2021. Just trust me, it is not pretty.
However, some of the issues could be attributed to being injured (I hope). By April 21st he had taken pitches on his right hand three times to the point, Keegan Matheson reported, Biggio could "barely even grip a bat". According to several Baseball analysts, gripping a bat is an important skill for batters. Look at his OBP by month in 2021 (K% is listed in parentheses):
- Mar/Apr - .308 (31.6%)
- May - .324 (30.6%)
- June - .412 (17.6%)
- July - .222 (27%)
- In August - Oct Biggio only played three games due to injuries and being benched.
In 2019 (Biggio was called up May 24, 2019 so I'm leaving out May)
- June - .369 (.27.9%)
- July - .337 (27.7%)
- August - .336 (28%)
- Sept/Oct - .424 (30.3%)
I believe in Biggio's bat, his doubles power, and his ability to set the table for that strong lineup (whether it is at the top of the order or at the bottom where the lineup resets). He should be dirt cheap and could provide OBP, Runs, SBs, and some RBIs. (Bottom Line: Look to add in 12 teams or more, AL Only leagues, and leagues that have a MI roster spot, especially if you have extra bench spots)
Seriously you are still reading?
If you made it this far, you were either bribed by me or are related to me. Either way, thank you for reading. I promise to suck less next week! If you have any ideas about what I should cover, a show I should watch, or cute puppy photos, leave me a comment below or hit me up on Twitter - @dapscout.
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