Welcome back to the Dynasty Dive, a weekly column meant to explore the fringes of the fantasy baseball universe.
As a general reminder, the term dynasty means something different to everybody. I consider a league with 900 players rostered to be a normal dynasty. You might call your 300 player league a dynasty. Regardless of your league depth, there's one defining factor of all dynasties share – an ability to keep most of your roster year-to-year.
This column will try to cater to all dynasty owners. It will be up to you to judge if a recommendation or strategy is too deep or shallow for your particular use case.
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With the trade deadline approaching, let's focus this week's edition on players affected by recent deals. Last week, we touched upon Gleyber Torres in the “Top Performers” section. I described the 19-year-old as “one of the most exciting” prospects in the Cubs loaded system. The Yankees agreed, nabbing Torres as part of the haul for Aroldis Chapman. With Didi Gregorius and Jorge Mateo locked up long term, the Yankees will probably eventually shift Torres to second or third base. It's a better fit for him as a defender, but it does hurt his fantasy value.
Nationals pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez was thought to be a potential match for Chapman. The righty had a mixed debut last week. He pumped 97 mph gas and recorded nine strikeouts in just 4.2 innings. Unfortunately, his penchant for wildness within the zone burned him to the tune of six runs. In the minors, Lopez hid below average command by using his fastball to blow away batters. In the majors, he'll have to learn to work the edges. The ceiling is huge, but there's no guarantee he'll ever get there.
Recent Astros signee Yulieski Gurriel is working to get into game shape. He's yet to appear in a minor league game, mainly because he's yet to secure a work visa. Pirates prospect Josh Bell has performed fine since his demotion back to Triple-A. Nothing flashy, nothing slumpy.
Quinn, Altherr Rehabbing
The Phillies outfield could soon receive some much needed reinforcements. Aaron Altherr was supposed to make his case for long term consideration this season, but a spring wrist injury wrecked his season.
Altherr's rehab assignment has progressed to Triple-A. Although he's hitting relatively well, he's shown very little power. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Phillies option him to Triple-A once his rehab assignment is complete. There's no benefit to promoting him if he's not ready.
Another outfielder on the 40-man roster, Roman Quinn, began his rehab assignment in the GCL yesterday. The speedy, oft-injured outfielder will likely receive a September call up if he can stay healthy. The club may even give him considerable playing time in an effort to evaluate his role in 2017.
Quinn has the potential to be a pesky top-of-the-order hitter, but first he has to improve his contact skills. He posted a 22.9 percent strikeout rate in Double-A prior to landing on the disabled list. He'll need to make more contact for his speed profile to play up.
Indians Promote Two
The Indians have promoted top prospects Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer to Triple-A. There's a chance one or both will be wearing new uniforms by this time next week. The Indians are said to be shopping for Jonathan Lucroy and top relievers. The cost for those assets is high - as we've seen with the Aroldis Chapman trade. At least one of these outfielders will be involved.
Frazier is a balanced hitter who should develop more power as he ages. At Double-A, he hit .276/.356/.469 with 13 home runs and 13 stolen bases. The speed will probably translate to around 10 steals per season in the majors. Frazier features solid plate discipline. He's whittled his strikeout rate down to 22 percent. Whiffs are the biggest weakness in his profile.
Zimmer reminds me of George Springer. The left-handed hitter has patience, power, speed, and a bundle of strikeouts. He hit .253/.371/.471 in Double-A with 14 home runs and 33 stolen bases. His actual foot speed rates comparably to Frazier, but Zimmer is a much more aggressive and instinctive runner. Like Springer, Zimmer isn't exactly young for his levels – he'll turn 24 in November. His skill set is a perfect fit for Progressive Field which rewards left-handed power hitters.
Top Call Ups
A few top prospects were summoned this week. Let's chat about them.
On Monday, the Astros finally promoted Alex Bregman. The move was rumored to be happening any day now for weeks. Reports surfaced that he would be activated for the game after the All Star Break and for the first game of a recent series versus the Angels. After two misfires, we get the real thing.
The hype on Bregman is unreal because he's punished minor league pitchers at every stop. He's demonstrated plate discipline, power, contact skills, and even some speed. It's the full package for fantasy owners.
Now is a good time to remind everybody that the talent gap between Triple-A and the majors is YUGE. Do not be surprised to see Bregman scuffle initially. How he responds to adversity will affect whether he's a solid fantasy asset or a star. The floor remains very high.
If Bregman fails to ignite, he'll be the third prominent call up to sputter for Houston. The team previously received minimal contributions from Tyler White and A.J. Reed. Tony Kemp and Preston Tucker also left much to be desired. Tucker is back for another try.
I'm not actually worried about Bregman flopping. However, a league average batting line with tepid power would be a win for the Astros and a big disappointment for fantasy owners.
In many ways, I prefer David Dahl as a prospect. Also promoted on Monday, Dahl has a massive, Coors-fueled fantasy ceiling. His bat features 25 home run upside, and he should swipe around 20 bases per season early in his career. Strikeouts could be a problem, much as they are for Trevor Story. However, the rest of the skill set and favorable setting should make him a fantasy gold mine.
If you're expecting instant gratification, there's a real chance Dahl will be demoted after the current interleague series with the Orioles. While the Rockies seemingly have a regular role available for him in left field, they're under no pressure to hand it to him prematurely. He has only 68 plate appearances at Triple-A.
While Tyler Skaggs doesn't come with the same fanfare as Bregman and Dahl, he could be one of the highest impact pitchers to reach the majors this year. Of course, Skaggs pitched in the big from 2012 through 2014 which is why I'm confident he won't need a lengthy adjustment period.
The 24-year-old is scheduled to make his 2016 debut tonight. After missing all of 2015 with an injury, Skaggs has looked quite sharp during his rehab stint. He made seven starts at Triple-A, posting a 1.67 ERA with 12.53 K/9 and 2.23 BB/9. Skaggs has long possessed an intriguing skill base including command, a good repertoire, swing-and-miss stuff, and a tendency for ground balls. The southpaw also has a history of very modest platoon splits.
Upton Goes North
Earlier today, the Blue Jays sent prospect Hansel Rodriguez to the Padres for Melvin Upton. While Rodriguez is an interesting pitching prospect, he won't be kept in all but the very deepest dynasty leagues (i.e. over 800 keepers).
The dynasty fallout relates to the Padres outfield where Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Alex Dickerson are the potential winners. Dickerson is already in the majors, hitting epic moon bombs as part of his aggressive, high contact approach. Even though he's not a highly touted prospect, Dickerson has succeeded at every level. I anticipate a respectable .260/.305/.450 line from the 26-year-old.
If Margot and/or Renfroe get the call, it will be to serve as every day outfielders at the expense of Dickerson or Travis Jankowski. Margot is a speedy, high contact hitter with below average power. He may develop enough pop for upwards of 10 home runs, but his game is to serve as a high average hitter. Margot possesses a classic two-hole mentality not dissimilar to Joe Panik or Placido Polanco.
Renfroe possesses a classic power hitter profile. At Triple-A, he's batting .331/.356/.607 with 25 home runs and four steals. Renfroe's weakness is aggression. He currently uses it to hide some swing-and-miss issues, but that doesn't always work in the majors.
If we see his strikeout rate spike dramatically upon reaching the majors, it means he'll need to learn plate discipline in order to be a major league hitter. Renfroe strikes me as the kind of prospect who may take many years to adjust to the majors.