2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 7)

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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.

I was happy to have to do a little re-ordering of my prospect list given the news on Tuesday that Bradley Zimmer would be promoted to the majors. I’ve been high on his upside for a while, and have been looking forward to seeing his first taste of major-league action. But of course, he was not the only prospect promoted since last week.

The Cubs called up both Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario, and in a surprising move, both have remained on the MLB roster. Amir Garrett was called up by the Reds after a brief week down in the minors, and Jose Berrios has now likely solidified himself in Minnesota’s rotation. So for those of you who read my recently promoted prospects article (I hope that’s all of you), be prepared for a packed list this week of high impact prospects.

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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. Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 157 PA, .331/.401/.504, 6 HR, 10 SB, 10.8% BB rate, 27.4% K rate
ETA: Early June
Moncada continues to stand out as the strongest prospect in baseball, and his promotion could be coming any day now. Firstly though, over his past 17 games, he is slashing .371/.430/.500 with a pair of homers and six stolen bases. He is clicking on all cylinders right now, and his promotion could be just around the corner. Why do I say that? Well according to MLB Trade Rumors, Moncada’s free agency year has officially been pushed back to 2023. White Sox GM Rick Hahn said his promotion is not imminent, but who really knows. All you all need to know is that he will be up at some point in the near future, and will prove to be a true force for fantasy owners making a playoff push.

2. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 122 PA, .327/.402/.510, 4 HR, 5 SB, 9.8% BB rate, 23.0% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
The big question with Brinson has always been: will he improve his walk rates? They’ve never been great, but last season at Triple-A, they were awful (2.2 percent). It seems like Brinson is starting to answer that question. Since the start of May, Brinson has walked 15.5 percent of the time with nine walks total. To put that in perspective, he had three walks in the month of April. Brinson appears to be improving in all facets of the game, and has clearly demonstrated he is ready for the majors. And with Keon Broxton appearing to be nearing the end of his recent hot streak (47.6 percent strikeout rate and .238 average since May 11), there could be a spot for Brinson to start by the middle of June.

3. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 141 PA, .219/.284/.297, 1 HR, 5 SB, 7.8% BB rate, 16.3% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Speaking of guys making improvements lately, Meadows is starting to rebound after an awful start. Over the past week, Meadows is batting .320 and has only one strikeout and three walks in 28 plate appearances. There is no doubt he has the talent, the only thing in doubt is whether or not Meadows can stay healthy and produce at Triple-A, two things he has not done thus far in his professional career. But with the Pirates likely mired in a rebuilding year following the suspension of Starling Marte, it appears Andrew McCutchen will be dealt at the deadline, leaving an opening for Meadows in the outfield even after Marte returns. And with his power/speed combination, Meadows could be a real fantasy force to be reckoned with.

4. Tom Murphy (C, COL, DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early June/Mid-June
Murphy is slowly but surely getting closer to a return. He is out of his soft cast now, and has started participating in baseball activities. Manager Bud Black said, “(Murphy’s) getting closer to partaking in legit batting practice.” At this point, Murphy is likely in line for a rehab assignment, but his power upside at the catcher position is worth the wait.

5. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 157 PA, .317/.365/.493, 5 HR, 3 SB, 6.4% BB rate, 27.4% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Barreto has cooled off of late, no longer possessing such eye-popping fantasy numbers, but he still has so much fantasy promise. Since the start of May, Barreto is only slashing .271/.306/.390 with a home run and two stolen bases. But what has been promising of late has been the reduction of strikeouts. His season rate is 27.4 percent, but since May, that rate has been lowered to only 19.4 percent. And while the walks aren’t really there for him (4.8 percent), scouts don’t believe Barreto will ever be a guy with a high walk rate. What scouts do see, is a guy who will provide both stolen bases and some home runs, providing plenty of value as a middle-infielder.

7. Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 143 PA, .336/.427/.639, 9 HR, 0 SB, 13.3% BB rate, 17.5% K rate
ETA: Early July
The good news: Hoskins continues to play really well. The bad news: Tommy Joseph is hitting his stride now. Since the month of May began, Joseph is slashing .400/.512/.886 with four home runs. Now granted, he’s been helped out by a .455 BABIP, and I personally don’t buy into him being better than Hoskins at this point. But even the illusion of Joseph being back to normal is probably enough to keep Hoskins down a bit longer. Make no mistake, Hoskins will get his chance to shine at some point this season. It’s just a question now of when that will be, and for now, it appears his time may be pushed back.

7. A.J. Reed (1B, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 152 PA, .273/.388/.438, 4 HR, 0 SB, 15.8% BB rate, 27.6% K rate
ETA: Late June
Reed has continued to mash this season, but the key number is that strikeout rate. He appeared to be making strides in that area towards the end of April, but he still has a ways to go. It is promising though, that since April 28, his strikeout rate is only 23.5 percent while his walk rate and batting average have stayed high (14.7 percent and .328, respectively). He has the power to produce at the MLB level, he just needs to find a way to make enough contact to channel that power.

8. Amed Rosario (SS, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 162 PA, .361/.401/.510, 3 HR, 8 SB, 6.2% BB rate, 13.6% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
The Mets need all the help they can get. They recently had to place Asdrubal Cabrera on the 10-day DL, are five games under .500, have seen Jose Reyes slide back into a May funk (.209 average since May 1) and honestly need some distraction from this train wreck of a season. Rosario could be that distraction, and it seems like he eventually will be. He is not the most exciting fantasy prospect (no matter how much I’m sure some people want him to be), but he will provide a ton of hits and swipe some bags. Owners and Mets fans at this point will probably just have to wait until after his Super Two deadline for Rosario to receive the promotion.

9. Lucas Sims (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 41.2 IP, 2.16 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 26.6% K rate, 5.7% BB rate, 6.7% HR/FB, .170 AVG
ETA: Late May
Sims has had a rough go of the minors thus far, but he has for sure figured it out this season. He is walking batters at the lowest rate of his professional career, and has still managed to keep the strikeouts a coming. He does not have the prospect shine he once had after being drafted 21st overall in 2012, but he would be a valuable pitching asset for owners with his ability to generate plenty of swings and misses. And let’s face it, it won’t take much to crack Atlanta’s rotation, so expect him to be up in the majors sooner rather than later.

10. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 39.0 IP, 2.77 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 21.7% K rate, 5.7% BB rate, 6.7% HR/FB, .222
ETA: Early June
Woodruff is not quite the strikeout pitcher Sims is, but he will be valuable enough in his own way. Woodruff will still get some swings and misses, but more than anything else, he will specialize in eating innings for owners. He pitches more to contact, and has shown little trouble with the upper levels of the minors. The Brewers rotation has been a mess this season and Woodruff has seemingly been the only pitcher of their’s performing well in the minors. Like Sims, expect him up sooner rather than later.

11. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 55 PA, .395/.509/.558, 1 HR, 0 SB, 20.0% BB rate, 7.3% K rate
ETA: Early June
Diaz was up in the majors for a bit last week, and promptly sent back down. Like the guy just below him on this list, he has not been given a chance to receive a more permanent stay in the majors. However, I believe his time will come before Dan Vogelbach’s. Diaz is versatile in what positions he can play, but he has absolutely knocked the cover off the ball at Triple-A. Though he lacks power or speed, he will rack up a ton of hits in the majors and be an OBP asset in many leagues.

12. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 105 PA, .287/.400/.471, 4 HR, 1 SB, 15.2% BB rate, 19.0% K rate
ETA: Early July
I feel really bad for Vogelbach because this guy deserves to be in the majors, but every time he gets there, he is quickly sent back down. Sure, his numbers in the bigs aren’t great, but it’s tough to find consistency at the plate when there’s no consistency of opposing play. At some point, I believe he will be called up for good. He’s just too good at the plate. When that is though, remains somewhat of a mystery. Given the possibility the Mariners are too concerned with service time, the beginning of July seems a likely time for him to receive a more permanent promotion.

13. Jacob Faria (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 41.1 IP, 3.92 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 34.4% K rate, 9.4% BB rate, 18.8% HR/FB, .235 AVG
ETA: Late June
With Blake Snell recently optioned to the minors to work on his command, there is an opening in the Rays rotation for a new, young face. And Faria looks like just the face. Faria trails only Wilmer Font for most strikeouts in the minors this season, and has been making strides with improving his command. Though he is still no Greg Maddux out there on the mound, he’s probably proven enough to warrant a promotion to the majors. If he can bring that ridiculous strikeout rate to the majors, he could prove quite valuable in many fantasy leagues.

14. Zack Burdi (RP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 14.2 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.65 FIP, 36.9% K rate, 7.7% BB rate, 0.0% HR/FB, .175 AVG
ETA: Mid-June
Relievers are not always prime fantasy assets, but they become assets once they enter a closer’s role. And a closer’s role is just something Burdi has been seemingly destined for. He throws incredibly hard, and misses bats at an incredible rate. What appears to be the plan for him is for his debut to come after his Super Two deadline, at which point he will work on becoming adjusted to the majors before David Robertson is traded. Now whether Burdi takes over the closer’s role at that point is still unknown, but owners have to be aware that his name is likely to come up in that impending conversation.

15. Luke Weaver (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 22.0 IP, 0.41 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 25.3% K rate, 1.3% BB rate, 5.3% HR/FB, .189 AVG
ETA: Early July
In three starts back from the disabled list, Weaver has allowed just one run over 20 innings of work. He has also only walked one batter and struck out 18. If it not for the fact the Cardinals’ rotation has been excellent this season, he’d be the top pitching prospect on this list. As it is, he needs an injury to crack the rotation right now. But the Cardinals always seem to get hurt, and if anyone does, Weaver is the kind of guy who might take a rotation spot and hold onto it for a while.

16. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 159 PA, .326/.392/.567, 8 HR, 5 SB, 8.8% BB rate, 24.5% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
The Astros outfield continues to perform, leaving some doubt that Fisher might be making a major impact this season. But there’s another avenue where he could find playing time. A trade. The Astros could use a rotation upgrade, and Fisher’s hot start to this season could make him an enticing trade piece. And there are a lot of teams out there that could use a guy like Fisher in their everyday lineup. Should he get a chance to start, his power/speed combination and improved contact rates could make him a valuable fantasy starter.

17. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 155 PA, .340/.400/.511, 5 HR, 1 SB, 7.7% BB rate, 17.4% K rate
ETA: Early July
Two guys heading in opposite directions: Ronald Guzman and Mike Napoli. Since April 30, Guzman: .351/.393/.544 with two homers, 6.6 percent walk rate and 16.4 percent strikeout rate; Napoli: .196/.222/.471 with four homers, 3.7 percent walk rate and 33.3 percent strikeout rate. Napoli is proving inadequate at first base, and the Rangers need all the help they can get if they are going to catch up to Houston. Guzman is that help, and with his new-found power, he could actually start to fit the first baseman mold. Throw in the consistently high on-base percentage, and you have a potentially exciting fantasy baseball prospect.

18. Tyler Beede (SP, SF, AAA)
Stats: 36.2 IP, 3.68 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 16.8% K rate, 9.0% BB rate, 7.7% HR/FB, .262 AVG
ETA: Late May
As long as Ty Blach struggles, Beede’s name will come up as a potential replacement in the near future. Beede is no strikeout artist, but he knows how to locate and he knows how to eat innings. If Mike Leake can have value in fantasy leagues, I’m sure Beede can be valuable as well. Once the Giants are tired of watching Blach struggle every five days, Beede will get the call up, and at this point, it seems like it may be before the start of this summer.

19. Tyler O’Neill (OF, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 142 PA, .211/.275/.367, 3 HR, 4 SB, 8.5% BB rate, 27.5% K rate
ETA: Early August
Don’t look now, but O’Neill is starting to put things together. Since May 3, he is slashing .316/.341/.447. Though his plate discipline numbers over that timespan still leave a bit to be desired, he is making baby steps towards regaining a spot on the Mariners’ outfield depth chart. Unfortunately for him, seemingly everyone who takes a spot in the outfield for Seattle seems to catch fire (Mitch Haniger, now Ben Gamel). O’Neill will really have to get things going again to have a meaningful fantasy season in 2017.

20. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 38.0 IP, 3.55 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 23.5% K rate, 11.5% BB rate, 11.4% HR/FB, .228 AVG
ETA: Mid-June
It’s long been said that the first White Sox pitching prospect to step up and perform has a job in Chicago waiting for them. Well, Lopez is starting to perform. Over his last three starts spanning 17.2 innings, Lopez has a 2.04 ERA and 2.55 FIP with a 23.9 percent strikeout rate and 8.5 percent walk rate. If he keeps pitching like this, he’ll be in the majors in no time. And with his strikeout upside, he certainly brings enough fantasy intrigue to warrant a look in most leagues.

21. Nick Burdi (RP, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 13.2 IP, 0.66 ERA, 2.22 FIP, 36.7% K rate, 8.2% BB rate, 9.1% HR/FB, .133 AVG
ETA: Mid-June

22. Patrick Weigel (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 44.1 IP, 3.05 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 23.9% K rate, 6.7% BB rate, 4.7% HR/FB, .235 AVG
ETA: Early August

23. Andrew Stevenson (OF, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 145 PA, .275/.340/.328, 0 HR, 1 SB, 9.0% BB rate, 24.1% K rate
ETA: Early August

24. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 141 PA, .298/.383/.372, 1 HR, 0 SB, 12.1% BB rate, 12.8% K rate
ETA: Early August

25. Casey Gillaspie (1B, TB, AAA)
Stats: 146 PA, .203/.267/.346, 4 HR, 1 SB, 8.2% BB rate, 21.9% K rate
ETA: Late July/Early August

26. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 40.2 IP, 4.20 ERA, 6.62 FIP, 21.1% K rate, 14.0% BB rate, 20.0% HR/FB, .211 AVG
ETA: Late July/Early August

27. Jae-Gyun Hwang (3B, SF, AAA)
Stats: 139 PA, .303/.324/.447, 2 HR, 2 SB, 3.6% BB rate, 19.4% K rate
ETA: Early August

28. Yohander Mendez (SP, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 43.1 IP, 3.12 ERA, 5.52 FIP, 21.0% K rate, 10.8% BB rate, 20.0% HR/FB, .182 AVG
ETA: Early August

29. Eric Skoglund (SP, KC, AAA)
Stats: 33.0 IP, 4.91 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 18.9% K rate, 7.4% BB rate, 5.4% HR/FB, .294 AVG
ETA: Early August

30. Lucas Giolito (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 34.1 IP, 6.55 ERA, 5.76 FIP, 23.1% K rate, 12.2% BB rate, 21.9% HR/FB, .269 AVG
ETA: Early August

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)

2. Cody Bellinger (OF, LAD)

3. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

4. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

5. Jose Berrios (SP, MIN)

6. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT, AAA)

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

8. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

9. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD)

10. Ben Gamel (OF, SEA)

11. Jeimer Candelario (3B, CHC)

12. German Marquez (SP, COL)

13. Amir Garrett (SP, CIN)

14. Jharel Cotton (SP, OAK)

15. Jordan Montgomery (SP, NYY)

16. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

17. Kyle Freeland (SP, COL)

18. Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)

19. Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL)

20. Carl Edwards Jr. (RP, CHC)