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MLB Dynasty Report: Before They Were Stars

Well, well, well… Blink your eyes and it’s already June! A lot is happening in baseball, and that includes promotions and guys on the rise you should be aware of. Apologies for the two-week absence in me writing this column, but hopefully you have been enjoying the rest of the content here on Fantrax. There is a lot of it, and we’re coming fast and furious.

There have also been some changes at the helm of the ship, and that has prompted a slight adjustment to the three players I’ll be looking at each week. Instead of breaking down three deeper league targets, we will now look at one prospect who can help fantasy owners now, one that’s relatively close to making the jump to The Show, and one who is still a ways down the road. That being said, let’s get into three pitchers who are sure to be a boon to your teams. Don’t forget to check out The Baseball Show LIVE every Tuesday night, where I am joined by my co-host Ralph Lifshitz, as well as guests from throughout the fantasy baseball industry. It’s a fast-flowing wealth of entertainment and analysis, and we’ll answer your questions on the spot!


Jacob Faria

  • Organization: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Last known address: Major Leagues (Tampa)
  • Potential: SP3

Every now and then, we hit a crossroad with prospects who don’t get all the headlines and hype. Pitchers in particular seem more vulnerable to the doubt and speculation that the box scores are showing us. Yet, sometimes you get guys like Faria who start to put together consistency across multiple levels, which makes them impossible to ignore. I first started to take notice of the Rays righty in 2015, when he received a promotion to Double-A and improved on his mildly encouraging numbers. It was there and then that he improved from a pedestrian 8ish-Ks-per-nine guy into an 11.5 dominant strikeout artist. He didn’t have a freakishly high Keuchel-like ground ball rate, but hovering around 40 percent with the increased strikeout numbers made him someone who checked all of my boxes. After adding him on every dynasty league roster I could, I sat back and relished every inning he hurled in 2015.

Then came 2016. The record was ugly, the ERA creeped above 4.00, the walks weren’t getting better, and no one was putting much stock into his name. Despite all of that, Faria was still striking guys out and inducing ground balls, which earned him a promotion to Triple-A. He held his own for the next 67 innings and finished the year as a 22-year-old with some real upside, but one who was still mired in obscurity and in an organization known to be overly patient with its prospects. However, this is all great news for you, the fantasy owner. You see, had you not succumbed to all of that doubt, you would have still been rostering a hard-throwing right-hander who is whiffing nearly 13 batters per nine at Triple-A this season. You read that right. Faria has also maintained his above-average 40 percent ground ball rate. Although the walks remain a slight concern, they aren’t anything egregious. Put that all together and you have a player who has been promoted yet again, this time to the big leagues, as he’s slated to make his debut tonight against the Chicago White Sox. There is not an overwhelming demand for his services in fantasy circles just yet, making him very obtainable in your leagues. I love his matchup tonight, and I can easily see him putting up a water-cooler performance against the cellar-dwelling ChiSox. There is some competitive depth in the organization that will challenge Faria to remain in the rotation, but he has the tools to succeed. And the ball is in his hand. He is much more than just a streamable option, regardless of your league type.


Jack Flaherty

  • Organization: St. Louis Cardinals
  • Last known address: Triple-A (Memphis)
  • Potential: SP2

This 6-foot-4, 205-pound righty was a 2014 first round selection for the Cardinals, who drafted him out of the same high school that produced Lucas Giolito and Max Fried. That first sentence alone is enough to command intrigue for Flaherty. Although the results thus far have been positive, there are still many who believe he has not yet realized his full ceiling. The fact that he’s fanned nearly a batter per inning over his minor league career is nice, but there may still be another level for this 21-year-old to climb to. The Cardinals are being bullish with their potential future ace, having already promoted him to their Triple-A affiliate in Memphis. That means he has done enough to advance through every level of the minors in just his third full season, and some even think he may reach St. Louis as early as this year. I personally believe that projection is a tad ambitious, but in this day and age I wouldn’t rule anything out.

[the_ad id=”384″]Flaherty’s Triple-A debut came just five days ago against the Royals Triple-A affiliate Omaha Storm Chasers. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it certainly wasn’t a flop, either, as he tossed six innings while scattering two runs on five hits. He served up one solo homer while striking out five and walking two. The results were in line with his career production, and again, those numbers have been well above-average. If Flaherty were to remain without significant improvement to his statistics, he would still project to have a mid-rotation type of future. The floor feels so very safe, and that ceiling is tantalizingly flirtatious. He will make his next start tomorrow against Marlins affiliate New Orleans Baby Cakes, a team that doesn’t boast the most intimidating of lineups. It’s possible that the hoopla surrounding Flaherty continues to crescendo, and he soon becomes unobtainable in dynasty and keeper leagues. In fact, I just declined an offer of Yonder Alonso for my Flaherty and Seth Lugo. It was Flaherty who negatively tipped the scales.


Mitchell White

  • Organization: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Last known address: Class A+ (Rancho Cucamonga)
  • Potential: SP1

It is mesmerizing to see the Dodgers continue to pull aces from their sleeve. Not only does the organization draft and sign well, but they also do a tremendous job in developing their youth. The next potential stud to emerge from a crowded farm system is flamethrower Mitchell White, a 6-foot-4, 207-pound righty taken in the second round of the 2016 draft. White spent two years at Santa Clara University and put up gaudy strikeout totals (158 Ks in 124 IP), but he didn’t necessarily have off-the-charts, in-your-face kind of stuff. It was good, and had major league potential, yet it was more likely destined for back-end rotation work than anything resembling a staff ace. This was also when he was throwing in the low 90s, before the Dodgers got to work with him and finesse him into what they saw him capable of becoming.

Mitchell made immediate gains, and he now sits upper 90s with his fastball. He also tops out at 90 with his slider and can ring batters up with a capable curve. When I see that kind of repertoire, it makes me immediately think of Noah Syndergaard, and to date the results have been on the same path. Mitchell is currently on the seven-day DL (undisclosed) and is just in High-A Rancho Cucamonga, so there is still some distance to go before he helps your fantasy team. I have even heard some rumors that he may get a look in the big leagues this season, as a bullpen arm for a pennant run. Regardless of how this plays out, you don’t need to look any further than Julio Urias to know the Dodgers will be cautious with White’s development. Plus, White already has a Tommy John surgery on his resume, so the training wheels are definitely mounted. However, there was a day and age when people weren’t overwhelmed by Thor, and despite his recent injury woes, he has become universally untouchable. White is a guy you still have a chance to acquire in dynasty leagues, and the wait should be well worth it. You don’t get many opportunities to get a front line starter on the cheap. Here is your gift horse.

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