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Chris Clegg's Dynasty Fantasy Baseball News, Notes and Buys/Sells (Week 4)

Christian Encarnacion-Strand - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Prospects

Welcome back RotoBallers to my Week 4 fantasy baseball news, notes and buys/sells for dynasty leagues. This weekly series will take a look at various prospects, dynasty news, and discuss fantasy implictions.

If you enjoy dynasty baseball, you know it is a fast-paced game. Keeping up with the Joneses per se keeps you in the game and at the top of the standings. At the end of the day, we all want to build a dynasty team that sustains and lasts for the long haul. I am here to help you do so.

Keeping up with all the current happenings can help you stay ahead of your league mates. Call-ups, trends, and buying and selling players are all just small pieces to help you stay ahead. So, that's what we will do in this article each week. Break down everything you need to know to be successful in dynasty. Let's get to it, what do you need to know for dynasty leagues in Week 4 of the 2024 season?

 

Recent MLB Prospect Call-Ups

Jack Leiter made waves by earning the call-up in Texas and will start Thursday's game against the Tigers. I would add Leiter in all formats, especially with the gains he made from the tangible change in his delivery. I featured Leiter in last week's prospects to stash article, but honestly, he earned the call up sooner than I expected.

Through three Triple-A starts, Leiter has a 3.77 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched. Most notably, though, he has walked just 5.3 percent of batters faced and struck out 44 percent of hitters.

The Rangers placed Leiter on the development list last season to work on mechanics, and the strike-throwing improved significantly. Before hitting the development list, the strike rate sat at 60 percent with a 15 percent walk rate, and after returning, the strike rate jumped to 65 percent, and the walk rate fell to just 7.2 percent.

Andy Pages also earned the call for the Dodgers and collected a hit in his first at-bat of the season. In Triple-A, Pages was tearing the cover off the ball with a .371/.452/.694 slash and five home runs in 73 plate appearances.

The exit velocities were extremely good suggesting plus power as he had a 91.2 average exit velocity and a 105.6 90th percentile. The contact rates were good as well as Pages had an 80 percent contact rate.

In 2023, Pages cut 25 pounds and showed improved contact skills, having a 78 percent contact rate before his injury. He looked like a better athlete on the field and moved better, which is a good sign moving forward. If he had stayed healthy all season, he would likely be considered a top-50 prospect or higher universally.

Forrest Whitley made his long-awaited debut after being the former top pitching prospect in the game. Injuries seemingly derailed his career, and Whitley has never been the same when it comes to performance.

He will be pitching out of the bullpen and tossed a scoreless two-thirds of an inning in his MLB debut against the Braves.

Nick Nastrini made his first career start with the White Sox and tossed five innings with two earned runs, five strikeouts, and two walks. Chicago's rotation could use a boost and Nastrini has a good chance to stick.

Throwing a mid-90s fastball, slider, and curveball, Nastrini can sometimes be a bit erratic with command, but when he is on, he looks like a solid arm.

Jonatan Clase, a speedy outfielder, earned the call for the Seattle Mariners after a good start in Triple-A, having two home runs and three stolen bases while slashing .311/.396/.622 in his first 12 games.

Clase has long been known for his speed and impact on the bases, having 181 career stolen bases in 313 pro games. 2023 was no exception as Clase ran wild, stealing 79 bases and being caught just 15 times, showing easy 70-grade run times. If the contact improvements stick from the early going he could be a very fun player.

Yariel Rodriguez made his MLB debut for the Toronto Blue Jays after signing a five-year, $32 million deal out of Cuba this offseason. After being a reliever for the last several seasons in Cuba, the Blue Jays are stretching him out.

In his first start, Rodriguez struck out six batters over 3.2 innings pitched. The fastball sat 95-96 mph, while his slider generated whiffs sitting in the mid-80s. Rodriguez did mix in a couple of splitters, but was primarily fastball/slider.

The biggest question is what kind of pitch count can he build up to? I see Rodriguez as a three-to-five innings guy in most starts, which is where his stuff will play up most.

 

Dynasty Trends to Watch

Swing and contact rates begin to stabilize early in a lot of cases. Here are some early looks at some hitters who are swinging more and making more contact.

Zone Swing Improvers

Player Name 2023 Zswing 2024 Zswing Delta
Amed Rosario 69.2 84 14.8
Jack Suwinski 61.1 74.2 13.1
Orlando Arcia 65.4 77.9 12.5
Mauricio Dubon 76.1 87 10.9
Alec Burleson 71.5 82.4 10.9

Zone Swing Decliners

Player Name 2023 Zswing 2024 Zswing Delta
Hunter Renfroe 70.6 55.8 -14.8
Kyle Farmer 62.7 50.9 -11.8
Ryan McMahon 67.9 57.4 -10.5
Wilmer Flores 62.7 53.3 -9.4
Willi Castro 69 59.8 -9.2

Zone Contact Improvers

Player Name 2023 Zcon 2024 Zcon Delta
Tyler Stephenson 80.3 93.5 13.2
Ryan McMahon 73.6 85.6 12
Jack Suwinski 77.5 89.5 12
Christopher Morel 72 82.1 10.1
Yainer Diaz 82.8 92.8 10

Zone Contact Decliners

Player Name 2023 Zcon 2024 Zcon Delta
Jose Abreu 82.1 69.6 -12.5
Ronald Acuna Jr 85.6 73.7 -11.9
Jeimer Candelario 83.9 72 -11.9
Kevin Kiermaier 77.9 66.2 -11.7
J.D. Davis 73.2 62.8 -10.4

 

Dynasty Buys and Sells

I have generally been lower on Christian Encarnacion-Strand than most but he is quickly becoming a great buy for dynasty. His slash looks pretty atrocious so far this year as he is slashing .192/.197/.329, but that makes him a prime trade target for me, and here is why.

Everything under the hood looks great, as he currently has a 91.4 mph average exit velocity and a 11.1 percent barrel rate. The average exit velocity ranks 78th percentile, and the barrel rate is at 74th percentile.

The better news is that the contact skills have improved. Encarnacion-Strand currently has an 84.6 percent in-zone contact rate and a 72.3 percent overall rate. The improvements are an encouraging sign that good things are coming.

Carlos Rodon is my featured sell this week for dynasty. He had put up decent numbers, at least by the looks of his 1.72 ERA across 15.2 innings pitched, prior to his most recent start, which ballooned his ERA to 3.66. In the recent start against the Blue Jays, Rodon allowed three earned runs across four innings with four walks allowed.

While the fastball velocity has been there, the location has not been great, and Rodon has gotten away with some pitches down the heart of the plate. He is not generating whiffs either, having just a 20 percent strikeout rate to a 12.2 percent walk rate. Rodon’s changeup is the only pitch really missing bats and he has thrown it just 16 times all season.

His xERA sits at 4.52, and the xFIP sits at 5.17. While some may think Rodon is back, it might be a good time to capitalize on him and sell.



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