2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 5)

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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.

So we’ve been able to see some of Cody Bellinger over the past week, and it has been fun to watch. He is slashing .345/.406/.655 with a sub-20 percent strikeout rate and two home runs already (both coming in the same game). If you didn’t have him stashed and weren’t able to snag him, I’m very sorry.

If he is still available on your waiver wire, you may want to look into adding him as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has started to imply Bellinger may have forced himself onto the big-league roster more permanently. Bellinger may be able to make the most of his versatility and find a regular role with the club. He can play all outfield positions and spell Adrian Gonzalez at first every now and again. If he remains on the big-league roster beyond this weekend, he may officially become a mainstay on the Dodgers.

Editor's note: Get a free one-week MLB Premium Pass including our famous Lineup Optimizer/Generator, Premium Matchup Ratings, DFS Lineups, Cheat Sheets, and 10 other tools. Sign Up Now!

 

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 (2B/3B, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 96 PA, .314/.385/.500, 4 HR, 6 SB, 10.4% BB rate, 31.3% K rate
ETA: Late May
No prospect has done more to earn the top spot on this list more than Moncada. And that’s not saying that he’s been stellar, but rather that he’s been hitting well enough to earn the top spot. Every hitter has their flaws, Moncada’s remains his strikeout issues, but he has done a little bit of everything else. The White Sox certainly could use someone with his level of explosiveness, and may give him the call up in late May, or wait until late June (past his Super Two deadline) at the latest. He will be up in the majors soon and will certainly have a starting role. He could have a major impact in redraft leagues and will be worth owning in all leagues once promoted.

2. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 76 PA, .343/.395/.552, 3 HR, 3 SB, 7.9% BB rate, 22.4% K rate
ETA: Early June
Brinson is no Moncada, but he too has done enough of everything to warrant a promotion. And with both Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton (especially Broxton) struggling so far this season, Brinson may soon receive an opportunity to steal a starting spot. His walk rate has improved, and though he is still striking out a bit, he is putting up impressive all-around numbers so far this season. He is expected to receive a promotion during the early half of the summer, and could have an impact in all fantasy leagues given his power/speed combination.

3. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 89 PA, .195/.247/.256, 1 HR, 2 SB, 5.6% BB rate, 22.5% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Last week, Meadows was on fire, stringing together a seven-game hitting streak with two multi-hit games. Now, he has just two hits over his last 19 at-bats. He still has as much upside as anybody on this list and could be a real star for Pittsburgh, but he needs to get it going again. If Andrew McCutchen is traded, Meadows could be a stater in the majors for the team with one of the best power/speed combinations in baseball. He just has to find a way to hit.

4. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 92 PA, .277/.330/.518, 3 HR, 5 SB, 6.5% BB rate, 27.2% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Zimmer has really started to hit lately, and could be turning heads in Cleveland. He has always had strikeout issues throughout his career, issue likely to plague him in the majors, but he has raised his average and seems to be hitting the ball harder this season than in years past. His power/speed combination is exciting, and even if his batting average isn’t great in the majors, his potential to post a 15/15 season from June to the end of the season would warrant a look in most redraft leagues.

5. Tom Murphy (C, COL, DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early June
We finally received an update on Murphy … and it’s not good. He was recently fitted with a soft cast and is unlikely to return in May. He may come back in early June, but that is still too far off to be able to tell. His value remains high as a potential catcher with tons of power in Coors Field, but he needs to be on the field to have value.

6. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 22.1 IP, 1.61 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 18.9% K rate, 6.7% BB rate, 0.40 HR/9, .198 AVG
ETA: Late May
Outside of Chase Anderson, the Brewers’ rotation has been atrocious this season and could really use some help. Zach Davies and Wily Peralta especially have been terrible, and either one could be justifiably replaced. Woodruff could be that replacement as he has dominated MiLB batters this season. He does not have that many strikeouts, but has demonstrated exquisite command and has kept runs off the board. Woodruff could be an innings-eating bulldog for owners with a solid ERA, and would be worth owning in 12+ team leagues if he is promoted.

7. Tyler Beede (SP, SF, AAA)
Stats: 27.0 IP, 3.67 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 14.3% K rate, 9.8% BB rate, 0.67 HR/9, .238 AVG
ETA: Late May
If Matt Moore and Jeff Samardzija didn’t have such name recognition, they would not have a job in the rotation. But alas, they have been terrible, and will both likely stick around. Beede has not exactly been forcing the issue, but he has at least established himself as the next man up if the Giants change one of those two arms or if Ty Blach does not work out. He could be a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm likely to get a chance at the rotation at some point this season.

8. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 41 PA, .382/.488/.559, 1 HR, 0 SB, 17.1% BB rate, 4.9% K rate
ETA: Late May
Diaz has responded extremely well to his demotion and has been clicking on all cylinders in the minors. After a .236/.295/.255 slash line in the majors, Diaz is back to his 2016 form and could be in line for another promotion to the big leagues in just a little bit. He does not bring the most exciting skillset to the table, but he has a little bit of pop and a lot of patience, proving to be a potential AVG/OBP contributor for owners in 12+ team leagues.

9. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 96 PA, .357/.411/.595, 4 HR, 2 SB, 7.3% BB rate, 32.3% K rate
ETA: Late June
Barreto has been just crushing the ball at the plate this season … when he hits it. His strikeout rate is nearly 13 percent higher than it has ever been during a full season of work for him. And while his .357 batting average is great, that .519 BABIP may have something to do with it. That said, Barreto is an exciting prospect and one who could have a major impact on fantasy owners this season given his promising power/speed combination. He should get a call up once the Super Two deadline passes, and should be worth owning in 10+ team leagues if he receives starting time.

10. Tyler O’Neill (OF, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 97 PA, .172/.247/.345, 2 HR, 1 SB, 9.3% BB rate, 27.8% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Earlier this season, it appeared unlikely O’Neill would receive a call-up. Now, Mitch Haniger is hurt, Jarrod Dyson is struggling and Leonys Martin is gone. O’Neill no longer has a tall mountain of players to climb, but he needs to start finding it at the plate. His .203 BABIP this season has certainly not assisted him any, though he has not been making as much hard contact thus far. If he gets it going soon, he has the potential to be a Super Two promotion. He just needs to prove he can hit well enough at Triple-A.

11. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 26.1 IP, 4.10 ERA, 5.32 FIP, 23.9% K rate, 12.0% BB rate, 1.71 HR/9, .226 AVG
ETA: Late July
Lopez was awful over his first two starts, but has started to improve his numbers over his past four starts. Over that time frame, he is walking 2.8 percent fewer batters than his season numbers and has posted a 3.00 ERA and 4.43 FIP in that time. This stretch has most likely pushed him ahead of Lucas Giolito in the chase for the next rotation spot (Dylan Covey and his 6.91 ERA and 5.98 FIP have just not cut it so far).

12. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 107 PA, .298/.368/.553, 6 HR, 3 SB, 9.3% BB rate, 23.4% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
The Astros outfield has been fairly solid this season, with guys like Josh Reddick and George Springer putting up solid numbers and Nori Aoki holding his own as well. With that said, Fisher is doing everything he can to reach the majors at some point this season. He is hitting extremely well and has continued to demonstrate a dynamic power/speed combination. If he keeps mashing, he will force his way to the majors, one way or another. He would likely be worth an own in at least 12+ team leagues upon his initial promotion.

13. Jeimer Candelario (3B, CHC, AAA)
Stats: 92 PA, .316/.435/.671, 4 HR, 0 SB, 15.2% BB rate, 23.9% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
As I say every week, this is all about whether or not he will be traded. Candelario is ready to be a starter, he just needs a place that needs a third baseman. He has found some power this season and is walking at an extraordinarily high rate, leading to the promise that he may start to be a solid 12-team league third baseman. But I would not advise stashing him just yet, as it is no guarantee he will be traded. It just seems very likely that he will.

14. Ian Happ (2B/OF, CHC, AAA)
Stats: 96 PA, .250/.333/.571, 8 HR, 1 SB, 11.5% BB rate, 21.6% K rate
ETA: Early August
Happ is not likely to be traded by the Cubs, but his versatility means he is likely the first guy called up given an injury to nearly any position player. Happ is primarily an outfielder, though he can play second base as well, essentially becoming a mini-Ben Zobrist for Chicago. He can hit for some pop and should be able to hit for a better as he straightens out that poor .232 BABIP. Like Candelario with the trade risk, you never want to count on an injury so Happ will not be stashable, but he would warrant owning in nearly all leagues if an injury places him in a starting role.

15. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 104 PA, .340/.404/.479, 3 HR, 0 SB, 7.7% BB rate, 17.3% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Ryan Rua, Mike Napoli and Shin-Soo Choo — the first basemen and designated hitters for the team — have all been quite terrible for Texas this season, certainly contributing to the team’s last place standings position. Guzman may be a potential solution for that position as he has been just crushing the baseball thus far in 2017 and could be a solid righty-masher at first for Texas. He has started to show some more power over the past year-and-a-half and should be able to continue that into the majors. He could be a solid first base sleeper if/when he receives a promotion to the big leagues.

16. Amed Rosario (SS, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 108 PA, .406/.454/.531, 1 HR, 7 SB, 7.4% BB rate, 13.0% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
I have not been on the Rosario bandwagon much this year, just because I believe he is still a ways away from a call up and that he lacks much fantasy promise. However, Rosario has hit as well as anybody in the minors thus far while Jose Reyes continues to be completely inept in the majors. The Mets will still be justifiably patient with Rosario, but if no one steps up to man that third base job effectively for them, they may need a guy like Rosario to help keep them up to pace with the Nationals. Rosario is not the most exciting fantasy prospect just because he lacks explosive speed or power, but he will tally a lot of hits and swipe some bags. He could be an intriguing fantasy player if promoted and given starting time.

17. Andrew Stevenson (OF, WAS, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 91 PA, .350/.429/.438, 0 HR, 1 SB, 12.1% BB rate, 20.9% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
This is all about finding a replacement for Adam Eaton. Rafael Bautista was promoted and could be the answer (as could any player acquired via trade) as could Michael A. Taylor (unlikely), but Stevenson has a lot of fantasy promise as well. Stevenson, like Bautista, is a speedster and prototypical leadoff hitter, and could be a sleeper stolen base source if he gets a chance to start in the majors. Owners could see Stevenson man the strong-side platoon in center with Rafael Bautista eventually if the Nationals decide to solve the problem internally, but a trade would really crush all potential value for Stevenson.

18. Luke Weaver (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 8.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.07 FIP, 23.1% K rate, 0.0% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .154 AVG
ETA: Early July
If it weren’t for his back injury early this season, Weaver would probably be in the top 10. He returned from the 10-day DL on Tuesday and dominated, allowing just three hits and no walks over six innings with five strikeouts. He also pitches for the Cardinals, and though their rotation has been solid this season, they always seem to be struck with injuries at some point this season. Weaver was outstanding last season and has started 2017 off the same way. He could have a lot of helium if he puts together another start like this past one.

19. Zack Burdi (RP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 8.2 IP, 3.12 ERA, 1.53 FIP, 36.6% K rate, 7.3% BB rate, 0.00 HR/9, .194 AVG
ETA: Mid-June
It is clear at this point that Burdi is likely to be the future closer for Chicago, and that time could come sooner rather than later. Once the Super Two deadline passes, it would not be surprising to see Burdi promoted to get some looks at big-league hitters before David Robertson is traded. Once Robertson is traded though, Burdi could have a real chance at stealing away some save chances, making him a potentially valuable sleeper in almost all leagues.

20. Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 94 PA, .350/.447/.675, 7 HR, 0 SB, 13.8% BB rate, 16.0% K rate
ETA: Late June
Hoskins has certainly hit enough to warrant a promotion, but he may have to wait until after the Super Two deadline to receive that call up. Tommy Joseph has not hit near enough to keep Hoskins down in the minors, but the Phillies are not very good and could benefit from getting another young bat some looks at the highest level. He is a typical first baseman who just hits for power, but he has proven that his power surge from last season may be real power and not just Double-A Reading providing its hitters with a friendly environment. He could be a decent option in deeper leagues if he gets the call up and sees starting time.

21. Lucas Giolito (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 19.0 IP, 6.63 ERA, 5.79 FIP, 26.4% K rate, 12.6% BB rate, 1.89 HR/9, .247 AVG
ETA:

22. Casey Gillaspie (1B, TB, AAA)
Stats: 96 PA, .186/.260/.279, 2 HR, 1 SB, 9.4% BB rate, 21.9% K rate
ETA:

23. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 91 PA, .295/.374/.346, 0 HR, 0 SB, 12.1% BB rate, 8.8% K rate
ETA:

24. Jae-Gyun Hwang (3B, SF, AAA)
Stats: 95 PA, .303/.337/.393, 0 HR, 1 SB, 5.3% BB rate, 18.9% K rate
ETA:

25. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 96 PA, .222/.313/.420, 3 HR, 2 SB, 10.4% BB rate, 22.9% K rate
ETA:

26. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 24.2 IP, 4.38 ERA, 7.18 FIP, 19.1% K rate, 16.2% BB rate, 2.19 HR/9, .205 AVG
ETA:

27. Jose De Leon (SP, TB, NA)
Stats: NA
ETA:

28. Chad Green (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 30.2 IP, 4.40 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 27.9% K rate, 8.1% BB rate, 0.59 HR/9, .272 AVG
ETA:

29. Yohander Mendez (SP, TEX, AA)
Stats: 30.1 IP, 3.56 ERA, 6.23 FIP, 20.8% K rate, 10.4% BB rate, 2.08 HR/9, .218 AVG
ETA:

30. Gavin Cecchini (3B, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 111 PA, .240/.309/.360, 2 HR, 3 SB, 9.0% BB rate, 11.7% K rate
ETA:

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)

2. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

3. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

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

5. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD)

6. Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL)

7. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

8. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

9. Robert Gsellman (SP, NYM)

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

11. Amir Garrett (SP, CIN)

12. Christian Arroyo (3B, SF)

13. Jharel Cotton (SP, OAK)

14. Matt Davidson (1B, CWS)

15. Albert Almora (OF, CHC)

16. Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC)

17. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA)

18. Rafael Bautista (OF, WAS)

19. Koda Glover (RP, WAS)

20. Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)

 

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