Dynasty Performance Report: Major League Middle Infielders 3.0

Middle Infielders seeing their dynasty value rise.

The middle infield position always feels like a top-heavy one. Routinely you see a handful of the top fantasy performers occupying a middle infield spot, especially shortstop, but then there is usually a significant drop off from there. Let’s dive in to see which MLB players are trending up or trending down to start the year.

Be sure to head over to the Pitcher List dynasty page to check out other helpful articles such as the dynasty performance report for outfielders!


Dynasty Risers


Gunnar Henderson, SS, BAL


Yeah, maybe this is a bit of a boring one – just how much can someone like Henderson rise in dynasty rankings? Well, his 2024 is certainly posing that question. Through his first 65 games this season, Henderson is triple-slashing a ridiculous .274/.375/.599 with 21 home runs and eight steals. That pace puts him on track for a potential 50/20 season, and he’s firmly in the discussion with Aaron Judge as American League MVP frontrunners. Remember, Henderson, doesn’t turn 23 years old until the end of the month.

On the surface, I assumed that Henderson’s play since the start of May where he posted a 175 wRC+ with 11 home runs while triple slashing .259/.390/.578 was carrying his overall season but nope, that’s just a continuation of his sizzling April. It’s looking more and more like this is just who Henderson is – one of the absolute best players in baseball.

That brings us back to the question: just how much can someone like Henderson rise in dynasty rankings? You can easily make the argument that he’s the number one overall dynasty asset. As noted above, he’s not even 23 years old yet, and many of the players that were considered in the elite dynasty asset tier entering 2024 have either struggled thus far or been hurt (looking at you Corbin Carroll, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Julio Rodríguez). That means it probably comes down to Henderson and Bobby Witt Jr.who is having an excellent season in his own right, or Shohei Ohtani for those that are willing to swallow the age difference.


Ezequiel Tovar, SS, COL


I shouted out Tovar as an honorable mention in this section back in April, but given Colorado’s struggles and Tovar’s somewhat disappointing 2023, his breakout is being overlooked. Through his first 66 games in 2024, the shortstop is triple-slashing .292/.323/.491 with 11 home runs and four steals. Stretch that pace out to a full season and we are looking at a potential 25/10 player that’s flirting with a .300 average. There aren’t many players that can contribute across the board like that, and Tovar doesn’t turn 23 until August.

Tovar’s bat in particular has sizzled since the start of May – from May 1 through June 11, Tovar triple slashed .301/.317/.540 with eight homers. That’s good for a .239 ISO. The middle infielder never posted that type of power in the minors, so it would be a little foolish to expect that type of bashing going forward, but his thump definitely plays up with Coors Field as a home park.

If there is a red flag with Tovar, it’s that he walks very little and strikes out a lot. So far, he’s struck out at a 28.2% rate while walking just 3.7% of the time. There’s no way around it – that’s not good. It will likely lead to some hot and cold stretches for Tovar.


Honorable Mention


David Hamilton, 2B/SS, BOS: Hamilton has had a hot bat start since the start of May. From May 4 through June 11, the middle infielder hit .325 with 11 steals (with only one caught stealing). Hamilton will never be mistaken for a power hitter, but during this stretch, he also posted 10 extra-base hits, including two home runs, which is good for a .180 ISO. Hamilton’s .410 BABIP indicates that there is likely some regression coming in the near future, but given that he has near-elite chase statistics, there is a chance that Hamilton’s breakout is at least somewhat real. He’s played his way into a near-everyday role, but we will see if that remains to be the case as the Red Sox roster gets healthier.

Nick Gonzales, 2B, PIT: Gonzales got the call to the majors back on May 10 and he’s more than held his own since then, triple-slashing .308/.342/.500 with four home runs and two steals in 28 games. It’s been an up-and-down career for Gonzales since he was drafted seventh overall back in the 2020 draft, and while it is a small sample, it is encouraging to see him have some production at the MLB level after some initial struggles following a promotion in 2023. he is chasing at a considerable rate so far, so there is a decent chance we see an incoming slump, but for now, Gonzales is looking closer to a near everyday MLB player than I would have guessed two months ago.

Nolan Gorman, 2B, STL – Gorman has been absolutely crushing the ball. From May 12 through June 11, Gorman belted 10 home runs while triple slashing .267/.351/640. Only Aaron Judge has more home runs in the span. Strikeouts are always going to be a part of Gorman’s game, so it’s no surprise that even during this hot stretch he was sent down on strikes north of 35% of the time. On the season he’s up to 15 home runs through 59 games, and although he’s going to sit on occasions against left-handed pitchers (even though he’s holding his own against them this year), he’s well on his way to a 35-homer campaign. It feels like he’s been around forever, but Gorman just turned 24, and as such is probably one of the more underrated dynasty assets. He’s starting to look like prime Max Muncy.


 Dynasty Fallers


CJ Abrams, SS, WSN


Abrams was featured as a riser in the first version of this article back in April. It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Abrams, and the current line through 60 games looks solid enough- the 23-year-old is triple-slashing .245/.294./.457 with 10 home runs and 10 steals. So he’s on pace for roughly a 25/25 season. That’s a considerable drop-off in the stolen base category, but the uptick in power is nice to see. It’s tough to complain about a 25/25 season from anyone, after all.

But a lot of the production is carried by the hot start. Through April 29, Abrams was hitting .297 and had already tallied seven home runs and six steals. He was walking 9.6% of the time and striking out at a 17.4% clip. Since then? His walk rates have run away from one another (2.0% walk rate and 24.5% strikeout rate), and he’s tallied just three home runs and three steals. That’s a 57 wRC+ during that span, and he’s been a below-replacement-level player.

So which Abrams is the real Abrams? The right answer is most likely the obvious one – he’s a player somewhere between the one that we saw in April and the one we are seeing now. So while my April article around Abrams pointed to a potential breakout, I think he’s more likely a player who is taking another small step forward this season rather than one making a leap.  That’s still a very valuable fantasy player, especially one that is this young. His chase rate ranks in the third percentile of all of baseball, and while there are some players who chase a ton and can still be productive, it makes the hill that much higher to climb.


Zack Gelof, 2B, OAK


Rewind back to 2023 and Gelof appeared to be a breakout candidate. He tore through Triple-A, hitting .304 with 12 home runs and 20 steals in 69 games. That earned him a promotion to the bigs where he also played 69 games and backed up his Triple-A numbers with a very impressive rookie season. Gelof triple slashed .267/.337/.504 with 14 home runs and 14 steals. The second baseman looked to be one of the more exciting young players in the game.

This season has been rough for Gelof, to say the least. Through 49 games he’s hitting just .187 with five home runs and seven steals. He’s striking out 33.2% of the time, which is a noticeable increase from his 37.3% mark a year ago. Gelof did suffer an oblique injury in late April that caused him to miss three weeks, and he’s been just as bad since returning as he was prior to hitting the IL (he’s hitting .178 in 25 games since being activated in mid-May).

Gelof swings and misses more than almost anyone in the league and when he does make contact, he’s hitting a considerably higher rate of groundballs than he was a year ago (52.1% rate this season compared to 21.3% in 2023). I’m not sure what needs to change here for Gelof to get back to some semblance of the player we saw in 2023, but it’s not out of the question that he may need to find out for himself in Triple-A.


Honorable Mention


Jeff McNeil, 2B/OF, NYM: McNeil was never a high-ceiling fantasy asset, but entering 2023 he was coming off two solid seasons, especially for deep league players. In 2022, McNeil hit .326 and posted a 141 wRC+. It’s really difficult to have a wRC+ that high when you don’t hit a ton of long balls, but McNeil’s contact ability was elite. His production dropped in 2023, but he still hit .270 with 10 home runs and 10 steals. Again, this type of player isn’t likely to win you a league but McNeil offered a comfortable floor coming into 2024. Unfortunately, through his first 59 games, he is hitting just .231. For someone whose value comes from average, that just isn’t going to cut it. As a result, he has begun to lose playing time in the Mets lineup so it’s difficult to envision a scenario, at least for 2024, where his


Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photo by Frank Jansky & Brian Rothmuller / Icon Sportswire

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