Dynasty Baseball

Voyages Of The Deep

Voyages of the Deep

It’s a cool night in April and you have a baseball glove on one of your hands, a funnel cake in your lap, and you hear the two words you have been longing to hear since winter began: “Play Ball!” And nothing could be better at that moment in time. Well, at least this could be your state of mind if you had set up the perfect fantasy baseball team through the draft and subsequent trades. We all long for a powerhouse team, which is almost entirely on autopilot, one that allows for some relaxation and enjoyment in our lives outside of constant number crunching and adjustments. Here at The Dynasty Guru, we are launching a new series that will help you dive deep into the fantasy baseball world and hopefully give you a leg up on your competition.  

“Voyages of the Deep,” is a series that will focus on player breakdowns, prospect spotlights, deep dynasty league strategies, and rankings. The content will be centralized towards deep leagues (24 and 30-team leagues) with large roster sizes, but will be useful and beneficial for any team or dynasty league out there. This series is the brainchild of myself (Brian Labude, @Polar_Bear_Ball) and my brother (Daniel Labude, @OrcaBaseball). We have years of experience playing in and running very deep 30-team leagues, both true dynasty and salary cap leagues. This series will begin with The Abyss, a 15-part segment that will spotlight 2 deeper prospects from each MLB team. These prospects will have a good chance to increase their value during the 2023 season and beyond by either jumping into prospect rankings or seeing a substantial boost in their current ranking.  

The Abyss Part 1: Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves

Arizona Diamondbacks: Wilderd Patiño, OF, 6′-1″ and 175 lbs; 4% Rostered on Fantrax (Daniel Labude)

The Treasure Lost at Sea

Somewhere deep in the Abyss, lost in the void of darkness there is a prospect that has so much potential we keep hoping and waiting for it to be found. 

Wilderd Patiño is a dynamic and enigmatic prospect wrapped up in a 6’1″, 175 lbs frame. He was signed back in 2017 by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. In 2018, he had a solid debut in the DSL as a 16-year-old, appearing in 34 games, hitting .261, walking 11.6% of the time and striking out at a 17.4% rate. Coming stateside in 2019, he struggled with plate discipline resulting in a walk rate of 7.9% and a strikeout rate of 27.9%. His hit tool and speed were on display though as he hit .319 with a .825 OPS and 14 stolen bases in 40 games.

Stormy Tides

With no minor league season in 2020, Patiño entered 2021 with mounting potential. Unfortunately, he was slowed by injury and played in just 38 games between Rookie and Low-A ball. In that small sample, he battled his way through the season, hitting .210, with a strikeout rate over 35% and a walk rate at 3%. Power was still a work in progress with just two home runs.

X Marks the Spot

2022 was a mini breakout for Patiño with his healthiest year to date, resulting in 94 games played. His plus speed started translating in-game, swiping 67 stolen bases on the year. His strikeout rate in Low-A ball dropped to 24.9% and the power started showing with 8 home runs. The plate discipline didn’t continue into High-A ball, however, with a ballooning strikeout rate of 31.3%. Still, 2022 showed he can be a monster on the bases, hitting for average (.290), all while developing power on a frame that has room to grow.

Gold Glistening in the Light

2023 is setting up as a defining year in terms of his prospect value and the type of hitting profile he will have in the future. Currently positioned outside the top 300 in most prospect lists, Patiño is at a unique crossroads that could potentially see his value blossom into the top 200 and even higher, with a chance to reach the top 100 by the end of the year. After a rocky beginning to his minor league career, he needs to improve upon his plate discipline, specifically getting his strikeout rate under 30% and maintaining it throughout the season. Putting more balls in play will let his amazing speed wreak havoc on the basepaths. The real conundrum is whether he taps into his power more and achieves a true breakout season, or remains a contact-over-power type profile. 

I believe Patiño has the swing speed, raw power, and plus speed to produce a 20 home run and 50 stolen base season, but he has to get the ball in the air more. He had a ground ball rate of 56% in 2022, which is not where it needs to be unless he remains a super speed, high ground ball rate, high BABIP type of hitter who resembles Billy Hamilton more than Luis Robert.

The Abyss Goes On and On My Friends 

Back in High-A ball to begin 2023, Patiño has seen a lot of similar production compared to last season. In nine games (as of 4/18), and battling cold weather, he has hit .273, has a ground ball rate of 80%, with zero home runs, while striking out 31% of the time. This small sample of games does come with a shining light though, as he has walked 21.4% of the time to go along with eight stolen bases and an OBP of .429. Some interesting early numbers, which could see warmer weather break him out of the Abyss.


Arizona Diamondbacks: Ryan Bliss, 2B, 5′-6″ and 165 lbs; 2% Rostered on Fantrax (Brian Labude)

Calm Sailing Ahead

Ryan Bliss was drafted by Arizona out of Auburn during the 2nd round of the 2021 Major League Draft. He excelled in his junior season as he hit .365 with 15 home runs, but didn’t show much on the basepaths as he only had six stolen bases. The power came as a surprise as he only had five home runs in his previous two seasons combined, but he also maintained a good strikeout rate throughout, never rising above 16% all while showing an ability to take walks as his walk rate was never below 9.5%. The key for Bliss and Arizona is the transition from college ball to pro ball and whether or not the power and bat skills can still be there when facing tougher competition.  

Fighting the Currents

After being drafted, Bliss would play at both the Rookie and Low-A levels of the minor leagues in 2021. Between the two levels, he kept the power going with six home runs in 39 games while maintaining his walk and strikeout rates from his college days. What then came as a pleasant surprise to Arizona was the jump in stolen bases, as he stole 13 bases in those 39 games. However, despite the positives from his cup of coffee with pro ball, he also saw a drop in his batting average, most likely from the adjustment period to facing pro pitchers versus college pitchers.  

Davy Jones’ Locker is Near

In my opinion, the first full season of professional ball is key to most prospects in regard to their dynasty value and confirmation bias of scouting reports and rankings. Unfortunately for Bliss, this is where he nose-dived as the season wore on. He ended the 2021 season with a very poor performance with the bat, as he hit .214. The low batting average was driven by a large jump in his strikeout rate (24.4%), with a .120 ISO and a very low wRC+ of 82. The power diminished as well with the tougher competition, as he only managed 10 home runs in 110 games. What Bliss did excel in was his gap power and willingness to run, as he tallied 32 extra-base hits and 31 stolen bases on the season. 

Sunrise Over the Glassy Sea

2023 provides Bliss a prime opportunity to bounce back and improve his dynasty value, maybe even jump into some of the top prospect lists. In order for him to thrive, he will have to tap back into his college days and work counts better and then use his bat control to make better contact. Despite his size, he can make some loud contact with the bat, which is something that can separate him from comparably sized players like Nick Madrigal. He also possesses some quick hands, which can help with his bat control. It will be important for him to stay within himself while avoiding selling out for power and just focus on making loud, solid contact. If he can do that along with keeping his walk and strikeout rates at similar levels to his college days, he could have a big 2023 season and even break into the top 300.

Fish On 

Early returns for Bliss in 2023 have been very positive. Through 10 games (as of 4/19) the line drive % has increased from 18.1% in the down 2022 season to 35% so far and has led to impressive small sample numbers. He sports a slash line of .438/.438/.646 with an OPS of 1.083 and a wRC+ of 183. Look for the dog days of summer to surrender to him as he makes his way to Triple-A on the merits of a .300 or better batting average molded by his sustained success with the line drive % and hard-hit rates.  


Atlanta Braves: Cole Phillips, SP, 6′-3″ and 200 lbs; 4% Rostered on Fantrax (Daniel Labude)

Turbulent Tides 

The Atlanta Braves selected Cole Phillips 57th overall in the 2022 MLB draft. Phillips fell to 57th predominantly due to having Tommy John surgery. This ultimately allowed Phillips to drop from possibly the top half of the 1st round to the middle of the 2nd round. 

Rising from the Dark Abyss

Phillips is everything you should be looking for when scouring the Abyss for prospects that could rise quickly and have top of the rotation aspirations. He is 6’3″ and 200 lbs with a frame already looking like that of an MLB starting pitcher at just 19 years old. What could have pushed him to be a top prospect already is his pitch arsenal. He throws a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and touches over 100 mph. He pairs the fastball with a hard slider and a changeup. Of the two offspeed pitches, the changeup looks to need the most improvement and could be the difference in how quickly he moves through the minors.

Schrodinger’s Shark 

Phillips will be out most of 2023 and possibly all of 2023 if Atlanta is conservative in how quickly they get him back up to speed. Currently sidelined due to the injury, he is positioned outside the top 400 on most prospect rankings, if even ranked at all. This offers a very unique target opportunity for a prospect that should have a drastically better prospect value when healthy. Everything leading up to this past MLB draft was set up for Phillips to be the next top pitching prospect. With his frame still leaving room for added projection and velocity, coming back healthy could see him pitching consistently in the upper 90s and possibly higher. If his offspeed pitches progress as well, he could be a top-100 prospect and a future top-of-the-rotation arm for the Atlanta Braves.


Atlanta Braves: Didier Fuentes, SP, 6′-0″ and 170 lbs; <1% Rostered on Fantrax (Brian Labude)

Weigh Anchor

In January of 2022, Didier Fuentes signed with the Atlanta Braves out of Tolu, Columbia. He got his first taste of professional ball in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) as a 17-year-old and did not disappoint. He overpowered hitters in the DSL with a Mid-90s fastball and a breaking ball that he showed a good feel for, and in 44 innings, had a 10.23 K/9 to go along with a 2.05 BB/9. What he also did very well was throw strikes, as 81.6% of his pitches were in the zone. Given his age, Fuentes showed great command and the ability to get pitches close enough to the strike zone to induce swings. He ended the season with an ERA of 2.25 and a FIP of 2.95. DSL numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt, but on the surface, he put together a great first season and showed a lot of promise.  

Swimming with the Sharks 

Atlanta decided to take an aggressive approach with the 2023 season as Fuentes was assigned to Low-A ball instead of the usual Rookie Ball assignment for players making their stateside debut.. At just 17 years old, he will be one of the youngest players to play full-season ball in 2023. While that distinction is an accomplishment in its own right, to do it as a starting pitcher is even more impressive. Atlanta appears to really believe in Fuentes’ stuff and command. For him to get fully on prospectors’ radar, he will have to continue to show that he can command his pitches and keep the walks down while also having his stuff play up to the competition without any diminishing returns. Look for him to be more of a two-pitch pitcher in the early going; however, it will be important to his prospect stock and to his development if an average or above-average third pitch starts to emerge in his pitch arsenal.  

No Cage, No Problem 

To start the 2023 season, Fuentes has had the ups and downs one would expect to see when a 17-year-old faces batters in full-season ball. He has appeared in two games, going 5.2 innings and facing 23 batters, of those 23 he has struck out seven, walked four, and given up four hits. Given his age, the good will outweigh the bad for the foreseeable future as long as he can keep showing an improvement with his command and the ability to throw deeper in games as the season moves along. 

Fuentes is the quintessential prospect to stash now in deep/very deep dynasty leagues. He is someone that will have a long time to develop in the minors but also has a ceiling higher than most pitchers currently trudging through systems now.    

The Author

Brian Labude

Brian Labude

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