Welcome to Dynasty Baseball Buy or Sell 1-7-22.
Welcome back and Happy New Year! Over here at Fantasy Six Pack, we are starting to ramp up the Fantasy Baseball content. Many Fantasy Football championships are completed or about to be completed this weekend and then it is all hands on deck. As most players shift their focus too baseball. We will have weekly and daily articles that are releasing on a consistent basis.
In this Dynasty Buy or Sell series I outline, with statistics and reasoning, a few players that are worth acquiring or selling in your Dynasty Baseball leagues. The article will be posted every Friday morning throughout the year so be sure to check back every week.
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Dynasty Baseball Buy or Sell 1-7-22
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Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago White Sox
Cease was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft and was then shipped to the cross-town rivals in the trade for Jose Quintana. He spent his first five seasons in the lower levels of the Cubs system as he struggled with his command, to the tune of 4.6 walks per nine (BB/9).
Cease has always had top-end velocity that he uses to set up his above-average breaking pitches. He is able to strike out both righties and lefties equally. In 2021 Cease had a 32K% rate. His 226 strikeouts were top seven in the league and were better than other big names such as Brandon Woodruff, Walker Buehler, and Yu Darvish.
He also saw a significant jump in his whiff rate, swing rate, and chase rate. Which also led to a career-best 31% CSW. Mostly due to his improved slider. In 2021 Cease's slider had a 50% whiff rate and 28% put away rate.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 18, 2021
Command issues have been an ongoing issue with Cease. He has a career 11% walk rate and 4.1 walks per nine. However, in 2021 Cease has seemed to get his walk issues under control. He had a career-best in walk rate (9.6%) which is a 3.7% improvement from 2020.
Cease ended the 2021 season on a great stretch. In his final 11 starts, he had seven starts in which he had two or fewer walks and only one start in which he had more than four. He also had a strikeout rate north of 35% and a FIP of 2.99
We saw what Cease is capable of in his first full season in 2021, and I would expect to see him continue to grow in 2022. Still only 26 years old and on the verge of being a consistent top 50 starting pitcher in Dynasty leagues. Buy wherever possible!
Nick Gonzales, 2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
Nick was the seventh overall pick in the 2020 MLB Amateur Draft and was the fifth-ranked prospect going into the draft. The top of the draft ranking is due to his exceptional production at New Mexico State.
In three seasons, Nick appeared in 128 games for New Mexico State, and finished with a slash line of .399/.502/.747, and had a phenomenal OPS of 1.249. The counting stats were also exceptional, he had 37 home runs, 152 RBI, 148 runs, and had more walks (89) than strikeouts (79). So you can see why he was so highly regarded coming into the draft.
Nick continued his hot-hitting ways in 2021 for the Pirates High A affiliate Greensboro Grasshoppers. In his first professional season, he appeared in 80 games and slashed .302/.385/.565 and his .950 OPS was the second-best in all of High A. His season also included 98 hits which ranked in the top 15 of High A.
He also managed to hit 18 home runs, 53 runs, 54 RBI, and stole seven bags, while being caught twice. However, he did have a bit of a learning curve in his first professional season as he saw his strikeout rate increase to almost 30% when he struck out 101 times in those 80 games.
Nick got his first taste of the Arizona Fall League in 2021 as well. Yet again he approved he can handle the competition. He was able to get 71 at-bats and finished with a batting average of 380 and had seven extra-base hits. His 1.032 OPS ranked as the seventh-best in the AFL, while his 483OBP was second best, behind only Red Sox first baseman, Triston Casas.
The price tag for Gonzales may be a tad high depending on your league size. However, I would be looking to acquire Gonzales before he explodes onto the scene in 2022.
Robbie Ray, LHP, Seattle Mariners
The left-handed, thirty year old, just had his best year as a professional. So good that he was won the AL Cy Young and even received MVP votes. This was his second season with Toronto, and his first full season, as he was a mid-season trade from Arizona in 2020.
This was his best season since 2017 when he finished the season with a 2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 218 Ks in 28 starts with the Diamondbacks. Now in 2021, he finished the season with a 2.84 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 248 Ks in 32 starts.
In 2021 he had career bests in starts (32), ERA (2.84), innings pitched (193.1), strikeouts (248), and WHIP (1.04). So why would you want to sell him now? Easy answer, his value has never been higher.
All signs point to a regression coming for Ray. After his previous career year in 2017, he immediately followed that up in 2018 with an ERA of 3.93, a FIP of 4.31, and a WHIP of 1.35. Furthermore, he has a 10% career walk rate, while also having a career FIP just over four.
Let's take a deeper look at his 2021 stats that could signal some underlying issues which would give you a reason to sell now. First off he still gives up a ton of hard contact. His 43.1% hard-hit rate ranks in the bottom 17% of the league. He also ranks in the bottom 15% of the league in barrel percentage.
A lot of these hard-hit, barreled balls in play are ending up over the fences. He surrendered a total of 33 long balls in 2021. Which was not only a career-high, but it was also the third most amongst all qualified pitchers.
The Yankees just hit 3 HR in one inning against Robbie Ray 🤯
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 1, 2021
In addition to that, his 3.69 FIP ranked as the 18th worst amongst all qualified pitchers. His -0.85 discrepancy between his ERA and FIP was the worst in all of baseball.
You can clearly see there is reason for concern and with Ray's value at an all-time high. I would be looking to sell him while you still can.
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