Weekly Dynasty Roundup
Welcome to the inaugural weekly roundup, a quick-hit summary of the past week in dynasty fantasy baseball. I hope you enjoy and if there is any news worth mentioning that I did not cover, please put it in the comments!
Robbie Grossman Expected to be the Rangers Primary Left Fielder
It wasn’t too long ago that Grossman was underrated, putting up a 23 HR/20 SB season in Detroit in 2021. Last year was a bad year and Grossman was traded to the Braves. He now lands in the friendly confines of Arlington, Texas where he has a chance to make dynasty managers forget about 2022. Those looking to take an early-season flier could do worse. Bubba Thompson is the player hurt the most, as he was an intriguing speed guy going into this year. Thompson may start the year patrolling CF for the Rangers, but will likely be the fourth outfielder once Leody Taveras is healthy (and that is looking like it will be in the first series of the season).
Orlando Arcia Named Braves Starting Shortstop; Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake Optioned
Grissom was a popular pick to start the year as the Braves shortstop and those who spent capital must be let down. With so much focus on Grissom’s defense and his much-discussed work with Ron Washington, it must be that Grissom in fact needs extra time in the minors. With his bat, the Braves will find a spot for Grissom soon and he will be up for the long term. Braden Shewmake has not hit since 2019, so he is not on the dynasty radar. Arcia may provide sneaky value in NL-only leagues. He was a tick above average with the bat last year (104 wRC+) and is still only 28 years old.
Hyun-Jin Ryu Throwing off Flat Ground
Ryu may be a bit of an afterthought for dynasty managers while he recovers from Tommy John surgery. After signing a 4-year, $80 million contract, Ryu’s first season in Toronto (pandemic season) was stellar. 2021 was not great, as he struck out only 143 batters in 169.0 IP, while sporting a 4.37 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Ryu injured himself early in 2022 and is planning on returning in July of this year. Managers that have excess IL slots may want to take a flier on Ryu with the hopes that he returns strong and then has a couple of productive years after that.
Carson Kelly Fractures his Forearm
Carson Kelly was hit by a pitch and fractured his forearm. Luckily for the Diamondbacks, they traded for Gabriel Moreno over the offseason. Moreno managers can now expect him to take fulltime at-bats with the hope that his plus bat immediately translates to the MLB level (he had a 113 wRC+ over 73 PA in 2022). While Moreno does not offer huge power potential, he should be an boon in batting average leagues and expect the Diamondbacks to be aggressive on the basepaths leading to RBI opportunities. Additionally, the top prospect stole seven bases in 2022 and may see an uptick in that department with the new MLB rules. It should be Moreno season in Arizona for years to come.
Jurickson Profar Signs with the Rockies
The Rockies have experienced major injuries going into 2023 (Brendan Rodgers, Randal Grichuk) and have turned to Profar for help. Profar was an above-average bat in San Diego last year and can expect a Coors-related boost to his home production. In daily leagues, Profar should be a good streamer while at home—plus he is a switch hitter so there are no obvious platoon issues. This is a one-year deal, so owners should not necessarily expect Profar to re-sign in Colorado, but who knows. This signing allows Zac Veen to continue his development with the hope that he challenges for a roster spot come 2024. Veen had an impressive spring, but he hit just .177 in Double A in 2022.
Bryce Harper Not Going on 60 Day IL
Dynasty managers have prepared for an abbreviated 2023, but this is good news in the long-term. It appears that there are no complications in Harper’s rehab. In the long term, I am not lowering Harper’s value and still consider him a first-rounder in startup drafts.
Daniel Hudson to Start the Year on the IL
The Dodgers bullpen has a number of saves candidates, with a healthy Hudson toward the top. With him starting on the IL, dynasty managers can expect Brusdar Graterol and Evan Phillips to pick up most of the saves. However, if the Dodgers choose to employ Phillips in the “fireman” role, Hudson will likely take a material share of the saves upon his return.
Juan Soto has an MRI
The current King of the BB has a minor strain of his oblique. Soto was great in 2022 prior to his trade to the Padres (152 wRC+) and dynasty managers are hoping for a big second year in San Diego. This strain is just a reminder that Soto often deals with minor injuries (calf) and that they should expect the Padres to give him rest over the year in preparation of a long postseason run. This offseason, Soto’s value has taken a small hit in redraft leagues (he was a clear First Rounder going into 2022) and the risk of minor injury seems baked into his price.
John Means Throwing Bullpen Sessions
Means was a solid starter for the Orioles from 2019 until he got hurt and for most of that time, Camden Yards was a hitter-friendly park. When he returns in 2023, he will return to a park that now suppresses offense. He will also return to a much-improved lineup where he can hope for an uptick in wins. With that being said, expectations should be tempered in his first season back from Tommy John. Now is a good time to acquire Means with a look toward 2024 and beyond.
Anthony Santander Taking Reps at First Base
Positional flexibility is always a good thing, so dynasty managers should encourage this. Further, prior to starting 152 games in 2022, Santander’s high in games played was 110 in 2021. Having him play first base may provide a better defensive spot for health purposes. Santander’s 2022 placed him firmly as an OF2 for the foreseeable future as he hits in the middle of an up-start Orioles lineup.
Byron Buxton to DH Early in the Season
Managers should be thrilled that the Twins are going to DH Buxton early in the season. In fact, you should hope that the Twins let him start just enough to retain eligibility in the outfield. Buxton has as high a ceiling as any non-Ohtani player in the league. He seemed to be falling in drafts this offseason, so it may be a good time to buy where the Twins have made overt moves to keep Buxton healthy (i.e., bringing in Michael Taylor to patrol CF at an elite level).
Mets Option Francisco Álvarez
The Mets have decided to have Álvarez make regular starts at Triple A to start the year. If he excels at Triple A, the catching prospect with a huge bat should be back in New York and helping the Mets pursue a World Series. Álvarez’s dynasty value is already sky-high, so this would only affect those that anticipated Álvarez starting at the major league level in 2023.
José Altuve to Miss Two Months after Thumb Surgery
Altuve had his best offensive year in 2022, hitting 28 homers and stealing 18 bags. He had the best walk rate of his career over 604 plate appearances. Even though he should be back in June, without a full offseason to heal, there is a chance that there are lingering issues with the injured thumb. One only needs to look at José Ramírez’s second half to see what a lingering thumb injury can do to numbers (1.039 OPS pre-injury, .766 OPS post-injury). Not that I would recommend it, but I can see a risk-averse dynasty manager in a win-now window moving Altuve for another win-now player. As for Altuve’s replacement, it appears that one of Mauricio Dubón, David Hensley, or Ryan Bannon will take over until he is back. Outside of AL-only, I would not look to any of those players.
Alex Kirilloff to Start the Season on the Injured List
Kirilloff’s wrist issues will not go away. After hitting consistently in the minors, dynasty managers have been waiting for a healthy Kirilloff and it just has not happened. Managers will have to wait a little longer and the concern is that the wrist issues will hamper his career moving forward. At this point, dynasty managers should actively pursue a Kirilloff contingency plan if they haven’t already. On a positive note, it has been suggested that Trevor Larnach will make the Twins roster now. Hardly a model of health himself (63 games played in 2022), Larnach hit at an average clip over 180 PAs with the Twins in 2022 (102 wRC+). It seems like forever ago, but Larnach was a bat-first top prospect after a great 2019 and is only 26 years old. This may be the last buy-low opportunity.
Jorge Polanco to Start the Season on the Injured List
Polanco will start the season on the injured list due to his long-standing knee issues. Dynasty managers who hoped for a healthy Polanco in 2023 have to be concerned, as this knee injury caused Polanco to miss significant time in 2022 (104 games played in 2022) and sapped much of his power. The good news is that it was reported that he should play in a game on Tuesday, so managers can hope for a short stay. If Polanco’s injury is short-term, we can expect the Twins to mix and match with their current major league roster to cover 2B. If the injury is worse than anticipated, then Edouard Julien is waiting in the wings. Julien hit 17 home runs in 113 games in 2022 and was dynamite in the fall league, hitting another five home runs in 21 games.
Ranger Suárez Likely to Begin the Year on the Injured List; Matt Strahm Suggested as Replacement
After a slow start to 2022, Ranger Suárez was reliable for dynasty managers during the regular season and reached a new level in the postseason for the Phillies. Dynasty managers should be concerned because Suárez experienced forearm tightness and an MRI showed elbow inflammation, both precursors to future arm issues. In the meantime, dynasty managers in 20+ leagues and NL-only may want to take a chance on Strahm to eat some innings. He is unlikely to pitch too many wins, but could provide some good strikeout value as he had 52 Ks in 44.2 IP.
Adam Wainwright to Start the Year on the Injured List
Seeing how this is likely Wainwright’s last year, there is no long-term slant. However, those managers who are hoping for a repeat of 2021 (17 wins, 3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) will have to wait as he recovers from the strained groin.
Raisel Iglesias to Begin the Year on the Injured List
This is troubling news for Iglesias managers, as shoulder injuries are not to be taken lightly. At this juncture, there is not much dynasty managers can do but hope for a quick recovery without setbacks. It is expected that AJ Minter will get the lion’s share of saves during Iglesias’s absence.
James Outman Assured Roster Spot with Dodgers
Outman hit 32 total home runs in 2022 across three levels. This season, managers in daily leagues can start Outman against righties with confidence. With an uncertain Dodgers outfield, Outman can increase his role. If Outman produces close to his power output from 2022, he will provide great value to those who expected Outman to start the year in the minors. Further, with the Dodgers rostering Jason Heyward and Trayce Thompson, Outman’s future with the Dodgers seems bright, as long as he produces while on the field. Outman is a strong buy at the moment for those looking for an injection of youth, but not willing to pay the price for a top prospect (i.e., James Wood, Jackson Chourio).
Rhys Hoskins Tears ACL and Expected to be Out for the Season; Darick Hall Favorite for First Base
This is a big blow for managers who expected Hoskins to hold down first base for the 2023 season. In the long run, this should not materially affect Hoskins’s value (TDG has him ranked #8), and in fact, may lead to a buying opportunity for managers who are building for 2024 and beyond. At the same time, Darick Hall had a .272 ISO in 2022, putting up nine home runs in 142 PA. While can be expected that Hall’s power will regress closer to a .200 ISO, dynasty managers can also hope that his walk and strikeout rate will regress to his norms (~10% BB/~25% K) or he will likely be exposed over a larger sample size. Plus, for a team with World Series aspirations, they are unlikely to keep running out a struggling first baseman if Hall does not produce. In other words, take a chance with Hall and if he is not producing, move on quickly.
Ryan Pepiot Named Dodgers Fifth Starter
This appears to be Pepiot’s chance to impress in the rotation before the next wave of big arms come up for the Dodgers (Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone). Pepiot has been a top prospect, but has struggled with command to this point. In the long-term, the Dodgers rotation is far from set, so a strong showing from Pepiot should provide dynasty managers hope that Pepiot has a spot with the post-Kershaw Dodgers.
Michael Lorenzon to Start the Year on Injured List; Joey Wentz Expected to Take his Place in Tigers Rotation
For deep dynasty managers, they were hopeful that Lorenzen would provide streaming value against weaker opponents and in the friendly confines of Comerica Park (he still can upon his return, but he often deals with nagging health issues). His replacement, Joey Wentz, impressed in his short time in the majors last year (3.03 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 32.2 IP) and then went on to dominate the Arizona Fall League (0.00 ERA and 0.50 WHIP with 14 Ks in 12.0 IP). Managers in 15+ leagues and AL-only should take a flier on Wentz if he is available; he may take the job and run with it.
Miles Mikolas Signs a Two-Year Extension
Dynasty Managers can rejoice in Mikolas staying in St. Louis where he will have ample opportunity to net wins for a team expected to run out one of the deepest lineups in baseball. Last year Mikolas racked up 12 wins and 22 quality starts and there is no reason to expect a drop off at this point.
Luis Severino Suffers Lat Strain
Dynasty managers have come to expect IL stints from Severino since he became a full-time starter. At this point, all a manager can do is hope for a short stint and a return to high-level production. Dynasty managers who are tired of having to micro-manager Severino can look for a buyer, but it will likely come at a high discount and not reflective of his production when healthy.
Anthony Volpe, Jordan Walker, and Oscar Colas Make Their Respective MLB Teams
These are prospects that are expected to be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. While Colas is not considered at the same level as Volpe and Walker, he is no slouch. Dynasty managers should likely start all three with confidence, as they each bring strong ceilings. This is exciting for the game of baseball and exciting for dynasty managers!
Triston McKenzie Leaves Start with Right Arm Tightness
While the Guardians claim this was precautionary, dynasty managers are holding their breath. McKenzie made huge strides last year, really unleashing his curveball on opposing batters. When someone mentions McKenzie’s ceiling, it is often paired with durability concerns. Arm tightness right before the season is not going to help quell those concerns. Dynasty managers may remember that McKenzie was brought along slowly last year; this arm tightness may lead to something similar this season.
Wander Franco has MRI and Results were Favorable
This seems like a precautionary MRI and the results are good. Note that this is the same quad as last year, so there is a little concern here. Not much dynasty managers can do; this is the type of players that you hold and wait for him to shine.
Yuli Gurriel Makes the Marlins
Gurriel was a late addition to the Marlins and he has made the team. In deeper leagues, Gurriel could a batting average asset (he won the batting title in 2021). It remains to be seen how much Gurriel plays, but Garrett Cooper is not a portrait of health (career high 119 games in 2022). Watch list guy for me for now.
Kyle Wright to Start the Season in the IL; Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd Both in Rotation
The NL Wins Leader is starting on the IL and one of the more intriguing Spring Training battles has ended in a tie. After being a first-round pick, Shuster was probably accounted for in most leagues. In 2022, after pitching well at Double A, he had a bit of trouble once he reached Triple A. Dodd is more likely to be available. Dodd had a good 2022, pitching at three levels and striking out more than a batter per inning at each stop. Note Dodd was better than Shuster at Triple A and is an intriguing arm who has a chance to carve out a role for 2023 and beyond.
Michael Brantley Expected to be on IL Longer than the Minimum
While Brantley is on the older end of the spectrum, he is a rock-solid OF3. And now he will be out for a bit at the beginning of this season, which is troubling considering he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He is pegged to bat second in the Astros lineup, so managers should hold on if they can, as he should can plus production in batting average and runs upon his return.
Mets Option Brett Baty
Dynasty managers may be a bit surprised that Baty was demoted because he had a good Spring. This is likely to be short-lived and dynasty managersrs should prepare for a permanent call-up at some point this season. Once he has an opportunity, Baty is expected to bring a big bat to New York. Considering he was just demoted, this could be the last chance to acquire Baty before he establishes himself as a regular 3B at the MLB level.