Low Risk, High Floor Prospects for Dynasty Baseball

Safe prospects to target in dynasty leagues.

Chasing too much upside can get you in trouble no matter what format of fantasy baseball you play in. Balance is key and building a dynasty squad is no different. Sure drafting the prospects with extreme upside (as identified in my previous article) can lead to some home run picks. That strategy also leads to plenty of busts. In contrast, this article identifies prospects that do not have the same kind of upside but are amongst the safer prospects to target in your dynasty leagues.


High-Floor Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues


Catcher: Drew Romo – COL

What Makes Romo So Safe:

For those of you who think defense is irrelevant in the fantasy landscape, skip past this section. Romo’s glove makes him one of the safest catching prospects in dynasty baseball. Defense is prioritized at the catching position more than anywhere else on the diamond. Just look at how Martin Maldonado kept his starting job for most of the 2023 season over Yainer Diaz. Defense matters and Romo is almost guaranteed to make it as a starting catcher regardless of how his bat plays.

Now, the bat does matter as nobody wants to roster the next Austin Hedges. Romo’s offensive production has been inconsistent throughout his professional career, but he has shown flashes of becoming an impactful fantasy asset. He has stolen at least six bases in each of his first three seasons eclipsing 18 twice. He also saw a spike in his HR/FB% last season thanks to an increased pull percentage. Stat accumulation matters at the catcher position. Romo has the potential to be a 15-home-run bat and generate at-bats regularly. He is not flashy, but he is a sure bet to make the Major Leagues.

Why Romo has a Low Ceiling:

Overall, the power has been disappointing. Despite playing in hitter-friendly parks on multiple occasions, Romo has never posted an HR/FB% north of 11.7%. Even in Coors Field, his power is unlikely to translate to significant home run totals. 18 catchers in baseball hit at least 15 home runs last season. Romo projects to settle into the 10-15 home run range long term. This is not enough to carry him into the upper-tier of options at catcher. Some thought his base-stealing ability would lead to a high fantasy ceiling. While it is true that he has stolen 47 bases in his professional career, his success rate last season was under 50%. Romo is likely to stick at the Major League level thanks to his defense, his bat is likely to be unspectacular for dynasty managers.


First Base: Nathan Martorella – TEX

What Makes Martorella So Safe:

The biggest issue often found with left-handed hitting first basemen is a large platoon split. They crush righties but struggle to hit left-handed pitching in the Minor Leagues. One of the many things that stands out about Martorella is his ability to handle left-handed pitching. The Padres’ fifth-round pick from 2022 is moving quickly through the Minor Leagues thanks to a well-rounded approach leading to success. Martorella has an excellent understanding of the strike zone and excellent bat control. His contact skills create a stable floor that should provide dynasty managers with a certain degree of comfort.

Batting average is far from the most important stat for first basemen, but there is more to Martorella than just contact skills. He showed off the ability to drive the ball out of the park with regularity in 2023 crushing 19 home runs. Martorella may never be a threat for 30+, but his hit tool and solid power base provide an excellent foundation. He is one of the safer first base prospects to target in dynasty leagues.

Why Martorella has a Low Ceiling:

Martorella is solid across the board. The plate discipline is strong. He makes contact at a high clip and his power is slightly above average. He taps into his pull side well which allows his overall power to play up and he projects to be a 20-25 home run bat. The issue is at first base, you need to be a slugger to be fantasy-relevant. Offense is a must-have at the first base position in fantasy and standing out is important. Finding a 20-home-run bat who can hit .260 is right around the replacement level. Steamer projects Anthony Rizzo to finish as a $1 player with 24 home runs and a .243 batting average. Martorella is likely to hit for a better average than that, but he is unlikely to ever finish as a top-ten option at the position.


Second Base: Juan Brito – CLE

What Makes Brito so Safe:

Since making his professional debut in Colorado’s system, scouts have praised Brito’s mature approach at the plate. He walked more than he struck out during his debut season despite being just 17 years old. These high walk rates have stuck with him throughout his career and elevates his fantasy value in OBP leagues.

Paired with his excellent understanding of the strike zone, Brito also possesses excellent contact skills. He has never posted a strikeout rate above 15.7% further raising the fantasy floor. His swing path is smooth and consistent producing plenty of line drives. His plus hit tool gives him a solid fantasy base for standard leagues and the lack of strikeouts plus his high walk rates makes him a nice player to target in point/OBP leagues.

To read more on Brito, check out this fantasy baseball breakdown by Vincent Ginardi!

Why Brito has a Low Ceiling:

Brito’s advanced approach and strong hit tool provide him with an extremely safe base. However, he profiles to be a better real-life hitter than fantasy asset. Why? First off, Brito does not generate much power in his bat. At the plate, Brito prioritizes contact as opposed to driving the ball. His HR/FB rates have been below the league average throughout his professional career and that does not profile to change anytime soon. Cleveland also ranks 23rd in Statcast Park Factors for home runs further suppressing his home run projections.

Brito also does not steal many bases. In fact, during the 2023 season, Brito went just seven for 14 on the bases including a dreadful three for 10 during his time in Double-A. Brito’s ceiling is something like a .275 hitter with 12 home runs and seven stolen bases. This is not enough to get fantasy managers overly excited.


Shortstop: Darell Hernaiz – OAK

What Makes Hernaiz So Safe:

One of the better organizational moves made by Oakland in the past few seasons was acquiring Darell Hernaiz from Baltimore in exchange for Cole Irvin. He has since moved quickly through the Athletics system and is already expected to spend the majority of the season serving as Oakland’s primary shortstop. Projecting to be a Major League shortstop at 22 makes Hernaiz one of the safer prospects on this list. His hit tool is the carrying attribute. Hernaiz makes contact at an above-average rate which continued after a promotion to Triple-A. Hernaiz whiffed just 17.4% of the time and should post solid batting averages in the Major Leagues.

On top of his plus hit tool is solid speed. Hernaiz stole 32 bases in 2022 and stole 13 more last season. Although his speed may be declining, he still profiles for 10-15 stolen bases a season. A solid base of stolen bases with batting average is difficult to find in a player this young. His ceiling may not be that of other shortstop prospects, but he is one of the safer prospects out there.

Why Hernaiz has a Low Ceiling:

I could almost copy and paste exactly what was written for Juan Brito right here. While Hernaiz has better speed and base-stealing abilities than Brito, he lacks the power that can turn him into an elite fantasy asset. In Hernaiz’s case, his production needs to be even higher to crack the upper echelon of shortstops in fantasy. Hernaiz has never topped 11 home runs in any professional season and his batted ball data backs that up. His average exit velocity during his time in Triple-A was just 86.9 mph. His barrel rate sat a lowly two percent. Hernaiz prioritizes contact and does an excellent job spraying the ball to all fields. This combined with a near 50% ground ball rate creates an extremely low home run ceiling. Dynasty managers should expect a high batting average but not much else from Hernaiz.


Third Base: Justyn-Henry Malloy – DET

What Makes Malloy So Safe:

Dynasty managers will be hard-pressed to find a prospect with better plate discipline than Justyn-Henry Malloy. Malloy joined the Tigers prior to last season in a trade that sent Joe Jimenez to Atlanta. The move to a new organization did not seem to faze Malloy who posted a 130 wRC+ in his debut season. His wRC+ is carried by an 18% walk rate which is right around his career average. This patient approach allows Malloy to generate plenty of pitches to do damage with. A walk rate this high creates an intriguing fantasy asset for OBP leagues and a stable floor for standard leagues.

His strikeout rate suggests that there is an issue with his hit tool but the reality is that is also a plus attribute. Malloy has posted above-average contact rates throughout his professional career. His swing also produces a ton of line drives which allows his BABIP to play up. His hit tool and plate discipline create an OBP base that could be amongst the best in baseball.

Malloy also adds plenty of raw pop to the mix. Although the move to Detroit hurts his home run projections, he still can tap into plenty of power. He projects to hit between 20-25 home runs a season in Comerica. The floor for Malloy is likely a .350 OBP with 15 home runs with room for much more. Malloy’s Minor League numbers leave no doubt he is going to be able to produce offensively at the Major League level.

Why Malloy has a Low Ceiling:

Overall, there is a lot to like with JHM. He has plus pop and elite plate discipline. The concern is that a fine profile does not cut it at third base. To have a high fantasy ceiling at this position, a player either needs a combination of speed and power, or to be elite in the home run category. Here are the top 10 finishers at 3B according to FanGraphs Auction Calculator with their home run and stolen base totals:

The point from this list is that to finish inside of the top 10 at the position, you either need to hit 30+ home runs or reach double-digit stolen bases. The one exception is Alex Bregman who is an elite counting stat contributor thanks to his team context. Malloy’s power numbers suggest his ceiling is closer to 25 home runs. He also has never stolen more than five bases in a single season. There is a lot to like in Malloy’s profile, but he is unlikely to ever become an elite fantasy asset.


Outfield: Andy Pages – LAD

What Makes Pages So Safe:

Most prospects on this list come with a plus-hit tool and lack the power to become impactful fantasy bats. Pages is the opposite. The Dodgers signed Pages back in 2017 and have watched him work his way slowly through their Minor League system. He made it to Triple-A in 2023 before a shoulder injury abruptly ended his season.

Pages carrying tool throughout his professional career has been power. He hit 19 home runs in 2019, 31 homers in 2021, and another 26 home runs in 2022. His approach is designed for home runs. He hits fly balls nearly 50% of the time and has a natural ability to pull the baseball. These two skills combined resemble closely to popular 2023 breakout Isaac Paredes. He has posted strong HR/FB rates throughout his professional career which should translate nicely to the Major Leagues. Pages has also shown off impressive plate discipline skills. His patient approach forces pitchers to give him more pitches where he can do damage.

One concern about hitting a lot of pulled fly balls is that it oftentimes leads to a low BABIP. The best part of Pages is that his hit tool has sneaky upside. He has always done an excellent job of hitting tons of line drives which helps to alleviate some of the concerns surrounding his BABIP. His contact skills have also shown substantial growth from his early seasons with his swinging strike rate steadily declining. His floor is somewhere around .240 with 20 home runs while his ceiling is likely .260 and 30.

Why Pages has a Low Ceiling:

Pages possesses more upside than most other prospects on this list, but it is still ultimately capped. Many of the elite outfielders in baseball combine power and speed to maintain strong fantasy finishes. Pages has not stolen more than seven bases in a season since 2018. Without projecting to add much value in the stolen base category, he would need to overachieve in the other four categories to become an elite fantasy asset. He lacks the raw power of Schwarber and does not have the hit tool or power of Yordan Alvarez. His power is a plus skill and there is sneaky upside to his hit tool, but he does not profile to be a difference-maker in either category. His ceiling is likely a top 30 outfielder which is not bad but is far from elite.


Photos by Midland Rockhounds, Icon Sportswire, and Daniel Ramos (Wikipedia) | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

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