The Dynasty Digest: June 7-8, 2023
Chris Clegg breaks down all of Tuesday and Wednesday's action that you need to know for dynasty leagues.
First off, I want to apologize for not getting a post out yesterday. This week has been one of the busiest weeks I have had in quite some time. In all honesty, it is kicking my butt. But I am still striving to get content out to you. Today will cover player performances for both Tuesday and Wednesday and hopefully provide some helpful content.
I know I shouldn’t feel the need to apologize. It just always feels weird when people unsubscribe, which I have no problem with, but then put as the feedback, low volume. I looked back and have published 137 pieces this year since launching in January. I am reminded I can’t please everyone. But I will continue to grind until I can make this my living. And when that happens, I can publish multiple pieces daily, but I still have a job and a family.
Enough rambling; let’s talk players.
Elly De La Cruz, SS, CIN, 21, MLB
After much hype and anticipation, Elly De La Cruz finally got the call and hit cleanup in his MLB debut. He had a double and two walks, but the most impressive part of his debut might have been the hard-hit balls. De La Cruz’s double left the bat at 112 mph, and he had an additional batted ball at 108.7 mph. From a speed standpoint, De La Cruz registered a 30.4 feet-per-second sprint speed which is 99th percentile.
On Wednesday, Elly added two more hits, including a 114.8 mph home run that traveled 458 feet. He added a triple as well and clocked the fastest home-to-third time in the Statcast era. There is not much else to say; Elly is the most fun player in baseball.
Elly De La Cruz is a unicorn with the upside to be the best fantasy asset in the game. In Triple-A, De La Cruz had a 110.4 mph 90th percentile exit velocity and topped out at 118.8 mph. He made improvements in his chase and contact rates throughout the season. Despite the concerns there, Elly arguably has 80 speed and 80 power.
Kevin Gausman, RHP, TOR, 32, MLB
I am sorry. I have been too low on Kevin Gausman. An excellent discussion in our Discord(the best perk of being a Dynasty Dugout member) led me to dive in deeper. He had a dominant start on Tuesday, striking out 13 batters in 7 innings of one-run ball.
Gausman has an elite splitter and slider combo, and his fastball velocity has been trending upward. On Tuesday against the Astros, he posted a 36 percent whiff and CSW rate.
Since 2021, Gausman has a sub-three ERA and 546 strikeouts. He is on pace to shatter his career high of 227 strikeouts. Is Gauman a top-five dynasty arm?
Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B, CIN, 23, AAA
The Reds called up Elly De La Cruz, who was stellar in his debut, but Christian Encarnacion-Strand could be next. He wanted the Reds to know he was ready for Cincinnati by going three-for-four with his 15th home run of the year in Tuesday’s game. Strand had batted balls of 114 mph, 110.5 mph, and his home run left the bat at an odd 93.2 mph with a 41-degree launch angle. Very few hitters have the power to turn a 41-degree launch angle into a home run, but CES does.
I have long harped on CES’s chase rate being relatively high. The good news is it is trending in the right direction. After sitting around 50 percent at one point in the season, CES has lowered the chase rate 44 percent mark. Still not great, but there is an improvement. He has massive power, as seen by a 106.5 mph 90th percentile exit velocity, and makes enough contact in the zone to make the chase rate work.
*Encarnacion Strand added a double and two more RBI on Wednesday.
Michael Harris, OF, ATL, 22, MLB
Wednesday was a much-needed game for Michael Harris II. Big Money Mike came up big and posted a three-for-four night with a double, a 443 foot no-doubt home run, and two RBI as he helped the Brave beat the Mets.
It has been a rough year for Harris, and people rightfully have a reason to be disappointed. But better days are ahead. Harris had a 30 HR/30 SB pace as a 21-year-old in his MLB debut last year, and he still hits the ball hard in 2023 and with a solid 90th-percentile exit velocity. Harris is lifting the ball more, has seen his contact rates trend upward throughout this year, and is walking eight percent of the time.
It is important to remember that Harris spent the early part of the season dealing with a back injury, and those tend to linger. Then in early May, Harris hyperextended his knee and played through it with a knee brace for most of the month of May. People will write it off and say his performance has just been bad, but I would buy low on Michael Harris II in a dynasty league if I could.
Connor Phillips, RHP, CIN, 22, AA
We might as well name this the Reds Report because that is all we have discussed. But seriously, this might be the most fun organization in baseball.
Connor Phillips just turned 22 years old and is dominating Double-A. He is in the Southern League, so we have to wonder if he benefits from the tacky ball, but you cannot take away from his performance. Phillips was nearly perfect on Wednesday, striking out ten batters over seven innings while allowing just one hit and one walk.
He threw many strikes, generating 14 whiffs, and 22 called strikes. The performance lowered his ERA to 3.63 on the season, and raised his strikeout total to 89.
Phillips has a fastball that sits around 96-97 and throws a nasty sweeping slider. He rounds out the arsenal with a curveball that gets a ton of movement. Phillips has solidified himself as a top-100 prospect at this point.
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