2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 3)

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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.

Talk about some big news on just a normal Tuesday, Starling Marte has been suspended for 80 games for testing positive on a test for PEDs. Ordinarily, I don’t cover too much of what goes on in the big-league news circuit, but this kind of news does have a huge bearing on the prospect circle.

Not only does this suspension mean Austin Meadows might receive a promotion, but it could also alter the fate of Andrew McCutchen. If the Pirates are able to hang around for a while, they may not deal away McCutchen at the deadline because they will need that extra bat during the playoffs since Marte will be ineligible to play. This could theoretically mean that Meadows may not receive a ton of second half playing time and may just be a fill-in for Marte. Or the Pirates will fall apart without Marte, trade Cutch at the deadline to keep the youngster Meadows in the lineup and just play for next season. Who knows. It will definitely be a fascinating storyline to follow for the rest of this season.

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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. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 41 PA, .162/.220/.270, 1 HR, 1 SB, 7.3% BB rate, 24.4% K rate
ETA: Late May (or any day now if Pirates are bold)
Following the 80-game suspension for a positive PED test of Starling Marte, Austin Meadows’ value has gone up through the roof. He has not been incredibly successful thus far at Triple-A, but he has a ton of potential and is one of the few possible elite prospects waiting in the minors. He combines incredible plate discipline with a power/speed combination matched by few in the minors. The Pirates are typically reluctant to promote their top prospects no matter the circumstances, and may opt to wait until Meadows starts to mash a little bit more before they promote him. Just in case Pittsburgh decides to go against their past and make a bold move, owners should start stashing him now.

2. Yoan Moncada (3B, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 47 PA, .317/.404/.488, 2 HR, 2 SB, 12.8% BB rate, 29.8% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Moncada has continued to struggle with the strikeouts despite the high batting average and walk rates. His power/speed combination is so explosive and would absolutely be worth owning should he be promoted, but given his strikeout issues and youth, that promotion will almost certainly be delayed until beyond his slightly extended Super Two deadline (it will probably be middle of June instead of early June just because he debuted last season). Once he does reach the majors, expect him to be a force on fantasy rosters with a possible 10/10 season coming even if he just plays in July, August and September.

3. Tom Murphy (C, COL, DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early May
There has been no further progress released on Murphy’s fractured forearm. He has missed some time recently with that injury, but once back he should be started in all leagues. A catcher with power has value enough. A catcher with power playing in Coors Field is absolutely worth owning.

4. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 46 PA, .286/.333/.524, 1 HR, 4 SB, 6.5% BB rate, 23.9% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Zimmer has his issues, there is no doubt about that, but so too does Abraham Almonte who is clearly not the same player he looked like a few years ago. Zimmer has made improvements, demonstrating a little more contact and has started to become more aggressive on the base paths. Zimmer will always strike out too much, but his electric power/speed combination demands attention and could be valuable if he gets playing time. If he gets the call up in mid-June like I believe he will, owners will want to have him on their roster in the event he performs close to his ceiling.

5. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 48 PA, .372/.438/.674, 3 HR, 4 SB, 10.4% BB rate, 29.2% K rate
ETA: Early July
The Dodgers have received almost no production out of Adrian Gonzalez. The rest of their outfield outside of Yasiel Puig (Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles, Justin Turner, Kike Hernandez) has been awful so far. Bellinger has been continued raking at Triple-A after crushing it there last season. Bellinger has a ton of power, the potential to hit for a high average and incredible patience at the plate. He's worth a stash in leagues with NA slots. If he winds up starting for Los Angeles by summer, he'll be worth owning everywhere, but as long as Gonzalez is healthy those chances are slim. He is an incredibly talented bat and should have a high impact on fantasy playoff races this season.

6. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 44 PA, .297/.386/.351, 0 HR, 1 SB, 11.4% BB rate, 25.0% K rate
ETA: Early May
Vogelbach lost the first base job to Danny Valencia out of Spring Training, and so far it does not look like the best decision made. Valencia is slashing just .163/.222/.245 with no homers and a strikeout rate north of 25 percent. And while Vogelbach is not exactly tearing it up at the minor-league level, he is doing enough (given his track record) that owners should expect to see him up soon. He is continuing to hit for a high average and reach base at a steady clip despite no home runs just yet. It's only a matter of time until he gets that long awaited promotion.

7. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 11.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 20.5% K rate, 6.8% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .150 AVG
ETA: Late May
The Milwaukee rotation has impressed so far this season, at least the top three guys have. Chase Anderson, Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta all boast sub-3.00 ERAs and sub-4.00 FIPs. The other guys, Tommy Milone, Zach Davies and Junior Guerra have been awful to this point. Woodruff has continued last year's dominance into his first two starts of this season, and could be emerging as the top option for Milwaukee should one of their guys go down with an injury or continues to be mediocre. Woodruff is not the next ace in Milwaukee, but he could be a solid No. 3 starter for the Brew Crew and could provide owners with a mid-3.00 ERA and some solid strikeout numbers.

8. Lucas Giolito (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 8.1 IP, 7.56 ERA, 6.42 FIP, 19.1% K rate, 14.3% BB rate, 1.08 HR/9, .273 AVG
ETA: Early June
Giolito has continued to struggle this season, but from everything I’ve heard, he’s probably ahead of Lopez as the White Sox sixth starter. Regardless of who is ahead of whom, the White Sox rotation is in a weird spot where the mainstays (Miguel Gonzalez and Jose Quintana) have not been great and the presumed fill-ins (James Shields, Derek Holland and Dylan Covey) have actually been solid. If/when Quintana is traded, Giolito would presumably be promoted to fill his spot, but he will certainly need to step it up soon. He still has the potential to be a frontline starter, though and would warrant ownership in at least 12+ team leagues should he be called up.

9. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 14.1 IP, 5.02 ERA, 6.61 FIP, 28.4% K rate, 13.4% BB rate, 2.51 HR/9, .228 AVG
ETA: Mid-June
Sort of the same story as Giolito, Lopez has a ton of upside and is on the brink of a promotion, but he has just not been very good this season. Lopez has missed bats at a high rate, but when he doesn’t miss bats, he gives up extremely hard contact that typically leaves the yard. Lopez has the potential to be a No. 2 or 3 starter with strikeout upside, and would demand attention if called up.

10. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 46 PA, .229/.378/.457, 2 HR, 1 SB, 17.4% BB rate, 26.1% K rate
ETA: Late June
The current outfield options for Houston so far have been solid performers for the Astros, but only George Springer has jumped out. Nori Aoki is doing pretty well and Josh Reddick has a nice batting average, but Marisnick continues to strike out on every pitch lobbed his way and Carlos Beltran has a .260 average only on the strength of an abnormal .351 BABIP. Now Fisher has had his own struggles this season, but he is young and has much more potential than the other players just named. His power/speed potential would make him an enticing guy to own should he receive a promotion and owners are advised to be on the lookout for a call up sometime in the middle of the season.

11. Jeimer Candelario (3B, CHC, AAA)
Stats: 49 PA, .326/.408/.791, 3 HR, 0 SB, 12.2% BB rate, 30.6% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
Candelario has mashed Triple-A pitching to this point and has really built up a ton of trade value, which is exactly what the Cubs need in a season where their bullpen has really let them down. He has started to transition his raw power into game power and should be able to jump right into a starting lineup if he gets traded out of Chicago. He has double-digit pop, possible 20-homer pop over the course of a full season and could be a valuable corner-infielder in 2017 once he gets dealt.

12. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 14.0 IP, 2.57 ERA, 7.09 FIP, 19.6% K rate, 19.6% BB rate, 1.93 HR/9, .156 AVG
ETA: Mid-June
At the beginning of the season, Hader would have been considered the next man up for the Milwaukee rotation. Now it appears Woodruff may be closer as he has dazzled while Hader has scuffled. The 2.57 ERA is a tad deceiving as he hasn’t missed as many bats as owners would like to see and he has really struggled to throw strikes. Hader has the strikeout upside few other pitchers on this list can boast, but he will really need to find some command soon if he wants to reach the majors.

13. German Marquez (SP, COL, AAA)
Stats: 5.1 IP, 1.69 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 47.4% K rate, 0.0% BB rate, 1.69 HR/9, .158 AVG
ETA: Early June
With Jon Gray now headed to the DL, Marquez has emerged as a potential option to start for Colorado. Gray will be out for some time and Marquez not only dominated in his first start, but he has also always been viewed as one of the few pitchers who might find sustained success in Coors Field. Marquez has the stuff to miss bats at a high rate and could be a solid streamer when he makes starts on the road. Who knows, maybe he will even be a solid option when he starts in Denver.

14. Christian Arroyo (2B/3B, SF, AAA)
Stats: 42 PA, .462/.500/.615, 1 HR, 1 SB, 4.8% BB rate, 9.5% K rate
ETA: Early June
The Giants always turn these contact-first guys into borderline All-Star players. Look at Matt Duffy and Joe Panik, but especially Duffy. Somehow he came up as a utility guy and turned into a genuine starter. Expect Arroyo to do the same. He makes a ton of contact and should be a strong utility player once he gets the call up (which should be soon). He would immediately warrant ownership in 12+ team leagues just at the prospect of him receiving playing time.

15. Luke Weaver (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 14.3% K rate, 0.0% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .143 AVG
ETA: Early June
Weaver is in one of the best positions to claim some starts for St. Louis, serving as the No. 6 guy for an incredibly volatile and injury-prone rotation. At least, he was one of the best options until he landed on the DL with a back injury. It is unknown how long he will be out. He may just miss two starts, it may be more than that. Once he comes back, however, he will likely regain his spot at the sixth man up and could be ready to break out should any pitcher in St. Louis wind up on the DL (a common trend among Cardinal pitchers).

16. Yohander Mendez (SP, TEX, AA)
Stats: 10.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 5.54 FIP, 21.7% K rate, 8.7% BB rate, 1.69 HR/9, .158 AVG
ETA: Mid-June
You think Weaver has it good, just think about how it must be to be Mendez. Mendez is the probable sixth man for one of the worst rotations in baseball that is currently trotting out the likes of Martin Perez, A.J. Griffin and Andrew Cashner (Griffin and Perez both own career ERAs above 4.00). Mendez needs to prove that he can be durable, but if he can do that, he could be an option to replace one of the ineffective starters around the middle of the season. His potential to be a No. 2 or 3 starter with strikeout upside should be enough to at least warrant some attention in some deeper mixed leagues.

17. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 49 PA, .310/.375/.524, 2 HR, 0 SB, 6.1% BB rate, 30.6% K rate
ETA: Early August
Marcus Semien broke his wrist and will miss several weeks, but Barreto is not yet receiving the call up. Maybe it has something to do with the 30.6 percent strikeout rate, maybe it’s the fact he is only 21 years old, maybe it’s because they want to keep him down beyond that Super Two date or maybe it’s just all three. Regardless, I wouldn’t count on seeing Barreto until June, but it does look like he will hit enough to reach the majors over the summer.

He probably has the second-best power/speed combination of any middle-infielder set to debut this season (if you consider Moncada a second baseman) and should have plenty of value if he gets the promotion. The potential for a 10/10 MI from June on to the rest of the season should be too much to pass up on for teams in the playoff chase.

18. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 38 PA, .323/.421/.387, 0 HR, 0 SB, 15.8% BB rate, 10.5% K rate
ETA: Early June
Winker was recently given a chance to reach the majors with the Reds and had just two plate appearances: an RBI-double and a strikeout. Nice. Winker is currently the third corner-outfielder, sitting behind Adam Duvall who likely will not be shifted out of left for a while and Scott Schebler who hit extremely well at the end of last season and is currently doing well enough to keep Winker in the minors.

My guess is that Schebler will struggle to hold down the spot and eventually lose out to Winker who will provide the team with a high on-base guy and some sneaky pop that could start to show up in the Great American Smallpark. If Winker gets the call up for good and finds himself starting for the Reds, he would be worth owning in 12+ team leagues.

19. Chance Sisco (C, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 33 PA, .276/.364/.379, 0 HR, 0 SB, 12.1% BB rate, 33.3% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
I’ve probably said this before, but Sisco is the most vanilla prospect on this list. Fantasy owners snagging him will be counting on a decent batting average and little else out of the weakest offensive position in fantasy baseball. Sisco could find a little bit more pop in a relatively hitter-friendly yard and might be a sleeper catcher should he receive a promotion around the middle of the season. He is probably only worth owning in two-catcher leagues and the deepest mixed leagues.

20. Jose Osuna (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 41 PA, .250/.341/.389, 0 HR, 1 SB, 12.2% BB rate, 22.0% K rate
ETA: This week (if at all)
If Austin Meadows is not the guy chosen to be called up for Pittsburgh in the wake of Starling Marte’s suspension, it will likely be corner-outfielder Jose Osuna. Osuna is not nearly as dynamic of a prospect as Meadows is, but he does possess double-digit home run power and can steal a couple of bases for fantasy owners if he gets the call up. He will not be a potent bat by any means, but he could provide owners in deeper leagues with some solid hits and a few homers over a period of time until Meadows replaces him.

21. Casey Gillaspie (1B, TB, AAA)
Stats: 45 PA, .225/.289/.350, 1 HR, 1 SB, 8.9% BB rate, 15.6% K rate
ETA: Late May

22. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 50 PA, .391/.440/.565, 2 HR, 0 SB, 6.0% BB rate, 14.0% K rate
ETA: Early June

23. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 37 PA, .233/.351/.367, 0 HR, 1 SB, 13.5% BB rate, 18.9% K rate
ETA: Early August

24. Jae-gyun Hwang (3B, SF, AAA)
Stats: 44 PA, .268/.318/.390, 0 HR, 0 SB, 6.8% BB rate, 29.5% K rate
ETA: Late June

25. Mitch Garver (C, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 21 PA, .429/.619/.643, 0 HR, 0 SB, 28.6% BB rate, 33.3% K rate
ETA: Late June

26. Francis Martes (SP, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 9.1 IP, 0.0 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 23.3% K rate, 20.9% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .206 AVG
ETA: Late July

27. Rowdy Tellez (1B, TOR, AAA)
Stats: 37 PA, .206/.270/.382, 2 HR, 0 SB, 8.1% BB rate, 21.6% K rate
ETA: Early July

28. Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC, AAA)
Stats: 42 PA, .250/.357/.611, 3 HR, 0 SB, 14.3% BB rate, 16.7% K rate
ETA: Early July

29. Jose De Leon (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: NA
ETA: Late July

30. Tyler O’Neill (OF, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 44 PA, .220/.250/.463, 2 HR, 2 SB, 4.5% BB rate, 27.3% 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. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

7. Matt Davidson (3B/DH, CWS)

8. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

9. Jharel Cotton (SP, OAK)

10. Amir Garrett (SP, CIN)

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

12. Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)

13. JaCoby Jones (OF, DET)

14. Albert Almora (OF, CHC)

15. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE)

16. Andrew Toles (OF, LAD)

17. Trevor Williams (SP/RP, PIT)

18. Koda Glover (RP, WAS)

19. Tyler Glasnow (SP, PIT)

20. Cody Reed (SP/RP, CIN)