Welcome to the 2022 Dynasty Baseball Daytona Tortugas Prospects Spotlight! The Tortugas play in the Florida State League, and are the Low-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. They took a trip to Jupiter to face off against the Palm Beach Cardinals last week, and I was able to catch one of the games.
The Reds have had a steadily good farm system the past few years, which means that there are always some key names to look out for in Daytona. This year, they have three former First Round Picks on the squad: Jay Allen, Chase Petty, and Austin Hendrick.
Thursday night's game versus the Cardinals was one of the most wild finishes to a game I have ever seen. The Tortugas had a perfect game through 6.1 innings, and took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. Yet, with one out, after two hit-by-pitches, they gave up a walk-off two-run home run, and Palm Beach won 3-1. That was the Cardinals' first and only hit of the game.
Here is some notes on four players I saw (and one I did not see...):
2022 Dynasty Baseball Daytona Tortugas Prospects Spotlight
Looking for a Fantasy advantage? Get the ultimate in-season edge with customized Fantasy Baseball advice for your team using My Playbook from FantasyPros.
Jay Allen, Center Fielder
— Bailey Srebnik (@xwOBAiley) April 14, 2022
Of all the players on Daytona's roster, Jay Allen was the one I was most eager to get my first live look at. I love what I have read and seen in highlights from his time in the Arizona Complex League last summer, as I detailed in my Reds spotlight article.
Allen is a player with plus plus speed, plus raw power, and above average defense. The key with him will be how his hit tool develops, but so far he looks elite. His plate discipline has been outstanding throughout his pro career thus far too.
Allen was as good as advertised on Thursday. He turned a groundout to the pitcher into a three-base error because of his speed. He also torched a ball 101.7 MPH later in the game, but the third baseman made an insane diving catch to rob him. It would have definitely been extra bases if it got through.
Allen made multiple nice running catches out in centerfield (which at the time preserved a no-hitter!). Allen absolutely impressed me, and I hope he is still with Daytona when I see them play again next month.
He could force the organization's hand regarding a promotion though, if he keeps up his current production. Through 9 games, he has a .855 OPS, 148 wRC+, and is 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts. I wrote back in January that I view him as a Top 75 overall prospect in baseball, and he is more than reinforcing that. He could rise up to Top 50 status very soon. I definitely recommend doing what you can to add him in all of your dynasty leagues.
Austin Hendrick, Right Fielder
So, Austin Hendrick played in every game of the Palm Beach series except the one I went to; because, of course he did. Regardless, I felt like it was still worth including him here, especially since I saw him play last season.
Hendrick was drafted 12th overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. He made his pro debut in Daytona in 2021, where he was limited to 63 games due to injuries. Last season was a mixed bag for him, as it seemed like he "just was not swining the bat enough." He put up a 19.2 BB%, .380 OBP, and 119 wRC+, which are all intriguing. He also had a .211 AVG and 37.6 K%, which are less intriguing. His calling card coming out of the draft was his power, and he hit seven home runs in 266 PA.
To the surprise of some, Hendrick was assigned back to Daytona to start the 2022 season. In his first three games, he went 0-for-11 with 8 strikeouts. Alarm bells were starting to go off for some Reds fans, but Hendrick quickly rebounded. He hit three home runs during the Palm Beach series, including a two home run game on Sunday. He now has a 197 wRC+ and a 1.118 OPS. This goes to show how quickly stats can change in a small sample.
Hendrick's development is gonna be a slow burn, but could bear fruit in a few years. He is going to need to work on cutting down on strikeouts, as he has a 34.4 K% so far this season, but if he can become an elite power hitter, the strikeouts become less of a story. He seems like a player worth taking a buy-low chance on in dynasty.
Yerlin Confidan, Left Fielder
— Bailey Srebnik (@xwOBAiley) April 14, 2022
Yerlin Confidan is a player who gained a lot of hype in dynasty circles thanks to him balling out in the Arizona Complex League. He has pretty substantial raw power, especially for a guy who does not appear overly "jacked." He also has plus speed, making him an intriguing profile for fantasy baseball.
Confidan had what could have been the biggest hit of the game on Thursday, as he lined a ball over the shortstop's head, and just kept running. It was an RBI Triple, and was the only run plated in the game up until the eventual walk-off home run. It is also worth noting that Confidan crushed that ball, as it was 101.3 MPH off the bat.
Statistically, the nineteen-year-old Confidan is off to a pretty good start in the Florida State League. He is holding his ground with a 103 wRC+ and .718 OPS. He likely will have a similar trajectory to Hendrick in terms of the length of his development, but if Confidan's hit tool can improve a little bit, he could be an absolute stud.
Sam Benschoter, Right Handed Pitcher
Leave it to the Reds to quickly turn an undrafted prospect into a intriguing player. Sam Benschoter has thrown 6.2 innings in 2022, has 10 Ks, and a WHIP of 0.90. And although he has a 4.05 ERA, he has a 1.12 FIP and 2.20 xFIP.
A twenty-four-year-old out of Michigan State, Benschoter looked masterful on Thursday. He started the game and pitched four perfect innings, striking out seven. He topped out at 94.6 MPH, and earned 19 whiffs on 50 pitches. He also had a 48% CSW rate. He threw a four-pitch mix, featuring a slider, 4-seam fastball, curveball, and changeup. His most heavily used pitch was the slider, producing 10 whiffs and a 58% CSW rate.
Benschoter was absolutely dialed in on Thursday, and I am eager to see his next few starts. A promotion to Dayton should absolutely be in the cards for him if keeps pitching like this. It was one of the most impressive outings I have seen, period. If you are in a deep dynasty league, this is a good name to keep in the back of your head.
Jose Franco, Right Handed Pitcher
Jose Franco picks up his 8th K of the game to close out the 8th inning! A lot of zeroes in the box score currently ? pic.twitter.com/lC43lhlO86
— Bailey Srebnik (@xwOBAiley) April 15, 2022
The baton was then passed to Jose Franco, who pitched the next four innings of the game. He kept the no-hitter intact, as the only two base runners allowed both reached via walks.
Franco struck out eight batters, and produced a 37% CSW rate. He relied pretty heavily on his fastball, and it worked for him, as he earned 10 of his 13 whiffs with it. This was an especially big outing for Franco as he struggled in his first appearance of the season.
Franco is another name to keep in mind as Cincinnati seems to be developing good pitchers at a fast rate. He will be one to monitor going forward.
Check out more Fantasy Baseball content from the F6P team!