2024 Spring Training Risers and Fallers (3/25)

by Connor Thomure
2024 Spring Training Risers and Fallers

With Major League Baseball's opening day later this week, the final edition of 2024 Spring Training Risers and Fallers (3/25) is here. This article features players impacted by MLB teams' roster decisions. Some made the team and are rising, while others will start in the minor leagues and are falling.

Some apparent players, such as Jackson Holliday and Matt McLain, made the list. But there are also some less well-known players. This includes a pair of Arizona Diamondbacks, Blaze Alexander and Jordan Lawlar. Alexander is still fighting for one of the final spots on the roster, while Lawlar has already earned a demotion to Triple-A.

All these players have some relevance in Fantasy Baseball, but they cover a wide range. Some could be late-round draft targets or Fantasy Baseball Week One Waiver Wire targets. On the other hand, others are being drafted early and expected to perform as a top-100 player. Some are also ranked as top-100 prospects on MLB.com.

Be sure to check out the 2024 MLB Bold Predictions, where Mark Strausberg polled the F6P team on our bold predictions for this season. Also, check out our rankings and see where these 2024 Spring Training Risers and Fallers wind up before the season kicks off.

2024 Spring Training Risers and Fallers (3/25)

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Risers

Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco Giants

Marco Luciano is still fighting for a spot on the roster but is finishing the spring off with a hot bat. Over the last seven days, his 1.801 OPS has led Major League Baseball. He belted two home runs and two doubles and has stolen two bases in this span.

Luciano is MLB.com's No.39 prospect and is still in contention with Nick Ahmed, who has played well, for the starting shortstop position. Luciano already made his MLB debut in 2023 and it's doubtful the Giants will keep him down with his performance of late.

In the above video, Luciano describes some of the changes he made early this spring. They include keeping his hands back, staying back in the box, and being more aggressive. The changes seem to work thus far and Luciano is making the final week of spring interesting.

Wyatt Langford, OF, Texas Rangers

Wyatt Langford leads all Texas outfielders in OPS this spring (1.161). His dominant performance has earned him a spot on the opening-day roster. His elite power showed up this spring, and it's clear why he ranks as MLB.com's No.6 prospect. At just 22 years old, he is likely to bat in the middle of the Rangers lineup, which will be one of the best in 2024.

The one thing we did not see from Langford this spring is a stolen base attempt. Fangraphs lists Langford's speed tool as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. In 2023, he recorded 12 stolen bases in 44 minor league games. He could be just avoiding the injury risk that comes with attempting to steal bases or possibly keeping his legs fresh for the season, but this is something to note.

Blaze Alexander, 3B/SS, Arizona Diamondbacks

Blaze Alexander has overtaken Lawlar on the depth chart and, due to his stellar play, has a great chance of making the opening-day roster. In 23 spring games, he is slashing .420/.442/.640 with a 188 wRC+. He also added five stolen bases. Geraldo Perdomo is Alexander's biggest competition at the moment. Perdomo, a former top-100 prospect, is struggling this spring. He is slashing .182/.229/.242 with a 26 wRC+. The choice should be clear for the Diamondbacks to give Alexander the chance to start with the big-league club.

Max Meyer, SP, Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins announced that their No.3 prospect, Max Meyer, will be on the opening-day roster as the team's fifth starter. While it's possible that Meyer can be booted from the rotation in a couple of months, the ball is now in his hand to decide his fate. If he performs well early on, he could hold onto a rotation spot even after some of the team's injured pitchers return.

Meyer looks surprisingly sharp for not having pitched in a game since 2022. He's pitched in three games this spring, totaling seven innings. Meyer allowed four hits and one base on balls, but did not give up an earned run.

If Meyer is available in your league, he could be an exciting waiver wire add before he makes his regular-season debut.

J.D. Martinez, OF, New York Mets

Three-time Silver Slugger J.D. Martinez signed with the New York Mets this week. The Met's announced that he will not begin the regular season with the team. However, it shouldn't be long before he fills an essential role on the Mets' potent offense.

I really like this destination for Martinez and believe he has good odds of hitting 30+ home runs, scoring 80+ runs, and driving in close to 100 RBI.

Jared Jones, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB.com's No.62 prospect, Jared Jones, made a solid case to be in the Major League rotation. He's combined for 16.1 innings in six spring games, allowing nine hits, eight bases on balls, and zero earned runs. He's also struck out 15 batters. There is a genuine concern with the number of bases on balls he allows, but an above-average strikeout rate helps ease that concern.

Another concern is workload. Jones maxed out at 128 innings in 2023, a career-high for the 22-year-old. If he reaches that mark this season, he may struggle with fatigue and command and could wind up in the minors, as we saw with Eury Perez and Tyler Wells in 2023. In the short term, however, Jones is rosterable as a streamer in 12-team leagues IF he makes the Pirates' starting rotation.

Tylor Megill, SP, New York Mets

Tylor Megill is a repeat performer on the 2024 Spring Training Risers and Fallers. Megill made the risers list earlier this spring after it was discovered he worked on a new pitch in the offseason. Now, a handful of weeks later, he continues to impress.

In 20.2 innings, Megill has more strikeouts (23) than hits (15) and bases on balls (6) combined. After his consistently strong performances, The Mets confirmed that Megill will begin the season in the starting rotation.

Megill continues to work on and improve multiple pitches this offseason and spring. Thus far, they have elevated his game to a new level, and the 28-year-old is in line for a breakout campaign.

Dylan Carlson, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals turned to Dylan Carlson as the starting center fielder after Tommy Edman failed to recover from wrist surgery this offseason. However, the Cardinals' No.4 prospect, Victor Scott II, challenged that position.

Scott appeared to have the upper hand early on in the spring and definitely had the fan vote as Carlson struggled to get going. However, Carlson (once a former top prospect in his own right and still just 25 years old) picked up his game and has been one of spring training's best hitters over the past 15 days.

He is slashing .357/.419/.750 in this span with four runs and 10 RBI. Over the last seven days, Carlson's seven RBI rank third behind Luciano and Giancarlo Stanton.

Similarly to the others listed here, the ball is now in Carlson's hands to make something happen. He did enough to start in Edman's place while he's injured, but Carlson now has the opportunity to run with, and he could take the center field job right out of Edman's hands if he performs well early on.

Victor Robles/Jesse Winker, OF, Washington Nationals

These two outfielders locked in starting gigs in the Nationals outfield alongside Lane Thomas. Both Victor Robles and Jesse Winker have been fantasy-relevant in seasons past, but injuries and poor performances over the last two years put their roster spot in jeopardy. However, they successfully retained a starting position and kept the young up-and-comers at bay.

Curtis Mead, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays

MLB.com's No.55 prospect Curtis Mead won a roster spot over fellow top prospect Junior Caminero. Mead is three years older than Caminero and recorded a better OPS this spring. Mead likely still resides on the bench for most games, so he's just slightly on the rise with this small win.

Reynaldo Lopez, SP, Atlanta Braves

The Braves' brand new starting pitcher, Reynaldo Lopez, beat Bryce Elder for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He posted strong numbers this spring, including a 2.16 ERA and 13-6 K-BB ratio over five games and 16.2 innings.

It will be interesting to see how long he can stay in the Atlanta rotation. He hasn't started a game since 2022, when he made one start for the entire season.

Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Colorado Rockies

Ezequiel Tovar signed a seven-year contract extension for $63.5M. There weren't any questions about his status as the starting shortstop, but this guarantees Tovar is the shortstop for 2024 and beyond. Tovar also has a great spring by posting a 120 wRC+ and .871 OPS in 17 games. Tovar is likely to bat seventh or eighth in the lineup.

Fallers

Jackson Holliday, 2B/SS, Baltimore Orioles

Holliday is one of the obvious choices, but he makes the Fantasy Baseball fallers list after failing to make the Orioles' opening-day roster. Holliday did all he could do on the field to make the team. He slashed .311/.354/.382 across 15 games and 48 plate appearances.

The top prospect in baseball is all but guaranteed to make his MLB debut this season, and it's likely to be sooner rather than later. If you already drafted Holliday, I recommend holding him. Unless you play in a league with me in it, then you should drop him. 😉

Matt McLain, 2B/SS, Cincinnati Reds

After an impressive rookie season, Matt McLain is set to miss the start of his sophomore season due to a shoulder injury. It's still unclear how badly his shoulder is hurt, as he is getting a second opinion. McLain, clearly in discomfort, played in just five spring games and didn't get one hit.

If McLain does return this season, he will likely require a sizeable rehab to prepare for MLB play.

This injury is great news for the rest of the Reds' infield. Jeimer Candelario, Elly De La Cruz, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Jonathan India all took a sizable leap.

Washington Nationals Top Prospects

Dylan Crews, Robert Hassell, Brady House, and James Wood failed to make the opening-day roster. The club elected to go with veterans Robles, Eddie Rosario, Thomas, and Winker as the four outfielders. Nick Senzel will be the starting third baseman over House.

Wood was the team's best performer this spring. He posted a 1.214 OPS over 22 games and added three stolen bases. Wood has the best chance of being the Nationals' first big call-up of the season.

Hassell should be next in line. In 12 games, he posted a 1.198 OPS. Hassell also added two stolen bases, struck out four times, and earned two bases on balls.

Crews (.602 OPS) and House(.586 OPS) are the two biggest fallers in this group. They both performed poorly this spring and are unlikely to earn a promotion anytime soon unless they start the minor league year on a tear.

Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Cleveland Guardians

Cleveland Guardians No.2 prospect Kyle Manzardo, one of my sleeper picks for 2024, will begin the season in Triple-A. Manzardo is in a boat similar to Holliday. He performed exceptionally well this spring and looked like he could have made the team out of spring training. He posted a .934 OPS across 13 games this spring. I also expect him to make the team sooner rather than later. This decision still hurts, however, for us Fantasy managers.

Chase DeLauter, OF, Cleveland Guardians

From one Guardian to another, Chase DeLauter had arguably the best spring of any Guardian and deserved to be on the opening-day squad. However, the Guardians sent their top prospect to the minors after he posted a 1.640 OPS in 13 spring games. He also struck out four times while recording five bases on balls.

Michael Massey, 2B, Kansas City Royals

One of my low-level and super-deep sleepers was Michael Massey. Unfortunately, he is expected to begin the season on the injured list with a back injury. In 2023, Massey belted 15 home runs, scored 42, and drove in 55 RBI. He also added six stolen bases. Massey could lose his starting spot to Adam Frazier or Garrett Hampson with this injury designation.

Junior Caminero, 3B/SS, Tampa Bay Rays

Junior Caminero is another top prospect who will begin the season in the minors. The Rays' top prospect didn't have a great spring. He recorded a .719 OPS in nine games and only hit two extra-base hits.

Caminero faces a more formidable challenge to be called up than DeLauter, Holliday, or Manzardo because the Rays infield is stacked. Second base and shortstop are the clearest paths for Caminero to earn playing time, but Jose Caballero provides excellent defense at shortstop, and Brandon Lowe is an above-average slugging second baseman.

Even with the unclear path to playing time, I still consider Caminero a 2024 Fantasy Baseball Breakout Candidate, as his talent is too big to suppress.

Bryce Elder, SP, Atlanta Braves

The Braves sure don't have any respect for their elders, as Bryce Elder lost the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation. To be fair, Elder had a horrid spring and looked lost on the mound at times. He recorded an 8.25 ERA across four games and 12 innings.

Joey Wiemer, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Joey Wiemer will begin the year in the minors after falling behind teammates Jackson Chourio, Sal Frelick, Garrett Mitchell, and Gary Sanchez for the outfield and designated hitter spot.

Wiemer isn't very relevant to Fantasy Baseball, but his power/speed combo was enticing. Now, he must wait until one of the guys ahead of him struggles or gets injured.


Thank you for following along with the 2024 Spring Training Risers and Fallers! Check back with Fantasy Six Pack during the regular season and read our Fantasy Baseball content.

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