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Prospects To Watch In Double-A From Opening Weekend

The Double-A season is underway with a new crop of prospects getting their first taste. For dynasty managers, this is where the cost to acquire starts to climb but the risk could lead to high rewards. We have seen in recent years MLB clubs pulling talent straight from Double-A to make their Major League debuts making this the prime area of opportunity for dynasty managers. In this article, we will dive into players off to a hot start in Double-A and what the value might be long-term for these close proximity prospects.

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Double-A Prospects Off To A Hot Start

Alex Ramirez, OF NYM

What a way to start the season for one of the Met’s top prospects who went into the year with more questions than answers. The 2023 season was not kind to Alex Ramirez who played the entire season in High-A Brooklyn and struggled. In 120 games Ramirez hit just .221/.310/.317 with seven home runs, 66 runs scored, 53 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases. The 6’3” 170-pound outfielder had a career-low BABIP of .277 and the Mets felt confident that he would bounce back in 2024 enough to protect him from the Rule 5 draft by putting Ramirez on the 40-man roster. At just 21 years old Ramirez is still young and at every stop prior to the 2023 season, he had seen success so there is no reason to not believe in a bounce-back.

The Mets promoted Alex Ramirez to Double-A Binghampton where he is off to a stellar start. In three games played with the Rumble Ponies Ramirez is slashing .455/.538/.818 with one home run, three runs scored, two RBIs, and four stolen bases in 13 plate appearances. No doubt a small sample size but it appears Ramirez is hitting the ball hard and being aggressive on the base paths will expedite his rise to the majors quickly. This is a solid time to buy into Ramirez as he has been a slow starter in years past with the advanced approach at the plate never having a strikeout rate above 22.2% since 2022 and finishing the year with a 10.7% walk percentage in 2023 is a great tool to build upon.

If he can get to 15-20 home runs you will be happy and with speed, he could push 30 plus if he stays close to this pace.

Carson Palmquist, LHP COL

Back on the East Coast for another shake at Double-A in Hartford Connecticut, Carson Palmquist got off to a strong start in his 2024 campaign. Drafted in the third round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of the University of Miami Palmquist has had a quiet yet steady rise through the Rockies organization in his second full season of professional ball. After starting the season in High-A Spokane Palmquist pitched to a 3.73 ERA with 106 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched (13.63 K/9) walking 3.60 BB/9 and opposing batters hit just .235 against him in 15 starts. Not common to what the Rockies typically do Palmquist was promoted to Double-A for four starts in Hartford.

While with the Yard Goats for the first time, Palmquist finished with a 4.43 ERA with 22.1 innings pitched striking out 28 batters, good for an 11.28 K/9 while continuing to walk 3.63 batters per nine and finished with a .226 batting average against.

Fast forward to this season and already Palmquist is off to a great start back in Double-A Hartford. Palmquist went five innings striking out eight batters, good for a 14.40 K/9 while walking one and not allowing a run. Not working with overwhelming stuff velocity-wise wise Palmquist features a solid three-pitch mix. The fastball sits around 93-95 and is so successful thanks in large part to a low arm release similar to a sidearm slot. This release point helps the slider shine coming in around 76 mph it has a big sweep to it resulting in the large K/9s we have seen from Palmquist. The 82 mph change-up has improved since his time with Miami and has a solid tumble proving to be a great third offering off the fastball and slider.

For me, this feels like a safe back of the rotation arm for the Rockies long term and this might be a great opportunity to buy in. Because the “cost-to-acquire” is so low thanks to the organization he plays for make that work for you in a deeper dynasty format.

Wilfred Veras, 1B/OF CHW

The strong start to the season should not come as a surprise for one of the best-kept secrets in the White Sox organization right now. Wilfred Veras has done nothing but hit since debuting in 2021 but it was his performance at High-A Winston and the stint at Double-A Birmingham that have him on my radar. There were many games I scouted where Wilfred Veras was a difference maker and stood out in my live looks. In 92 games played with the Dash Veras slashed .277/.316/.438 with 11 home runs, 63 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases. Now of Vera’s 103 total hits in Winston Salem, 36 were for extra-base hits leading me to believe there is a lot more yet to come.

Once promoted to Double-A Birmingham Veras continued to hit slashing .309/.346/.533 with six home runs, 30 RBIs, and six stolen bases. Similar to High-A Veras had 47 total hits crushing 21 extra-base hits in just 38 games played. Early on Veras is off to a good start in his second stint in Double-A. Across three games he is slashing .545/.545/1.182 with two home runs, three runs scored and three RBIs in 11 plate appearances. Now Wilfred Veras is not someone who takes walks so the OBP he provides is predicated on the hits he gets. When it comes to strikeouts he flirts with the 27-29 range too high for my liking but the bat-to-ball skills and potential plus power is what you are hoping for.

At just 21 years old he has time to develop further but the White Sox seem to want him in a hurry.

Nacho Alvarez Jr, SS ATL

Drafted in the fifth round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Riverside Community College Nacho Alvarez Jr is a prospect I’m watching close this season. Standing at 5’11” at just 20 years old Alvarez has a plus-hit tool with the potential for above-average to plus power with excellent defensive skills at shortstop. The early results were solid after being drafted back in 2022 but it was his performance at High-A Rome last season that really jumped out. In 116 games played with Rome Alvarez slashed .284/.395/.391 with seven home runs, 66 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases. Believe it or not, Alvarez had the lowest walk percentage of his short career at 13.2% while striking out just 17.4% of his 501 plate appearances.

The advanced bat-to-ball skills paired with patience at the plate make Alvarez a prospect on the rise for me. Now promoted to Double-A Alvarez is off to a strong start slashing .417/.500/.500 with two RBIs, and two stolen bases in three games played. In his 14 at-bats so far Alvarez has drawn two walks and has struck out just one time. Great start so far. When it comes to dynasty this is the talent you want to buy into and let the playing time or path work itself out. Atlanta hasn’t been shy about moving prospects to bolster the MLB team and Alverez could be a prime candidate to net them something big in return.

Adam Mazur, RHP SDP

Selected in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres out of the University of Iowa Adam Mazur is one of my pitching prospects to stash in 2024. Standing at 6’2” and 180 pounds Mazur has a slender starters build but has shown to be effective with his four-mix since being drafted. The Padres focused on getting the most out of Mazur’s fastball and we saw him regularly touch 97 mph while sitting in the 95 mph range with solid movement and pinpoint control of the pitch. The slider is the premiere pitch here having late-breaking movement out of the zone helping with swing-and-miss. When it comes to the change-up the late tumble has resulted in big success for Mazur coming in at 86 mph while the curveball drops in between 77-81 mph with excellent vertical break thanks to a high spin rate.

In 2023 Mazur pitched at High-A and Double-A pitching to a a 2.81 ERA. Across 24 appearances (18 starts) Mazur pitched 96 innings striking out 90 batters with a solid 1.60 BB/9 and just under a strikeout per inning with a 8.73 K/9. In his first start within San Antonio this season, Mazur is looking sharp. In his first start, Mazur pitched five innings allowing two hits, one walk, one earned run, and eight strikeouts. The earned run came off a solo home run but overall the .133 batting average against is solid for Mazur pitching in a hitter-friendly environment. For dynasty managers you can still buy in as the numbers do not pop off the page last season but you could be buying in on the upswing so move quickly.

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