Dynasty Baseball Performance Report: Second Base

Matt looks at how second basemen 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. Each week we’ll publish a positional report on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

One of the best parts of dynasty leagues is the constant frenzy of moves that occur throughout the season. The idea of these performance reports is to give dynasty players a quick snapshot of whose stock is on the rise and which players it is time to sell in their leagues. So often the major focus of dynasty leagues is on prospects. Yes, prospects play a major role in the formation and long-term success of your team, but it is important to not forget to evaluate Major League performance. Several positions have already been covered this month and you can check them out at the link below. Today, it is my turn to bring you the performance report on second base.

First Base




Major Leaguers


Nolan Gorman– STL

Nolan Gorman’s fantasy value can be best described as a roller coaster through his first season of Major League action. Gorman was a highly touted prospect in the Cardinals’ system known to have massive power. An excellent Spring Training and a hot start to Triple-A action really put him on the map last season before his promotion. After joining the Cardinals, the results were inconsistent. The good was 14 home runs good enough for a 27/600 pace. The bad? A .226 batting average and strikeout rate north of 32%. Entering the 2023 season, Gorman seemed lost in the shuffle of a crowded Cardinals’ lineup.

Despite the lack of fanfare this season, Gorman put his head down and got to work. He is hitting for just as much power as last season with six home runs already. What has taken Gorman to the next level is a batting average close to .300. The strikeout rate is down, and the walk rate is up.

A small sample size of success is great for redraft leagues, but playing dynasty fantasy baseball requires more of a macro view of the situation. Should this hot start be the new expectation for Gorman moving forward? Let’s dive in.

The power is legit, but we knew that from last year. Gorman posted a barrel rate north of 14% his rookie year and is following that up with an 18% rate this season. His average exit velocity is up over 90 mph, and he taps into his pull-side power with plenty of fly balls.

The question is whether or not his contact skills have actually improved. A 34% whiff rate combined with a 31% chase rate plagued Gorman throughout his rookie year. This season his strikeout rate has been down and when you look at PLV it is easy to see why. The first image below is Gorman’s strike zone judgment during the 2022 season. The second image is the PLV rolling chart from this year.

Gorman was slow to adjust to Major League pitching. Early into his debut season, his strike zone judgment was well below league average, but fantasy owners should have been encouraged by steady improvement throughout the season. Enter this year and those improvements have stuck. Gorman’s strike zone judgment has been some of the best in baseball. His chase rate is down over 10% from last year propelling the drop in strikeout rate.

Gorman’s strikeout rate was the primary reason he hit for such a poor batting average last season. With this issue under control, Gorman’s rise in batting average seems sustainable. He hits plenty of line drives and has a history of running high BABIPs in the Minor Leagues. A 25-home run, .270 season is a realistic expectation for Gorman moving forward.

All arrows are pointing up for Gorman in dynasty leagues. He has cemented himself into the Cardinals lineup rotating between DH and second base. The power of Gorman’s level is rare for a middle infielder. Combining this power with improved plate discipline takes his ceiling to new heights. If there is still a chance to buy into Gorman for fantasy leagues, you should be doing so.


Max Muncy– LAD

Yes, you are still reading a piece about dynasty baseball. Yes, this part of the article is telling you to buy a 32-year-old middle infielder. After suffering a torn UCL in the fall of 2021, nobody knew what to expect of Muncy during the 2022 season. The early season results were not encouraging. Through the month of May, Muncy was batting just .150/.327/.263. The power that once made him a big-time fantasy asset seemed like a thing of the past and many began to write Muncy off. He spent some time on the IL and came back to slightly better (albeit far from the expectation) results. August is when he really started to look like his old self. From August 1st forward, Muncy hit .247/.358/.500 with 12 home runs.

During draft season it seemed like the jury was still out on Muncy. A rough fast half combined with the fact he is 32 this year caused many to doubt his ability to find success in 2023. Let’s just say these concerns have been put to bed. Under a month into the season, Muncy is already up to eight home runs with a walk rate north of 20%. If Muncy were to continue this home run pace, he would hit 59 home runs this season. Maybe 59 home runs is a bit of a lofty expectation, but is it fair to expect Muncy to hit 40 this year? Let’s dive in and figure it out.

The clear difference between Muncy’s production in 2021 and his production prior to August of last year was a lack of power. First up is an image looking at Muncy’s PLV power in 2021.

Muncy was one of the best power hitters in baseball. He hit at least 35 home runs in three consecutive seasons (excluding 2020). This power was much closer to the average for the first half of last season.

So far this season, Muncy’s power is off the charts looking reminiscent to 2021.

Muncy has a barrel rate north of 20% with some of the best exit velocities in baseball.

To be clear, Muncy is never going to steal many bases and he is never going to hit for a great average. Muncy’s value is suppressed in your typical category leagues, but this can sometimes make him an even better target. In order to build a successful team, you do not need everybody on your team to be a speed threat. Creating balance is key and Muncy is an elite contributor in three of the five categories typically used. Muncy’s value skyrockets in points and OBP leagues.

Muncy is no spring chicken, but that should not stop you from buying in on Muncy for dynasty leagues. Players that see the fastest drop-off in production often carry a skillset centered around speed. Muncy does his damage with the long ball. He looks completely healthy and is showing no signs of slowing down. At just $13.5 million, the Dodgers should be expected to pick up Muncy’s 2024 option. Playing in an elite should help Muncy maintain significant fantasy production. You can get Muncy at a discount in Dynasty due to his age making now an even better time to buy.



Brandon Drury – LAA

Brandon Drury resurrected his career last season seemingly coming out of nowhere to hit 28 home runs between Cincinnati and San Diego. Although dynasty players are typically slow to buy into a 29-year-old breakout, Drury offered some intrigue heading into 2023. Signing with two-year deal with the Angels allowed Drury to slide into an everyday role with tons of talent surrounding him. Despite this, I included Drury in my bust candidates for 2023 and early indications are supporting this prediction.

Drury has really struggled out of the gate. The biggest issue has been a decline in plate discipline skills. Drury struggled to make consistent contact early in his career before seeming to solve these issues last season. The trade-off for making more contact the past few seasons has been increased aggression leading to higher chase rates. This was a fine substitution to make as long as Drury continued to make more contact. Unfortunately, this season the high chase rate has remained while the contact concerns have popped up again. Drury is whiffing over 30% of the time with a chase rate of 40%. Pitchers are attacking Drury with more breaking balls which he struggles to lay off.

Drury does not have a strong track record of success at the Major League level. Last year was a pleasant surprise and a feel-good story, but it is unrealistic to expect his success to continue. Drury’s dynasty value is trending straight down after a slow start to the season.

Michael Massey– KC

Michael Massey was a popular late-round flier entering 2023. Massey was especially appealing for dynasty leagues thanks to his age and potential upside. Massey made his Major League debut in 2022 hitting four home runs with three stolen bases across 52 games. What made Massey so appealing was a 13%-barrel rate potentially signaling some power upside. For dynasty leagues, Massey appeared to have the inside track to being the Royals’ second baseman of the future. Maikel Garcia is the only other name in the Kansas City system that appeared to be any threat to Massey’s future playing time.

So far in 2023, the season could not have gotten off to much worse of a start for Massey. Through the first 20 games, he is slashing .188/.182/.203 with a -5 wRC+. Anytime a player’s batting average is above their on-base percentage, that should be a major red flag. Massey did not walk much in 2022, but his 4.6% rate was acceptable. Almost a month into the season, and Massey is yet to walk once this year. Pitchers are attacking Massey with more off-speed pitches which Massey whiffs on over 55% of the time. He has looked lost and completely overmatched at the plate and his whiff rate has crept over 32%.

The power upside provided fantasy managers with reason to be optimistic about Massey’s future outlook. Early in 2023, his barrel rate is still a respectable 9.1%, but he has yet to hit a home run. His PLV rolling power chart from 2022 was well above league average helping to mask his struggles to make contact. As you can see in the image below, this year he has been much more pedestrian.

Massey’s power output has been a major disappointment. League-average power in a ballpark like Kansas City only compounds the issue with Massey’s profile. The early results of 2023 point to a player bound for the bench or a trip back to Triple-A. He no longer profiles as the future of the second base position in Kansas City. Those of you hoping to find a hidden gem for your dynasty teams are going to have to look elsewhere.



Michael Busch– LAD

Maybe this one is cheating since Busch is in the Major Leagues currently, but he is still a prospect, so he gets added down here. His stay in the Major Leagues is likely going to be brief as his promotion is only due to Max Muncy being placed on the Paternity List.

Busch feels like a player that has run into prospect fatigue. Expectations were high for Busch after being a first-round pick back in 2019, but now at 25 years old some of the shine has seemed to wear off. Last year between Double-A and Triple-A, Busch put his power on full display mashing 32 home runs. The concern is a high strikeout rate and lack of a true defensive home. Busch profiles as a below-average fielder and although his primary position is second base, he has seen time at first base, third base, and left field. The strikeout rate increased once Busch began facing tougher competition in Double-A. High chase rates have plagued him and have cast doubts over his future production.

Flip the page to 2023 and Busch’s value is on the rise. He is dominating early on in Triple-A with two home runs and a batting average well over .300. One positive to Busch has always been an incredibly smooth and consistent swing path. He hits plenty of line drives while being able to utilize his pull-side power to drive the ball out of the park. This strong line drive rate has continued in 2023 and should help him run high BABIPs throughout his career. Busch not only hits line drives at a high rate but hits them extremely hard. His average exit velocity is up over 91 mph with a 95th percentile EV of 108.  These exit velocities should help keep Busch’s HR/FB% up above the league average.

The power is great, but we knew Busch had power. Why is Busch’s value on the rise now? His plate discipline seems to be improving. Busch is chasing fewer pitches out of the zone and has managed to keep his strikeout rate below 20% early on this year. His swinging strike and whiff percentages are both down indicating an improving hit tool fueling his early season success. Not only are the strikeouts down, but his walk rate has bounced back up to 17%. Before his promotion to Triple-A, Busch had always worked plenty of walks. This number bouncing back shows continued growth in Busch’s approach at the plate.

Although the Dodgers currently have a second baseman, first baseman, and third baseman Michael Busch’s value is trending up. The early signs point to improved plate discipline which should help vault Busch into the Major Leagues. Wherever he ends up playing, he has a chance to be an impact fantasy bat upon his arrival.


Will Wagner– HOU

Will Wagner has consistently flown under the radar since being drafted in the 18th round of the 2021 draft. Chris Clegg was the first person to bring Wagner up to me and I dove a little bit deeper in a piece I wrote this past off-season. Although Wagner does not do any one thing exceptionally well, he has a plus hit tool fueled by a sweet swing path that can drive the ball all over the park. He only hit ten home runs last season but is known for hitting the ball hard giving reason to believe there is more to him than meets the eye.

Things seem to be taking off for Wagner early on this year. The Astros sent him back to Double-A to start the season and he is quickly proving he is ready for tougher competition. His plus hit tool is on full display with a batting average up over .350. Not only is Wagner hitting for average, but he is demonstrating a mature approach at the plate. His strong plate discipline from previous seasons has carried over into 2023. He is walking over 10% of the time while keeping his strikeout rate below 15%. Wagner has phenomenal contact skills that should translate well to the Major Leagues.

The two early-season home runs make Wagner’s start even more encouraging. Wagner hits the ball hard enough to have 20 home run upside although he is more likely to fall into the 10-15 range. Pulling the ball is essential to hitting the ball out of the yard, but Wagner is content to use all fields. He currently projects as a doubles monster. If he learns how to pull the ball more, he could exploit the Crawford Boxes out in Houston and see his home run rate spike.

Wagner appears to be in the midst of a breakout season. The raw skills were evident last year, and they are now translating to success. As notated in my off-season article, Wagner is not the flashiest player, but his profile should translate into a successful Major League player. Wagner deserves to be moved up your prospect rankings.



Nick Gonzales– PIT

Nick Gonzales burst onto the scene with an elite debut season. After being a first-round pick during the pandemic year, Gonzales went straight to High-A where he played in 80 games. He mashed 18 home runs, stole seven bases, and hit .302. After posting those numbers, Gonzales quickly flew up prospect boards. Injuries derailed the start of Gonzales’ 2022 season, but the numbers never quite got back to his 2021 pace. Overall, he appeared in 73 games hitting seven home runs and batting just .264. His strikeout rate spiked as pitchers in Double-A were able to exploit his weaknesses.

Maybe Gonzales’ inclusion on this list is my own fault. I was cautiously optimistic about Gonzales heading into the 2023 season thanks to a strong end to 2022. After returning from injury in August, Gonzales slashed .287/.404/.513 with a reduced strikeout rate the rest of the way. A reasonable conclusion is that his early season struggles were directly correlated to injuries he was battling. Expectations were still high for Gonzales entering 2023.

The early surface stats have been decent. Gonzales is batting .250 with two home runs and a double-digit walk rate. Then, you get to the strikeout rate, an immediate red flag. Since making it to Double-A, Gonzales struggles to make consistent contact and especially struggles to hit breaking balls. Solid plate discipline allows Gonzales to maintain steady walk rates, but the lack of contact is a concern. So far this year, Gonzales is running a swinging strike rate north of 20%. This is even worse than the 16% rate he posted during last season. Instead of showing improvements to his hit tool, Gonzales is proving that he is likely to continue struggling against better pitchers. A .390 BABIP is helping keep his average afloat. Once the BABIP regresses, Gonzales is likely to see his batting average drop close to the Mendoza Line.

Without improvements to his hit tool, I am skeptical of Gonzales ever being able to provide consistent fantasy value. Major League pitchers are adept at exploiting batters’ weaknesses and with the increased reliance on breaking balls there is little optimism left that Gonzales will be able to find success. If you were already fading Gonzales for 2023 continue fading. If you were holding out hope like me, it is time to drop Gonzales down your ranking board.


Thomas Saggese– TEX

Thomas Saggese’s professional career started quickly after being drafted by the Rangers in the fifth round of the 2020 draft. He debuted in Low-A and hit ten home runs with 11 stolen bases in 73 games. He followed that up with 15 home runs and 12 steals in 103 games between High-A and Double-A last year. Saggese has never generated much hype around the industry, but two solid seasons to begin his career created optimism over his future outlook.

Praised for his hit tool early on, Saggese’s contact skills seemed to be improving last year. After posting a 14.8% swinging strike rate in 2021, Saggese lowered this number to 12.5% last season. Neither are anything to write home about, but the steady improvement had many excited to see what he could do in 2023. So far, the strides Saggese took last season have not stuck. His swinging strike rate is up to 19.3% leading to a strikeout rate of over 28%. Saggese’s hit tool is supposed to be his calling card, but he is struggling early this year.

The other issue so far has been the absence of any power or speed. He is yet to hit a home run or even attempt a stolen base. Neither tool was going to propel him to the Major Leagues but there were times he looked serviceable in both categories. A 15/15 projection is still not out of the realm of possibility, but it seems far-fetched now.

The second base prospect pool dries up fast and there was hope Saggese could break through to be fantasy relevant. However, the early signs point to a disappointing season. His dynasty fantasy baseball value is trending in the wrong direction.


Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire
Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@KUWasemiller on Twitter / @kurt_player02 on Instagram

3 responses to “Dynasty Baseball Performance Report: Second Base”

  1. Forrest says:

    With Adam Frazier batting .205 with a .613 OPS, and the recently called-up Joey Ortiz’ AAA 2023 season being fueled by a .418 BABIP, its only a question of time before Jordan Westburg is called up to play 2B in Baltimore.

  2. Chucky says:

    Brandon Drury has really struggled out of the gate? Now there’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one. Did you write this article on Mar 31?

  3. JB says:

    No love for Luis Arraez? He is statistically the best 2B out there right now. He’s young and has to be very high on the list for dynasty…..and being he was available in most 10-12 team drafts?

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