Scouting the Statline: Way Too Early Highlights
In dynasty leagues, information asymmetry leads to opportunity. Having the right information before the competition is how you gain an advantage. In this series, we highlight interesting high-rising prospects, from the well-known to the lesser-known, based on our Peak Major League Equivalencies prospect leaderboards and projections. Our approach is based entirely on statistical/trend analysis and we have developed an assortment of tools designed to bring actionable information to you before your competition has it. To view the leaderboards, many updated on a daily or weekly basis, please visit our website statlinescouting.com!
Last season, we highlighted some of this season’s biggest breakouts, including Corbin Carroll, Robert Hassell, and Pete Crow-Armstrong, among others. We have a strict one-highlight-per-player policy at Scouting the Statline, so while we will not be repeating these high-priority roster additions, we do have a fresh list of 10 interesting new players for you to consider.
Now onto the highlights!
Anthony Garcia (1B, NYY-A)
Garcia popped up on my radar last season and I was actually surprised reviewing last season’s player highlights to find out that I never actually gave him a spotlight here on Scouting the Statline. The 6’5 physical specimen crashed onto the scene last season, finishing the year with a .678 SLG across Rookie and Single-A ball, his power output remaining impressively consistent across the two levels. Garcia also flashed strong on base skills with a .444 OBP and a combined 81 walks and strikeouts in just 153 plate appearances (56% of appearances). The strikeouts last season were just high enough (at 37%) to merit some skepticism regarding his long-term viability.
This year, while repeating Single-A, Garcia has made some strides in limiting his strikeout rate, now at a more playable 28.6%, while improving his walk rate (also at 28.6%), and continuing to display his massive raw power (.653 SLG), which received an 80 potential grade from Fangraphs. Garcia also possesses sneaky speed, with 17 stolen bases since the beginning of 2021 (which equates to nearly 47 per 600 PA). Despite all this gushing, some question marks remain in his profile. The Yankees have seemed reluctant to challenge him. Considering his age (21) and his size, he really does seem to be a “man among boys”, as my colleague Jordan has commented. However, the improvements are notable, and if Garcia’s bat can play at the higher levels, he can turn into an absolute monster for fantasy purposes. Across 2021 and 2022, the results have been so impressive that Garcia has risen to the top of Scouting the Statline’s prospect list for projected fantasy value.
Believer: I need to see it at higher levels, but am looking to add him where I can.
James Wood (OF, SDP-A)
Anthony Garcia, allow me to introduce you to the next player on the list, fellow masher James Wood. Wood is likely the only player we will highlight all year that is actually bigger than you.
At 6’7, 240 lbs, Wood is an absolute monster of a teenager (yes, only 19). Wood’s workmanship with the bat has been equally monstrous. A 2nd round pick last season, Wood impressed with a .372/.465/.535 triple slash. Like Garcia, Wood’s strikeout rate, just under 32%, however, was less than ideal. That’s not where the similarities end – Wood also has sneaky speed on the base paths, swiping 14 bases in just 156 plate appearances. Also like Garcia, Wood has made tremendous progress cutting down his strikeout rate in 2022, now down to an impressive 14.5%, and he boasts more walks (12) than strikeouts (8) on the season. Despite cooling off from his scorching start, Wood still sports a mighty fine .333/.491/.619 slash line, supported by excellent underlying data. This looks like one of the biggest breakouts of the season.
Adael Amador (SS, COL)
One of Scouting the Statline’s biggest successes from 2021 was Anthony Volpe, who began the season off the radar and finished the season a top 10 prospect. If there’s anyone that can have a Volpe-like ascension this season, I believe it’s Amador. Amador just checks all the boxes I look for. At barely 19 years old, Amador currently sports a 4:3 BB:K ratio and a sparkling .359/.463/.654 slash line. He hits, he controls the strike zone, and he has the speed to cause trouble on the diamond after getting on base. However, the biggest difference from last year to this year is Amador’s emerging power, and he already has 2 more home runs (6 total) than he had last season, in 105 fewer plate appearances. Don’t miss your chance here!
Ezequiel Tovar (SS, COL-AA)
The only thing that may end up standing in the way of Amador’s ascent to being the future SS at Coors Field is Ezequiel Tovar. The 20 year old is already tearing things up in Double-A, with a .342/.432/.658 slash. This comes on the back of a fabulous spring training where Tovar hit 3 home runs and put together a 1.650 OPS in 20 plate appearances. Tovar appears to have similar power to Amador and even more speed. Between the two I prefer Amador’s plate approach and overall profile, though Tovar is closer and both are flashing the talent to be the future of Colorado’s middle infield.
Believer: Yes, sir!
Kyle Manzardo (1B, TBR-A+)
Snagged by the Rays from Washington State in the 2nd round of last year’s draft after impressive sophomore and junior seasons, Manzardo had quietly been putting on a hitting clinic for the Rays in the low minors. After out-classing his competition at the Rookie level by posting a 1.045 OPS in his debut (in just 50 PA), Manzardo has followed that up with a 1.101 OPS at high-A, albeit in just 26 PA before being sidelined by an injury. Manzardo has hit everywhere he’s played, and has shown impressive progress with his plate discipline in 2022. The Rays have a proven ability to find and develop talent, Manzardo may just be the next on a long list.
Believer: I think so, but need to see it over a larger sample.
Carson Williams (SS, TBR-A)
Sticking with the Rays, let’s pivot to their 1st round pick from last year’s draft class, shortstop Carson Williams. Selected 28th overall, despite still being just 18 years old, Williams has been handed an aggressive assignment to Single-A where he is proving that he belongs, slugging .621 and showing off some wheels with 4 triples and 5 stolen bases on the season already. Williams has room to grow with his plate approach, with a 1:6 BB:K ratio, but he is already looking like another great find by the Rays.
Believer: Like Manzardo, I think so, though I want to see improvement with the plate approach before I get too excited.
Jackson Merrill (SS, SDP-A)
The Padres 1st pick in last year’s draft (27th overall), is flashing similarly impressive skills in Single-A after a solid debut last season. Merrill, a shortstop out of Maryland, hasn’t shown the same power as Williams, but so far boasts superior plate coverage, with only 8 strikeouts in 63 plate appearances (12.7%). Though recently sidelined with an injury, Merrill currently holds an impressive .393/.452/.518 slash line.
Believer: I’d be willing to take a chance on him.
Charlie Welch (C, SEA)
Currently, Welch is a bit of an oddity to me. The Mariners’ 19th round pick out of Arkansas has hit at every stop he’s played at since 2020 (his lowest single season OPS was 1.053 last season debuting in the MiLB), albeit in a short sample of plate appearances each time. The 22 year-old currently sports a .316/.458/.658 triple-slash at high-A in his young 2022 season.
Believer: Yes, if he can keep this kind of production up through larger samples.
Emmanuel Rodriguez (CF, MIN-A)
At barely 19, in his young MiLB career, the Dominican-native Rodriguez has shown tremendous power potential for the Twins. In his 2021 debut at the Rookie level, Rodriguez slugged .524, though he showcased some swing-and-miss tendencies with a 36.6% K rate. Rodriguez has made some progress in that regard in 2022, cutting down his K rate by over 7% while increasing his walk rate by an impressive 9%, turning him into an OBP machine (.440) and allowing him to further tap into his power (.574 SLG). His batting average remains on the lower end, .241 so far on the season.
Believer: Not as high on him as the other 19 year-olds highlighted today, but he definitely looks interesting.
Masyn Winn (STL-A+)
After posting a .680 OPS across two levels of the lower minors in 2021 (albeit with 32 stolen bases), the 2nd round pick by the Cardinals has really come into his own at High-A in 2022. Winn’s 1.108 OPS and .391 average stand out, and he has already swiped 11 stolen bases on the season. The speed is legit, but his average is also buoyed by an entirely unsustainable .462 BABIP and suggests that regression is coming.
Believer: Right now he’s a wait-and-see for me, though the plate approach and speed are compelling.
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Scouting the Statline: statlinescouting.com