5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers 5-30-24

by Mike Schneider
Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers

Welcome to the 5-30-24 edition of 5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers of my prospect rankings.

A Mets pitcher is featured as a prospect riser for the third straight time. Previously I had profiles Jonah Tong and Blade Tidwell. Today Brandon Sproat is featured. Tyler Stuart is another Mets pitching prospect who has looked good recently.

When an organization's player development is evaluated, they typically look at the recent past. At times an organization may make improvements and their current player development is much better than their reputation. With the recent call-up of Christian Scott, the Mets are seeing the benefit of their recent success at developing pitching at the major league level for the first time.

Don't forget to check out our Dynasty Baseball Rankings, where Chad Simpson, Cristian Crespo and I rank 500+ players.

5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers 5-30-24

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Emmanuel Rodriguez, Twins, CF, Age 21, Ranking 24

It is always interesting to go back and look at old prospect lists and see how accurate they turn out to be.  The majority of international free agents are 16 or 17 when they sign and are often several years younger when they agree to terms making these lists especially unpredictable. Looking back at MLB.com's top 30 international free agent prospects from 2019 shows how difficult it is to project future value on players so young.


These player are still in their early twenties. However, only a few are still considered prospects at this point.  Jasson Dominguez may have been the most hyped 16-year international free agent in history.  He is unlikely to be the future superstar he was expected to be but he is still a very good prospect.  The other notable propsect here is Emmanuel Rodriguez.

The Twins spent about 42% of their international free agent bonus pool to sign Rodriguez for a two-and-a-half million bonus.

He made his pro debut in the Florida Complex League as an 18-year-old.  It was a mixed bag.  Rodriguez was only one of three players in the league to reach double figure homers and he also walked 15% of the time. Rodriguez hit just .214 and had a 36.6% strikeout rate.

In 2022 in his first year of full season ball, Rodriguez got off to a nice start before injuring his knee on June 8th which required surgery and ended his season. In 47 games he hit nine homers and stole 11 bases with a 1.043 OPS. He had 57 walks versus 52 strikeouts.

Last year at High A Cedar Rapids, Rodriguez missed some time due to an abdominal strain but played 99 games.  Only six players in the Midwest League had more homers than the 16 homers that Rodriguez hit and he tied for the league lead with 92 walks despite missing some time and being one of the youngest players in the league. Rodriguez did strike 29.6% of the time.

With only 183 professional games entering this season and just turning 21 in February, AA looked like a huge challenge for Rodriguez. He has gotten off to an excellent start.  Rodrguez has a 191 wRC+ with eight homers and nine steals. He was a 27.9% strikeout rate and a 25.5% walk rate.

Defensively Rodriguez is considered an above-average centerfielder. He has the potential to be a top-ten prospect by the end of the year.

Carson Williams, Rays, SS Age 20, Ranking 42

Prior to the 2021 MLB draft, there were four high school players (Marcelo Meyer, Jordan Lawlar, Brady House, and Kahlil Watson) who were considered shortstops at the time and were candidates for the top pick in a year without a clear number one choice. Carson Williams was another high school shortstop who was a level below the top four.  At this point, the gap has closed considerably.

Williams is from San Deigo and went to Torrey Pines High School whose alumni include Tony Hawk and The Flying Tomato, Shawn White. He was a prospect as both a hitter and a pitcher. The Rays selected Williams with the 28th overall pick and signed him for a 2.43 million bonus which was a bit below the slot value of 2.49 million.

Williams played in 11 games in the Florida Complex League to make his pro debut.  In 2022 Williams spent the entire year at Single-A Charleston, He had 19 homers and 28 steals with a 124 wRC+.  The red flag was that Williams struck out 168 times (32.1%rate) in 113 games.

Last year Williams spent most of the year at High A Bowling Green where he had .257/.356/,497 line with 23 homers and 17 stolen bases. He did have a 31.8% strikeout rate but it was a strong year for a prospect who did not turn 20 until June 25th.  Williams played 19 games in the Arizona Fall League where he struggled with no homers and A 36.6% strikeout rate.

Williams has been at AA Montgomery this year and has gotten off to an excellent start. He has 189 wRC+ with with eight homers and 11 stolen bases. Williams has reduced his strikeout rate to 26.7%.

Williams is a strong defender with good range and a plus-throwing arm. In 110 games at shortstop in 2023 William made just seven errors.

A year ago at this time, it appeared that Wander Franco was locked in as the Rays regular shortstop for the next decade.  Clearly, Franco will never play in the major leagues again, but Williams has a chance to be the Rays starting shortstop beginning soon for many years.

Brandon Sproat, Mets, RHP Age 23, Ranking 188

A pitcher who was drafted after a full college season will often not make his pro debut until the following season. This does not mean that the organization and the prospect are not making improvements.

Credit to Joe DeMayo of SNY for hyping Brandon Sproat this spring.

Sproat is from Pencacola, Florida. He was drafted out of high school by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2019 draft but did not sign.

At the University of Florida, Sproat was limited to six innings in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and only pitched 21.2 innings in 2021. He became part of the Gators rotation in 2022 and had a nice year pitching especially well at the end of the year.

The Mets select Sproat in the third round with the 90th overall pick. For the second time, Sproat did not sign. Back at Florida last year, Sproat was hurt by the long ball giving up 15 homers in 106.1 innings. He did strike out 28.8% of batters.

For the second year in a row, the Mets drafted Sproat.  This time in the second round at pick  56 and they signed him at the slot value of 1.47 million.

Sproat began its year at High A Brooklyn. In six games Sproat pitched 25.1 innings allowing just a .141 batting average against with 33 strikeouts.  The walk rate of 15.7% is a concern but five of the sixteen walks came in his first game.

On May 13th, Sproat was promoted to AA Binghamton.  He has made three starts going 19 innings allowing 13 hits and five walks while striking out 20.

At Florida, Sproat was a year behind Christian Scott and he may be a year behind Scott as a highly touted rookie pitcher for the Mets.

Shay Whitcomb, Astros, INF, Age 25, Ranking 209

I have a soft spot for prospects like Shay Whitcomb.  A nice power speed combination whose production has always exceeded his prospect ranking. Whitcomb has gotten off to a nice start in 2024 while tangibly improving his biggest issue.

Whitcomb was born in California and went to the University of California San Diego between 2018 and 2020 which was a Division II school at the time.  In three years in college, he played in 136 games with a .436 on-base percentage and 21 homers. In 2019 Whitcomb was among the league leaders in homers with eight in 34 games in the Cape Code League.

The Astro selected Whitcomb with the last pick (160th overall) of the abbreviated 2020 MLB draft.  He signed for just $56,000 below the slot for $324,000. However, if Whitcomb went undrafted the maximum he could have signed for was $20,000.

Whitcomb made his pro debut in 2021 splitting the year between Single-A Fayetteville (41 games) and High A Ashville (58 games).  He was better at High A with a wRC+ of 148 versus a wRC+ of 120 at Single A. Overall he hit 23 homers and stole   30 bases.  However, Whitcomb struck out 30% of the time.

In 2022 Whitcomb spent the entire year at AA Corpus Christi where he hit 19 homers and stole 20 bases in 118 games. Whitcomb only hit .219/.283/.399 with a 32.6% strikeout rate.

Last year Whitcomb began the year at AA before getting promoted to AAA Sugar Land on June 6th.  Overall Whitcomob hit 35 homers and stole 20 bases with a .7871 OPS.  He struck out 178 times in 133 games.

Whitcomb's primary position has been shortstop but he also has played a lot of second and third base. He may not have the range to play shortstop regularly in the majors but he is capable at third or second at the big league level.

Heading into this year. despite some nice skills it appeared that there was too much swing and miss in his game. He seemed to be a Quad-A type player.

This year has seen significant improvement in his approach.  Whitcomb is walking at a career-high 12.1% and his strikeout rate is down to 22.7%. In 350 pro games prior to 2024, Whitcomb had a 31% strikeout rate and a 7.6% walk rate.  Given the rest of Whitcomb's game, these numbers play well. Whitcomb is establishing himself as a prospect that people should be aware of.

Yilber Diaz, Diamondbacks, RHP, Age 23, Ranking 313

Sometimes it is not easy to find information on prospects who were not highly touted. Perhaps because of the situation in his home country, Venezuela, Arizona did not sign Yilber Diaz until  February 2021 when he was 20 years old and he only received a signing bonus of $10,000.

In 2021 Diaz pitched 26.1 innings in the Dominican Summer League where he had a 1.59 WHIP and more walks than strikouts.

Diaz took a big step forward in 2022 splitting the year between Single-A Visalia and High-A Hillsboro. He held batters to a .201 batter average against. In 48 innings at Visalia, his strikeout rate was 35.5%.

Last year, Diaz spent most of the year at High A.  He struggled with consistency especially early in the year not making it out of the first inning in two starts.  Diaz got better as the year went on and was promoted to AA Amarillo in September. He made five starts including two in the playoffs helping Amarillo win the Texas league championship.

This year at AA Diaz had a so-so start in April where he struck out 31 batters in 18 innings but due to 12 walks, he had a 1.72 WHIP.  However, Diaz has been electric in May.  In 29.1 innings he has allowed just 14 hits and 7 walks (0.72 WHIP) while striking out 39 batters. Three of his five starts have been in Amarillo which is the most favorable hitting environment in AA.

The scouting report on Diaz has been that he has top-of-line stuff with questionable command. Diaz has a fastball that he consistently throws in the upper nineties and a plus curveball.  There is a decent chance that Diaz will end up as a high-leverage reliever. Diaz and Justin Martinez could make quite a future combination out of the Diamondbacks' bullpen.  However, if he can continue to improve his command and add a third pitch, Diaz could end up in the starting rotation.

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