2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 2)

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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 season is still young, but already there have been some major storylines to follow. Trea Turner and Gary Sanchez are both on the DL for a while (both conveniently on several of my fantasy teams) and players like Nomar Mazara and J.T. Realmuto are proving to build off breakout seasons last year (also both on several of my fantasy teams). Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds (I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts).

There are still many top prospects stuck in the minors until they get a chance, but owners need to make sure they keep an eye on those names. Several of them could be high-impact players down the stretch for fantasy owners and could help shape playoff rosters for years to come. Oh, and a quick disclaimer, A.J. Reed does not count as a prospect. I know this has come up a couple times so I just wanted to throw that out there before we delve into this list.

 

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. Yoan Moncada (3B, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 26 PA, .391/.462/.652, 2 HR, 2 SB, 11.5% BB rate, 30.8% K rate
ETA: Early June
Moncada has done everything in his power to this point to warrant a promotion, but he will have to wait some time. Whether that’s until after his Super Two deadline passes (it will be a tad longer than most others because of his time spent in the majors last season), until Tyler Saladino goes cold or after they trade Todd Frazier is still uncertain, but he will get a chance sooner rather than later. He should already be stashed in most leagues, and will warrant ownership in all leagues upon a promotion based on his unparalleled power/speed upside from an infielder.

2. Tom Murphy (C, COL, DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Mid-May
Right-handed catcher Dustin Garneau is striking out a ton for Colorado, not providing much power and is already 29 years old with limited upside remaining. Murphy, on the other hard, is a young, up-and-coming catcher with a ton of power potential in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in baseball. He will battle Tony Wolters for a time, but should win the battle in the end. I can tell you I’ve got him stashed in several of my leagues, and I urge owners to do the same in most leagues. Catchers with his power are rare and extremely valuable today with today’s crop of catchers.

3. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 20 PA, .056/.150/.111, 0 HR, 1 SB, 10.0% BB rate, 45.0% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Has McCutchen started to turn things around from his dismal 2016? At least so far, no. He is slashing .167/.231/.167 with a 26.9% strikeout rate and no extra-base hits in six games so far. He should soon find his name on the trade block and once he does, Meadows will be up swiftly as his replacement. Meadows has not exactly lit the world on fire at Triple-A so far, but he’s also just 21 years old and has upside that McCutchen lacks at this point. Meadows will get it going and with incredible plate discipline and a tantalizing power/speed combination, he will absolutely be worth owning in all leagues.

4. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 15 PA, .308/.400/.385, 0 HR, 0 SB, 13.3% BB rate, 13.3% K rate
ETA: Early May
Danny Valencia won the first base job out of Spring Training, but he has done everything he can do to keep Vogelbach’s name in the mix. With a .129/.176/.161 slash line after the first week of action, Valencia has failed to lock down the job and could soon lose the spot to Vogelbach. Vogelbach has not torn things up in the minors just yet, but if history suggests anything, he will be back to crushing pitches shortly. He is not the most athletic player on this list by any stretch of the imagination, but his bat is potent enough to warrant ownership in 12+ team leagues once he receives a promotion.

5. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 20 PA, .333/.368/.667, 0 HR, 1 SB, 5.0% BB rate, 15.0% K rate
ETA: Late May
Unlike Meadows, Zimmer is off to a hot start at Triple-A right now. He is not striking out a lot, he is making plenty of contact and his new swing has scouts believing he may be on the brink of the majors. The Indians are not exactly loaded with outfield depth at the moment, and Zimmer would certainly represent an improvement in most aspects over someone like Lonnie Chisenhall or Abraham Almonte, the two left-handed hitting outfielders not named Michael Brantley. Zimmer may still struggle to hit for a high average in the big leagues, but his ability to post 15 homers and 20 steals in just four months would be worth owning in most fantasy leagues.

6. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 22 PA, .476/.500/.762, 1 HR, 1 SB, 4.5% BB rate, 27.3% K rate
ETA: Early July (earlier if major injuries arise)
Speaking of batters off to a hot start, Bellinger has just continued his decimation of Triple-A pitching from last season on into this season. After slashing .545/.583/1.364 in last season’s stint at Oklahoma City, he is now crushing opposing pitchers again. He has about as much power as anyone in the minors and has shown promising patience that should help him maintain a respectable average in the majors. All he needs is an excuse to reach the majors and he will start producing at an incredibly high level for fantasy owners.

7. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 3.0 IP, 6.00 EA, 7.77 FIP, 31.3% K rate, 18.8% BB rate, 3.00 HR/9, .231 AVG
ETA: Mid-May
Lopez ran into some command issues in his first outing at Triple-A, but being the sixth man on a volatile rotation should allow him to reach the majors once someone struggles enough. All Lopez really needs to do is prove that he is ready to face big-league hitters and that he is capable of locating his pitches and he should receive a chance to go to the majors. He has never struck out the high rates of batters one would expect out of someone with his high-octane stuff, but he should miss enough bats and keep enough runs off the board to have value as a solid starting pitcher in most leagues.

8. Roman Quinn (OF, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 16 PA, .333/.313/.400, 0 HR, 0 SB, 0.0% BB rate, 37.5% K rate
ETA: Late June
Just as Lopez is the next man up for the White Sox rotation, so too is Quinn for the Phillies’ outfield. Daniel Nava exists, but he is almost strictly a bench bat and would not take over should an injury take place (*cough* Michael Saunders *cough*). Quinn’s speed would make him an immediate asset on fantasy teams as he could be a potential leadoff hitter with Billy Hamilton speed upside. He needs an injury or a trade to send him to the majors, but he would be a valuable player to own if he does reach Philadelphia.

9. Raimel Tapia (OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 25 PA, .500/.560/.773, 0 HR, 1 SB, 12.0% BB rate, 16.0% K rate
ETA: Late June
Tapia is just one outfielder injury/trade away from starting in the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the game. Though a trade is unlikely at this point given the hot start for Colorado and the potential to compete they have this season, this team has already been struck by the injury bug and because of this, Tapia has to be considered a valuable asset waiting in the wings. It is by no means a guarantee that he will reach the majors with a starting role, but if he does get to that point, his speed, consistent contact and potential raw power make him worth owning in most leagues.

10. Lucas Giolito (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 4.1 IP, 8.31 ERA, 5.38 FIP, 17.4% K rate, 8.7% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .333 AVG
ETA: Early June
Lopez is the sixth man for the White Sox, but Giolito is the seventh guy as of today. At least, until Carlos Rodon comes back. Giolito lost a lot of his prospect luster coming off a rough MLB debut, but he still has the stuff to succeed in the majors and could still provide owners with a lot of strikeouts and a relatively low ERA if he gets a chance to start. He is an intriguing name to keep an eye on as long as Dylan Covey is one of the White Sox five starting pitchers.

11. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 22 PA, .294/.429/.706, 2 HR, 0 SB, 13.6% BB rate, 27.3% K rate
ETA: Late June
Nori Aoki is still a starting outfielder for one of the best teams in baseball. He is not exactly the most exciting, but . . . that’s it. He’s not that exciting. Neither is Jake Marisnick or Marwin Gonzalez for that matter. Josh Reddick and George Springer are really the only two outfielders with even the slightest bit of potential. Fisher has his issues, most notably his swing-and-miss issues, but his power/speed combination is extremely exciting and could help give Houston that extra boost in the middle of the summer. He should be able to do the same thing for fantasy owners as he is more than capable of posting 20/20 numbers over a full season of work. If promoted, he would warrant owning in 12+ team leagues just for that upside, and 10-team leagues if he proves to have made improvements in limiting the strikeouts.

12. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 3 PA, .500/.667/.500, 0 HR, 1 SB, 33.3% BB rate, 33.3% K rate
ETA: Early August
Brinson is easily one of the most exciting prospects available. He has an explosive bat with tons of power/speed potential and the chance to provide a .260+ average, something not everyone with his combination of power and speed can provide. It may seem like he is trapped behind Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana and Ryan Braun, but he is the next man up and is just an injury away from reaching the majors. His potential would be worth owning in all leagues should it be given a chance to flourish in the majors.

13. Luke Weaver (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.46 FIP, 14.3% K rate, 0.0% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .143 AVG
ETA: Early June
Every year the Cardinals are debilitated by injury after injury, so Weaver is in quite a good position for fantasy owners where he is just one such injury away from a full-time role in the Cardinals’ rotation. Sure, he is not as explosive as a lot of other pitching prospects out there, but he has excellent command and would be the lowest-risk pitching prospect on this list if he is given a chance to play. That alone makes him worth owning in 12+ team leagues.

14. German Marquez (SP, COL, AAA)
Stats: 2.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 7.96 FIP, 28.6% K rate, 0.0% BB rate, 4.50 HR/9, .143 AVG
ETA: Mid-May
Marquez has long been viewed as the most likely Rockies’ pitching prospect (not counting Jon Gray) to succeed in the majors. Though he does not have the ace-like upside of a guy like Jeff Hoffman, he keeps the ball on the ground and has enough swing-and-miss stuff to work himself up to at least a No. 3 spot in the Colorado rotation. It is always risky to bank on pitchers in Coors Field, but like Weaver, he has strong command and could be worth owning in 12+ team leagues if he gets a spot among Colorado’s starting five.

15. Jae-gyun Hwang (3B, SF, AAA)
Stats: 14 PA, .231/.286/.308, 0 HR, 0 SB, 7.1% BB rate, 21.4% K rate
ETA: Late May
Hwang came over to America with plenty of hype surrounding him, though that hype was not enough to propel him to a starting roster. He will have to fight with another utility guy in Christian Arroyo for starting time, though he is probably ahead of Arroyo just because of the age and developmental gap. Should Eduardo Nunez fail to replicate his success from last season and struggle out of the gate, Hwang should see time in the majors and could be a valuable offensive piece in 12+ team leagues.

16. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 5.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 31.6% K rate, 26.3% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .071 AVG
ETA: Early June
Hader has the benefit of pitching for a team with little pitching depth to keep him down. Once his control issues are ironed out enough, he should be given a shot at pitching in the majors. His strikeout upside is enticing, but given his history of command issues and the struggles of his near right-handed equivalent Tyler Glasnow so far, owners may be a tad skeptical about owning him right out of the gate. He has upside, but it would not be a bad idea to watch him go through a start or two at the big-league level before adding him.

17. Francis Martes (SP, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 5.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 13.6% K rate, 13.6% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .263 AVG
ETA: Early July
Charlie Morton is by no means good enough to keep Martes down if Martes truly warrants the promotion. And certainly if he pitches like he has in the past, he could be in the majors before too long. The only question is whether or not the Astros will be comfortable enough to allow a 21-year-old to pitch for them this season. Martes has true ace upside and might be the top pitching prospect in baseball. It is far from a guarantee that he will start in the majors, but if he gets a chance, his upside would likely warrant ownership in all leagues.

18. Casey Gillaspie (1B, TB, AAA)
Stats: 24 PA, .286/.375/.462, 1 HR, 1 SB, 12.5% BB rate, 12.5% K rate
ETA: Early June
Logan Morrison is making a rise to the majors tough as he has been hitting quite well to kick off this season, but sooner or later he will fall back to Earth. When he does, Gillaspie will be there to take the spot at first base for Tampa Bay. Gillaspie hits for a ton of power and has demonstrated promising plate discipline in the past. He should continue to mash minor-league pitching like he did last season and warrant a promotion by the middle of the season, at which point owners in 12+ team leagues will probably want to stash him for power upside.

19. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 22 PA, .389/.500/.556, 1 HR, 0 SB, 13.6% BB rate, 13.6% K rate
ETA: Early June
Guzman has a relatively easy path to the majors, he just needs to prove that he is ready to face MLB-pitching. Guzman has recently translate raw power potential to home run production and has managed to keep his on-base ability along the way. He is also still surprisingly young at only 22 years old and could be the next first baseman in Texas later this season. His ability to hit for some power and hit for a .280+ average should be valuable enough to warrant ownership in 12+ team leagues, even as a first baseman.

20. Chance Sisco (C, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 17 PA, .143/.294/.286, 0 HR, 0 SB, 17.6% BB rate, 41.2% K rate
ETA: Early July
Sisco may be the most vanilla prospect on this list. He does not have much power or speed, but he makes plenty of contact and should be able to post a high batting average as a catcher. Especially in a season where catchers are providing little value, Sisco could be a solid own in two-catcher and 14+ team leagues once he receives the inevitable mid-season promotion.

21. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 26 PA, .208/.269/.208, 0 HR, 1 SB, 7.7% BB rate, 23.1% K rate
ETA: Late June

22. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 16 PA, .231/.375/.462, 0 HR, 1 SB, 5.0% BB rate, 15.0% K rate
ETA: Early August

23. Jeimer Candelario (3B, CHC, AAA)
Stats: 20 PA, .200/.200/.650, 2 HR, 0 SB, 0.0% BB rate, 35.0% K rate
ETA: Early August

24. Mitch Garver (C, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 9 PA, .750/.889/1.250, 0 HR, 0 SB, 44.4% BB rate, 11.1% K rate
ETA: Early June

25. Anthony Banda (SP, ARI, AAA)
Stats: 2.2 IP, 6.75 ERA, 6.46 FIP, 13.3% K rate, 26.7% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .273 AVG
ETA: Early July

26. Nick Williams (OF, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 14 PA, .154/.214/.154, 0 HR, 1 SB, 0.0% BB rate, 42.9% K rate
ETA: Late July

27. Jeff Hoffman (SP, COL, AAA)
Stats: 5.0 IP, 7.20 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 20.8% K rate, 8.3% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .286 AVG
ETA: Early June

28. Christian Arroyo (2B/3B, SF, AAA)
Stats: 14 PA, .429/.429/.571, 0 HR, 0 SB, 0.0% BB rate, 28.6% K rate
ETA: Early June

29. Charlie Tilson (OF, CWS, DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early June

30. Tyler O’Neill (OF, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 15 PA, .200/.200/.467, 1 HR, 0 SB, 0.0% BB rate, 20.0% K rate
ETA: Early August

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

2. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

3. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD)

4. Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL)

5. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)

6. Jharel Cotton (SP, OAK)

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

8. Amir Garrett (SP, CIN)

9. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

10. Robert Gsellman (SP, NYM)

11. Koda Glover (RP, WAS)

12. Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)

13. Andrew Toles (OF, LAD)

14. Tyler Glasnow (SP, PIT)

15. JaCoby Jones (SS/3B/OF, DET)

16. Cody Reed (SP/RP, CIN)

17. Albert Almora (OF, CHC)

18. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE)

19. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

20. Trevor Williams (SP/RP, PIT)

 

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