Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another week of Top Dynasty Keepers.

Earlier this week we saw the trade deadline come and go, and when the dust settled a host of big-name stars were traded for some big-name prospects. When  it comes to Dynasty Leagues, we all love the top prospects. These the the players we all know and follow and try to build our teams around.

But as is often the case, a lot of these top prospects never quite live up to the billing once they reach the majors. If you are a fantasy owner who relies only on taking the top prospects to build your team, then your team could be struggling in the standings.

FINDING THE HIDDEN GEMS

If you really want to succeed in your dynasty league, you must look at young players who may not have ever been a top prospect but have nonetheless been successful in the minors and early in their major league careers. This week we are going to look at one of those players – Cristian Javier of the Houston Astros.

The Astros signed Javier out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 15. Now 25, Javier worked his way through the team’s minor league system before making his major league debut in 2020. Javier never appeared in any Top 100 Prospect lists, and he wasn’t even rated as a top prospect in the Astros system.

Despite not ever reaching top prospect status, Javier has become a key member of the Astros rotation and on fantasy teams everywhere as he is rostered in 85 percent of Yahoo leagues and 89.5% of ESPN leagues.

The success he is having on the mound this year makes it easy to understand why he is rostered on so many teams. The question, however, is should he be a player everyone should keep on their dynasty teams moving forward.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Hello once again. Glad you are back for another round of discussion about Top Dynasty Keepers.

If you have been reading this column every week, then you know how much I prefer young hitters over young pitchers. Heck, I prefer young hitters over old pitchers as well. That being said, pitching is part fantasy baseball.

With starters taking the mound only twice a week, max, and relivers able to blow up your ERA and WHIP in a heartbeat, finding solid starting pitchers is always a chore. Finding young starters this late in the season who may also be good to great keepers is nearly impossible, but not completely.

EXPANDING THE SEARCH

Because the search for good starting pitching is a little harder, I also expand the age of the players I am willing to look at when considering them as good keepers or not. So this week let’s examine two 28-year-old starters who pitch on two lousy teams.

The first is left-hander Cole Irvin of the Oakland Athletics. Irvin has the distinction of being drafted three times in his career – once out of high school in the 29th round of the 2012 draft then twice in college after his 2015 season (32nd round) and 2016 seasons (5th round) at Oregon. Cole is widely available in Yahoo and ESPN leagues, rostered at 39% and 30.2% respectively.

The second pitcher is right-hander JT Brubaker of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 draft, Brubaker is rostered in only 13% of Yahoo leagues and 8.2% of ESPN leagues.

Both of these pitchers are having career years, which is why we are taking a look at them. At this stage of the season, if you are looking at them they are probably worthy of adding to your staff for a spot start or two. But are they worthy of being a keeper?

Let’s dive in.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello everyone, welcome back to another edition of Top Fantasy Keepers.

As we head into the All-Star break, I want to focus on one All-Star who will be making his first appearance in the game but certainly not his last. That player is rookie Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners.

Rodriguez is the lone rookie All-Star this year, making the roster at the age of 21 – and he won’t turn 22 until December 29! The last Mariners rookie to make the All-Star game was Ichiro Suzuki in 2001, putting Rodriguez into some pretty great company.

Not a Surprise

The fact that Rodriguez is an All-Star shouldn’t be a huge surprise. He was one of the top prospects during the 2017-18 international signing period and eventually signed with Seattle for $1.75 million. In 59 games in the Dominican Summer league that year, he had an OPS of .929. The next year, at the age of 18, he slashed .326/.390/.540 with 12 homers and 69 RBI in 84 games across A and High A ball.

COVID wiped out the 2020 season for minor leaguers, but he put up great numbers again in 2021 at High-A and Double-A, slashing .347/.444/.560 with 13 homers, 47 RBI and 21 steals. The only thing that slowed Rodriguez down while in the minors was a left hand fracture in 2019 and then a broken wrist during Seattle’s summer camp in 2020.

The Mariners have been aggressive in pushing Rodriguez through the system, and after proving he could handle minor league pitchers, Rodriguez earned a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Not everything has been smooth sailing for the rookie. However, as the season has progressed, so too has his production.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back for another edition of Top Fantasy Keepers.

Unlike past weeks, this week I am going to focus on only one player – Jake Meyers of the Houston Astros.

When it comes to the top fantasy keepers, it is easy to fall in love with the top prospects. Tons of experts have done the work of compiling the top prospect lists, which allows us to:

Look through all the lists
Come up with our own fancy formulas to weigh all of the prospects on all the lists
Create our own special rankings system and make us feel really smart

But not all of the top prospects become top players. Sometimes, those drafted in rounds 10, 11 or later are the players who become top fantasy keepers.

Jake Meyers may be one of those players. He never cracked any of the Top 100 Prospects list. Baseball America, MLB Pipeline and Baseball Prospectus never deemed him talented enough to list him with the likes of Michael Baez, Luiz Gohara or Estevan Florial. Or how about Heliot Ramos, Willie Calhoun and Kolby Allard. Those are six former Top 100 prospects – and how well have they done in the majors?

Sometimes the mid-round draft choice becomes the better player and the better fantasy keeper than a top prospect. Is Jake Meyers one of those players? Let’s take a look.

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After a one-week hiatus due to a very welcomed (and very needed) vacation, welcome back to another edition of Top Fantasy Keepers. 

Despite taking a break myself, Major League Baseball decided to keep playing baseball. During that time, one player who has rocketed through the minors was recalled to the majors while another player who is now in his second season continued to hit home runs.

The Rookie First Baseman

Earning his promotion to the majors was Vinnie Pasquantino of the Kansas City Royals. The powerful Pasquantino first tasted the minors in 2019 after an outstanding college career at Old Dominion, making him the second-greatest baseball player at the school behind Justin Verlander.

Despite smashing the ball out of minor league ballparks across America since 2019, Pasquantino is currently rostered in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues and 10.2 percent of ESPN leagues.

The Second-Year Catcher

Like Pasquantino, Cal Raleugh of the Seattle Mariners had an outstanding college career, spending three years at Florida State. And like Pasquantino, Raleigh move pretty quickly through the Mariners system after being drafted in 2018.

Also like Pasquantino, Raleigh is very available in Yahoo and ESPN leagues. He is rostered in only 7 percent of Yahoo leagues and 2.3 percent of ESPN leagues.

Let’s take a look at these two players and see if they should be on your roster or not.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the temperature rises each and every day as the start of summer approaches, the top prospects in baseball are beginning to make their mark in the majors. Three such rookies are pitcher Roansy Contreras and catchers Gabriel Moreno and Adley Rutschman.

Entering the season, Contreras was ranked as the 80th best prospect by Baseball America, 71st by MLB and 89th by Baseball Prospectus. The right-hander has actually been up all season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, appearing in eight games and making six starts. However, he is rostered in only 34% of Yahoo leagues and 10.5% of ESPN leagues.

Moreno, who is only 22, started the season as a top-10 prospect by Baseball America and MLB and in the top 25 by Baseball Prospectus. He appeared in his first game with the Blue Jays June 11 and collected a single that night and has collected at least one hit in four of his first five major league games. Yet he is rostered in only 27% of Yahoo leagues and 9.8% of ESPN leagues.

Rutschman is 24 and just made it to the majors with the Orioles. But he should have been with Baltimore last season as he proved he had nothing left to prove in the minors. That said, he is rostered in only 61% of Yahoo leagues and a surprising low 41.5% of ESPN leagues.

Let’s look at these three players and examine of they should be Top Fantasy Keepers or not.

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Well, another week down and time for another week of Top Fantasy Keepers.

We’ve seen yet another top prospect called up to the majors in Gabriel Moreno of the Blue Jays. But I’m not going to focus on him yet. Let’s let him get settled in before we delve into what to expect from him. But here is a hint – I would consider him a Top Fantasy Keeper.

This week, I want to talk about Aaron Ashby of the Brewers, Michael Harris II of the Braves and Trevor Larnach of the Twins.

Ashby is a left-hander who moved through the Milwaukee system with very little fanfare. Fantasy owners, however, have taken notice of him as he is owned in 68% of Yahoo leagues and 40.7% of ESPN leagues. Unlike Ashby, Harris is a well known top prospect, entering the season ranked as the 46th best prospect by Baseball America (BA), 65th by MLB and 58th by Baseball Prospectus (BP).

STUDS OR DUDS?

Recently called up by the Braves, Harris is rostered in only 26% of Yahoo leagues and 7.9% of ESPN leagues. Meanwhile, Larnach is a former top prospect who was ranked in the Top 100 by BA, MLB and BP ahead of the 2021 season before surpassing prospect status that year with the Twins. If you go by prospects rankings, Ashby is supposed to be a dud while Harris and Larnach are studs. But maybe Larnach is a dud if you look at his 4% roster rate in Yahoo and 2.5% roster rate in ESPN leagues.

Sometimes (many times?) prospects rankings get players completely wrong. Let’s examine if they were wrong or right with Ashby, Harris and Larnach.

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Welcome to another addition of Top Dynasty Keepers.

We’ve taken a look at some of the top prospects who have been promoted to the Show the last couple of weeks. So this week, we are going to take a look at two players who are not on the popular top prospects lists in Luis Gonzalez of the Giants and Christopher Morel of the Cubs.

After two cups of coffee with the White Sox in 2020 and 2021, the White Sox let go of Gonzalez and the Giants claimed Gonzalez off waivers, only to later release him prior top the non-tender deadline. San Francisco then inked him to a minor league contract in December. Meanwhile, Morel, who is listed as the Cubs’ No. 21 prospect by MLB Pipeline entering the season, has finally made it to the majors after signing a contract with the Cubs in 2015.

Thus, it is not surprising that Gonzalez and Morel are widely available in fantasy leagues. Gonzalez is only rostered in 10% of Yahoo leagues and 4.5% of ESPN leagues. Meanwhile, Morel is getting a little more love by fantasy owners as he is owned in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues and only 14.5% of ESPN Leagues.

Are these fantasy owners right in shying away from these two players? Let’s take a look at their numbers and find out.

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Thanks the the new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the players union, teams are no longer hiding their top prospects in the minors to delay their service time and ability to hit arbitration and free agency earlier in their careers.

The Mariners (Julio Rodriguez) and Astros (Jeremy Pena) have had top rookies in their starting lineup since the start of the season. Meanwhile, a host of other teams have featured rookies in their lineup from day one or already promoted them from the minors.

A TRIO OF ROOKIES

One team that has been aggressive in calling up top players from the minors is the St. Louis Cardinals. I talked about one of those rookies, Juan Yepez, last week. You can read about him here. The Cardinals also have two more rookies in their lineup, and both are readily available in Yahoo and ESPN leagues.

Rookie Brendan Donovan is rostered on 22% of Yahoo leagues and only 5.4% of ESPN leagues. Nolan Gorman, the other rookie, has the attention of a few more Yahoo and ESPN fantasy players as he is rostered on 63% of Yahoo rosters and 30% of ESPN rosters.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals realized that Salvador Perez can’t play in every game, like he nearly did last season by appearing in 161 contests. The Royals thus turned to top catching prospect MJ Melendez and called him up from Triple A. Melendez is currently on only 37% of Yahoo rosters and 10.2% of ESPN rosters.

It’s time to take a look at these three players and discuss if they are Top Dynasty Keepers or not.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back for another edition of Top Dynasty Keepers.

We are now in the part of the season where we are jettisoning the players who are completely underperforming and taking the best available player on the waiver wire. But when looking to add someone, don’t just think about what they can do for you this season, but always ask yourself if they can be helpful next year.

Dynasty leagues vary in their rules, so perhaps it is tough to just add someone. Perhaps there is a monetary penalty for dropping a player, or adding one. If you are in contract leagues, the cost to drop someone could be a big factor in if you actually want to add someone.

So this week we are going to look at two players who aren’t slam-dunk keepers based mostly on their past performance. The first player is catcher Jonah Heim. The Rangers basckstop is rostered in only 55.4% of ESPN leagues and 49% of Yahoo leagues. Until this season, Heim has not distinguished himself on the field, making him widely available in nearly every fantasy league.

Juan Yepez is coming off a great 2021 minor league season. Before last year, however, he was just another minor leaguer. Now he is a player you may want to think about becoming a member of your dynasty team.

So let’s take a deeper look at Heim and Yepez. 

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When I first started the Top Dynasty Keepers column in the offseason, one of the the first things I stated was how I prefer established pitchers over young pitchers.

There is a simple reason for this as I noted with this simple fun fact: Since the introduction of the Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 and it splitting into one for each league in 1949, 111 hitters have been awarded the Rookie of the Year compared to 39 pitchers. In this century alone, 31 hitters have been named ROY to 13 pitchers. And who remembers Jeremy Hellickson, Andrew Bailey or Jason Jennings anchoring anyone’s fantasy team?

Diamonds in the Rough?

But in fantasy baseball, you need pitching in order to win your league, and when it comes to looking for keepers, we are all trying to find that young diamond in the rough as the top pitching prospects and studs are long gone by now.

Right now, many fantasy owners don’t believe in Dane Dunning of the Texas Rangers or Reid Detmers of the Los Angeles Angeles, despite the fact he threw a no-hitter earlier this week. Dunning is owned in only 19% of Yahoo leagues and 12.9% of ESPN leagues. Meanwhile, Detmers is owned in 10.6% of ESPN leagues and 19% of Yahoo leagues.

Are fantasy owners missing something? This week, let’s take a look at Dunning and Detmers and decide if fantasy owners are correct in their assessment of these two pitchers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?