Martin Sekulski’s Top 350 Dynasty Rankings v2.0

Martin resets his process and reveals his Top 350 Dynasty Players

Whew! For those of you who saw the first iteration of this list, it was a rough start. It was Spring Training for me, too. Looking back on the initial installment was eye-opening. As discussed in the first article, the rankings process can be mentally and physically grueling. Finding that balance of young and old, mixed with all the x-factors (injury, playing time, future gains), is daunting. Typically, the Top 100 players will hold serve, and movement beyond the Top 100 will be more fluid. Inside the Top 100, the gaps between players are minute, and preference is often the deciding factor when ranking one player over another. As you get down the list, the margin becomes a little larger. However, ranking someone at 225 versus 275 is not as significant as the 50-position difference would seemingly indicate.


Overall observations from the first version:


  • First basemen were ranked too high, specifically those in the mid-tier, and their rankings are more realistic now. The group of mid-level players at the position is growing, but their dynasty values remain marginal. The elite tier is Freeman, Harper, and Olson, with a decent gap before the Alonso, Casas, and Vlad Jr tier. Once you get beyond CES and Christian Walker, the fall-off becomes more apparent, and the values are incredibly similar.
  • Some players saw a significant drop in their ranking, not necessarily because they’re no longer valuable, but because I just had them too high. Three players that should stand out are James Outman, Brandon Drury, and Luis Arraez, with the latter no longer in the Top 350. 





Paul Skenes, SP, PIT


For those of you who follow my work outside of PL, you know that I love Skenes. He is a legitimate MLB-ready arm with plus stuff across the board. My hesitation from day one with Skenes has been two different yet related things. The first was that he had just six innings of exposure at a professional level. As good as he was at LSU, playing baseball beyond the collegiate ranks is considerably different than the Minor leagues.

The second factor was how the Pirates would handle him. The organization has not always been pitcher-friendly for development, and Skenes is arguably the most talented arm they’ve ever had. His assignment to Triple-A spoke volumes about their plans for Skenes. He is on a trajectory to pitch 30-50 innings in the Minors, followed by another 70-90 in the big leagues. 

On the mound this season, Skenes has dominated at Triple-A. In five starts to open 2024, Skenes has a 0.53 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, with a 34:5 K-BB ratio. Skenes has a 48.9% K-BB rate, 35.86% CSW, and 39.19% WhiffRate, which are ELITE numbers regardless of level. And, of course, the Pirates are simply wasting Skenes in the Minor Leagues and aren’t shy about it. It’s not like they’re even stretching him out, as he’s tallied no more than 4 1/3 innings in each start with a maximum of 71 pitches so far.

You’ve missed your window to buy Paul Skenes in Dynasty unless you’re prepared to part with a Top-25 asset. There has been a lot of talk about injury, especially with the litany of injuries thus far. There is an inherent risk of injury with any pitcher, but as we’ve seen this season, get the best pitching you can while it’s available. That’s what Skenes is.

The sample we’ve seen still isn’t enough for me to push him higher than his current rank at #99 overall. But it won’t be long before Skenes ascends into the upper echelon of starting pitchers and comfortably rests inside the Top 50 overall.


Lourdes Gurriel Jr. OF, ARI


I was skeptical about buying back in on Gurriel ahead of the 2024 season. While Gurriel looked like himself in 2023 after a disappointing, injury-riddled season the previous year, his inconsistent campaign caused concern. After Gurriel was dealt to the Diamondbacks in December 2022 as part of the Daulton Varsho trade, the 28-year-old had renewed life in the Desert.

With regular playing time in a crowded D’Backs outfield, Gurriel came out of the gate hot early last season but cooled off a bit before a strong finish for the NL Champs. He batted .261 with 24 homers and 82 RBIs and opted to re-sign this offseason with the Diamondbacks as a Free Agent. 

Thus far in 2024, Gurriel looks comfortable, and his production has taken the next step. In 116 at-bats, Gurriel has five homers, a .185 ISO, and a 121 wRC+. Dating back to his time in Toronto, he has always had above-average metrics, specifically zone contact, barrel rate, and hard-hit rate, with his down 2022 season being the outlier.

Also, he possesses a patient eye at the plate, and his sub-20% strikeout rate plays up in points leagues. Gurriel is not a superstar dynasty asset, but with the combination of regular ABs, hitting in the middle of the order, and his team context, he is a valuable OF3/OF4. He offers a consistent floor of a .260+ average, 20+ homers, and 75+ RBIs. One improvement I’d love to see from Gurriel is a bump in his counting stats, specifically in the runs category (65 in ’23). 

Gurriel has climbed into the Top 60 outfielders and number 220 overall. Similarly ranked outfielders in this range include Cedric Mullins, Chas McCormick, and Lars Nootbaar. It’s unclear whether this is just another hot start for Gurriel, but his metrics look better than ever, and it’s clear that Gurriel has found his new home. If Gurriel can avoid the mid-season lull, he should finish as a Top 40 outfielder this season.


Jared Jones, SP, PIT


The Pirates’ starting pitcher love fest continues with Jared Jones. Of all the Major League arms in 2024, Jones has impressed the most. The rookie right-hander is off to an impressive start, posting a 2.79 ERA and 2.12 xFIP in his five starts entering Sunday. He has a 34.1% K-BB rate, second only to Freddy Peralta among qualified starters.

In addition, Jones has a 41.5% Whiff rate, 34.8% CSW, and a .188 average against. According to our PL metrics, Jones has two pitches, his four-seam fastball, and his slider, that rank in the 94th percentile or higher in SwStr%. Simply put, Jones has been an elite performer this season.

That wasn’t always my view of Jones. As a prospect, Jones was always an elite bat misser, but I had questions about his viability as a starter. I was so concerned about his reliever risk that I was reluctant to rank Jones among the elite SP prospects, even with his potential upside. While Jones has two plus pitches, his curve and changeup grades are below average.

It’s difficult for a two-pitch pitcher to sustain success as a starter in the Major Leagues. Recently, we’ve seen this type of profile with the Astros’ Cristian Javier. In his 2022 season, Javier set the world on fire, posting a 2.54 ERA and 24.3% K-BB rate while relying solely on his fastball and slider. In the two seasons since, Javier remains a good starter, but hitters have adjusted to his stuff. Jones could overcome those adjustments with a four-seamer, which averages 97.1 mph, four ticks higher than Javier’s. 

Jones is likely a long-term starter in the Pirates’ organization, but I’m reluctant to push him any higher than where he is. It’s been a great start at the Major League level for Jones, and while he’s been outstanding, it’s five starts. But Jones is a guy that you have options with.

Maybe you trade him (alone or with an extra piece) for a more established starter like a struggling Gausman, Fried, or Musgrove. Alternatively, hold Jones and hope he turns into a solid SP2, giving you even more value to improve in a trade or keep him as a future building block. Either way, it’s far too early to speculate on a long-term projection for Jones, so let’s enjoy the ride.


Honorable Mention

Colton Cowser, OF, BAL: What a difference a year makes. Last season, Cowser struggled mightily in his debut, slashing .115/.286/.148. Cowser came into Spring Training with something to prove and broke out early in ’24. He’s hitting .313 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in just 76 at-bats for the Orioles. Cowser has already supplanted Austin Hays as the everyday left fielder and looks like the player we envisioned as a former Top 20 prospect.




Hunter Brown, SP, HOU


I’m not sure what to make of Brown any longer. His arm talent is off the charts, but he can’t produce consistent results. As Nick would say, he’s a “cherry bomb. Brown had an outstanding start to his MLB career, posting a sub-1.00 ERA to close out the 2022 regular season. He followed up with a scoreless postseason, helping the Astros to the 2022 World Series title.

As a top 50 prospect starting for the defending champs, Brown had lofty expectations entering the 2023 season. He struggled to a 5.09 ERA in 29 starts despite posting a near 20% K-BB rate and a 3.52 xFIP. The indicators showed that Brown was unlucky, although his 26 home runs allowed and three walks per game didn’t help his cause.

This season has been more of the same for Brown. In the early going, Brown has produced a 9.68 ERA, 2.49 WHIP, and 6.11 BB/9. Those numbers look bad on the surface, but when you consider he threw four scoreless innings in his season debut, and another start was 6IP with 2ER, it’s UGLY.

Brown’s main blow-up was a start against the Royals on April 11th, which saw him allow 9 ER on 11 hits in 2/3 of an inning. The craziest stat I’ve seen from Brown this season is that he’s allowed just one barrel, yet his average exit velocity against is 93.3 mph, which ranks in the 3rd percentile in MLB. So he’s got enough movement to avoid the barrel, but guys are making extremely loud contact across the board. Very strange.

The inconsistency is alarming. At 25, Brown should be coming into his own, finding his niche, and building from start to start. Instead, his erratic control and propensity for disaster give fantasy owners heartburn every fifth day. As a fantasy player, specifically dynasty, it’s strategy dependent on how you can handle Brown. You can cut your losses, move on, and assume his performance will always be middle-of-the-road.

You can hold him and play the matchups week-to-week, eagerly anticipating his implosion. Or you can be steadfast that his talent will prevail and that team context will help support his deficiencies. Unfortunately, the Astros have Luis Garcia, José Urquidy, and possibly Lance McCullers Jr. coming back soon, leaving someone on the outside looking in. Maybe that’s Brown? Could he benefit from a reset in Triple-A? Or do the Astros have enough trust in him to right the ship? Tough decisions are what makes fantasy baseball so great. I’m moving Brown down until I can see more consistent performance.


Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, STL


Goldy has been a fantasy force at first base since his debut in 2012, but things are not looking good for the 36-year-old. The fall-off is perplexing as Goldschmidt’s metrics haven’t changed much over the past few seasons. Since 2021, his barrel rate, hard-hit rate, average and max exit velocities, contact rates, and plate discipline have been within two percent of his career median. One noticeable change has been his inability to hit higher velocity. 

Fangraphs uses a metric called wFB, a linear measurement that outlines hitter success against a specific pitch type, in this case, a fastball. Goldschmidt posted a 26.7 (2021) and 25.4 (2022) in wFB, which ranked in the top 10 in MLB. In 2023, Goldy hit rock bottom as his rating fell to 0.3, which ranked 91st among qualified hitters. For context, Jurickson Profar, Kiké Hernández, and JD Davis outperformed him. 

Following his struggles against high velocity last season, Goldy did what fantasy guys live for: he went to Driveline! The results continue to plummet early in 2024. His wFB is down to -1.2, his strikeout rate has jumped to 30.1%, and Goldschmidt looks like a shell of himself.

In 26 games, he’s slashing .214/.306/.296 with an appalling 76 wRC+ and a 0.82 ISO. He ranks in the bottom quarter of the league in xBA, xSLG, xWOBA, average EV, barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and mostly every hitter metric. Goldy’s StatCast page is as blue as Cardinals’ fans watching him play. 

I’m not ready to give up on Goldschmidt entirely, as we’ve seen slow starts from him before. But in today’s game, where max-effort and max-velocity are as prevalent as ever, it’s adapt or die. If Goldy cannot get his bat on the fastball more often, he will see a steady stream of velocity until he can prove the doubters wrong. I’m comfortable dropping him down in my rankings, and if you’re a Goldy owner in a dynasty league, it’s time to start thinking about a succession plan for the 2025 season and possibly the rest of 2024.


Honorable Mention

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, NYY: Much like Goldschmidt, Rizzo appears to be slowing down significantly. In addition to his well-documented concussion last season, his back issues never seem to go away, and the toll on his body is evident. To use a golf term, Rizzo has never been an elite ball striker (career 89.2 avg EV), and as his achy back continues to sap Rizzo’s already middling power, even the short porch in Yankee Stadium isn’t enough to keep Rizzo on the positive side of 20-homers. At this point, Rizzo is merely a low-tier points league option who will continue to sink the rankings, barring a miracle.


Triston McKenzie, SP, CLE: We know that Triston McKenzie is pitching injured. News came out last week that McKenzie has a torn ligament in his pitching elbow, and his performance reflects that. The lanky 26-year-old threw 16 innings last season, pitching to a 5.06 ERA, and has a 4.91 ERA this season in his four starts. McKenzie was a once-promising talent, but injuries have derailed his career.


Top 350 Dynasty Rankings

Martin Sekulski

Martin is a Dynasty writer for PitcherList. He is a lifelong member of Red Sox Nation and attributes his love of baseball to his father, Marty. As a father and a husband, Martin now loves sharing his love of America's pastime with his family. You can find his work on Twitter and SubStack

4 responses to “Martin Sekulski’s Top 350 Dynasty Rankings v2.0”

  1. charley says:

    whats your method or process for determining if the stats will stay or vs not (i.e., outman last season, josh lowe, lane thomas etc.) or corbin carroll (i hear its the injury to shoulder for his current struggle, or vlad – he was super high in 2021, but hasnt been as good last 2 years).
    So whats your thought process for determining when to drop vs. raise the players?

  2. SlappyJ says:

    I wouldn’t trade you my Elly for 2 Jackson Hollidays haha. Good resource overall though, thanks for publishing it.

  3. Ed says:

    No Jung Hoo Lee – oversight? Great work!

  4. Grenard J says:

    Martin where is Strider moving to in your next update?

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