5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers 5-15-24

by Mike Schneider
Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers

Welcome to the 5-15-24 edition of 5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers in my prospect rankings.

The rookies who have been in the majors all season have now graduated and are no longer prospects. This includes Jackson Chourio who was the number one prospect in my previous update. Chourio does have four homers and six stolen bases but his on-base percentage is just .256, Chourio has just one extra-base hit in his last 21 games. The major leagues are tough.

Jackson Merrill and Jared Jones have been the most impressive real rookies this year. However, in the National League, one of the Asian pitchers (Shota Imanaga or Yoshinobu Yamamoto) will likely win Rookie of the Year unless Paul Skenes dominates. In the American League, Mason Miller looks like the huge favorite at this point.

5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers 5-15-24

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Owen Murphy, Braves,  RHP, Age 20. Ranking 65

In 2022 the Braves had three of the first 57 draft picks.  They selected three high school righthanded pitchers. With the high volatility of high school pitchers, the Braves decided to pick a high volume and hope they hit on at least one. So far in their pro careers, only one of the three has managed to stay healthy.

At pick twenty, the Braves selected Owen Murphy from Illinois where he had been a prospect as both a pitcher and position player. Murphy signed for an under-slot bonus of $2.56 million. The slot for that pick was 3.4 Million.

With the next two picks, The Braves chose JR Ritchie and Cole Phillips. Phillips had already undergone Tommy John surgery prior to the draft. Ritchie underwent Tommy John surgery in May of 2023.  Phillips was traded to the Mariners in the Jarred Kelenic deal and had a second Tommy John surgery this spring.

Murphy got off to an impressive start to his pro career in 2022.  He made two starts in the Florida Complex League where he only allowed two baserunners in five innings.  The Braves promoted Murphy to Single-A Augusta at the end of the year which is unusual for a pitcher who graduated high school a few months earlier.

Last year Murphy returned to Augusta to begin the year. in his first ten games, Murphy had a 1.54 WHIP with a 15% strikeout minus walk rate.  In his next eight games, Murphy had 0.96 WHIP with a 30.2% strikeout minus walk rate. Murphy was promoted to High A Rome for the last three games of the year.

This year Murphy opened the year on April 5th with 6.2 shutout innings allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out eight. Murphy has continued to dominate. In 34.2 innings he has a 0.78 WHIP and a 27.6% strikeout rate minus walk rate.

Murphy has a low to nineties fastball with good movement. his slider and curveball are solid offspeed pitches  Murphy's changeup is still a work in progress.

Last year the Braves had another young pitcher AJ Smith-Shawver who began the year excelling in High A.  The Braves were very aggressive with Smith-Shawver who made his MLB debut last June. Smith-Shawver has stalled a bit and is currently struggling in AAA. It will be interesting to see if Murphy continues to pitch well and whether the Braves will be as aggressive with Murphy this year as they were with Smith Shawver last year.

Matthew Lugo, Red Sox, LF, Age 23 Ranking 188

When a prospect has a relative who is likely a future hall of fame he gets some extra attention.  Matthew Lugo attended high school at his uncle, Carlos Beltran's baseball academy in Puerto Rico.

Lugo was drafted in the second round (69th overall) of the 2019 draft as a shortstop a month after turning 18. The Red Sox signed Lugo to a slightly above-slot bonus of 1.1 million. He played 41 games that year mostly in the Gulf Coast League where he was a league average player (100 wRC+).

When minor league play returned in 2021, Lugo spent the entire year at Single-A Salem. He has a .270 /.338./364 line with four homers and 15 steals. Lugo was much better in 2022 at High A Greenville when he hit 18 homers and stole 20 bases. He was particularly good in August where in 25 games, Lugo hit seven homers with a .353/.405/.608 line.

Last year was a struggle for Lugo at AA Portland.  Defensively Lugo was moved off shortstop and mostly played either third base or leftfield which put more pressure on his bat.  Offensive, Lugo hit just five homers and stole eight bases in 83 games with a .297 on-base percentage.

This year Lugo is back at AA Portland and is playing leftfield full-time but is significantly better offensively. Lugo is tied for third in the Eastern League with seven homers and 14 extra-base hits. In 24 games, Lugo has a 199 wRC+ with a .477 wOBA.

Lugo has moved way down the defensive spectrum.  Despite some success early in his career on the bases, he is not much of a base stealer. However, he has reestablished himself as a prospect with his fast start with the bat.

Blade Tidwell, NYM, RHP, Age 22, Ranking 251

The Mets have had success recently with their pitching development. Between Christian Scott emerging as the second-best major league-ready pitching prospect and Jonah Tong coming out of nowhere to dominate the lower levels is Blade Tidwell at AA.

Tidwell grew up in Tennessee and graduated from high school in 2020. Perfect Game ranked him as the number 22nd-ranked RHP in his class before attending the University of Tennessee.

In 2021 Tidwell had a strong year as a true freshman.  He won ten games with a 3.74 ERA for the Vols where he was a first-team freshman All-American. As a Sophomore, Tidwell was limited to 39 innings due to arm issues but he struck out 51 batters and had a 1.08 WHIP.

The Mets selected Tidwell in the second round with the 52nd overall pick as a draft-eligible sophomore since he had already turned 21 before the draft. He signed for 1.85 million, over the slot value of $1.48 million. Tidwell got his feet wet as a pro with five short starts at the end of the year.

Last year, Tidwell began the year at High A Brooklyn, He struggled with his control in his first ten starts. During this period Tidwell struck out 34.7% of batters but his walk rate was 19.1%. Over his next seven starts, he decreased the walk rate to 7.8% while holding batters to a .178 batting average against and 0.93 WHIP.

Tidewell was promoted to AA Binghamton last July 31st. Over eight starts at Binghamton in 2023, Tidwell gave up six homers in 34.1 innings while walking 11.8% of batters He was still missing bats with a 27.7% strikeout rate.

This year Tidwell returned to AA Binghamton. In his first five games over 29.1 innings, he allowed just four earned runs  Batters were hitting just .155 against Tidwell. In his last outing on May 10th. Tidwell did get hit hard. In 2024 his walk rate has decreased to 8% and his strikeout rate is at 30.4%.

Tidwell is a big guy (6'4" 20t7 lbs) who throws both a four-seam fastball and a sinker.  He can reach the mid to upper nineties. His sweeping slider can flash as a plus pitcher.  Tidwell's curveball and changeup are works in progress.

The Mets took a chance when they drafted Tidwell since he was coming off an injury.  As a pro, he has been able to stay healthy and make steady progress. Tidwell turns 23 next month, The control will need to continue to improve.

César Prieto, Cardinals,  3B/2B, Age 25, Ranking 302

Prospects can change the narrative through improved play. Since becoming a pro the scouting report on the lefthanded hitting César Prieto has always been that he is an advanced hitter but that his skills are limited in other areas. Before 2024, Prieto has shown limited power, little speed, and below-average defensive skills.

Prieto is from Cuba. In 2017 he was the rookie of the year in Cuba and set the record for most hits by a first-year player. He defected in 2021 at age 22 and signed with the Orioles for a $650,000 bonus.

In his pro debut in 2022, Prieto began the season at High A Aberdeen. It only took him 25 games to earn a promotion to AA Bowie. At Aberdeen, Prieto hit seven homers with a 165 wRC+. Bowie proved to be more of a challenge, Prieto had just a .296 on-base percentage with four homers in 90 games.

Last year, Prieto began the year back at Bowie where he has much better.  He had a  .364/.406/.476  in 58 games with just a 6.8% strikeout rate. Prieto was promoted to AAA Norfolk on June 20th. In 27 games for Norfolk, Prieto hit .317 with a strikeout rate under 10%.

Prieto was traded to the Cardinals at the trade deadline last year as part of the package for Jack Flaherty.  He finished the year playing 28 games for AAA Memphis where he struggled with a 74  wRC+.

Coming into this year. Prieto had played  213 games in the upper minors and hit only 14 homers. In 2024, Prieto has played 33 games at AAA and already has six homers. That added power can make a big difference to Prieto's future outlook.

Defensively Prieto has played second base and third base. This year, he has primarily played at third. He is an offensive first player with limited range but does not make many errors. Prieto is serviceable at both second and third.

Prieto is the type of player who can make a big-league team as a utility player and ends up getting more plate appearances than projected. It helps that he is a left-handed hitter.

Jay Allen II, Reds,  OF, Age 21, Ranking 311

With prospects, It is always difficult to tell the difference between a hot streak and improvement. After missing the first few weeks of the season, Jay Allen II is looking like a different player in 2024.

Based on his athleticism the Reds selected Allen with the 30th overall pick in the 2021 draft out of high school in Florida.  Allen got off to a great start to his pro career in 2021 playing in 19 games in the Arizona Complex League.  He had a .328/.440/557 line with three homers and 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts.

After the 2021 season, Allen was a hot pick in First-Year Player drafts. In my two long tern dynasty leagues, Allen went 20th and 22nd overall. However, the next two years were rough.

In 2022 and 2023, Allen was limited to a total of 122 games due to several injuries most notably a thumb injury in 2023. Combined in 2022 and 2023 Allen struggled with a .210 batting average and just a .095 ISO.  Allen did steal 59 bases during this time.

This year Allen began the year on the injured list with left knee inflation.  He was activated on April 21st for High A Dayton and has been crushing ever since. It took Allen 17 games to hit six homers which exceeded his total of five in the previous two years combined.  In 21 games he has a 200 wRC+ with .491 wOBA and a .289 ISO. Allen's strikeout rate is  21.5%.  Last year in 25 games at High A his strikeout rate was 38.1%. Allen has a walk rate this year of 12.9% and seven steals.

Since being drafted Allen has gotten a lot bigger.  He is listed at 6'2" and 190 pounds but that appears outdated.  Allen is still very fast and a strong defensive centerfielder.

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