Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Stockwatch: Players, prospects who’ve moved up include Austin Riley, Elly De La Cruz

Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Stockwatch: Players, prospects who've moved up include Austin Riley, Elly De La Cruz

Fallers include Mike Trout and Michael Kopech.

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Unfortunately, the Dynasty Stockwatch has fallen a bit by the wayside this year, with me to this point having released only one way back in early May. What can I say? There was always some other topic that seemed more pressing, and time is finite.

It means, however, that I missed my chance to comment on Aaron Judge overcoming his past health and strikeout concerns to become one of the most prized dynasty assets. I also missed my chance to highlight Trevor Rogers‘ remarkable fall from grace. By this point, those two developments are rather obvious, and this article already flirts with the obvious simply by virtue of dynasty value needing longer to take shape than redraft value, what with the stakes being higher and the consequences more longstanding and all.

Given the long layoff, I tried to limit my observations to a more recent timeframe, like over the past 4-6 weeks. Here are the players (and prospects) whose dynasty value has changed the most during that time.

Players who’ve gained the most value

Prospects who’ve gained the most value

Gunnar Henderson, SS, Orioles

AA/AAA: .304 BA (329 AB), 17 HR, 16 SB, .985 OPS, 69 BB, 86 K

Those who don’t keep tabs on minor-leaguers during the season, instead working mostly off preseason rank lists, might be surprised to discover just how much Henderson’s stock has improved. It’s not a stretch to say he could be No. 1 on some of those preseason lists next year. His strikeout rate ballooned in the low minors last year, which made me doubt whether he would live up to his potential as a hitter with two more levels to go still, but with markedly improved plate discipline this year, everything has played up to maximum effect. With the way he’s caught fire at Triple-A recently, he may even push for a call-up before the season’s end.

Elly De La Cruz, SS, Reds

A+/AA: .303 BA (350 AB), 24 HR, 34 SB, .962 OPS, 28 BB, 117 K

De La Cruz had his believers coming into the year, the sort who trumpet tools above everything else, but boy, have they played up in the loudest possible way this year. A move up to Double-A for the start of the second half hasn’t slowed him down in the slightest. In fact, he’s 10 for 20 with two homers and five doubles in his past four games. He’s a shortstop in the mold of Oneil Cruz, standing 6-foot-7 and leveraging that size for considerable power while still showing off premier athleticism. The strikeout rate is cause for concern, but the tools may be loud enough to overcome it.

Oscar Colas, OF, White Sox

A+/AA: .317 BA (306 AB), 13 HR, .894 OPS, 28 BB, 68 K

Nobody really knew what to expect from Colas coming into the year. The Cuban defector had made a name for himself in Japan’s version of the minor leagues but hadn’t played competitively since 2019. At 23, he needed to hit the ground running to position himself as a genuine prospect, and he’s done exactly that, catching fire in mid-June and hitting .366 (49 for 134) with eight homers, a 1.016 OPS and just a 15.1 percent strikeout rate in his past 35 games. Power figured to be a carrying tool, so the hit tool has been a nice surprise and figures to propel him to the majors early next year.

Vaughn Grissom, SS, Braves

A+/AA: .319 BA (385 AB), 14 HR, 27 SB, .890 OPS, 36 BB, 53 K

Grissom’s contact skills are what stood out most in his first full minor-league season last year, but a closer look at the scouting report revealed a potential hidden gem capable of premium exit velocities and maybe some stolen bases. It’s all playing up nicely as he enters the upper levels, and while he may have to move off shortstop before he reaches the big leagues, there’s a growing hope that he’ll meet the full extent of his potential offensively.

Bo Naylor, C, Guardians

AA/AAA: .276 BA (283 AB), 13 HR, 15 SB, .930 OPS, 66 BB, 80 K

While still a teenager, Josh Naylor’s younger brother got some tangential prospect love, as younger brothers tend to do, but his production was so bad that he quickly fell off the map. Maybe the Guardians just promoted him too quickly, or maybe he sold out too hard for power, judging by his past fly-ball rates. Whatever the case, he’s come into his own this year, living up to his initial profile as a bat-first catcher who’s athletic enough to play elsewhere if need be. His .421 on-base percentage in particular stands out. I liken him to Daulton Varsho and will note that the Guardians have given him a clear path to the big leagues.

Losing value

Players who’ve lost the most value

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