We made it out of the MLB lockout and with spring training well underway, the start of the season is just around the corner. As we look ahead to the upcoming 2022 season, a handful of names have come up in our SPStreamer discord chat with questions arising about their long-term dynasty value.
Some young players enjoyed a 2021 breakout while others left fantasy managers scratching their heads trying to decide what to think. Let’s take a look at how real these performances were and what the perceived value is heading into this year.
Jo Adell (OF) – Los Angeles Angels
On the surface, a line of .246/.295/.408 across 140 MLB PAs is not something to get excited about but Jo Adell had a significantly better season in 2021 than many realize. He spent a lot of the season at AAA where he saw significant struggles in 2019, but this time around as a 22-year-old Adell seemed to be far more comfortable, showcasing his big-time power with 23 HR across 339 PA. After earning a promotion to Anaheim, there were still plenty of warts but the overall approach was drastically improved from his ghastly 2020 debut. Most notably his K% was down from 41.7 to 22.9, and although he actually was swinging more overall (53.7 v 50.8), he was making contact considerably more often (73.0 v 60.8). Overall, Adell is still not a finished product and fantasy managers have to ultimately decide whether they are patient enough to live through his adjustments. It is important to remember that he is still only 22 and has flashed plenty of upside to warrant that patience but I can’t blame someone for cashing in if a potential buyer is there.
Francisco Alvarez (C) – New York Mets
Francisco Alvarez had a massive 2021 season, setting himself up to be the top Catching prospect in the game once Adley Rutschman graduates. After dominating A ball pitching to the tune of a ridiculous .417/.567/.646 line across 15 games, he earned a promotion to High A as only a 19 yr old and still managed to hit 22 HR with a 12.0% walk rate – albeit striking out a bit more (24.6%). The arrow is obviously already pointing way up, but I am high enough here that I am still looking to target him in virtually every league where I can before the buzz increases even more in 2022.
Taj Bradley (SP) – Tampa Bay Rays
Another player that has his dynasty arrow firmly pointing upwards, Bradley put together a great season across low and high A. Posting a 123/31 K/BB ratio across 103.1 innings as he did is a pretty good way to grab people’s attention. On top of an electric fastball and slider, the frame (6’2″ 190lb) and delivery make it easy to see a recipe for success. The organizational track record certainly adds to the equation as well and helps his chances of further developing his changeup. Overall, 2022 will be a big year as he will be set to face much stiffer competition at Double-A. I like his chances to continue to find success and think he’s a good target now before he really begins to generate buzz.
Dylan Carlson (OF) – St Louis Cardinals
Here’s a weird one for you. Even though he was the 3rd place finisher in NL ROY, Dylan Carlson somehow seemed to have lost air in dynasty conversations coming out of 2021. Perhaps the lack of a true standout category contribution left managers wanting more, but when it comes to guys that can contribute across the board in every facet of the game Carlson is the guy. Even as a prospect, Carlson was flashing 55’s across the board so perhaps the lost steam is just the usual fallout from when a prospect debuts and doesn’t immediately play like Ronald Acuna Jr or Juan Soto. Either way, Dylan Carlson is a great target heading into 2022 as he is ready to be anchored into the middle of a solid St. Louis lineup and has already proven that he has an incredible understanding of the strike zone and overall ability to make good swing decisions at the games highest level.
DL Hall (SP) – Baltimore Orioles
D.L. Hall had a 2021 like many of his previous years as a professional. The arsenal continued to dominate and flash easy front of rotation potential, but the injury bug came back to get him once again and ended his year after only 7 starts at Double-A. The command has never been great but it improved some this year, and with stuff like Hall has, the whiffs are going to be there in plenty. The risk/reward is obvious but there are very few pitching prospects with upside like this so patience could pay off in a big way if he can stay on the field.
Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF) – Minnesota Twins
Alex Kirilloff has the potential to be an across-the-board contributor with the bat as early as 2022 for the Twins. Kirilloff has been a standout in the minor leagues across the past few seasons and finally had a chance to break into the big leagues in 2021 where he put together a .251/.299/.423 line across 231 PAs. While those numbers don’t necessarily jump off of the page, his expected stats per baseball savant (.291 xBA, .541 xSLG) are much more appetizing. The biggest stumbling block here is just finding a way to be consistently healthy as he has missed time on and off dating all the way back to 2017. I don’t expect many managers to be out on him, but if you happen to be in a league where he is available, I would jump all over the opportunity.
Trevor Larnach (OF) – Minnesota Twins
The other Twins prospect that got his crack at the big leagues this season. Larnach had a really tough showing at the major league level as he combined to hit .223 with only a .127 ISO across 301 PAs, and now looks to be outside the roster looking in heading into 2022. On the brighter side of things, he did continue to show that he has the ability to find the barrel (9.5%) and hit the ball forcefully (116 maxEV) – while being patient in the box (10.3 BB%). If he has success this spring and his hit tool looks to be more big-league ready early on he very well could find himself back in Minnesota soon. While obviously, the stock did take a hit and anytime you see a 34.6 K% it rightly gives pause, there were some things Larnach managed to do well which should make him an intriguing buy-low in leagues where he could be going for pennies on the dollar.
Daniel Lynch (SP) – Kansas City Royals
While many prospects enjoyed a successful 2021 season, Daniel Lynch had a much tougher time finding success. Although his 11 starts at AAA did not show much reason to get a call-up, he finished out the year in Kansas City and put together similarly uninspiring numbers. Long term, Lynch possesses multiple pitches that can flash plus and has the frame and enough command to certainly stick as a major league starter but his upside remains limited. The arsenal lacks a true stand-out pitch and the big velocity he flashed at times throughout the minors did not seem to be there in 2021, leaving managers desiring more particularly in the strikeout department. The skillset sets a good floor for a rotation piece that can accumulate innings but the dynasty helium seems to be deflating.
Matt Manning (SP) – Detroit Tigers
Another arm that endured some hardship in his first taste of big-league ball. Manning came into the 2021 season as a pretty hyped-up prospect that was generating plenty of buzz in dynasty circles for his deep 5 pitch arsenal and ultra athleticism. However, he seemed to struggle immensely after his call-up and saw an early dip in fastball velocity as well as an overall lack of swing and miss stuff. Later in the season, he began to string together a bit more success with regained velocity and more incorporation of the slider which sets him up as an intriguing buy-low in dynasty heading into 2022. A rotation spot is his to lose on a Detroit team just gearing up to start fielding a competitive squad, and I believe they will give the 6’6″ hurler every chance to find success. Don’t write him off yet.
Brandon Marsh (OF) – Los Angeles Angels
While Jo Adell’s stock was taking a hit the past couple of years, many eyes were turning to Brandon Marsh who got his first crack at the big leagues in 2021 and showed ability to be a HR and SB contributor at the league’s highest level which always adds appeal in fantasy. Marsh is all but penciled into the Angels lineup heading into the 2022 season and should be in a great position to build on his 2021 debut. He made plenty of hard contact and had an unreal 31.3 LD% so if he can elevate some of those balls, the HR numbers could really start to come up. Living in the shadow of Adell for much of his time on the Angels prospect lists has allowed Marsh to not garner quite the same attention as many names on this list-making for a potentially cheaper option for managers looking to acquire young talent that is ready to help now.
Coby Mayo (3B) – Baltimore Orioles
I will waste no time here and start off this segment by telling you to go get Coby Mayo where you still can. One of the biggest climbers on my prospect board entering this season, Mayo used 2021 to show us there is indeed more here than just the prodigious power we saw coming out of the draft. A .311/.416/.547 line as a 6’5” 215lb teenager with massive raw power is eye-opening, to say the least. He put together a great 12.8/20.8 BB%/K% and even chipped in 5 SB showing at least a desire to be aggressive on the bases, setting the stage for a potentially massive 2022 where he could make his way to AA if he has similar success against High-A pitching. I am clearly an early believer which makes this one of the easier names on this list to recommend buying.
Luis Patino (SP) – Tampa Bay Rays
If you know me or have listened to me on podcasts, you’re probably already prepared to hear me gush over this guy. And while yes, I would love to continue singing praises for Patino, I want to first pause and state that even I, the long-time leader of the Patino fan club, was a bit down and frustrated with what we got in 2021. I was afraid the Rays were going to Ray and indeed they did. Patino experienced multiple different roles throughout the season, and his pitch usage varied as the season moved along, so it is really hard to draw any significant long-term conclusions from what we saw. What I do know is that when it comes to pitcher development, the Rays know what they’re doing and this is still a very special arm that is only going to be 22 this season. So while 2022 may be another year of tweaking and role shifting, I think we are getting closer to him being handed a spot in the rotation and whenever that happens, I don’t want to be on the outside looking in.
George Valera (OF) – Cleveland Guardians
George Valera is a great athlete that has the potential to be a true five-category fantasy contributor as early as 2022. He has an extremely selective approach that makes him an OBP machine, but can also lead to more strikeouts than expected. While he will only be 21 years old this year, the lack of outfield options in Cleveland makes a scenario where he is already helping at the major league level this season possible with a successful stint at AAA to start the year. The profile is unique because of the approach but he is an extremely athletic young player that will likely continue to make adjustments into his first years as a big leaguer.
Joey Wiemer (OF) – Milwaukee Brewers
Posting an absolutely ridiculous .336/.428/.719 line with 14HR and 8SB across 34 games at High-A is an easy way to guarantee getting your name climbing amongst dynasty circles. As a 23-year-old, Wiemer was a bit older than many others at High-A and while I think this line could have been a result of him beating up on younger competition, the numbers are too good to write off. I am probably lower than others just because of the age-to-level difference and some quirks in the approach that lead me to think there could be more strikeout issues as he moves to the higher levels of the minors, but there is obviously plenty to like here nonetheless. I could be too low on him but as I’ve said before, AA is a big step for me in terms of evaluating prospects so 2022 will be a huge year to find out how Wiemer fairs against more advanced competition.