Welcome back to another installment of the Fantasy Baseball Dynasty rankings. This week we feature the players ranked 100-76 on our way to the top-ranked group.
Here is a look at the breakdown of this week’s grouping:
- 5 players between the ages of 30-34
- 14 players between the ages of 25-29
- 6 players between the ages of 20-24
- 9 infielders
- 7 starting pitchers
- 7 outfielders
- 2 catchers
If you are surprised by the number of players who are 29 or younger – a whopping 20 of the 25 players ranked in this group – you shouldn’t be. It stands to reason that the best way to build or maintain a winning dynasty team is with the best young players in the game. The older players are great to fill a hole, but not build around.
More and more of the top hitters are starting to get ranked as well as I skew my rankings in favor of the young hitters, though I don’t ignore starting pitchers as much as I used to. But if picking between a pitcher and a hitter who are close in the rankings, I will go with the hitter at this point.
Now on to the Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings: 100-76…
*Age as of April 1, 2024
Two Really Good, Aging Pitchers
What you read here will be very similar to what you read about Kevin Gausman below. Zack Wheeler is a very good pitcher. After three straight seasons of a sub-3.00 ERA, Wheeler had a 3.61 ERA last year – his worst ERA since 2017. But he had a 1.08 WHIP, producing a WHIP below 1.10 for the third consecutive season. And for the third straight season, he struck out more than a batter per inning, finishing with a 9.9 K/9 rate. His StatCast numbers are all fantastic. But Wheeler, like Gausman, is 33 years old this season. I worry about pitchers when they hit this age as the cliff is often coming soon. I don’t like to worry.
Looking strictly at numbers, Kevin Gausman should be ranked higher. Over the last three seasons, he has finished 6th, 9th, and 3rd in the Cy Young voting and he had a 3.16 ERA last year to pair with a 1.18 WHIP. He has not had a K/9 rate lower than 10.0 since 2018 and is coming off a season in which he had an 11.5 K/9 rate. His Chase% ranked in the 87th percentile and K% ranked in the 93rd percentile thanks in large part to a nasty split-finger pitcher. Opposing hitters managed only a .201 average and .176 slugging percentage against that pitch. So why is Gausman not ranked higher? Because he is 33. That is basically it. If you care only about the next two seasons or so, then rank him higher. But if you are building a staff, then there are younger pitchers I want ahead of Gausman.
The True Outcome Man
Kyle Schwarber is not an easy player to rank. On one hand, he is not a good “hitter” as he had a .197 batting average with a 29.9% strikeout rate last season. In 720 plate appearances, he struck out 215 times. But while Schwarber doesn’t hit for average, he has massive power and a great eye at the plate. He slugged 47 home runs and drove in 104 runs, ranking first and second among left fielders. He also scored 108 runs and, thanks to his 126 walks, he had an OBP of .343. Add that all together and this is where Schwarber lands. If you can’t stomach a slash line of .197/.343/.474, then move him down your rankings. But in OBP and OPS leagues, he is a very nice player to have.
Betting Those Numbers Are Real
The 2023 season was a tale of two cities for Cole Ragans. He started the year in Texas and appeared in 17 games, all out of the bullpen. He was not very good in that role, compiling a 5.92 ERA and 1.397 WHIP to go with a 8.9 K/9 rate and a horrid 5.2 BB/9 rate. But after he was traded to the Royals, something clicked for Ragans. In 12 starts he was 5-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 1.074 WHIP. His strikeout rate jumped to 11.2 per nine innings and his walked rate fell to 3.4 per nine innings. He may not duplicate exactly what he did with the Royals, but I don’t think he reverts back to the pitcher he was at Texas.
This Tiger Will Roar
Detroit’s Kerry Carpenter got a taste of MLB life in 2022 when he appeared in 31 games and hit six homers with 10 RBI while slashing .252/.310/.485. Those numbers created some excitement about him heading into 2023, and he didn’t disappoint. Despite missing the month of May, Carpenter finished with a .278/.340/.471 slash line while hitting 20 homers and driving in 64 runs in 118 games. Carpenter has now basically played one full season, posting 26 homers and 74 RBI with a .273/.334/.474 slash line in 149 games (572 plate appearances).
He’s the Bohm
Alec Bohm is really a third base baseman who was asked to fill in at first base for much of the 2023 season when Rhys Hoskins got hurt and before Bryce Harper took over there toward the end of the season. But the fact he can be slotted in at first base this season is a bonus. Since 2021, Bohm has seen his OBP and SLG increase each season, resulting in a .274/.327/.437 slash line with 20 homers (up from 13 in 2022) and 97 RBI in 2023 – very solid numbers for a player who is just now entering his prime. His xBA ranked in the 93rd percentile and his 15.4% strikeout rate ranked in the 88th percentile.
Power, Gotta Love It
If you have Isaac Paredes on your team, be happy with that. In his second full season in Tampa Bay, Paredes busted out with 31 homers and 98 RBI while slashing .250/.352/.488. And while he is a dead pull hitter, his power is real as he hit 20 homers in 331 at-bats in 2022. He is a career .229 hitter, but he walks enough to give you an average OBP. If the home runs keep coming, and I believe they will, that is a small tradeoff.
Some Love for Two Outfielders
Jack Suwinski is quietly one of the better hitting center fielders. He isn’t going to deliver a great batting average (.224, .215 career), but thanks to a career walk rate of 12.8%, including 14.0% last season (ranking in the 94th percentile), he has a .322 career OBP that sat at .339 in 2023. His calling card is the power and speed he brings to your fantasy team. He hit 26 homers with 74 RBI and 13 steals in 144 games last season. While he strikes out a lot (32.2 strikeout rate), he ranked in the 94th percentile in Barrel% (15.7).
Seiya Suzuki has been very good since joining the Chicago Cubs. After injuries limited him in 2022, he appeared in 138 games this past season and slashed .284/.357/.485 with 20 homers and 74 RBI. He doesn’t steal a lot of bases, but I think there is more power to be found. His Hard-Hit% ranked in the 84th percentile while his Avg. AV ranked in the 83rd percentile. Additionally, his strikeout rate wasn’t horrible, ranking in the 47th percent, while he had a 10.1% walk rate.
All A’s For Gelof
You may be surprised to see Zack Gelof ranked here, but I really like what he brings to the field. I started talking about him back in August of 2023. At that point of the season, he was slashing .250/.315/.560 with six homers, 11 RBI, and six steals in 22 games. By the end of the year, covering a total of 69 games and 300 plate appearances, Gelof slashed .267/.337/.504 with 14 home runs, 32 RBI, and 14 steals. I’ll gladly take a second baseman with a .500 slugging percentage and double-digit steals.
Is he Royalty, or Just a Royal?
Vinnie Pasquantino may be ranked too low here, or he could be ranked too high, or it may be just right. I was bullish on Pasquantino after the 2022 season after he slashed .295/.383/.450 with 10 homers in 72 games. But 2023 was not kind to the Royals first baseman. Through his first 61 games he was slashing .247/.324/.437 – a big drop from 2022. But he did have nine homers, matching his pace from the previous season before landing on the 60-day IL and missing the rest of the season. He is probably a 20 to 25 homer player, or he could go for more. And is he a .300 hitter or a .250 hitter? He has talent and he is young, so I am going to bet he starts to perform closer to his 2022 level.
New Cubbies Center Fielder?
With Cody Bellinger now a free agent, there is an opening in center field for the Cubs. Rookie Pete Crow-Armstrong appeared in 13 games for Chicago last season and was hitless in 14 at-bats. But that small cup of coffee shouldn’t dissuade you from wanting to have Crow-Armstrong on your team. He is one of the game’s top prospects and is coming off a .283/.365/.511 season in the minors with 20 homers, 82 RBI, and 37 steals in 107 games. He will be given every chance to be the everyday center fielder.
Upside is There
The ranking of Colton Cowser here is based completely on his upside and what he has done in the minors. Cowser got a taste of the big leagues last season, appearing in 26 games and making eight starts. In those games, he slashed .115/.286/.148 with 22 strikeouts and 13 walks in 77 plate appearances. The Orioles already have depth in the outfield, but Cowser is a top 100 prospect who in 258 minor league games owns a .298/.420/.489 slash line with 38 homers, 162 RBI, and 34 steals with a decent 25.9% strikeout rate and a very nice 15.6% walk rate. He may start the year at Triple-A, but he shouldn’t be in the minors for long.
Still a Believer
If Eloy Jimenez can stay healthy, he’s going to have a monster year like he did his rookie season in 2019 when he hit 31 homers and slugged .513. He had a great 2020 COVID year as well, blasting 14 homers and slugging .559. But he has since become pedestrian as injuries limited to 55 games in 2021 and 84 in 2022. But in 120 games last year, Jimenez hit 18 homers and drove in 64 while slashing .272/.317/.441. Those aren’t great numbers, but they aren’t horrible numbers. I can’t get over the feeling that he will again be the player of 2019 – or at least closer to that player.
As a rookie in 2022, Bryson Stott slashed .324/.295/.358 with 10 dingers, 49 RBI, and 12 steals. Not great, but he showed he could have success in the majors. This past year he slashed .280/.329/.419 with 15 home runs, 62 RBI, and 31 steals. His steals may be close to his ceiling, but I think he has more power in his game while producing a slash line close to what he did in 2023 for years to come.
Still a Double-A Player – Above Average
Xander Bogaerts didn’t have a spectacular season in any one area in 2023. But he had a solid season across the board for San Diego. He hit 19 homers, drove in 58 and stole 19 bases. Where he really shined was his slash line of .285/.350/.440. The first two numbers ranked sixth and seventh among his position peers while his SLG ranked 13th. He isn’t getting younger, so his age is a strike against him. But I think he will continue to be a 20-80 player for several more years with a .290/.350/.450 slash line.
Hoping to Stay Healthy
After finishing as the runner-up in the Cy Young voting in 2022, the sky was the limit for Max Fried entering the 2023 season. But he could never get going thanks to a series of injuries that limited him to only 14 starts last year. When on the mound, Fried was outstanding as he went 8-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 80 strikeouts in 77.2 innings. Since 2020, his highest ERA in a season was 3.04 in 2021. The only knock on Fried is the fact he is not a huge strikeout pitcher. But he does everything else well and should continue to do so for several more years.
Coming Back to the Pack
I like Will Smith of the Dodgers, but there are two things that worry me about him. First is the fact he is 29. Some catchers age quickly, and I’m not sure if Smith will be able to avoid that fact. Since 2020, Smith’s slugging percentage has decreased each year, from .579 that season to .438 last year. The only season he has hit above .261 was during the 2020 COVID year in which he played in only 37 games. He doesn’t strike out and he does walk, but his Barrel% ranking in the 32nd percentile was a career low last year as was his Hard-Hit% ranking in the 53rd percentile. But he is still one of the better hitting catchers in the game – you just may keep him on a shorter leash than some of the players ranked in this grouping.
Nolan Gorman is like many players I have already talked about – he isn’t going to hit for a great average, but he is going to hit some bombs, which means he is creating his own runs scored and RBI. Gorman hit only .236 last year, but he slugged .478 and led all second basemen in Barrels/Plate Appearance at 9.3% and in Hard-Hit% at 48.5%. Meanwhile, he ranked third in Avg. EV and fourth in Sweat-Spot%. And for what it is worth, his average home run distance of 411 feet ranked first among all second baseman. Overall, his Hard-Hit%, xSLG, Barrel%, and Sweet-Spot% all ranked in the 86th percentile or better, with his Barrel% ranking in the 97th percentile.
Hot Corner Standout
Josh Jung has always been able to hit. The only reason he hasn’t been in the majors for multiple years now is injuries. Finally healthy last season, Jung was an All-Star who finished fourth in the ROY voting after slugging 23 homers and driving in 70 runs while slashing .266/.315/.467. He showed he was a rookie at times with a Chase% that ranked in the 24th percentile and K% ranking in the 14th percentile. But he was above average to elite in many of the key hitting stats, including ranking in the 98th percentile in Sweet-Spot%. He is only going to get better.
Just a Little Wild
Jesus Luzardo is a pitcher who can anchor a fantasy staff. That is because he features a fastball whose velocity ranks in the 90th percentile in baseball and has 4.7 inches of horizontal break. Opposing hitters managed only a .230 batting average and .381 slugging percentage against his fastball. Throw in a slider that produced a 51.8% Whiff% and 52.7% K%, and it is easy to understand why Luzardo had a 10.5 K/9 rate last season. Keeping him from being ranked higher is the fact that he has a tough time commanding his pitches, leading to a 3.78 K/BB rate and 1.220 WHIP in 2023.
Ready to Move Up the Rankings
It is only a matter of time before Christian Encarnacion-Strand moves into the top 50 of future dynasty rankings. Encarnacion-Strand played in only 63 games for Cincinnati last season but managed to hit 13 homers and drive in 37 runs. That is a 33-95 162-game pace. He also slashed .270/.328/.477, showing that he can get on base and not just hit home runs. These are the MLB averages for Barrel%, Avg. EV, and Hard-Hit%: 6.9%, 88.4 mph, and 36.3%. For Encarnacion-Strand last season those numbers were 10.5%, 90.3 mph, and 48.4%. He plays in a hitter’s park and in a lineup that will offer him plenty of protection and RBI chances.
If You Don’t Care About Average…
When it comes to catchers, one of the only things I really care about is whether can they hit for average. Since they don’t play every day, a low batting average or OBP isn’t going to drag down my team too much. But if they can hit homers, that will help my team every week. That is why I really like Francisco Alvarez of the Mets. In only 382 at-bats last year, Alvarez smacked 25 homers and slugged .437 thanks to a barrel% that ranked in the 84th percentile and Hard-Hit% that was in the 72nd percentile. Alvarez had a 26% strikeout rate – a number that was close to his career rate in the minors. But he had a 13.6% walk rate in the minors and his power has always been there. At only 22 years old, he should be hitting a lot of homers for a lot of years.
Good, but Not Great
When it comes to Logan Gilbert, he is almost a better pitcher in real baseball than in fantasy baseball. There is not a team in the majors who wouldn’t want Gilbert in their rotation. But in fantasy baseball, he is a slightly above pitcher. He has a career 3.76 ERA and had a 3.73 ERA in 2023. His career K/9 ratio is 8.9, which is what his ratio was last season. Where Gilbert really helps your staff is in WHIP. He posted a 1.08 WHIP in 2023 and his career mark is 1.14. His low WHIP is due to a career 2.1 BB/9 rate and he had a career-best 1.7 BB/9 rate last season. If your league uses K/9 as a stat, that will ding Gilbert. If it uses just strikeouts, that helps his value as he throws a lot of innings, bringing almost a strikeout per inning while not allowing a lot of walks.
He’s Gilbert…But a Little Better
Justin Steele is a similar pitcher to Logan Gilbert, just a little better. The better part is shown in having a career 3.30 ERA, including a 3.06 ERA in 2023. Steele is also a little better in the strikeout department. His career rate is 9.3 K/9 and had a 9.1 rate last season. Where Steele doesn’t equal Gilbert is with his career WHIP (1.26) and BB/9 rate (2.9). But that is still a nice walk rate as it ranked in the 93rd percentile last season. Choosing between Gilbert and Steele comes down to what stat you like the most in a starter. For me, it is their strikeout rate, which thus gives the edge to Steele.
Come Back Next Week
Thanks for reading and come back again next week for Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings: 75-51.
If you need to catch up, here are the previous rankings:
- Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings: 300-201
- Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings: 200-176
- Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings: 175-151
- Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings: 150-126
- Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Rankings: 125-101