Dynasty BaseballTriple Play

TDG’S Triple Play: Philadelphia Phillies!

The Triple Play is back for a sixth season! This regular feature is broken down by senior writer Phil Barrington and he is joined by a rotating panel of some of the best Dynasty Baseball writers in the business. If you’re new to the Triple Play, this series breaks down an arm, a bat, and a prospect within each organization for your reading pleasure! This week I (@barrington_phil) am joined by The Roto Red (@TheRotoRed) and Ryan Epperson (@ppenayr), follow us on Twitter and send us any questions, feedback, disagreements, what have yous, in the comments.


Bryson Stott, Age: 25, Position: 2B

Analysis by: Ryan Epperson

“We Didn`t Stott the Fire”

After a stott and go beginning to his career thanks to the pandemic, Bryson Stott was somewhat surprisingly called up by the Phillies early last year after only about 700 plate appearances in the minors (listen, it’s a loose estimate, I didn`t actually count them all, sue me.) [Editor`s Note: Please don’t] The numbers weren’t all that great in the minors either, although he showed an advanced ability to put bat-on-ball dependably while also having a good sense of the strike zone with Stott walking almost 15% of the time in the minors (again, don’t quote me on that.) However, he was a plus defender all around the infield, and paired with a good hit tool, what`s the worst that could happen? Well, the results from last year weren`t great, or even good by really any measure as Stott posted a .234/.295/.358 line with 10 home runs and 12 stolen bases after 127 games.

“Can`t Stott”

With the turn of the calendar to a new year, Stott was looking at a secured position in the infield thanks in large part to his defensive play and some numbers behind the scenes that were encouraging. He has finally found his footing at the plate, and the hit tool he was known for coming out of college has stotted to shine through. Those double-digit walk rates from the minor leagues have dried up, but he has replaced them with putting more balls in play. He has increased his line drive rate 4.3% from last year and is spraying hits all over the field, distributing them almost evenly across the field. If you look at his Savant page, it`s…ok, he is ELITE at not whiffing, placing in the 95th percentile while he also doesn`t strike out at all, displaying a 15.2% K rate on the year. One of the biggest differences this year compared to last is his ability to hit a fastball. When Stott arrived last year, he was ineffectual (and that’s being kind) against four-seam fastballs, having a -14-run value on them for 2022. Stotting the season this year, Stott has greatly improved against the four-seam being to where he is now a little better than average against them and decreasing his strike out and whiff rate at the same time.

“Don`t Stott Believin”

We are seeing Stott blossom into a first division second baseman after this year`s performance. He will most likely end up with 17 or 18 home runs and 30ish steals with an elite batting average, firmly cementing him in the top echelon of middle infielders. Going forward I have no worries about Stott`s long-term outlook, he will always have a solid floor of good average and those steals and consistent playing time thanks to his elite defense.


Zack Wheeler, Age: 33, Position: SP

Analysis by: Phil Barrington

Wheelz of Steel

Once upon a time not long ago, Zachary Harrison Wheeler (who I imagine was named after former presidents Zachary Taylor and William Henry Harrison, but I could be, and most likely am, wrong) was drafted as the San Fransisco Giants 1st round pick (6th overall) in the 2009 draft out of a Georgia High School (East Paulding, to be exact). He pitched in the Giants system for two seasons, making it to High-A before being traded to the Mets in late July 2011 for Carlos Beltran. As high school pitchers do take time to make the majors, Wheeler didn’t make his debut until 2013, where he pitched well over 100 innings for the Mets and 185 innings in 2014. His 2015 season didn’t even begin as he had Tommy John surgery in March and missed both the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He returned in 2017, pitching 86 ineffective innings.

Wheelin’ and Dealin’

2018 saw Wheeler shine in a Mets uniform, and that led to a big-time free agent contract with the Phillies ($118 million over five years). He’s been a top line starter since. Through yesterday he’s compiled a 3.04 ERA, 1.051 WHIP, 40 wins (.615 winning percentage) and 61 Quality Starts over 601 innings with 648 strikeouts as a Phillie. Not too shabby. This season has seen Wheeler make 27 starts over 164 innings; he has a 3.62 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. The two stats I like most are Wheeler’s K/9 rate, which is his second season above 10 (10.15 to be exact) and his walk rate is the lowest of his career, 1.65. An odd stat in 2023 is that Wheeler has a higher ERA at home; his other three seasons in Philly he has had a higher away ERA. Wheeler is also a great fantasy playoff pitcher, with a career 2.66 ERA in Sept/Oct.

Grease the Wheels

For Dynasty purposes, Wheeler is a great example as to what to expect out of a high school pitcher. If you drafted him in the 2010 off-season draft, you had to hold him for four seasons until you could use him, and then that was only a season and a half (of slightly above average results, that’s important to note) until he was out for two more seasons. More than likely, you may have traded or cut him after a subpar 2013 in the minors, or after the Tommy John. If you held through it all, we salute you, but rostering Wheeler really didn’t pay off until 2019; that’s a decade almost after he was drafted for Dynasty leagues.

Zack Attack!

Wheeler shouldn’t be treated like an OutKast just because he’s over 30; I know when we see that number we, as Dynasty managers, immediately want to avoid or trade for a guy in his third decade. Though on the Razzball Player rater he is the 11th ranked pitcher, right in between two other thirty something pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer…very interesting. After next season his contract is up, and if he puts up a similar season to this one he will get a big-time deal, as 33-years-old isn’t what it used to be; if a guy can pitch, he can pitch (until the wheels fall off). I’ve been a Steel Wheeler for a while, and what I said before the 2022 season still rings true. This off-season, it’s worth kicking the tires, as maybe he’s on an opponent’s rebuilding team and that manager wants prospects or picks.


Justin Crawford, Age: 19, Position: OF, Level: High A

Analysis by: The Roto Red

JUST INCREDIBLE

Justin Crawford was selected 17th overall in the 2022 draft out of Bishop Gorman High School where he batted an otherworldly .503 with five home runs, 20 stolen bases, and a 19/7 BB/K ratio.  A draftee out of high school, like his father, Carl, who was taken 52nd overall by the Tampa Bay Rays, Crawford was focused on being as “polished as [he could] be” so as to not “rely on just [his] raw athleticism” (Link).  That polish revealed itself immediately upon his assignment to the Florida Complex League where he showed strong plate discipline over 11 games (5/6 BB/K).  His strong showing at rookie ball earned Crawford a promotion to Single A where he then struggled over the last five games of the 2022 season, striking out nearly 40% of the time.

JUST INSANE TOOLS AND STATS

Fangraphs lists Crawford with a future hit tool of 55, future game power of 45, and present and future speed of 70 (see also FanGraphs Scouting Primer).  And in his repeat season at Single A, Crawford has shown that the tools can translate on the field.  He slashed .344/.399/.478 with an incredible 51 runs, 60 RBI, and 40 stolen bases over 69 games (which extrapolates to 119 runs, 140 RBI, and 93 stolen bases over 162 games).  He also cut his strikeout rate by more than half (39.1% to 17.2%) while maintaining a respectable walk rate of 8.1%. Once again, Crawford earned a promotion, this time to High-A on August 15, 2023.  Unlike in 2022, Crawford maintained much of his success upon promotion.  For example, he did not experience a strikeout-rate hike and his Isolated Power is still around .130.  He did experience a dip in his triple slash line, which should be attributed to a BABIP decrease (.413 in Single-A vs .349 in High-A).  In context, while he continues to run a high BABIP, this is somewhat predictable because of Crawford’s speed.  All in all, a 105 wRC+ in High-A is a good performance at a level where Crawford is 3.2 years younger than the average player.

JUST INVEST

Just imagine a player with future grades of 60 hit, 50 power, and 75 speed . . . grades similar to Crawford’s FanGraph’s tools.  Actually, no need to imagine–those are the grades that FanGraphs gave Byron Buxton in 2016.  Am I saying that Crawford is going to be as good as a healthy Buxton?  No, but I am saying that Crawford’s tools pop and if he continues to perform, he could make an impact for dynasty managers quickly.  Note that the Phillies have recently been aggressive with prospects; prior to his injury, Andrew Painter was a potential rotation member during Spring Training and Johan Rojas was promoted straight from Double A.  The time to invest is now before Crawford is plastered on Top 100 lists industry-wide, on his way to leading the league in runs and stolen bases.

The Author

Phil Barrington

Phil Barrington

Fantasy player since 1999, specializing in OPS leagues. Accountant by day, fantasy writer by night. Spreadsheets are life.

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