TDG Roundtable: The Players We’re Rostering The Most
Every week on Fridays, our writers here at The Dynasty Guru will be bringing you some quick hit musings about a particular topic so you, the reader, can get a blast of info from a bunch of different writers with some passionate opinions. This week, our staff gives a little insight into the players we’re rostering the most.
Across the 5 leagues I’m in there are players who show up on an AMoney roster more than others. Starting out with the more highly coveted names and players you build teams around would be Luis Robert (60%) and then Bo Bichette (40%). I’d love to have either one of them in even more leagues but as you can imagine these types of players can be difficult to trade for. Moving onto the next tier of reliable veteran options is my guy Trey Mancini at 80% ownership. For what he’s been through kicking cancer’s ass and coming back to hit dingers for the O’s is amazing. Returning for a solid 2021 season, I think he’s primed to put up some big numbers in 2022.
There are also a couple of vets I’ve taken a chance trading for and giving a roster spot early on with Mitch Keller and Tyler Wade at 40% ownership each. Keller was a top prospect not too long ago and I absolutely bought into the hype video of him hitting 100mph in a bullpen session; immediately pulling a low-risk trade sending a couple of mid-round picks for him. In addition to this, I’m also more bullish on Pirates’ prospects after I read somewhere that they’re embracing changes for the better on player development philosophy. As I write this Tyler Wade is the projected starting shortstop for the Angels. If they decide Correa or Story isn’t worth the money, Wade’s value could jump up with a regular starting job and we know he’ll steal bases. Just a matter if he’ll be able to hit enough…a gamble I’m willing to take where it makes sense.
As for prospect ranks, the one’s that I’m stashing as much as I can are Tyler Soderstrom (60%) and Kevin Alcantara (40%). Soderstrom has the makings of being an elite hitter and I’d even go as far as saying he’ll be the #1 prospect in baseball within the next year or two. As a Yankees fan, I was bummed to see Alcantara get traded away in the deal for them to acquire Anthony Rizzo. He’s got a ton of upside and I’ll be watching him closely in the cubbies system. I’ll have opportunities to add both of these players to my teams in the coming weeks!
This was a fun exercise because the names I have the most of weren’t the players I expected. The best player that is on four of my 13 teams is Pete Alonso. I’ve been a huge fan of his since he was called up and it’s been an absolute blast to watch him thrive. After Pete, Ozzie Albies, Wander Franco, Dansby Swanson, Franmil Reyes, Mitch Garver, and Shane McClanahan are all on three teams. Outside of Garver, these players are 28 years or younger which is great. Having players who are already playing the game at high levels, some who have yet to hit their prime years is a great core to build around. It also makes playing fantasy baseball more fun to play when you roster players that you enjoy watching. Even though I’m a Red Sox fan, I get the feeling I’ll be watching a lot of McClanahan starts.
As far as prospects go, I have two players on five teams – Peyton Burdick and Aaron Zavala. If you’re familiar with my writing here, you were probably expecting to see Vinnie Pasquantino. Unfortunately, I was beaten to him a lot and only have the Italian Breakfast on two teams. However, I think Burdick and Zavala are both being slept on. Burdick has serious power and gets on base and just needs to make some more contact. Kim Ng has said that he is the center fielder of the future for the Marlins and getting that vote of confidence goes a long way with me. Zavala is a future 30 home run hitter.
However, neither of them are the players I roster the most. That would be Hoy Park and Garret Whitlock. I was able to add Whitlock almost everywhere last year after the Rule V Draft and watched him blossom into one of the best relievers out there. Park is an interesting player. He reworked his batting stance and had a power breakout last year. That, along with the elite plate skills and at least average speed, you have a potential 20-20 player at peak. Now that he’s on the Pirates it’s possible he gets steady playing time.
The one player I’ll be targeting this year is Dustin Harris. He checks a lot of boxes for me and is barely inside some top 100 lists. Hopefully, I’ll be back here next year bragging about how many of my teams he’s on!
I wish I could say Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis, Jr, Ronald Acuna, Vladimir Guerrero, and Wander Franco were on all my teams. Obviously those guys are pretty unaffordable in most leagues (though I do have Franco in multiple!), especially the ones you are newer to. I prefer fewer leagues, currently participating in three, as an active league power in one league and rebuilding in the two newer leagues I am in. If I am being honest, there are not a lot of common Major Leaguers across all my teams. So rather than speaking to fantasy (see what I did there?) I’m going to focus on the guys that are more affordable, mostly prospects, that I’ve been loading up on everywhere I can.
I have four catchers that grace multiple rosters to start with: Alejandro Kirk, Keibert Ruiz (who will likely be full-time this year), Francisco Alvarez, and Gabriel Moreno. Kirk was one of the most underrated minor league hitters I can remember in recent years, Keibert Ruiz had a big breakout in 2021 and is someone I highlighted as a player to target last week, and Francisco Alvarez and Gabriel Moreno are enormous potential talents that have been on my radar for years as a couple of the minor leagues’ best hitters. This could be the best crop of young catching talent that we see in a long time and I’m not going to miss out on it.
A couple of other big leaguers that I own in multiple leagues are backup utility type of guys that I believe have some extra upside in them, Luis Arraez and Josh VanMeter. VanMeter had a huge breakout in 2019 at Triple-A and, unlike Ty France, has yet to see it translate to big league success. Luis Arraez has a tremendous bat but limited production in any other way. I still believe that there is something more in these two, who also carry multiple position eligibility and are typically free agent fodder.
Pitchers that I gravitate to on my meager budgets include Drew Rasmussen, Joe Ryan, German Marquez, and I have been fortunate enough to snag Jack Leiter in multiple drafts. I see Ryan and Rasmussen as flying under the radar (both also highlighted last week), but believe there is a big upside in them. Marquez is one of those guys that has always been a consistent producer but has so far failed to reach that next level. Time is running out, but I’m still hopeful. And Leiter, well in my opinion he is the best pitching prospect to come out in quite some time – I have snagged him above the slot in a couple of drafts.
The remaining players that I find rostered across multiple leagues are prospects (other than the catchers already mentioned). They include Anthony Volpe, Jordan Walker, CJ Abrams, Kahlil Watson, Evan Carter, Nick Gonzales, Curtis Mead, and Felix Valerio. If you follow Scouting the Stateline here at TDG, you’re likely familiar with all of these names. The reason for them is because they are tremendous talents that popped up on my radar, most last season, and I am managing a rebuild in two out of my three squads. A special shoutout needs to be thrown out to Nick Yorke, who is the only player I own across all of my teams, as of the morning of writing this! He’s going to be good!
I’m in 14 leagues total across a variety of formats. Most are a dynasty and a few are redrafted. Here are my top 12 players most rostered, in order: Alejandro Kirk, Andrew Heaney, Carlos Carrasco, Gleyber Torres, Isaac Paredes, Jacob deGrom, Chris Paddack, Evan Carter, Lorenzo Cain, Pierce Johnson, Spencer Torkelson, and Yusei Kikuchi. I will say just a few words on each. Kirk is a projection system darling with a phenomenal track record of hitting across the minors and majors. I mostly have avoided him in redraft because of playing time concerns, but I have him almost everywhere in dynasty. Heaney had strong K% and BB% skills last year and looked really good by Cameron Grove’s stuff measures. It was enough for the Dodgers and it’s enough for me. Carlos Carrasco has shown good velocity early this Spring and generally looks healthy after undergoing “minor” elbow surgery this offseason. He’s coming too cheaply after small sample struggles in 2021. Isaac Paredes has never gotten a great chance in the majors, but he has a really good offensive track record in general. I was never comfortable with how quickly the consensus soured on Gleyber, especially given he has continued to post strong K% and BB% despite his recent power outage. deGrom is incredible and I think his health risk, while substantial, is overstated. Paddack is a good buy-low with a track record of strong peripherals, health permitting. Evan Carter showed one of the best blends of patience, contact, speed, and power in his professional debut in 2021. Lorenzo Cain has a decent bat and offers cheap speed. Pierce Johnson is very talented and a fine closer flier. Spencer Torkelson has mashed at every level and his scouting reports are legendary. Yusei Kikuchi is more solid than spectacular, but his cost remains very affordable, though the Blue Jays signing may change that.
I have successfully scaled back my leagues to a manageable size and I have found that I definitely have some carryover between teams. Let’s get the easy ones out of the way.
Ketel Marte – Back to playing 2nd base full time should ease some of the damage to his body and hopefully keep him healthy through a full season. If Ketel plays 150 games this season he will put up MVP caliber numbers, though they won’t give him the award. His aggressiveness returned last season and with it, production. There are few players who hit the ball harder than Ketel.
Nick Madrigal – If you know, you know.
Now for the prospects, I find myself targeting this year…
Drey Jameson – ARZ – SP – Jameson had an absolutely brilliant season last year after tweaking his violent delivery somewhat. The book on him before the tweaks preached caution and reliever risk on account of the delivery and command concerns. But, he just had a 2021 season where he struck out 145 batters in just 110 innings between High A and AA. The fastball can reach triple digits and the secondaries miss a lot of bats. Jameson could be one of those whacky players who is actually durable despite his mechanics. He still walks a few too many batters (2.9 per 9 last season) and gives up a few too many dingers, but the stuff is bananas. Get him before the word is out, Jameson will see the majors this season.
Endy Rodriguez – PIT – C/OF – Endy is a recent addition to the Pirate catcher ranks, but so far his production has been splendid. He won the batting title in his league last year and showed gains in contact rate, power, and plate discipline. Hard to say right now if he will end up a catcher, but he is one of the more complete hitters in the minors right now. Few players can excel in AVG, OBP, and SLG all at once. Rodriguez has the chance to be special and I expect him to shoot up rankings lists this season with a successful turn at High A and potentially AA.