Dynasty BaseballProspect Talk

PROSPECT SPOTLIGHT: RYAN NODA, FIRST BASE, OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Buoyed by his selection in the Rule 5 Draft, selectivity at the plate, and ability to hit the ball out of all parts of the park, Ryan Noda has risen to number eight on our first base prospect list.  A true three-outcome player, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to show what he’s got in what could be a make-or-break year.

Background

Turning 27 years old this season, Ryan Noda is one of the older prospects on our list. He was originally drafted out of the University of Cincinnati by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round of the 2017 draft. He advanced each year through 2019 in the Blue Jays system, and after the canceled 2020 season, was traded to the Dodgers.  In 2019, he appeared on our prospect ranking lists at number 21 as a first baseman with outfield eligibility. After the 2022 season, the Dodgers left him off their 40-man roster and Noda was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the Rule 5 draft.

Minor leagues, station to station

Unlike prospects who have moved through multiple levels in a single year, Noda has progressed methodically through the minor leagues.  He has spent one full year at each level before moving up to the next level the following year.  In 2018, he led the minor leagues in walks (109, with a 20.7 BB%), but also had a strikeout rate of 25.6%. The following year in High-A, his walk rate came down to 15.8% and his strikeout rate increased to a career-high 29.4%.

In 2021, playing in Double-A, he found his power stroke.  His walk and strikeout percentages were both still high (15.6BB% and 26.7K%), but he broke out with 29 home runs and a .571 slugging percentage. He followed that up in 2022 in Triple-A with 25 home runs and a .474 slugging percentage.

Scouting

Scouts have graded his game power at 50 and raw power at 55, both of which may be low for what he’s shown the past two years. Through 2021 his pull rate was close to 50%, but last year that was lowered to 40% as he worked on hitting the ball to left field more. Projection systems have his batting average in the low .200’s this year even though he only hit under .250 once in the minor leagues. These projections give me Joey Gallo vibes, but Noda’s ability to hit the ball to all fields tells me he has a chance to hit closer to his minor league numbers than the projections give him credit for.

Tale of the (Video) Tape

There’s plenty of video to watch, almost exclusively showing 400-foot home runs to all fields.  In one impressive clip, he’s fooled on an off-speed pitch and, with a half-swing, puts it over the right field fence.  With quick hands, he can stay back on the ball and isn’t afraid to drive the ball to center and left.

Projection

Noda’s in a great situation as a Rule 5 player in Oakland.  There are not a lot of players in that lineup who will keep him from getting playing time; at worst he’ll be the strong side of a platoon.  He could DH but will see most of his time at first base because of his fielding ability, and I also think Oakland will want to see if he can handle a corner outfield spot.  The key to playing time will be his ability to control his strikeout rate.  His plate discipline should force pitchers to throw him strikes, and if he makes contact, he projects to be a source for 20 to 25 home runs and an OBP that will help your ratios.

Last Word

Let’s give Ryan the last word.  When interviewed by Dodgers2080.com last year, he was asked about his ability to hit home runs to all parts of the park:

“You know that’s also sticking to a plan.  It’s trying to stay through the ball even if they are working you in, I feel like I have good enough and quick enough hands where I feel I can still get to that inside pitch and that’s how I became where I’m at. I can hit the ball out of any part of the park and so all I have to do is touch the ball and hopefully it goes.”

And hopefully, he’ll touch the ball often enough to secure a regular lineup spot and be a cheap source of power in your lineup.

The Author

Drew Klein

Drew Klein

Lover of all things baseball and determined to keep the fan in fantasy.

1 Comment

  1. Britton Allan
    February 17, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Excellent article by Mr. Klein!

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