The 2022 season is nearing an end, but in Dynasty leagues, the real work is just beginning. The offseason is a time for overhauling one's roster -- or at least making tweaks where appropriate -- which is why it's important to have an accurate valuation of players heading into it.
Specifically, you may want to update your thinking on these 15, 10 of them major-leaguers and five of them prospects. They're the ones who've seen their value change the most since my last Dynasty Stockwatch.
CLE Cleveland • Age: 24
So much for the Guardians getting fleeced in the Francisco Lindor deal. Andres Gimenez, who was just one piece they got in return, has a higher WAR this year than Lindor had in all but one of his years in Cleveland. Much of that is defense, of course, but Gimenez has proven to be a real asset with the bat, too, emerging as a jack-of-all-trades type. He's likely still growing into power, having just turned 24 in September, and already puts the bat on the ball well while making a substantive contribution on the base paths. Most valuable of all, though, is that he's settled in at second base, a position of increasing need. Among those who'll be eligible there in CBS Sports leagues to begin next year, Gimenez's .840 OPS is the third-highest.
CLE Cleveland • #24 • Age: 25
Not every talented pitcher lives up to his potential, of course, but it was pretty obvious what was holding Triston McKenzie back: too many walks, too many home runs. The former is often a byproduct of youth and overcome through experience, as has been the case for the 25-year-old this year, but the latter is more intrinsic. McKenzie, though, has gotten an assist from the league itself. At least among qualifiers, he's far and away the most fly ball-prone pitcher, but those fly balls aren't hurting him as much anymore thanks to the mushier baseballs. In fact, the fly balls have become a net benefit by limiting his number of hits *in* play. In 14 starts since the beginning of July, McKenzie has a 2.25 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 9.2 K/9, throwing seven-plus innings in half of them.
Nate Lowe 1B
TEX Texas • #30 • Age: 27
Nate Lowe put up some impressive numbers over the course of his minor-league career, but the Rays never seemed motivated to give him an honest chance. When the Rangers finally did last year, the results were underwhelming, lending credence to the idea he's simply not a first-division regular at the position with the least margin for error offensively. Since early June, though, Lowe's production has exploded. His launch angle and barrel rate have improved while his exit velocities have remained up to the standards of a middle-of-the-order bat. The net result has been a .334 batting average, 20 homers and .958 OPS over his past 92 games, making him the fourth-best first baseman in both 5x5 and points leagues during that time.
ATL Atlanta • #12 • Age: 28
It all comes down to plate discipline for Sean Murphy, which he excelled at in the minors but has struggled to translate to the majors. The low point was this April, when he struck out 32.1 percent of the time, and as late as May 31, he was batting .201. But that's when things began looking up for the 27-year-old. He struck out just 16.9 percent of the time in June and has more or less sustained that rate (17.1 percent) over the final two-thirds of the season. He's batting .282 with 13 homers and an .834 OPS during that time, adding to what's quickly becoming the most impressive crop of Fantasy-relevant catchers we've seen in years.
ARI Arizona • #31 • Age: 25
Players rise and fall over the course of a season, moving in and out of Fantasy relevance, but this article is supposed to be a degree removed from all that. By calling someone a Dynasty riser, I'm suggesting he's more than just a flavor of the week, and it's hard to say that about McCarthy, who until recently looked like an also-ran in the Diamondbacks' procession of rookie outfielders. And yeah, his stock could fade just as quickly as it's risen, but in the span of a little over a month, he's gone from being a nobody to a potential building block in Dynasty, sustaining a batting average right around .300 with just enough pop to make it stand. It's the stolen base potential that matters most, though, bolstered by his 99th percentile sprint speed.
Prospects who've gained the most value
Andrew Painter, SP, Phillies
A/A+/AA: 6-2, 1.56 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 103 2/3 IP, 25 BB, 155 K
Painter's continued success after his move up to Double-A clinches his spot as a top-three pitching prospect for next year. There's Grayson Rodriguez, there's Eury Perez, and then there's him. Frankly, Perez's rocky finish might be enough to move Painter up to second. I don't remember the last time a pitcher straight out of high school steamrolled the minors in this way, overpowering everyone with his 6-foot-7 reach and impeccable command of his secondary arsenal.
Logan O'Hoppe, C, Angels
AA: .283 BA (360 AB), 26 HR, .961 OPS, 70 BB, 74 K
O'Hoppe was already looking like the breakthrough catcher prospect of 2022 before being dealt to the Angels for Brandon Marsh. Since the trade, he's been darn near unstoppable, batting .306 with 11 homers and a .473 on-base percentage in 29 games. His home venues this year, whether with the Phillies or the Angels, have been especially homer-friendly, and yet 17 of his 26 homers have come on the road. More than anything, it's the plate discipline that will carry him -- that and his defensive skills, which will ensure he remains at catcher.
AA/AAA: 10-7, 3.85 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 161 1/3 IP, 32 BB, 208 K
The Diamondbacks' top two minor-league affiliates are especially hitter-friendly. We saw two pretty good pitching prospects, Ryne Nelson and Drey Jameson, get wrecked there before coming up and making an immediate impact in the majors. Pfaadt has actually leapfrogged those two in terms of prospect standing this year, and his numbers at those two levels pretty much tell the story. That's especially true at Triple-A Reno, where he has a 2.57 ERA in nine starts. Only two other pitchers in that venue's entire history, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, have produced an ERA below 3.00 there, according to Baseball America.
A+/AA/AAA: .319 BA (439 AB), 24 HR, .989 OPS, 60 BB, 98 K
Rodriguez was a prospect of some note coming into the year, but it's his performance since the start of July that has made him a hot commodity all of a sudden. During that time, he has hit .373 with 17 homers, a 1.182 OPS and more walks (35) than strikeouts (34). Most of that production has come after his move up to Double-A, and he's even getting a taste of Triple-A to close out the season. Best of all is his versatility to play all over the diamond, which could mean a big playing-time advantage if he retains catcher eligibility in the majors.
Edgar Quero, C, Angels
A: .312 BA (413 AB), 17 HR, 35 2B, .965 OPS, 73 BB, 91 K
Wow, look at all these catchers emerging, as if we haven't already seen an influx of talent at that position this year. If O'Hoppe is this year's breakout catcher prospect, then Quero might be the runner-up. He's a couple steps behind in the Angels organization but is a similarly disciplined hitter, having reached base at a .435 clip. The power seems to be legitimate, and the switch-hitting makes for an easier path since so few catchers bat from the left side of the plate.
Ketel Marte 2B
ARI Arizona • #4 • Age: 29
At some point, we have to accept that just because Ketel Marte produces premium exit velocities doesn't mean he's a power hitter. Yes, he hit 32 home runs in 2019, when the juiced ball was at its juiciest and most everybody set a career high in home runs, but he's hit just 27 homers in 1,093 plate appearances since then, a rate worse than Jean Segura. He's probably better than he's been this year, but more with regard to batting average, which, as we've seen, isn't a given either. Marte still carries value, particularly with second base being as weak as it is, but he's more just another competent option at the position rather than the standout we've touted him to be.
STL St. Louis • #22 • Age: 27
Jack Flaherty was a Fantasy ace back in 2019. That much we can all agree on. We could blame his rocky 2020 on the pandemic and all the interruptions faced by the Cardinals in particular. Then came the oblique injury last year that cost Flaherty roughly half the season, and though his numbers were decent enough prior to it, they weren't quite as dominant as in 2019. But OK, partial season, so we gave him another pass. What about this year? His initial return from a shoulder strain in June was clearly rushed, so we didn't hold that against him, but three starts into his second return, he's still not inspiring much confidence. It's taken years to determine that Flaherty no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt, but I think we're there.
TOR Toronto • #15 • Age: 34
I think it's obvious to everyone that Whit Merrifield is no longer the asset he once was, but I don't want to understate the extent of his devaluation. This is it for him as a Dynasty asset. We're talking a complete bottoming out. Finito. Nothing left to see here. He's not just done as an everyday player with the Blue Jays, which is bad enough given that volume was the secret source of his productivity, but he's barely playing at all. And seeing as he'll be 34 next year, I don't think the Blue Jays will spend much time re-evaluating his role. Yeah, he's been a reliable source of stolen bases over the years and is eligible at two of the weakest positions in Fantasy, but I'm sorry. The ride has ended.
SEA Seattle • #10 • Age: 23
Prospects as high-end as Kelenic once was deserve an extra helping of patience, and I'd be willing to buy him for nickels on the dollar. But the fact he's selling for nickels on the dollar makes the entire case, doesn't it? One thing the scouting reports overlooked when they rated him one of the best two or three prospects in the game a couple years ago was his inability to hit breaking balls. The word is out now, and his return trips to the majors have only gotten worse and worse. He still produces at Triple-A, but I think it's telling that the Mariners have more or less let him stew there all year. They know there's still work to be done, and at this point, I don't think anyone is confident it will get done.
Josiah Gray SP
WAS Washington • #40 • Age: 25
Josiah Gray's home run issues have been apparent from his very first start in the majors, but they've gone off the rails lately. He's served up 19 long balls in his past 10 starts, generating a 6.89 ERA during that stretch. His rate of 2.4 home runs per nine innings this year is the highest for any pitcher with at least 100 innings. The next-highest is 1.9. There was a short stretch in the middle of this season when throwing more sliders seemed to be curbing the issue, but lately, not even that has worked. Gray still offers considerable strikeout potential, but this wart is too glaring to overlook. And he seems to be moving in the wrong direction.