Welcome back to another week of Top Dynasty Keepers.

Our attention is turned toward two of the games top prospects who were recently called up to the majors – Gunnar Henderson of the Baltimore Orioles and Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fantasy owners have been waiting for these two players to reach the majors and so far they have to like what they see.

Henderson began the year as a consensus Top 100 prospect, ranked 57th by Baseball America, 64th by MLB and 88th by Baseball Prospectus. By midseason, Henderson was playing in the Futures Game and was ranked as the second-best prospect by MLB before earning his promotion to Baltimore.

Like Henderson, Carroll was regarded as one of the top prospects in the game entering the season. Baseball America had him ranked 20th while MLB ranked him at 19 and Baseball Prospectus had him ranked 34th. Like Henderson, Carroll competed in the Futures Game and moved up to No. 3 in the MLB rankings before joining the Diamondbacks.

So far, Henderson and Carroll have been living up to the hype. So let’s dive in and take a look at these two players.

GUNNAR HENDERSON

YEAR LEVEL AB HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS
2022 Orioles 36 1 4 1 .306 .359 .472 .831
2022 AA|AAA 407 19 76 22 .297 .416 .531 .946
2021 A+|AA 399 17 74 16 .258 .350 .476 .826
2019 Rookie 108 1 11 2 .259 .331 .370 .701

If the Orioles have actually turned their fortunes around on the field, the first group to thank may be the scouting department. While taking Adley Rutcshman at the top of the 2019 draft wasn’t a hard decision, the Orioles then selected Henderson to start the second round of the draft.

Henderson was a star athlete in high school, playing both basketball and baseball, and when he was available when the second round started, Baltimore pounced and then signed him for $2.3 million, which was an over-slot bonus. He immediately went to rookie ball and was impressive enough that he trained with the team at the alternate site during the 2020 COVID season.

Age Makes No Difference

Henderson, who turned 21 in June, has always been one of the youngest players on whatever level. But he has never let his youth stop him from being successful.

In his first full season of pro ball, he slashed .258/.350/.476 at High-A and Double A with 17 homers, 74 RBI and 16 steals. He followed that up with a .297/.416/.531 slash line at Double A and Triple A this season with 19 home runs, 76 RBI and 22 steals.

Those numbers convinced the Orioles it was time to promote him to the parent club, despite the fact the Orioles are still in contention for a playoff spot. Entering Saturday, all Henderson has done is slash .306/.359/.472 with a homer, four RBI and one steal.

The Tools

Scouts love what Henderson brings to the table, giving him a 60 grade for both hitting and power and a 55 run grade. It is the power that really has the Orioles excited, as well as his bat speed that allows him to sit and easily turn on inside pitches. Defensively he has an outstanding arm, grading out at 65, and is more than adequate fielding the ball. Thanks to his great arm, Henderson can slide over to third and not be considered a liability there.

There were early concerns about Henderson’s swing as some feared there was a bit too much swing and miss. Last year he had a strikeout rate of 30.9%, though he also had a walk rate of 12.1%. Working hard on being more selective at the plate, Henderson but his strikeout rate down to 15.7% this season in the minors and increased his walk rate to 15.7%.

Though it is through a small sample size, Henderson has shown how the ball jumps off his bat as he has an average exit velocity of 90.7 mph and a hard hit percentage of 42.9%, way above the MLB average of 38.6%.

CORBIN CARROLL

YEAR LEVEL AB HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS
2022 Arizona 35 2 8 0 .286 .342 .543 .885
2022 RK|AAA 362 24 62 31 .307 .425 .611 1.073
2021 A+ 23 2 5 3 .435 .552 .913 1.465
2019 RK|A- 154 2 20 18 .299 .409 .487 .896

The 2019 draft is churning out some of the games top prospects as Carroll was part of that class, drafted by Arizona with the 16th overall pick. Many scouts believed Carroll was one of the best hitters and athletes in the class, but he fell in the draft due to his commitment to UCLA. Arizona didn’t let that stop them as they signed him to a $3,745,500 bonus for him to skip college.

Good Choice

Corbin appears to have made the right choice. He immediately showed off his skills in 2019 at Rookie and Class A Short Season ball, slashing .299/.409/.487 with two homers, 20 RBI and an impressive 18 steals.

Like so many other players, COVID wiped out his 2020 season, but his 2021 season got off to a great start as he was slashing .435/.552/.913 before being sidelined for the year before suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Fully healed at the start of this season, Corbin picked right up where he left off in 2021. After a brief stint in A ball, he spent time at AA and AAA, slashing .307/.425/.611. He showed everyone his shoulder was healthy by also slugging 24 home runs and driving in 62 while also swiping 31 bases.

With nothing left for him to prove in the minors, the Diamondbacks promoted him and through his first 35 at-bats he has not looked overmatched, slugging .286/.4342/.543 with two home runs and eight RBI.

The Tools

Carroll isn’t projected to hit a lot of homers, though he has filled out a bit since being drafted and now has enough pop to make him a threat to hit 15 or so bombs a year. Where he excels is his hit tool and speed. Scouts give him a 65 hit tool grade and a 70 running grade.

The lefty consistently makes hard contact at the plate and hits the ball to all fields in the minors thanks to a quick, compact swing that he has carried that over to the majors. While he could cut down on his strikeout rate, which was 23.5% in the minors, he has shown a good command of the strike zone by having a 15.5% walk rate.

What makes Corbin stand out is his speed. While on the farm, he swiped 52 bags and was thrown out only seven times. That speed also will allow him to turn a host of singles into doubles, as seen here.

The Case for Henderson

Henderson is only 21 but already shows the ability to be a cornerstone player for years to come. Right now he is at shortstop, but even his future home is at third, who cares. He can hit for power, won’t kill your average, and can even swipe some bases for you.

Additionally, with the shift banned starting next year, some of the holes that have been taken away this year will open up next year, giving a boost to his potential batting average.

The Case for Carroll

Carroll is also a left-handed hitter, but he has never been affected by the shift as he hits the ball all over the field. He won’t hit for a lot of power, but speed is always a rare commodity in fantasy baseball. Corbin should be kept solely because of his speed. But luckily he is not a one-trick pony. He will certainly hit for average, boosting the OBP and average categories, and his power potential is enough to not hurt you in that department.

THE VERDICT

Bascially, both players are must-keepers in any league.

If somehow Henderson and/or Carroll are available, pounce on them – now. Right now, fantasy owners are more in love with Henderson. He is owned in 51% of Yahoo leagues and 25% of ESPN leagues. Corbin, meanwhile, is owned in 44% of Yahoo leagues and 18% of ESPN leagues.

Should you only be able to keep or add one of these players, then simply go with the player who fits the team you are trying to create. If you care more about power and RBIs, then Henderson is the player you want as down the road he will likely hit in the middle of the lineup. If you really need some speed and help with batting average/OBP, then Carroll is the player for you. But no matter what, if you can land one player, if not both, do so. You’ll be happy you did.

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TurnandCoughlin
TurnandCoughlin
2 months ago

Please choose 1 between Gunner and O’Neil Cruz and then please choose 1 between Carroll and Riley Greene. Dynasty league. Scoring hits, doubles, triples, HRs, SBs, RBIs, walks.
Thanks

Jammer McSlame
Jammer McSlame
2 months ago

Who would you want for 2023 of:
Jung
Walker
Vinnie P

Anyone besides these 3 and Corbin/gunnar?

Twins catcher, Dirty Gary
Twins catcher, Dirty Gary
2 months ago

Just wondering what your thoughts are on Jake McCarthy in keeper leagues and for 2023. Thanks