2017 Prospects - Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Drafts

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Hello everyone, and welcome to my weekly Top-30 Fantasy Rankings for Impact Rookies! In this series, I will be going over the top prospects in baseball and discussing which ones figure to have an impact for the rest of this fantasy baseball season.

Opening Day is almost upon us. As I am writing this, we are just 10 days away from April 3 and rosters are starting to really take shape.

On those rosters, owners are starting to see some notable rookie performers. There has already been a surprising roster move with the demotion of Dan Vogelbach to Triple-A as well as the decision to leave Nationals’ reliever Koda Glover in the conversation of closer this late in the preseason. We’ve still got roughly a week left, so there’s still some potentially big roster moves before the season opens, but owners should be starting to get an idea of who will open the season in the majors at this point.

Editor's note: Compete for cash prizes on  this week. The top three teams in each league win cash! Choose your game here.

 

Top MLB Prospects - Fantasy Baseball Power Rankings

To be clear, this list is not the top 30 prospects in baseball. This is a list of the top 30 prospects who are likely going to rise to the major leagues and provide fantasy baseball value this season. The qualifications are simple: a player must not be on an active roster, they must have a clear path to the majors, and while they may have played in seasons prior to 2016, they must still have rookie eligibility. If a player is moved to the active roster of their team, they will be removed from this power rankings list and replaced.

 

1. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS, MLB)
Stats: 118 PA, .295/.359/.476, 2 HR, 1 SB, 8.5% BB rate, 21.2% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
There should never be any doubt about who is the top prospect to own for 2017 redraft leagues. Benintendi is disciplined, he’s got power, he’s got speed and he’s surrounded by one of the best lineups in baseball. He will surely drive in plenty of runs and provide a lot of everything for owners. He is not only the top rookie, but one of the top players in the game already and should be owned in all leagues.

2. Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL, MLB)
Stats: 145 PA, .302/.361/.442, 3 HR, 3 SB, 9.0% BB rate, 23.4% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
Swanson is not quite as exciting as Benintendi, but playing shortstop with as little risk as he will provide should be considered quite valuable. Swanson, like Benintendi, is incredibly patient at the plate and makes a lot of quality contact. He could provide owners with a 15/15 season in 2017 and should be owned in most leagues.

3. Yoan Moncada (2B, CWS, MLB)
Stats: (from AA) 207 PA, .277/.379/.531, 11 HR, 9 SB, 13.0% BB rate, 30.9% K rate
ETA: Early June
If Moncada was going to break camp with the White Sox, he would be the no-doubt top guy on this list. Moncada’s power/speed potential is just breathtaking and most scouts see him as one of the next great second basemen in our game. He’s got 20/20 potential even if he debuts later this season and will be an exciting player to watch once he gets the promotion.

4. Manny Margot (OF, SD, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 566 PA, .304/.351/.426, 6 HR, 30 SB, 6.4% BB rate, 11.3% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
If you wanted to build the perfect leadoff hitter, chances are the finished product would look something like Manuel Margot. Margot not only is an outstanding hitter with a good eye and a knack for making contact, but he also possesses 25+ stolen base speed and should have no problem putting it to use at the big-league level. He will likely put his skills to the test at the start of this season and should be batting leadoff for San Diego on Opening Day. He appears to be a relatively low-risk player who should provide plenty of hits, stolen bases and runs scored to fantasy owners.

5. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT, MLB)
Stats: 152 PA, .273/.368/.406, 3 HR, 0 SB, 13.8% BB rate, 12.5% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
Another low-risk prospect, Bell has always demonstrated one of the most disciplined approaches to the plate of any player in the minors. He was viewed as a contact-only first baseman for a while, but he has recently begun to channel some of that raw power and now could be a 20+ home run threat for the Pirates. And with a very decent chance of hitting .290+ in the middle of a very potent lineup, Bell should be able to hit enough to be owned even qualifying at the deep fantasy position of first base.

6. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 563 PA, .306/.336/.557, 30 HR, 5 SB, 3.9% BB rate, 20.4% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
Petco Park is not by any stretch of the imagination considered to be a hitter’s ballpark, but scouts are predicting that Renfroe will make it seem like one. Renfroe has awe-inspiring power and should be able to hit 30 home runs, even in San Diego. Batting average could be an issue for him due to his poor discipline, but owners will happily take the home runs and RBI production in 2017.

7. Jharel Cotton (SP, OAK, MLB)
Stats: 29.1 IP, 2.15 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 20.5% K rate, 3.6% BB rate, .185 AVG
ETA: Opening Day
Cotton has quietly dominated the minors for many years without receiving a lot of recognition from scouting sites. Cotton has struck out at least 24 percent of opposing hitters with at least 30 innings pitched at every MiLB level he has reached while always keeping that walk rate in single-digits. His stuff likely will not translate to a future ace in the majors, but with his command and ability to generate enough whiffs, he could be a No. 3 starter with strikeout upside in 2017.

8. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 145 PA, .214/.297/.460, 6 HR, 8 SB, 10.3% BB rate, 23.4% K rate
ETA: Mid-July (earlier if any PIT outfielder is injured)
Meadows has the most distant ETA of anyone in the top 10, but he is also one of the most promising outfielders in all of baseball. He is one Pittsburgh outfield injury or trade (*cough* Andrew McCutchen) away from debuting in the majors this season. He has a ton of power/speed potential and also possesses one of the more disciplined approaches in the minors, leading many to believe he would not be a victim of much early big-league struggles. When he is called up to the Pittsburgh outfield, he will immediately warrant ownership in all leagues.

9. Robert Gsellman (SP, NYM, MLB)
Stats: 44.2 IP, 2.42 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 22.7% K rate, 8.1% BB rate, .249 AVG
ETA: Opening Day
The Mets somehow always seem to find all these talented pitching prospects. Gsellman for the longest time was an unheralded pitching prospect, but he found some velocity and action on that fastball and has now started to look like a future No. 3 or 4 starter in the majors. He won’t be an ace, but Gsellman will miss some bats for fantasy owners and should produce a solid ERA around 3.50 or lower.

10. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 410 PA, .270/.366/.489, 19 HR, 5 SB, 11.5% BB rate, 23.9% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
The American League equivalent of Renfroe, Judge is all about the longball. He is a massive outfielder, standing at 6-foot-7, 275 pounds, and has a ton of raw power potential. He has recently started to tap into that potential and should be able to hit 30 home runs in his first season in pinstripes. His inability to make consistent contact make him a bit of a riskier prospect, but so long as he finds the playing time, he should be a great source of power production.

11. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA, MLB)
Stats: 123 PA, .229/.309/.404, 5 HR, 0 SB, 9.8% Bb rate, 22.0% K rate
ETA: Opening Day
Haniger made some adjustments to the plate in 2016 and it resulted in one of the best seasons of any player in the minors last year. He slashed .321/.419/.581 with 25 home runs and 12 stolen bases, and now could emerge as a stud as the new right fielder for the Seattle Mariners. Haniger has carried his hot-hitting ways into Spring Training as he is currently slashing .406/.472/.719 and could be a potentially explosive sleeper in 2017.

12. Tom Murphy (C, COL, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 321 PA, .327/.361/.647, 19 HR, 1 SB, 5.0% BB rate, 24.3% K rate
ETA: Early May
A catcher with a ton of power and a home field like Coors Field makes Murphy an enticing fantasy player. He would probably be a top-five player if he was the full-time starter or did not have some contact issues. But even when taking into account both this negatives, the power coming from the weakest offensive position in baseball means he has a ton of value in redraft leagues. He will miss some time with a fractured forearm and may be a bit slower to fully get back into the swing of things, but with his pop, he could still be a 20-homer hitter this season.

13. Tyler Glasnow (SP, PIT, MLB)
Stats: 23.1 IP, 4.24 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 22.9% K rate, 12.4% BB rate, .247 AVG
ETA: Late April
The ETA still says Late April, but Glasnow could exit Spring Training with the No. 5 starter spot in the Pittsburgh rotation. Now Glasnow has some notable control issues that may be a bit concerning to fantasy owners, but his ability to miss bats at such a high rate makes him an attractive possible late-round pitcher should he start right out of the gate.

14. Cody Reed (SP, CIN, MLB)
Stats: 47.2 IP, 7.36 ERA, 6.06 FIP, 18.7% K rate, 8.3% BB rate
ETA: Opening Day
A lot of people are very low on Reed because of how awful he was in 2016, but it is important to remember that he still possesses a nasty fastball/slider combination that has seen 20% strikeout rates or higher in all but three stints at varying MiLB levels. Add that to his always promising command, and you’ve got a guy who still has the potential to be a solid starting pitcher at the big-league level. He could be a solid post-hype sleeper in 2017.

15. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 150 PA, .242/.349/.305, 1 HR, 5 SB, 14.0% BB rate, 37.3% K rate
ETA: Late June
Lonnie Chisenhall’s injury appears to be nothing too severe, but it does highlight the growing concerns about the state of their outfield. Several of Cleveland’s outfielders have injury issues, and they are actually both left-handed bats for that team. Zimmer has continued to crush Spring Training pitching and is starting to look more comfortable with his new swing. Even if the average is still an issue for Zimmer, providing both home runs and stolen bases to fantasy owners will certainly be a welcome sight to fantasy owners. If he gets a chance at regular playing time, that power/speed combination could be productive for fantasy owners.

16. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 465 PA, .263/.359/.484, 23 HR, 8 SB, 12.7% BB rate, 20.2% K rate
ETA: Early August (earlier if Adrian Gonzalez is traded/injured)
Bellinger is one of those guys whose upside warrants placement on this list even if he doesn’t have an immediate path to playing time. He can play all three outfield positions and first base, but given the Dodgers’ outfield depth, he will really need an A-Gone trade or injury for him to see playing time. With that said, he has an explosive bat and should be a future All-Star first baseman, so any chance he receives to play in the majors should be enough to warrant owning in most leagues.

17. Koda Glover (RP, WAS, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 24.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 25.0% K rate, 3.4% BB rate, .191 AVG
ETA: Opening Day
Glover has received a lot of hype for his dominant outings so far this pre-season and could find himself in a couple save opportunities for the Nationals this season. He has the upper-90s fastball and solid array of secondary offerings and could be a reliever worth owning even if he is not the full-time closer. If he dominates like some expect him to, he should be given a chance to save 10+ games this season.

18. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, MLB)
Stats: 44.0 IP, 4.91 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 20.9% K rate, 11.0% BB rate, .263 AVG
ETA: Late May
Though viewed by many as a future reliever, Lopez will still receive a chance to start in the White Sox rotation at some point in the near future for Chicago. Lopez has electric stuff and should have little issue missing bats at the big-league level. The question really is just whether his command will hold up over a full season of work. If he gets a chance to start this season, his strikeout potential and middle-of-the-rotation upside would warrant ownership in most leagues.

19. Amir Garrett (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 67.2 IP, 3.46 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 19.7% K rate, 11.3% BB rate, .198 AVG
ETA: Opening Day
Garrett has not thrown a single inning in the majors to this point in his pro career. And yet, he will likely be one of two Reds pitching prospects to open the season in the big-league rotation. Garrett has dominated Spring Training lineups despite posting rather pedestrian numbers against Triple-A batters in 2016. He has historically found much more success and has the stuff to do well in the majors. Pitching in Great American Ballpark is not the easiest thing to do on a regular basis, but Garrett could be a future No. 3 starter for the Reds as early as 2017.

20. Roman Quinn (OF, PHI, MLB)
Stats: (from AA) 322 PA, .287/.361/.441, 6 HR, 31 SB, 9.3% BB rate, 21.1% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
If you liked Billy Hamilton, but want a guy who can hit just a tad better, Quinn is going to be your guy. Quinn is incredibly fast, having stolen 30 or more bases in every season except for 2015 when he only stole 29 bags . . . in 58 games. He has an injury-plagued history and still has strikeout issues, but with Michael Saunders having his own long history of injuries, Quinn could get a chance to start before long.

21. Raimel Tapia (OF, COL, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 110 PA, .346/.355/.490, 0 HR, 6 SB, 1.8% BB rate, 10.9% K rate
ETA: Late July

22. Lucas Giolito (SP, CWS, MLB)
Stats: 21.1 IP, 6.75 ERA, 8.21 FIP, 10.9% K rate, 11.9% BB rate, .295 AVG
ETA: Late May

23. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 581 PA, .287/.410/.495, 23 HR, 0 SB, 16.7% BB rate, 17.9% K rate
ETA: Early May

24. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 326 PA, .237/.280/.431, 11 HR, 11 SB, 5.2% BB rate, 19.6% K rate
ETA: Late July

25. German Marquez (SP, COL, MLB)
Stats: 20.2 IP, 5.23 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 15.3% K rate, 6.1% BB rate, .315 AVG
ETA: Opening Day

26. Charlie Tilson (OF, CWS, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 395 PA, .282/.345/.407, 4 HR, 15 SB, 8.4% BB rate, 12.9% K rate
ETA: Late May

27. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 118 PA, .290/.347/.505, 5 HR, 5 SB, 7.6% BB rate, 22.0% K rate
ETA: Late July

28. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 69.0 IP, 5.22 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 29.3% K rate, 12.0% BB rate, .241 AVG
ETA: Mid-July

29. Chance Sisco (C, BAL, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 479 PA, .320/.406/.422, 4 HR, 2 SB, 12.3% BB rate, 17.3% K rate
ETA: Early August

30. Jae-gyun Hwang (3B, SF, NA)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early August


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