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.
These performance reports have been a blast to write and they keep chugging along. Last month, I hit on four pitchers that were seeing their dynasty value rise and four pitchers that were seeing their dynasty value fall. I feel like it is best to check in on how the other pitchers mentioned in the fourth article of this series have fared:
- Adbert Alzolay – Alzolay really looked like he was turning into one of the game’s dominant closers before an arm injury landed him on the IL. His dynasty outlook is still very strong.
- Aaron Civale – Although the ERA has not been great, the walks are down, strikeouts are up, and everything looks very encouraging. Civale’s dynasty value is still rising since the trade to Tampa.
- Drew Thorpe -Thorpe has continued to see his value rise throughout the season looking like one of the most dominant pitchers in Minor League baseball.
- Jacob Misiorowski – Since the promotion to Double-A, Misiorowski’s control has looked even shakier. The potential is still there keeping his value steady, but the concerns are becoming more obvious.
- Shane Bieber -Bieber gave up four runs in his return to the mound. Coming back from injury is encouraging, but his dynasty outlook has not changed much.
- Mitch Keller – Keller has settled back in after a rough patch. His value is not as high as it was earlier this season, but it has rebounded some.
- Gabriel Hughes – Hughes remains out for the season so no change to his value
- Kyle Harrison – Harrison earned a promotion to the Major Leagues increasing his value. The results have been inconsistent, but his value is still higher than it was during his struggles.
Sawyer Gipson-Long – DET
Talk about coming out of nowhere. We have heard of Tigers pitching prospects in Jackson Jobe (more to come), Wilmer Flores, and Ty Madden. We have already seen Reese Olson in the Major Leagues this season. Then, out of nowhere comes Sawyer Gipson-Long.
Gipson-Long was drafted in the sixth round by the Twins back in the 2019 draft. Despite several successful seasons, Gipson-Long really never generated much buzz around the dynasty community. He was traded to Detroit at the 2022 Trade Deadline in return for Michael Fulmer.
With all of the big prospects that moved around the last deadline, he continued to fly completely under the radar. Most of the reasoning for that is that he lacks the big fastball many scouts like to see from a pitching prospect. Gipson-Long instead relies heavily on an old-school sinker to attack hitters. Most of his strikeouts come from his secondary pitches (more on that soon).
With the season winding down, the Tigers decided to give Gipson-Long a chance at the Major League level. His Minor League numbers from this season were a bit of a mixed bag as the strikeout-to-walk ratio was great, but his ERA still sat above four. Even with a first matchup against the White Sox, I am not sure anybody was expecting much from the young right-hander.
He fired five innings of two-run ball looking more impressive than many had expected. His second start is where he really saw his value take off. Against the Angels, SGL(that is what I decided I am going to call him) fired five shutout innings and struck out 11 batters. This obviously caught the eye of the entire fantasy community.
Digging into SGL, only one person can do his breakdown justice. Nick Pollack provided an in-depth breakdown of SGL’s arsenal evaluating his first two innings of work. I encourage all of you to check that out here.
One thing that Nick mentioned and sticks out to me is SGL’s ability to rely on his secondary pitches. His two most used pitches are his changeup and slider. He is not afraid to throw either pitch to any hitter in any count. The whiff rate on those pitches is 41.7% on the slider and 59.4%(!) on the changeup. Obviously, those numbers are not going to continue, but they are still incredibly impressive to see.
SGL’s has looked unhittable through his first three Major League starts. He has a 2.40 ERA, 2.22 xERA, and a 33.3% strikeout rate. One thing to be aware of is the opponents he has faced in those three starts. Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland. Three of the worst offenses in baseball.
That being said, there is no denying that SGL has seen his dynasty value take off over the past month. With a good end to the season, SGL could be one of the hottest commodities in the dynasty landscape this off-season.
Michael King – NYY
Earlier this season we were talking about Michael King as a potential sleeper for saves out of the bullpen. Now after saving six games, it seems everybody is claiming King as their breakout starting pitcher for 2024.
After making his first 38 appearances in 2023 out of the bullpen, King was given a chance to start on August 12th but was used as an opener. I am not sure anybody really thought much of it and he was used in a similar fashion again on August 24th. The real surprise came during his start on August 29th against Detroit where he lasted four innings allowing just three hits and no runs.
If the Yankees were going to let King start, he was at least intriguing from a fantasy perspective. Through that start, King’s ERA sat at 2.96 with a strikeout rate of over 28% and a walk rate of under nine percent. There is not another pitcher in all of baseball with 80+ innings pitched that meets that criteria.
Although there was intrigue, I am not sure anybody could have predicted his recent run of success. Since that start in Detroit, King has made four starts with a 1.66 ERA and a 0.40 (!) FIP. King is not just facing bottom-tier offenses either. He has made starts against Houston, Toronto, Milwaukee, and Boston. King’s statement game came on September 20th against Toronto when he fired seven innings while striking out 13 batters.
The most unique thing that King does is alter his pitch mix depending on the handedness of the batter. Here is how his pitch usage breaks down in the month of September depending on which side of the plate the hitter stands on:
King is a three-pitch pitcher to both lefties and righties although the three pitches he uses vary distinctly. I can only break down what makes King’s arsenal so effective to a degree. If you want to learn more, check out this breakdown by PitcherList himself discussing all of the things that have made King look like well… a king.
King has come out of nowhere recently. There is a chance that he was already rostered in your dynasty leagues as a reliever, but not many relievers outside of closers are often rostered. Now, he has transformed into somebody pitching like an ace.
His dynasty value has taken off over the past month in a similar fashion to Cole Ragans. Hopefully, you got in on King while you could because it is definitely too late now.
*Note: This was written before King’s six scoreless innings on Tuesday night against Toronto.
Julio Urías – LAD
Similar to the Wander Franco situation, there is not much to say when it comes to Julio Urías. Once one of the rising stars in today’s game has run into some serious legal troubles as he battles domestic violence charges. This marks the second time in Urias’ career that he has dealt with allegations of this severity which has turned into a concerning pattern. At this point, it is fair to wonder if he will ever throw another pitch in the Major Leagues.
Even without the domestic violence charges, Urias as a major disappointment this season. Across 117.1 innings, he posted a 4.60 ERA supported by a 4.69 FIP. He was in the midst of the worst season of his career thanks in large part to his inability to limit the long ball.
After posting a 2.61 PLA last season, Urias has seen the number jump to 3.26. Although this is still a strong number, it marks a stark decline in a previously elite profile.
Although Urias posted a 2.16 ERA last season, it has felt like people have been calling for his decline for several seasons now. This year we finally saw it happen. Combine his struggles with the new off-the-field concerns and he has lost a tremendous amount of dynasty value.
Bryce Elder – ATL
While everybody spent most of Spring Training talking about Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster, the actual name to know was Bryce Elder. Elder made his Major League debut last season for Atlanta but went virtually unnoticed during the draft season. A low strikeout rate and poor peripherals were the primary reasons for this. Outside of a changeup, PLV was not a believer at all in Elder’s stuff.
Despite the criticisms, Elder came out of the gates firing. Through the first two months of the season, Elder was 3-0 with an incredible 1.92 ERA. Although everybody knew that this level of success was unsustainable, he was still one of the most popular pick-ups of the season.
The most encouraging part of his profile was an increased reliance on his slider. In 2022, Elder’s slider generated a whiff rate of 36.6%. This is by far his best out-pitch. Through the first two months of the season, Elder was throwing this pitch nearly 10% more than he did in 2022.
Regression started to hit Elder at the start of June and has only gotten worse throughout the season. He has surrendered at least four runs in three of his last five starts and has a 4.74 ERA since the start of August. Through his first 12 starts, Elder was striking out 22.2% of batters he faced. Not great, but a manageable number. Over his last 14 starts, he is striking out just 14.5% of batters. A truly disgusting number for fantasy baseball purposes.
The truth is, Elder does not have the stuff to be a front of the rotation arm. For fantasy baseball, strikeouts are such a large portion of how a pitcher generates value. Elder is a pitch-to-contact pitcher who loves to rely on his sinker.
This season, the sinker has an xBA of .342 and an xSLG of .561. According to PLV, Elder’s sinker ranks in the tenth percentile of all sinkers in Major League Baseball. The PLA on this pitch is 5.63.
While many dynasty managers thought that they found a key piece of their future rotation early this year, Elder is clearly not that. His recent struggles and continued poor underlying metrics point to even more regression coming for him. His dynasty value is trending in the wrong direction.
Tekoah Roby – STL
Prior to the trade deadline, Tekoah Roby was on very few dynasty radars. The Rangers selected Roby in the third round of the 2020 draft out of Pine Forest High School in Pensacola Florida.
The Rangers had to wait until 2022 to get a real look at what they had in Roby. He pitched just 22 innings in 2021 due to an arm injury. Despite limited experience, the Rangers still sent him to High-A where he had a solid, but unspectacular season. He pitched 104.2 innings with a 4.64 ERA.
The strikeout rate was nice (28.4%), but he really struggled to gain a consistent feel over his pitches. He surrendered 19 home runs that season which was the third most of any pitcher in High-A with less than 105 innings pitched.
The Rangers sent Roby to Double-A in 2023 where things looked more of the same. Roby was giving up plenty of home runs and through his first six starts, he had a 6.83 ERA.
This is when a flip seemed to switch. In the four starts that followed, Roby was dominant He surrendered just one home run while pitching to a 2.08 ERA. This was clearly enough to catch the attention of the Cardinals who made him the centerpiece in a deal sending Jordan Montgomery to Texas.
Injuries prevented Roby from making his Cardinals debut until August 26th, but he has been worth the wait. In total, Roby made four regular season starts with a 3.00 ERA, 2.36 FIP, and a strikeout rate of over 40%. He also made a fifth start in the Minor League postseason where he pitched four innings for the first time since May.
There are durability concerns when it comes to Roby, but he has really seemed to come into his own since joining St. Louis’ organization. His curveball can be inconsistent at times, but when it is on the pitch looks virtually unhittable. He pairs that nicely with a fastball sitting in the mid-90s that he loves to throw up in the zone.
With five dominant starts since joining a new organization, the dynasty community is quickly catching onto just how exciting Roby is. His dynasty value is on the rise and many evaluators even have him as a top 100 prospect in all of baseball.
Jackson Jobe – DET
For those of you who have been consistent readers of the pitcher version of the performance report, then you know Jackson Jobe was already featured as a prospect seeing his value rise earlier this season. Well, Jobe’s value has continued to soar even higher as the season has moved along.
Based on the recent hype surrounding Jobe, you would have no idea he missed this season’s beginning. He is perhaps the most talked about pitching prospect in all of baseball thanks to dominant performances on the mound.
Jobe made six starts in Low-A where he pitched to a 2.25 ERA across 16 innings. The assignment to Low-A was just a stepping stone for Jobe to regain his confidence and form before he returned to High-A. After those 16 innings, it was safe to say Jobe did not need to spend another second a that level.
The Tigers sent Jobe to High-A where he managed to look even better. Across eight starts, Jobe pitched to a 3.61 ERA, but his xFIP is what really sticks out. Jobe’s xFIP was just 1.91 thanks to an elite strikeout-to-walk ratio. After posting a 2.05 ERA across his final four starts, the Tigers sent him to Double-A for one final appearance. All that he did there was fire six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and zero walks.
Coming out of high school, Jobe was praised as a pitcher with incredible stuff, but he had yet to fully harness the pitches in his arsenal. The pure stuff landed him at number three overall in the 2021 draft, but the shaky control led to a 3.81 ERA in his debut season.
This season, it is safe to say Jobe put it all together. His fastball now sits as high as 98 mph while his slider is devastating to righties.
You're going to want to see how Jackson Jobe's slider breaks ?
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 17, 2023
What stands out most when watching Jobe on the mound is his incredible control and command of all four pitches. Jobe did not surrender a walk in his final 28 innings to end this season.
He was one of only 12 pitchers in the Minor Leagues with at least 60 innings pitched to walk less than four percent of batters. He was one of only two to do that while striking out at least 30% of batters and the only one with a walk rate below three percent.
Despite only pitching 64 innings this season, Jobe was one of the best pitchers in all of Minor League baseball. The dynasty community is catching on fast and his value has never been higher. Jobe is now in the same conversation as Ricky Tiedemann and Paul Skenes in terms of ranking rewarding managers who were patient with him.
At this point, it is fair to wonder if we will see Jobe in Detroit at some point next season.
Tink Hence – STL
With one Cardinals prospect rising up the ranks, here is one seeing his value fall recently. Tink Hence was a prospect darling of the fantasy community entering the 2023 season. Many in the industry were able to go to Arizona this last spring and saw Tink Hence lighting up radar guns creating even more buzz around his name.
Hence is known for his ability to hit triple digits while pairing that with a wipeout curveball. Two easily plus pitches are an easy thing to look for when trying to find the next big pitching prospect.
One of the issues that I had with Hence going into the season was durability and relief risk. Despite making 16 starts in 2022, Hence threw just 52.1 innings. His inability to work deep into games gave me some hesitation when looking at him as the next big thing.
So far in 2023, Hence has been able to answer those concerns. He has set a new career high in innings pitched at 96 and has pitched five innings nine different times this season. So why is Hence’s value trending down?
Despite already having two very good pitches, Hence has not proven capable of generating consistently high strikeout rates. Yes, he stuck out 41.3% of batters while in Low-A. However, high strikeout rates in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues are common.
Hence’s strikeout rate has dropped significantly this season; first to 27.9% in High-A, and then all of the way down to 22.2% after his promotion to Double-A. As the competition has gotten harder, Hence’s stuff has looked less impressive.
Not only were the strikeouts down and the walks up, but his ERA also ballooned to 5.47 after his promotion. Across his final eight starts of the season, Hence posted a 7.34 ERA while seeing his walk rate creep up north of ten percent. Maybe Hence was just tired having never pitched this many innings in a professional season.
The alternative is that Hence was able to rely on pure stuff to coast through the lower levels of the Minor Leagues, but is yet to learn how to truly pitch to get more advanced hitters out. The second option is more concerning for his fantasy value.
After a rough end to the 2023 season, Hence’s value is trending in the wrong direction. The potential for a front-line starter is still there, but the relief risk continues to grow with each season. 2024 will be a major year in determining what role Hence projects in long-term and fantasy managers will want to pay close attention.
Mike Vasil – NYM
Prior to 2023, Mike Vasil was not a name most dynasty managers were familiar with. During the off-season, Vasil landed ninth overall in the Mets’ top 15 prospects breakdown for PitcherList.
In that article, I hit on the fact that there were plenty of unknowns surrounding Vasil’s profile. A dominant high school career was cut short due to an arm injury that seemed to transform the way Vasil threw the ball. He showed significant improvements in velocity and command last season casting some optimism on this year.
Early on, Vasil was delivering in a major way. While in Double-A, his strikeout remained close to 30% with the velocity on his fastball remaining up in the upper 90s. The best part was that his control, which was once a weakness in his profile, was pinpoint. Vasil was walking just 4.1% of batters in Double-A getting many in the fantasy community excited about his potential.
Vasil’s value was rising quickly early this season and grew even higher once he was promoted to Triple-A. The issue is that since being promoted, Vasil has really struggled.
As the season has gone along, Vasil’s fastball velocity has dropped and is now averaging just 93.3 mph since his promotion. Despite the drop in velocity, Vasil is throwing the pitch well over 50% of the time which could be the key to some of his issues.
Over his last four starts, Vasil has an ERA of 6.75. Overall, since his promotion, is ERA is an ugly 5.48. ERA is not everything for Minor League pitchers but his walk rate has also skyrocketed back up to 11.4%. Fatigue could be an issue here as Vasil has set a career-high in innings pitched, but the shaky performances are still concerning.
After increasing earlier this season, Vasil’s dynasty value has dropped back down as of late.