Dynasty Days of Christmas: Three French Hens (Uber Patient Hitters)
Recently at Pitcher List, we have been releasing a bunch of dynasty and prospect content because we know that side of fantasy baseball never rests! With the Holiday season now upon us, we thought it would be fun to put together a dynasty series based on the 12 days of Christmas. We start the day, “three French hens.” To put it simply, these are chickens, so we identified three of very patient batters. Get it, because they’re not aggressive? Fine. Forget you. Let’s begin!
The preface to this article is to have a baseline by which to analyze young hitters. What better baseline to assess true talent by the Greek god of patience, Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto in 2018?
Now that we’ve taken a quick look at some figures from Joey Votto’s profile, let’s start talking about some younger dynasty assets:
Zack Collins (C, Chicago White Sox) Age: 23, Level: AA
The most fascinating thing about Collins is his uncanny ability to enter a league and succeed. The former first-round product out of Miami was deemed a polished bat and tracked as a quick riser in a loaded farm system. While he doesn’t have the hype of the most recent #2 overall pick in the MLB draft C Joey Bart of the San Francisco Giants organization, or near consensus top catching prospect Francisco Mejia of the San Diego Padres, Collins has plus-plus raw power coupled with the patience of a monk that makes you drool over what could be. Digging into the split stats a bit more shows that his OBP is even higher among righties.
Fantasy analysts will deride Collins because of his high K rate and zero likelihood he is an everyday catcher. I respond by saying, “who exactly is in this day and age?” His strikeout rate of 29.8% is largely a result of the extreme patience as his 11.5% swinging-strike is just barely below-average which suggests that he could post better strikeout rates by being more aggressive in theory. Additionally, all reports point to the organization being committed to developing Collins at catcher. If Collins tracks as a strong side of the platoon bat with prodigious power and an extreme walk rate, that plays in the shallowest of leagues given the crimes against humanity the catcher position places upon fantasy players. Collins grades out as the #3 catching prospect (behind Bart, Mejia) and the #13 catcher overall in my dynasty rankings.
Brandon Lowe (2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays) Age: 24, Level: AAA/MLB
Lowe is the type of player you want to take home to mom. He’s not going to pick you up in the Camaro or try to get you to partake in illicit activity. He’s a safe pick like a lot of the Rays players (cough Joey Wendle cough). He’s going to lull you into a sense of comfort and reasonable expectations. You and Lowe are going to find a 16 team league and nestle into an MI spot for the next 7 months until you get the itch to look for a younger, more attractive profile to get you going. You’ll leave eventually to chase that dream which will inevitably flame out. One night, you’ll be scanning the waiver wire, looking for someone new to settle down with and Lowe’s stat line will come across the screen. You’ll sit back, take a deep breath, and wax nostalgic for those nice 7 months you had a sense of security before picking up… I don’t know… Oakland Athletics SS prospect Jorge Mateo and all the empty speed he brings with that IROC.
Jurickson Profar (SS/3B/1B, Texas Rangers) Age: 25, Level: MLB
First, I am going to make a tip of the cap to Baseball Prospectus’ Bret Sayre. In the early goings of 2017, Bret snagged Profar late in the inaugural TDGx2 draft at The Dynasty Guru. He was chastised and poked. I’m sure someone said something along the lines of, “What is this, 2010?” Unsurprisingly though, Bret knew what he was doing. Profar finally got the full slate of at-bats he deserved. Today, if you’re an owner of one of the Colorado Rockies OFers David Dahl or Raimel Tapia, try and extrapolate your feelings over the course of 5 years and you will then understand the pains of owners who kept a former top prospect slow roasted so long he became jerky.
Unlike the previous two names, Profar profiles plus because of his ability to avoid the strikeout. Though his year was a bit of an enigma. He actually became more aggressive this past season, but his K rate decreased despite an increase o-Swing % and a decreased 0-Contact % & Zone %. What’s likely the most prescient stat was his that hard-hit rate % increased to a career-high buoying a career-high home run and pull rate and unlocking a 20+ HR bat.
He’ll almost certainly be used around the diamond, spelling 1B/OF Joey Gallo and SS Elvis Andrus at times, thus providing the ever attractive multi-positional eligibility. Meanwhile, his speed will help boost his BABIP and OBP numbers on the still-too-high-for-my-taste GB%. More importantly, he will be the near certainty of continued positive contributions in the stolen base category.
All this put together points to a multiple 20/10 seasons over the next 3-5 years should he stay healthy. Profar hovers around the #15 3B, above names like Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins, Mike Moustakas who is a current free agent, and Jake Lamb of the Arizona Diamondbacks. If your window isn’t in the next two years, his youth makes him a more attractive dynasty asset over the course of the next couple years than names above him like a Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers or a Josh Donaldson now of the Atlanta Braves.
(Graphic by Justin Paradis)