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Anthony Volpe, Jordan Walker headline players who have made spring training swing changes

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Eric Samulski and Scott Pianowski discuss the fantasy potential of Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene, analyzing why the pedigree is there for a potential breakout season in 2024.

Adapt or die. Optimism reigns supreme at the outset of spring training as hitters routinely show up to spring training boasting they’re in the best shape of their lives and touting a brand-new overhauled offensive approach and swing mechanics. Sometimes, it’s not hyperbole. The most prominent example of this phenomenon has to be Jason Heyward, who parlayed significant offseason swing changes into an unexpected late-career renaissance last year in Los Angeles. For every success story, there are countless hitters tinkering with their swing mechanics or offensive approach that don’t lead to immediate success. The key for fantasy managers is to be aware of them and watch closely to see if they’re making an impact. My Rotoworld colleague Eric Samulski took a look at a handful of pitchers with new offerings earlier this week, so we figured we’d go under the hood with a couple hitters that made recent swing changes that could impact their fantasy value. Without further delay, here’s an early-spring six pack of fantasy-relevant hitters that have made significant alterations to their swing or offensive approach entering the 2024 campaign.

Anthony Volpe, SS, Yankees

The fantasy ramifications could be significant for Volpe, who spent the offseason working to flatten his swing path, according to Chris Kirschner and Brendan Kuty of The Athletic, The former top prospect’s recent offensive overhaul to eliminate his uppercut swing through the zone is simply a reversion to the all-fields approach that sparked his meteoric rise to the big leagues. It should theoretically result in an uptick in line drives and fewer fly balls, which might not necessarily be a bad thing for his overall fantasy profile, despite potentially lowering his home run ceiling as he won’t be selling out as often for over-the-fence pop. Typically we see hitters going in the opposite direction and joining the fly ball revolution. However, an uptick in line drives might result in a higher batting average, and possibly even more stolen base opportunities this season. That development would certainly offset the loss of a few homers for fantasy managers as it would make Volpe a more well-rounded five-category fantasy contributor.

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Jeremy Peña, SS, Astros

This one is very intriguing for fantasy managers. On the heels of a disappointing sophomore campaign, Peña told reporters last week that he spent the offseason overhauling his batting stance and swing mechanics to simplify his setup and quiet his batting stance. The 26-year-old shortstop experienced a huge decline in over-the-fence pop last year, but the remainder of his offensive profile remained relatively stable compared to his strong rookie campaign. He figures to benefit from the overhauled mechanics and a newfound offensive mindset that prioritizes driving the ball to the outfield, which figures to result in an uptick in over-the-fence pop. It’s relatively easy to envision Peña eclipsing the 20-homer plateau, while also chipping in double-digit stolen bases, which gives him a realistic shot at finishing as a top-15 fantasy contributor at shortstop in 2024.

Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Yankees

He’s quite literally in the best shape of his life. A noticeably slimmed-down Stanton showed up at Yankees camp earlier this month, telling reporters that he spent the offseason doing more running in an effort to increase his mobility. As fantasy managers are keenly aware, the 34-year-old slugger has dealt with omnipresent physical issues over the last few seasons in New York, which led to some brutally honest offseason comments from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in the wake of the worst season of his professional career. If there’s a big takeaway from Stanton’s offseason efforts it’s that he appears highly motivated to stay healthy and has indicated that he’s in a good place mentally coming into the 2024 campaign. He also indicated that he’s made some swing changes as well, appearing more upright in the batter’s box with his back leg closer to the plate than previous years. It’s impossible to overlook the injury concerns, which have become firmly entrenched in his profile as he’s yet to play more than 140 contests in each of the last four full seasons dating back to 2018. However, significant offseason changes in multiple areas give him a realistic shot at returning to fantasy relevance.

Brett Baty, 3B, Mets

It’s nearly impossible to underscore how disappointing Baty’s rookie campaign was last year as he finished with a calamitous .598 OPS with just nine homers and two steals in 389 plate appearances after being called up for good in mid-April. The 24-year-old top prospect’s extensive track record of success in the upper minors figured to translate to immediate fantasy relevance last year, but it never quite materialized. The positive news for fantasy managers is that he spent the offseason making significant mechanical adjustments to his swing in an effort to keep his bat in the strike zone longer, according to The Athletic’s Tim Britton. He figures to open the impending 2024 campaign as New York’s starting third baseman in the wake of Ronny Mauricio’s offseason knee injury. If the offseason overhaul enables Baty to get back to the offensive mindset that made him one of the top prospects in baseball he could make a significant impact for fantasy managers as a four-category fantasy contributor. He’ll be worth keeping a close eye on in Grapefruit League exhibition contests this spring and could be worthy of a speculative late-round selection in deeper mixed leagues.

Jordan Walker, OF Cardinals

Walker appears to be on the precipice of blossoming into an upper-echelon fantasy contributor following an impressive rookie campaign he finished with a robust .787 OPS with 16 homers and seven steals in 465 plate appearances. The 21-year-old former top prospect may have fallen short of the unrealistic expectations some fantasy managers placed upon him last spring, but he’s one of the most promising young hitters in the game. If there’s another reason for optimism entering the 2024 season it’s that Walker is constantly tinkering and highly motivated to continue making adjustments and improvements. He’s clearly focused on driving the ball with consistent hard contact, which figures to give him a real shot at taking the next step in his development at the highest level.

According to Lynn Worthy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Walker has altered his batting stance to create a wider base in an effort to stay back on the ball and eliminate his occasional tendency last year to collapse the backside of his body on his follow through. He added that he’ll continue experimenting with minor adjustments at the dish throughout spring training. “That’s why I’m making these adjustments, to try and get better and drive that ball away a little bit more,” said Walker. If there’s a significant takeaway for fantasy managers it’s that they should be paying attention to the former top prospect during Grapefruit League at-bats to see how comfortable he looks at the dish and if he’s driving the ball to the opposite field. Simply put, if he’s locked in, he could be on the verge of a massive breakthrough.

Elehuris Montero, 1B/3B, Rockies

Montero was a strong candidate to be jettisoned from the Rockies’ 40-man roster this offseason, but wound up showing some signs of life at the plate during a second-half hot streak, most notably during September when he batted .286 with six homers, to earn another look in Colorado entering the 2024 campaign. He’s always shown plenty of over-the-fence pop, but consistently lackluster plate discipline and persistent fielding issues continue to diminish his long-term potential. According to’s Thomas Harding, Montero made a small physical adjustment to his swing last August to keep his head locked on the point of contact to eliminate his tendency to open his stance, especially on breaking pitches away from the plate. “We’re trying to tell him to keep his hat to the point of contact, so he’s not pulling his head,” said Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens. If last year’s small adjustment enables Montero to continue cutting down on strikeouts and making more consistent hard contact, he could emerge as a legitimate 30-homer fantasy producer, especially in Coors Field’s high-octane offensive environment. He’s worthy of keeping on fantasy radar screens in deeper mixed leagues and NL-only formats.