2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 17)

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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.

This has been a busy week for prospect promotions. The Chicago White Sox promoted top prospect Yoan Moncada to the big leagues just minutes after trading away Todd Frazier. The Houston Astros promoted Derek Fisher to serve temporarily as George Springer’s replacement (although it would not surprise me at all to see him stick in left field when Springer returns). And of course, the most shocking revelation, the Boston Red Sox promoted Rafael Devers, who made his MLB debut last night against the Seattle Mariners.

But if you thought this week was busy for prospect promotions, just wait until next week. With the trade deadline officially coming next Monday, teams will be reloading their rosters throughout that day as well as on Tuesday, and probably throughout the whole rest of the week. It could be a busy time for that waiver wire!

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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. Amed Rosario (SS, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 398 PA, .329/.367/.473, 7 HR, 17 SB, 5.3% BB rate, 14.8% K rate
ETA: August 1
I would bet quite a bit that Rosario is not long for this list. It has been widely suggested the New York Mets are going to start selling, and if they do, guys like Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes could be on the move. If it’s not via trade, it could even just be via the Pablo Sandoval route and they may just be DFA’d. The reason for this is because it has been widely reported that the Mets believe Rosario is now big-league ready and want to get him into their lineup. He is no Moncada in terms of fantasy upside, but he has the ability to hit for a high average and swipe plenty of bases. It is about time to start stashing him, if he hasn’t been stashed already.

2. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 307 PA, .345/.417/.569, 10 HR, 11 SB, 10.1% BB rate, 18.9% K rate
ETA: Late July/Early August
The Milwaukee Brewers made the decision to option Keon Broxton after he has gone 3-for-47 over the past several weeks. For now, Brett Phillips will be the presumed starter in center field, but Phillips shares the same major flaw as Broxton (tons of strikeouts) and therefore could be the same streaky player Broxton was. And with Brinson tormenting Triple-A pitchers and starkly reducing his strikeout rate, Brinson could soon be on his way up from Colorado Springs. If he reaches the big leagues again, don’t expect him to struggle the way he did in his first taste, and be ready to add him in nearly all leagues.

3. Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 410 PA, .282/.376/.561, 23 HR, 3 SB, 12.4% BB rate, 16.1% K rate
ETA: August 1
Hoskins continues to put together an outstanding campaign coming right on the heels of a breakout season in 2016, and is likely on his way to a second half promotion. The Philadelphia Phillies have Tommy Joseph at first base currently, but he is an affordable first baseman who could still have value to an American League team as either a DH or first baseman. They should not have too much of an issue trying to get him moved. Should the Phillies find a way to send Joseph out of Philadelphia, it appears the clear favorite to inherit the spot in the lineup is Hoskins. It is not often a first base prospect is worth a stash, but Hoskins is that special of a bat that owners in 14+ team leagues may want to start stashing him already. Once he reaches the majors, owners in all leagues will likely want some stock in Hoskins.

4. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 365 PA, .269/.320/.424, 11 HR, 6 SB, 5.8% BB rate, 29.6% K rate
ETA: August 1
Barreto has already seen time in the majors before being sent back down to the minors. Though the batting average hasn’t been there for him in the minors since his demotion, he has added three homers and two stolen bases to his totals in just 12 games back down, and could be back up if the Oakland Athletics complete the trade of Jed Lowrie. It had been reported earlier in the year that once Lowrie was gone, Barreto was going to be back up in the majors. He may not have hit well, but if he returns to the majors, Barreto’s skill set lends itself well to fantasy teams as he is both a solid power hitter and a solid runner. He has enough upside to warrant stashes in 12+ team leagues.

5. Luke Weaver (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 66.0 IP, 1.91 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 27.3% K rate, 5.5% BB rate, 4.5% HR/FB, .202 AVG
ETA: August 1
With reports that the St. Louis Cardinals are heavily shopping Lance Lynn, stock for Weaver should be going through the roof. Weaver has been nothing short of sensational this season at Triple-A, and has been deserving of a starting spot in a rotation for a long time now. Conveniently, the day he starts just so happens to align perfectly with Lynn’s spot in the rotation. A deal still needs to be struck for Lynn before Weaver is a must-own prospect, but it certainly has that feeling that he is getting there.

6. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 106.0 IP, 3.65 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 23.8% K rate, 8.9% BB rate, 10.2% HR/FB, .221 AVG
ETA: Late July/Early August
It is a tad surprising to me that Lopez has not been promoted already. After Jose Quintana was traded, it seemed to be the perfect time for a call-up of the Chicago White Sox’s most MLB-ready pitcher. Especially given the way Lopez has pitched of late, registering a 1.71 ERA and 2.40 FIP over his last five starts (31.2 innings) with just six walks and 39 strikeouts. Reports suggest the White Sox brass is mulling whether to promote Lopez, Carson Fulmer or Lucas Giolito. And if you’ve seen the numbers on the latter two, you’ll know Lopez deserves to be the front-runner.

7. Dominic Smith (1B, NYM
Stats: 440 PA, .337/.391/.526, 15 HR, 0 SB, 7.5% BB rate, 15.9% K rate
ETA: August 1
Another Mets’ prospect likely to be affected by the trade deadline, Smith stands to benefit the most from a potential Lucas Duda trade. Which, if you’ve been following the news, seems more and more likely to happen with each passing day. Duda is in his walk year, has expressed interest in testing free agency and the Mets have fallen behind the Atlanta Braves in the standings. That’s not good. So if Duda is moved, Smith, who has been having a strong season at Las Vegas, seems like the most likely guy to be called up. He already has set a career-high in home runs, has career-highs across the board on his triple-slash line and is still striking out less than 16 percent of the time. He’s not as exciting a first base prospect as Hoskins, but he would be a solid own for fantasy owners should he get his shot at the majors.

8. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 103.1 IP, 19.2 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 24.2% K rate, 10.2% BB rate, 6.0% HR/FB, .173 AVG
ETA: Early August
It would be very surprising to me now that Michael Pineda is out if Adams does not get a look in the rotation at some point. Over his last seven starts (32.2 IP), Adams has been on fire, posting a 2.20 ERA and 3.50 FIP while going at least five innings in five of the seven starts. He is not a future ace, but he does not have to be given the rate he misses bats and controls the zone. His stuff is not great and could lead him to the occasional bad game in the majors, but he should be a solid No. 3, Jordan Montgomery-esque add for fantasy owners.

9. Scott Kingery (2B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 420 PA, .303/.361/.576, 23 HR, 26 SB, 7.9% BB rate, 17.4% K rate
ETA: August 1/September
Kingery has moved up the list, but really only by default. Though he has continued to have an outstanding, breakout campaign, he is a highly risky asset because there is still a good chance he will not be promoted even if the requisite trades take place. He is not on the 40-man roster, and does not need protection from the Rule 5 Draft until next season. If he is promoted, his power/speed combination at second base would warrant ownership in all formats. But he is too risky of an asset to advise stashing.

10. Marco Gonzales (SP, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 80.1 IP, 2.91 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 21.8% K rate, 5.7% BB rate, 8.3% HR/FB, .210 AVG
ETA: Early August
Once considered one of the top pitching prospects in the game, Gonzales was almost treated as one when the St. Louis Cardinals dealt him to acquire Tyler O’Neill — one of the top outfield prospects in the game. Gonzales has seen the past several years of his career marred by injuries, but an uptick in velocity and a still lethal changeup make him an intriguing option in fantasy leagues. Some are speculating he will grab a rotation spot after a few starts in the minors, but that awaits to be seen. If his stuff is truly back, he could be worth a flier in 14+ team leagues, and even some shallower leagues if he gets off to a hot start in the majors.

11. Erick Fedde (SP, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 77.1 IP, 3.72 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 21.7% K rate, 6.6% BB rate, 12.3% HR/FB, .240 AVG
ETA: Early August
Fedde has spent a lot of 2017 working in the bullpen, but the Washington Nationals are now stretching him out again to start. With the rotation vacancy left by Joe Ross (Tommy John surgery), Fedde remains one of the leading candidates to fill the spot for the longterm as the Nationals are unlikely to trade for a starting pitcher considering they have bigger needs to address at the deadline (e.g. their bullpen). Fedde is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the game and has the stuff to succeed at the next level. The strikeouts haven’t been there for him as much this season, but he’s too talented of a pitching prospect to totally ignore. He is worth a speculative grab in some 12- and 14-team leagues.

12. Chris Shaw (1B/OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 366 PA, .289/.347/.500, 15 HR, 0 SB, 7.9% BB rate, 23.2% K rate
ETA: August 1
It has been a season to forget for the San Francisco Giants, there’s no doubt about that. But Shaw has had a season to remember, and could potentially help make the season more memorable at the big-league level. With the way Shaw has hit, and now adding the outfield to his repertoire, Shaw could be up in the majors manning left field at some point if the Giants make some space for him by clearing out someone like Denard Span (shift Austin Slater to center) or Hunter Pence (shift Slater to right) and then bring Shaw up. If he does reach the majors, Shaw has plenty of thump to play well even in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

13. Jeimer Candelario (1B/3B, CHC, AAA)
Stats: 307 PA, .258/.352/.491, 10 HR, 0 SB, 12.1% BB rate, 22.5% K rate
ETA: August 1
The Chicago Cubs are starting to heat up again and are now hovering right around that top spot in the division again. Despite clicking on all cylinders, the Cubs are likely not done shopping and may still look to add some pieces at the deadline. After pulling off that deal with the Chicago White Sox, the only real piece left in that farm system is Candelario, who almost certainly will be the key piece in any deal. Candelario has the bat to have an impact in both a big-league and fantasy lineup, so a trade could prove to be just as valuable to him as it might be to other teams. He has 20-homer pop and the ability to hit a .260-.280 batting average if he has full playing time, and could be a solid add in 14+ team leagues if he gets dealt away.

14. Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, AAA)
Stats: 410 PA, .350/.393/.572, 15 HR, 11 SB, 7.1% BB rate, 18.0% K rate
ETA: Early August
There’s probably no one who has made as much of a mockery of Triple-A pitchers as McMahon does. He crushed Double-A pitching, posting a .326/.390/.536 slash line with six homers in 49 games. It didn’t look like he could do much better at Triple-A. And yet, he has. In 45 games at Albuquerque, he owns a .373/.395/.606 slash line with nine homers and has lowered his strikeout rate by 1.9 percent. Not only is he hitting well, but he has demonstrated some defensive versatility, now adding second base to his defensive repertoire. Most see him as a first baseman, but in Coors Field, he will still hit enough to be valuable there. Playing time looks tough for him to find at the moment, but he is a special bat and owners have to be at least aware of the fantasy upside he has. After all, baseball is a funny game and anything can happen.

15. Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 421 PA, .287/.330/.447, 9 HR, 21 SB, 5.9% BB rate, 20.2% K rate
ETA: Early August/September
There are several paths to playing time for Albies. Brandon Phillips could be traded at the deadline and Albies could be his replacement. Dansby Swanson could be demoted to the minors and Albies could be his replacement. He is only 20 years old, however, so it is tough to suggest he is going to see the majors for any impactful time before September. But both qualifying as a middle-infielder and being a true-70-grade burner on the bases, Albies could really help fantasy rosters in both the stolen base and batting average fields if promoted. So don’t stash him just yet, but make sure to follow up on the Braves’ plans for their two current middle infielders.

16. Christin Stewart (OF, DET, AA)
Stats: 386 PA, .266/.347/.518, 20 HR, 3 SB, 10.4% BB rate, 26.7% K rate
ETA: Early August
Following the trade of J.D. Martinez, it is clear the Detroit Tigers are starting to head towards a possible rebuild. It is also clear that there is now an opening in the outfield in Detroit. Stewart is only at Double-A, but the numbers are certainly eye-popping. And at 23 years old, he is the kind of age a rebuilding team like the Tigers might want to see in the majors. Stewart has the power to have an impact if he gets called up, so while there is no indication the Tigers are going to call him up soon, he is a name worth keeping an eye on.

17. Destin Hood (OF, MIA, AAA)
Stats: 254 PA, .260/.349/.498, 14 HR, 5 SB, 12.2% BB rate, 26.0% K rate
ETA: August 1
The Miami Marlins continue to be the subject of near-constant trade rumors, especially with regards to their trio of outfielders. All three — Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton — would make any outfield in baseball better and could all fetch a substantial return for Miami. Of course, it still awaits to be seen if a trade of any of those three does happen. Should a trade for one of the three All-Star caliber outfielders go down, Hood seems the most likely candidate to be promoted and take the outfield spot. He may not hit for a great average, but the power upside is there, which should be worth something in some leagues.

18. 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
With the Pittsburgh Pirates looking unlikely to sell, Meadows’ path to playing time is starting to look narrower. Andrew McCutchen now looks locked into Pittsburgh’s lineup and Starling Marte is back. But Gregory Polanco is now on the DL, and there is still no timetable for his return. Meadows is dealing with his own injury, but he has begun the rehab process and could start to get closer to returning to Triple-A. If Meadows beats Polanco back to full health, he could emerge as a viable candidate to replace him temporarily. Meadows still has the potential to have a major impact on a fantasy roster just with his power/speed upside, but he is not a recommended stash as it still requires a few things for him to reach the bigs.

19. Yandy Diaz (3B/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 254 PA, .335/.437/.453, 4 HR, 0 SB, 15.0% BB rate, 15.7% K rate
ETA: Early August
The Cleveland Indians have been dealing with a litany of injuries, currently trudging along without second baseman Jason Kipnis or outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Austin Jackson. Guys are filling in admirably, but at some point, Diaz should start to emerge into the fold of guys who could receive playing time. He has been crushing Triple-A pitching — albeit without much power — and is the type of utility player they could really use. If Kipnis’ injury keeps him out for a while, expect to see Diaz reach the majors shortly after the deadline.

20. Tom Murphy (C, COL, AAA)
Stats: 70 PA, .277/.314/.492, 2 HR, 0 SB, 4.3% BB rate, 45.7% K rate
ETA: September
Originally a staple in the top three of this list, Murphy spent most of the first half of the season injured, returned to the majors and could not have struggled more, slashing .050/.136/.100 in eight games. And he has not been much better at Triple-A. Though he is slashing .277/.314/.492, he is striking out 45.7 percent of the time with a walk rate of only 4.3 percent. And with just two homers, he is not hitting for enough power to balance it all out. He has the potential to be an insanely valuable fantasy prospect as a power-hitting catcher, but he needs to make some contact first.

21. Chance Sisco (C, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 294 PA, .284/.354/.395, 3 HR, 2 SB, 8.8% BB rate, 26.2% K rate
ETA: Early August

22. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 112.0 IP, 1.93 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 26.0% K rate, 5.5% BB rate, 5.8% HR/FB, .202 AVG
ETA: Mid-August

23. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 388 PA, .312/.384/.474, 11 HR, 3 SB, 9.0% BB rate, 15.7% K rate
ETA: Mid-August/September

24. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 373 PA, .312/.346/.500, 11 HR, 2 SB, 5.1% BB rate, 13.9% K rate
ETA: September

25. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 65.1 IP, 3.44 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 34.6% K rate, 8.8% BB rate, 13.2% HR/FB, .209 AVG
ETA: August 1

26. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 403 PA, .277/.375/.426, 8 HR, 11 SB, 13.4% BB rate, 19.1% K rate
ETA: Mid-August

27. Brent Honeywell (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 102.1 IP, 3.96 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 31.2% K rate, 6.7% BB rate, 10.3% HR/FB, .256 AVG
ETA: September

28. Tom Eshelman (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 113.0 IP, 22.39 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 18.4% K rate, 3.4% BB rate, 9.2% HR/FB, .231 AVG
ETA: Early August

29. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 403 PA, .294/.362/.449, 7 HR, 11 SB, 9.4% BB rate, 22.1% K rate
ETA: September

30. Lucas Sims (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 110.1 IP, 3.75 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 27.7% K rate, 7.4% BB rate, 16.4% HR/FB, .220 AVG
ETA: Mid-August

 

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. Ian Happ (2B/OF, CHC)

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

7. Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS)

8. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

9. Raimel Tapia (OF, COL)

10. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

11. Matt Davidson (3B, CWS)

12. Jordan Montgomery (SP, NYY)

13. Ben Gamel (OF, SEA)

14. Jacob Faria (SP, TB)

15. Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC)

16. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

17. German Marquez (SP, COL)

18. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT)

19. Austin Barnes (2B/OF, LAD)

20. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY)