5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers 8-30-23

by Mike Schneider

Welcome to the 8-30-23 edition of 5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers that are in my Prospect Rankings.

In this edition of  Prospect Risers the players profiled have gotten better as the season has gone on. Player development is not a linear process.  Sometimes it seems that all of a sudden "the light bulb goes on" and a prospect is a different player than he may have been just a few weeks previously.

There are two Reds and two Rangers prospects profiled.  It seems that I profile a Reds' prospect in every edition of Prospect Risers. In addition, two of the prospects discussed below were impacted by the Mets' decision not to sign Kumar Rocker.

5 Dynasty Baseball Prospect Risers 8-30-23

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Brock Porter, Rangers, RHP, Age 20, Ranking 40

After the Mets decided not to sign Kumar Rocker in 2021 he returned to the 2022 draft.  Rocker agreed to an under-slot deal with the Rangers who had the third overall pick. The Rangers used the money they saved to draft and sign Brock Porter, a high school from Michigan who was expected to go to college at Clemson.  The Rangers selected Porter with the 109th overall pick.  The slot amount for that pick was $560,200. The Rangers signed Porter to a $3.7 million bonus.

Porter did not make his pro debut until this year. As to be expected, the Rangers have been cautious with Porter who did not turn 20 until June. He has not faced more than 19 batters in any game while spending the entire season for Single-A Down East.

Beginning with his third game on April 21st, Porter went on a three-game stretch where in 12 innings he allowed just three hits with 18 strikeouts although he did walk seven. Porter's longest outing was on June 2nd.  He went five innings allowing two hits and a walk while striking out seven. In his latest game on August 27th, Porter struck out eight of 15 batters.

In 20 games, batters are hitting just .157 against Porter who has a strikeout rate of  32.7%.  The walk rate of 14.7% is a concern although he is obviously still very young.

Porter is listed at 6'4" and 208 pounds.  He can throw in the mid to upper nineties and he has a changeup that has the potential to be an elite pitch.  Porter also throws a slider and a curveball that he is still working on refining.

Health and mechanical issues can always alter a pitching prospect's outlook.  Porter will need to improve command as he moves up the minor league ladder.  However, Porter has the skills and the look of a potential top-of-the-rotation starter.

Jett Williams, Mets, SS Age 19, Ranking 58

When the Mets decided not to sign their 2021 first-round Kumar Rocker based on his medical reports, they received an additional first-round pick in 2022.  The Mets used their two top picks in 2022 to draft catcher Kaevin Parada at pick 11 and a short high school player from Texas, Jett Williams with pick 14.

The book on Williams is that he added strength to his 5'6" frame and has an elite hit tool with good speed.  There is a question if William will stick at shortstop or move to second base or the outfield.

Williams signed with the Mets for $3.9 million which was a little below slot. He got his feet wet in 2022 playing ten games in the Florida Complex League.

Williams in 2023

This year Williams began the season at Single-A St. Lucie. In his first 44 games, he was hitting just .193 with two homers.  Williams was walking at 19% rate and stole 18 bases in 24 attempts. Over the next 35 games, Williams has a .319/.470/.552 line with four homers and is 14 for 14 in stolen base attempts. During this stretch, he walked 32 times and struck out 30 times.  Williams was promoted to High A Brooklyn on July 31st.

Williams has continued his impressive play at Brooklyn. In 24 games at High A, Williams has a 187 wRC+ and a .468 on-base percentage.  He has hit five homers and eight doubles while stealing nine bases in ten attempts.  At Brooklyn, he has walked 22 times and struck out 21 times.

This year Williams has played 76 games at shortstop and 18 games in centerfield.  It remains to be seen where he will end up defensively.  However, if you were designing the perfect lead-off hitter, Williams would be close to being it.

Chase Petty, Reds, RHP, Age 20, Ranking 125

The Twins selected Chase Petty, a hard-throwing high school pitcher from New Jersey with the  26th overall pick in the 2021 draft. He signed with Minnesota for $2.5 million which was just below the slot value of $2.65 million. He pitched in a couple of games in the Florida Complex League which turned out to be his only games in the Twins organization.

Just prior to the 2022 season, Petty was included in the package to obtain Sonny Gray from the Reds. Petty would spend most of the year at Single A Daytona Beach. He got off to a strong start in the first three games over ten innings where batters hit just .154 against him and he only walked one batter with ten strikeouts. Overall at Daytona Beach, Petty pitched in 18 games where he had a 1.20 WHIP with a .232 batting average against and a 14.2% strikeout minus walk rate.

Petty was promoted to High A Dayton on July 27th where he made seven starts. He struggled in his first game.  However, in his last six starts over 27.2 innings, he was very good.  During that stretch Petty allowed 20 hits and just four walks while striking out 32.

Petty in 2023

Petty returned to High A Dayton for 2023 where he has spent the year to date. He has made 16 starts but has not pitched more than four innings or faced more than 20 batters.  In nine of the 16 games, Petty did not allow any earned runs. Petty has not allowed a home run in 2023 over 60 innings.  He has a ground rate of 58.5% which leads the Midwest League among pitchers who have thrown at 60 innings. Petty was promoted to AA Chattanooga on August 29th.

The Reds minor-league player development is among the best in baseball.  The Reds have seemingly made Petty into more of a sinker pitcher which should help him in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. They have brought Petty along slowly and he has managed to stay healthy.  Petty also throws a slider and a changeup that are developing into nice pitches for him.

It seems that in the last couple of years, Petty has learned to be more of a pitcher than a thrower. Next year Petty will likely begin in AA Chattanooga. I expect that in 2024 in the upper minors, the Reds will allow Petty to unleash more of his considerable skills.

Rece Hinds, Reds, RF, Age 22, Ranking 133

When the Reds selected Rece Hinds in the second round of the 2019 draft out of high school in Florida he was considered a sleeper target in first-year drafts for dynasty leagues.  For those with a lot of patience, Hinds is putting things together.

The main reason that Hinds was highly regarded at the time of the 2019 draft was the plus power.  The Reds drafted Hinds as a third baseman and signed him to a slightly above-slot bonus of $1.8 million.

In 2019 Hinds had several injuries that limited him to just three pro games.  After the MiLB season was canceled in 2020, Hind began 2021 with Single-A Daytona. After playing in 22 games, Hinds injured his knee and missed about two months.  He had a rehab assignment in the Complex League for 11 games and returned to Daytona for the last few weeks of the season. In the 43 games he played at Single-A, Hinds hit 10 homers and had a wRC+ of 120 but struck out 28.1% of the time.

Last year, Hinds got off to an awful start with a .138 batting average in April for High A Dayton.  However, between May 4th and May 29th, Hinds had a 1.253 OPS and a 240 wRC+ with four homers in 18 games. However, Hinds cooled down in June and then fractured his hamate bone. He returned toward the end of August and was promoted to AA Chattanooga for the last week of the season.

2023 Outlook

Heading into 2023 Hinds had only played in 136 pro games in four years.  He began this year at AA and got off to an awful start with a .158 batting average with a 42.2% strikeout rate in April.  Hinds was a bit better in May with an 88 wRC+  and 12 extra-base hits but the strikeout rate was still 40.4%.

Beginning on June 11th, Hinds went on a big hot streak  For the next 15 games, Hinds would hit eight homers with a .471/. 563/.1.059 line.  During this stretch, Hinds only struck out 21% of the time while walking at a 14.1% rate.

Unfortunately, the steak ended on July 1st when Hind was placed on the injured list with a left hamstring strain. He returned on July 18th and has continued to be productive.  In 33 games, Hinds has eight homers and 41 RBIs with a 144 wRC+ and he even stole seven bases in seven attempts. During this stretch, Hinds has a 24.8% strikeout rate and a 10.3% walk rate.

Hinds has moved full-time to the outfield.  By all accounts, he is a solid defender in rightfield with a plus arm, Hinds has taken a big leap forward this year and become an exciting prospect. He turns 23 on September 5th.

Abimelec Ortiz, Rangers, 1B, Age 21, Ranking 342

Prior to 2020, the major league draft was at least 40 rounds. Due to the pandemic, the draft was only five rounds in 2020.  In the last few years, the draft has been 20 rounds.  Beginning in 2020 the maximum bonus that an undrafted free agent can receive is $20,000.

The Texas Rangers have had more success in finding undrafted free agents that have turned into prospects than any other organization.   Josh Stephan, D.J. McCarty, and Aidan Curry are pitchers who were signed as undrafted free agents and have had some success.  However, the undrafted free agent that has turned into the best prospect is Abimelec Ortiz, who is listed at 6' 0"'and 230lbs.

Ortiz is from Puerto Rico and attended the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, a bilingual high school that is designed to prepare student-athletes for playing professionally in the United States. After high school, Ortiz played a year at a junior college in Florida.  Despite some nice batting numbers (.349 batting average with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 52 games), Ortiz was undrafted in 2021 and signed with the Rangers for a $20,000 bonus.

In 40 games in the Dominican Summer League in 2021, Ortiz led the league with 11 homers, an 1.000 OPS and more walks than strikeouts. However, at 19 he was more advanced than most of the prospects in the DSL.

Ortiz' Last Two Seasons

Last year Ortiz was assigned the Single A Down East which was a big step up from the DSL. In his first 44 games, Ortis has a 59 wRC+ with a 32.9% strikeout rate.  Over the remaining  49 games, Ortiz has a 123 wRC+ with a 23.7% strikeout rate and seven homers.

This year Ortiz returned to Down East to begin the year. In 20 games he had a .392 on-base percentage with seven homers earning a promotion to High A Hickory on May 23rd. Ortiz hit 11 homers in his first 27 games at Hickory.  His 23 homers leads all of High A despite only playing in 69 games.  He has a .300/.350/639 line at Hickory. with a .339 ISO.  Ortiz has slumped in August with a 36.6% strikeout rate. but it is still a very impressive year for a 21-year-old who went undrafted just two years ago.

The Rangers have played Ortiz in rightfield for 20 games in his career.  However, he is likely a first basement or designated hitter so his bat will need to carry him. Based on his 2023 season he has a chance to be a productive major league hitter if he continues to develop.





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