Dynasty Divorces: Mackenzie Gore, Khalil Lee, Cavan Biggio, and Garrett Richards
Dynasty Divorces is back! As always, we’re here to highlight two minor leaguers and two major leaguers to help you make the best decisions for your dynasty teams. This time around, Brett Cook (@beautyofgrace32) handles the hitters and Taylor Case (@TCasesLoaded) handles the pitchers, each giving their verdict on some players who have seen recent rankings shifts in the industry.
We are going to do our best to get back into the podcast swing of things in the next few weeks as well, ideally with some additional names for you to ponder. Thanks as always for reading!
MacKenzie Gore, SP, San Diego Padres
Analysis by: Taylor Case
MacKenzie Gore’s first foray into triple-A action has been largely disappointing, especially for title-hungry Padres fans like myself, eager to see him on the Major League bump. However, despite his 5.30 ERA and career-worst 8.2 K-BB%, I’ve seen little reason to shift him dramatically down my rankings.
I won’t bandy words with you, oh dedicated TDG reader: on the whole, Gore has looked shaky in the few outings I’ve seen from him this year. Particularly in his first outing against Tacoma, he seemed as likely to spike a pitch a foot in front of the plate as he was to paint a corner. The next few outings didn’t look much better on paper, as he struggled to throw strikes (57% strike percentage) and walked five batters against the Skeeters before an (unfortunate, but perhaps much-needed) skipped start due to a blister.
So, what are fantasy managers to do now? Well, first, I’d recommend taking a massive chill pill. Walks have been an issue for Gore in 2021 so far, but control & command have long been strong suits for him (just check out his scouting report on Prospects Live. Do the recent walks suck? Yes. Are they cause for lasting concern. I don’t think so. One could even imagine that this blister was bugging him in his earlier starts – although I admit that that is purely speculation. Who knows? I personally think it’s more likely that he is just adjusting to live professional games after essentially a two-year hiatus.
VERDICT: GIMME MORE MACKENZIE GORE
Gore hasn’t seen an extreme shift down my rankings, but I admit that he’ll be on notice if his control does not continue to improve. Even so, we’ve seen too much goodness from him over his minor league journey, and he’s exhibited strong tools for too long to be so influenced by 18.2 rough innings at a new level. Hold him where you can, and don’t trade low!
Khalil Lee, OF, New York Mets
Analysis by: Brett Cook
I am excited to write about Khalil Lee. I have been on the Khalil Lee hype train for over three years. Lee has had a lot of success on the base paths with 20 stolen bases at Single-A in 2017, and after his 2018 season was derailed by injuries Lee picked up right where he left off in 2017 by adding 53 more stolen bases at Double-A in 2019.
Overall, Lee just oozes athleticism. He has a great glove and is an above average fielder. His power is average and his hit tool is graded at 45, just below average.
This is where people start to worry (insert “thanks, Captain Obvious” joke). We all know there is worry when a player is graded at 45 on their hit tool. I was reading up on why there is so much fear with Lee and his ability to hit. He hit the ball on the ground almost 60 percent of the time in 2019. In all his minor league career he has struck out 30 percent of the time.
This is probably why KC dealt Lee in their three team deal. Worries about high strikeout rates and Lee not being able to put the ball in the air more consistently. The question is will Lee be able to make this adjustment in New York?
His 13 strikeouts in 18 at-bats in New York earlier this season might make you run away from Lee. His small sample size at Triple-A (58 at-bats) might be what piqued your interest in viewing this article today as Lee is playing very well for Syracuse. Lee is currently hitting .276 with an impressive .462 OBP. His current walk to strikeout ratio is 16/19. So what do you do?
VERDICT: METS OVER ROYALS
Be like the Mets. Don’t move Lee like the Royals did. It is my opinion that Lee has experienced some growing pains. This is what we witnessed in his thirteen strikeouts in New York. This is Lee’s first taste of Triple-A and he has done very well. Stay invested in Lee.
Garrett Richards, SP, Boston Red Sox
Analysis by: Taylor Case
I honestly dove into this portion of the article thinking Garrett Richards was an automatic “Divorce.” But after looking through his stats and watching some video, I’m merely…a little distanced. But hey, that’s normal now!
I still don’t think Richards’ fantasy performance warrants his 68% rostership on Fantrax, mostly due to his 19.7% strikeout rate (7.81 K/9) and 11.0 BB% (4.35 BB/9). There really isn’t much ceiling there. That being said, he is limiting homers again, and his FIP is sitting at a cool 3.84, a comfortable quarter of a run below his 4.09 ERA.
There’s room for improvement as well! His arsenal has been much more fastball-heavy this season, per Baseball Savant. And while that is not a bad thing in and of itself, it’s meant less sliders and curveballs, two pitches that have historically generated significantly more whiffs for Richards. Of course, there’s more nuance than just throw more breaking stuff, and but I’ll be keeping an eye on him the rest of the season to see if he’s able to make a change.
I was excited for the mustachioed veteran to be in Boston this season, thinking perhaps a new home would spark alive some of the fantasy ace-ness of old. That was obviously wishful thinking, and at this point he’s fallen out of my Top-500 Dynasty OBP rankings. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a useful “way at the back-end of roster” fantasy player, if only to add some (hopefully) league-average innings. The best advice I can give: proceed with caution, and hope he starts throwing more secondary pitches and keeping the ball out of the zone.
Writer’s Note: It sounds like Richards indeed will need to make some changes due to MLB’s imminent crackdown on doctored baseballs. I’m hopeful that he can find new avenues to success, but this news hurts.
Cavan Biggio, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays
Analysis by: Brett Cook
A friend of mine asked me what to do with Biggio about a month ago. This prompted me to highlight Biggio because I know that his concerns are more than likely your concerns if Biggio is on your team.
Biggio is three years into being a big-league regular for the Blue Jays. He has shown some pop in his bat. In a full season of production Biggio will be a 20 home run hitter. He also has a great ability to draw walks with a career 15.5% walk rate, which helps his OBP look a little more appealing when you look at his career .237 average.
Biggio is also striking out over 29% of the time this year, which is his career-worst. His isolated power is at a career worst. His AVG, OBP, and SLG are also his worst to date.
His whiff percentage is in the bottom 34th percent of the league, so his swing and miss rate is worst than 66 percent of MLB hitters. His hard hit percentage is in the bottom 15 percent of the league. His barrel percentage is among the bottom 28 percent of hitters. Additionally, Biggio ranks the best in chase rate where he is among the top 13 percent of hitters, so he isn’t chasing a ton of pitches out of the strike zone when he does strike out. Lastly, his BB% is among the top 14 percent in league production. What all of this tells us is that Biggio produces best when he doesn’t swing the bat. This probably sounds like the rudest thing to say about someone who plays baseball for a living, but for people who have Biggio it needs to be said. Many websites have Biggio in their top 150. His stock is going to continue to drop if his average continues to drop and all you get is walks with a low average and a little pop.
VERDICT: CAVAN ISN’T CRAIG
I didn’t even need to say it. Cavan isn’t the player his dad was. Sometimes the son is better, like Ken Griffey Jr., and sometimes the dad is better… like with Craig Biggio. If I had Cavan in a deep league I would move him quickly.