Dynasty Baseball Minor League Pitcher Performance Report 2.0

An analysis of how pitchers are trending for dynasty leagues.

The Dynasty Baseball Performance Report is a regular series, highlighting each position and providing insight into the risers and fallers of both the major leagues and prospects.

All Major League performance reports are in and up on the Pitcher List dynasty page. Now, we shift our focus to the Minor Leagues. Dynasty value changes rapidly amongst Minor Leaguers. Managers are forced with the task of making sure to not drop players struggling too early while also not missing the boat on some of the fastest risers. Below I look at four Minor League pitchers who are seeing their dynasty value trend up and four who are trending in the wrong direction.

Be sure to head over to the Pitcher List dynasty page to check out the rest of the performance reports as well as plenty of other content from the dynasty team.


Recapping Last Month’s Risers and Fallers:


Jack Leiter – Leiter has bounced between the Major and Minor Leagues over the past month. All in all, he has made three starts allowing at least four runs in all three. The stuff has not performed well against Major League hitters despite some favorable matchups. His dynasty value has taken a bit of a hit since last month.

Christian Scott – Scott earned a promotion to the Major Leagues this past month and is continuing to see his dynasty value rise. His stuff grades out excellently on all models and he could quickly turn into one of the game’s premier pitchers. The biggest thing to watch is how his stuff maintains over the course of a full season.

Ricky Tiedemann – Tiedemann is yet to get back on the mound since the injury that sent his dynasty value falling further last month. A high level of relief risk remains present in his profile. The longer he is sidelined, the further his dynasty value will fall.

AJ Smith-Shawver – Smith-Shawver’s slow start to the season has continued. He has allowed at least three runs in four of his last five starts and owns a walk rate of over 12%. His value has not fallen any further, but it certainly is not rising.


Pitchers with Rising Dynasty Value


Noah Schultz – CWS


Standing at 6’9″, durability and repeatability were the two major concerns for Noah Schultz coming out of high school. He dealt with Mono during his senior year of high school, limiting the sample size scouts were able to get. Another layer was his commitment to Vanderbilt and the persuasion it would take to pull him away from there. Despite those concerns, the White Sox still liked Schultz enough to take him 22nd overall in the 2022 draft. Injuries delayed the start of his professional career to June of last season, but Schultz appears to have been well worth the wait.

Schultz wound up making ten starts last season in Low-A. He did not throw more than four innings in any start, but that did not make the results any less impressive. He finished the season with a 1.33 ERA, but the box scores are even more impressive. Across those ten starts, Schultz only surrendered runs in one of them. The nine other starts were all scoreless.

The stuff has never been a question for Schultz. Hard-throwing lefties are less common, but Schultz fits the power-pitcher prototype. He sits around 95 on the gun with a preference for working up in the zone. He attacks righties in with the pitch with an excellent feel and location. His slider is borderline untouchable to lefties, and he also feels comfortable using it to keep righties off balance.

Schultz has continued his impressive performances on the mound to start 2024. Now with High-A Winston-Salem, Schultz’s 3.95 ERA does not tell the whole story. His ratios have been fantastic with a strikeout rate of over 38% and a walk rate below 7%. His ERA indicators suggest that he has been unlucky with a FIP sitting down at 2.23. The most important thing for his dynasty value is inning accumulation. In just seven starts, Schultz has already passed his inning total from the entirety of last season. The White Sox are going to be careful with him, but the more innings he throws, the higher his dynasty value will rise.

Schultz is already proving to be one of the game’s premier pitchers in terms of stuff. After dominating batters in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues, the White Sox decided to promote Schultz to Double-A. Inching closer to the Major Leagues only further increases his dynasty value. Pitching prospects come and go, but Schultz’s dynasty value is only going up. We all know the saying by now: “There is no such thing as a safe pitcher.” Schultz certainly comes with his risk but also has the ceiling of a future ace. His dynasty value is trending straight up and he could find himself ranked as the top pitching prospect in baseball by season’s end.


Nolan McLean – NYM


Will we ever see another player like Shohei Ohtani? In today’s game with such a priority on focus and development, players are often deterred from becoming two-way players at young ages. From a fantasy and dynasty perspective, guys who have even the slightest chance to accomplish this feat are pushed way up the rankings. Why? Part of it is the upside it creates, and part of it is just the rarity of the accomplishment. This is not something we see every day, so any prospect who has that chance becomes more intriguing. Nolan McLean is the latest prospect to jump into the spotlight thanks to his two-way potential.

The Mets drafted McLean in the third round of last year’s draft. McLean attended Oklahoma State University and served as a two-way player. His true potential was originally identified at the plate after he posted an OPS of .992 in 2022. He worked his way into the OSU starting rotation in 2023 and posted a 3.30 ERA across 30 innings last year. His spin rates jumped off the chart which was enough to convince teams there was legit two-way potential here.

This was enough to give McLean some dynasty value before the start of the 2024 season, and it has taken off since. The Mets are giving him a chance to hit and pitch, and he is excelling in both areas. Through 25 games, McLean owns a wRC+ of 136 with five long balls. His strikeout rate sits over 50%, which points to some major red flags.

However, there have not been any red flags from McLean on the mound. Through his first seven starts, McLean is striking out over 32% of batters he faces. Although we do not have Statcast data from McLean’s Minor League performances, we got a glimpse into how good the stuff is during Spring Training. According to TJ Stats, McLean’s TJStuff+ graded out as a 118.

McLean’s stuff not only scores well on models, but it also certainly passes the eye test. His fastball sits comfortably in the mid-90s while his sweeper comes with elite spin rates. One look, and it is clear how filthy this pitch is:

The biggest concern for McLean coming out of college was how his control would translate to the Major Leagues. So far, McLean has managed to keep his walk rate under ten percent. Recently promoted to Double-A, dynasty managers should pay close attention to how his walk rates adjust against tougher competition.

While it remains to be seen how long McLean will be viewed as a two-way prospect, there is no doubt his dynasty value is rising fast. He is producing highlight-reel home runs at the same time he is dominating opposing batters on the mound. The Mets are not wasting any time moving McLean through the Minor Leagues. The longer he is encouraged to play both sides of the game, the higher his dynasty value could continue to grow. Is McLean the next Ohtani? Nobody will ever be the “next Ohtani.” Ohtani is in a league of his own from a talent level, but McLean certainly has a chance to become the next two-way player to break through at the Major League level.


Honorable Mentions:


Zebby Matthews – MIN


The Twins snagged Matthews in the eighth round of the 2022 draft with very little fanfare. Matthews pitched his college games at Western Carolina with a mediocre fastball and average stuff. Since joining the Twins organization, his fastball has continued to increase velocity, sitting comfortably around 94/95 with more in the tank when needed.

After striking out 26.4% of batters last season, his strikeout rate has spiked to 34.4% through six starts. His fast start earned him a promotion to Double-A where he has allowed just one run through 11.2 innings. Matthews’ stuff has quickly caught up to his elite control, which has him soaring up prospect ranking lists. His dynasty value is rising, and this might be the last chance managers have to get on him before it is too late.


Juan Salas – STL


Prior to the 2024 season, I had never heard of Juan Salas. Salas signed with the Cardinals in 2019 at just 16 years old. His path to the States has been slow, but he finally came over for the first time last season. This year, it seems like he is putting everything together. He deploys a deep five-pitch arsenal featuring plenty of movement on all of his pitches. His four-seam fastball sits at just 92 but generates over 18″ of vertical break.

Through six starts, his strikeout rate sits at 32% thanks to his plus curveball. He is showing the ability to work deep into games and could begin moving quickly through the Cardinals’ system. Salas is still relatively unknown to many in the dynasty community, but managers should expect to start hearing his name more frequently as he continues to dominate Minor League batters.


Pitchers with Falling Dynasty Value:


Brock Porter – TEX


The Major League draft can be weird sometimes. Porter was viewed by many as the best high-school pitching prospect available in the 2022 draft, but he wound up falling to Texas in the fourth round. The tricky thing is this does not mean he was truly a fourth-round talent, but rather teams needed to have enough pool money to take him and lure him away from college. Texas was able to do just that by signing him to a whopping $3.7 million contract.

Porter made his professional debut last season pitching 69.1 innings with Low-A. While the results were a bit inconsistent, his upside became overwhelmingly apparent. Porter struggled to limit the free passes, walking 14.1% of batters he faced, but he also posted excellent strikeout numbers. His fastball and changeup both profile as plus offerings with the fastball being particularly effective. He showed solid development last season with his slider which could potentially give him a third plus pitch.

Porter’s future upside was on full display during a six-start stretch last season from April 28 to June 2. During that stretch, Porter fired 22 scoreless innings with a strikeout rate of 34.1% and a walk rate of less than 11%. With a full season under his belt, dynasty managers were excited to see what Porter could do in 2024.

The season could not have gotten off to much worse of a start for Porter. Porter made three starts at High-A failing to make it through four innings a single time. The problem was not opponents hitting Porter around, rather it was that Porter could not get out of his own way. He walked at least three batters in all three starts including six in his final one. Reports indicate that not only was Porter struggling to command any of his pitches, but the velocity on his four-seamer was also down significantly from 2023. After three starts, the Rangers had seen enough to send Porter down to the Complex Level to mentally reset.

A mental reset is almost never a good thing for a pitcher. While the Rangers had success using this tactic with Jack Leiter last season, not every pitcher is the same. Porter is just 20 years old and decreasing fastball velocity is a major red flag moving forward. A popular breakout candidate heading into 2024, Porter’s dynasty value has taken a major hit.


Reggie Crawford – SFG


Following the 2021 season, many viewed Reggie Crawford as a lock to go in the top ten. He led the Big East in home runs and looked like a future ace on the mound. Just as the Shohei Ohtani hype was reaching an all-time high, Crawford seemed most likely to follow in his footsteps. Tommy John surgery resulted in him missing the entire 2022 season and left his draft value in limbo. The Giants took a shot on Crawford at 30th overall, and his dynasty value has been a roller coaster ever since.

Upon being drafted, the team insisted that they would use Crawford as a two-way player. He made his professional debut at the plate in 2022 appearing in six games as a DH. Crawford then made his professional pitching debut in 2023, striking out over 40% of batters across six starts. While the upside was obvious, his value in the dynasty community remained a bit of an unknown.

He pitched just 10.2 innings and accumulated only 19 plate appearances in 2023. Was this really somebody who could handle a starter’s workload? What even was his value offensively? At the end of 2024, his career wRC+ was just 54. Two-way player or not, this was not somebody who profiled to have much of a fantasy impact offensively.

Still, the thought of the next Ohtani was something that dynasty managers could not get out of their heads. Many in the community went to Arizona for First Pitch and saw Crawford swinging a bat live. His projectable 6’4″ frame and raw power stood out, creating a frenzy of getting in on him before it was too late. Sure the two home runs he hit in Arizona were exciting, but they overshadowed the fact he struck out over 40% of the time and hit just .138.

Well, I should say that they overshadowed his struggles to everybody except the only people who matter in the end: the San Francisco Giants. Prior to the 2024 season, the Giants announced that they planned to use Crawford solely as a pitcher. Based on the offensive numbers he was putting up, this made complete sense. Crawford’s best path to the Major Leagues is as a pitcher. His fastball sits in the upper-90s with ease and his slider profiles as a devastating pitch to left-handed batters. While the upside remained for Crawford as a full-time pitcher, the removal of two-way potential significantly impacted his dynasty value.

Dynasty managers still found a way to cope though convincing themselves that Crawford would still become an impactful fantasy asset as a starting pitcher. This dream was short-lived as Crawford made just one start before being transitioned into a full-time reliever.

This is when his dynasty value fell off a cliff. While it is possible for top prospects to turn into elite fantasy options out of the pen (see Mason Miller), the odds of that happening for Crawford are low. Not only does Miller have excellent stuff, but he also has average command of his pitches. Meanwhile, Crawford reminds me of a young José Alvarado. The stuff is huge and is going to lead to impressive strikeout rates, but he is also walking 15.1% of batters so far in 2024.

From two-way prospect to starting pitching prospect to single-inning relief prospect, Crawford’s dynasty value has dropped significantly this season. The only bright spot so far has been his progression through the Giants’ system. The team already promoted Crawford from Double-A to Triple-A making it possible that we see him pitching in San Francisco this season. That is the other issue with Crawford’s dynasty value. San Francisco already has an elite closer in Camilo Doval. Unlike Mason Miller’s situation, Crawford will likely have to prove himself as a middle-relief guy for multiple seasons before ever getting the chance to close.


Honorable Mentions:


Carson Whisenhunt – SFG


Since being drafted in the second round of the 2022 draft, Whisenhunt has had no issues striking opposing batters out. With stuff that easily could have landed him in the first round, Whisenhunt’s dynasty value rose quickly after a dominant 2023 season. The yellow flag many dynasty managers missed was his walk rate rising with each promotion.

The Giants aggressively started Whisenhunt in Triple-A where his walk rate has ballooned to 14.1%. Pitching in the PCL is part of the explanation for his 6.16 ERA, but there is more to be concerned about. He is primarily a two-pitch guy who lacks a consistent feel for his slider. Righties are batting .277 with a .458 slugging percentage adding some relief risk into his profile. Whisenhunt’s dynasty value is trending in the wrong direction.


Mick Abel – PHI


For years, Abel has been one of those prospects that you think “what if” about. What if Abel was able to throw strikes more consistently? What if he was Abel to add a tick or two of velocity to his four-seam fastball? Abel’s dynasty value was on the rise this off-season after he posted a 1.63 ERA across his final five starts in 2023.

Unfortunately, this success has not carried over to 2024. While Abel’s slider still profiles as a plus pitch, he has failed to make any progress when it comes to throwing strikes. His walk rate is up over 14% this season and his strikeout rate is at the lowest mark of his career. Now 22 years old, it is clear Abel does not belong in the top tier of pitching prospects and is seeing his dynasty value decline.


Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter)

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