As we wait for actual baseball to return, we might as we delve further into the dynasty format. Anybody who plays or has played in dynasty leagues knows that they're different. The concept of trading, buying low and selling high, are much different than that of a re-draft league. Normally in a re-draft league, you'll look for statistical anomalies that you expect to either regress positively or negatively when searching for trade targets. While you can do that in Dynasty as well, I like to focus more on situation and public perception.
When looking to a buy a player in Dynasty, I like targeting players who are post-hype. What does this mean? Well, at some point this player had likely had some sort of prospect status, which created hype or buzz around the industry. For whatever reason, it could be injuries or playing time, the hype around said player has subsided. That creates a buying opportunity in Dynasty leagues. You know these players have potential, they either haven't reached it yet or are a few years removed from doing something spectacular. Mind you, these targets are likely more helpful on teams that are looking to rebuild or retool their rosters. You likely won't want to acquire a Nate Lowe, who is currently blocked on the Rays if you're trying to compete.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have to take risks when it comes to selling off a player. In Dynasty, I'd rather trade a player a year or two before they start to decline so I can still maximize my return. Let's take Paul Goldschmidt for example. If you would have sold him a year or two ago, you would have fetched much more in a trade than you will today. Also, just because I'm suggesting a player is a sell candidate below, doesn't mean you have to trade them away. Everything depends on your current situation in Dynasty. If you believe you can even somewhat compete in 2020, you should not be looking to move Nolan Arenado. If your team is aging, however, and you see the writing on the wall, now might be the time to float him out there and see what you can get in return.
Here are the top candidates I'm looking to either buy or sell right now in Dynasty leagues:
Nick Senzel CF
CIN Cincinnati • #15 • Age: 26
Anytime you're attempting to acquire a 24-year old who has had surgery to repair a torn labrum, it is risky. We talk a lot about "blind faith" picks on Fantasy Baseball Today. Last year Rafael Devers was that player. This year it's Nick Senzel for me. While his .256 batting average did not wow anybody in his rookie season with the Reds, he was on pace for 18 home runs and 21 steals over the course of a full season. He needs to lift the ball more, but his 40% hard contact rate was encouraging. Also, let's not forget he posted a very impressive .312/.388/.508 triple slash in the minors, too. He could be had at a discount considering his injury history and uncertain playing time.
TB Tampa Bay • #28 • Age: 25
His 2019 wasn't the breakout season we were hoping for when it comes to Francisco Mejia, but that creates a buying opportunity. Mejia made so many positive strides you want to see a young hitter make in his first look at extended playing time. For starters, he completely transformed his batted ball approach. Mejia dropped his ground-ball rate from 54% in 2018 to 36% last year. Also, once he returned from injury on June 18, he was a different player. Over his final 60 games, he hit .297 with eight homers and an .844 OPS. To put that in perspective, his OPS was higher than Gary Sanchez (.841) and J.T. Realmuto (.820) during that time. Buying catchers in Dynasty is risky, but give me a 24-year old with Mejia's pedigree.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #41 • Age: 26
If you thought I wasn't a Yankees homer, guess again. Honestly, Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier are just great values on the market right now. I swear I don't usually target torn labrums in Dynasty, but it just worked out this way. Andujar appeared in just 12 games last season before opting for season-ending shoulder surgery. We mustn't forget his 2018, however. As a mere 23-year old at the time, he hit .297 with 27 homers and 47 doubles, striking out in just 16% of his at-bats. His 3.1 Fantasy points per game that season ranked higher than George Springer, Kris Bryant and Matt Chapman. Due to uncertainty over his playing time in 2019, he could be had at a discount.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #77 • Age: 27
Clint Frazier is in a similar spot because of the uncertainty surrounding his playing time as well. There's no doubting the kid has talent. While he put up dreadful numbers in September last season, Frazier flashed his upside over the first three months of the season. During that time, he hit .283/.330/.513 with 11 homers and 34 RBI over 53 games. You're looking at 33 home runs and 103 RBI over the course of a full season. A look at Statcast also shows us his 10.8% barrel rate and 15.4 degree launch angle are also impressive. While he might not remain with the Yankees long term, his incredible bat speed is enough for me to buy in.
Nate Lowe 1B
TEX Texas • #30 • Age: 26
Nate Lowe makes this list by no fault of his own. It's those darn Tampa Bay Rays who won't give him a shot! Lowe looked pretty good in a limited sample last year, hitting seven homers with a .779 OPS over 169 plate appearances. If you take a deeper look at Lowe's minor league numbers, you come to find he's quite a unique player. He has this blend of plate discipline and solid contact skills to go along with sneaky power. Lowe is a career .300/.400/.483 hitter in the minors to go along with a 13.6% walk rate and an 18% strikeout rate. Back in 2018, he hit 27 homers with 102 RBI across three different levels. Like many others on this list, Lowe could be had a discount because of uncertain playing time in the short-term future.
MIL Milwaukee • #39 • Age: 26
In case you haven't heard, I'll just remind you that Corbin Burnes has filthy stuff and suffered from some pretty bad luck in 2019. Just how bad was it? He owned a 57.4% strand rate to go along with a .414 BABIP. To put that in perspective, league average in those categories was 72.3% and .296. Burnes also had an 8.82 ERA while his xFIP was 3.37. His slider is one of the best in baseball, evidenced by its 56% chase rate and 35% swinging strike rate. There were reports throughout spring that his velocity had also jumped. In 10 spring innings, Burnes allowed just one earned run while striking out 13. He's still in starter-reliever limbo, but I think he has the stuff to be a successful starter if the Brewers let him.
STL St. Louis • #28 • Age: 30
I realize that selling Nolan Arenado is risky business. Over the past five years, Arenado's average season is .300-104-40-124-3. He's absolutely ridiculous. He's also 29 years old and could be traded away from Colorado. The splits don't lie. In Arenado's career at Coors, he owns .324 batting average and a .995 OPS. On the road, he's just a .265 hitter with a .799 OPS. And no, I don't think Arenado would be a sub-.800 OPS player if he were traded to the, let's say Cardinals. He'd probably settle in as a .280 hitter with an .850 OPS. That's still a very good player, but it's not the Arenado we're used to. Don't just trade him for the sake of it but if you're looking for a nice haul to rebuild your team, I would strongly consider it.
BOS Boston • #28 • Age: 34
J.D. Martinez is basically Arenado with outfield eligibility! Over the past three seasons, Martinez's average season is .313-98-41-113-4. That's kind of scary, isn't it? The truth of the matter is Martinez is turning 33 years old in August. Now maybe he's Nelson Cruz but it's more likely that he's human. Martinez has shown a propensity for injury in the past as well. Over the course of 2016 and 2017, he averaged just under 120 games played per season. I still think he has a year or two left of producing at a high level so if you're competitive, you should hold him. If you're not, however, I'd look to cash in now.
OAK Oakland • #2 • Age: 33
It feels weird telling you to trade away a bunch of players I like in redraft but the truth is dynasty is a different beast. You have to be one year early rather than one year late. I think that's the case for Starling Marte who is turning 32 years old in October this year. The biggest issue for Marte is that relies on speed for his Fantasy production. He's getting to that age where stolen bases can quickly evaporate. Also, like J.D. Martinez, Marte has a bit of an injury history. Excluding 2017 (missed a large portion of the season due to a PED suspension), Marte has averaged 26.7 games missed per season since 2016. Coming off a career-year, I'd try and move Marte if I'm not expected to compete.
Yu Darvish SP
SD San Diego • #11 • Age: 35
I just can't fully buy into what we saw out of Yu Darvish last season. Over his final 23 starts, he was a completely different pitcher than anything we've ever seen from him before. During that stretch, he had 185 strikeouts to go along with just 23 walks. Those 23 walks were less than Walker Buehler, Shane Bieber, Justin Verlander, and Jacob deGrom. That's only the first of many skepticisms I have when it comes to Darvish. Will he throw his slider/cutter as much moving forward? He never did it before. Can he stay healthy? This is probably the biggest question of all. Darvish managed just 40 innings pitched in 2018, 100.1 in 2016, and 144.1 in 2014. He's also turning 34 years old in August. Now is the time to sell Darvish in dynasty, while that massive second half of 2019 in still fresh in people's minds.
DJ LeMahieu 2B
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #26 • Age: 33
Remember what I said earlier about being a Yankees homer? Well I lied! As ridiculous as DJ LeMahieu was last season, we have to acknowledge that it was a career year in his age-31 season. Not to mention his 26 home runs came on the back of a 19.3% HR/FB ratio (previous high was 11.1%) in a season with a juiced ball. On top of all that, he's in a contract year and there is no indication the Yankees will bring him back after 2020. I don't expect you'll get a great return for him in dynasty but if there was ever a time to sell him for something, it's now.
BOS Boston • #57 • Age: 28
Now Eduardo Rodriguez is an interesting case considering he's still just 27 years old. He's coming off a great season where he finally managed to stay healthy and won 19 games for the Red Sox. A lot of that was helped by a 2.95 ERA in the second half but let's take a closer look. His xFIP during this time was 4.10 and his BB/9 actually went from 2.8 in the first half to 3.8 in the second half. What helped Rodriguez most over the final three months was his 83% strand rate, which is not sustainable over a full season. He's also maddeningly inconsistent. I should know. I owned him everywhere last year. In 34 starts, he allowed four or more earned runs in 11 of them. Now is the time to sell Rodriguez after he managed to stay healthy with an unsustainable second half.