The New Dynasty Value of Traded Prospects

New Dynasty Value of Traded Prospects

The Hot Stove was lukewarm for most of the offseason with just a smattering of deals containing prospects, but it’s heated up over the past couple of weeks. There was a biggie back in early December when the Padres shipped Juan Soto to the Yankees in a seven-player deal. Otherwise, there was so much focus on the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes that the trade market took a back seat. I made a YouTube video (youtu.be/DYl32764Rd4) on Jan. 20 discussing the Top 10 prospects acquired by trade, but then came a pair of blockbusters – the Orioles acquiring Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, and the Mariners landing second baseman Jorge Polanco from the Twins.

There are still plenty of big names on the trade block. White Sox ace Dylan Cease, Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber and Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena are all players rumored to be on the trade block. Plenty of prospects have been included in the deals so far, opening up new opportunities for them with their new club. These changes of scenery can have a profound effect on their dynasty value, so let’s take a closer look at whose stock is up and whose is down.


Top 10 Prospects Traded in Offseason


The Top Tier

1) Michael Busch, 1B/2B, Age: 26

Traded to Cubs with RHP Yency Almonte for LHP Jackson Ferris and OF Zyhir Hope to Dodgers on Jan. 11

2023 MiLB Stats: (AAA): .323 AVG | .431 OBP | .618 SLG | 27 HR | 4 SB | 18.8 K% | 13.9 BB%

2023 MLB Stats: (Dodgers): .167 AVG | .247 OBP | .292 SLG | 2 HR | 1 SB | 33.3 K% | 9.9 BB%

I said in my Dodgers top-prospect story last month, “Free Michael Busch!” and the Dodgers obliged with a deal of the poster boy for prospect fatigue to the Cubs. I even said that he could be on his way to Chicago, but to the South Siders. Considering how epically blocked Busch was in L.A. with Freddie Freeman at first base, Mookie Betts at second base, and Shohei Ohtani at DH, anywhere would be a better place for him to get playing time. The Cubs have a clear opening at first and Busch enters spring training as the favorite to win a starting job battle against Matt Mervis.

One comp thrown at Busch when he was a first-round pick out of North Carolina in 2019 that I cannot get out of my head is Max Muncy. Both are slow-footed, lefty-slugging, three-true-outcome infielders, but Busch has a chance to be even better.

Muncy had just a .756 OPS with 4 homers in Triple-A the season he got his first call to the majors. In comparison, Busch posted a 1.049 OPS with 27 homers in Triple-A last year. He showed plenty of progress repeating Triple-A, increasing his walk rate from 9.9% to 13.9%, cutting his strikeout rate from 26.0% to 18.8%, and upping his SLG from .480 to .618. Dismissing his struggles in LA considering the tiny sample size (81 PA), Busch could emerge as one of the top rookies this season, launching balls over the ivy-covered walls and maybe onto Sheffield Avenue. It would have been nice to get a spot in the Dodgers lineup, but an opportunity to start is what Busch needed most.



2) Drew Thorpe, SP, Age: 23

Traded to Padres with RHP Michael King, C Kyle Higashioka, RHP Randy Vásquez and RHP Jhony Brito for LF Juan Soto and CF Trent Grisham to Yankees on Dec. 7

2023 MiLB Stats (A+/AA): 139.1 IP | 2.52 ERA | 34.0 K% | 7.1 BB%

Thorpe was a first-team All-American in 2022 for Cal Poly and was selected in the second round by the Yankees, but due to a low-90s fastball most had him pegged as a back-of-the-rotation starter. After posting a 3.92 ERA over the first two months for High-A Hudson Valley, the 6-foot-4, 212-pound right-hander went on a spectacular run over his next 8 starts, going 7-0 with a 0.65 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 55.2 innings. Thorpe finished the season by going 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 30.1 IP for Double-A Somerset.

As the top prospect included in the five-player package that the Padres received, Thorpe faces a much clearer path to the San Diego rotation than he did in New York’s loaded system. Thorpe’s fastball velocity ticked up to 92-94 mph last year and he could still gain a bit more to help raise his ceiling. His best pitch is a 70-grade, 82-84 mph changeup that gets tons of whiffs and he has plus control overall. When Thorpe reaches San Diego – which could happen late this season – he’ll have one of the best pitcher’s parks to call home, which certainly helps his fantasy value.



3) Gabriel Gonzalez, OF, Age: 20

Traded to Twins with RHP Anthony DeSclafani, RHP Justin Topa, RHP Darren Bowen and cash for 2B Jorge Polanco to Mariners on Jan. 29

2023 MiLB Stats: (AAA): .298 AVG | .361 OBP | .476 SLG | 18 HR | 10 SB | 16.6 K% | 6.7 BB%

As a lifelong Mariners fan, my knee-jerk reaction upon seeing the haul the Twins got for Jorge Polanco was that GM Jerry Dipoto had given up way too much. It also told me that maybe the M’s didn’t value Gonzalez the same way that the prospect community had been. Then I heard a slew of pundits pointing out the flaws in Gonzalez, namely that his aggressive contact-oriented approach hampers how much power he can get to. In addition, Gonzalez now profiles as a below-average runner as he has continued to add muscle to his 5’10” frame. As a Mariners fan, I feel a lot better.

There’s still a lot to like about Gonzalez, who has plus raw power if he can tone down the approach. He put up a .348/.403/.530 triple-slash as a 19-year-old in Low-A last season. Contact rates for such a young hitter are rate. If the Twins can improve his conditioning, Gonzalez could unlock another level in 2024. He will need to head back to High-A, where he struggled in a 43-game stint with a .677 OPS last year. Getting out of Seattle should have helped his value going to a better home park for hitters, but being put under the microscope exposed some flaws and has me moving him down my prospect rankings (RotoProspects.com).



The Underrated Tier

4) Jonny DeLuca, OF, Age: 25

Traded to Rays with RHP Ryan Pepiot for RHP Tyler Glasnow, CF Manuel Margot and cash to Dodgers on Dec. 16

2023 MiLB Stats: (AA/AAA): .294 AVG | .390 OBP | .566 SLG | 17 HR | 12 SB | 16.9 K% | 10.7 BB%

2023 MLB Stats: (Dodgers): .262 AVG | .311 OBP | .429 SLG | 2 HR | 1 SB | 17.8 K% | 6.7 BB%

DeLuca was stuck as a short-side platoon outfielder in his first taste of the majors with the Dodgers last summer. Getting dealt to the Rays should secure DeLuca a much bigger role then he would’ve had in L.A., but it’s tough to break through as a full-time starter in Tampa Bay. DeLuca is a tremendous athlete with power and speed obvious in his profile. With consistent playing time, he has a chance to become the Rays next breakout star. There is also a chance his fantasy value rises even higher if the Rays trade Randy Arozarena.



5) Jackson Ferris, SP, Age: 20

Traded to Dodgers with OF Zyhir Hope for 1B/2B Michael Busch and RHP Yency Almonte to Cubs on Jan. 11

2023 MiLB Stats (A): 56 IP | 3.38 ERA | 32.5 K% | 13.9 BB%

Ferris was already known as a tall, projectable left-hander while on the farm with the Cubs and now he’s headed to one of the best systems for developing pitchers. A 6-foot-4 lefty with electric stuff, led by a mid-90s fastball with late life and a hammer curve, maybe he can learn a thing or two from being around Clayton Kershaw (who was in the same boat 17 years ago). There is front-of-the-rotation upside if he can improve his below-average control, possibly by smoothing out his complicated delivery.



6) Joey Ortiz, SS, Age: 25

Traded to Brewers with LHP DL Hall and future considerations for RHP Corbin Burnes to Orioles on Feb. 1

2023 MiLB Stats: (AAA): .321 AVG | .378 OBP | .507 SLG | 9 HR | 11 SB | 17.7 K% | 8.2 BB%

2023 MLB Stats: (Orioles): .212 AVG | .206 OBP | .242 SLG | 0 HR | 0 SB | 26.5 K% | 0.0 BB%

Oritz was buried in the avalanche of infield talent the Orioles have already in the majors (Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg) and coming soon (Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo, Connor Norby), so getting dealt to the Brewers allows him to become the heir apparent at shortstop in Milwaukee. The defensive whiz may have to bide his time at third base or back in Triple-A if the Brewers can’t find a taker for Willy Adames as he enters his walk year, but it won’t be long before he’s patrolling the middle of the infield for Milwaukee. As a right-handed hitter with elite bat-to-ball skills but not much power, getting out of Baltimore should help him add a little pop to go with some speed on the basepaths.



The Second Tier

7) Richard Fitts, SP, Age: 24

Traded to Red Sox with RHP Greg Weissert and RHP Nicholas Judice for LF Alex Verdugo to Yankees on Dec. 5

2023 MiLB Stats (AA): 152.2 IP | 3.48 ERA | 25.9 K% | 6.8 BB%

Fitts has found a ton of success in the minors (career 1.07 WHIP, 4.7 K/BB) with a mid-90s four-seam fastball and a mid-80s sweeper, but he’ll need to develop a third weapon if he’s to remain a starter. There could be more of an opportunity in Boston, where he should make his debut sometime this summer.



8) Jorbit Vivas, 2B, Age: 22

Traded to Yankees with LHP Victor González for SS Trey Sweeney to Dodgers on Dec. 11

2023 MiLB Stats: (AA/AAA): .269 AVG | .381 OBP | .407 SLG | 13 HR | 25 SB | 11.6 K% | 11.3 BB%

Vivas recorded nearly as many walks (69) as strikeouts (71) last season in the upper minors, showing the advanced approach that could make him an option to start at second base for the Yankees in the near future if they don’t hang onto Gleyber Torres as he enters his walk year. Vivas could benefit from Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch as a left-handed hitter without much power and he could provide 20+ steals from the bottom of the lineup.



9) Trey Sweeney, SS, Age: 23

Traded to Cubs for 2B Jorbit Vivas and LHP Victor González to Yankees on Dec. 11

2023 MiLB Stats: (AA): .252 AVG | .367 OBP | .411 SLG | 13 HR | 20 SB | 19.1 K% | 13.8 BB%

The Dodgers didn’t have any shortstop prospects in the upper minors, so enter Sweeney, a 2021 first-round pick with excellent plate discipline who should start the season in Triple-A. Sweeney could make his Major League debut as early as this summer. Gavin Lux is projected to be the Dodgers shortstop but has played only nine games there since 2021. Look for Sweeney to make noise in fantasy if he gets Major League at-bats.



10) Randy Vásquez, SP, Age: 25

Traded to Padres with RHP Michael King, C Kyle Higashioka, RHP Jhony Brito and RHP Drew Thorpe for LF Juan Soto and CF Trent Grisham to Yankees on Dec. 7

2023 MiLB Stats (AAA): 80.1 IP | 4.59 ERA | 26.9 K% | 11.2 BB%

2023 MLB Stats: (Yankees): 37.2 IP | 2.87 ERA | 19.9 K% | 10.8 BB%

Vasquez found success last year as a spot starter in New York with a 2.87 ERA over his first 37.2 major-league innings despite a 5.27 xFIP. The 6-foot Dominican right-hander has an underrated five-pitch arsenal that is led by a plus curve that moves like a slider. The move to a clear pitcher’s park boosts Vazquez’s value. On top of that, he is penciled in as the fifth starter giving value this season.


Be sure to head over to the Pitcher List dynasty page to check out more prospect content from the team.

Michael Busch Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Asbury (@aarongifs on Instagram)

Rudy Ropp

Rudy Ropp is a Dynasty Fantasy Analyst here at Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 1999. Co-founder of RotoProspects.com which features a weekly-updated Top 500 Prospects and a monthly-updated Dynasty Top 500 Rankings. I have similar love for movies and music - my dream used to be the next Quentin Tarentino as a former video store clerk or a Rolling Stone writer like in Almost Famous. In addition to being a fantasy baseball nut, I'm a dad, avid traveler, Star Wars fanatic, lifelong Mariners fan, pickleball player, and newspaper sports writer/designer/editor.

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