2024 Dynasty Baseball RankingsDynasty Baseball

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2024 RISERS AND FALLERS: SHORTSTOPS

Every year, we at the TDG office identify Risers and Fallers from our consensus rankings. But how did we get here!? And what’s real and what’s noise? Well, the Gurus are here to help. In each “Risers and Fallers” article, the Gurus will take you on an explanatory journey as to why these players have seen a fortunate rise, or an unfortunate turn toward their demise. Thanks for reading!

RISING: J.P. CRAWFORD, SEATTLE MARINERS (AGE: 29, CURRENT RANK: 21, PREVIOUS RANK: 44)

Once considered a slick-fielding accumulator, J.P. Crawford wrapped up a stellar 2023 season with a triple slash of .266/.380/.434 with 19 home runs, 94 runs, 65 RBI, and 2 stolen bases while playing in 145 games.  But how did we get here and who is J.P. Crawford?  And will this offensive production continue?

Crawford was drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft by the Phillies.  Short of an 87-game stint in Triple A in 2016, Crawford had consistent offensive production throughout his time in Philadelphia’s minor league system and his prospect status peaked in 2018 when he was a consensus top 5o prospect (FanGraph’s No. 29 prospect and MLBPipeline’s No. 37 prospect).  Crawford spent the majority of his 2018 playing time in Philadelphia, appearing in 49 games, and putting up a 95 wRC+ (he was injured for much of the season).  During that offseason, the Mariners traded for Crawford and brought him to Seattle.  What followed was four seasons of below-average to average offensive production for the Mariners, with wRC+’s of 87, 95, 103, and 103.

A long-awaited Mariners postseason appearance in 2022 was not enough for Crawford; he took his workouts during the 2022-23 offseason to “new heights” after a “thorough evaluation of his swing movements” at Driveline (Link).  And boy did the results show!  Leading off for the Mariners, Crawford went from the bottom 3% in average exit velocity and the bottom 5% in hard-hit percentage to 29th percentile and 21st percentile respectively.  While the 2023 Statcast numbers are not eye-popping by any means, they represented a huge improvement and led to 13 more home runs and an increase of .102 in slugging percentage.  Plus, he kept a strong strikeout rate (19.6%) and increased his walk rate to 14.7%, good for 96th percentile.  He was an on-base machine with about the tenth strongest power numbers at the shortstop position.

For dynasty managers, that leaves us with a strong OBP player with above-average power numbers firmly in his prime.  His lineup spot is ideal as he spent the vast majority of 2023 leading off and is anticipated to do so again in 2024.  Plus, he is back at Driveline again (Link)!  Sign me up for more of the same as Crawford should be a set-and-forget player for dynasty managers over the next couple of seasons, bringing strong three-category production (OBP, HR, Runs) at a premium position.  Without premium power or premium speed, he may not rise up our rankings much further, but I suspect he will crack the Top 20 by the time mid-season rankings are released.

(Double R)

FALLING: GERALDO PERDOMO, ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (AGE: 24, CURRENT RANK: 49, PREVIOUS RANK: 23)

Some might find it odd that a 24-year-old who showed marked improvement in his second full season at the majors and was an All-Star, would move down in our rankings, but Geraldo Perdomo did just that.  The Diamondbacks shortstop hit 6 home runs, stole 16 bases, and scored 71 runs on his way to a 2.7 fWAR season in 2023.  However, the ascent of Jordan Lawler clouds his future role enough that our rankers questioned his dynasty value moving forward.

Born in Santo Domingo, DR, Perdomo was signed by the Diamondbacks in 2016.  In his first season, he climbed three levels and his rapid ascent continued as he debuted in the majors in 2021 at the age of 21 years old.  He was MLBPipeline’s No. 79 prospect that year and went on to put up impressive numbers in his 11-game cup of coffee.  His sophomore season was a struggle, putting up a 60 wRC+, but his defense was strong and he ended up appearing in 148 games for the Diamondbacks.  His 2023 was a success, putting up average offensive numbers (99 wRC+) with speed and continuing to play strong defense at the shortstop position.  As mentioned above, he made his first all-star game.

For purposes of our game though, there does not appear to be a high ceiling for Perdomo.  While he has elite plate discipline, his power metrics are the bottom of the barrel.  At 24, he could attempt to increase those numbers (see J.P. Crawford above), but the Diamondbacks are probably not counting on it.  They have an elite offensive shortstop at the doorstep in Jordan Lawlar, who also has strong plate discipline, but also packs a punch with the bat and has strong wheels (Lawlar just hit 20 home runs and stole 37 bases over three levels in 2023).  That likely leaves Perdomo as a utility player for a playoff team with two offensive-minded middle infielders.  Assuming Ketel Marte is healthy and Lawlar does not fall flat on his face this year (note:  he did fall flat in his 14-game debut in 2023), it is difficult to project Perdomo for another 500 plate appearances in 2024, or in the near future.  Questionable volume and a low power ceiling will understandably lower a ranking and Perdomo appears to be a victim of his team’s success, despite performing at his very best in 2023.

(Double R)

RISING: ANTHONY VOLPE, NEW YORK YANKEES (AGE: 22, CURRENT RANK: 12, PREVIOUS RANK: 18)

I know he only moved up six spots, so this is more for me to gush over Volpe. The Morristown, NJ native started 2023 as the Yankees shortstop and ended it the same way. There were a lot of bumps in the road along the way, but the Yanks are committed and so is yours truly. Winning the 2023 Gold Glove at shortstop was icing on the cake and also ensures Volpe will see the field. He has room to improve both his BB and K rates to his minor league level and a better batting average shouldn’t be hard to come by. In August and September Volpe began seeing a lot more time in the five and six holes in the lineup, and while that is attributed some to injuries and the Yanks being bad, they could’ve left him in the eight-hole and didn’t. If his current manager is offering him up or on discount, make an offer.

(Phil Barrington)

FALLING: CARLOS CORREA, MINNESOTA TWINS (AGE: 29, CURRENT RANK: 29, PREVIOUS RANK: 7)

FALLING: TREVOR STORY, COLORADO ROCKIES (AGE: 31, CURRENT RANK: 26, PREVIOUS RANK: 9)

FALLING: TIM ANDERSON, FREE AGENT (AGE: 30, CURRENT RANK: 44, PREVIOUS RANK: 10)

A threesome of veteran fallers are on offer for your reading pleasure. We heard about Carlos Correa’s leg injury woes all last offseason; he played in 135 games in 2023 (after appearing in 136 the season prior and 148 prior to that), the issue was, he was pretty great in 2021 and 2022…not so much in 2023. 60/18/65/0/.230 in 580 plate appearances is not (very) helpful for us in Fantasyland. The Twins should be better and thus provide more Runs and RBI for Correa, but it has been declining for years now (196 -> 134 -> 125 in 2023) and the Twins aren’t getting better around him. The same rule applies to all three; if the price is right, there is still some meat on the bone, just don’t overpay.

Trevor Story was so great in Colorado. In Boston, not so much. He isn’t aging well as injuries are piling up and he hasn’t had a wRC+ over 100 since 2020. With a 48 wRC+ in 2023, Story has his bottom. At age 31 I wouldn’t expect a rebound, but a 20/10 season in 130ish games is within reach (if I squint really hard). Tim Anderson still hasn’t signed as of this writing; he said he was open to playing second base so that dual position eligibility is there for the taking…but will it be worth taking? Following up a subpar 2022 with a terrible 2023, Anderson is going to have to fight for a job. I have always liked the cut of his jib as he’s an old-school gamer (not the type that plays Legend of Zelda on the reg) so he is looking like the best bet for a bounceback, and with him being a possible free agent in many leagues, the cost is nil.

(Phil Barrington)

 

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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