Players Whose Dynasty Value Rides on Spring Training Pt. 2

How did Jack fare at predicting dynasty values?

At the beginning of March, I highlighted five players that I thought could increase their dynasty value with a strong spring. Now, three weeks later, it’s time to evaluate how my predictions turned out.

Spoiler Alert: They weren’t great.

In retrospect, I relied heavily on hypotheticals and “best-case scenarios” when picking my players. In most cases, the players I picked performed strongly, but a variety of outside factors prevented them from reaching the heights I predicted. While this wasn’t my strongest showing, let’s start with the predictions I got right.


Recapping Crucial Spring Training Performances


Chayce McDermott – SP, Baltimore Orioles

2024 ST Stats: 6.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 10 SO, 1.20 WHIP

March 3rd Prediction: He’s put himself firmly in the conversation to be called up in 2024, and injuries could accelerate that timeline…he may force his way into the opening-day rotation.

I’ll give myself some credit, I was half right. He’s still in the conversation to be called up, just not yet. McDermott was reassigned to minor league camp on March 20th despite some great numbers in a small sample size. O’s manager Brandon Hyde said that McDermott was just “a phone call away”

Given the injury situation the Orioles were in earlier this spring, I think this was a fair assessment. Losing John Means and Kyle Bradish before spring training was in full swing raised some eyebrows. Despite the early losses, the Orioles have stayed mostly healthy throughout the rest of March. All five pitchers slated to start the year in the rotation have MLB experience, which is vital for a young team trying to compete. McDermott was always on the outside looking in, but he still put up great numbers. The 25-year-old righty will likely start the regular season the same way he started the spring: waiting in the wings to step up should something happen at the MLB level.


Nick Nastrini – SP, Chicago White Sox

2024 ST Stats: 11.0 IP, 0.82 ERA, 11 SO, 0.82 WHIP

March 3rd Prediction: Due to the question marks on the staff, Nastrini could get a chance early in 2024.

Not to brag, but I was spot on with this evaluation. Nastrini had all of the tools to break into the Sox big league roster, and now it looks like he will. The Dylan Cease trade may have accelerated his timeline slightly, but I’m still claiming a victory.

Nastrini surprised everyone with a dominant showing in White Sox camp this month. The former Dodger has been lights out for the South Siders, but it looks like they are not going to reward him with a spot on the Opening Day roster. MLB.com’s Scott Merkin said that the “potential frontline rotation piece” made a strong case to break camp in the big leagues. With Dylan Cease now in San Diego, there is a vacant rotation spot that Nastrini may have just missed out on.  His 11 innings during spring ball rank second on the team behind a struggling Jake Woodford (8.74 ERA). Nastrini will start the year in the White Sox AAA rotation and could be a bright spot in an otherwise uninspiring staff once he gets the call.

Austin Wells – C, New York Yankees

2024 ST Stats: .344 AVG/.417 OBP/.656 SLG/2 HR/1 SB

March 3rd Prediction: Wells provides the offensive upside, and if he shows improvement behind the plate, he should be behind the plate in pinstripes most days.

The jury is still out on this. Wells has been great this spring, but Jose Trevino is still in the mix. Those two will share the overwhelming majority of the reps, but it’s still unclear how exactly they will split them.

Wells will be behind the plate in pinstripes in 2024, but the question remains: how often? The 25-year-old backstop received heaps of praise from Yankee’s skipper Aaron Boone for his improvements behind the plate, which was my major concern earlier in the month. Wells has been great with the bat. His batting average (.300) is good enough for fifth in the organization this spring (Min. 30 AB’s). On paper, Wells has been much better than his competitor, leading Trevino in every major batting category. Wells’ development behind the plate is encouraging, but the Yankees may opt for the more reliable presence of a veteran to start the year.

At just past the halfway point of these predictions, I have good news and bad news. The good news is I haven’t been completely wrong yet. The bad news is we have two more players to go.


Matt Mervis – 1B, Chicago Cubs

2024 ST Stats: .286 AVG/.405 OBP/.776 SLG/1 HR/0 SB

March 3rd Prediction: A strong spring showing by Mervis may force Jed Hoyer to give him another run at the Major Leagues to start 2024.

I was wrong. I thought the numbers that he put up would warrant at least a conversation. Matt Mervis just can’t catch a break in Chicago. It seems like despite everything he has done for the Cubs, he just cannot find a spot on the big league roster. The 25-year-old put together an excellent spring, with an especially strong March. He hit .320, racking up eight hits with just six strikeouts. Despite the performance, Mervis was sent to minor league camp on March 18th, opening the door for Garrett Cooper to start the year as the backup first baseman.

The Cubs haven’t committed to an everyday defensive alignment yet. Cody Bellinger has played center field so far this spring, but has also seen time at first. If top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong forces his way onto the roster again, does Bellinger move to first? Then where does new acquisition Michael Busch play? Will Mervis ever fit into this equation? The confusion and question marks surrounding the Cubs roster have played a role in keeping Mervis in the minors. Mervis has done everything asked of him and more to warrant another MLB audition, but it looks like he will struggle to get that chance with the Cubs.


Justyn-Henry Malloy – 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers

2024 ST Stats: .244 AVG/.306 OBP/.467 SLG/3 HR/1 SB

March 3rd Prediction: Malloy has done all he can to prove that he’s ready for the Major Leagues. A strong spring could force the Tigers brass to think about giving him a shot on Opening Day.

I stand by what I said at the beginning of the month, I don’t know what Malloy has to do to earn an MLB opportunity. The 24-year-old was second in the organization in home runs this spring. His batting average was higher than Kerry Carpenter, Spencer Torkelson, and dozens of others. The one knock on Malloy was a very low walk rate (9%). I know it’s spring training and every stat should come with a grain of salt, but Malloy’s ready for the show.

The Tigers are opting to go with Gio Urshela and Zach McKinstry at third, with Matt Vierling and Andy Ibáñez in utility roles. Detroit’s outfield is going to be hard to break into, as Riley Greene, Parker Meadows, and Mark Canha have laid claim to their spots. For a young team looking to take a step forward, it makes sense to me to give a 24-year-old a chance to assert himself at the big league level. Urshela and McKinstry could be solid, but they aren’t the future of the hot corner at Comerica. Justyn-Henry Malloy just might be, and he should have the opportunity to prove it before long.

Jack Mueller

Jack Mueller is a senior undergraduate student at Miami University studying Journalism and Sport Management. Before joining PitcherList, Jack worked for the Orleans Firebirds (Cape Cod Baseball League) and the Chicago Dogs (American Association) as an advance scout and data analyst.

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