2024 Dynasty Baseball RankingsDynasty Baseball

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2024 RISERS AND FALLERS: THIRD BASEMEN

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: JAKE BURGER, MIAMI MARLINS (AGE: 28, CURRENT RANK: 22, PREVIOUS RANK: 48)

My riser at this position is Jake Burger who is on the verge of showing everyone why he was a first-round draft pick by the White Sox in 2017.  If it weren’t for the injuries, I think he’d already be much higher on this list (as Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis yell “No Kidding?”).  I note that injuries are part of the game, but this guy ruptured his achilles twice, causing him to lose two seasons, then sat out 2020 with the other minor leaguers, and then in 2022 had a right hand and left wrist injury.  Admittedly, that doesn’t give us a lot of data to build upon as we try to project the next three years, but when I look at last year, I like what I see.

Over the course of the full season, Burger hit 34 home runs and posted a .250/.309/.518 slash line.  A slightly below-average BABIP of .284 gives some reason to believe that the average and on-base percentage may increase slightly.  Prior to his trade to the Marlins at the end of July, he hit .214/.279/.527 with 25 home runs over 323 plate appearances.  He was arguably the second-best hitter on the White Sox during that time. Notably, his BABIP during that time was an unheard-of low .225.  He literally had more home runs than singles, 25 to 22. After August 1, as a Marlin, he had a .303/.355/.505 slash line, buoyed by an unsustainable .354 BABIP.  And because I don’t want to leave you hanging, 9 home runs and 38 singles.

I cannot explain all the differences between the Chicago and Miami numbers, that BABIP swing is inexplicable, but I do know he has an open path to playing time, and if he’s hitting behind Arráez, Bell and Chisolm, there are going to be many RBI opportunities.  Even I’ll be surprised if he cracks the top ten, but he’s destined to rise well above his current ranking of 22 on our list. Buy low even if for your CI position.

While researching this, I found an article on the MLBPA website about Burger’s efforts to raise mental health awareness.  I encourage everyone to give it a read: https://www.mlbplayers.com/jake-burger

(Drew Klein)

RISING: ELLY DE LA CRUZ, CINCINNATI REDS (AGE: 22, CURRENT RANK: 5, PREVIOUS RANK: SS14)

For a few weeks last season, Elly was all that everyone was talking about. He was doing it all. Stealing bases – even home plate once! He was also hitting for power and showing the glove. Then over time, Elly started to struggle at the plate. He struck out too much. How much you ask? Over 140 times in 427 plate appearances, so 44% of the time.

There is still a lot to be excited about coming into ’24 with De La Cruz. He hits the ball hard. When you look at his metrics, the hard-hit percentage is 75th percentile. His average exit velocity is also in the red. He walks at a slightly below-average clip. I want to see that metric get better for Elly’s long-term success and I believe it will. All of his other hitting metrics weren’t good. They were actually atrocious. All of them were in the bottom 30th percentile league wide. His strikeout percentage, which was mentioned earlier, is in the bottom 3rd percentile of the league. 

There is too much talent here with Elly though. When he gets on base he was among the most dangerous last year. There’s also great value on the field defensively. All of those combined will keep him on the field and give him the opportunity to grow at the plate, where he has struggled, yes, but again, has so much potential. I see Elly improving upon what we saw to begin last year and that he doesn’t look back in 2024.

(Brett Cook)

FALLING: NOELVI MARTE, CINCINNATI REDS (AGE: 22, CURRENT RANK: 17, PREVIOUS RANK: 25 SS in 2023)

This is as high as you will ever see Noelvi Marte on a dynasty third base ranking list. There, I said it. I’ll go one step further and say that he may have underperformed at every level, with the possible exception of last year.  After all, wouldn’t you expect someone who scouts have given a 50 grade hit tool, 65 raw power, and 50 game power grades to have hit .300 more than twice and to have hit at least 20 home runs at least once?

Last year as a rookie in Cincinnati, he had the highest batting average of his professional career, hitting .316 while taking advantage of a small home park by hitting hard ground balls up the middle.  First, let’s take a look at that batting average.  His BABIP last year was .384, which is not sustainable.  Even if it regresses to an above-average level, due to his hard-hit rate, his projected batting average would be in the .260 – .270 range. His ground ball rate was 53% with a .362 batting average on those balls, and his fly ball rate was only 24% with a .091 average.  He spent the first half of the year in Triple-A with similar numbers, although prior to that he had fly ball percentages in the high 30’s to mid 40’s, a profile you’d expect from a power hitter.

There are things I like about his profile.  His zone contact rate was elite last year (88%), but he only swung at 67% of pitches in the zone.  I don’t know if he was not aggressive or was being fooled by pitches.  He also has a high hard-hit rate, which is why so many of those ground balls up the middle turned into hits, but that may not be sustainable.  More pertinent to this article, that is not what you’re looking for in a top-ten fantasy third baseman.

I do not think he’s a bust by any means, he could provide value going forward, but I think he is currently being over-valued which is why I think he’ll fall on this list.  Recently I was able to trade him and receive Coby Mayo and Blaze Jordan in return, and if you currently have him rostered, I encourage you to sell high.

(Drew Klein)

FALLING: KE’BRYAN HAYES,  PITTSBURGH PIRATES (AGE: 26, CURRENT RANK: 21, PREVIOUS RANK: 12)

Hayes enters this season having fallen nine spots in our consensus rankings. In fact, Hayes has dropped in rankings each of the last three seasons. He was 9th in 2022. 

I am highlighting Hayes for a reason, though, as there is still dynasty value here. Sure, he has dropped each of the last three years but there is still a ton of value in rostering Hayes. I will take it a step further and say that I would roster him anywhere, especially if he is for added depth because you have a deep team.

The main concern I have for Hayes is his significant drop in OBP. His batting average was .271 last year and his on-base percentage was .309. Just to help you from doing any further research, that is just 28 walks. It was his career-worst year by a long shot. I see Hayes coming back to form this year in that metric based on past statlines.

If the Pirates as an organization can build some talent around their core of Hayes and Reynolds, then that will increase statistical opportunities for the Pirates. I believe that is part of the reason why he is so low in consensus. The Pirates are really bad.

Roster Hayes wherever you can. Yes, he has dropped in rankings, but don’t sleep on him. The talent is still there and you will get plenty of production from him.

(Brett Cook)

The Author

Brett Cook

Brett Cook

Previous post

DYNASTY'S CHILD EPISODE 180: DC LEGENDS RETURN

Next post

Join The Ranks Episode 41: Pre-Season Third Base Rankings