Dynasty Fantasy Baseball: Outfielders to Sell-High
The Fantasy Baseball world often can be compared to the stock market, especially in dynasty leagues. A crucial part of long-term success centers around one’s ability to buy or sell players (stocks) at the right time. If you can win these types of trades more often than not, you’re going to put yourself in a good spot to be an annual contender in your league(s). It’s not everything, but certainly is a key part. Following this crazy 2020 season, there are three outfielders I’m looking to sell-high on right now, headlined by postseason hero, Randy Arozarena.
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Three Outfielders to Sell-High in Dynasty
Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays
Where do I even begin? I’ll start by saying that the inclusion of Randy Arozarena here does not mean I believe he’s a bad player or I’m not high on him myself. If I wasn’t high on him, I wouldn’t have given him a multi-hundred spot jump in my top-500 dynasty rankings over the last month or two. But this is all about trade value versus actual value. And right now, you can get a PRETTY penny for Arozarena in dynasty leagues after his hot end to the season and majestic postseason performance. The Rays were a fun team to watch and especially talented on the mound, but they wouldn’t have gotten to game six of the World Series without Arozarena’s beastly performance, let alone make it past the Yankees in the ALDS or Astros in the ALCS, both of which went the full allotted amount of games.
— MLB (@MLB) October 28, 2020
When you combine Arozarena’s regular season and postseason numbers, you’ll get 17 home runs, four steals, 25 RBI, and 34 runs scored in only 162 plate appearances. Yeah, that’s damn impressive. Arozarena’s dominance under baseball’s brightest lights on the biggest stage has sent his 2021 ADP and overall dynasty value skyrocketing to heights no one could expect just two months ago when he made his Rays debut.
In the nine early mock drafts that took place in early to mid-October, Arozarena’s ADP sat at 116.8 with a top-100 selection in two of the nine mocks. That was before the ALCS and World Series. Good luck getting him at pick 117 in drafts from this point on because it’s not going to happen. If we re-did those mocks now, I would bet every penny I have that Arozarena has an ADP inside the top-100 and likely closer to the top-75. He’s talented, no question, but this performance has driven his price tag to the point where I would be selling-high in dynasty leagues wherever I had him.
Now, we don’t have a ton of data to go off of but one thing we can take away so far is that Arozarena performs much better against fastballs than he does with breaking balls and offspeed pitches. These metrics only cover the regular season, but in each of the past two seasons, Arozarena has yet to post an xBA above .200 against either breaking or offspeed offerings while eclipsing .300 both years against fastballs. Again, this is a VERY small sample size, but as we’ve regularly seen, Major League pitchers usually figure out these trends quickly and change their approach against the hitter. Does that mean Arozarena will see fewer heaters in 2021? That remains to be seen, but there are kinks in the armor here.
The player that took the World Series by storm, Randy Arozarena, is taken in the 3rd round – 76th overall.
— TDBC: The Dynasty Baseball Championship (@TheDynastyChamp) October 29, 2020
To sum it all up, I’m a believer in Randy Arozarena being a good player longterm. He’s shown average or above-average contact skills throughout the minor leagues with close to plus speed potential. The power is what lagged behind coming into 2020, but that has ticked up in a big way after Arozarena added bulk over the offseason. The upside is a 20/20 outfielder, but I question if the average takes a hit as his lofty postseason BABIP stabilizes to a more reasonable range. I’m not saying you should actively try and get him off your team, but this is the perfect time to make him available in your leagues as I’m willing to bet you get some tantalizing offers.
Jasson Dominguez, New York Yankees
Speaking of hype being out of control, the prospect version of this is Yankees stud outfield prospect, Jasson Dominguez. The biggest 2019 J2 signing has become the talk of the prospect world due to his combination of robust offensive tools and videos like this popping up every couple of months.
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) October 27, 2020
Is that a 17-year-old baseball prospect or a defensive end in the NFL? One of the reasons why Dominguez was touted so highly initially was his plus speed in addition to his abilities at the plate. At the time of his signing, most scouts and prospect analysts, myself included, considered Dominguez to have around plus speed with a future home in center field. I’m not so sure either of those are the case anymore. Dominguez appears to have added considerable bulk to his 5’10 frame and I’d bet my life savings that he’s not even close to his 190-pound list weight.
Now, I’m not necessarily saying that Dominguez adding all this bulk is going to be a detrimental thing for his value moving forward. While he might lose a bit of speed due to the bulk, the added power will offset that. What was once a 6-power, 6-speed centerfielder might be closer to a 7-power, 5-speed corner outfielder in the future when he gets closer to making his debut for the Yankees.
But here’s why I’d be entertaining selling him in dynasty leagues. Dominguez has yet to make his professional in-game debut due to COVID-19 cancelling the 2020 minor league season. In fact, by the time Dominguez does make his debut in June of 2021, it will be nearly two years after he initially signed with the Yankees. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen hype this enormous for a player that hasn’t even taken a single swing in professional baseball yet. Dominguez falls squarely into one of the three ideal times to sell-high on a prospect that I’ve mentioned before. That being before his first professional game when the hype is high.
Listen, all the tools are here for Dominguez to develop into a fantasy juggernaut. But is that a likely outcome?
Jasson Dominguez’s peak MLB season: .270 AVG/.350 OBP, 30 HR, 5 SB
This is a ________________ outcome.
— Prospects 365 ⚾️ (@Prospects365) October 22, 2020
Ray Butler of Prospects 365 put out a poll recently asking how people would feel if Dominguez’s peak MLB line was .270/.350/30/5. Exactly 60% of the voters thought that would be “meh” or disappointing. Not only did I fall into the 40% that voted “fantastic”, but I also believe this is a 90th percentile or better outcome for Dominguez. Could he meet or exceed these statistical thresholds? Sure. But there’s an even bigger chance he falls short. There are ZERO guarantees when it comes to prospects, even ones as talented as Dominguez is. I put out a poll as well a few weeks earlier than Ray’s, where 54% of voters picked Dominguez over 2020 breakout Dominic Smith who is coming off a season that was even better than the potential peak stat line Ray Butler used in the tweet above. In 2020, Smith slashed .316/.377/.616 with a 32-homer power pace.
Was just having this conversation with someone.
I'm a vacuum, who would you rather have in dynasty leagues right now?#FantasyBaseball
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) October 6, 2020
I’d highly recommend testing the waters out and seeing what type of return you could get for Dominguez in dynasty leagues right now. If you can get a player that’s already putting up a stat line that’s a 90th percentile outcome for Dominguez to reach, I’d take that. You can likely even get more than that in a Dominguez trade too. It’s a little different if you’re rebuilding, however. Even in this circumstance, I’d still see what type of prospect package someone would be willing to part with. If you can get a top-25 prospect along with two more top-100 guys, I’d pull the trigger on that.
Teoscar Hernandez, Toronto Blue Jays
If you take a gander at Teoscar Hernandez’s statcast sliders below, it might seem odd for me to include him here. When it comes to quality of contact, Hernandez was a stud in 2020, finishing in the 96th percentile or better in exit velocity, hard-hit %, barrel %, xwOBA, and xSLG. Add in a 92nd percentile xBA, 94th percentile xwOBA, and 85th percentile sprint speed and you have one of the best all-around offensive profiles for any hitter in 2020. This all led to a final line of .289/.340/.579 with 16 home runs, six steals, 34 RBI, and 33 runs scored in 50 games. And on Razzball’s Player Rater, Hernandez was the 21st best player overall in 2020 and the 18th best hitter, sandwiched between DJ LeMahieu and Ronald Acuña Jr.
There’s no denying how valuable Hernandez was in fantasy this season, but I’m not buying that this level is sustainable for a player with his profile long-term.
In 2020, a total of 24 hitters had 100+ PA, >15% SwStr, >30% O-Swing, and <70% contact rate. Obviously, Hernandez was one of the 24. Only five of those 24 had a batting average above .250; Nelson Cruz, Franmil Reyes, Adalberto Mondesi, Brian Anderson, and Hernandez. The remaining 19 combined to hit .206 with the entire group of 24 players combining to hit .221. Now, when it comes to the aforementioned quintet, all but Anderson had a BABIP of .348 or higher. You can explain Mondesi’s due to his speed and the remaining trio due to their high quality of contact metrics. But is a profile like this sustainable?
Cruz is clearly the exception to the rule here. Outside of him, this has proven to be a profile that limits a player’s AVG potential. To add, Cruz has a significantly better K-BB% rate than Hernandez. Cruz produced an 11.7% walk rate and a 27.1% strikeout rate in 2020 for a K-BB% of 15.4%. Hernandez, on the other hand, had a K-BB% of 23.6% which was the 8th worst mark in MLB this year among qualified hitters behind Miguel Sano, Evan White, Javier Baez, Keston Hiura, Willy Adames, Mondesi, and Ryan McMahon.
Long-term, I don’t think there’s a big difference between Sano and Hernandez. Yet, Hernandez is being taken more than 100 picks ahead of Sano in early 2021 mocks. Recency bias is one heck of a drug, isn’t it? I’m not saying I necessarily like Sano more than Hernandez, and I’ve often been critical of Sano’s profile as well, but I’d much rather take Sano in 2021 at their current price tag differential.
As for dynasty leagues, Hernandez’s price might never be higher than it is now. Even with his sprint speed, Hernandez has never been one to attempt many stolen bases, so expecting more than 12-15 or so is risky. That range is also likely a best-case scenario. Let’s say Hernandez settles in around 10 steals or so for the next few seasons to pair with 30-35 home runs. That seems like a reasonable expectation. That’s a damn fine power/speed profile, but I’m not expecting the .289 average to continue.
In Hernandez’s two full seasons coming into 2020, he hit .239 and .230 with a contact/swing profile that wasn’t much different than what he showed in 2020. Sure, the contact metrics and SwStr rate improved slightly, but not enough to warrant a near 60-point rise in batting average. Even in the .240-.250 range, Hernandez still can be a valuable fantasy asset due to his power/speed, but is he worth a top-70 price tag in redraft or dynasty leagues? That’s a big no for me. This profile is too volatile for that type of investment. If there was ever a time to sell-high on Hernandez in dynasty leagues, it’s right now.
Others to Consider Selling High
Media/Link Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire, Hector Gomez, Baseball Savant, Prospects365, Fangraphs, MLB, The Dynasty Baseball Championship
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