Aaron Judge (OF - NYY) - I think that there might be some value on Aaron Judge in 2024 drafts. People are going to look at another year with over 50 missed games and, unfairly in my mind, reassert the "injury-prone" label on him. The way I see it, all injuries are not created equal. If a player is missing 20-40 games a year with knee strains, hamstring pulls, rib cage strains, then yes, they're injury prone. In Judge's case, he missed 14 games 2 years ago, 5 games last year, and almost every game he's missed this season is because he ran into/through a poorly constructed piece of outfield wall in LA. Since he apparently switched focus from strength training to flexibility training, Judge has actually been quite healthy, yet I think his value is dinged because the perception is something different. He's had another fantastic year to this point, hitting 268/404/610 with some worse luck via BABIP than he had in his incredible 2022....if the Yanks (and they know they need to) can find any support for him in the batting order, he probably won't be walking 19% of the time next season either. He was drafted 9th overall in the initial Tout mock that we did a few weeks ago, and I think that's actually appropriate for a player that likely has a few years left in his prime (he turns 32 in April).
Luis Castillo (SP - SEA) - Castillo allowed a pair of homers among 5 ER over 6 innings on Monday to fall to 14-8 on the year. He's had kind of a strange year in total, showing the best control and best chase rate of his career, but also showing a velocity drop of almost 1 mph and a much increased launch angle. The LA increase becomes problematic with the career-worst EV allowed, causing the 2nd worst HR/9 of his career. I think Castillo is an excellent pitcher all told, and I don't think there's any doubt that he is one of the top-12 SP in baseball, but he went 3rd behind Strider and Cole in our recent 2024 mock draft, and I think that's pretty optimistic. I have him 9th personally (and am considering dropping him out of the top 10), and the GB and EV deterioration do have me a bit concerned....before Monday's game he was posting the highest xFIP of his career.
Freddy Peralta (SP - MIL) - Peralta would not have been in my top 10 guesses for who is leading MLB in xFIP in the 2nd half, but he's put up a 2.53 mark in that category in his 13 starts since the break. Peralta was always a high K guy with questionable control and a very low GB rate, but he's really improved in those latter two areas the past two seasons while maintaining the high K rates to become a very solid SP. He's under 3 walks per 9 for the first time in his career, he's made 30 starts for the first time in his career, and this is all coming with a big-time velocity jump of nearly 2 mph. He was the 17th SP taken in the recent Tout mock draft, and as crazy as it would have sounded to be 6 months ago, I can't really quibble with it. I have him ranked in the low-20s myself as we close out 2023, putting him firmly into the back end of the SP2 group in 12-team leagues.
Trea Turner (SS - PHI) - So, in case you've missed it, Turner is on a 50/25 full-season pace since August 1, hitting 309/363/629 while ranking as the 8th most valuable hitter in MLB. He slipped to the 17th pick overall in the recent Tout mock draft, and it's easy to see why: despite this two-month heater and season-long numbers that look respectable now, there still appears to be some steady deterioration over the past two years from his impressive peak, particularly in strike zone judgment (chase rates from '20-'23: 29, 31, 36, 38). He's only 30, and there was likely some pressing early-on given his massive new contract, so I'm inclined to weight the late-season performance more than the first few months of struggles. I like him again in '24 as a late 1st/early 2nd round selection in standard formats despite my mild concern over his increased aggression at the plate.
Seiya Suzuki (OF - CUB) - So, are we willing to write off Suzuki's first half simply because he didn't really have a spring training? I'm inclined to say yes, because he's been the 5th most valuable hitter in MLB since August 1, and is on a .300/30/100 pace since the beginning of July. There hasn't been as much speed as I expected, but everything else looks like star-caliber play. I think he remains underrated heading into 2024, because the season-long numbers don't jump out at you, but the combination of excellent contact ability and much improved power (EV up 1.9 to 91.5 in '23, max EV up 3.3 to 114.6) impress me greatly. He wasn't drafted in the first 18 OF in the super-early Tout mock this month, but I was beginning to consider him right at that point.