Dynasty Baseball Minor League Pitcher Performance Report

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.


Pitchers with Rising Dynasty Value


Jack Leiter – TEX

Yes, Jack Leiter made his Major League debut last Thursday. Yes, he struggled in that appearance surrendering seven earned runs to the Tigers. Regardless, he still finds himself featured in the Minor League edition of this report. And yes, his dynasty value is rising despite a rough first Major League appearance.

Leiter entered the Rangers organization as one of the highest-regarded pitching prospects in the past decade. With a dominant college career at Vanderbilt and son of a former Major Leaguer, expectations were sky-high. These high expectations were emphasized by an aggressive assignment to Double-A to begin his professional career. The transition to the Major Leagues did not go as smoothly as anybody hoped. He pitched 92.2 innings in his debut season finishing the year with a 5.54 ERA, 5.02 FIP, and a walk rate of over 13%.

Things seemed to be going even worse in his second season as he attempted to repeat Double-A. Rock bottom came on July 7th when Leiter surrendered six runs while only recording one out in the game. The Rangers placed Leiter on the development list where he spent nearly two months attempting to reset.

Leiter’s stuff has never been in question. His fastball sits comfortably in the mid-90s with good run in on righties. His slider averages over 2600 RPMs while he also mixes in a changeup and curveball to keep batters off balance. Even during his struggles, Leiter never had trouble striking people out. His strikeout rate sat at 25.6% in his debut season and jumped up over 30% last year. The issue has been an inability to throw strikes and limit the free passes.

Everything seemed to click once Leiter returned from the development list. In five starts last season, Leiter’s strikeout rate jumped even higher to 34.9% and his walk rate came flying down. Leiter did not walk more than two batters in any of those five starts after walking 3+ in seven of his previous 15 starts. That said, five starts at the end of the season is a small sample size. His dynasty value was rising at the end of 2023, but managers were still tempering expectations.

For those who got in early, the risk paid off. The changes Leiter made at the end of 2023 have stuck this season. Leiter got off to a fantastic start in Triple-A. Through his first three starts, Leiter saw his strikeout rate climb even higher eclipsing 40% while his walk rate dropped below six percent. This is the kind of results fantasy managers expected when the Rangers drafted Leiter second overall.

Even though his Major League debut did not go as planned, his dynasty value is unquestionably on the rise. After being labeled a bust through a season and a half, Leiter looks like a pitcher with front-of-the-rotation potential. Strikeouts are a major aspect of fantasy relevance for pitchers and Leiter profiles to rack up plenty. Leiter is still learning how to pitch with this new approach and only had eight professional appearances with it prior to his Major League debut. Back in Triple-A, Leiter should have time to continue refining his arsenal, and dynasty managers should expect to rely on him for years to come.


Christian Scott – NYM

The first time I really heard about Christian Scott was in the Pitcher List Discord channel. (Shout out the Discord – well worth becoming a pro member just to gain access to it!). Quickly, Scott has become the face of the dynasty and prospects discord and there might not be a more cult-like following in all of Minor League baseball. Carson Picard already wrote one amazing piece on Scott back in March and his dynasty value has only continued to increase since then.

After working to mirror Max Scherzer, Scott has seen his slider take off and his fastball velocity peak. The results have been nothing short of incredible. Last season, Scott showed off some of the best strike-throwing skills in all of Minor League baseball firing 87.2 innings and walking just 3.6% of batters. As if the control was not good enough, Scott also struck out 31.9% of the batters he faced.

Early on this season, the strikeouts have been even better. Through his first three starts, Scott is striking out 46.4% of Triple-A batters. Oh, and don’t worry. His walk rate “regression” is still just 5.4%. These elite results have Scott moving quickly up prospect rankings early on in 2024.

Scott can strike batters out with any one of his four pitches. His fastball, which features nearly 16 inches of IVB, sits comfortably around 95 and can touch even higher. He mixes in both a sweeper and a gyro slider. The sweeper has nearly 13 inches of break while his slider is the secondary offering he is most comfortable with. He pounds the zone with strikes and the stuff is good enough for him to get away with a mistake every now and then.

There is not a hotter pitcher in Minor League baseball. Scott is striking batters out, showing off plus stuff, and hardly walks anybody. Very rarely do dynasty managers have the chance to still get in on somebody doing that, but the window is closing and closing fast. Scott is almost universally a top-100 prospect at this point and will be pitching in Queens before the end of the season


Honorable Mentions:


Trace Bright – BAL

I first wrote about Bright after the Spring Breakout game. This was the first time that Bright had popped up on my radar and the stuff was impressive. A fastball that sat comfortably in the mid-90s with a big breaking ball and improved command. His success has rolled right into the regular season as Bright is dominating Double-A early on. The strikeouts are up around 30% and most importantly, his walk rate sits at a career-best 6.9%. Baltimore’s farm system has been known for hitting prospects over the last few years, but Trace Bright is a gem that is seeing his dynasty value skyrocket. He is going to land in the top 100 prospects on my update coming later this week.


George Klassen – PHI

As a Phillies fan, I prioritize staying in tune with the organization. George Klassen got completely overlooked in my off-season deep dive into the Phils’ farm system. Klassen pitched at the University of Minnesota before the Phillies drafted him in the sixth round. Already, he looks like he could be one of the biggest steals from that draft. He has dominated his first three starts at High-A pitching 15 scoreless innings. The stuff has looked fantastic with a fastball sitting around 97, a cutter to keep batters off balance, and a plus curveball. There is some concern he lacks a true out pitch for lefties, but that is a bridge to cross in the future. For now, there is no doubt Klassen’s dynasty value is pointing straight up.


Pitchers with Falling Dynasty Value:


Ricky Tiedemann – TOR

This time last year, Ricky Tiedemann was one of the hottest prospect names in baseball. Coming off a spectacular 2022 season, there were few pitching prospects, if any, that had as much talent as Tiedemann. Injuries delayed the start of his 2023 season and Tiedemann never seemed to recover. All said, Tiedemann only wound up pitching 42 total innings across three levels last season. His control regressed, his ERA ballooned, and his dynasty value took a bit of a fall.

In my first Prospect List of 2024, I remained optimistic about Tiedemann’s future. Yes, the ERA spiked in 2023, but his ERA indicators remained fantastic. Yes, he dealt with injuries, but all pitchers deal with injuries at some point throughout their careers. He did not turn 21 until August and appeared to be healthy heading into 2024. Few Minor League pitchers demonstrated the stuff and inclination to strike batters out that Tiedemann had and many were confident there were brighter days ahead this season.

Toronto sent Tiedemann back to Triple-A to start the season and unfortunately, things have gotten better, not worse. Tiedemann has made it through just eight innings across three starts. The culprit behind these short outings was a lack of control. Since 2022, Tiedemann has seemingly lost all control of his pitches. Early on, Tiedemann is walking over 20% of batters he has faced. Lack of control instantly adds relief risk to any pitcher especially when they are struggling to make it through three innings. Tiedemann has not pitched more than four innings since July 1st, 2022. Writing off one season filled with injuries is one thing, at this point though, it is a pattern.

While all of these are concerns, Tiedemann’s dynasty value took another hit this past week. The Blue Jays announced he was placed on the Triple-A injured list with left elbow discomfort. Another arm injury forces dynasty managers to face the reality that Tiedemann may never reach the potential he flashed two seasons ago. The likelihood of Tiedemann’s arm being able to handle a starter’s workload (even in 2024) is slim. While he has as much potential as any Minor League pitcher, his dynasty value continues to trend in the wrong direction.


AJ Smith-Shawver – ATL

AJ Smith-Shawver’s meteoric rise through the Minor League system was impressive to watch. The Braves’ aggression with Smith-Shawver created a frenzy in the dynasty community. There was really no time for prospect gurus to get ahead of the curve on AJSS and then once he was up, the results were not exactly what dynasty managers hoped for. This sense of disappointment overshadowed the fact that at 20 years old, AJSS went from High-A to the Major Leagues in just 33 innings. For dynasty managers who are constantly chasing the next shiny toy, Smith-Shawver quickly became yesterday’s news.

Some of AJ Smith-Shawver’s dynasty value seemed to return during Spring Training this year. After averaging 94.5 mph on his four-seam fastball last season, AJSS came to camp with new velocity. His fastball was sitting 96 with the ability to hit 99. For fantasy baseball players, a pitcher reaching new fastball velocity is the equivalent of a hitter spending his offseason working at Driveline. One could say, “best shape of their life.” There was hope that AJSS would break camp with the Braves but he lost the battle for the fifth starter spot and headed back down to Triple-A.

Still just 21 years old, there was still plenty of reason to be optimistic about Smith-Shawver’s dynasty value. However, things have not gotten off to the best start. Through his first three starts, Smith-Shawver owns an 8.22 ERA. His first two starts were especially bad as he lasted just a total of three innings combined. Dynasty managers scouring the surface stats are going to be quickly turned off by AJSS early season numbers.

While the numbers are discouraging to begin with, there is even more reason to be concerned with his start. At the Major League level, most of Smith-Shawver’s struggles revolved around how he pitched left-handed batters. His arsenal relies heavily on his fastball and he lacks the feel for a true secondary pitch to get lefties out consistently. Last season, lefties slashed .240/.356/.560 against him specifically demolishing his fastball.

Heading into 2024, the most encouraging thing would be to see Smith-Shawver gaining an increased feel for his secondary offerings. Instead, Smith-Shawver has been throwing his fastball over 60% of the time. While he is finding even more success with his fastball, his breaking pitches are struggling more than ever. Opposing batters are slugging 1.250 off of his slider and are batting 1.000 off of his curveball. A good fastball is an important foundation for building a successful pitcher, but it cannot be the only trick in their bag against Major League batters.

AJ Smith-Shawver is still extremely raw talent-wise. He has already shown the ability to add more velocity to his fastball. In addition, he has already flashed the ability to get Major League hitters out. However, there is no question his dynasty value is trending in the wrong direction. He has yet to show the ability to effectively command his secondaries which is not a recipe for success against Major League batters. Dynasty managers should not be giving up on AJSS, but perhaps adjusting their expectations.


Honorable Mentions:


Brandon Barriera – TOR

Another Blue Jays arm finds himself in the trending down section of this list. Brandon Barriera has shown up here and there on prospect lists but his inability to stay on the mound has prevented him from ever generating the same hype as some others. Barriera has electric stuff and was one of my favorite pitchers coming out of the 2022 draft. At the time, Tiedemann’s dynasty value was peaking and it seemed Barriera was going to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, Barriera has only pitched 21.2 professional innings in the past three seasons. He seemed healthy heading into 2024 but only lasted 1.1 innings before leaving with an apparent arm injury. A reliever is likely the future outcome here, which certainly has his dynasty value trending further down.


Daniel Espino – CLE

Daniel Espino is another pitcher seeing his dynasty value plummet as a result of injuries. Injuries have become a consistent theme throughout Espino’s professional career and he seems unable to get past them. Just when things seemed to be trending in the right direction, Espino suffered yet another season-ending injury prior to the start of 2024. While many had already proclaimed that Espino would only make it as a reliever, even that is in question now. One of the most talented arms to grace the Minor Leagues, there is a legitimate chance he never makes it to the Major Leagues. His dynasty value has continued to plummet and is now at the lowest it has ever been. Hopefully, Espino can return to the mound in 2025 so we can see more of these strikeouts:

Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photo by Leslie Brandon Sloter & Doug Murray / Icon Sportswire

4 responses to “Dynasty Baseball Minor League Pitcher Performance Report”

  1. Great find on Bright! You’re the first I’ve ever seen mention him so that’s a fantastic and interesting find. Wondering if the BB sticks but maybe it will!

    Any thoughts on Jonah Tong?

    • Matt Heckman says:

      Thanks! Still worried about some relief risk with spotty control. The stuff looks really good though. Definitely a name to keep an eye on but not somebody I am super in on yet

  2. NoBlubaws here says:

    I noticed AJ Blubaugh is on a tear to start too; but he hasnt had much hype but maybe had some velo tick up. Worth a stash? thoughts?

    • Matt Heckman says:

      He feels like such an Astros pitching prospect. nothing super overpowering but seemingly comes out of nowhere to relevance. I do not think his ceiling is all that high although his fast start certainly has me paying more attention!

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