10 Spring Training Invitees Dynasty Managers Should Watch

A look at some prospects that received invites.

After a long offseason, we are finally seeing some baseball. It’s a beautiful time of the year. After months and months of watching 2023 film, analyzing data, and reading reports, we actually have the opportunity to see some of these players play the sport we love to follow. Us dynasty players are constantly evaluating prospects which makes Spring Training even more exciting.

For the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on non-roster invitees. Those are players that are not currently on a team’s 40-man roster but have received an invite to spring training. We’ll detail 10 of these prospects to monitor throughout the next few weeks. This isn’t necessarily a “10 Best” list, as several top prospects fit the bill, but just 10 exciting names to keep tabs on.

Be sure to head over to the Pitcher List Dynasty page for all things prospects and dynasty baseball!


10 Prospects To Watch


1) Chase Hampton, P, NYY – There are several Yankees that could be listed here, including an arm that is more likely to get the first crack at MLB action in Will Warren, but Hampton is the guy I’m most excited to see. It’s not a perfect comparison, but Hampton’s career arc is similar to that of Tanner Bibee. Both are 6’2″ college-arm righties that were selected after pick 150. They both feature a starter’s mix, saw velocity bumps after being drafted, and pitched well in High-A and Double-A in their professional debut seasons. Bibee earned Rookie of the Year votes in 2023, his second professional season.

What becomes of Hampton’s second season remains to be seen, but his 2023 was a success by any metric. He posted a 3.59 ERA (3.41 FIP) and 145 strikeouts in 107.2 innings. Of all pitchers that threw at least 100 innings in the minors last year, Hampton’s strikeout-minus-walk rate of 24.7% ranked third. To keep the Bibee comparison going, Bibee’s 27.4% ranked fourth in 2022.

Hampton did struggle, in comparison, at Double-A, so it’s something to watch. His strikeout-minus-walk rate dipped to 19%, and his ERA climbed to 4.37 (3.80 FIP). It would be surprising to see Hampton right away, but a mid-summer call-up is in play. This spring it’ll be important to monitor his fastball velocity after his bump a season ago.


2) Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B/OF?, DET – It’s been an interesting journey for Malloy the last few seasons. He seemingly broke out while in the Braves organization in 2022, playing across three levels (A+, AA, and AAA) and hit well each step of the way. That season he slashed .278/.418/.474 with 17 home runs and an eye-popping 17.7% walk rate. He quickly appeared to be one of the top Braves prospects, so naturally, he was traded to Detroit not long after the season ended.

Malloy backed up that 2022 breakout with a nice 2023 at Triple-A, slashing .277/.417/.474 with 23 home runs in 135 games. He also walked 18% of the time. There are some swing and miss concerns as his contact rate was under 70%, but it’s clear that the plate approach and power ability are ready to be tested at the MLB level.  The problem is finding out where he fits in on the field. Malloy has played mostly third base during his minor league career, but this spring he will be looking to work on his corner outfield skills. Having more versatility will certainly help his path to the majors, but how he does defensively this spring may determine whether or not he makes the Opening Day roster.


3) Hurston Waldrep, P, ATL – Waldrep is a consensus Top-100 prospect and many consider him to be a Top-10 arm. It’s a quick ascent for the 24th overall pick in last June’s draft, but the 6’2″ righty pitched across four different levels (A, A+, AA, and AAA) in 2023. That’s crazy when you realize that he didn’t get into professional game action until August. As such, each stop was a very small sample and he only threw 29.1 innings in total.

But the results were great – especially for a 21-year-old in his first taste of professional ball. Across those 29.1 frames, Waldrep recorded a 1.53 ERA with a 20.3% strikeout-minus-walk rate. If you want to nitpick his 2023 debut, the walk rate was high at 13% and he never pitched five innings in an outing. But again, he was just 21-years-old and the Braves were likely looking to preserve his arm. Waldrep is likely to get some Spring Training exhibition action at some point, and the clips are likely to excite.

It’s doubtful that Waldrep makes the Opening Day roster, but the Braves rotation is full of players that are either old or come with an injury history, so we will probably see Waldrep at some point in 2024.


4) Grant McCray, OF, SF – McCray isn’t a top-100 prospect, but he offers such an intriguing power/speed combination that it felt necessary to acknowledge him getting a spring training invite. McCray spent all of 2023 at High-A, slashing .255/.360/.417. In 127 games, hit 14 home runs and swiped 52 bags. He walked at a 12.3% clip, allowing him to use his speed once he was on the basepaths.

But McCray does have a strikeout problem – his career strikeout rate in the minors is around 30%, and his contact rate in 2023 was a below-average 65%. It’s only going to get more and more difficult for McCray to produce as he climbs into the upper levels of the minors.

The Giants are pretty deep at outfield right now and McCray has never played above High-A. It feels highly unlikely we will see him at the MLB level in 2024, but if he improves his contact issues he could be a name that flies up fantasy-oriented prospect lists.


5) Nick Yorke, 2B, BOS – Remember him? It felt like not too long ago that Yorke skyrocketed up prospect lists. He had an incredible season as a 19-year-old across Single and High-A in 2021, before laboring and struggling through an injury-shortened season in 2022.

He somewhat righted the ship in 2023, slashing .268/.350/.435 with 13 home runs and 18 steals. This is not quite the highs that we saw from him in his debut season in the minors, but it is still a 116 wRC+ campaign for a 21-year-old in Double-A. He’s looking a little more like a utility player than a future regular with star potential, but Yorke can do a bit of everything. It appears that the newly acquired Vaughn Grissom is slated to get the starting second base job, but he has a mixed-bag history of his own, so Yorke can absolutely make a push for a big-league role in 2024. Let’s see how he performs this spring.


6) David Festa, P, MIN – It’s a Festa fiesta at spring training this year. Festa is clear draft success at this point – a 13th rounder who has worked his way into a consensus back-end Top 100 prospect. Fest had a breakout in 2022, pitching between Single and High-A, and more or less backed that up in 2023.  All but three of his appearances came at Double-A, and his FIP at that level (3.71) was considerably lower than his ERA (4.38). Of arms that tossed at least 90 frames in the minors in 2023, the 6’6″ righty ranked 30th in strikeout rate.

Festa is an MLB-ready arm. His walk rate hovered around that 10% number in 2023, and while that is less than ideal, it’s somewhat palatable knowing that historically he has had much more manageable rates in the past. The righty features a three-pitch mix and an electric spring could have him knocking on the door of a big-league debut. The Twins have a great top three in Pablo LópezJoe Ryan, and Bailey Ober, but there are some question marks after that. Festa should be the first arm not on the current 40-man to get a shot.


7) Zac Veen, OF, COL – Veen was selected 9th overall in the 2020 draft, but it feels like he’s been a prospect forever. Once a consensus top 100 guy, Veen’s stock has fallen dramatically in recent years. The lefty-hitting Veen tore up High-A in 2022, triple slashing .269/.358/.439 with 11 home runs and 50 (!) steals in 92 games. That earned him a promotion to Double-A, where he hit .177 in 34 contests.

Things didn’t get much better for Veen in 2023 – in fact they got worse. Veen started the season at Double-A and played 46 games, putting up a .611 OPS. He did steal 22 bases and log improved walk and strikeout rates, but he had minimal power output and eventually went under the knife for season-ending wrist surgery. The good news here is that Veen is healthy enough to grab an invite for 2024.

An optimist would view Veen’s 2023 as a wash – perhaps the wrist injury led to the lack of production at the plate. If that’s the case, this is a good buy-low for dynasty managers as Veen has proven to have a good approach and elite speed. If he performs in spring training his prospect stock may climb back.


8) Joey Loperfido, OF, HOU – Loperfido’s value may vary depending on where you look. Undeniably, he produced in 2023, tallying 124 games across three levels (High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A), slashing .278/.370/.510 with 25 home runs and 27 steals. He also walked north of 12% of the time while keeping his strikeout rate at a palatable 24%. Simply put, there aren’t many players in the minors with this type of production – only five qualified hitters put up a 25/25 season in 2023.

To nitpick him, he is heading into his age-25 season and has only played 32 games above Triple-A. His Triple-A output was also a noticeable dip from Double-A, and his contact rate plummeted once he reached the highest level of the minors. So there is some risk here, but let’s not forget that Houston also gets the most out of their players.

For Loperfido, it’s very possible he has a loud spring. He hits the ball hard and steals bases. So don’t be surprised if he has several highlights during spring training. The Astros have a deep MLB roster, but maybe one that isn’t impossible to crack at some point, especially following the retirement of Michael Brantley.


9) Thomas Harrington, P, PIT – Yes, yes, the hyped-up arm of Paul Skenes also received an NRI, but we all know about him.

The right-handed Harrington had a breakout in 2023. In his age-21 season, Harrington threw 127.1 innings across Single-A and High-A, with about two-thirds of those frames coming at the higher of those levels. He totaled 146 strikeouts and finished with a 3.53 ERA and a 20% strikeout-minus-walk rate. Among 21-year-old arms that threw at least 100 innings, that strikeout-minus-walk rate ranked seventh in the minors.

As of right now, his secondaries lead the way. The fastball may need to see a velocity bump in order for him to take another leap, but for now, Harrington looks like a high-floor, middle-of-the-rotation arm. The current Pirates rotation leaves a lot to be desired so there is a good chance that Harrington sees MLB time this year. And if his velocity ticks up in training camp, he’s a prospect to pounce on.


10) Dylan Crews, OF, WSN – While we all know him, it feels like there has been some prospect fatigue with Crews, even if it’s slight. This is crazy to say because he only has 35 professional games under his belt. But I guess that’s what happens when you get hyped up as the best college bat in years, only to underwhelm in a brief stint at Double-A (.208/.318/.278 in 20 games) while other bats from the 2023 draft perform out of the gate.

But let’s not forget that Crews was the consensus top bat for a reason. In his 2023 season at LSU, he put up a ridiculous .426/.567/.713 slash line, with 18 home runs and six steals in 71 games. He’s going to be up at some point this season, and I’m excited for him to perform in spring training and remind us all of the hitter that he was in college.

Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on X)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login