Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Stock Report: A Catcher Revolution (2022)
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 two exciting young catchers, a Yankees slugger who is killing fantasy teams, and for the second week in a row, a falling Blue Jays shortstop prospect.
MLB Riser: Alejandro Kirk (C- TOR)
The catching landscape is about to experience a revolution of sorts. Well, that revolution is already begging with youngsters like Adley Rutschman, Daulton Varsho, and Alejandro Kirk ascending the ranks with plenty of prospect talent on the way behind them. When it comes to Kirk, he’s already a top-5 dynasty catcher in my eyes, and the only two backstops you can put ahead of him without question are Will Smith and Rutschman. After that duo, you can make a case for Kirk as high as 3rd with his skill set and how he’s performed in the Majors so far, especially this season.
In 255 plate appearances this season, Kirk has slashed a robust .314/.408/.509 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI, and 40 runs scored. He’s been especially lethal at the plate over the last month with a .345/.455/.643 line and seven dingers in 101 plate appearances. Kirk’s majestic .468 wOBA and 211 wRC+ over this span trail only Yordan Alvarez who has been murdering baseballs like they insulted his family or kicked his dog.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 22, 2022
When dissecting why Kirk has been so productive, it’s a laundry list of reasons. To start, Kirk has already established himself as one of the top AVG and OBP threats in baseball thanks to his contact skills and elite approach. After nearly doing so last season, Kirk has recorded more walks than strikeouts this season by a healthy margin and boasts an 88.6% zone contact rate, 14.1% whiff rate, and a 24.4% chase rate. He’s far from just a sexy AVG/OBP though. Kirk has posted a barrel rate above 10% and an AVG EV above 91 mph in each of the last two seasons with a hard-hit rate of 44.4% this season and 46.9% last season.
There’s nothing in the profile that concerns me when it comes to Kirk and all of the above signals that he’s going to be a top-5 fantasy catcher for the foreseeable future. At this point, he should be considered close to a top-100 overall dynasty player.
MLB Faller: Joey Gallo (OF – NYY)
While he’s been falling for a while now, it’s getting to a point where it’s hard to even roster Joey Gallo at this point. Throughout his career, Gallo has been known for his elite power and high OBP. Both of those have regressed this season, and if you’re in an AVG league, he’s hurting your team more than he’s helping it.
Basically, everyone and their mother thought that his elite left-handed power was going to be a fantasy baseball dream with the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium, but that just hasn’t been the case. Since joining the Yankees on July 30th last season, Gallo is slashing an unsightly .164/.292/.367 with 22 home runs, 40 RBI, and 58 runs scored in 449 plate appearances. But wait, it gets worse. Much worse. Gallo is also sporting a 39% strikeout rate. .293 wOBA, and 88 wRC+ in that timeframe. Those metrics rank last, 12th to last, and 12th to last respectively, with Gallo’s OBP ranking 8th lowest of the 130 qualified hitters in this span and his AVG dead last by a country mile.
When he was hitting .220 with 35+ homers and a solid OBP, you could live with it. But now the AVG, OBP, and power have dropped to levels that make him someone that only negatively affects your fantasy rosters. Obviously, it all depends on league depth in regards to cutting him or not, but Gallo’s value is sinking fast.
MiLB Riser: Francisco Alvarez (C – NYM)
Remember when I mentioned the prospect talent at the catching position above. Well, this man is leading that charge. Francisco Alvarez has been a monster in Double-A this season and his dominance led to a promotion to Triple-A over the weekend.
Francisco Alvarez with the 2 RBI double off the LF wall.
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) April 20, 2022
In 296 Double-A plate appearances, Alvarez cranked 16 doubles and 18 home runs with a .277/.368/.553 slash line and .276 ISO. At times he’s shown to be a tad aggressive, but he’s really improved his approach this season and currently sports a 12.2% walk rate and 24% strikeout rate. His 71.9% contract rate is a bit lower than you’d like, but that’s certainly passable given the quality of contact that Alvarez produces.
Even if Alvarez settles in around .260 long-term, his plus or better power could lead to 25 home runs annually while likely contributing solid R and RBI totals as well. He’s a potential four-category star behind the dish with top-5 upside at this position. I’m not sure whether the Mets push him to Queens this season, but he should be up early in 2023 at the latest.
MiLB Faller: Jordan Groshans (SS – TOR)
I swear I’m not picking on Blue Jays prospects in this section after discussing Orelvis Martinez last week. Jordan Groshans is a prospect I’ve been fading for a year or so now. That might sound odd to say when you see his career .290 AVG and .368 OBP in the minors, but Groshans’ lack of game power is the concerning aspect of his profile. The contact skills are solid and the approach is even better, but he’s never been able to consistently translate his average to above-average raw power into any sort of game power.
That has been on full display this season as Groshans currently has only one home run with a .314 SLG and .054 ISO in 217 Triple-A plate appearances. It’d not like he contributes anything in the speed department to make up for this power outage either. Groshans’ swing is simply too linear to get the necessary loft on the ball needed, and his raw power isn’t good enough to overcome it.
There’s a future where I can see a .270-.280 hitter with a .350+ OBP, but I can’t imagine more than 10-12 homers going along for the ride with 15 being his absolute ceiling at this point. Without any sort of power/speed blend right now, Groshans is barely a top-200 prospect anymore.
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