Dynasty BaseballScouting the Statline

Scout the Statline: Buzzworthy Talent

In dynasty leagues, information asymmetry leads to opportunity. Having the right information before the competition is how you gain an advantage. In this series, we highlight interesting high rising prospects, from the well-known to the lesser-known, based on our Peak Major League Equivalencies projections.  Our approach is based entirely on statistical and trend analysis and we have developed an assortment of tools that can help you make dynasty baseball decisions. To view the Leaderboards that these highlights originate from, many updated on a daily or weekly basis, please visit our website scoutthestatline.com

Before I begin the highlights, I want to share that we have added new content to the Scout the Statline website!

  • Prospect Larceny: Prospect Larceny will be posting his top 100 hitting and top 100 pitching prospects based on his unique formulas. Updated weekly!
  • Prospect Research Tool: This tool allows you to easily sort through minor league levels and data based on custom variables. View changes over custom periods, analyze assorted trend charts, and view season comps! This tool is still a work in progress, but already very useful!

We will continue to strive to make our site the best baseball resource center possible, specifically designed with dynasty baseball players in mind. 

I also want to share that we have officially changed the home address of our content from statlinescouting.com to scoutthestatline.com to better align with our series’ name. This was my first experience making such a change and I didn’t anticipate all the challenges using a new domain for our site would lead to, including forwarding issues from the old domain and the impact on our Google presence. I apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused – please bookmark our new domain for more direct access to our daily and weekly updates!

Now onto the highlights!

Player Highlights

How a player will receive a check for each category:

  • Age/Level – Young relative to his competition for the level he is playing at.
  • Approach – Low strikeout rate, high walk rate, and/or strong BB:K ratio.
  • Popping Data – Something in the data is unusually appealing.
  • Stock 📈 – This metric will evolve as I track past highlights. Is the player’s performance on the rise?
  • Track Record – Demonstrated history of success.

Esteury Ruiz (OF, SDP-AAA)

The buzz surrounding Ruiz lately has been nothing short of palpable. Rightfully so. The Pads 23 year old outfielder has simply been an offensive force this season, slashing an incredible .360/.484/.636 across Double-A and Triple-A this season. In 287 plate appearances, he has already set a new personal single-season high in home runs with 13 so far on the year. Yet those juicy numbers still take a back seat to the most exciting part of Ruiz’s season, which is his video game-like 48 stolen bases in 56 attempts. Those numbers have the makings of a fantasy league-winner if they translate to big league success.

However, the “if” still remains very much in question. 2022 is definitely the outlier in terms of career production, in a pretty large body of overall work dating back to 2016. This included OPS numbers of .739, .657, and .728 in 2021, 2019, and 2018 respectively, and featured concerning strikeout numbers and somewhat worrisome batting averages. In addition, Ruiz’s numbers are buoyed by a very high .424 BABIP. Due to the track record, Ruiz’s ranking on Scout the Statline’s Top Projected Prospect list is a bit suppressed, but still comes in at #17 overall. There is certainly star potential here, but keep a close eye on the “if”.

✅ Popping Data 

✅ Stock 📈 

 

Werner Blakely (3B, LAA-A)

A 4th round pick by the Angels in the 2020 draft, Blakely has stepped things up dramatically in his second season as a professional. In 131 plate appearances on the season so far, the 20 year old Blakely has improved his walk rate by 5% over 2021 (from 17.7% up to 23.7%) while reducing his strikeout rate by a whopping 15% (from 37.1% down to 22.1%), and he has more walks than strikeouts on the season (31 to 29). Those are some pretty dramatic improvements in the skills groups, and makes Blakely someone to keep a close eye on. In addition to his beefy .489 OBP, Blakely sports a .500 SLG, 3 home runs, and 12 stolen bases (in 13 attempts).

✅ Approach

✅ Stock 📈 

 

Jordan Lawlar (SS, ARI-A)

Considered one of the top talents in last year’s draft, it should come as little surprise to see Lawlar’s name appear on any prospect list. However, I’m not spotlighting Lawlar in this piece to spread awareness that he is good, I’m highlighting him here today to emphasize just how good he has been in 2022. Lawlar’s overall slash on the season sits at .362/.474/.603, along with 7 home runs and 18 stolen bases. Lawlar ranks 7th on Scout the Statline’s 2022 Prospect Leaderboard and looks like a top 10 overall prospect at this point.

✅ Age/Level 

✅ Popping Data 

✅ Stock 📈 

 

John Rhodes (OF, BAL-A+)

In my last player highlights article, I dubbed Logan O’Hoppe to be a blast from my watch list’s past. Rhodes follows in O’Hoppe’s footsteps as another player I had been keeping a close watch on, but this time dating back to his college days in his first year as a slugger with Kentucky. Rhodes showed a lot of promise early, but was never really given a full opportunity to showcase his talents as a collegiate, with his follow-up season being cut short by Covid. Rhodes is re-establishing some stature now as a professional, despite a mediocre debut last season. This year, Rhodes’ sports more walks than strikeouts (20:19) and is showcasing a power/speed combination that is always enticing for fantasy owners. Despite cooling off pretty significantly over the last month, Rhodes remains someone to keep an eye on!

✅ Approach  

 

Enmanuel Valdez (2B/3B, HOU-AAA)

Most of Valdez’s sizable body of work as a professional has been mired in mediocrity. Though that began to change rather dramatically last season, as the then 22 year old Valdez began to fill out his frame and made significant growth with his power output. Valdez’s 26 home runs were 18 more than any other season in his previous 4 years and nearly doubled his career total. So far this year, Valdez is begging for you to pay attention, slugging at an even higher rate (.691 in 2022, compared to .534 in 2021). The numbers have only improved since promotion from Double-A to Triple-A, and Valdez has upped his OPS to an absurd 1.143 overall. As with Ruiz, an elevated BABIP suggests that regression may be in store. Nonetheless, there is some serious potential power here, with a developing track record of success, coming at a premium position.

✅ Popping Data 

✅ Stock 📈  

 

Vaun Brown (OF, SFG-A)

As a 5 year college bat, Brown got a bit of a late start to his professional career, debuting last season as a 23 year old at the Rookie level. It quickly became obvious that Brown was too mature for the level, as he posted a 1.100 OPS and stole 8 bases in just under 100 plate appearances. His follow up at the Single-A level has been more of the same, and Brown is slashing .342/.426/.617 overall, with 13 home runs and 23 stolen bases. The numbers are gaudy, but I definitely need to see him challenged at some higher levels before getting too excited.

✅ Popping Data 

 

Elly De La Cruz (SS, CIN-AA)

Last year, De La Cruz made some top 100 prospect waves after strongly handling assignments at the Rookie and Single-A levels as a 19 year old, ranking as high as #70 overall by Baseball Prospectus. This season, De La Cruz is validating those expectations, improving his slash line across the board from 2021 (currently at .304/.355/.595 overall) and show-casing his impressive power/speed potential, with 13 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 234 plate appearances at High-A. He still needs to close the gap between his walk and strikeout rates to reach his maximum potential, but the results have been enticing so far!

✅ Popping Data 

✅ Stock 📈 

 

Tracking Past Highlights:

NameAge/LevelApproachPopping DataStockTrack Record
highlighted 5/5/2022
James Wood
Adael Amador
Ezequiel Tovar
Emmanuel Rodriguez
Anthony Garcia
Kyle Manzardo
Carson Williams
Masyn Winn
Jackson Merrill
Charlie Welch
highlighted 6/2/2022
Gunnar Henderson
Jay Allen
Dru Baker
Edwin Arroyo
Jake McCarthy
Hao Yu Lee
Logan O'Hoppe
Hendry Mendez
Jackson Chourio
Alejandro Osuna
highlighted 6/22/2022
Esteury Ruiz
Werner Blakely
Jordan Lawlar
John Rhodes
Enmanuel Valdez
Vaun Brown
Elly De La Cruz

 


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We are always open to feedback!

The Dynasty Guru: @DynastyGuru

Ross Jensen: @rossjensen12

Jordan Rosenblum: @rosenjordanblum

Scout the Statlinescoutthestatline.com

The Author

Ross Jensen

Ross Jensen

Ross has been a passionate fantasy baseball player and League Manager for over a decade. Ross's approach is to build league powers through hunting down talented minor leaguers and targeting players on the verge of breakout based on a variety of metrics, statistical analysis, and assumptions.

2 Comments

  1. BB
    June 23, 2022 at 2:51 am — Reply

    Just FWIW, Esteury is not a SS – he did play 10 games there in his first season of rookie ball in 2016 but has primarily been a second baseman before the Padres shifted him to the outfield full-time this season.

    • June 26, 2022 at 7:39 pm — Reply

      Ah yes, thank you for pointing that out. I have fixed it.

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