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Top 500 Review: The Risers and Fallers

Baseball fans, especially fantasy owners, love lists. It’s a fact. If you don’t believe me, check out the popular demand for team power rankings. Even when they use a sound formula, like our friend Craig Goldstein does over at Fox Sports, he still takes flack from fans that have nothing better to do with their lives than argue about teams that aren’t making the playoffs. It’s in our nature to search for order, to recognize patters, even in random noise. Rankings and lists are the natural progression of that urge to order everything in a way that makes sense.

Bret Sayre isn’t “The Dynasty Guru” for nothing. He’s been around the rankings game longer than you’ve been playing fantasy baseball, so keep that in perspective when evaluating the latest update, which dropped last week, to his Top 500 Overall Dynasty League Rankings.

Yesterday, my colleague Greg Wellemeyer provided a fantastic breakdown of the prospects who just missed the latest edition of the list. Here is a look at the players whose fantasy value has changed the most (either positively, or negatively) from a dynasty standpoint, according to Bret’s latest update:

Biggest Risers

Andrew Miller RP New York Yankees

Current Rank: 202 (Up 274)

Previous Rank: 476

Despite being on the shelf with a forearm injury, Miller has done everything possible to entrench himself as the Pinstripes closer. Dellin Betances is the most dangerous weapon in baseball right now (0-.21 DRA 52 cFIP), and no those numbers are not a typo, but the Yankees want to hand the ball to the veteran with the game on the line. Given the uncertainty about how the closer situation would play out, a conservative ranking was warranted back in the offseason, but now since he’s taken over the job, he’s risen further than anyone else on this list over the past three months.

Kendrys Morales 1B Kansas City Royals

Current Rank: 266 (Up 193)

Previous Rank: 459

You couldn’t blame anyone for passing on Morales in any format after a dismal campaign last season in which he hit just .218 with eight home runs, but he’s gone from waiver wire fodder to a legitimate asset thanks to his performance this season. Through July 1, he’s slashing .287/.348/.460 with nine home runs. It’s hard to believe he’s only 32 years old, but holding down the designated hitter spot in Kansas City has helped him ascend from “barely on the list” to an option in deeper dynasty leagues.

Dallas Keuchel SP Houston Astros

Current Rank: 112 (Up 174)

Previous Rank: 286

He’s done more to validate a substantial jump in the Top 500 list than anyone else. His 1.96 DRA ranks second only to Max Scherzer (1.67 DRA) among qualified starters this season. While cFIP is less enthusiastic about Keuchel going forward (94 cFIP, which is just a tick below league-average) the Astros spectacular defense, creative shifts and his ability to burn more worms than a kid with a magnifying glass, he’s got a chance to finish the season as one of the most valuable starters in fantasy baseball, which nobody was saying three months ago.

Mike Moustakas 3B Kansas City Royals

Current Rank: 202 (Up 274)

Previous Rank: 476

Vote Moose. Frankly I’m not sure what to make of Moustakas anymore. You’re gonna have to ask Bret about this one. He’s batting .313 with a .333 BABIP. If that looks sustainable to you, I have some shares of Danny Santana I’d like to sell you. Different player, but you get my drift.

Eduardo Rodriguez SP Boston Red Sox

Current Rank: 194 (Up 146)

Previous Rank: 340

It’s been a bumpy ride for Rodriguez, who just in the last two starts alone has shown both flashes of brilliance (shutting down the Toronto Blue Jays electric offense over six innings) and been hit harder than a piñata at a kid’s birthday party (serving up six runs in three-plus innings against Baltimore). Rodriguez has seen his value increase in dynasty formats, as evidenced by a 146 spot rise in Bret’s latest update, more than almost any pitching prospect in the game because the improvements he’s made since arriving in Boston last fall as the centerpiece of the Andrew Miller trade have warranted it.

According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Rodriguez had been “tipping his pitches” pretty much all season which may explain some of his recent struggles. He’s a work in progress, but very few southpaws have as much raw talent to work with than Rodriguez, which makes him one of the most sought-after commodities in dynasty leagues.

Jhonny Peralta SS St. Louis Cardinals

Current Rank: 156 (Up 144)

Previous Rank: 300

The dearth of injuries and rise of impact prospects at shortstop position has only made it more evident just how rare (and productive) Peralta actually is. He’s on pace for his second consecutive 20-plus home run campaign, which outside of Ian Desmond is something you just don’t see from a middle infielder. He may be one of the more undervalued assets in dynasty leagues because he isn’t sexy to own. At the end of the day, you don’t really care how the sausage is made, you only care how it tastes, and Peralta tastes pretty good right about now.

A.J. Pollock OF Arizona Diamondbacks

Current Rank: 68 (Up 143 spots)

Previous Rank: 211

He good, as the kids say. I don’t want to be that guy, but here’s what I wrote about Pollock right here on The Dynasty Guru this offseason.

Steven Souza OF Tampa Bay Rays

Current Rank: 195 (Up 141 spots)

Previous Rank: 336

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Other Notable Surges

Trea Turner SS Washington Nationals (Up 132)

Carlos Martinez SP St. Louis Cardinals (Up 128)

Bradley Zimmer OF Cleveland Indians (Up 127)

Rafeal Devers 3B Boston Red Sox (Up 126)

Jaime Garcia SP St. Louis Cardinals (Up 126)

Vincent Velasquez SP Houston Astros (Up 123)

Steven Matz SP New York Mets (Up 107)

From Out Of Left Field

Here are a few of the notable names, which did not make the offseason Top 500 list, but saw their value rise significantly in making the latest edition of the list. Moncada and Olivera, both international free agents signed during the spring, have been discussed at length everywhere, and yes, now you know where we would rank them.

The two biggest names on this list, who warrant at least a longer discussion, which will be coming next week are Stephen Vogt and Lance McCullers, who have emerged out of nowhere into fantasy studs. Also, we all collectively really like Jose De Leon (like a lot). Invest.

#113 Yoan Moncada 2B Boston Red Sox (Up 387)

#203 Hector Olivera 2B Los Angeles Dodgers (Up 297)

#211 Lance McCullers SP Houston Astros (Up 289)

#238 Stephen Vogt C Oakland Athletics (Up 262)

#269 Jose De Leon SP Los Angeles Dodgers (Up 231)

#277 A.J. Ramos RP Miami Marlins (Up 223)

#279 D.J. LeMahieu 2B Colorado Rockies (Up 221)

#296 Cameron Maybin OF Atlanta Braves (Up 204)

#312 Gleyber Torres SS Chicago Cubs (Up 188)

#313 Alex Rodriguez 3B New York Yankees (Up 187)

#314 Wilmer Difo SS Washington Nationals (Up 186)

Biggest Fallers

Here’s a trio of pitchers who are just about ready to slip back into the Iowa cornfields from which they came.

Jered Weaver SP Los Angeles Angels

Current Rank: 452 (Down 146)

Previous Rank: 225

Is he even throwing 80 anymore? Seriously, I’m asking for a friend. A 5.03 DRA, which ranks 104th out of 141 qualified starters, is pretty much all you need to know.

Neftali Feliz RP Texas Rangers

Current Rank: 475 (Down 203)

Previous Rank: 272

When you’re not closing games, you don’t really accumulate enough innings (unless you’re Betances) or pitch well enough (unless you’re Wade Davis) to really matter in dynasty formats. Cue up the Sarah McLaughlin…”I will remember you…”

Chris Tillman SP Baltimore Orioles

Current Rank: 396 (Down 184)

Previous Rank: 212

Is he done? He may be able to dig his way out of the grave, Step Brothers style, but I’d doubt it. The Orioles plethora of talented pitching prospects we were all promised (Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Hunter Harvey) failing to arrive yet has delayed the inevitable for Tillman, who continues to take the ball and get shelled (4.71 DRA).

Other Notable Tumblers

Homer Bailey SP Cincinnati Reds (Down 151)

Desmond Jennings OF Tampa Bay Rays (Down 142)

Hyun-Jin Ryu SP Los Angeles Dodgers (Down 129)

Jonathan Gray SP Colorado Rockies (Down 128)

Mat Latos SP Miami Marlins (Down 123)

Jayson Werth OF Washington Nationals (Down 117)

Justin Verlander SP Detroit Tigers (Down 110)

David Wright 3B New York Mets (Down 96)

The Author

George Bissell

George Bissell

2 Comments

  1. July 3, 2015 at 7:43 pm — Reply

    Kinda surprised to see Souza so far below Yasmani Thomas. When I look at Souza’s MiLB numbers he has had multiple seasons where he has hit over .300 and had an .OBP over .400. It’s hard to tell if any of that improvement came in the 2nd half of a season or it was based on off-season adjustments.

    How hopeful are you that he can start hitting over .250 this year and get his OBP back over let’s say .340 and if that happens can he overtake Kemp in the top 500? Or do you think he’s going to need the off-season to cement his adjusted approach?

    • July 6, 2015 at 11:56 am — Reply

      I’m not optimistic about Souza’s batting average coming up at all because he strikes out a lot and if you look at some of his batted ball exit velocity data (which I wrote about for Baseball Prospectus about two weeks ago), he has one of the highest in terms of fly balls and line drives, but one of the worst in terms of ground balls (lots of weak contact). That leads me to believe he’s going to consistently post pretty low BABIP’s and numbers in terms of batting average. He kind of is what he is. He’s got a ton of power and taps into it pretty routinely and is extremely streaky. Remember the median average in baseball was .251 last year so its not like Souza is going to destroy you in average. As far as Matt Kemp goes, theres no way I roster him anywhere in any type of league. I’m the low man on him in the entire industry probably.

      There was a great discussion about Tomas on the last edition of TINO (There Is No Offseason) a Baseball Prospectus podcast (free) which a lot of the Top 500 names were discussed. I would recommend that.

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