Prospect Talk

Prospect Spotlight: Kyle Manzardo, 1B Tampa Bay Rays

Background

A 6’1″ 210lb left-handed hitter who attended Washington State, Kyle was fortunate to play nearly every day since his freshman season. He impressed in the shortened 2020 season and again in 2021, enticing the Rays to select Kyle in the second round (63rd overall) of the first-year player draft. MLB Pipeline had him ranked the 83rd best prospect available, and Prospects Live ranked him 97th overall.

Hit Tool

Quiet at the plate, Manzardo uses a toe tap but keeps his weight back very well. His swing is powerful and quick, with good bat-to-ball skills. The bat path has some upper-cut to it, generating good loft without sacrificing contact as of yet. Kyle should have at least an above-average hit tool with the potential to be a plus hit tool if he shows he can handle advanced spin in pro ball.

Approach

Kyle’s approach might be his best tool. He’s very patient at the plate and has above-average bat-to-ball skills when he does swing. He hunts fastballs and shows the ability to handle breaking stuff. Kyle keeps his weight back very well, along with his above-average bat speed gives him some time to react to pitches without being late on them. Through college and some time in the FCL, Kyle strikes out under 15% of the time and walks nearly as much, something that will make a tough out in pro ball and one day the big leagues.

Power

As mentioned, Kyle’s swing is meant to hit the ball high and far. He has power to all fields but tends to hit the ball predominantly to the pull side. While he doesn’t have elite ‘raw’ power, Manzardo uses strong contact and an aggressive bat path to get the most out of his cuts and maximizes the power he has. His swing doesn’t appear to use his core strength to its fullest, gaining power through his weight transfer and arm and shoulder strength. This could be seen as an opportunity to add some more power, but should also help his game not have to swing recklessly to sell out for power. Either way, Kyle has the potential to hit 20-25 home runs given a full season, with the potential to have peak seasons slightly higher.

Speed

While not a total liability on the bases, Kyle shouldn’t be counted on to steal bases at the highest level. He’s a smart runner, but has below-average speed, and stealing bags is not part of his game.

Defense

Kyle is limited to first base, but reports suggest he’s been improving there defensively. He’ll need to continue to improve, as the Rays have shown they value strong defense at the position. It could cost Manzardo some playing time if he struggles to continue to improve defensively.

Summary

Manzardo is a bat-first prospect with an above-average hit tool, power, and a plus approach. Some of the traits most sought after by fantasy baseball owners, yet the buzz around Manzardo in dynasty leagues has been quiet. It’s the definition of a sleeper and someone to keep an eye on during your dynasty supplemental drafts.

Scouting Grades

Hit          Raw Power          Game Power       Speed                   Field       FV          

55           60                          55                          45                          45           50

The Author

Ken Balderston

Ken Balderston

20+ years of fantasy baseball experience & currently only playing in dynasty leagues. Christian, proud father of 3, husband to the strongest woman in the world, accountant, golfer, cook.

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