2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 18)

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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.

The trade deadline has come and gone, and with it several of the game’s top prospects have been removed from the list. From the first article in this series from July, nine of the 30 prospects have already been promoted with another one (the top guy in this week’s list) being promoted today.

And there are still several more promotions likely left to be made. Between teams finalizing their rosters in the coming days, the remaining waiver trades that will be made before the waiver trade deadline and the roster expansion in September, prospects could still be called up and help fantasy owners with depth and contribute to many potential postseason runs.

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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: 425 PA, .328/.367/.466, 7 HR, 19 SB, 5.4% BB rate, 15.8% K rate
ETA: Today
The New York Mets announced that they will promote their top prospect on Tuesday to debut against the Colorado Rockies. Rosario has put together quite the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, and though the Mets moved neither Asdrubal Cabrera nor Jose Reyes, Rosario should still expect to see regular playing time at shortstop. He should provide owners with both a strong batting average as well as some promising speed numbers. If you haven’t added him already to your roster, you should probably get on that now.

2. Dominic Smith (1B, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 462 PA, .343/.396/.539, 16 HR, 1 SB, 7.6% BB rate, 16.0% K rate
ETA: This Week
Rosario’s teammate at Las Vegas should be expected to rejoin his fellow compatriot in the Big Apple before too long. During the same press conference Mets GM Sandy Alderson announced Rosario’s promotion, he acknowledged Smith is “not far behind.” With Lucas Duda no longer at first base to block him, Smith should be expected to be promoted at some point this week. He has stellar plate discipline and makes plenty of contact — recently with some more power — and should be expected to contribute even at first base. Smith is not a must-own in all leagues, but he remains a solid first base option for a lot of teams.

3. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 387 PA, .270/.319/.419, 11 HR, 7 SB, 5.4% BB rate, 28.7% K rate
ETA: Early August
Barreto was expected to be called up as soon as the Oakland Athletics moved Jed Lowrie. There is just one problem. The A’s did not move Lowrie. He still remains in the Bay Area and could provide Barreto with an obstacle. However, the waiver deadline is still ahead and Lowrie could still be moved to open up playing time for Barreto. And with his offensive profile, Barreto is too exciting a prospect to completely ignore.

4. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 111.0 IP, 3.65 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 24.8% K rate, 8.9% BB rate, 10.6% HR/FB, .221 AVG
ETA: Early August
Lopez has been an absolute beast over the past month and it should result in a promotion soon. Over his last six starts (36.2 IP), Lopez has posted a 49:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio with a 1.96 ERA and 2.49 FIP. He has been near unhittable as of late coming off a slow start to the season, and now with Jose Quintana gone and no other pitchers talented enough to block Lopez, it should not be long until he finds himself in the big leagues again. He is one of the game’s top pitching prospects for a reason and could represent a major pitching upgrade in the backend of a lot of fantasy teams’ rotations.

5. Lucas Sims (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 115.1 IP, 3.75 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 28.1% K rate, 7.7% BB rate, 16.2% HR/FB, .223 AVG
ETA: Tuesday
Sims has enjoyed a breakout campaign in Triple-A, and the former first-round pick is starting to re-kindle some of that prospect flame that made him such a highly regarded arm a few seasons ago. Sims has been missing bats at an incredibly high rate this season, and his only real problem has been issues keeping the ball in the yard. Hitter-friendly Suntrust Park does not provide him with the most hitter-friendly home environment, but the strikeouts could prove valuable to owners looking for starting pitching depth.

Editor's note: Sims will start Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers

6. Marco Gonzales (SP, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 86.1 IP, 3.02 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 21.4% K rate, 6.5% BB rate, 7.9% HR/FB, .204 AVG
ETA: Early August
As with Sims, Gonzales has seen the shine of his once-bright future outlook dim just a little bit over the years. Multiple injuries, diminished velocity and poor results in the majors no longer have him standing out as a future front-of-the-rotation starter. However, he still has one of the minors’ best changeups, and his velocity has started to come back to him a bit this season. He is no future ace, but he could provide some owners with strikeouts and solid results as a streaming option in some leagues.

7. Jeimer Candelario (3B, DET, AAA)
Stats: 330 PA, .266/.361/.507, 12 HR, 0 SB, 12.4% BB rate, 21.8% K rate
ETA: Early August
The most inevitable prospect-to-be-moved was moved on July 30 as Candelario was shipped off to the Detroit Tigers in the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila deal. Though the Tigers have Miguel Cabrera at first and Nick Castellanos at third, Castellanos’ suspect defense at third and the recent hole opened up in the outfield by J.D. Martinez’s departure could result in a slight shift that could end with Candelario becoming the everyday third baseman for Detroit before too long. The switch-hitting third baseman does not have a ton of power, but he knows how to hit and should eventually blossom into a 20-homer bat. And with the juiced ball, he could even start to see some of that power production show up this season. He is not a must-own, but he could be a solid CI depth option for teams in 12+ team leagues if he is promoted.

8. Chris Shaw (1B/OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 391 PA, .288/.348/.500, 16 HR, 0 SB, 8.2% BB rate, 24.6% K rate
ETA: Mid-August
Shaw is not on the San Francisco Giants’ 40-man roster, and the lack of trades at the deadline have done nothing to free up a spot for him. However, it had been reported earlier that while he was not at the time being considered for a spot on the roster, he could earn it by hitting. And it’s safe to say he has hit extremely well. Though the Giants don’t need a new first baseman, he could slot into left field where he has seen plenty of playing time while at Sacramento. Shaw has the power to have an impact, so a promotion to the majors could prove fruitful for owners in several leagues.

9. Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 443 PA, .286/.332/.443, 9 HR, 21 SB, 6.3% BB rate, 20.1% K rate
ETA: Late August/September
Albies may be a September promotion, but his speed and the fact that he plays second base could give him immense fantasy value. Stolen bases are a much rarer commodity this season, and second base has not been near as deep in production this year as it was last year. There is of course a chance he gets a promotion early if the Braves are able to move Brandon Phillips before the waiver deadline. That seems a tad unlikely, but owners should not be scared off by Albies’ late promotion. As long as he sees semi-regular playing time, he could prove to be a valuable piece.

10. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 281 PA, .336/.444/.466, 5 HR, 0 SB, 16.0% BB rate, 14.6% K rate
ETA: Mid-August
The Cleveland Indians are seemingly loaded at all positions, but they have been stretched in the infield a bit following an injury to Jason Kipnis. Though Kipnis is due back in a little while, Diaz is the type of bat who could play well at third base, helping rest Jose Ramirez who could also shift into a super-utility role himself. Diaz provides only limited fantasy upside with little power and speed. But he should have no trouble reaching base at a reliable clip and could be a solid depth piece for some owners. He is by no means a must-own, but if he is promoted to the Indians, he would be better than several other third base options out there, assuming he sees semi-regular playing time.

11. Tom Eshelman (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 113.0 IP, 2.39 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 18.4% K rate, 3.4% BB rate, 9.2% HR/FB, .231 AVG
ETA: Early August
Once Eshelman comes off the 7-day DL, he could be about ready to head up to Philadelphia. The elite control specialist has enjoyed a fine season at Lehigh Valley, albeit without many strikeouts. The Phillies are trying to get younger, and with Jeremy Hellickson now off to Baltimore, a spot has opened in the rotation. Eshelman is no top prospect, but his elite control gives him a high ceiling that should help him at least remain a solid 14+ team league add.

12. Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 435 PA, .281/.384/.559, 24 HR, 3 SB, 13.6% BB rate, 15.9% K rate
ETA: Mid-August
The Philadelphia Phillies still have Tommy Joseph on their roster, and though the waiver deadline is still ahead, it seems unlikely he will don a different uniform before the end of the season. That doesn’t mean the team won’t give Hoskins a shot at the big leagues. He has hit more than enough to warrant a promotion, and should see a chance to begin an early tryout for the starting job in 2018. But it certainly does not help his fantasy value that he will not inherit the full-time starting spot for a little while.

13. Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL, AAA)
Stats: 434 PA, .360/.403/.596, 17 HR, 11 SB, 7.4% BB rate, 17.3% K rate
ETA: September
Many figured if the Colorado Rockies made any major moves that they would move McMahon, an infield prospect who is essentially blocked at all positions by All-Stars. But the Rockies acquired Jonathan Lucroy without having to send away one of their top prospects and held McMahon. At this point, he figures only to have value as a super-utility player (albeit one who is fairly lousy defensively at every position other than first) should he be promoted in September, and could be an explosive source of home runs and RBI. I’m still not entirely sold on the batting average just because of his past issues with plate discipline, but he could get hot for a month in the big leagues and prove me wrong.

14. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 438 PA, .263/.356/.405, 7 HR, 8 SB, 12.3% BB rate, 21.7% K rate
ETA: September
In a somewhat surprising development, the Baltimore Orioles acquired Tim Beckham from the Tampa Bay Rays. The move initially was more to free up a spot for Brad Miller who will now need to play shortstop following the acquisition of Duda from the Mets, but it could free up a spot now for Adames to see playing time in the majors. Back when the Rays had a ton of shortstop depth (Beckham, Miller, Adeiny Hechavarria), Adames did not have a clear path to playing time. Now he does. Even if Adames is only promoted in September, the combination of his shortstop eligibility with his power/speed combination should be productive for fantasy teams looking for some shortstop depth.

15. Dietrich Enns (SP, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 45.1 IP, 1.99 ERA, 2.39 FIP, 26.4% K rate, 5.6% BB rate, 2.5% HR/FB, .193 AVG
ETA: Mid-August
One of the two pieces in the Jaime Garcia trade, Enns has put together quite a respectable season at Triple-A for the New York Yankees. Though he is not considered to be a top prospect by many, he has posted near elite control stats (low walk and home run rates) while also maintaining a high strikeout rate. And with the Minnesota Twins looking more towards the future than to this season, it seems likely the 26-year-old could have an impact in Minnesota sooner rather than later. Enns should soon grab a handful of spot starts and could even hold onto a rotation spot for the rest of the season.

16. Brent Honeywell (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 108.1 IP, 3.82 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 30.9% K rate, 6.8% BB rate, 10.8% HR/FB, .255 AVG
ETA: Late August
Honeywell has put together an impressive campaign at Triple-A. Though the ERA remains relatively high, his FIP has been spectacular as he has maintained his incredibly high strikeout rate and low walk rate. And with Jake Odorizzi recently hitting the DL, an opening has emerged (even if it is only for a short period of time). The team has opted to fill it temporarily with Austin Pruitt who was kicked around by the Yankees in his first start back to the majors (five runs on four hits and two walks over five innings). If Odorizzi’s injury proves to be more extensive than originally believed, it would not be surprising to see the playoff-hopeful Rays call up their top pitching prospect.

17. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 119.1 IP, 1.96 ERA, 2.51 FIP, 25.8% K rate, 5.4% BB rate, 5.2% HR/FB, .199 AVG
ETA: September
It is an understatement to say that the Cincinnati Reds’ starting rotation has been atrocious this season. Aside from a handful of bright spots (Luis Castillo chief among them), there has not been a lot to get excited about. However, the performance of Mahle in the minors this season should have Reds’ fans excited as he appears to be cruising towards an impactful role by next season. He should be among the Reds’ September call-ups and it would not be surprising to see him grab a handful of spot starts as his inning total is still relatively low. He not only has strikeout upside, but also the control to provide owners with a high floor pitching prospect. Mahle could be a nice depth piece for playoff teams.

18. Casey Gillaspie (1B, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 395 PA, .227/.296/.357, 9 HR, 1 SB, 9.1% BB rate, 19.5% K rate
ETA: Mid-August
This was absolutely the best-case scenario for Gillaspie. He went from being a slugging first baseman for a team loaded with guys whose primary position is first base to a slugging first baseman in a team that only has one first baseman and no real bat at DH. Unfortunately for Gillaspie, he fractured his toe in his last game for Durham, so he will need to spend some time recovering from that. However, once he has, it would not be surprising to see the Chicago White Sox call him up and see what he can do against big-league pitching despite lackluster results at Triple-A. This would become especially likely to happen should Chicago move Jose Abreu during the waiver trade period.

19. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 283 PA, .250/.314/.363, 4 HR, 10 SB, 8.1% BB rate, 16.6% K rate
ETA: September
Gregory Polanco is expected back soon, but the Pittsburgh Pirates still have only a 6.2 percent chance of making the playoffs according to FanGraphs. What does that have to do with anything? Well if they were in a competitive state, they might want to always field the most reliable lineup on a daily basis. But now out of the playoff picture, the team may opt to give youngsters like Meadows a shot to see MLB pitching in September. This is no guarantee. Meadows has not been a fixture of health himself and he certainly has not set the world on fire at Triple-A, but the 22-year-old should fight for playing time next season (if Andrew McCutchen is traded this offseason or before). So giving him a chance to see MLB pitching in advance could prove valuable in longterm. And with his upside, he could be worth a look in some deep leagues.

20. Walker Buehler (SP/RP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 70.1 IP, 3.33 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 35.6% K rate, 8.9% BB rate, 12.8% HR/FB, .200 AVG
ETA: September
Buehler is listed up here purely as an upside play for fantasy owners. Though there is little to no doubt he cracks the rotation, Buehler has elite stuff and has not thrown many innings this season which could lead him to grab a spot start or two in September. The Los Angeles Dodgers rotation — especially after the Yu Darvish acquisition — is truly loaded, but with guys like Rich Hill and Alex Wood who have had injury issues in the past and a nearly insurmountable lead in the NL West, the Dodgers could decide to rest up some of their starters and give Buehler a start every now and again. There may be other prospects who see more innings than Buehler, but there is no prospect with better stuff than him who is likely to be promoted this season.

21. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 413 PA, .298/.392/.460, 13 HR, 3 SB, 13.6% BB rate, 17.9% K rate
ETA: September

22. Willie Calhoun (2B/OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 414 PA, .298/.357/.574, 23 HR, 3 SB, 8.7% BB rate, 11.8% K rate
ETA: September

23. Christin Stewart (OF, DET, AA)
Stats: 413 PA, .260/.344/.518, 22 HR, 3 SB, 10.7% BB rate, 26.6% K rate
ETA: September

24. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 398 PA, .318/.352/.516, 13 HR, 2 SB, 5.0% BB rate, 13.8% K rate
ETA: Late August

25. Chance Sisco (C, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 308 PA, .280/.347/.389, 3 HR, 2 SB, 8.4% BB rate, 26.0% K rate
ETA: September

26. Scott Kingery (2B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 448 PA, .310/.365/.568, 23 HR, 27 SB, 7.4% BB rate, 18.1% K rate
ETA: September

27. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 430 PA, .272/.367/.418, 9 HR, 13 SB, 12.8% BB rate, 19.3% K rate
ETA: September

28. Yohander Mendez (SP, TEX, AA)
Stats: 121.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 4.96 FIP, 21.5% K rate, 8.1% BB rate, 17.4% HR/FB, .228 AVG
ETA: Early August

29. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 431 PA, .288/.357/.440, 7 HR, 11 SB, 9.5% BB rate, 21.6% K rate
ETA: September

30. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 110.1 IP, 1.96 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 24.3% K rate, 10.1% BB rate, 6.5% HR/FB, .170 AVG
ETA: September

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)

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

3. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

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

5. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE)

6. Rafael Devers (3B, BOS)

7. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY)

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

9.  Derek Fisher (OF, HOU)

10. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

11.  Raimel Tapia (OF, COL)

12. Paul DeJong (SS, STL)

13. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

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

15. German Marquez (SP, COL)

16. Ben Gamel (OF, SEA)

17. Jacob Faria (SP, TB)

18. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD)

19. Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC)

20. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)