In dynasty leagues, knowing when to buy and sell prospects is a big sliver of the success pie. Okay, that was a weird way to word it, but it certainly factors into building a good farm system and succeeding in your league longterm. It’s not always easy or fun either. The three prospects I’ll be diving into today are all inside my top-50 for a reason. And if you acquired one of these three in your dynasty leagues, you probably did so when their price tags were much lower and watched them blossom into the elite talents they are today. That’s what can make it so difficult to trade them away, but sometimes we need to make the tough decisions in order to win.
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Three Top-50 Prospects to Sell in Dynasty Leagues
Brennen Davis (OF – CHC)
For the better part of the last year or so, Brennen Davis has been considered a top-10 prospect and even top-5 by some, including myself. On my most recent public rankings update on Fantrax, I ranked the talented Cubs outfield prospect 5th overall behind Bobby Witt Jr, Julio Rodriguez, Noelvi Marte, and Riley Greene. That has now changed. Davis is still a no-doubt top-20 prospect with a bright future ahead of him, but after more thought and analysis into his profile, I don’t believe his top-5 ranking was still warranted.
In 2021, Davis put together a solid season across three levels, ending with a three-week stint in Triple-A to end the season. Overall, Davis slashed .260/.375/.494 with 19 home runs, eight steals, and a 12% walk rate in 99 games. That’s a fine line, but there are some areas of the profile that have me reassessing how I project his offensive profile longterm.
Davis is a plus power bat with 25+ homer potential, but it’s the AVG and SB that I’m not quite as high on. While he has above-average speed, Davis hasn’t run a ton (12 attempts in 99 G in 2021), and that usually doesn’t increase once you reach the Major Leagues. Him reaching 8-10 SB annually is still in play, but I wouldn’t project much more than that. On top of that, Davis’ contact rates, SwStr rates, and strikeout rates were all uninspiring last season.
Those rates aren’t terrible outside of the Double-A contact rate, but I don’t see him developing into a .280+ hitter. As for the strikeout rate, Davis struck out 28.4% of the time last season with a 30.7% mark in Double-A. That did improve at Triple-A to end the season, and it’s not a major concern overall, but the K rate combined with his SwStr and contact metrics do make me wonder if he’s more of a 50-grade hitter longterm, instead of 55-grade.
Overall, as I mentioned above, Davis is still a very good prospect and inside my top-20. But a 50-hit, 60-power profile with 8-10 SB annually doesn’t warrant a spot inside my top-10 overall, let alone my top-5 overall. With his debut looming in 2022, now is an ideal time to sell high on Davis in dynasty leagues.
Marco Luciano (SS – SFG)
After a stellar performance in 2019 where he posted a .302/.417/.564 line with 10 homers and nine steals in 47 games, Marco Luciano became the next “cant-miss” prospect. Well, he’s now gone from “can’t miss” to someone that did a lot of “missing” in 2021, if you catch my drift. Luciano started the 2021 season on a positive note, swatting 18 homers in 70 Lo-A games with a .278/.373/.556 line and 12.1% walk rate. His contact and strikeout rates sat at respectable 74.4% and 22.1% marks respectively. That performance was enough to earn Luciano a promotion to Hi-A in early August.
It was quickly apparent that Luciano was overmatched in Hi-A. Despite homering in his second game at the level, Luciano went on a strikeout rampage with 19 strikeouts in his first eight games, equating to a 50% strikeout rate. The rest of his time in Hi-A wasn’t much better. Luciano finished with a .217/.283/.295 line across 145 plate appearances with only six extra-base hits, one home run, one steal, and a whopping 37.2% strikeout rate. The walk rate also deteriorated down to 6.9%. But wait, there’s more! And by more, I mean it gets even worse. In Hi-A, Luciano’s contact rate was a lowly 58.1% with an equally as concerning 17.1% SwStr rate after being at 11.7% in Lo-A.
In my live looks out in the Arizona Fall League, Luciano showed similar aggressive tendencies and finished with a 32.2% strikeout rate and only three extra-base hits (all homers) in 21 games. Don’t let the 12.6% walk rate in the AFL fool you either. There were two separate 22-walk games that Chris Clegg and I were in attendance for and the overall quality of pitching in the league this season was subpar. That makes Luciano’s performance look even worse.
Now, before all the Luciano supporters grab their pitchforks, let’s get into some positives. As I mentioned with Brennen Davis above, I’m still fairly high on Luciano as a prospect. He’s still within my top-30 overall after all. On top of that, Luciano was only 19 for basically the entire season. That’s quite young for the Hi-A level. That’s why I’m not going overboard with his Hi-A performance, even if I am reevaluating how I want to rank his type of profile.
Luciano possesses easy plus raw power and could flirt with 30-homers annually at the highest level. But as with Davis, I’m not sure he’s going to be an asset in the AVG and SB departments. That’s not to say he’s going to be a below-average hit tool and speed player, but he projects more as a .260-.270 hitter with 10-12 steals at most in my eyes. Luciano is around an average or slightly above-average runner presently, but that figures to tick down a tad as he continues to mature physically and fills out his slight frame. He’s also proven to be highly inefficient on the basepaths as a professional thus far, converting on only 57.7% of his 26 attempts. That’s not going to get you the green light often, especially as the quality of catchers improves drastically at the higher levels.
Judging from how people talk about him on social media, you can likely get a great return for him right now in dynasty leagues. If you can swap him for someone like a Luis Matos, Robert Hassell, Zac Veen, or another top-10 caliber prospect, I’d be all over that.
Vidal Brujan (2B/OF – TBR)
Early on in Vidal Brujan’s professional career, it was easy to see that he could potentially be a standout performer in the hit tool and speed departments. In his 2015 DSL debut, Brujan hit .301 with 38 walks to only 16 strikeouts. For his minor league career, he’s still hitting close to .300 at .288 while adding a .371 OBP, 10.6% walk rate, and a stellar 11.9% strikeout rate. Brujan has also run wild on the bases with 195 steals and a 75% success rate in 502 games. This is the type of hit tool, approach, and speed profile that earns you duties near the top of the order at the Major League level. But unfortunately, he plays in the Tampa Bay organization and his power hasn’t developed as expected.
As the 2021 minor league season began, it briefly looked like Brujan’s power had finally come. He swatted seven homers in 22 games while adding nine steals and an exceptional .315/.408/.584 slash line. But as you can see below, May marked the high-point in Brujan’s 2022 performance, especially in the power department.
Brujan even struggled in the AVG department after May which is very unlike him. Thankfully, he was still showing his usual sound approach and dominating on the basepaths. That impressive first month made the EOS line of 12 homers and 44 steals a bit misleading. Was that power surge in May a fluke? Can Brujan ever develop into an annual 15-homer bat? Both of those questions remain unanswered as we enter 2022. And frankly, I’m really beginning to question if the power ever will come.
Another area that leaves me concerned are his splits. Brujan is a switch hitter with plus bat speed but he’s been much more productive from the left side of the plate during his professional career, especially over the last two seasons. In 2019, Brujan hit .301 as a LHB and only .202 as a RHB. In 2021, those marks were .281 and .197 respectively. Although, he did show a touch more power from the right side with a .204 ISO compared to .145n from the left side.
With the Rays, we’ve seen how they love to play matchups and platoon where they feel necessary. To breakthrough as a full-time player in this organization, you need to show a bigger power potential (Arozarena, Meadows, Lowe), stellar defense (Kiermaier), or project as a future MVP caliber player (Franco). I’m not sure Brujan ever fits into any of those categories. Plus, he’s currently blocked both at second base and in the outfield.
At second base, the Rays have Lowe locked up through at least 2024 and potentially through 2026 if they pick up the two consecutive team options. And in the outfield, Tampa has Meadows through 2024 (should DH some too), Kiermaier through 2023 if they don’t trade him (and pick up his option), and Arozarena through 2026. Josh Lowe is also waiting for his chance and projects as a better all-around player than Brujan, showcasing a 20/25 power/speed upside and plus defense in center field. If the Rays do rade Kiermaier, I’d bet money on Lowe seizing the CF gig, not Brujan. Where does this leave Brujan then? Likely in a super-utility role, which suppresses his fantasy value.
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