|Assets 1-25||Assets 26-50||Assets 51-75||Assets 76-100|
The second installment of this list is essentially shortstops and pitchers. There are a few outfielders sprinkled in, but for the most part I feel like the higher-middle of this list consists of sorting through the high-end talent. There are a lot of players in this segment who could win an MVP or a Cy Young at some point in their careers if everything goes right.
For a quick primer on my methodology, check out the Assets 1-25 portion of the series.
Let’s do this:
26. Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL, Age: 23
I constantly have to temper my excitement about Keston Hiura. Even making while making this list I had to move him roughly a dozen times because at times, I believe he’s the most valuable second baseman in the league. Other times, I see his low contact numbers (O-Contact: 42.3%, Z-Contact: 76.9%), his elevated K rate (30.75), and second-guess myself. Mostly, I believe Hiura is who he has been since college: a discriminating, powerful middle infielder who is capable of hitting .300 every year.
27. Jacob deGrom, SP, NYM, Age: 31
Jacob deGrom will turn 32 during the 2020 season. That advanced baseball age should give me pause, but it doesn’t. It’s weird, but all indicators suggest that deGrom is not slowing down. In fact, he’s speeding up—literally. In 2019 deGrom posted career highs in velocity for all four of his pitches. This isn’t a fluke either, this is a trend; deGrom has steadily increased his velocity since 2016. The result? A career-high K-rate in 2019 and the second-lowest ERA and WHIP (we all know it couldn’t get lower than 2018). He’s elite even now. And should 2020 signal his first decrease in velocity, there are still two more years of Cy Young ability.
28. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, CHC, Age: 28
Kris Bryant may have been an MVP in 2016, but he hasn’t been putting up eye-popping numbers since he won it. Nevertheless, you know what you can expect from the Cubs slugger: .285/.530/.900 with 30+ home runs and 100+ runs. Bryant is a victim of his own ceiling. He’s a very good third baseman and outfielder, he just might not ever be an MVP candidate again. He could be. A change in scenery could help.
29. Austin Meadows, OF, TB, Age: 24
Suspiciously able to put it all together immediately after being traded from Pittsburgh, Austin Meadows skyrocketed up this list despite not being on it this time last year. He already has a patient approach and high contact rates. It’s difficult to imagine regression after reviewing all the indicators of getting lucky. At the same time, he could hit for less power and steal a few more bases. There is 30/20 potential here.
30. Chris Paddack, SP, SD, Age: 24
There’s a lot to like about Chris Paddack, but at the top of my list is his simple approach. Yes, it’s possible we see some regression here as hitters get wise to his fastball-dependent sequencing. Even if that does happen, Paddack’s changeup is so good that he’ll be able to make hitters pay for betting fastball too often. I also get the feeling that his curveball will improve over time, making him even more dangerous. There are some players who take it upon themselves to get better. You want players who are on that list. Paddack is on that list.
31. Ozzie Albies, 2B, ATL, Age: 23
Ozzie Albies is the No. 3 second baseman in this top 100 dynasty asset list because of his rare blend of AVG/speed/power—in that order. Already posting two seasons of 20+/15 at just 23, his approach is going in the right direction, with a rise in walk rate and a reduction in strikeout rate. It’s almost as if Albies wanted to make sure he didn’t repeat his disastrous second half in 2018 that turned off many dynasty owners. In 2019 he was actually much better to finish the season after getting off to a very good start. I’m thinking that despite being so young and seemingly getting better, this is about what Albies will be for the foreseeable future. He’s probably fast enough to steal a few more bases, and if he does, that’s all gravy.
32. Mike Clevinger, SP, CLE, Age: 29
Mike Clevinger was 10 spots higher on this list just a week ago. Usually, a minor injury doesn’t affect my overall opinion of an asset this much—especially a lower-body injury to a pitcher—but injuries are starting to become the new norm for the Indians ace. It’s not even that he’s always injured, it’s just that we haven’t seen him really be able to handle a full workload. He did reach 200 innings in 2018, but a pair of injuries last season and knee surgery this season, plus the fact that he will turn 30 at the end of 2020 clouds his value to me. I have no questions about his talent/stuff. Before the knee injury, I was predicting him as the No. 1 fantasy pitcher.
33. Mike Soroka, SP, ATL, Age: 22
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one on the Mike Soroka bandwagon. What he represents to me is something you rarely find in dynasty leagues: a pitcher who continues to work on his repertoire despite early success. Soroka is basically the opposite of Noah Syndergaard in that regard—and pretty much every other regard. He doesn’t have elite velocity (fastball sits 92ish), he doesn’t put up an elite K/9 (7.32), but then again, unlike Syndergaard, he also limits baserunners (1.11 WHIP), and keeps runs off the board. Soroka suffers from not striking out enough batters. For some reason, that means he’s not elite. I disagree. It’s easy to find mediocre pitchers who strike out a lot of guys. It’s much harder to find pitchers who put up the rest of the numbers Soroka does—and he’s just 22.
34. Gavin Lux, 2B/SS, LAD, Age: 22
I spent a lot of time deciding which order I wanted these next four assets. I knew that I wanted them all together, but at the same time, working through the hierarchy was difficult. Each one of these middle infielders has roughly the same potential, but each also has one large question mark. With Gavin Lux, that question mark is: “Is he really ready for the majors?” If you believe he is, there is an argument to be made about him being a few spots higher. If you are slightly less optimistic and think that while Lux is immensely talented and destined for multiple all-star games, his breakout could have been partly due to the “enhanced baseball” that saw both major leaguers and triple-A’ers hit with unprecedented power, then this is where he belongs. He’s just as talented as the rest, he’s just a few years younger and comes with less baggage.
35. Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS, Age: 27
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. He almost certainly set a career high in homers in 2019 (like everyone else). But 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.
36. Javier Baez, SS, CHC, Age: 27
Has Javier Baez peaked? Yes. Emphatically yes. From a power standpoint, Baez has been roughly the same hitter since 2017. He’s swinging at the same kind of pitches and getting the same contact results. There is no reason to think he won’t be a .275/.530/.830 hitter for the next three-ish years. The problem is his speed is falling off. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in the single digits in steals starting this season. Without a 20-steal potential, Baez’s dynasty value drops off considerably because for all of his power, he’s not able to amass elite counting stats either because he simply does not get on base enough. Sure, he hits .270, but he walks so little (5%) that he rarely reaches 90 runs or RBIs. It isn’t because of the Cubs offense either. If Baez were to walk more, those numbers would skyrocket.
37. Carlos Correa, SS, HOU, Age: 25
Another year, another lost season for Carlos Correa. Injury concerns are his only question mark. Correa’s talent is undeniable. He doesn’t steal bases anymore, and his power is strong. I have to admit, before last season, I was concerned that his 25 HR power would no longer be exceptional. In 2019, however, he knocked them out at a pace that would have put him past 40. It’s simply not fair that we haven’t seen him healthy for more than one season. It is troubling that he’s missed a month or more twice with back problems in his early or mid-20s. If another back injury creeps up, his value must be re-evaluated.
38. Corey Seager, SS, LAD, Age: 25
It’s hard to imagine someone being less healthy than Corey Seager but the reality is if he didn’t have Tommy John in 2018, he’d have only missed 40 total games in three seasons. The problem is he’s been underwhelming since the elbow surgery. A steady .850+ OPS guy in his first two-plus seasons, since the injury his power and hit tools have not been as honed. I’m leaning more on the fact that he’ll be back to his usual self in 2020, which is a high average, moderate power shortstop. With all of the options available, that puts him in the top 10, but not the top five of dynasty leagues.
39. Matt Chapman, 3B, OAK, Age: 26
Some players are ranked higher than they should be for numerous reasons. Very rarely is that reason mental make-up. That is the case here. Matt Chapman has tools: he can hit for power, he does have plate patience, and he’s the best fielding third baseman in the league. Conversely, he’s not a standout 3B at getting on base and he plays in a pitcher’s park. Still, I’m buying his future. A lot of the assets on this list are going to improve in one way or another. Chapman is the kind of guy that seems to work on improving himself in any way he can. Since his debut three years ago, Chapman has continued to swing less (especially outside the zone), while making higher percentages of contact. He also has continued to hit for less soft contact and shows incremental gains of hard contact. Will Chapman ever hit 40 home runs? I doubt it. But it’s likely he continues progress overall as a hitter. That is a nice asset to have.
40. Shane Bieber, SP, CLE, Age: 24
Shane Bieber came out of nowhere. After a slightly encouraging 2018 where his control was admirable, Bieber found something none of us thought he had: a put-away pitch. Before 2019, Bieber’s curveball was the better pitch. Now his slider has become at least as important, if not more so. It’s impossible to argue the results. Regression certainly is possible, especially if he loses the uptick in slider velocity he found in 2019, but I wouldn’t bet on it. With Bieber’s combination of control and stuff, wide variances in results are less frequent.
41. Tyler Glasnow, SP, TB, Age: 26
Our third list entry whose career prospects immediately improved after leaving Pittsburgh. Injuries have slowed that progress down to be sure, but Tyler Glasnow has real value in dynasty leagues right now. There is some concern about his lack of a third pitch. Right now he’s leaning on his fastball/curveball combo. He also has a changeup that’s a work in progress, and a slider that he stopped using last year. Tampa Bay knows how to improve pitchers. I would not be surprised to see improvement in either of his lesser pitches and a corresponding improvement in performance.
42. Aaron Nola, SP, PHI, Age: 26
Aaron Nola still has one of the best curveballs in the league. What really concerns me are the 80 walks he surrendered in 2019. Eighty is a monster number. Pitchers are rarely as successful as Nola was last year by handing out as many free passes. Simply put, he cannot see any more reduction of his control or he will be off this list completely. What has kept him on is that I’m leaning toward believing that this is an anomaly, considering he had a nearly 25% jump in walk rate.
43. Josh Hader, RP, MIL, Age: 25
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 almost twice a week, and gives up just 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 if he is 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 and he’s just 25, which is more than I can say for most pitchers.
44. Bo Bichette, 2B/SS, TOR, Age: 21
It’s hard not to go overboard on Bo Bichette. He checks a lot of boxes: legacy kid who hit every level of the minors. He’s got speed, he can field, his debut was an insane .311/.571/.929 slash with 29 extra-base hits in just 46 games. So why isn’t he in the top 30? I’m not completely sold on the power yet. Eleven homers is a lot in 46 games, especially for a middle infielder, but I want to see how much power he has with a normal, non-juiced baseball in 2020. I’m certain this kid will hit.
45. Bryce Harper, OF, PHI, Age: 27
I just want to point out that Bryce Harper has played eight MLB seasons, and in six of those he has failed to reach a .900 OPS. Forget about the MVP version he has been 264 of his 1,084 career games. It’s simply not who he is. If you happen to get another one of those seasons from him, consider it a bonus—and then trade him while his value is through the roof. Harper did steal 15 bags in 2019, but don’t count on that. He does have the talent to do it again, but like power and his contact, the speed is variable from year to year.
46. Lucas Giolito, SP, CWS, Age: 25
While I’m not completely sold on the re-invention of Lucas Giolito, I am beginning to buy in. The thing is I can’t decide his large improvement is a product of a two-tick velocity increase on his heater, or a change in pitch selection—or both. The worst situation would be both. Relying on two improvements makes it less likely to happen again. The best would be if it were just that he ironically stopped using his fantastic curveball and instead made his changeup stronger:
|Giolito Pitch Usage||FB||CB||SL||CH|
If it’s just a change in sequencing/selection, that means there could be further tinkering that Giolito could do to be even better. Let’s also not forget that he cut his walk rate nearly in half in 2019. That has to stick.
47. Joey Gallo, 1B/OF, TEX, Age: 26
I’m not sold on Joey Gallo‘s complete transformation into a .250 hitter. I am, however, sold on his 15+ walk percentage. That’s just what happens when your power is that big and you swing at only 40% of the pitches you see. Gallo’s combination of power and patience likely means he will continue to be a top-100 asset for the next few years until something drops off. He doesn’t make elite contact on pitches in or out of the zone, but he swings at so few pitches outside the zone (25%) that it doesn’t matter. His contact inside the zone (72%) is good enough to keep the balls screaming out of the park.
48. Ramon Laureano, OF, OAK, Age: 25
I’m a huge Ramon Laureano fan. His inability to work the count is the only concern I have about his game. Despite not drawing walks, he still is extremely productive. There is 25/20 potential here with a decent average. Like Baez, Laureano’s inability to get on base at a high clip could depress his counting stats. It’s hard to tell if that is the case until 2020 is in the books and we see if he improves his O-Contact rate, which could really boost his all of his numbers.
49. Adalberto Mondesi, SS, KC, Age: 24
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.
50. Yoan Moncada, 3B, CWS, Age: 26
At this time last year, Yoan Moncada was ranked 99 on the list and I believe I said that 2019 was a make-or-break season. Well he made radical changes in his approach, which resulted in a universally better performance, but also left question marks as to whether this breakout is sustainable. First of all, one of the keys to Moncada’s success is that he swung more—at everything. The odd thing is even though he swung much more, he made more overall contact. He even had a 10-point increase in swinging at pitches outside of the zone. That is suspect to me. Also, like Fernando Tatis, Jr on the 1-25 list, Moncada benefited from a 50+ point increase in BABIP in 2019 (.406). While he did increase his hard contact rate and decrease his soft contact rate, the difference wasn’t so stark as to suggest a new approach. Also problematic is that his walk rate dropped four points. That is a significant decrease. Now his K rate also dropped a similar amount. This could just be the new Moncada, but I don’t think he hits .300 next year, or maybe ever again.
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Rick Orengo (@OneFiddyOne on Twitter)