Dynasty value tends to be stickier than redraft value. Development requires patience, after all, and a short-sighted mistake could haunt you for years to come.
So what does it take to move the needle on a player's Dynasty value? A higher degree of confidence, for one, but I'll note that my choices are less a reflection of my own feelings than the way things actually are. It's simply the case that Jarred Kelenic's Dynasty value has suffered from his repeated failures to break through with the Mariners. I do advise patience, but partly because his stock has diminished to the point you have little other choice.
I'll also note that I'm much more confident in my assessment of pitchers than hitters given the current state of offense in the majors so far. With the deadened ball, the widespread use of humidors, and the possible weather effects on both, I don't know how differently May and June will play from April. I don't feel like I can take any hitter's numbers at face value yet. Too many new variables were introduced at once, leaving track record as one of the few controls. I give deference to it in this first edition of the Dynasty Stockwatch, putting more of my focus on pitchers.
Carlos Rodon SP
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #55 • Age: 30
It's hard to believe that just a couple months ago, Carlos Rodon was looking like a precarious Fantasy asset, one who you may have been looking to cash in after a career season, fearful of his shoulder. Shoot, his health status impacted his market in real life, too. It's silly now to think anyone might have doubted him. His velocity is back to full blast, and he's looking like arguably the game's best pitcher inning for inning. He's right there with Corbin Burnes, at least. And even though it feels like he's been around much longer, Rodon is only two years older than Burnes at 29.
Eric Lauer SP
MIL Milwaukee • #52 • Age: 27
If anyone took Eric Lauer's 2.23 ERA over his final 15 appearances last year seriously, we wouldn't be having this conversation, but there didn't seem to be a lot backing it up. Turns out it was just the first stage of a complete transformation. He's added velocity to his fastball this year, turning it into a bat-misser in its own right. All the while, he's continued to maximize his secondaries like he learned to do down the stretch last year. Some pitcher breakthroughs you can see coming from a mile away. Others you just have to react to as they're happening.
Kyle Wright SP
ATL Atlanta • #30 • Age: 27
I'd chide everyone for their lack of patience with Kyle Wright, the fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft, but good grief, this year is the fifth in which he's appeared in the majors. It's a wonder the Braves themselves gave him another shot, but good thing they did. As with Lauer, the velocity gains are apparent, but in Wright's case, more specifically with the curveball. It's become a power offering that he throws even more often than the fastball, and it's looking like one of the best of its kind. There's also chatter about him regaining confidence and whatnot, but what you don't hear anymore are the naysayers.
WAS Washington • #1 • Age: 24
In retrospect, it's stunning how quickly Dynasty leaguers bailed on MacKenzie Gore. Yeah, his 2021 was a disaster in every way, and there were reports of his troubles beginning on the backfields as far back as 2020. But he was considered the game's top pitching prospect before then, and as you may have heard before, development isn't linear. His issues with velocity and command were thought to be mechanical, and mechanics can be fixed. From as far back as spring training, it was evident his were, and now we're right back where we started with him. His debut has gone swimmingly, his potential seemingly boundless. He's one of the most coveted pitchers in Dynasty again, so hopefully, you held firm.
Taylor Ward RF
LAA L.A. Angels • #3 • Age: 29
I'm most uneasy about this pick given everything I've already said about assessing hitters right now, but seeing as Taylor Ward entered 2022 as a 28-year-old nothing, it's obvious his Dynasty value has improved. I don't think anyone rostering Ward would even consider a trade offer in the realm of "reasonable" right now. Are we giving him too much credit because he's one of the few hitters actually making an impact so far? It's possible, but doesn't it say something that manager Joe Maddon awarded him the job over Jo Adell in spring training? Taylor has slashed .330/.439/.588 in 179 career games at Triple-A and had never really gotten a fair shake in the majors. His plate discipline has been inspiring, and it has him batting leadoff now, ahead of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Prospects who've gained the most value
Michael Harris, OF, Braves
AA: .319 BA (113 AB), 4 HR, 10 SB, .918 OPS, 8 BB, 26 K
Harris placed fairly high on real-life rank lists, but he didn't generate much enthusiasm in Fantasy after homering just seven times in 374 at-bats last year. His home venue played a part, though. Now, in a more neutral environment, he's already more than halfway there. It makes it easier to see his baseball instincts, which it turns out are off the charts. He's like a bundle of energy, capable of contributing in almost every facet, and remarkably, he has reached base in all 27 games he's played this year.
Shea Langeliers, C, Athletics
AAA: .317 BA (101 AB), 11 HR, 1.093 OPS, 15 BB, 22 K
The prize of the Matt Olson trade is regarded mostly for his defense, but he did show considerable power last year and has seemingly upped his offensive game again with improved plate discipline, both the strikeouts and walks. His numbers may be inflated somewhat by a favorable home environment, but the 24-year-old is peaking at the right time and is now an integral part of a loaded catcher crop in the upper minors instead of just an also-ran.
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Andrew Painter, SP, Phillies
A-: 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 20 IP, 7 BB, 40 K
Dynasty leaguers are generally skeptical of pitchers drafted straight out of high school for the same reason real teams are. The amount of development required for them to reach the majors presents too many opportunities for things to go wrong. The minors may not be able to contain this 19-year-old for long, though. Drafted 13th overall last year, Painter has been straight-up fire so far, piling up whiffs with a high-90s fastball that's bolstered by his 6-foot-7 reach. The arsenal is well developed, and the command is top-notch as well.
Kyle Harrison, SP, Giants
A+: 0-1, 2.37 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 19 IP, 8 BB, 42 K
The 20-year-old is built for strikeouts, boasting a fastball that reaches the high 90s and has an optimal vertical approach angle for today's game. It's a bat-misser in its own right, but he also has a wipeout slider and a changeup that pairs well with the fastball. The big concern is control, but it's showing improvement so far at high Class A, where he's struck out 21 of the past 34 batters he's faced.
Adael Amador, SS, Rockies
A-: .326 BA (92 AB), 6 HR, 3 SB, 1.005 OPS, 18 BB, 13 K
Though Amador showed well in Rookie ball last year, the range of possible outcomes remained too wide to form any firm opinions. That range appears to be narrowing at high Class A, where his power has played beyond expectations and his plate discipline has been nothing short of stellar. Granted, it's the hitter-friendly California League, and his small build will continue to fuel doubts about his power potential. His hit tool could make up for any shortcomings there, though. Plus, he'll eventually be playing at Coors Field, right?
Shane Bieber SP
CLE Cleveland • #57 • Age: 27
I'm not suggesting Shane Bieber's Dynasty value has cratered. He'll still fetch the price of a top starting pitcher. But it wasn't so long ago, even during that stretch when he was sidelined by a shoulder injury last year, that he was one of the most coveted Dynasty pitchers of all, boasting the sort of ace credentials rarely seen among 26-year-olds. Even though all but one of his starts this year has been solid, his diminished velocity is so well documented that any buyer would have some trepidation. It doesn't help that the most recent start was the bad one. He and the Guardians both seem optimistic he can regain the velocity by unlearning some bad habits, but that's of little consolation until he does.
SEA Seattle • #10 • Age: 23
As high-end of a prospect as he was, Jarred Kelenic is of course still a Dynasty asset, but every failed stint in the majors nonetheless costs him some value. His worth may have peaked right before he debuted last year and looked like the second coming of Kyle Tucker. Jo Adell is in sort of the same boat, though I'm sparing him for now since his opportunities haven't been as extensive. Anyone in rebuild mode would be happy to take a flier on either, but if you have Kelenic and are looking to cash in, his stock may have dipped too much for it to be worth your while. Better to hold on and hope for the best.
SD San Diego • #1 • Age: 26
Trent Grisham was actually one of my five "stock down" picks when I last wrote this column last September, looking like one of the more obvious victims of the deadened baseball, so I was surprised the way hope sprang eternal for him this draft season. I think most everyone by now is in recognition of his demise. His borderline exit velocities just don't play the same way they did in 2020, when he homered frequently enough to emerge as a Fantasy mainstay, and with the deadened ball being used even more consistently this year, his downward spiral is near complete.
Luke Voit DH
MIL Milwaukee • #34 • Age: 32
I think the perception now is that Luke Voit is hanging by a thread. The Yankees already chased him out after an injury-plagued season, he began this year miserably before hurting his biceps, and most recently, he was looking so lost on his rehab assignment at Triple-A that the Padres pulled the plug on it. His defensive limitations make him DH-or-bust, and no team is dedicating a DH spot to a player it can't trust to hit. I personally think it's too early to give up on him still, looking at the power landscape across the league, but I doubt the average Dynasty leaguer would think twice about moving on from the 31-year-old if the right opportunity came along.
Akil Baddoo LF
DET Detroit • #60 • Age: 24
Between Grisham and now Akil Baddoo, I think the speed element, precious as it is, leads us to assess certain players through rose-tinted glasses. Sure, there was a scenario by which Baddoo leveraged his surprising performance as a Rule 5 pick last year into a Randy Arozarena-like breakthrough, but it wasn't the most likely one. And already, it looks like his sophomore campaign is going belly-up. He was only playing half the time before ultimately being sent down Monday. And unlike, say, Kelenic, he doesn't have the sort of prospect pedigree that would keep Dynasty leaguers invested.