Happy Thursday, everyone! It's a beautiful night ahead of us assuming you love baseball and aren't interested in the NFC East slog of a game between Washington and the Giants we have coming up. But it's also a day to reflect on what just happened in the Fantasy Baseball world. It was an eventful night in baseball on Wednesday. We had some gem pitching performances from some of Fantasy's youngest aspiring aces and maybe the best pitcher breakout of 2020 in Robbie Ray.
We also had some breakout hitting performances -- one specifically from a big-time Marlins hitter call-up from earlier this year and a steady drumbeat that continues to build for an Angels hitter. We'll break down everything from Wednesday's action and also dive into a little Dynasty Fantasy Baseball talk by highlighting some of our favorites stashes from Scott White's 11 players to stash in Dynasty. Let's dive right into it now.
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Urias a late-round league winner?
A combination of the insane depth that is the Dodgers pitching rotation, previous short workloads and bullpen roles plus an overall unproven profile led to Dodgers SP Julio Urias falling to the last few rounds of some drafts. He picked up some buzz and hype at one point and became a popular pick, but even then he was going in the second half of drafts. On Wednesday, Urias picked up his 18th win of the season against the Diamondbacks. He now leads all MLB pitchers in wins -- and as much as some of us may hate it -- wins are still one of five categories in standard Roto.
Urias held Arizona to just two runs over five innings. He threw 47 of his 76 total pitches for strikes, generating five swings-and-misses and also striking out five. The overall numbers remain sparkling for Urias, who holds a 2.99 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 180 strikeouts over 168 1/3 innings this season. It's the rare case of a player selected so late pushing for most valuable Fantasy pitcher.
Ray keeps on shining bright
From a pure Fantasy standpoint, the best story among all pitchers might just be Blue Jays SP Robbie Ray. A change of scenery from the NL to the AL is not typically fruitful for pitchers in Fantasy, but a reinvention of his arsenal has led to Ray's breakout season. For years, Fantasy owners chased strikeout upside by drafting Ray on the Diamondbacks only to see him blow up their ratios and hardly ever work deep into games. He's been a completely different pitcher in his first year with Toronto.
On Wednesday, Ray pitched seven innings of one run ball and struck out a ridiculous 13. He allowed four hits and although in the past this seemed impossible, he once again walked zero batters. Ray came one strikeout shy of his season high. He induced a laughably dominant 21 swinging strikes. He leads the MLB in strikeouts with 233 on the season and he has positioned himself in the conversation for AL Cy Young. Some may also argue this outing put him ahead of Gerrit Cole, but time will tell.
Snell heads to the IL
Blake Snell's second half turnaround was one of the best stories of the Fantasy season, but it hit a road bump on Sunday at the most inopportune time with the Fantasy Baseball playoffs in full swing. Snell left his start on Sunday in the first inning after suffering a left hip adductor strain and no timetable has been given for a return. The Padres have placed Snell on the 10-day IL and this injury comes at the worst time -- over his past seven starts he's posted a 1.83 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 39 1/3 of the most dominant innings by any pitcher this season.
Sanchez goes deep twice
When the Marlins called up OF Jesus Sanchez, we kept our expectations low given how slow of a start just about every top hitting prospect had gotten off to in 2021. Although he didn't completely tear it up from the start, Sanchez is starting to get into a groove. The talented outfield prospect had a double dong on Wednesday night to lead the Marlins to a comeback victory. What showed most from this game was Sanchez's opposite-field power and he put it on display on both homers. They measured in at 401 feet -- opposite field. He is shaping up as someone you'll want to add to your targets list for your 2022 drafts.
Scott White pivoted off the prospect report to something awesome on Wednesday when he dipped into the world of Dynasty to come up with 11 players you need to be stashing right now in your Dynasty leagues. For all 11 players you'll want to make sure they are not rostered (and if they are, make sure that changes ASAP) you can find that here. These are a few players we'll be tracking and have a lot of hope for moving forward in Dynasty.
Matt Brash, SP, Mariners
2019 minors: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
2021 minors: 6-3, 2.26 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 91 2/3 IP, 44 BB, 136 K
Brash stands out most for his slider, a plus-plus pitch that makes everyone look stupid. Some evaluators have called the pitch the best of its kind in all the minors. He pairs it with a fastball that pushes triple digits and a good-enough changeup to keep him in a starting role. The Mariners have put him to the test, too, letting him go deep enough to record double-digit strikeouts with regularity. Even when he fell short in his latest start, striking out just five in 5 1/3 innings, he still had 21 swinging strikes. His stuff gives him a chance to be a bat-missing marvel who may someday sit atop the Mariners' embarrassment of pitching riches. Seeing as he's 23 and already at Double-A, we'll find out soon enough.
Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Royals
2019 minors: .294 BA (211 AB), 14 HR, 17 2B, .963 OPS, 27 BB, 40 K
2021 minors: .309 BA (417 AB), 23 HR, 37 2B, .980 OPS, 61 BB, 62 K
Pasquantino's breakthrough has been overshadowed by that of another first baseman in the Royals system, Nick Pratto, who's a level ahead and has a higher-end outcome. But Pasquantino is a year older and now has a better stat line at Double-A than Pratto did before he moved up to Triple-A in mid-July. While Pratto stands out for his power, Pasquantino earns high marks for his hit tool, but he clearly isn't lacking for power either. Amazingly, he has more extra-base hits (63) and nearly as many walks (61) as he has strikeouts (62). His path may be limited to DH with Pratto around, but it's a path the Royals want him on.
Eddys Leonard, SS, Dodgers
2019 minors: .285 BA (209 AB), 4 HR, 7 2B, .804 OPS, 28 BB, 60 K
2021 minors: .295 BA (403 AB), 22 HR, 26 2B, .937 OPS, 51 BB, 110 K
Investing in a shortstop is always a plus in dynasty because even if the player doesn't wind up at that position, odds are good he won't be blocked. That's especially true in Leonard's case given that the Dodgers have already exposed him to the other premium positions, meaning center field, third base and second base. Scouts love the way he uses his hands to manipulate his swing, but it's not a crutch. He'll still take his walks. He has yet to be tested at Double-A, but seeing as he's only 20, that's no knock against him.