Spring Training Dynasty Notes: March 16
Chris Clegg breaks down all of Thursday's action from a dynasty perspective.
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Clarke Schmidt, RHP, NYY
Lets lead off with a player I have been writing about a lot this offseason, Clarke Schmidt. He twirled a gem on Thursday, throwing five perfect innings with seven strikeouts. It was against the Pirates, but the team still had most of their regulars in outside of Bryan Reynolds.
The addition of the cutter has been huge for Schmidt’s reworked arsenal. His slider led the way with a 40 percent usage which I love to see. When you have a great pitch, use it most often, and Schmidt does. The slider had a 55 percent CSW rate. He did an incredible job of landing it for called strikes, but also generating whiffs.
With injuries to Carlos Rodon and Frankie Montas, there is a clear path for Clarke Schmidt and Domingo German to have a spot in the rotation. Buy all the shares of Schmidt you can.
Austin Hays, OF, BAL
Austin Hays had been scorching the ball all spring. He is quietly up to four home runs and a .409 batting average after a 2/3 day where he hit a home run and drove in three. He has struck out four times and has a .409/.480/1.000 slash.
Hays has always been one of those players you feel can be productive, but he’s just an average player. Maybe 2023 is the year where he puts it all together. He makes excellent contact on pitches in the zone, having an 89 percent zone-contact rate. Last year, his issue was chasing too much. If he can curb it a bit, you can expect the batting average and OBP to tick up. We have seen power in the past as Hays hit 22 home runs in 529 plate appearances in 2021. The changed fence at Camden could have affected him last year as he managed just 16.
This is not to say that Austin Hays is going to be a massive breakout this year. But early returns suggest he could provide value for players in deeper dynasty leagues.
Kodai Senga, RHP, NYM
Kodai Senga returned to the mound for the Mets after a slight injury scare. This time the results were a bit better than they were against the Cardinals, albeit this time, he faced the Nationals.
Senga pitched just three innings, but he struck out five and did not walk a batter. What stood out was his command which was not there in his first start. He threw 47 pitches, landing 34 for strikes, good for a 72.3 percent strike rate. That will play.
Senga did not feature his ghost fork in this outing but put the rest of his arsenal on display. His fastball was up to 97 mph, and he featured new pitches in a cutter and a sweeper, which he worked on this offseason.
Senga is not likely going to be an ace, but he could be a very good mid-rotation anchor for dynasty players.
Ha-Seong Kim, SS, SD
2023 is the year of Ha-Seong Kim. Fresh off an impressive showing in the WBC where he hit three home runs in 16 at-bats, Kim is scorching hot in Spring Training. His 3/3 showing on Thursday bumped his batting average up to .545 to pair with a 1.310 OPS.
Kim does not have a home run in Spring Training but has played just his fourth game since he did travel to play in the WBC. He is slated to be the Padres’ everyday second baseman to start the year. Some people believe that Fernando Tatis Jr’s return could cause Kim to lose playing time, but I’m just not in that camp. Kim is an excellent hitter who doesn't get love because he did not come over and set the world on fire.
There is respectable power and speed here, plus a decent feel to hit. With his positional eligibility, you can play him at either middle or corner infield, which is a boost to his value in deeper leagues. I am in on Ha-Seong Kim for 2023.
Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, ARI
As much as it pains me to say, I will be surprised if Brandon Pfaadt breaks camp with the Diamondbacks. It is not because he does not deserve it because he absolutely does. He pitched four innings on Thursday, allowing three hits and one earned run. The only blemish was a home run given up to Cody Bellinger. Not to mention Pfaadt was up against the Cubs’ everyday lineup. Pfaadt struck out seven batters and did not walk one.
Pfaadt’s spring performance has been extremely good. I have said all offseason I think Pfaadt is the second-best arm in the entire Diamondbacks organization behind Zac Gallen. Maybe I am wrong, and Pfaadt breaks camp with the team. But I see them playing the service time game and Pfaadt spending a month or two in Triple-A.
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