Playing the Market: Dynasty Leagues Buy Low/Sell High

Grayson Rodriguez, Baltimore Orioles, July 5, 2018 - photo credit Bryan Green on Flickr

Even though I focus mostly on the Phillies system here at Prospects1500, my second job as General Manager of 8 dynasty teams requires me to scout and learn about every other team’s prospects in my quest to dominate each league. Sometimes it works out but sometimes luck isn’t on my side. If I lose, however, I don’t want it to be because I wasn’t prepared enough. Because of that, I ensure I review every organization’s prospects to see which players that I can buy low or sell high and hope it works out in my favor. It’s like playing the stock market but more fun. I could get rich (or lose a ton) buying stocks but money doesn’t equate to happiness for me. Winning leagues is what makes me happy!  Anyway, here are some prospects that I’ve seen some opportunities over the last few months to buy or sell before the market corrects itself, aka, the games start back up and they perform better or worse than I expect. Please keep in mind this is just one man’s opinion of these players and doesn’t represent our other writers’ viewpoints. 

Sell High

Jon Duplantier, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
2020 Preseason Rank: #14 on our Diamondbacks Top 50 Prospects
Duplantier was ranked moderately high going into 2019 and he still appears on Arizona’s top prospect lists for this year. He struggled in his first taste of the majors last year with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP in his 36.2 innings. The right-hander did strike out 34 batters but walked 18, continuing the trend of poor control that’s plagued him throughout his career. Arizona also has other pitchers in their improving system that have jumped over him and, at 25-years-old in July, time is slowly running out for him.

Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta Braves
2020 Preseason Rank: #1 on our Braves Top 50 Prospects
I keep thinking Pache is going to be more valuable in real life instead of fantasy baseball. He has a solid hit-tool and speed and potential for power but his price seems very high right now. For him to be successful in the majors, a lot has to go right for him. He has to cut down on his strikeouts and his walks have never been very high. He has hit 21 home runs in 1,783 minor league plate appearances and he’s also been caught stealing 38 times in 96 attempts. It could all come together for him this year but I would rather sell high on him for a more proven player before he starts slipping down the rankings if he turns out to be mediocre for our purposes.

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
2020 Preseason Rank: #2 on our Orioles Top 50 Prospects
Everything about him looks great – 12.4 K/9, 0.98 WHIP, 2.68 ERA, a strong mid-90s fastball, and this may come back to haunt me for saying this, but sell him now if you own him in your league. I have a strong bias either for or against certain organizations and how they develop their players. In this case, Baltimore has a track record of poor development for their pitching. Let’s go back the last 8 years to see the names of their top pitching prospects: Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Hunter Harvey, Mike Wright, Zach Davies, Cody Sedlock, Keegan Akin, DL Hall, Tanner Scott, Zac Lowther, Dillon Tate, Luis Ortiz. E-Rod blossomed once he left the organization. Bundy is considered a sleeper this year on many lists. As for the rest, I don’t want them on my team. It’s not the most scientifically proven method to rate or rank players but, all else being equal, I’d rather take a comparable pitching prospect from Cleveland or Oakland, for example, instead of him.

Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago White Sox
2020 Preseason Rank: #4 on our White Sox Top 50 Prospects
Don’t get me wrong – Madrigal can hit and has a great eye at the plate and limits his strikeouts. His lack of power is why he is on this list. This limits his impact in points leagues. He will get his hits and runs but the home run shortage will limit his effectiveness to help your team much in the power categories. If you can live with the low HR and RBI totals, then keep him for the steals and average in Roto leagues.

Jasson Dominguez, OF, New York Yankees
2020 Preseason Rank: #1 on our Yankees Top 50 Prospects
The next Mike Trout! Sell high, you say? Are you nuts? Wait, am I actually arguing with myself on here? Alright, pause and deep breath. Now this is why he’s on this list – the guy has some loud tools and potential to be a fantasy darling and I’m not debating that. I am proposing that you take advantage of the hype on him and turn a profit on him. The owner in your league who always tries to get the best prospect out there may be willing to move safer players in a package for him. Dominguez is 17-years-old. He won’t make the majors for at least 3 years and that’s pushing it. And not every rookie comes up and succeeds right away so you may be looking at 2026 before he helps your fantasy team. How many of you are willing to wait that long if moving him now could help you win this year, if you’re built to contend now?

Evan White, 1B, Seattle Mariners
2020 Preseason Rank: #4 on our Mariners Top 50 Prospects
The helium on White is pretty high right now since he just signed his major league contract and is almost assured playing time for Seattle as soon as the season begins. The power right now is average and I don’t see him giving us more than 20 home runs in the majors. I question if he will become more than an Eric Hosmer-type player. Now Eric Hosmer has had some nice years and is a solid player, but if you could upgrade in a deal for him before he turns into Hosmer, go for it.

Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
2020 Preseason Rank: #3 on our Pirates Top 50 Prospects
Hayes is going to be more valuable in real life than in our fantasy world. His defense is strong and he has a good hit tool with some speed. He is very close to the majors and most prospects are at their peak in terms of value when they are this close to the majors since everyone seems to want to get them early. I once said the best time to sell most prospects is the day they are promoted to the majors. The hype is very high at that time and you may get more value moving them rather than keeping them and they don’t succeed. That could be the case with Hayes. Since Pittsburgh already talked about him possibly being promoted soon, send out feelers to other owners who have a need at third base.

Buy Low

Greg Deichmann, OF, Oakland A’s
2020 Preseason Rank: #12 on our A’s Top 50 Prospects
Deichmann was a 2017 2nd round draft pick out of Louisiana State University by the Oakland A’s and was assigned to A-level and tore it up there with a line of .274/.385/.530. He hit 8 home runs in his 164 at-bats but he also struck out 40 times. In 2018, Deichmann was moved to A+ Stockton where his 63 strikeouts caught up with him and his numbers dropped to .199/.276/.392 with only 6 home runs. He did have a hamate injury during the year which impacted his performance. In 2019, he was finally healthy and cut his strikeout percentage down to 30.3% from 2018’s 34.1% and hit 11 home runs with 19 stolen bases in 340 plate appearances. Progress! But Deichmann really showed up well in the Arizona Fall League where he hit 9 home runs in 82 at bats and is looking to continue that success into the new year. Deichmann is never going to hit for a high average but he could be a cheap source of solid power and even some speed.

Bryant Packard, OF, Detroit Tigers
2020 Preseason Rank: #19 on our Tigers Top 50 Prospects
Packard was a 5th round pick in last year’s draft out of East Carolina University. There were questions about his defense which caused him to go later than he should have but the offense is worth it. He ended his college career with a slash line of .359/.427/.566 and 22 home runs in 566 at bats. Packard performed well over his three levels in 2019 hitting .296/.392/.422 with 3 home runs.  He has a good swing and solid plate discipline and could start this year in Double-A. I foresee him being a big part of the renaissance that’s happening in the Motor City.

Bryce Ball, 1B, Atlanta Braves
2020 Preseason Rank: #23 on our Braves Top 50 Prospects
How did a 24th round pick from 2019 get invited to Spring Training camp this year? And why did he slip so far in the draft after showing immense power in college (18 home runs in 287 plate appearances with a slash line of .325/.443/.614)? Well his defense was a question coming out of college but Ball started working with Ron Washington on improving at first base. Last year across two levels for the Braves, he slashed .329/.395/.628 with 17 HR in only 263 PA. He struck out about 22%, which could use some work though. If Ball continues his production, he could slide right into the DH role if the National League adopts this over the next few years. If not, Freddie Freeman is a free agent after the 2021 season and Ball could give the Braves an option to let Freeman go in order for Atlanta to spend the money elsewhere.

Chris Vallimont, RHP, Minnesota Twins
2020 Preseason Rank: #34 on our Twins Top 50 Prospects
Vallimont came over to the Twins along with Sergio Romo for Lewin Diaz from Miami in July 2019. He was in the middle of a solid season before being moved in the need-based trade for both teams. Diaz was blocked in Minnesota but has a true chance in Miami while Vallimont gives the Twins more starting pitching depth. He is a big right-handed pitcher with a mid 90s fastball and has good strikeout numbers, averaging 9.8 K/9 in his two seasons. The walks are a little high but his WHIP is a tidy 1.15 which shows that if he can work on his control a little but, he could perform well in a big league rotation.

Tony Bps Spina is a lifelong baseball fan hailing from the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia! Tony has loved baseball since 1980 and has followed the Phillies through good and bad times. Tony is married with 3 kids and works for a financial institution but has enough free time to play in 20 fantasy baseball leagues with 75% of them being Dynasty Leagues. He lives a few blocks away from Citizens Bank Park and attends many Phillies games per year in addition to their minor league teams in Lehigh Valley and Reading. He can be reached on Twitter at @TonyBps1.

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