It's been a couple months since we last took stock of changing player values for Dynasty leagues, but with the trade deadline approaching in many leagues, just as in real life, now seems like the perfect time.
As way of reminder, the evaluations here are a little different from redraft leagues, requiring a steadier hand and a more patient approach. It doesn't mean that a riser's or faller's value is sure to stay there, but it does mean that the change in performance has gone on long enough -- or convincingly enough -- to sway even the most future-minded of us.
You may be surprised by some of the big names in the "fallers" section, given the need for a steady hand and all. But hey, we're two-thirds of the way through the season. Benefit of the doubt isn't granted forever.
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CHC Chi. Cubs • #24 • Age: 28
After a July in which he hit .400 (40 for 100) with eight home runs and a 1.120 OPS, I can confirm that Bellinger fever is a reality. I've seen him declared "untouchable" in several of my Dynasty leagues already. Shoot, the Cubs themselves have all but said the same, and you can understand why. He's a former MVP still in his prime at age 28, having apparently overcome whatever hurdles knocked him down from 2020 through 2022 and delivering across-the-board numbers again. A look at some of the underlying data, namely the sea of blue on his Statcast page, might be cause for pause -- and I do wonder how much of that "untouchable" talk is merely posturing -- but it's abundantly clear that his Dynasty value is up. And I wouldn't rule out it staying up.
Josh Naylor 1B
CLE Cleveland • #22 • Age: 26
If you've stuck with Naylor since he first broke in as a 22-year-old for the Padres in 2019, congratulations. That sort of patience deserves to be rewarded in a Dynasty league. I must admit, though, I had lost faith that this day would ever come. He was so limited defensively, so easily platooned as a left-handed hitter, that when the power didn't show up right away, he seemed destined to go the way of Jake Bauers. It helped that he wound up in an organization that was desperate for offense, and his repeated chances have led to him being a full-time player and RBI standout at age 26. Naylor is batting .289 with an .808 OPS against lefties, and if you need even more evidence he's the real deal, his .297 xBA and .495 xSLG match up almost exactly with his actual .306 and .500 marks.
Brayan Bello SP
BOS Boston • #66 • Age: 24
Since we first began to see Bello in action last year, it looked to me like he could be sort of a poor man's Framber Valdez, combining elite ground-ball skills (56.2 percent rate) with pretty good bat-missing skills (11.2 percent rate). Lately, he's begun to live up to the consistency of Valdez as well. Even with a six-run outing on July 19 (such blow-up starts are unavoidable in our current pitching environment), Bello has a 3.15 ERA in his past 15 starts. In eight of his past nine, he's gone six innings or more, showing Valdez-level durability as well. Bello may not have the upside of an ace, but he offers a profile that's well suited for limiting damage in an environment where such a profile is in high demand.
Ha-seong Kim 2B
SD San Diego • #7 • Age: 28
Coming into the year, Kim was thought to be a defensive specialist who might threaten for double-digit home runs and stolen bases -- and even if that was only if he found a way to stick in the lineup following the acquisition of Xander Bogaerts and the return of Fernando Tatis. Fair to say he's blown those projections out of the water. Forget 10 homers and 10 steals. He's on pace for more like 20 and 30, and as for playing time, his improved plate discipline has him batting leadoff most days. He's done a better job driving the ball to his pull side this year, and it's not unreasonable to think he could sustain it. We didn't know exactly how Kim would fare coming over to the big leagues two years ago, but he was a superstar in Korea and still has time to make good on his more optimistic projections at age 27.
BOS Boston • #36 • Age: 23
It's true Casas was already a pretty good Dynasty asset coming into the year, being a consensus top-35 prospect with some major-league experience already under his belt. But that experience late last year was nothing to write home about, and then when he came out of the gate this year batting .133 (10 for 75), full-blown panic was beginning to set in. But he was markedly better in May and has continued to get better since then, batting .295 with 13 homers and a .932 OPS over a three-month span. In fact, he's been raging hot since the All-Star break, batting .413 (19 for 46) with more than half of those home runs (seven). Basically, he's living up to the billing almost completely, and it seems like only a matter of time before the Red Sox begin playing him against left-handers, at which point it would be difficult to describe him as anything less than must-start.
Prospects who've gained the most value
Jonathan Aranda, 2B, Rays
AAA: .344 BA (311 AB), 19 HR, 1.049 OPS, 56 BB, 75 K
There's some question as to whether Aranda still qualifies as a prospect given the number of days he's spent on a major-league roster already, but the bottom line is he's still treated like a minor-leaguer even though he's done everything he can do to capture the attention of the big club. You see the overall stat line, which is impressive enough, but when you consider that over his past 40 games, he's batting .416 (67 for 161) with 12 home runs and a 1.233 OPS, delivering a high walk rate (13.2 percent) as well as a low strikeout rate (16.8 percent), you can understand why enthusiasm is at an all-time high. The exit velocity readings are nearly as impressive, too.
Colt Keith, 3B, Tigers
AA/AAA: .310 BA (332 AB), 17 HR, .919 OPS, 37 BB, 86 K
Keith was thought to be one of the more intriguing bats in the Tigers system coming into the year, but he's become a full-blown offensive force, batting .325 (80 for 246) with 14 homers and a .977 OPS at Double-A. He owes much of his improvement to making better swing decisions while elevating and pulling the ball more. While he has slowed down a bit following his move up to Triple-A, he's only 21 and doesn't need to be rushed.
AA/AAA: .295 BA (339 AB), 19 HR, 34 2B, .986 OPS, 56 BB, 104 K
Like Keith, Mayo had plenty of believers coming into the year, but at this point, it would be difficult to doubt what the 6-foot-5 masher brings to the table. Greatly improved plate discipline, -- which is something that happened for Gunnar Henderson at Double-A, too -- has no doubt played a part in Mayo unlocking his power potential. He may be a bit stretched at Triple-A, where the Orioles recently moved him, but from a development perspective, he appears to be well on his way at age 21.
Connor Phillips, SP, Reds
AA/AAA: 3-2, 3.09 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 87 1/3 IP, 44 BB, 139 K
Following in the footsteps of fellow Reds farmhand Andrew Abbott, Phillips has opened up a commanding lead in strikeouts for all levels of the minors. Not surprisingly, his fastball features the characteristics proven to bring about the most success in the modern game, namely the rising effect that prompts hitters to swing underneath it. Unlike Abbott, though, Phillips is able to crank the pitch up to 98 mph. He also throws two breaking balls capable of generating whiffs, so missing bats doesn't appear to be a problem for the 22-year-old. We'll see if he can keep the walks down when he gets his chance in the majors, which could be later this year.
Roman Anthony, OF, Red Sox
A-/A+: .252 BA (262 AB), 10 HR, 13 SB, .842 OPS, 65 BB, 75 K
Anthony wasn't a total no-name coming into the year, but his Dynasty stock has been climbing ever since Baseball Prospectus ranked him ninth in its midseason top 50, ahead of prospects as well regarded as Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlar. The 19-year-old is a disciplined hitter who makes high-quality contact for someone so young. Ranking him in the top 10 may be jumping the gun a bit, but he has performed well since moving up to High-A, batting .288 (30 for 104) with nine homers, a .435 on-base percentage and a 1.070 OPS.
Trea Turner SS
PHI Philadelphia • #7 • Age: 30
I'm not saying Turner is confined to a .242 batting average forevermore. There is likely still correction coming in that regard. But I am saying his days as a perennial .300 hitter and batting title contender may be over. He's hitting the ball less hard and less frequently and may be losing some of his quick twitch at age 30. In past years, it might not have mattered so much if he profiled as a .270 hitter rather than a .320 hitter because he was one of the few standout base-stealers. But you may have noticed stolen bases are way up this year, and they're coming from players who contribute in all variety of ways. Turner was once the cream of the crop at shortstop, but he's rightfully taking a back seat to players like Corey Seager and Bobby Witt at this point.
Mike Trout CF
LAA L.A. Angels • #27 • Age: 32
This isn't the first time Mike Trout has shown up here, and I want to be careful not to overstate the decline. He's still an excellent hitter capable of considerable power production. But it's clear that some of those other-worldly tools that made him a slam-dunk first-rounder for so long have begun to erode a bit at age 31, his declining in-zone contact rate in particular making him no longer such a standout in batting average. Between that and his growing propensity for injury (not that his broken hamate bone was in any way predictable), Dynasty leaguers have become increasingly open to cashing out on their one-time franchise player. If he fetches the same return as a Sandy Alcantara, even, I'd be surprised.
TOR Toronto • #25 • Age: 27
Varsho was a full-fledged Dynasty darling last year, emerging as one of just two catcher-eligible players (the much older J.T. Realmuto being the other) with honest-to-goodness steals potential. And since he was primarily an outfielder, he was destined to play even more than the typical catcher-eligible player. Wowie! I regret to inform you that, a year later, the shine has worn off almost completely. His pedestrian exit velocities have come back to bite him in his new Toronto home, which has become a tough venue for left-handed power bats, and the Blue Jays have taken to sitting him against lefties, neutralizing his playing-time advantage. Worst of all, he hasn't made a single appearance behind the plate, so he's going to lose the catcher eligibility that made him so valuable in the first place.
Tommy Edman 2B
STL St. Louis • #19 • Age: 28
What made Edman such an asset in the past was his novelty as a 30-steal guy, one of only six in all of baseball last year. This year, thanks to rules designed to promote more base-stealing, something like 20 players are on pace for that many, with several tracking for far more. The novelty has worn off, in other words, and it doesn't help that Edman has faded as a hitter this year. The data belies a true decline, but if you can't trust him to hit .260 with 12-to-15 homers reliably, then that's all the more reason to minimize your investment. Frankly, his OPS potential is so low that it's not unthinkable the Cardinals themselves could begin to phase him out as they look toward the future. Particularly once Masyn Winn is called up, it could be a tight fit.
CHW Chi. White Sox • #25 • Age: 25
Lauded for his power potential as the third pick in the 2019 draft, Vaughn arrived to much fanfare in 2021 and did just enough in his first two seasons for the hype to hold steady. But now in Year 3, there have been no signs of growth, and it's starting to feel like the 25-year-old may just be who he is. And what he is, while useful, isn't nearly good enough to justify the hype. He's basically a poor man's Ryan Mountcastle or a lesser Hunter Renfroe -- highly replaceable in the typical Dynasty league, in other words. Maybe time will prove otherwise and he still has yet to reveal his final form, but we've already been so patient.