The 2021 MLB Draft Class was one of the most robust draft classes in recent memories. Featuring a star-studded high school class and a deep college roster of draftees, many players were expected to perform instantly at a high level at the minor league level. Today, we'll dive deeper into four 2021 draftees who exceeded these lofty expectations, making them our 2023 Dynasty Baseball Second-Year Prospect Risers.
2023 Dynasty Baseball Second-Year Prospect Risers
As you probably already know, the fantasy value of second-year pro baseball players is not the same as in other sports. For example, Ja'maar Chase and Najee Harris were valued as the top 5 positional players in fantasy football before the season. In addition, Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith were league winners in their second year after going pro.
However, guys entering their second season removed from the MLB draft have a different fantasy purpose. While these prospects with 2024 and 2025 ETA's won't win you a redraft league; they can turn around your future in a dynasty league. Below are four second-year prospects whose stocks are rising and should be placed on your horizon.
Marcelo Mayer, SS, Boston Red Sox.
Top prospects in baseball often have a hard time living up to the hype. A candidate can be the next coming of Babe Ruth out of High School but still has to slog through the minor leagues to get to the majors. Many of these top prospects lose their stature along the way, becoming career minor leaguers.
Not Marcelo Mayer. Already inside Dave Eddy's top 30 shortstops in Dynasty Baseball, Mayer has shot up prospect ranks after his first entire season in the minors. In Mayer's 19-year-old campaign, he showed both an ability to hit for average (.280) and power (13 homers) across 91 games in A/High-A ball in 2022.
Mayer flashed all five tools in 2022. In just 90 games, his 17 stolen bases showed an ability to rack up points in that phase of the game for years. 13 homers in just over half of a season led to very projectable, raw power while also being able to hit the ball to all fields.
Mayer's stellar defense also plays to his advantage, allowing him to be kept at shortstop in the long term. This position has historically lacked depth in fantasy. Even with shortstop becoming a position with more talent, there is a significant drop-off after the high-tier guys. Mayer's near-certain future as an MLB shortstop allows him to become an even better prospect due to positional value.
Marcelo Mayer with an absolute screamer of a home run after walking twice earlier in the game. pic.twitter.com/5I29oXUNjI
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) August 3, 2022
Gavin Williams, RHP, Cleveland Guardians.
With a 6'6 frame and an even bigger fastball, Gavin Williams has shot up prospect rankings early into his career. However, unlike Mayer, Williams was not a highly touted prospect out of high school or even into his first couple of years in college.
However, Williams has carried a great college senior season into the minors. After striking out an eye-popping 13.4 batters per nine innings with a scant 1.40 ERA in A-ball, Williams was hustled up into AA during his first pro season.
Williams continued his dominance in AA, with an ERA of 2.30 while still achieving a 10.5 K/9. Maybe even more impressive is Williams's ability to limit hits, as his H/9 was only 5.4 in all of 2022, never jumping over six hits per nine.
If Gavin Williams continues to develop his changeup, he will boast a repertoire of three-plus pitches to go along with his great fastball and curveball. This is usually a recipe for success among pitchers today. It will likely be the same for Gavin Williams, another rising prospect.
Edwin Arroyo, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Speed and power are the dominant combinations in fantasy baseball.
In redraft, the three most popular picks at 1.1 are Julio Rodriguez, Trea Turner, and Ronald Acuna Jr. These are the three players most likely to post a 30-homer/30-steal season in 2023. If power and speed are MLB's most sought-after tools, why shouldn't they be the same for prospects?
Edwin Arroyo showcased both tools in a big way during his 115-game stint in 2022. Arroyo mashed 14 home runs at the plate while having an OPS hovering around the .850 mark. He was even better on the basepaths, swiping 27 bags, a 38-steal pace across 162 games.
While most players with these two tools struggle to get on base, this wasn't the case with Arroyo. In 87 A-ball games, Arroyo showed his ability to hit all fields, slashing .216/.385/.514. The only way to steal bags is to get on base beforehand, and Arroyo could do this at a perfect clip.
The future is bright for this speedster, who will dominate the basepaths on your fantasy squad for years to come.
Mariners 2021 second-rounder, Edwin Arroyo, hit his first pro home run in rookie ball..
and potentially set the world record for highest bat flip on his way to first!
— Farm To Fame (@FarmToFame_) September 14, 2021
Andrew Painter, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies.
Aptronyms are seriously underrated.
Usain Bolt bolts around the track, while Larry Speakes was a press secretary for Reagan. Did you know that there is an attorney whose name is actually "Sue Yoo"?
I might have gotten a little off-topic there. However, Andrew Painter is a perfect example of an aptronym (I just learned what it meant too). In his first full year, Painter has shown a remarkable ability to paint the corners quickly.
Painter dominated in 2022. In A ball, Painter struck out 16.1 batters per nine innings. The Phillies didn't keep him down there for long., so after 36 innings, Painter moved up to A+. Here, he casually posted a sub-1 ERA in eight starts. Painter was called up again, earning a 2.54 ERA in AA.
While most pitchers suffer from control issues, Painter tapped into his Aptronymonic last name. (I might have just made a new word here). Facing the best hitters of his life so far in AA, Painter walked 0.6 batters per nine innings. This rivals even the most accurate MLB arms.
Just two years removed from high school, Painter has already been named the top RHP prospect in all baseball. While I am a Grayson Rodriguez truther, there is no denying Painter's potential. With a hard '90s sinker that's only job is to destroy bats, coupled with a breaking ball that moves like a Wiffle ball, Painter is poised to take the MLB, and your fantasy league, by storm.
Here’s 6 minutes of AA highlights from Andrew Painter (future Phillies ace). pic.twitter.com/ggSG2foSdz
— John Foley (@2008Philz) January 13, 2023
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