Dynasty BaseballTriple Play

TDG’S Triple Play: Boston Red Sox!

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 Greg Hoogkamp (@GregHoogkamp), Colin Coulahan (@cjc07), and Chris Knock (@notnotcknock), follow us on Twitter (I will never call it…) and send us any questions, feedback, disagreements, what have yous, in the comments.


Masataka Yoshida, Age: 30, Position: OF

Analysis by: Chris Knock

This past off-season, the Boston Red Sox signed Masataka Yoshida after he was posted by NPB’s Orix Buffaloes. Entering his age-30 season, the BoSox figured Yoshida’s bat would help solidify their offense which had some known holes entering the season. Let’s take a look back at his rookie year in the MLB and gaze into the crystal ball for what his (and Boston’s) future will hold.

“People in glass houses sink ships”

Over the course of seven seasons in Japan, Yoshida made himself known as a “hit-over-power” type. He ended his career with a batting average of .327, hitting 135 homers and stealing 21 bases. After signing with Boston, initial dynasty FYPD ranks had Yoshida down the lists early. Yes, his stats didn’t jump off the page, but he wasn’t helped much by dynasty rankers’ bias in general. There were plenty of blurbs that included phrases like ‘know your league’ or ‘I prefer upside teenagers’.  It shouldn’t be difficult to understand their hesitation though. We were talking about a 29-year-old who averaged 20 homers a year and stole three bags per season. It is not a huge ceiling when factoring in the typical decline in stats when players transition to the MLB plus his ‘advanced’ age.

“A penny saved is worth two in the bush, isn’t it?”

Wel,l once the World Baseball Classic kicked off, the dynasty baseball world got a much better introduction to what ‘Macho Man’ can and would bring to the Boston lineup. Helping the Japan Samurai win the tournament, his 13 RBI in their seven straight victories set a WBC record. Furthermore, Yoshida’s timely hitting didn’t stop during the international showcase. Through the first month of the season, he was batting .276 with a .832 OPS and 125 wRC+. And while Yoshida hasn’t turned up his production from that first month, it hasn’t dropped much either. 

It’s uncommon to see a foreign player have consistent and translated success in their MLB rookie campaigns. Yoshida has been an exception. Through games on September 12, his triple slash is a very impressive .291/.345/.455. And it’s not an empty AVG or OBP either, his 15 homers and 8 stolen bases compliment his 137 R+RBI and provide great 4th or 5th outfielder value for a championship team regardless of format. 

“Don’t cross the road if you can’t get out of the kitchen”

While Yoshida has produced as expected, a ‘4th or 5th outfielder’ for fantasy baseball isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Simply put, he is better at real-life baseball than he is for our fantasy purposes. He has an outstanding K-rate (13.2%) and doesn’t chase the ball much outside of the zone. So, while his hit tool carried over as we wanted, it brought ground ball rates pushing 60%. Additionally, having the skill to hit the ball seemingly at will allows him not be as selective and wait for balls to crush.

His batted ball data shows he prefers slapping the ball around the field. He keeps defenders off balance rather than powering balls over the wall. His four home runs in April were the most he hit in any month this year and included the two he hit IN THE SAME INNING at Milwaukee.  Both of those were pulled and had an EV over 105 MPH. That pull-side pop is what Yoshida needs to flash more of to hit home runs. He just doesn’t chose to do it with any level of consistency. 

Long term, Yoshida will keep doing his thing and I’d consider rostering him on any team I think is competitive. While he’s not an active buy, if an opportunity arises for me, paying for his Top 150 dynasty rank price isn’t out of the question. That price will return you an immediate and consistent level of all-category fantasy contributions. Though again, he may prove more valuable in real life if recent rumors are true. Boston media states that Yoshida may already be trying to convince his former teammate, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, to join him. If that happens, they could be Boston’s best duo since the Boondock Saints.


Nick Pivetta, Age: 30, Position: RHP

Analysis by: Greg Hoogkamp

“Try”

Nick Pivetta is a tantalizing talent and with one or two small adjustments could vault himself to the top of the Red Sox rotation. Pivetta was a 4th round draft pick in 2013 and is now in his 7th major league season. He’s spent the last three seasons learning his trade in the notoriously difficult American League East. On the surface, Pivetta has been a remarkably consistent mid-rotation starting pitcher. Over the past three seasons he has posted ERA’s of 4.53, 4.56 and 4.54. He’s also won 9, 10 and 9 games while striking out 175, 150 and 150 in the same time period. If this is what we expected out of Pivetta, all would be well and good, but many evaluators see immense potential in the 6‘5 right-hander. 

“Powerless”

What is so frustrating about the Victoria, BC, Canada native is that he will show glimpses of dominance, but then regress severely to the point where he can’t be rostered as a starting pitcher in most fantasy formats. The Red Sox have complicated matters by the way they have used Pivetta this season. He’s pitched in 34 games so far, but started just 12 of them. They’ve used him as a bulk pitcher for the most of the season, but they also used him as a short reliever for just over a month from mid-May to late-June. His fantasy value completely cratered at this time because he wasn’t being used in high leverage situations. 

“All Good Things”

One thing that is encouraging about Pivetta is that he is continuing to grow as a pitcher. What changes has he made in order to stimulate this growth? He’s added velocity (over one mph on his fastball and slider this season) and altered pitch shape (adding a sweeper). His chase rate is a career high 32.4% and he’s improved the swing and miss on multiple offerings; he has a whiff% of 33.2 on his curveball, 36.1% on his slider, both significant improvements over 2022.  His new sweeper has an elite 48.8 whiff%. When you dig into the numbers a little bit more, you can see that this season might just be his best. Pivetta is striking out hitters at a 30.9% clip and has maintained a 9.5% walk rate which gives him a 20.9 K-BB%, the first time he has been over 20% in his career. If you take just his second half stats he has a 35.4 K% and just an 8.2 BB% good for a 27.2 K-BB%. This ranks him 4th in Major League Baseball (min 40 IP) behind Freddy Peralta, Cole Ragans and Spencer Strider (pretty good company, no?). 

“Do It”

Despite the inconsistencies and role changes, Pivetta has pitched some of the best baseball of his career in the second half of this season. He’s made significant growth in several areas and become a much more consistent pitcher. These gains should hold and fantasy owners should do the same with their Pivetta shares as they will be rewarded with a solid mid-rotation option for their fantasy squads.


Roman Anthony, Age: 19, Position: OF, Level: Double-A

Analysis by: Colin Coulahan

“Shooting Up The Ranks”

It’s hard to find a prospect who has shot up rankings faster than Roman Anthony. Drafted 79th overall last year, the Red Sox signed him for about triple his slot value, which could tell you how much the team believes in him. Anthony has rewarded the team’s faith in him, climbing three minor league levels and reaching Double-A as a 19-year-old. In 100 games this year, Anthony has hit .261/.393/.456 with 14 home runs, 13 stolen bases and a .849 OPS. Anthony has double plus power, but will the hit tool drag him down? He did strike out 30% of the time during his 54-game stint in High A, but he also posted a 164 wRC+ with that much swing and miss.

“More and More Power”

Power will be Anthony’s carrying tool; as stated before, scouts have graded it as double-plus. His hard-hit rate in High A was above 50%, and his 90th-percentile exit velocity was above 105 mph. It’s also not your typical pull-heavy approach that we see from power hitters. Anthony has shown all fields approach this year. According to Chris Clegg, Anthony has hit more opposite-field home runs than the pull side, making the power potential much higher. A 19-year-old who is doing that is a future middle-of-the-order masher.

“Whiff”

I will just say it – I don’t care about the strikeouts. Yes, the 30% in High A is alarmingly high. You don’t want to see that from anyone, especially someone who had hit tool questions when drafted. But looking at Anthony’s K% rates as a professional, I believe the 30% was an outlier – 10%, 9%, 19%, 30%, 6%. He’s also walked at a 16% rate since last year, and even with the elevated strikeout rate, Anthony’s swinging strike rate was only 11%. Was this a player who was being overmatched? Or was this a young hitter learning how to hit quality pitching? Anthony reportedly doesn’t chase pitches outside of the zone (look at the walk rates) but had some issues with breaking balls. Even with these issues, he still had a 164 wRC+, which is much more important to me.

“Still a Stud”

Is there some risk with Anthony? Of course. He’s a teenager playing against some of the best pitchers in the minor leagues. But he has improved his hit tool while jeeping his elite power. What he does in Double-A will be very important for his future potential. If he can keep the strikeouts down, as he has before, I believe we’re looking at an all-category contributor, and should be considered an elite fantasy prospect. But, if the swing and miss come back, if he has trouble with breaking balls and the strikeouts pile up, he’s likely just a low-average slugger. Still good, but not as good. I’m betting on the former.

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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