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Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Stock Report: The Good, The Bad, and the Berrios

by Eric Cross | @EricCross04 | Featured Writer
Jun 27, 2022
Andrew Vaughn

In dynasty leagues, player values are constantly changing, and you need to stay on top of these changes to succeed long-term. This dynasty stock report comes in as I discuss four players each week, two on the rise and two falling, both at the MLB level and in the minors.

This week’s report features an underrated young bat, an overrated arm that can’t get out of his own way, an aggressive shortstop prospect, and probably the most significant breakout prospect of the 2022 season.

MLB Riser: Andrew Vaughn (1B, OF – CWS)

While his numbers have been good, Andrew Vaughn might not immediately stand out as a big dynasty riser right now. He’s hitting a stellar .316 on the season but has only seven home runs to go with it. I’ll find some way to blame that on Tony La Russa later, but for now, let’s dig into the incredibly impressive metrics and drive his inclusion in this article this week.

When Vaughn was selected #3 overall back in the 2019 draft, he was considered by many to be one of the safest and top pure hitters in the entire draft class. Many scouts threw a plus grade on his hit tool with above-average to plus power. Fast forward three seasons, and those scouting grades seem pretty spot on. After struggling through inconsistent playing time in 2021, Vaughn has taken his approach to the next level this season. His zone contact, strikeout, and whiff rates were already solid last season but have taken significant steps forward in 2022.

Year Zone Contact K% Whiff%
2021 85.8% 21.5% 24.6%
2022 91.6% 16.4% 18.8%

All three metrics rank among the best in baseball and give Vaughn a lofty floor to work with for fantasy purposes. His quality of contact metrics aren’t entirely as cut and dry. His AVG EV has remained above-average, and he’s improved his hard-hit rate to 50% this season. However, the ISO has remained the same, and Vaughn has seen his barrel rate drop to 6.5%.

Year Barrel AVG EV HH% SLG ISO
2021 10.9% 91.1 MPH 47.3% 0.396 0.161
2022 6.5% 91.4 MPH 50.0% 0.476 0.160

I’m not worried about the drop in barrel rate, though. Vaughn’s hard-hit rate and AVG EV are both solid and give hope that more homers are on the way if he can trim the groundball rate. Vaughn has the power to settle in as a 25-30 homer bat with 80+ R, 80+ RBI, and a good AVG/OBP annually to go along with that high floor I mentioned. He’s undoubtedly a dynasty riser right now and one that still gets undervalued.

MLB Faller: Jose Berrios (SP – TOR)

If one more person says that Jose Berrios used to be an ace before this season, my head will fly off into outer space. There has never been one season where Berrios performed as a fantasy ace. His long track record of solid production definitely is valuable, but even peak Berrios was MAYBE a solid #2 for fantasy, and that’s probably being a bit generous. And for some reason, his perceived value seemed to rise this offseason after being dealt to Toronto near the deadline last season. But why? His stats were nearly identical to those in Minnesota, and he’s now in a tougher division both in terms of ballparks to pitch in and offenses to face. The AL Central and the AL East are VASTLY different divisions, and Berrios was a name I was fading hard this pre-season. I’m not taking a victory lap by any means, but Berrios has been terrible this season and even worse than I expected.

After performing terribly through April and May, Berrios did string together a few good starts here in June. Still, two were against Baltimore and Detroit, and the other was against a Minnesota offense that has underperformed expectations and is dinged up. Since those three starts, Berrios has allowed 14 ER and 17 H over his last two starts spanning just 6.2 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. These clunkers have pushed his season ERA and WHIP to 5.86 and 1.39, respectively. Yikes.

But wait, his underlying metrics hint at a turnaround, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Super wrong. Okay, you get the point. Where do I even begin? Berrios is getting hit harder, missing fewer bats, and all his expected metrics and ERA indicators back up this putrid performance or are even worse. Berrios has never been a huge strikeout source but had settled into the 23-26% range for the most part. That’s plummeted below 20% this season with a whiff rate of only 20.7% overall. Even his best pitch, his curveball, hasn’t been a big whiff pitch this season and has expected metrics higher than actual metrics.

Another few ref flags are his 89.4% zone contact rate, 12.6% barrel rate, and 47.9% hard-hit rate. The only glimmer of hope is his previous track record of good but overrated production. And hoping he can bounce back to anything close to that level while in the AL East is just downright risky and a bit foolish, to be honest.

MiLB Riser: Esteury Ruiz (OF – SD)

Man, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more impressive minor league stat line than the one Esteury Ruiz currently has. After a few years of showing elite speed but a mediocre bat, Ruiz has broken out significantly this season. In 65 games between Double-A and Triple-A, Ruiz has a stellar .348/.479/.611 slash line with 21 doubles, 13 home runs, and a whopping 71 runs scored. Yes, runs scored means jack squat for prospect value, but it’s incredibly impressive. Oh yeah, Ruiz has 48 steals in 56 attempts as well.

As I mentioned, Ruiz has always displayed elite speed during his professional career, but his improvements with the bat have been huge for his value this season. He’s gone from being outside of nearly every top-300 to pushing top-25 overall status. Is he this elite of a hitter now? No, probably not. But Ruiz has made tangible improvements this season, vastly improving his walk and strikeout rates while keeping his contact rates north of 75% at both levels. Plus, the added strength and game power make him a much more well-rounded player than I ever expected out of him.

Even if you put his long-term projections at .260 and 12-15 home runs, that’s still valuable when you factor in 30+ steals and plenty of runs scored as someone likely to hit higher in the order given his speed and OBP skills. And that offensive projection might be on the low-end of the spectrum now. Ruiz could quickly meet high-end expectations and go .280/20 at the plate. It will be exciting to see what he can do once San Diego calls him up to the Majors, which could be very soon.

MiLB Faller: Orelvis Martinez (SS – TOR)

With Orelvis Martinez playing this season about two hours from where I live, I’ve had the chance to see him several times. When watching him, his aggressiveness at the plate stands out immediately. There’s no denying Martinez’s immense raw power that could lead to 30+ homers at the Major League level, but his aggressiveness and approach are major red flags for me. You can be aggressive if you have the pitch recognition and contact skills to get by, and Martinez does not.

This season, his pros and cons have been fully displayed in the Double-A Eastern League. In 59 games and 239 plate appearances, Martinez has cranked 15 home runs and even added five steals, but that comes with a .219 AVG, .293 OBP, 6.7% walk rate, and a 29.7% strikeout rate. Not to mention his low 67% contact rate.

This isn’t an approach that will work, and it’s not like his path to playing time in Toronto is exactly clear. If I rostered Martinez in dynasty leagues, I’d certainly be looking to sell right now and trying to use his power output as a driving force.

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