2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 21)

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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.

We have now reached the point in the season where all the top remaining prospects will be promoted during the month of September. Anyone expected to be promoted before roster expansion has already been recalled or has remained in the minors due to a lack of a trade.

This does not mean the players don’t have fantasy value. Some of these players could still have an impact on fantasy owners down the stretch when playoffs are starting up or the standings in your roto leagues appear to be coming down to the wire. Anyone likely to have an impact in 10-team or fewer leagues have probably already been recalled, but owners in deeper leagues than that could find some of the prospects on this list to have some value for them moving forward.

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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. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 469 PA, .274/.320/.440, 14 HR, 10 SB, 4.7% BB rate, 28.8% K rate
ETA: September
This was one of the players I was referring to when I said that prospects might still be in the minors because no trade happened. It was expected by many that Jed Lowrie would be moved at the deadline, freeing up a spot in the infield for Barreto. But alas, Lowrie is still wearing the green and gold of the Oakland Athletics today. However, that doesn’t mean Barreto will be completely irrelevant in September. Barreto is capable of playing all three outfield positions, second base and shortstop, and could very possibly steal time from players like Lowrie at all positions. And with his power/speed combination and eligibility at shortstop in all leagues, he could be a real boost to fantasy owners down the stretch should he receive regular playing time.

2. Tyler Glasnow (SP, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 75.1 IP, 1.79 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 38.6% K rate, 9.2% BB rate, 12.2% HR/FB, .174 AVG
ETA: September
Pitchers often get a chance to reverse some early big-league struggles, and that could not be truer of Glasnow. The talented right-hander walked nearly 11 percent of batters at the big-league level, and though that rate is down to only 9.2 percent, he has walked only 4.1 percent of batters over his past four outings, lowering his FIP to 1.34 in that span. There is still so much upside left in his arm, and if he were to fill the spot of someone like Trevor Williams or another young arm in Pittsburgh’s rotation, he could pay dividends for a fantasy owner in need of starting pitching depth.

3. Brent Honeywell (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 131.0 IP, 3.50 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 30.8% K rate, 5.9% BB rate, 10.9% HR/FB, .253 AVG
ETA: September
The Tampa Bay Rays’ playoff hopes appear to be dwindling as the team is now four games under .500 and have only an 8.5 percent chance to make the postseason according to FanGraphs. And while the stem of their problems does not tie solely into the struggles finding consistent starters in the backend of their rotation, it certainly has not been a strength for the ball club. Blake Snell has been inconsistent this season, as has Matt Andriese, Erasmo Ramirez and Jake Odorizzi. One starter who has not been inconsistent has been Honeywell, who has thoroughly dominated both Double- and Triple-A batters on a regular basis this season. His control has been given the added boost of stuff that now appears to be well above-average and capable of baffling even the best hitters (see the All-Star Futures Game). Honeywell is by no means guaranteed a rotation spot which is why he slots all the way down here at third, but the upside is extremely high with him as he appears to be a high floor/high ceiling type arm. If it looks like he will make some starts for the Rays, be sure to snag him in your leagues.

4. Brett Phillips (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 404 PA, .316/.386/.595, 19 HR, 9 SB, 10.4% BB rate, 28.5% K rate
ETA: September
Following the season-ending injury to Lewis Brinson, it is clear Phillips is the runaway candidate for the fourth outfielder spot in September. Though Phillips has not hit the cover off the ball in the majors, he has done more than enough to prove he deserves another look in Milwaukee after making a mockery of Triple-A pitchers this season. The speed has diminished for him in past seasons, but he still has quite a bit of thump as well as the patience to post a respectable OPS. If he is able to serve as a platoon option for either Domingo Santana or the streaky Keon Broxton, he could provide owners in 14+ team leagues with enough upside to make him worthy of an add.

5. Jeimer Candelario (3B, DET, AAA)
Stats: 404 PA, .260/.342/.497, 15 HR, 1 SB, 10.6% BB rate, 22.8% K rate
ETA: September
As the Detroit Tigers are heading into a rebuild of sorts, they may decide in September they want to get a look at what the future of their lineup is going to look like. And according to several people, that is probably with Nick Castellanos in left field and Candelario at thrid base. Candelario has not been tearing up the minors this season as many probably hoped, but he has hit well enough to warrant a promotion to the big league club and to see some extended playing time. And for fantasy owners wondering what he brings to the table, he is a solid bat who should provide quite a bit of thump and some decent plate discipline to teams. The third base position limits his value, but he should hit enough to at least be worthy of an add in 14+ team leagues.

6. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 74.2 IP, 4.46 ERA, 4.41 FIP, 22.1% K rate, 7.8% BB rate, 11.0% HR/FB, .260 AVG
ETA: September
Woodruff was sent down to the minors, but he will be back. Manager Craig Counsell said as much when he stated, “We're not going to need a fifth starter until September. He'll be back in September, and he's certainly going to figure into the innings then, for sure.” And that’s exactly how owners should view Woodruff: as a guy who will figure into innings and a fifth starter. Though he has the upside of a No. 3 guy, Woodruff is a bulldog who will likely be a 200-inning guy on a regular basis who can provide owners with a solid 3.50 ERA. With the likelihood that he will take over that fifth starter’s spot in September, he could start to live up to that hype as early as this season. He should strike out enough batters to factor into 14+ team leagues.

7. Harrison Bader (OF, STL, AAA)
Stats: 447 PA, .285/.348/.483, 20 HR, 12 SB, 6.9% BB rate, 23.7% K rate
ETA: September
The St. Louis Cardinals have struggled to find any form of consistency from their outfielders this season beyond Tommy Pham, leading to demotions to players like Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk and Jose Martinez seemingly every other week. When September rolls around, there will be no more demotions, but there will also be some other young outfielders up who can more readily compete for starting ABs for the club. One such outfielder is Bader who has put all of his 2016 struggles behind him and really posted a quality 2017 campaign. The power of what I am calling the 1a and 1b Cardinals’ outfield prospects, Bader could be a decent source of thump should he steal away some at-bats from the struggling Cardinal outfielders, and could even throw in a steal here or there. The plate discipline is a concern as he walks drastically less than he strikes out, but if Paul DeJong can make it work, there’s no reason to count out Bader. If it looks like he is making a strong push for starting time in the outfield, he could be worth an add in 14+ team leagues.

8. Magneuris Sierra (OF, STL, AA)
Stats: 390 PA, .275/.316/.368, 1 HR, 17 SB, 5.1% BB rate, 16.7% K rate
ETA: September
Unlike his predecessor on this list, Sierra is not a power-hitting, high risk/high reward outfielder. Where Bader has above-average power and speed with poor plate discipline and only average bat-to-ball skills, Sierra has little to no power with near-elite speed, poor plate discipline but a great ability to make consistent contact. Though it is clear by that description Sierra is more of a slap hitter, don’t let that scare you away too much. He is a better hitter than someone like Billy Hamilton and will likely give himself more opportunities to make the most of his speed than the Cincinnati Reds’ starting center fielder. Sierra does not have the same upside as Bader, but he possesses arguably the higher floor and would still provide quite a lot of value in the form of stolen bases to owners in 14+ team leagues should he be the one who steals away some of that precious time in Mike Matheny’s outfield.

9. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 462 PA, .314/.351/.496, 14 HR, 4 SB, 5.2% BB rate, 13.6% K rate
ETA: September
Andujar’s best value will likely come in the form of a platoon option for Chase Headley. Headley has struggled batting from the right side this season, proving largely ineffective against lefty pitchers. Meanwhile, Andujar has proven to be a masher of southpaws in the minors, which could lead to him snagging a few starts in the big leagues during the month of September. He shouldn’t be counted on for regular playing time, but his emerging power combined with the potential to start three+ times per week in favorable matchups could serve as a nice platoon option for owners in some deeper leagues with daily lineup updates.

10. J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 485 PA, .242/.349/.406, 13 HR, 4 SB, 14.0% BB rate, 17.3% K rate
ETA: September
As we approach September, it is becoming more and more likely that Crawford will be promoted. The Philadelphia Phillies’ top prospect has been mashing as of late, and though he is not on the 40-man roster, he seems likely to be added to it before the end of the year (unlike No. 30 Scott Kingery whose hopes of a promotion seem to be dwindling by the day). philly.com's Matt Gelb has reported that Crawford is likely to join the big-league club and spell struggling third baseman Maikel Franco at the hot corner. Crawford combines a really high floor with the eligibility at shortstop that could give owners in even some shallower leagues a much-needed boost in the playoffs. He has a little bit of pop, and might even learn how to steal a few bases with his above-average speed when he joins the Phillies. He doesn’t bring quite enough offensive upside to recommend him in leagues shallower than 14-teams, but owners in those leagues could find some value in the top prospect.

11. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 137.1 IP, 1.97 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 24.8% K rate, 5.6% BB rate, 5.1% HR/FB, .199 AVG
ETA: September
In case you haven’t noticed, the Reds rotation is a dumpster fire. Scott Feldman and Homer Bailey — counted on to be stable veterans in a young rotation — have been truly awful as of late while other youngsters like Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed and Sal Romano have proven inconsistent in the majors. With so many pitchers struggling, it seems like Bryan Price may opt to turn to a pitcher like Mahle who has dominated both Double- and Triple-A batters all season. He has always had a high floor because of his command, but his repertoire has emerged as solid enough to give him the upside of a No. 3 starting pitcher with some strikeout upside. If he gets a few starts — which I fully expect to happen — he could be a solid add in 14+ team leagues.

12. Tom Eshelman (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 130.0 IP, 2.70 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 17.8% K rate, 3.4% BB rate, 8.8% HR/FB, .237 AVG
ETA: September
The Phillies are locked in the cellar once again, and they clearly are headed towards a full rebuild. They have deployed youth at nearly every position, and are starting to at least look promising for the future. And while Eshelman does not have the high ceiling fantasy owners would like to see, he could be just the arm the Phillies are looking for: a high floor control specialist who can eat innings for a young starting rotation. Eshelman is no strikeout artist, but he has the best control of any pitcher in the minors and has done an excellent job eating innings in the minors this season. If he is given a rotation spot, he comes with little enough risk to be a worthy add in deep/NL-only leagues.

13. Willie Calhoun (2B/OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 475 PA, .295/.354/.577, 28 HR, 3 SB, 8.4% BB rate, 11.6% K rate
ETA: September
With Calhoun, the numbers really speak for themselves. He is a rare power hitter like Jose Bautista who can rack up gaudy home run totals while limiting the strikeouts. Unlike Bautista — who is now playing both third base and right field — Calhoun does not have a clear defensive home, which will greatly diminish his chances of seeing meaningful playing time in September. If he manages to find time at DH, first base or the outfield, Calhoun has the bat to have a huge impact on fantasy owners. This placement in the rankings is based on the belief he will see occasional playing time, but will probably only start two to three times per week. If he starts more regularly than that, his value could rise up astronomically.

14. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 511 PA, .274/.367/.420, 9 HR, 9 SB, 12.3% BB rate, 21.9% K rate
ETA: September
Aside from just the Rays’ backend rotation issues, the Rays have not received the level of production they had hoped for out of Adeiny Hechavarria. The former Miami Marlin has a 0.1 fWAR this season and though he’s been solid defensively, the .242/.261/.335 slash line is downright atrocious. Adames meanwhile has been not only a formidable defender for the Durham Bulls, but he has also been hitting more than enough to warrant a look in the majors, certainly when the only other option is Hechavarria. The Rays need a spark, and Adames could be the guy to provide that spark. There is no guarantee he will be promoted, but the upside is there for a shortstop with a strong power/speed combination who could be quite valuable to fantasy owners.

15. Yandy Diaz (3B/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 366 PA, .351/.456/.464, 5 HR, 1 SB, 16.1% BB rate, 15.3% K rate
ETA: September
As is the question for most of the prospects on this list, Diaz’s biggest question with regards to fantasy value is just whether or not he can find some playing time. Diaz’s insane plate discipline and ability to make consistent contact gives him a remarkably high floor for a prospect, but he does have an admittedly low ceiling which limits his fantasy appeal. He could fit into Cleveland’s lineup, spelling players like Jason Kipnis, Jose Ramirez and any of the outfielders during September. Owners likely won’t be sprinting to grab him, but his high ceiling could at least give him some value in some deep/AL-only leagues.

16. Erick Fedde (SP, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 84.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 21.4% K rate, 6.4% BB rate, 11.1% HR/FB, .242 AVG
ETA: September
Fedde had a miserable time in the majors, but he seemed to recover in his first outing back at Triple-A. He pitched seven innings — tied for his longest outing of the season — and allowed just two runs on seven hits, one walk and five strikeouts. The start was certainly step in the right direction for a talented arm who has struggled for much of this season. The stuff is there for him to be a solid No. 3 starting pitcher in the majors, and he could even see another start in the majors to serve as some relief for some of the injured arms in Washington’s bullpen as the Nationals look toward the postseason. If he does get a spot start, there is enough upside for teams in NL-only leagues to take a risk if the start is against a weaker opponent.

17. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 81.2 IP, 3.31 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 35.1% K rate, 8.8% BB rate, 11.5% HR/FB, .201 AVG
ETA: September
Bullpen arms rarely have a ton of fantasy value. But then again, most bullpen arms don’t have the stuff that Buehler has. Scouts have raved about his repertoire of pitches long before he was even fully healthy for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now that he is back to full health, he is dominating the minors. The longterm outlook on Buehler still appears to be that of a starting pitcher, but there have been rumblings he could be recalled to serve as bullpen depth for the team. Who knows. Maybe he might also pick up a start to rest one of the regular starting pitchers in the current rotation. Regardless, his strikeout upside and ability to keep runs off the board should play well in some deeper leagues where bullpen arms can help.

18. Mauricio Dubon (2B/SS, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 509 PA, .273/.327/.378, 7 HR, 38 SB, 6.9% BB rate, 14.3% K rate
ETA: September
The Milwaukee Brewers believed second base would be a major strength for the ball club heading into the 2017 season with Jonathan Villar manning the spot. But his struggles forced the team to venture outward and pick up Neil Walker from the New York Mets to try and find some stability at the position. And while Walker has been solid this season, he does not quite bring the same defensive versatility Dubon brings. Dubon could be the guy the Brewers hoped Villar would be: a speedy utility player whose bat could play well enough at multiple positions and could be a steady bat atop the lineup. Finding PT for him could be tough, but if Milwaukee finds some time for his bat to fit into the lineup, his speed could give him some value to owners in deep/NL-only leagues.

19. A.J. Reed (1B, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 485 PA, .249/.351/.487, 26 HR, 0 SB, 13.2% BB rate, 26.4% K rate
ETA: September
The Houston Astros have gotten along well with Yulieski Gurriel at first base. He has 15 homers on the season, a solid .295/.322/.482 slash line and has accumulated 1.1 fWAR. But while he has done enough at the position to maintain a stronghold on it in the playoffs, Reed is far more likely to be the future at the position than Gurriel. The Cuban is already 33 years old while Reed is still only 24. Reed has struggled a bit at Triple-A this season, but the Astros have a comfortable lead in the AL West and can afford to rest Gurriel and get some looks at Reed at first base to see what adjustments he can make to big-league pitching. The batting average could be a bit of an issue, but he has more than enough thunder to impact fantasy owners in deep/AL-only leagues.

20. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 533 PA, .323/.377/.538, 20 HR, 37 SB, 7.5% BB rate, 23.8% K rate
ETA: September
There is still far from a guarantee Acuna will be promoted, but the upside he brings to the table is too much to pass up in the event he is called up. His power/speed combination has a legitimate case for the best in the minors, and based on his impressive numbers at nearly every level this season, there is no reason to doubt his ability to post similar numbers in the majors. It is a longshot that he is recalled to Atlanta. But if he is, he immediately becomes a must-own in 12+ team leagues.

21. Chance Sisco (C, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 361 PA, .275/.338/.392, 5 HR, 2 SB, 7.5% BB rate, 25.8% K rate
ETA: September

22. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 509 PA, .282/.356/.432, 8 HR, 13 SB, 9.6% BB rate, 22.2% K rate
ETA: September

23. Tom Murphy (C, COL, AAA)
Stats: 127 PA, .263/.307/.449, 4 HR, 0 SB, 5.5% BB rate, 37.8% K rate
ETA: September

24. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 469 PA, .314/.382/.463, 12 HR, 4 SB, 8.7% BB rate, 15.8% K rate
ETA: September

25. Daniel Gossett (SP, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 76.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 22.1% K rate, 7.5% BB rate, 8.8% HR/FB, .237 AVG
ETA: September

26. Yonny Chirinos (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 152.1 IP, 2.95 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 22.0% K rate, 4.1% BB rate, 11.7% HR/FB, .227 AVG
ETA: September

27. Franchy Cordero (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 359 PA, .314/.359/.596, 16 HR, 13 SB, 5.6% BB rate, 29.0% K rate
ETA: September

28. Jordan Patterson (1B/OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 482 PA, .284/.349/.542, 23 HR, 3 SB, 6.8% BB rate, 24.9% K rate
ETA: September

29. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 505 PA, .266/.368/.421, 12 HR, 15 SB, 13.3% BB rate, 19.8% K rate
ETA: September

30. Scott Kingery (2B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 529 PA, .310/.362/.556, 25 HR, 27 SB, 6.8% BB rate, 18.1% K rate
ETA: September

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)

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

3. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

4. Rafael Devers (3B, BOS)

5. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY)

6. Paul DeJong (SS, STL)

7. Yoan Moncada (2B, CWS)

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

9. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE)

10. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU)

11. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

12. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

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

14. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

15. Matt Davidson (3B, CWS)

16. Jacob Faria (SP, TB)

17. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD)

18. German Marquez (SP, COL)

19. Luis Castillo (SP, CIN)

20. Austin Barnes (C/2B, LAD)


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