2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 14)

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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.

One week away from the All-Star Break, we have already seen several more top prospects receive a promotion to the big leagues. Dustin Fowler was promoted, and after he was injured, an even bigger New York Yankees’ outfield prospect was promoted in the form of Clint Frazier. In addition to Frazier, the Philadelphia Phillies promoted one of their top prospects Nick Williams and the St. Louis Cardinals promoted Luke Weaver. What kind of impact will they have? Be sure to check out my article tomorrow about what to expect from those recently promoted stars.

As for the rest of the prospects, there are many names still out there who could have a fantasy impact this season. And especially with trade season nearly upon us, many of the names found on this list will be tossed around in trade rumors as potential chips and could find playing time if they are shipped off to new homes. But which prospects should you be keeping an eye on? Read today’s article to find out!

 

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. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 319 PA, .308/.371/.577, 18 HR, 13 SB, 8.5% BB rate, 20.1% K rate
ETA: Late July
The top prospect to own in redraft leagues, Fisher has several potential paths to playing time down the road. He can take over for pure singles hitter Nori Aoki in left field or he could serve as a primary trade chip in a deal at the deadline should the Houston Astros decide to buy a starting pitcher. With both those potential avenues of playing time available, Fisher seems as likely a candidate as any to return to the majors where he can build off his solid start from earlier this summer and put his well above-average power/speed combination to work for fantasy owners of all leagues.

2. Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 315 PA, .281/.381/.449, 10 HR, 16 SB, 14.3% BB rate, 27.0% K rate
ETA: Early August
Moncada just continues to rake since his four-hit performance on June 16. In the 14 games since then, he owns a .315/.412/.544 slash line with three home runs and stolen bases. Most impressive has been his improved plate discipline as he has maintained his high walk rate (14.7 percent) while dropping his strikeout rate by 6.4 percent (20.6 percent). Moncada has proven he is ready for the majors, and at this point is really just waiting on the Chicago White Sox to make the phone call. Moncada — who will be representing the White Sox in the Futures Game — has been predicted by some to have a post-trade deadline call-up date. And while it would not be altogether surprising to see him up before then, owners should be patient given how long the Sox have waited already before calling up their top prospect.

3. Amed Rosario (SS, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 357 PA, .320/.361/.476, 7 HR, 14 SB, 5.6% BB rate, 16.2% K rate
ETA: Early August
New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson continues to be extremely reluctant to make even the slightest suggestion that the team will promote top prospect Amed Rosario. Though Asdrubal Cabrera vocally asked for a trade and the Mets continue to flounder far below the division-leading Washington Nationals, Alderson has repeatedly stated he currently does not have any intention of promoting Rosario to the majors. Still though, it is important to understand that for now, anything is possible. And if the Mets continue to struggle, Alderson may change his mind. Don’t run anxiously to the waivers to pick Rosario up just yet, but if you already own shares of him, there is no real need to be dropping him just yet.

4. Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 338 PA, .296/.391/.589, 19 HR, 2 SB, 13.0% BB rate, 14.8% K rate
ETA: Late July
The Phillies are 28-53, 20 games out of first place and will likely become sellers at the trade deadline. Though some have speculated they may try and add longterm pieces like Giancarlo Stanton or even Andrew McCutchen, the Phillies have other assets on their team like Tommy Joseph who stand out as potential trade candidates. If Joseph is traded, it would free up the first base position, likely making room for potential franchise first baseman Rhys Hoskins.

However, there is another potential avenue for playing time for Hoskins. As mentioned earlier, the Phillies have been linked to players like McCutchen and Stanton, and should they make a realistic push for one of those two and decide they are content with Joseph as their longterm first baseman, Hoskins could be used as trade bait. Many fantasy owners are likely salivating over the prospect of seeing Hoskins in the majors, and with many potential avenues for playing time, there is a decent chance they may see him there before the season is over.

5. Rafael Devers (3B, BOS, AA)
Stats: 297 PA, .306/.370/.590, 17 HR, 0 SB, 9.1% BB rate, 17.5% K rate
ETA: Early August
Many were nervous about Devers’ chances of reaching the majors when Jhonny Peralta was signed to the team. So far at Triple-A, Peralta is only hitting .222/.211/.444 with a 31.6 percent strikeout rate and no walks over four games. And though it’s too early to judge him just yet, he has not hit anywhere this season whether it be in the majors or minors. Devers meanwhile was recently named a member of MLB Pipeline’s team of the week and slashed .529/.600/1.176 with three home runs, two walks and no strikeouts over his past five games (20 PA). Devers has done everything in his power to warrant a promotion, and with the Boston Red Sox already having shown in the past little reluctance to promote prospects from Double-A (neither Andrew Benintendi nor Moncada played an inning of Triple-A before their promotions), Devers could be seen as the answer at third base if Peralta continues to struggle.

6. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 240 PA, .329/.404/.560, 9 HR, 8 SB, 10.0% BB rate, 20.8% K rate
ETA: Early August
Brinson was sent back down to the minors after a terrible stretch in the majors. Over 35 plate appearances spanning 14 games, Brinson slashed .097/.200/.161 with a 37.1 percent strikeout rate and 8.6 percent walk rate. Owners should be slightly nervous by his poor showing, but don’t jump ship just yet. He’s still only 23 years old and still has one of the most intriguing power/speed combinations in baseball. But he will need to push aside several prominent outfielders in order to return to a regular starting role in the majors, so owners in shallow leagues can drop Brinson for now. However owners in 12+ team leagues can keep Brinson stashed (if they have roster space) as he is just too tantalizing to drop just yet.

7. Scott Kingery (2B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 347 PA, .310/.369/.618, 22 HR, 21 SB, 8.1% BB rate, 17.3% K rate
ETA: Early August
As mentioned earlier, the Phillies could be both buyers and sellers in a sense at the deadline. As such, arguably the most impressive prospect in the minors this season has to be mentioned and that is none other than Scott Kingery. Kingery mashed Double-A Reading, hitting 18 home runs, stealing 18 bases and batting .313. And while some chalked that up to just him playing in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball, he has so far launched four home runs at Triple-A with a pair of stolen bases and is still hitting a respectable .286 (even with an unlucky .235 BABIP).

Second base is currently blocked by Cesar Hernandez, but Hernandez has been the subject of trade rumors this season. And should the Phillies go after a longterm franchise building block, either Hernandez or Kingery could be solid trade chips to acquire such a player. If the Phillies don’t swing either of the aforementioned duo at the deadline, Kingery’s value will likely go by the wayside for 2017, but he has the tools to make a major impact if something does happen.

8. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 81.0 IP, 4.22 ERA, 4.54 FIP, 22.3% K rate, 9.9% BB rate, 11.2% HR/FB, .233 AVG
ETA: Post-All Star Break
The White Sox rotation has continued to be abysmal this season, while Lopez has been starting to find some consistency on the mound with Charlotte this season. Though he had a clunker on June 24, he dazzled his last time out, pitching into the seventh inning (6.2 innings total) and only allowing one run on six hits, one walk with 11 strikeouts. He has been no ace, but he has demonstrated plenty of strikeout upside with the potential to throw the occasional gem when on the mound. And with the Sox rotation struggling as it has, it would not be too surprising to see Lopez up soon to take over one of the spots in the starting five.

9. Dominic Smith (1B, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 358 PA, .321/.377/.462, 8 HR, 0 SB, 7.8% BB rate, 17.0% K rate
ETA: Early August
If Alderson and the Mets decide to be sellers at the deadline, a name that has been the subject of many trade rumors this season has been Lucas Duda. The heir to the first base position in New York has long been viewed as Smith, and he could begin his reign as early as August 1 if Duda is dealt away. Though he has not been crushing it at hitter-friendly Las Vegas, Smith has been productive enough to at least warrant a look in 12+ team leagues should he receive the promotion.

10. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 281 PA, .248/.313/.358, 4 HR, 10 SB, 8.2% BB rate, 16.7% K rate
ETA: Mid-August
A week ago, Meadows began his rehab work. He is expected to remain out for some time, but the fact he is already beginning rehab is promising. With McCutchen’s name swirling around in trade rumors as he continues to revive his bat, there could be a spot open up in Pittsburgh for Meadows by the time he is fully healthy again. Meadows’ numbers aren’t spectacular at Triple-A, but owners have to respect the scouting reports who clamor over his power/speed combination and extremely advanced hit tool. If it looks like he will be seeing extended playing time towards the end of this season, he would be worthy of an own in most leagues just due to the upside alone.

11. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 322 PA, .316/.382/.478, 9 HR, 2 SB, 8.4% BB rate, 15.8% K rate
ETA: Early August
Guzman is on some kind of a tear as of late. Since June 5, the Rangers’ franchise first baseman has a .386/.452/.627 slash line with four home runs in just 21 games (93 PA). He has gone from more of a contact-hitting first baseman to a well-rounded bat who has now channeled some of his raw power. Guzman has certainly done enough to warrant a promotion and with the Texas Rangers 16 games out of first place and considering selling at the deadline, they may opt to move bats like Shin-Soo Choo and Mike Napoli to free up a spot for their 22-year-old prospect. If he does get the call up, his ability to reach base at a high rate combined with his newfound power could make him an enticing prospect to own in 12+ team leagues.

12. Zach Granite (OF, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 264 PA, .367/.420/.508, 3 HR, 17 SB, 8.0% BB rate, 10.2% K rate
ETA: Early August
Though Byron Buxton has for the longest time been the Minnesota Twins’ outfield prospect to know, Granite is quickly making a name for himself. He has enjoyed a breakout season at Triple-A and now is just biding his time until Minnesota decides to make the call up. The Twins are actually in playoff contention, but they could still become sellers at the deadline and look to move their current left fielder Eddie Rosario to free up space on their roster for Granite. However, they could also look to become buyers and use Granite as a trade chip. There are several possible avenues for Granite to find playing time, so owners who are looking for outfield depth and stolen base help could soon find a guy like Granite helpful should he receive the promotion.

13. Steven Brault (SP, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 88.1 IP, 2.04 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 23.3% K rate, 8.4% BB rate, 5.3% HR/FB, .214 AVG
ETA: Early August
Gerrit Cole has started to pitch better as of late, but with the Pirates still scuffling overall, Cole’s recent success seems to indicate he could become a trade candidate again. If he is dealt, Brault seems like the most likely arm to receive the call up to take his place. But with arms like Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams also pitching better of late, a trade of one of the five arms could be Brault’s best chance to see enough time this season to have an impact in mixed leagues. Brault has the strikeout upside owners would love to see in pitching prospects, but the paths to playing time are starting to look limited.

14. Destin Hood (OF, MIA, AAA)
Stats: 254 PA, .260/.349/.498, 14 HR, 5 SB, 12.2% BB rate, 26.0% K rate
ETA: Early August
It seems that every outfielder for the Miami Marlins has been subject to some trade rumors over the past couple weeks, and that makes a guy like Hood an interesting player to watch. The 27-year-old has been toiling in the minors for a long time, but he has finally seemed to find his power stroke at Triple-A, building off a 15-homer season a year ago. With his power and respectable speed, he could be a solid add in 14+ team leagues should a Marlin outfielder find themselves leaving Miami.

15. Sal Romano (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 47.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 14.0% K rate, 7.0% BB rate, 2.3% HR/FB, .254 AVG
ETA: Thursday
Romano was announced as the Cincinnati Reds’ starter for Thursday’s game. But he hasn’t been added to the active roster just yet, so he still qualifies for this list. Romano has been in the majors for one other start this season, and it did not go well as he lasted only three innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks with only two strikeouts. His stuff is solid enough that he should be counted on to do better this time around, though owners are going to be warned that he is a heavy sinkerballer, and thus is more of a groundball pitcher and not as much of a strikeout pitcher. Still, if he can force his way into the Reds’ weak starting rotation, he could be a solid innings-eater in 14+ team leagues.

16. Chris Shaw (1B/OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 293 PA, .301/.355/.538, 14 HR, 0 SB, 7.5% BB rate, 20.8% K rate
ETA: Early August
Shaw has earned a spot on this list, not just for his breakout 2017 campaign, but also for the latest news from Jon Morosi of MLB.com that Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford are the only untouchables on the market. That leaves several potential openings for Shaw as a trade of Brandon Belt or Hunter Pence could free up a spot in the regular lineup for Shaw to start in the big leagues. And with his power and ability to make consistent contact, Shaw could be a solid add in mixed leagues if he gets a chance to play in the majors.

17. Carson Kelly (C, STL, AAA)
Stats: 237 PA, .284/.371/.457, 8 HR, 0 SB, 11.4% BB rate, 15.2% K rate
ETA: Mid-August
Kelly is one of the more interesting names on this list in that there is no super clear path to playing time for him unless a) Yadier Molina is injured or b) Kelly is traded. If someone forced me to put money on one or the other, I’d probably put it on option b as the Cardinals have been rumored as potential buyers at the deadline. And with Molina signed for a couple more years, Kelly does not have a clear path to starting time for a number of years. But he has clearly demonstrated he is ready for the majors, and could have a real impact if something does happen and he gets to start in the big leagues. And for that reason, he needs to be watched in most formats, especially with catcher proving to have few impact bats right now.

18. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 98.0 IP, 1.65 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 27.1% K rate, 5.1% BB rate, 6.5% HR/FB, .194 AVG
ETA: Early August
If the Reds aren’t happy with Romano and decide to give another youngster a try, there’s a decent chance Mahle will be their guy. Mahle has flown up prospect lists this season after truly dominating Double-A to the tune of a 1.59 ERA and 2.57 FIP (including a perfect game). He has not only maintained his stellar command which has followed him to every level, but he has now increased his strikeout rate to well above 25 percent for the first time in his career. His stuff does not suggest a future ace, but scouts have always praised him for his pitchability and compared him to former Reds pitcher Mike Leake. He could be a rotation option for the team later this season and could be a decent add in deeper leagues if he proves he can stick on the MLB roster.

19. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 328 PA, .271/.369/.418, 7 HR, 11 SB, 13.1% BB rate, 19.5% K rate
ETA: Early August
The Tampa Bay Rays have a crowded outfield this season, with standout players like Corey Dickerson, Steven Souza, Colby Rasmus and Kevin Kiermaier all enjoying great seasons. But another outfielder performing well for the Rays has come from Triple-A with Bauers showing off an advanced approach to the plate and a budding power/speed combination. Though he has a long row to hoe in order to find playing time in the majors, he could be a trade chip if Tampa decides to be buyers at the deadline or could benefit from the Rays selling if someone like Souza, Dickerson or Rasmus gets dealt to another contender. Though he is not the most exciting prospect out there, Bauers comes with little risk thanks to that approach and could be valuable in deep leagues if he finds himself starting in the big leagues.

20. Magneuris Sierra (OF, STL, AA)
Stats: 237 PA, .300/.339/.436, 1 HR, 12 SB, 5.1% BB rate, 16.0% K rate
ETA: Early August
Already having seen eight games in the majors, Sierra has emerged as a clear candidate for playing time in the Cardinals’ outfield should anyone go down with an injury. Though they are loaded with depth including four active MLBers (Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk) and prospects (Harrison Bader and Randy Aarozarena), the team has shown a liking towards Sierra who has impressed in his short time in the majors. And with his near-elite speed and ability to make consistent contact, Sierra would make for an exciting addition to many fantasy teams should he receive an extended look in the majors.

21. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 87.2 IP, 1.85 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 26.0% K rate, 9.8% BB rate, 5.8% HR/FB, .172 AVG
ETA: September

22. A.J. Reed (1B, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 326 PA, .240/.334/.435, 13 HR, 0 SB, 12.0% BB rate, 27.3% K rate
ETA: September

23. Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 336 PA, .285/.330/.447, 7 HR, 20 SB, 6.0% BB rate, 20.2% K rate
ETA: September

24. Zack Burdi (RP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 31.0 IP, 4.35 ERA, 2.77 FIP 34.8% K rate, 10.6% BB rate, 9.5% HR/FB, .236 AVG
ETA: Late July

25. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 180 PA, .329/.436/.436, 3 HR, 0 SB, 15.6% BB rate, 13.9% K rate
ETA: September

26. Tom Eshelman (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 100.0 IP, 2.43 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 18.1% K rate, 3.4% BB rate, 9.5% HR/FB, .229 AVG
ETA: Early August

27. Lucas Sims (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 90.0 IP, 4.00 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 26.0% K rate, 8.1% BB rate, 17.2% HR/FB, .229 AVG
ETA: Mid-August

28. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 339 PA, .308/.378/.477, 6 HR, 8 SB, 10.0% BB rate, 21.8% K rate
ETA: September

29. Nicky Delmonico (1B/OF, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 337 PA, .276/.362/.455, 11 HR, 3 SB, 11.0% BB rate, 15.7% K rate
ETA: September

30. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 285 PA, .305/.382/.394, 2 HR, 1 SB, 11.2% BB rate, 13.0% K rate
ETA: September

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)

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

3. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

4. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE)

5. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

6. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

7. Jordan Montgomery (SP, NYY)

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

9. Matt Davidson (3B, CWS)

10. Ben Gamel (OF, SEA)

11. Raimel Tapia (OF, COL)

12. Jacob Faria (SP, TB)

13. German Marquez (SP, COL)

14. Jeff Hoffman (SP, COL)

15. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

16. Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC)

17. Koda Glover (RP, WAS)

18. Brian Goodwin (OF, WAS)

19. Paul DeJong (2B/SS, STL)

20. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY)