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Dynasty Hitters I'm Buying Despite Performances
A detailed dive into the statcast data of Brett Baty, Ryan Mountcastle, Ryan Jeffers, and Ezequiel Tovar and why I am buying in dynasty.
Disappointing performances always create buying opportunities in dynasty and when young prospects come up and struggle right away, most dismiss them. When the stats are good, many assume the player might just not make it in the Majors. I do a detailed dive on four players who I believe are solid dynasty buys this offseason and could provide a nice return on investment.
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Brett Baty, 3B, NYM, 23, MLB
Many people have jumped off the Brett Baty bandwagon after a rough rookie season, and some have even labeled him a quad-A player after just 107 Major League games. It seems odd, but it has created a good buying opportunity on Baty in dynasty, who is just 23 years old and has shown plenty of skills to prove he can be a successful MLB hitter.
It is easy to point at the contact skills plus ground balls and say that Baty has a low chance of being a fantasy stud. But, looking under the hood, there are certainly things to like. Baty hits the ball hard, which has never been a question. His MLB hard-hit rate of 44.4 percent this season, paired with a near 90 mph average exit velocity, is solid, but the Triple-A numbers show tremendous upside. A 96 mph average and a 107.5 mph 90th percentile are elite, and while a 96 average is not an expectation, it shows that Baty hits the ball extremely hard.
According to Baseball America’s Article($) on Bat Speed, Baty’s average bat speed this year in the 95th percentile among all MLB hitters. There is a strong correlation between bat speed and performance, go check out the article and support Baseball America to see for yourself.
At the end of the day, Baty does enough things well and has shown the ability to barrel balls that I will buy in dynasty leagues this offseason.
Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, BAL, 26, MLB
It has been quite the season for Mountcastle, who has missed a decent amount of time this year dealing with Vertigo, which makes his performance all the more impressive. While there have been ups and downs this year, Mountcastle has taken impressive strides forward with his contact skills, seeing his zone-contact rate improve by over three percentage points and his overall contact rate jump two percentage points.
Mountcastle has always hit the ball hard, as shown by two consecutive seasons of average exit velocities north of 91 mph, which ranks 83rd percentile among all MLB hitters. Not only does he hit the ball hard, but he does so at ideal launch angles, generating barrel rates of 15 percent and 12.4 percent in the last two years, respectively. His average bat speed ranks 93rd percentile among all Major League hitters.
I know there are a ton of prospects pressing for playing time in Baltimore’s org, but even if Mountcastle gets traded, his value likely increases. Camden Yards is one of the worst parks for Mountcastle’s batted ball distribution so a move to most other teams would likely lead to an increase in home runs. But no matter what happens this offseason, Mountcastle is an underrated dynasty asset.
Ryan Jeffers, C, MIN, 26, MLB
Jeffers has had a pretty underrated season this year while splitting the catching duties with Christian Vazquez. While the performance was just okay in the first half, Jeffers has played a little more regularly in the second half and has seen an uptick in performance. Since the All-Star break, he has a slash line of .286/.382/.500 with six home runs in 32 games.
The contact skills are a tad below league average, but Jeffers hits the ball consistently hard while posting solid barrel rates. Jeffers' career barrel rate in the Majors is 12.9 percent. He has seen his average exit velocity jump by over two mph, and his max exit velocity take a new career high by four mph. Jeffers’ 90th percentile exit velocity is nearly three mph higher than the MLB average thanks to high-end bat speed, where his max bat speed is tied for third overall among all MLB hitters.
Vazquez is on the books for another two years in Minnesota, but it is hard to imagine, with Jeffers’ performance this year, that he does not get at least the bulk of the time behind the plate in 2024.
Ezequiel Tovar, SS, COL, 22, MLB
When you think of impact rookies this year, the newly turned 22-year-old Ezequiel Tovar probably does not come to mind. His overall line of .250/.285/.409 with 15 home runs and ten stolen bases does not pop off the page at all, but it feels like there is more in the tank we haven’t seen.
One of the major things that popped off to me when looking at Baseball America’s bat speed article was seeing Tovar ranked 80th percentile for average bat speed and 94th percentile for max bat speed. Considering the strong correlation between bat speed and power, it is a bit surprising to see such high bat speed but only an 88.4 mph average exit velocity that ranks in the 32nd percentile among hitters. His five home runs in August gave a glimpse of what we could see in the future from Tovar, and when you pair the power potential with above-average speed and stolen base potential, you have a pretty interesting fantasy player.
Tovar hits the ball at ideal launch angles, finding the sweet spot(10-35 degrees) nearly 37 percent of the time and running league-average barrel rates because of it. Throw in respectable contact rates plus the bat speed, and I am more interested in Tovar than I was. He just turned 22 in August, so it’s hard to imagine not having more in the tank. He is a solid off-season buy in dynasty.