Spring Training Dynasty Notes: March 11-12
Chris Clegg breaks down a ton of great baseball from the weekend!
It was an awesome weekend of baseball with the World Baseball Classic in full swing, plus all of the Spring Training action. Today’s write-up is a beast! Detailed writeups on 20 players, a ton of box score heroes, and about ten other players with notes you need to know for dynasty leagues. Let’s get to the players.
Josh Lowe, OF, TB
Josh Lowe continues to swing and scorching hot bat and is leading off for the Rays. Is he taking the opportunity and running with it? On Saturday, he went one-for-two with a two-run home run. It brought his spring total to three home runs to add to two stolen bases and a 1.099 OPS.
It was not that long ago when Lowe was considered a top prospect in the game. In 2021 during his Triple-A season, Lowe slashed .291/.381/.535 with 22 home runs and 26 stolen bases. I am not saying Lowe will be elite, but I am intrigued by what he is doing this spring, and the Rays appear to be giving him every chance to see what they have. Buy low if you can and see where it takes you. If he’s bad, you can always cut him later, but I am really intrigued by what Josh Lowe is doing this spring.
Patrick Sandoval, LHP, LAA
I wrote up Patrick Sandoval last weekend as a player to target in trades in dynasty leagues. I really do think he could take a big step forward in 2023. It is crazy to think about considering Sandoval had a highly underrated season, posting a 2.91 ERA across 148.2 innings. The downfall is that he had a 1.34 WHIP largely thanks to 60 walks. The positives this spring are that Sandoval had no walked a batter until the World Baseball Classic game against USA.
Speaking of, Sandoval pitched well in three innings against a STACKED USA lineup. He threw three innings, allowing one earned run, walking two, and striking out two. Sandoval’s slider led the way with which he has a 36 percent whiff rate and a 44 percent CSW. The slider also averaged 1.2 mph more than last season.
Sandoval’s changeup also looked dominant, as it had a 43 percent whiff rate. this is no surprise considering how good that pitch was last year. Sandoval’s four-seam is fine but nothing special. It did see a small increase in velocity so that is something to watch.
All that to say, I am all in on Patrick Sandoval in dynasty leagues.
Chris Sale, LHP, BOS
Chris Sale looked back to his normal ways on Saturday against the Twins. He pitched three scoreless innings with one hit and five strikeouts. He located his pitches extremely well and did not walk a batter. That was one of the most encouraging things about the start.
Sale threw plenty of strikes, but his fastball sat 93.4 mph, down from 94.9 mph. That is a bit discouraging, but I’m not overreacting yet, considering he has thrown less than 50 innings over the last two years. As he continues to build up, Sale should see the velocity continue to trend up.
Sale’s changeup averaged 90.7, which is weird. That is up 2.5 mph from last year and leaves virtually no separation at all between the changeup and fastball. The quirky arsenal things didn’t seem to matter, though as Sale had a 39 percent whiff rate on all pitches and a 41 percent CSW.
When Sale is healthy, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. People discount older vets in dynasty, especially one that stays hurt. Buy Chris Sale everywhere, even if you are a rebuilding team. His value is only likely to increase this year. If you are contending, he helps you, if you are rebuilding, flip him for more than you traded for him this offseason.
Joey Meneses, 1B, WSH
I have said all offseason that I believed Joey Meneses's 2022 breakout season was completely flukey. He came up and swatted 13 home runs and slashed .324/.367/.563 in 240 plate appearances. Projection systems love him, and I am unsure if I am buying in. I even comped him to Frank Schwindel before it was popular to do.
In 20 Spring Training at-bats, that call looked okay. Meneses had just a .200 batting average and a .238 OBP with zero home runs. But, Meneses may have just had the game of his life in the World Baseball Classic against USA.
Meneses went 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI. He put five balls into play, and four of them came off the bat over 92.3 mph. His home runs had exit velocities of 109.1 and 102.9 mph.
It could have been the game of his life, but we do know that Meneses is going to play every day in Washington. This could be the confidence booster he needed this spring.
Cole Ragans, LHP, TEX
The buy-low window is shutting fast on Cole Ragans. He threw 3.2 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs but struck out five. He was dominant through three and saw things unravel a bit in the fourth, but he was still solid overall.
Ragans has been a darling this spring, having completed 9.2 innings and had 19 strikeouts and a 2.79 ERA. Ragans velocity is up significantly and sat around 95-96. This is interesting because he averaged 92.1 last year. He also features a high-end changeup with a 36.4 percent whiff rate last year. The pitch also ranked 96th percentile in pitch quality.
Now may be a great time to buy Cole Ragans. He may not have a rotation spot right away, but let’s look at who is in this rotation. With Jacob deGrom, Martin Perez, Jon Gray, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney, there may not be a more injury-prone rotation. There will be chances for Ragans to get plenty of starts in 2023.
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