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Eric Cross' Dynasty News and Notes: Riley Greene, Jarren Duran, Ha-Seong Kim, and More!

Riley Greene - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB News

In the dynasty world, news and notes articles take on a whole new meaning. Not only are we discussing short-term value with these players, but we need to look long-term as well. A good dynasty manager is like Crazy Eyes from the movie Mr. Deeds. You have to have one eye on the present and one eye on the future. "I wasn't talking to you, Deeds. I was talking to that squirrel over there. [points at a goat]."

So that's what I'm going to do each week with this Dynasty News and Notes article here on RotoBaller. I'll be going around the league, discussing all the notable storylines and players both from a short-term and long-term perspective. Let's get to it.

In this week's report, I'll be discussing rising young outfielders, an undervalued Cleveland arm, red-hot prospects, and more!

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Fantasy Baseball Dynasty News and Notes

Is it finally happening? Is Riley Greene finally becoming the player we thought he was going to be when he was a top prospect a couple of years ago? After the first game of a doubleheader on May 3rd, Greene was slashing .232/.292/.324 with a 31.7% strikeout rate and only four extra-base hits in 120 plate appearances. But since then, Greene has slashed .367/.433/.565 with 12 doubles, five home runs, and four steals in 164 plate appearances while dropping his strikeout rate to a more manageable 26.2%. For the season, Greene has improved his Quality of Contact metrics across the board and currently sits with a 10.2% barrel rate, 94.8 mph AVG EV, and 48.6% hard-hit rate. He also has a 78th percentile sprint speed and 90th percentile xBA.

For all of these reasons, Greene is approaching top 50 overall dynasty status for me. But keep in mind that Greene still whiffs too much, hits too many grounders, and currently has a below-average zone contact rate. Overall, I'm buying, but there are still areas of concern that will likely cause the AVG to drop a bit from his current .310 mark. But still, a .270/25/10+ type is lucking if Greene can lift the ball more regularly.

Another young outfielder quietly breaking out right now is Boston's Jarren Duran. In 292 plate appearances this season, Duran is slashing .311/.363/.502 with six home runs and 21 steals. He's finally getting back to the version of himself that made him a trendy prospect on the rise back in Single-A in 2019. The bulked-up version that was selling out for power just wasn't working, so it's encouraging to see these improvements taking place.

Year Contact Z-Contact Chase Whiff SwStr K
2021 69.4% 81.5% 34.4% 34.7% 15.9% 35.7%
2022 75.6% 87.9% 31.5% 28.2% 12.1% 28.3%
2023 79.0% 91.1% 29.1% 24.3% 10.5% 25.3%

Duran has improved in these six categories in each of the last two seasons while also providing a career-best 90.2 mph AVG EV and a 46.7% hard-hit rate this season. Add in a 96th-percentile sprint speed and willingness to run, and you have a top-100 caliber player that is still trending up for dynasty leagues. I'm sure everyone that rosters Duran will be satisfied with a player that hits north of .280 annually while adding 10-15 home runs and over 30 steals.

Let's keep the breakout train going with some Ha-Seong Kim discussion. Unlike Greene and Duran, Kim was never a top prospect rising up the ranks through the minor leagues, so subsequently, he never had the buzzy name for dynasty leagues. Sure, some took him high in FYPDs when he came to the United States, but his first two Major League seasons didn't exactly scream impact player. However, here in 2023, Kim is rising to new heights as a sneaky power/speed threat with 14 home runs and 19 steals in 381 plate appearances along with a .273/.365/.445 slash line. Kim has been especially hot since the beginning of June too, as outlined below.

Being on any list with Ronald Acu√Īa Jr. and Kyle Tucker is certainly impressive. However, I'm more inclined to sell than buy right now in dynasty leagues. I'm not saying what Kim is doing is entirely fluky, but he sports below-average quality of contact metrics (5.9% BRL, 30% HH), and both his xBA and xSLG are well below his actual marks. In fact, outside of an 6.3% improvement in Kim's chase rate, many of his numbers are in line with last season. Moving forward, I believe he could be a .260/15/20 type, but you can likely get more than that if you look to deal him right now given the bender he's been on for the last eight weeks.

While most of the attention has been on Andrew Abbott on the other side of Ohio, Tanner Bibee has quietly been putting together an impressive rookie season that isn't getting talked about enough. In 16 starts, Bibee has recorded a 3.11 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.3% walk rate, and a 24.4% strikeout rate. He's been even more impressive over his last six outings with a 1.73 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 27.6% strikeout rate. All four of Bibee's offerings currently have a BAA of .240 or lower and his slider and changeup both have a whiff rate above 30%. While the upside isn't astronomical here, Bibee has the upside of an SP3 for fantasy and a higher floor than most rookie pitchers.

We've had two notable prospect promotions over the last week with Marco Luciano in San Francisco and Sal Frelick in Milwaukee. Each prospect brings intrigue in their own way, but neither are the complete package for fantasy. Luciano has shown plus to double-plus power during his time in the minors, but he hasn't run much and there are questions about how much AVG he'll hit for. Long-term, I project him more as a .250/25 type that maybe adds five steals annually. That's certainly worth rostering in fantasy leagues, but the perceived value has always been too high on him.

As for Frelick, he's pretty much the exact opposite. It'd be awesome if we could combine Luciano and Frelick into one prospect as that could be a early-round fantasy asset. With Frelick, he brings a high-level blend of contact and speed that could allow him to hit above .280 with around 25 steals annually. However, he's a below-average power bat that probably peaks around 15 home runs.

Over the last 30 days, Minnesota Twins' prospect Brooks Lee has been mashing and isn't getting enough love in prospect rankings, including from me. Over this span, Lee has slashed .363/.438/.637 with six home runs and as many walks as strikeouts. While he won't provide much speed at all, Lee's blend of hit, power, and approach gives him an extremely high floor with the upside to go .280/25 annually. Lee is now inside my top 50 overall prospects.

Another undervalued prospect rising up my rankings right now is Seattle shortstop prospect, Cole Young. When Young was drafted, many considered him one of the more advanced high school bats in the class, and he's really starting to shoot up rankings now that his power is coming along. Young has 10 doubles, five home runs, a .570 SLG, and .270 ISO over the last 30 days while also hitting .300 with four steals, an 11.8% walk rate, and a 16.8% strikeout rate. Young is able to do everything well across the board and could be in my top 50 overall by my next update in mid-August.

After an extremely slow start to the 2023 season that saw him slashing .209/.298/.371 at the end of June, Aeverson Arteaga has been red hot in the month of July. In 95 plate appearances this month, Arteaga is hitting .291 with a .290 ISO, several doubles, and six home runs. Is it just a hot streak? Maybe. But Arteaga is worth a flier in deeper dynasty leagues to see if he's returning to the hitter that made him a trendy prospect name in 2021/2022.

Ryan Clifford deserves more love in fantasy circles. The Houston Astros outfield prospect has been on fire over the last month and really impressive all season long. In 366 plate appearances, Clifford has smacked 18 home runs with a .289/.399/.518 slash line while also walking at a 12.6% rate. Clifford is an easy plus power bat and he's proving to be a better pure hitter than many expected him to be. Even if he's a fringe-average to average hit tool prospect, that will be good enough to allow him to blossom into a power-hitting MLB regular that won't hurt you in the batting average department.



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