Travis Sherer’s Top 100 Dynasty Assets, Part 2

Assets 1-25 Assets 26-50 (July 16) Assets 51-75 (July 17) Assets 76-100 (July 18) Asset Mailbag (July 19)

NOTE: Send me your dynasty asset questions for the Asset Mailbag at the end of the week.

 

Age is the key here for Nos. 26-50 of the list this time around. It’s populated mostly with very young, very talented players but I did throw in a couple of pretty old guys who have no end in sight, despite there clearly being an ending in sight soon. If you’d like to read more about my methodology, read the intro to Nos. 1-25 (link above). This section of the list is pretty well-rounded, with at least one representative from each position, including reliever. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know who that reliever is.

 

26. Jose Ramirez, 3B, CLE, Age: 26
Last Ranked: 5

 

While many are willing to give up on Jose Ramirez, I’m not there yet. We have to remember: this guy was a universal a top-five talent just four months ago. He went 30-30! He walked 106 times! I don’t care if you aren’t crossing the Mendoza line after three months, nobody that good falls that fast without a potentially career-ending injury.

Now, if he doesn’t bounce back before the end of the season, there is probably a 50-spot drop headed his way, but he’d still be on the list next season, and the article would start: “While many are willing to give up on Jose Ramirez, I’m not there yet. We have to remember: this guy was universal a top-five talent just one year ago.”

 

27. Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS, Age: 22
Last Ranked: 73

 

The baseball gods cut Rafael Devers a break this year after smiting him in 2018. We’re seeing him take the step we all hoped he would after his head-turning debut as a 20-year-old slugging his way to an .820 OPS. What is impressive, other than his power surge to 17 first-half home runs, is his dramatic improvement in strikeout rate, which has dropped almost 10 points to 15.84%. If he can continue that, he might be a top 25 asset.

 

28. Eloy Jimenez, OF, CWS, Age: 22
Last Ranked: 33

 

To put it mildly: Eloy Jimenez‘s K rate in the majors is alarming. At 27.8%, he is striking out much more often than at any other level he’s played. This concerns me. Fortunately, it also seems to be headed in the right direction throughout this season. I’d like to see him have better results against lefties, and I think he’ll get there eventually — he is only 22. Jimenez had a big June, slashing .284/.340/.602 with eight bombs. Is this him? I think it’s pretty close.

 

29. Peter Alonso, 1B, NYM, Age: 24
Last Ranked: 74

 

Does Peter Alonso hit 50 home runs this season? Does it really matter? After all, the righty first baseman has exceeded even the highest of expectations for 2019. Anybody who is telling you they actually thought Alonso would have 30 home runs by the All-Star break is lying to you. At some point Alonso will fall back down to earth, and I hope he doesn’t fall too far because he’s fun to watch. He doesn’t have a lot of room, however, to fall and still be elite. Once that BA/OBP falls into a .260/.340 range, you become around a top-1o first baseman, not a top-five first baseman.

 

30. Mike Soroka, SP, ATL, Age: 21
Last Ranked: 90

 

Mike Soroka is still 21. Let that sink in.

He’s a month older than Forrest Whitley. He’s four months younger than Casey Mize. He’s 18 months younger than Chris Paddack. It’s time we appreciate this kid for how good he is at such a young age. Sure it’d be nice to see him strike out a few more guys, especially with his stuff and feel, but we’re scratching the service of this kid’s potential. Most players his age are still in the minors. It’s hard to remember that when you post a sub-3 era for 2.5 months.

 

31. Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS, Age: 26
Last Ranked: 65

 

Over the past two years, Xander Bogaerts has transformed himself from shortstop consolation prize into an extra-base machine, and now a steady on-base machine as well. Almost certain to set a career-high in homers, like everyone else, we are seeing a new Bogaerts who is tapping into potential I didn’t believe he really had. Slashing .297/.385/.550, Bogaerts is now good enough to be your second- or third-best hitter on a dynasty championship squad. He’s a top-10 shortstop, who probably won’t break into the top five, but that is only because the league is so strong at the position.

 

32. Josh Hader, RP, MIL, Age: 25
Last Ranked: 32

 

I will keep pushing Josh Hader until one of us dies. I get it, he’s a reliever. Relievers tend to have short shelf lives. They are unpredictable. But this guy is one of the most valuable pieces on a staff. He comes in, strikes out four in two innings and gives up one run every three outings. That kind of consistent production is just unheard of right now. It’s what separates Hader from the rest of the relievers. I’d also like to point out that he’s on pace to strike out 150 batters and he seems to be getting better.

I don’t even care that he isn’t a closer. He’s still this valuable when he’s not closing. All of the rest of his numbers are just too good. He’s basically three-quarters of a Cy Young winner.

 

33. Joey Gallo, OF, TEX, Age: 25
Last Ranked: NR

 

We go from one big disappointment to one big breakout. Who expected this from Joey Gallo? Well, there were a few. I understand those who want him to be recognized as one of the best hitters in the league and that is something I’m not prepared to do, partially because I just don’t understand how somebody can do what he does. Let’s put it this way: As of right now, Gallo walks (18.25%) or strikes out (37.23%) more than 50% of the time. You combine that with his extra-base hit rate of 15.5% and that means just about seven out of every 10 at-bats, Gallo is walking, homering, or going for at least two bags.

How is it even possible? I could see it if he were some kind of hitting savant who makes contact at a high rate whenever he swings, but he isn’t. His O-Contact (38.2%) and Z-contact (73%) are average at best. So how is someone who isn’s surgical with his swing able to be that precise when it comes to three outcomes? I just can’t buy it.

That’s not to say Gallo swings with his eyes closed either. He dropped his O-Swing rate 10% this season to a very respectable 22.8%, which has to be one reason why he is notably better.

 

34. Adalberto Mondesi, SS, KC, Age: 23
Last Ranked: 57

 

Although he’s not what we all hoped he could be, Adalberto Mondesi is close to what we thought. He’s a very speedy shortstop with a fringe hit tool and slightly below-average power. He’s essentially a poor man’s Jose Reyes. I’d take that, because Reyes was a top-1o asset in his prime. Mondesi doesn’t have that kind of upside, but he’s capable of getting better than this, which would be icing on the cake. He could lead the league in steals for multiple years.

 

35. Max Scherzer, SP, WAS, Age: 34
Last Ranked: 34

 

Max Scherzer turns 35 next week, but he remains the best pitcher in the league. If anything, he’s actually gotten better than he’s ever been. His walk rate is the lowest it’s been in five years, his strikeout rate is the highest it’s ever been and even his velocity has gotten a bump. All indications are that he will not slow down soon, which makes him a candidate not just for a Cy Young in 2019 but maybe even in 2020 and 2021. Other than Walker Buehler and Gerrit Cole, who can you say that about?

 

36. Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL, Age: 29
Last Ranked: 30

 

Ranked 22nd in the last version of this list, Freddie Freeman has done nothing to warrant a drop, but he’s fallen anyway. That’s what age can do to you in dynasty leagues. Younger models are always looking to supplant the old reliables. Freeman turns 30 at the end of the season and even though he’ll probably continue to post somewhere near .300/.380/.530 for the next couple of years, there is an end in sight, even if it is years away.

 

37. Aaron Nola, SP, PHI, Age: 26
Last Ranked: 19

 

He may not have the most dominant stuff as the following cluster of starting pitchers, but Aaron Nola is the headliner because he’s been the most reliable, he pitches in the National League, and he’s not the oldest. Also, can we all stop putting up this facade where pitching in the NL is just as difficult as pitching in the American League? It’s ridiculous. There is a guaranteed out at the end of every NL lineup.

I’m guessing that this season it’s even worse, considering the jump in HR rate among pitchers is probably less than the jump in HR rate among nine-hole hitters in the AL. Brett Gardner, Brock Holt, Myles Straw, Greg Allen, Byron Buxton and Dee Gordon are all hitting in the nine spot. Tell me a pitcher other than Shohei Ohtani who can hit better than any of them? All of those factors mean Nola is the best choice of the following four pitchers who are entering their prime.

 

38. Blake Snell, SP, TB, Age: 26
Last Ranked: 23

 

It was hard to pick Nola above last year’s Cy Young winner, but I believe it had to be done for reasons stated above. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone if they wanted Blake Snell more than Nola. What I really want to know is, and maybe this goes to the heart of who you like more, who has the better curveball?

 

39. Chris Paddack, SP, SD, Age: 23
Last Ranked: 94

 

It’s hard not root for Chris Paddack. He’s pitching in one of the best ballparks, he’s got great control and his pitches really move. I also appreciate his old-school competitiveness, like lighting up Alonso when he didn’t get NL Rookie of the Month honors and Alonso did. He went out days later and K’d Alsonso the first two times they squared off. Paddack also is not afraid to put pitches anywhere in any count, which helps him keep runners off the bases, something he has been good at throughout his professional career (career 0.80 MiLB WHIP).

 

40. Ozzie Albies, 2B, ATL, Age: 22
Last Ranked: 51

 

It is hard to believe that there are so many young players near the top of their position. There are 14 such players with MLB experience above Ozzie Albies, so it’s easy to understand how he can get lost. It doesn’t help that he started 2019 at a much milder pace than 2018, even if it is more encouraging.

Albies is the No. 2 second baseman in this top 100 dynasty asset list because of his rare blend of AVG/speed/power — in that order. He’s on pace to match his 2018 mark of 24 dingers, but the rest of his numbers are set to rise. His approach is going in the right direction, with a rise in walk rate and a reduction in strikeout rate. Of course, if he has a similar second half this year as he did in 2018, there will be much more cause for concern, but I doubt that happens.

 

41. Mike Clevinger, SP, CLE, Age: 28
Last Ranked: 40

 

I like Mike Clevinger‘s stuff more than Nola, Snell, and Tyler Glasnow. If only the guy could actually stay healthy enough to show what he can do. We got a glimpse of it in 2018 when he hit 200 innings for the first time. He came out in 2019 looking like a Cy Young pitcher, but yet another injury halted his enormous potential. He’s struggling to regain what he had early this season, but it will be back — hopefully for a couple of injury-free years.

 

42. Nick Senzel, 3B/OF, CIN, Age: 24
Last Ranked: NR

 

With all of the other rookies that have begun their MLB careers in eye-popping fashion lately, it is easy to forget that Nick Senzel has quietly been exactly what we thought he’d be: good. Slashing .271/.333/.480 with eight dingers and eight stolen bases, Senzel has proven to be just as adaptable offensively as he has been defensively.

He’s moved off third base into center field with little trouble. I’m not sure that will last, but not because he hasn’t been decent there. Instead, I could see them trading the older Scooter Gennett for help somewhere else. Either way, wherever Senzel ends up in the field, the bat and speed will play.

 

43. Trevor Story, SS, COL, Age: 26
Last Ranked: 27

 

Another victim of the oversaturation of quality in the shortstop market.

All the things I said about Nolan Arenado in the first 25 list apply to Trevor Story:

“I do not believe that a player who predictably plays replacement level (for fantasy purposes) in 81 games deserves to be higher than 20.”

So if nobody who fits that criteria can crack the top 20, Story doesn’t make the top 30 because (1) he’s not as good as Arenado at home and (2) he’s not as good as Arenado on the road.

 

44. Gary Sanchez, C, NYY, Age: 26
Last Ranked: 48

 

It is hard to tell exactly who is the real Gary Sanchez. Does he hit over or under .250? Can he draw walks at 7% or 12%? Is his strikeout rate at 21% or 27%? Then there’s the injury history. He’ll always hit for power, but that isn’t as big of a draw anymore with almost every catcher swinging for the fences. Still, he’s probably the best at it, until …

 

45. Adley Rutschman, C, BAL, Age: 21
Last Ranked: 60

 

There aren’t going to be many assets without MLB experience in the top 50, but along with Wander Franco, Adley Rutschman is an exceptional talent. He’s the best overall catching prospect, with an advanced bat, plus power and plus defense. He will stay at catcher, and if the Orioles want to fast track him, he could be up in 2021. There is potential for a .290 hitter with 25 homers — at catcher.

 

46. Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL, Age: 22
Last Ranked: 52

 

All Keston Hiura does is hit. He did it at every level in the minors, and he’s not being slowed down by major league pitching. In fantasy terms, Hiura has the potential to be the No. 1 second baseman in a few years, provided Gleyber Torres continues to play shortstop. Like Jimenez, the significant bump in his strikeout rate (21.67%) in the majors concerns me, but I don’t see it as something that will stick for longer than one season. He could jump Albies as soon as next spring.

 

47. Andrew Benintendi, OF, BOS, Age: 25
Last Ranked: 15

 

This is frustrating. Just when we thought Andrew Benintendi took a step forward in 2018, he said ‘just kidding’ and is looking exactly like the player he was in 2017. The 2017 version of Benintendi is a good player, but he’s not a top-50 dynasty asset. It’s only because we’ve seen what Benintendi can be that he’s still in the top 50.

 

48. J.D. Martinez, OF, BOS, Age: 31
Last Ranked: 30

 

It appears that age is beginning to catch up with J.D. Martinez. Turning 32 next month, he doesn’t seem to be as potent, bucking a near league-wide trend. His ISO (.232) is 60 points lower than in 2018 and more than 100 points lower than in 2017. He’s still very good, and the thing about regression is that it’s similar to prospect development: not linear. Martinez is still capable of putting up MVP numbers, and likely will be for the next two years.

 

49. Tyler Glasnow, SP, TB, Age: 25
Last Ranked: NR

 

A move out of Pittsburgh did wonders for Tyler Glasnow, which could be a trend. Not just pitchers leaving the Pirates, but players in general coming to the Rays as a catalyst for improvement. Obviously, his forearm issues complicate things, but his stuff is for real. Since his most recent checkup this week revealed no new damage, he stays in the top 50. Proceed with caution and be prepared for a 12-month absence in the future.

 

50. Austin Meadows, OF, TB, Age: 24
Last Ranked: NR

 

Austin Meadows started 2019 like his hair was on fire, but has slowed down considerably since. He certainly has the talent to be your second-best outfielder in a dynasty league, but he’s far from a finished product. Being a part of the Rays organization helps alleviate concerns that he won’t ever actually make the jump.

 

(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

Travis Sherer

All Seattle Mariners fans have learned the future is all we have because the present is always too painful. I am Western Washington University alum, a local sportswriter, an official NCAA basketball statistician, a freelance radio and television production statistician, and a minor league standup comedian. Follow me @ShererTravis on Twitter.

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Comments


Jackie

“There is a guaranteed out at the end of every NL lineup.” Tell that to Brandon Woodruff, who’s hitting .293. Or Zack Wheeler, who’s hitting .289. Oh, yeah, and Noah Syndargaard, who hit two homeruns in the first half. I don’t dispute that the number 9 hitter is usually an easy out — but hardly guaranteed. I’m guessing you’re not stupid and you were just trying to be funny. NL pitchers in general bunt runners over pretty well, and while that’s a guaranteed out, it’s a productive out. I’m sure you know what that means. I know the writers on this site are all fans of AL teams, but your contempt is as strong as my boredom is with the AL. No double switches, etc. Noah Syndargaard pitching a complete game — and hitting a homer for his team’s only run — and the win? You could only get a situation like that in the NL. Pitchers who steal bases? Hello, NL. The NL is full of so many possibilities that you just don’t get in the AL. AL lacks subplot. The Guardian, which has about the best writing on baseball as you’ll find, totally gets it: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jul/18/baseball-designated-hitter-national-league-mlb-pitchers-hitting

Travis Sherer

I don’t have contempt for the NL, but I’m not going to romanticize it either. You mentioned three pitchers, two of who have career batting averages of .159 (Wheeler) and .161 (Syndergaard). Woodruff might actually be a decent hitter, but that’s only one. If you say there are five starters on every team in the NL, that means there are 75 pitchers doing most of the hitting. You might be able to find another one or two (I hear Steven Matz could be good) but we’re talking less than 10% of hitters are any good at all. That’s a guaranteed out for all intents and purposes.

I like that the leagues are different. It creates a different lens to watch baseball being played and continues the debate about which way is “better”. It also inherently means that one will be more difficult than the other for certain things just by the way it is organized. For example, the AL is harder to pitch in because pitchers have to face nine professional hitters while NL pitchers have to face eight.

J.C. Mosier

Great stuff once again, but the leagues are as close as ever in the DH era. As of the games of 16 July, the AL OPS is .758, while the NL OPS is .753. (OBP is one point higher, SLG four.) The average ML start this year is 5⅓ IP. So, while two of those 16 outs may come from the pitcher spot, the net result is that through the course of the season, NL SP face roughly the same level of competition.

Travis Sherer

Thanks for the info. Maybe I need amend my position? It’s easier for a starter to pitch in the NL. After all, if the average start is 5.1, that means there is still almost a half of a game where the pitchers are being replaced by pinch hitters, except by that point, the starters are already out of the game.

Nick D

Hey Travis, great stuff! I’m struggling with a keeper selection that is due this week, and you just made it harder for me, haha. Curious your thoughts… My points salary league has two 2-year (through 2021) extensions that we must divvy out at the trade deadline (this week), one that costs $5, and one $10. Here are my choices:

Josh Bell – $14
Lucas Giolito – $1
Mike Soroka – $1
Josh Hader – $1

I’m not really considering Hader but maybe you would. I was leaning towards Bell & Giolito, but you being so high on Soroka (and his continued dominance) has me reconsidering. I just don’t know how I can not extend either Bell or Giolito!

If I keep Bell, I’d likely give him the $5 (making him $19), then Giolito or Soroka $11.

What do you think? Also, Giolito’s gotta be coming up soon in your rankings, right?

Travis Sherer

I would much rather have Soroka than Giolito. I think the jury is still out on Giolito to be honest. He’s gone back to his old ways in July so far. This is problematic because he has such a high ceiling if he can put it together, and I don’t believe he has yet.

To answer the other keeper I need to know more info: Are these all of your keepers? Or are these just the ones that are harder decisions? What are your league scoring categories?

theKraken

I would go Bell and Soroka and I don’t think it is close. If Hader’s arm exploded tomorrow I don’t think anyone would be surprised. Most RP arms do fall off within a few years of heavy use. The ones that don’t are in the HOF.

Brian Churney

Thanks.

I too wake up thinking about this every morning. It usually involves a blood curdling scream, some violent pounding of the bed, and then uncontrollable weeping.

Felipe Vazquez isn’t the only “Nightmare” in Pittsburgh.

theKraken

There is no way I would have Soroka at 30. Who cares if he is 21? Do you really think he has 10 years of health in that arm? His age doesn’t really matter a whole lot. I really doubt that he is going to throw harder in the future – most guys start losing a few ticks real quick when they settle in as a workhorse. There just isn’t the upward trajectory for SP that hitters might have. He has already had a few injuries. I would much rather have the superior producers below him. I really don’t know how you should value young arms, but I am certain that they have very unpredictable career paths. I am not sure that drafting old arms like Greinke won’t yield far better results even in the long-term. Sure, Greinke is going to breakdown soon, but those young guys will too. You could get two Greinkes for one Paddack/Soroka which is probably lopsided on the Greinke side.
I think Senzel is a huge stretch at that placement. I would never trade Story for Senzen in any format and I wouldn’t have them within 20 spots of each other. Story would be near my top 25 for sure.
Adley Rutschman is the biggest miss on the list IMO. Maybe he justifies the ranking at some point, but there is just no reason to speculate to that degree. He is a catcher – that is really all you need to know to keep him out of the top 50 – yeah, I wouldn’t have Sanchez either. I really think this was a trash draft but we live in an era where people cannot tolerate something not being historic. AR was the top pick in a very poor draft, but that doesn’t make him an exceptional talent. I get that he could be some kind of Buster Posey, but that is a stretch. Heck, the #1 real catcher is ranked in the same spot.
Glasnow is a stretch IMO. The man is currently hurt – there is no way I would value an injured SP in my top 100. The most likely scenario at this point is TJ – it all sounds exactly like that. I wouldn’t have Meadows in my top 50 either.
You don’t have to chase things this high in a draft. Overall, if you drafted with this strategy your team would be in the basement while the savvy owners in the league drafted the Scherzers, JDMart, Storys of the world. The chance that these speculative players ever have a single season of what the veterans will give you this year and is slim. Next year they will lose too. The next year might be close, but at that point the entire landscape will have shifted. Chasing the next big thing is a bad strategy, but I love to see my league mates do it! Think about how many of these speculative guys would have been in the bargain bin a year ago – speculation is best done on the cheap. This is the toughest set of rankings in the business, so I applaud your effort. You know I am going to chime in on chasing rainbows.

William M Munro

Hey guys. Im in sell mode and have been getting a ton of offers bc I’ve got a lot of good pieces, just a very unlucky 2-12. Someone offered Senzel and Whitley (3 Prospects per team) for Rendon. Not as good at valuing players as dynasty football. How close is this trade? Senzel and Whitley for Rendon.

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