Dynasty Spring Training Notes: March 24
Chris Clegg breaks down all of Fridays action with a dynasty twist.
We discuss a lot of prospects that could make rosters or have an impact soon this season. To see where they rank, check out my Top 556 prospects here:
Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees
I was pretty adamant that Anthony Volpe would not make the Opening Day roster all spring. With Oswald Peraza already having debuted and on the 40-man roster, it seemed like he would be the everyday shortstop. Not to mention that Peraza is the better fielder and arm of the two. It looks like I was wrong.
The Yankees have been outspoken on Friday about Volpe starting the season in the Bronx and being the team’s shortstop. Volpe was the starting shortstop on Friday with the “A” team for the Yankees split-squad game. He did not disappoint as he hit a home run that traveled 426 feet with a 104.4 mph exit velocity.
Volpe has three home runs and five stolen bases in 47 Spring Training at-bats. His power numbers in 2022 were not overly strong, as he had just a 101.5 mph 90th percentile exit velocity, but Volpe is showing power improvements this spring. He did get plenty of power to the pull side, as he had a 43.4 percent hard-hit rate when he pulled the ball.
A full season as the Yankees could lead to a rookie of the year type performance. 15-20 home runs with 20-25 stolen bases seems like a solid outcome this year. The power numbers could improve as Volpe matures and adds strength.
Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, MIN
If you have not gotten on board the Emmanuel Rodriguez hype train in dynasty it might be too late. He burst onto the scene last year in Low-A, hitting nine home runs and posting an impressive .492 OBP in 199 plate appearances. Rodriguez's season ended early due to a knee injury, but he returned strong this spring.
Rodriguez generated dazzling reports in Minor League Spring Training from scouts that saw him. On Friday he was on full display in a Major League Spring Training game against the Yankees. Rodrigue finished the day two-for-four with a home run and three RBI. All three of his batted balls came off the bat over 101 mph. Two off Gerrit Cole were 104.6 and 107.9 mph.
Rodriguez has elite plate skills and massive power. His 106.8 mph 90th percentile exit velocity in 2022 was elite for his age. He chased just 11.9 percent of pitches out of the zone. There’s a possibility Emmanuel Rodriguez is a top-ten prospect by midseason 2023.
Alek Manoah, RHP, TOR
Alek Manoah continues to have extremely diminished fastball velocity this spring. On Friday, his sinker was down 2.1 mph, and his four-seam was down 2.5 mph. Despite the drop in velocity and stuff, Manoah continues to make it work.
On Friday, Manoah pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run. He walked two and struck out six. The start ended with Manoah having a 27 percent whiff rate and a 26 percent CSW.
If he continues to get the job done, it doesn’t really matter what all the underlying metrics look like. This reminds me of everyone panicking about Shane Bieber last year having a decline in velocity. Bieber finished 2022 with a 2.88 ERA in 200 innings.
Edouard Julien, 2B, MIN
Edouard Julien was optioned to Triple-A on March 14, but he continues to prove in Spring Training that he should be with the Twins on Opening Day. It likely will not be long until he is up, though. Jorge Polanco is going to start the season on the Injured List with a knee injury. He should not miss much time, but if there are setbacks, it opens the door for Julien.
Julien added two hits on Friday, including a home run that came off the bat at 105.4 mph. He now has three this spring to pair with a 1.083 OPS. Julien brings elite OBP and solid power to the table. While he stole 19 bases last year, I would not expect that to be a big part of his game moving forward. Julien is an easy buy for me right now in dynasty.
Hunter Greene, RHP, CIN
Hunter Greene’s velocity was way up on Friday. Before you say it was just a hot gun, it is important to note that everyone was down in that start, including Zac Gallen whose fastball averaged 1.6 mph less than last year. Greene hit 102.5 mph and averaged 99.9 on his 35 four-seamers thrown. His slider averaged near 90 mph, and Greene featured a solid changeup as well.
Despite having just a 28 percent CSW for the start Greene still managed to fire four scoreless innings. He walked and struck out two a piece. It was his final tuneup start before the regular season and 2023 seems like the year Hunter Greene ascends to ace levels.
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