2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 11)

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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.

I know that you all — like me — watched the MLB draft on Monday . . . and casually tuned in throughout the day on Tuesday. Were any of you shocked to see Royce Lewis go first overall? I was, though his name had come up in the days getting closer to the draft as speculation grew that Brendan McKay’s price tag would be too high.

If you would like to know their dynasty value, be sure to check out my two-part article series about those guys taken in the first round of the draft, with the first article already out and the second article coming tomorrow. But for now, let’s get into the guys who can help out more in redraft leagues for this season.

Editor's note: Get a free one-week MLB Premium Pass including our famous Lineup Optimizer/Generator, Premium Matchup Ratings, DFS Lineups, Cheat Sheets, and 10 other tools. Sign Up Now!

 

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. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT)
Stats: 256 PA, .253/.313/.356, 3 HR, 9 SB, 7.8% BB rate, 18.4% K rate
ETA: Late June
Don’t look now, but Meadows is starting to get things going at the plate. Over his last 18 games, he has slashed .303/.357/.421, swiped three bags and launched one home run. The power hasn’t really come along as many would like to see, but he has shown outstanding plate discipline for a 22-year-old at Triple-A and has done an impressive job turning around what been a rough start to the season for him. If the Pirates go through with their selling mission and trade Andrew McCutchen, a permanent spot will be open in the Buccos’ outfield. And with the other players in the top three really struggling to hit as of late, Meadows has emerged as the top fantasy prospect available.

2. Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 231 PA, .278/.372/.434, 7 HR, 13 SB, 13.4% BB rate, 28.6% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
Since returning from his injury on May 26, Moncada has not been the same, slashing just .153/.311/.271 with a homer and three steals. The 31.1 percent strikeout rate hasn’t helped, though he has walked at a remarkable 18.9 percent over that time span. What’s wrong with Moncada? It’s possible that thumb injury has really siphoned away his ability to make hard contact. Whatever the issue, he needs to rectify it fast, or he will see his chances of reaching Chicago this season dwindle.

3. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 261 PA, .275/.312/.447, 8 HR, 3 SB, 4.2% BB rate, 31.8% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
Though Moncada has struggled since May 26, so too has Barreto. With only a pair of homers, a .175/.175/.302 slash line, no walks and a 46 percent strikeout rate, Barreto has arguably been worse than Moncada as the peripherals don’t indicate he’s just been unlucky. While Moncada has a .222 BABIP over that span, Barreto’s is .281 (fairly decent) and he has seemingly lost all plate discipline. Maybe the 21-year-old is starting to face some long-overdue struggles at the level. Regardless, the promise he received earlier this season of a promotion may not hold up if Barreto does not turn his cold spell around.

4. Tom Murphy (C, COL, AAA)
Stats: 26 PA, .375/.667, 1 HR, 0 SB, 3.8% BB rate, 30.8% K rate
ETA: Next week
It’s finally happening. Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black said Tuesday that Murphy is expected back in “a week to 10 days.” Murphy has shown everything in his rehab stint he has displayed throughout his MiLB career: power and a high batting average despite an insane strikeout rate. But the catcher position has again been a disappointment, and even if Murphy can be the catching equivalent of Ryan Schimpf, owners will be more than happy to start him in all two-catcher leagues and all 12+ team leagues.

5. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 270 PA, .333/.401/.608, 16 HR, 12 SB, 9.3% BB rate, 19.6% K rate
ETA: Early August
If he had a clearer path to playing time, Fisher would be No. 1 on this list. Arguably no prospect in baseball has been more impressive this season from a numbers perspective. He has reduced his strikeout rate from well over 20 percent last season (28.6 percent in 448 PA at Double-A; 22.0 percent in 118 PA at Triple-A). And still to this day, he is the only player at Triple-A with double-digit home run and stolen base totals. Oh, and his wOBA of .430 ranks him fourth at the level . . . and he is the youngest player in the top five. He seems a good bet to start at some point this season in the majors, when remains the only question. And with his electric power/speed discipline, he could be a really exciting add in all formats.

Editor's note: Fisher was promoted to the big league club on Wednesday, in the wake of Josh Reddick going through concussion protocol. He has a chance to have a lasting impact and replace Nori Aoki in left field permanently if he can perform well in place of Reddick. 

6. Gleyber Torres (SS, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 215 PA, .266/.367/.457, 7 HR, 7 SB, 13.0% BB rate, 20.5% K rate
ETA: Early August
Torres now has the path to playing time. He just now needs to make the most of it in Triple-A. The Yankees want him to succeed at third base and replace Chase Headley at the position, but early reports suggest Torres still has work to be done defensively at the hot corner, and his 30.3 percent strikeout rate and .254/.368/.381 slash line at Triple-A suggest he still needs to adjust to the new level at the dish as well. His .333/.387/.593 slash line and two homers over the past week suggest he is starting to turn things around, but it will take more than a week for the Bronx Bombers to be convinced their next franchise bat (and 20-year-old) is ready for the promotion to the big leagues.

7. Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 253 PA, .298/.395/.591, 14 HR, 2 SB, 13.4% BB rate, 15.4% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
This guy has been knocking the cover off the ball all season. At least, he had been before June rolled around. Since the start of the month, he has only one home run and has a .211/.318/.368. He has only an 11.4 percent strikeout rate and sparkling 13.6 percent walk rate over that time, but he needs to be better if he’s going to be called up, especially if he’s going to push aside the streaky Tommy Joseph, who is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak (.353/.353/.500 slash in that span).

8. Amed Rosario (SS, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 277 PA, .337/.379/.494, 6 HR, 11 SB, 5.4% BB rate, 15.9% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
“Why isn’t Rosario higher?” seems to be a question I get asked rather frequently. Sure, he’s hitting the ball really well, but he’s doing it at one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in Triple-A and arguably the most hitter-friendly league in the minors. So I don’t really believe the power is for real. I also am wary of the Mets reluctance thus far to promote him despite him being worthy of a call seemingly for months (at least, according to statistics). I think he will be called up soon, but his profile is more real-life exciting than fantasy exciting. I would also remind people Dansby Swanson had a similar profile when he was first called up, and he hasn’t exactly torn things up.

9. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 66.0 IP, 3.82 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 21.4% K rate, 9.8% BB rate, 9.5% HR/FB, .228 AVG
ETA: Early July
Lopez had a minor hiccup on May 26, but has been absolutely shutdown for all of his other seven starts since April 30. Beyond that one hiccup, he has allowed three earned runs just once in those aforementioned seven starts and has limited the walks, walking more than one just twice in those starts. So far this season, only the Braves and Reds have had worse rotations than the White Sox according to fWAR, so there should be room in that starting five for him, especially as they start to look more towards the future and get some of their younger guys some MLB experience.

10. Matt Chapman (3B, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 199 PA, .254/.337/.590, 16 HR, 5 SB, 11.1% BB rate, 31.7% K rate
ETA: Late July
The second member of Nashville’s infield to make this list, Chapman — unlike his teammate Barreto — has been tearing up the minors as of late. He is currently riding a 10-game hitting streak. Over those 10 games, he has five home runs, a stolen base and a stellar .317/.378/.732 slash line. He is striking out over a third of the time during that span, but whiffs will always be a part of his game. But so will dingers, and if he can keep providing those if he reaches the majors (that likely only happens if Trevor Plouffe departs the team), he could be valuable in plenty of redraft leagues.

11. Rafael Devers (3B, BOS, AAA)
Stats: 223 PA, .307/.368/.540, 10 HR, 0 SB, 9.0% BB rate, 17.9% K rate
ETA: Early August
You want to talk about having a good month, check out Devers has done in June thus far. He has accumulated a .400/.432/.714 slash line with an extremely low 13.5 percent strikeout rate and a pair of homers in nine games thus far. He also has multi-hit games in all but four of those games. The concern with promoting him right now is that it is just Double-A and he is only 20 years old.

But with Boston now trailing their rival Yankees by four games and their third basemen posting the lowest fWAR in the majors (-0.8), they really could use all the help they could get. And rather than trade for a third baseman outside the system, they may opt to reach from within and test Devers at the highest level. If he does receive that promotion, he would be worth a speculative add in all 12+ teams as a stash to see how he adjusts to the majors, but would be worth an own in all leagues if he lives up to the hype scouts have set for him.

12. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 253 PA, .304/.368/.435, 5 HR, 1 SB, 7.9% BB rate, 15.8% K rate
ETA: Late July
Looking at the other corner infield position for another team struggling to catch their rivals, the Texas Rangers currently sport the third lowest fWAR at first base among all teams, and it’s clear they too could use a boost at the position. And with Guzman posting a .343/.395/.429 slash line in June, he is clearly hitting his stride at the right time. Guzman doesn’t have much pop, but he has a remarkably disciplined approach for a 22-year-old playing at Triple-A, and has absolutely mashed righties this season to the tune of a .323/.398/.472 slash line with four homers. Collectively, Rangers’ first basemen are batting .187 with nine homers against right-handers. Guzman might initially serve as little more than a platoon with Mike Napoli, but he could soon take over as the full time first baseman even before 2018 rolls around.

13. Dominic Smith (1B, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 280 PA< .315/.364/.465, 7 HR, 0 SB, 6.8% BB rate, 17.1% K rate
ETA: Early August
This player’s value hinges entirely on a trade or injury to Lucas Duda. Smith has hit enough to warrant a call up to the majors, but Duda has played very well this season. But it’s Duda’s walk year and the Mets are 9.5 games behind the Nationals already. Duda could be on the trade block this season, potentially freeing up a spot for Smith. And with his pop and reliable approach at the plate, Smith could be ready to make an impact at the big-league level.

14. Jae-Gyun Hwang (3B, SF, AAA)
Stats: 245 PA, .291/.322/.478, 6 HR, 5 SB, 4.5% BB rate, 20.8% K rate
ETA: Late June
This has been a season to forget for San Francisco. They are 14 games out of first place, still missing their ace and their top prospect — Christian Arroyo — struggled mightily in his first taste of big-league action. What happens next might be the promotion of Korean slugger Jae-Gyun Hwang who has been nothing if not consistent in the minors this season. And before he has the chance to opt out of his contract on July 1, Hwang could be promoted to help fill the gap in left field for the Giants, NBC Sports’ Alex Pavlovic reported. Hwang will not excited as he comes without much power or speed, but his ability to hit for a consistent average could make him a valuable depth piece, especially if he hits enough to nab a starting role with the club.

15. Jeimer Candelario (3B, CHC, AAA)
Stats: 212 PA, .265/.354/.503, 7 HR, 0 SB, 11.3% BB rate, 22.2% K rate
ETA: Early August
Candelario’s value hinges entirely on a trade. Unlike with other teams where an injury could free open a spot, an injury to either of Candelario’s primary positions likely just open up a spot for one of the other Cubs’ stud players. Luckily for owners, Candelario stands out as the team’s top trade asset, and the Cubs certainly need to start making some changes as they are still neck-and-neck with Milwaukee for the top spot in the NL Central. His already advanced approach and blooming power make him a guy with a solid chance to start on many other teams in the majors, and also makes him an attractive potential fantasy player.

16. Clay Holmes (SP, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 50.2 IP, 3.73 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 24.2% K rate, 11.0% BB rate, 3.8% HR/FB, .268 AVG
ETA: Mid-July
Tyler Glasnow was recently demoted to Triple-A and Trevor Williams recently endured another rough outing (though he had been solid in several prior outings). Holmes, meanwhile, has actually been quite solid at Triple-A this season and has emerged as a potential depth starter for Pittsburgh. His command has remained a bit shaky this season, but he’s missing a ton of bats and could be in Pittsburgh if the team feels the need to replace someone or trade a starter at the deadline. And with his strikeout upside, Holmes should at least remain an intriguing fantasy option to own in some redraft leagues.

17. Luke Weaver (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 46.1 IP, 2.33 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 28.5% K rate, 5.0% BB rate, 7.1% HR/FB, .218 AVG
ETA: Late July
Weaver left Sunday’s game with an undisclosed injury. He wasn’t having a great start, but his overall season numbers have been amazing. He still requires an injury or trade to give him fantasy value, so even before the injury, he was a risky (and not recommended) stash. Now, it will be as important as ever to monitor his situation.

18. Carson Kelly (C, STL, AAA)
Stats: 179 PA, .301/.391/.500, 7 HR, 0 SB, 11.7% BB rate, 14.0% K rate
ETA: Early August
There are several avenues of playing time for Kelly, though none are terribly plausible as of yet. He could be traded, but the Cardinals like him as their next franchise catcher. Yadier Molina could get injured, but he has played at least 130 games in all but one of his past eight seasons. Kelly’s bat at catcher is so exciting that he at least needs to be monitored in the event either of these scenarios take place, but he is still not yet worthy of a stash unless clear signs point to a future role in the majors.

19. A.J. Reed (1B, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 257 PA, .265/.354/.478, 11 HR, 0 SB, 11.7% BB rate, 27.2% K rate
ETA: Early August
I’m convinced at this point that Reed’s best shot at playing time would be to follow his teammate Derek Fisher in a potential trade. Reed has performed admirably, though not spectacularly at Triple-A, and it is clear the Astros aren’t going to give him a shot until he starts tearing things up. He has been mashing of late though, blasting a home run in each of his past three games (four of his last five) and has a respectable .262/.311/.595 slash line and improved 17.8 percent strikeout rate since the start of June. But that’s probably not enough to force the Astros’ hand at the big-league level just yet unless Yulieski Gurriel gets hurt.

20. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 70.2 IP, 1.78 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 26.1% K rate, 9.8% BB rate, 7.2% HR/FB, .167 AVG
ETA: Early August
Masahiro Tanaka finally put in a quality effort on Monday, but the season has still been a rough one for him thus far. And by no means do I want to suggest they will bump Tanaka from the rotation and take a chance on the rookie, but it is possible something has been physically bothering Tanaka and they may opt to rest him on the DL for a time and give Adams a shot at the rotation for a cycle or two through. Adams could also prove to be an enticing trade candidate, and could be a starter with nearly any other team that acquires him. But without a crystal clear path to PT right now, he can be avoided in all leagues for now.

21. Lucas Giolito (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 63.0 IP, 4.86 ERA, 4.85 FIP, 22.7% K rate, 11.4% BB rate, 16.4% HR/FB, .255 AVG
ETA: Early August

22. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 63.1 IP, 4.12 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 22.6% K rate, 7.2% BB rate, 11.1% HR/FB, .248 AVG
ETA: Early July

23. Brent Honeywell (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 66.2 IP, 4.18 ERA, 3.11 FIP, 30.0% K rate, 5.4% BB rate, 12.9% HR/FB, .259 AVG
ETA: Mid-August

24. Patrick Weigel (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 68.0 IP, 3.57 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 21.3% K rate, 8.4% BB rate, 5.6% HR/FB, .251 AVG
ETA: Early August

25. Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 247 PA, .262/.311/.391, 3 HR, 15 SB, 6.1% BB rate, 20.6% K rate
ETA: Early September

26. Zack Burdi (RP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 23.1 IP, 5.01 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 30.6% K rate, 11.7% BB rate, 0.0% HR/FB, .242 AVG
ETA: Late July

27. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 163 PA, .318/.438/.439, 3 HR, 0 SB, 17.2% BB rate, 13.5% K rate
ETA: Early August

28. Tom Eshelman (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 81.0 IP, 2.11 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 18.9% K rate, 3.2% BB rate, 7.6% HR/FB, .219 AVG
ETA: Late July

29. Lucas Sims (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 69.0 IP, 3.65 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 24.7% K rate, 7.5% BB rate, 11.0% HR/FB, .212 AVG
ETA: Early August

30. Charlie Tilson (OF, CWS, DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early July

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)

2. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD)

3. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

4. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

5. Chad Pinder (2B, OAK)

6. Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC)

7. Jordan Montgomery (SP, NYY)

8. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE)

9. Koda Glover (RP, WAS)

10. Jeff Hoffman (SP, COL)

11. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

12. Ian Happ (2B/OF, CHC)

13. Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)

14. German Marquez (SP, COL)

15. Kyle Freeland (SP, COL)

16. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL)

17. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD)

18. Carl Edwards Jr. (RP, CHC)

19. Ben Gamel (OF, SEA)

20. Matt Davidson (3B, CWS)

 

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