This is a topic I would like to touch on several times throughout the season; top MLB prospects that have bad statistical seasons largely due to injuries. Now, disclaimer, this is not an article suggesting you send your worst assets to your fellow league mates. The point is to target these guys at a quarter of the cost or better, not hose other teams. Now on to my 6 injured prospects to buy low on in your dynasty leagues.
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
Injured MLB Prospects to Buy Low On
Nick Gonzales, PIT
I’ve been seeing a ton of Nick Gonzales hate lately and it got me thinking, why? Gonzales has dealt with freak injuries such as a broken finger in 2021. He followed that up with torn plantar fascia in the heel of his foot to end this past season. Last season Gonzales slashed .263/.383/.429 with 7 HR, 47 runs, and 5 stolen bases in just 71 games played at Double-A Altoona. Before the injury to the foot, Gonzales and the Pirates retooled the swing to get back to hitting for contact. After his return from injury, he got his swing back, slashing .286/.408/.505 in the final 28 games which is the best stretch of hitting in his young career. I’ve watched a ton of Nick Gonzales in 2021 while in A+ Greensboro and I watched the stretch to finish the season in Altoona the walk rate has improved to 13.6% (up from 10.8%) and the strikeout rate was dropping in the final stretch of 2022. He was a top 5 pick in FYPD in 2020 and with all the negative press on Gonzales, I would inquire to see how he is perceived by your league mates.
Emmanuel Rodriguez, MIN
There is absolutely no doubt Emmanuel Rodriguez put up big numbers in A- Fort Myers and has Twins fans as well as dynasty owners salivating. With a 28.6% walk rate in 199 plate appearances, the 19-year-old Rodriguez has shown plate discipline that is hard to find. The slash line in 47 games was .272/.492/.551 with 9 HR, 35 runs, and 11 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Rodriguez’s season was cut short when he tore his meniscus requiring season-ending knee surgery. The procedure will keep him out of a good portion of the 2023 season. This gap in production and the likelihood the Twins will be slow to get Rodriguez playing every day at full force leads me to believe there is an opportunity to get Rodriguez for a quarter of what he was worth just 7-8 months ago.
Luis Matos, SFG
The case of Luis Matos this season was one of the deciding factors for me to dive into this list. Matos had the worst statistical season of his young career seeing him slash .211/.275/.344 in 91 games. So what happened? Matos dealt with a quad injury that I don’t think ever really healed. We saw the stolen bases drop to 11 at A+ in 2022, down from 21 SB the year prior in 18 more games. But when you look at his stats, Matos had the same walk rate and a slightly elevated strikeout rate of 16%. Matos had an extremely low BABIP of .226; nowhere near his career norm. He also lowered his line drive rate to 16.1% and raised his infield fly ball rate by over 10% (40.5% at A+ in 2022) from the year prior. This leads me to believe Matos was very unlucky last season and just struggled to right the ship. With all this being said I believe this is a good time to grab Matos from a concerned dynasty manager.
Jaden Hill, COL
Before you see a Colorado Rockies pitcher and keep scrolling, let me show you the reasons to take a chance on Jaden Hill. The 23-year-old Hill is a 6’4” and 234-pound solid power pitcher out of LSU who struck out 27 batters in 22.2 innings. In his first two seasons with the LSU Tigers Hill held a 1.80 ERA as a freshman in ‘19 and a covid shortened sophomore 2020 season. Hill was in the conversation to go in the top 10 of the MLB draft if it wasn’t for a tear in the UCL resulting in Tommy John surgery that ended his collegiate career and caused him to fall to the Rockies in the second round of the 2021 draft.
Last season was Hill’s first since TJ and with the small sample of 17.1 innings split between complex ball and A- Fresno, Hill struck out 25 batters, with 14 of them coming in 7.1 innings at A- in 3 starts. Obviously coming off TJ, the Rockies are going to limit innings as they did last season, but you could see Hill make level jumps due to his age and the strikeout upside as a starter or reliever at the major league level.
Gunnar Hoglund, OAK
Hoglund and Hill have a lot of similarities landing them in this article, though Hoglund has a longer track record to look at. Hoglund was a weekend starter for Ole Miss from 2019-2021 logging 153.3 innings striking out 186 batters and a 3.10 ERA. Hoglund features an average pitch mix of fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup but what made Hoglund so successful in college was the pinpoint control.
Like Hill, Hoglund was in the mix to go top 10 in the 2021 draft before a torn UCL ended his season, requiring Tommy John. The Blue Jays still grabbed Hoglund 19th overall before shipping him off to Oakland for Matt Chapman. Hoglund only logged 8 innings in 2022 in complex ball and A- Stockton striking out 8 and holding batters to a .219 in a small sample size. At 23 years old Hoglund should be getting the bump to A+ to start the season and should move quickly from there. Some dynasty managers drafted Hoglund knowing he would be out for a year or more but time tends to shift even the most patient.
Cole Wilcox, TBR
For those who followed my rankings with the Weekly Streamer, you remember me ranking Wilcox in the back end of my top 100. Cole Wilcox was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft. Wilcox was a beast coming out of Georgia in the COVID-shortened season. Striking out 32 batters in 23 innings pitched, and holding a 1.57 ERA is no small feat in the SEC.
Wilcox pitched 44.1 innings for the Rays A- Charleston affiliate, striking out 52 batters and holding them to a .200 AVG against before going down with Tommy John. The power pitching Wilcox came back in August of 2022 to make 7 starts in complex ball and A- Charleston striking out 24 batters in 16 innings. The 23-year-old Wilcox has a starter’s build at 6’5” and 232 pounds with an electric fastball, slider, and changeup that the Rays are known for developing. I’ve seen Wilcox thrown into trades and that could be a high-upside grab now that he will have a full season to move up the Rays system and prospect rankings.
Which prospects are you targeting in your dynasty leagues? Drop some names in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!