Dynasty baseball values change quicker than most are willing to admit. We always play the long game, but also, if you are not playing for right now, you could miss out on potential breakouts that hold long-term value in dynasty leagues.
Each week we will dive in on some players seeing their dynasty stock move up and others seeing theirs fall. You came for the players, so let’s get to them!
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Here are the dynasty stock risers and fallers for Week 9.
Could Nolan Gorman be taking a similar path to Austin Riley? He’s a top prospect with big power but swings and misses hold him back. Then Riley began to make more contact and took off. Im not saying Nolan Gorman will ascend to Riley levels of dynasty rankings, but we are talking about a young player who just turned 23 that is taking off.
Gorman is slashing .281/.373/.575 on the season with 13 home runs and has even chipped in four stolen bases. Gorman is walking at the highest rate of his career at 12.7 percent and striking out just 25.9 percent of the time. Much of this is that Gorman has had just 20 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. While some may see a platoon as a bad thing, I see it as the opposite for Gorman. He still has 189 plate appearances this year, putting him on pace for over 550 for a full season.
Gorman is chasing way fewer pitches out of the zone and is making contact at a career-best rate. Pair that with a 14.8 percent barrel rate (90th percentile), and you have a successful hitter.
I am not sure Gorman hits .281 the rest of the way, but he still has big pop and is rapidly ascending up dynasty boards.
I was fortunate to be at AJ Smith-Shawver’s Triple-A start on Thursday in Gwinnett, Ga. It was an amazing showing for a 20-year-old against a strong Durham Bulls lineup. Smith-Shawver has moved from High-A all the way to Triple-A in a matter of seven starts. Thursday’s start certainly lived up to the hype, as Smith-Shawver had one of the best and the longest starts of his career.
Between his seven starts in High-A, Double-A and Triple-A, Shawver has thrown 33 innings, including an impressive seven-inning start on Thursday. He owns a 1.09 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP with 45 strikeouts.
Smith-Shawver relies on his fastball pretty heavily and for a good reason. It sits at 95 mph and topped at 97 mph last night, with excellent ride and life at the top of the zone. It can get up to 20 inches of IVB, which is an induced vertical break. That is a pretty high-end number. The fastball also averaged between four and seven inches of run.
He also mixes a slider and has been throwing a curveball more recently, which looks very sharp. The Braves organization actually shelved his curve and changeup last year for him to really focus on developing his fastball and slider. The move makes sense when you see how well he has developed.
Smith-Shawver is flying up rankings and could debut in Atlanta this year. He won’t turn 20 until after the 2023 season ends. This could be an elite talent that you do not want to miss out on.
Taylor Ward’s season has been somewhat of a surprise. Underlying metrics supported Ward’s breakout 2022 season, which saw him hit 23 home runs and slash .281/.360/.473 in 564 plate appearances. He even played hurt for part of the season. This year, Ward has seen his slash fall to .220/.295/.312 with just four home runs.
It is interesting because Ward is running a 91.3 percent zone-contact rate which is pretty elite and is up four percentage points from last year. His hard-hit rate is almost identical to last year, but his barrel rate is down from 12.4 percent to 6.4 percent.
The biggest issue is his chase rate and ground ball rate. Ward chased just 23.6 percent of balls out of the zone last year but is up to 31 percent this year. His groundball rate has flown up from 35 percent to 43.9 percent.
Ward is a tough one to evaluate, but his stock has fallen significantly this year.
Gavin Stone has not had the most ideal three teams to face in his first three MLB starts, but they have not been pretty, nonetheless. Facing Philadelphia, Atlanta and Tampa Bay is rough, but not as rough as a 14.4 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP in 10 innings.
Stone was arguably the best Minor League pitcher last year in baseball as he fired a 1.48 ERA in 121.2 innings between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A. He also actually got better as he moved up levels.
But being a changeup-first pitcher has its worries. Stone’s changeup is a really good pitch, but the fastball is average, and he does not lean on his slider enough. The results show that loud and clear. Is Gavin Stone going to be this bad? No chance. But his value is definitely sliding fast. You might have to hold for now in a dynasty league unless it is super shallow. Let Stone rebuild some value before you try to trade him for pennies on the dollar.