Spring Training Dynasty Notes: March 21
Chris Clegg breaks down all of Tuesday's Spring Training and WBC action.
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Let’s break down all of Tuesday’s games.
MJ Melendez, C/OF, KC
MJ Melendez has quietly been having a strong spring training. He hit a home run on Tuesday that brought his total to two across 19 at-bats this spring. He is slashed .368/.409/.947 across a small sample.
Melendez had the largest differential between shifted and un-shifted wOBA last year among all hitters. You never really know how these players who were shifted over 90 percent of the time will perform, but it is something worth monitoring.
The fact that Melendez plays catcher and outfield means he is likely to get more plate appearances, and getting volume at catcher is huge. In just 460 plate appearances last year, Melendez hit 18 home runs and posted a .217/.313/.409 slash. I expect his average to be closer to .250 and his OBP to be in the .340-.350 range this year.
Freddy Peralta, RHP, MIL
Freddy Peralta is an interesting player to evaluate for dynasty leagues. He had a major breakout in 2021, posting a 2.81 ERA over 144 innings with a 33.6 percent strikeout rate. He dealt with injuries last year which led to him only pitching 78 innings. But, the strikeout rate dropped to 27 percent, and his ERA was 3.58.
Peralta has been a mixed bag this spring. He pitched five innings against the White Sox on Tuesday, allowing three earned runs and striking out six. His spring ERA sits at 4.82 in just pitching nine innings of work.
I have a hard time thinking Peralta just tanks and loses a ton of value. He is just 26 years old, and it feels like a good time to buy the dip in dynasty leagues.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, CHW
Speaking of buying low on players in dynasty, Lucas Giolito feels like the perfect buy-low right now. Giolito pitched 4.1 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out six. He allowed two earned runs, including a home run. His ERA on the spring sits at 3.86.
Giolito had a poor 2022, but finished strong in September, posting a 3.48 ERA over his final 33.2 innings. His velocity has been sitting between 91 and 94 all spring, and for him to get back to high-end SP levels, I would like to see him near 94 like he was in 2021. Last year, Giolito averaged 92.6. It still seems like Giolito is in for a rebound season based on what I have seen this spring.
Josiah Gray, RHP, WSH
I have been out on Josiah Gray for a while. His fastball just is not good and he allowed 38 home runs last year. Gray finished 2022 with a 5.02 ERA across 148 innings. He threw the fastball 40 percent of the time last season and 24 of the home runs allowed came on that pitch. Both his slider and curveball are decent as he had a 38 and 32.2 percent whiff rate on them respectively.
Gray has added a new cutter this offseason. He is throwing his four-seam way less and his slider more. This feels like a recipe for success to me. Not only did his cutter and slider look good, but Gray generated a 57 percent whiff rate on his four-seam. It is almost as if improving his arsenal as a whole allows his four-seam to play a little better.
Gray has allowed just one earned run this spring in 12 innings and has allowed ZERO home runs. He has struck out 11 and walked just one batter. Maybe it is time to buy Josiah Gray in dynasty.
Triston McKenzie, RHP, CLE
What has been going on with Triston McKenzie this spring? Another poor outing saw him allow four earned runs across 4.1 innings. He allowed six his, one walk, and four strikeouts. His spring ERA sits at 8.16 now.
We have no velocity readings as McKenzie has not pitched in a park that has Hawkeye, but something has to be a bit off here. I have tried to source out some velocity readings and have not had much luck. I am concerned. McKenzie has made five starts this spring, has allowed 13 earned runs in 14 innings, and has walked ten batters. Many have been on the Triston McKenzie breakout train, but I am pumping the breaks a bit.
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