Welcome to the final dynasty review of the 2016 regular season. Starting next week, the format of this article will change, possibly incorporating a new name and focus. I'm still working out the specifics. Don't worry, dynasty MLB coverage will continue on multiple fronts here at Rotoballer.
With minor league baseball phasing out of existence, today's column will cover a number of major league players on the upswing. While prospects are the first love of most dynasty owners, successfully stockpiling major league breakouts can be a surer means to a deep, effective roster.
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Dynasty Advice for Week 25
I'm a big fan Frazier as the next iteration of DJ LeMahieu. The Rockies second baseman thrives in part because he has the support of a Coors-fueled offense. Frazier doesn't have the same park and lineup interactions, but he still shows promise as a dynasty asset.
Let's talk about what he's not. He won't hit for power, and his speed will probably top out around 10 to 15 stolen bases in a full season. He hits frozen ropes to the opposite field, using a high line drive rate to produce a high average. He's just patient enough to produce a high OBP too.
Frazier's value suffers from a crowded Pittburgh infield. He's tied to second base where Josh Harrison receives most of the starts when healthy. Jung-ho Kang and Jordy Mercer have forced Harrison to the right side of the infield. Frazier could shift to the outfield, but it's even more crowded out there. His best hope for starting reps is a Harrison trade or a role shift for Mercer. Frazier has arguably matched Mercer's performance in just one-fifth of the time.
People are noticing Mike Montgomery. The Cubs' sixth starter has tweaked his pitch usage since he was acquired in exchange for Dan Vogelbach. The lefty is on the cusp of a big breakout, inducing whiffs and ground balls like no one else. Monty isn't a finished product which only serves to hide his potential conversion to acedom. Chicago is expected to return their entire rotation, leaving Montgomery as the sixth starter in April. Acquire him cheaply, treat him as a prospect, and reap the benefits mid-2017. Prepare to be patient, developing fantasy pitchers is a fickle business.
Devenski has performed as a much-needed shutdown long reliever for the Astros. He's posted a 2.05 ERA, 2.47 FIP, and 3.75 xFIP in 101 innings to go with 8.29 K/9 and 1.69 BB/9. Nobody has shouldered a workload like Devenski. Only Montgomery has a comparable innings total among relievers, and he made an additional two starts.
The Astros righty deserves a legitimate shot at the rotation next spring, although the club probably prefers him in the swing role. Like many pitchers in the current era, his best pitches are offspeed offerings including a double-plus changeup, a quality slider, and an above average curve. Devenski minimized his usage of the fastball which helped him to limit home runs.
Chad Bettis - Colorado Rockies
In a sufficiently deep format, Bettis has the stuff and run support to be a core contributor. This season, he's made 30 starts with a 4.79 ERA, 6.70 K/9, and 2.68 BB/9. He's pitched particularly well since early-July, although his FIP and xFIP remained steady in the low fours. He only allowed more than three earned runs in one of 13 starts over the period.
Despite the highish season ERA, Bettis is 13-7. I expect the Rockies offense to be the highest scoring unit in baseball next year. Bettis should continue to produce wins and quality starts even if he won't help in rate stats.
When the Mariners acquired Miranda in exchange for Wade Miley, few expected Miranda to immediately outperform the left-handed veteran. Miranda, a 27-year-old Cuban, has posted a 3.88 ERA with 7.03 K/9 and 3.14 BB/9 in 48.2 innings. Ominously, his 5.03 FIP and 5.08 xFIP imply a wall of incoming regression.
Miranda has an interesting repertoire. Most pitchers who throw a split-finger use it as a changeup. Miranda throws a splitter AND a change. And to add to the weirdness, his changeup is better at inducing ground balls.
The southpaw lacks a meaningful breaking ball which really limits his upside. I'd like to see him work on curve he can couple with his fastball. His fastball is well below average so anything he can do push his usage rate below 50 percent is advisable.
The Braves are thought to be looking for an upgrade at third base. Unfortunately, the free agent market is rather thin with only Justin Turner and Martin Prado representing an obvious upgrade to Garcia. There's a good chance he'll be back next year. The club may have more confidence in the 31-year-old following some second half adjustments. He still isn't a world beater, but a .301/.344/.480 line with eight home runs in 245 plate appearances works - especially if he's still batting second ahead of Freddie Freeman.
Galvis has served as roster glue for a few years now. In moments of dynasty desperation, you could always count on Galvis to start. He wouldn't contribute much, but you have to play to score. Galvis upped his game this season. He's popped 20 home runs to go with 14 stolen bases. Eight of the 20 homers have come in the last 30 days, hinting at either a fluky temporary surge in production or an actual change.
Galvis still posts terrible average and OBP numbers, but at least he can supply some counting stats now. With J.P. Crawford adjusting slowly to Triple-A (and now recovering from injury), Galvis is unquestionably the top shortstop in the system. We'll see just how long that lasts. This is a case where plus defensive chops can help a fantasy owner.
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