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Dynasty Baseball Stock Watch: 5 MLB Prospects On The Rise

Baseball is officially back. There was no shortage of fascinating storylines and developments from the first handful of games at the outset of the 2024 campaign. Every week in this space we’ll examine a handful of hitters and pitchers trending upwards from a dynasty perspective. We’ll focus on some of the bigger names that fantasy managers are undoubtedly familiar with, while also attempting to highlight and unearth the occasional potential under-the-radar future impact contributor. Without further delay, here are the five prospects that made some serious noise in the first few games of the year.

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5 Dynasty Prospects on the Rise

Paul Skenes, P, Pirates

2024 Stats: 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 5/0 K/BB (3.0 IP) (Triple-A Indianapolis)

Skenes authored a dominant performance on Saturday for Triple-A Indianapolis in his season debut, piling up five strikeouts over three perfect frames, leaving zero doubt that he’s the top pitching prospect in baseball. According to Statcast data reported by Baseball America, Skenes averaged 100 mph in his highly-anticipated debut, topping out at 101.2 mph, and also generated six swinging strikes on just 22 pitches. There are some legitimate short-term workload concerns moving forward as Pittsburgh’s front office will carefully manage his workload over the next few months, but it seems like a virtual lock that he’ll make a significant impact for fantasy managers sooner, than later.

Jackson Holliday, 2B/SS, Orioles

2024 Stats: .357 (5-for-14), 6 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB (Triple-A Norfolk)

Baltimore’s decision to jettison Holliday to the minors was one of the most shocking spring training developments, especially since he batted .311 (14-for-45) with seven extra-base hits and a pair of stolen bases in 15 Grapefruit League contests. Without skipping a beat, the 20-year-old phenom went ballistic for Triple-A Norfolk to open the minor-league season this past weekend, racking up five hits, including three extra-base hits, and five RBI over a three-game series. A towering blast to right field during Friday’s season opener represented his first big fly off a left-handed pitcher in his professional career. It’s almost incomprehensible that Holliday isn’t in the majors right now, and it feels like only a matter of weeks, if not sooner, before he ascends to the majors.

Jared Jones, P, Pirates

2024 Stats: 4.76 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 10/2 K/BB (5 2/3 IP) (MLB)

Speaking of talented Pittsburgh rookies, Jones turned in a brilliant major-league debut on Saturday against the Marlins, yielding three runs on three hits, while racking up 10 strikeouts over 5 2/3 frames. He generated an eye-popping 22 swinging strikes and finished with an elite 40 percent CWS. The 22-year-old right-hander was one of the biggest risers in the most recent Fantrax Top 500 Dynasty Rankings update and is looking like a potential top-40 fantasy starter right out of the gate. There will be some inevitable bumps in the road as he adjusts to life in the majors, and he’ll need to improve his secondary offerings to blossom into an elite fantasy starter. However, it’s abundantly clear that he’s going to be able to hold his own at the highest level thanks to his already borderline elite fastball/slider combination. It doesn’t feel like a small sample-size overreaction.

Jack Leiter, P, Rangers

2024 Stats: 3.60 ERA, 0.40 WHIP, 9/0 K/BB (5.0 IP) (Triple-A Round Rock)

It’s hard to find a pitcher in the entire dynasty landscape that has cobbled together a more encouraging last few weeks than Leiter, who built upon an impressive Spring Training by delivering a dominant performance last Saturday in his season debut for Triple-A Round Rock, allowing just two runs on a pair of hits with nine strikeouts and zero walks over five frames. The 23-year-old righty, who was selected second overall in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Vanderbilt, has seemingly solved the omnipresent control issues that have plagued him the last few years and could be on the precipice of finally ascending to the big leagues. The defending World Series champions have an extremely crowded starting rotation mix, but if Leiter continues to excel, they might be forced to give him a real opportunity to contribute at the highest level. He’s experienced a pretty meteoric rise of late considering that he was almost completely off fantasy radar screens just a few months ago.

Trey Lipscomb, 3B, Nationals

2024 Stats: .429 (3-for-7) 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB (MLB)

Lipscomb emerged as a legitimate dark horse candidate to make Washington’s season-opening roster with a strong performance during spring training and got the call to replace and injured Nick Senzel (thumb) over the weekend. The unheralded 23-year-old third baseman homered and stole a base in a pair of weekend contests against the Reds and figures to serve as the Nationals’ primary option at the hot corner moving forward. We’re not forecasting a massive fantasy impact from Lipscomb, but he’s going to get an extended opportunity over the next few weeks and offers enough intrigue to warrant consideration for a roster spot in dynasty league formats.

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