2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 8)

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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 hope you all have enjoyed the start of conference tournaments in college baseball. Yes, I know, who watches college baseball? Well, believe it or not, it really is a great way to get a leg-up on other owners in dynasty leagues. I can tell you that next season, Clemson right fielder Seth Beer is going to be the top college bat to go in the draft (and he could be a real superstar in the making) and his teammate, shortstop Logan Davidson, has a chance to do the same in 2019.

Having this kind of edge can be crucial in dynasty leagues, but knowing the prospects that are the next to be called up can be equally crucial to getting a leg-up on owners in redraft leagues as well. How did you all know Ian Happ and Cody Bellinger were going to be call ups this season? You came here and read about it. Hopefully, you will keep coming here so you can stay that one extra step above your other redraft owners.

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, DL)
Stats: 157 PA, .331/.401/.504, 6 HR, 10 SB, 10.8% BB rate, 27.4% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
On May 17, Moncada was placed on the 7-day DL with a thumb injury. It should not be considered alarming, but it still awaits to be seen how he will recover from his injury. He had been tearing it up before his injury, posting a .358/.426/.509 slash line with a pair of bombs, four steals and both an improved walk rate (11.5 percent) and strikeout rate (21.3 percent) over the month of May. At this point, he has done all he can to warrant a promotion. Expect the call to come sometime in the middle of June.

2. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 139 PA, .313/.403/.496, 4 HR, 5 SB, 11.5% BB rate, 20.9% K rate
ETA: Late June
Keon Broxton has decided to go on a serious hot streak in the month of May after a dismal month of April. After slashing .191/.276/.324 in the season’s first month, Broxton has compiled a ridiculous .348/.384/.580 in May. But, look deeper, and there’s reason to believe that trend won’t last. First, he’s still striking out 37 percent of the time, and actually walking less than he did in April (4.1 percent compared to 7.9 percent in April). He also has an other-worldly .538 BABIP thus far.

At some point, Broxton is liable to come back down to Earth, and when he does, Brinson will be there to pick up the pieces in center. Though Brinson has not been crushing Triple-A pitching in May, he has still held his own and has continued to reduce his strikeout rate and improve the walk rates (13 walks compared to 14 strikeouts in May thus far). If Brinson keeps hitting the way he has, he will be in the majors before too long. And with his power/speed combination, he could be a valuable asset for fantasy owners down the stretch.

3. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 189 PA, .314/.362/.500, 6 HR, 3 SB, 5.8% BB rate, 26.5% K rate
ETA: Mid-July
It sounds like the Athletics have a time in mind for a Barreto promotion. It appears once they start selling certain players, they will promote Barreto, which could come anytime from the end of June to the middle of July, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

That is a really exciting thing for fantasy owners as Barreto has all the makings of a fantasy force in the majors. He has tapped into some raw power this season, while still making the most of his opportunities on the basepaths. Though the strikeouts are concerning, scouts still insist he will do fine in the majors, with one scout cited in Slusser’s article saying, “I’m impressed with how well (Barreto) is starting to turn on pitches.” At this point, it may not be a bad idea to stash him because he could be gone in a hurry once he reaches the big leagues.

4. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 172 PA, .229/.291/.325, 2 HR, 6 SB, 7.6% BB rate, 16.9% K rate
ETA: Early July
That slash line is still pretty ugly, but Meadows is making some strides toward improving it. Since May 9, he is slashing .296/.356/.444 with a home run and three stolen bases. It’s not great, but it is definitely moving in the right direction. And honestly at this point, that’s really all Pittsburgh needs to want to give him a chance. The Pirates currently sit in last in the division, and the play of the fill-in outfielders has been part of the problem. If they keep heading south as they are, Andrew McCutchen is likely going to be on the trade block in July, leaving a permanent spot open for Meadows. Expect him to be promoted to fill Starling Marte’s hole after Meadows' Super Two deadline passes, and then for him to remain in the outfield once Marte returns as Cutch will likely be headed out of the steel city.

5. Tom Murphy (C, COL, DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Mid-June
Murphy is making a lot of progress, and MLB’s injury report now has a “Possibly late May” ETA beside his name. A rehab stint will probably push that into June, but Murphy is clearly almost back to business. Fantasy owners who have been patient, you shall soon be rewarded.

6. Lucas Sims (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 45.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 26.4% K rate, 6.2% BB rate, 12.2% HR/FB, .194 AVG
ETA: Early July
The Braves rotation has been atrocious to this point, as they are currently tied with Philadelphia for the second-to-worst pitching WAR according to Fangraphs. Sims, on the other hand, has done everything possible to warrant a promotion, drastically improving his walk rates while maintaining a high strikeout rate. Though the Braves also have Matt Wisler who can start, Wisler has not found near the same success this season, and has already had several unsuccessful stints in the majors. Sims appears likely to be given a shot at the rotation at some point over the summer, and with his strikeout upside, he could be a valuable starter for fantasy owners searching for some backend of the rotation guys.

7. Reynaldo Lopez (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 49.0 IP, 2.94 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 23.9% K rate, 11.0% BB rate, 7.7% HR/FB, .212 AVG
ETA: Mid-June
Lopez really struggled over his first four starts, but he has settled in at Charlotte since then. From April 28 to the present day, Lopez has a mere 1.57 ERA over 28.2 innings in five starts, including a 2.44 FIP, 24.6 percent strikeout rate and solid 8.8 percent walk rate. It appears he has rediscovered his form, and could be in line for a promotion during the middle of June once he passes his Super Two deadline (which will be a tad later than most since he saw time in the majors last season). And with his strikeout potential and middle-of-the-rotation upside, he could be a very solid piece to be owned in mixed leagues.

8. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 44.2 IP, 3.02 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 23.3% K rate, 5.0% BB rate, 8.0% HR/FB, .228 AVG
ETA: Mid-June
While Lopez has excelled over his past several games, Woodruff has hit a bit of a rough patch. He has allowed eight runs over his past two starts, spanning 10.1 innings. The chief source of the problems has simply been missing out in front of the plate, and as a result he has given up two long balls and 12 total hits. But he has walked only two batters in that span and has struck out 12 batters. Overall, there is no major cause for concern yet, but keep an eye on him. If the struggles persist, his stock may need to head down a bit. But if he starts pitching like he had earlier this season, he could reaffirm himself as a midseason call-up who can provide Mike Leake-esque results.

9. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 188 PA, .315/.380/.565, 10 HR, 7 SB, 8.0% BB rate, 22.9% K rate
ETA: Early July
Fisher is looking all the part of a top prospect, and could be soon taking his talents to the majors. He has one of the better power/speed combinations in the minors, and lately has shown major improvements in plate discipline (only a 15.7 percent strikeout rate since May 9). And with Nori Aoki really scuffling in May (.167/.250/.194 slash line) and Carlos Beltran struggling overall (.247/.292/.393), an opening could soon be made available for the former UVA standout.

10. Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 171 PA, .315/.404/.651, 12 HR, 0 SB, 12.9% BB rate, 15.8% K rate
ETA: Early July
Like Fisher, Hoskins has done all he can to warrant a call up. Unfortunately for Hoskins, Tommy Joseph found his bat over the month of May, slashing .345/.418/.707. And though I am not a huge believer in Broxton’s breakout May, there is reason to believe in Joseph’s month thus far as his .385 BABIP is not crazy, and even a slight regression would still represent a solid batting average. It is very possible that Joseph is dealt at the deadline, leaving an opening for Hoskins in the majors. But at this point, it would take a serious decline for Joseph, an injury or a trade for Hoskins to see regular PT in the majors.

11. Amed Rosario (SS, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 191 PA, .360/.398/.537, 4 HR, 8 SB, 5.8% BB rate, 13.6% K rate
ETA: Late June
The Mets are really spiraling out of control, and as crazy as it sounds, they might be sellers at the deadline. But even if they aren’t they still have some issues to settle on the left-side of the infield with Asdrubal Cabrera still recovering from injury and Jose Reyes mired in a terrible season. Some are still unsure about whether or not Rosario is truly ready for the majors, but at this point, it seems likely he may at least be given a chance to shine after his Super Two deadline. Anything at this point to take the mind of fans off this dismal season.

12. Jacob Faria (SP, TB, AAA)
Stats: 47.2 IP, 3.40 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 35.2% K rate, 9.4% BB rate, 16.7% HR/FB, .214 AVG
ETA: Early June
The strikeout king of the minors, Faria has established himself as one of the top arms in the Rays’ farm system. At the moment, he even appears to be higher up in the depth chart than other prospects like Brent Honeywell and Jose De Leon who may be kept in the minors longer for service time reasons. And though Erasmo Ramirez has filled in for Blake Snell admirably, he is still probably more valuable as a reliever, and Matt Andriese has some concerning peripherals. The Rays may turn to Faria at some point in the near future to give them some innings, and with his insane strikeout rates this season, he could be mighty valuable in mixed leagues.

13. Zack Burdi (RP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 17.2 IP, 2.04 ERA, 1.72 FIP, 34.6% K rate, 7.7% BB rate, 0.0% HR/FB, .188 AVG
ETA: Late June
The White Sox have had a better season than most probably had them pegged for, but they are still certainly going to be sellers at the deadline. And with several attractive bullpen arms, they are certainly going to be auctioning off relievers, leaving many holes in their pen. One such hole will likely be the closer spot, and it seems very possible that spot could be filled by Zack Burdi who has looked all the part of franchise closer at Triple-A this season. Even if he doesn’t immediately grab the closer’s role, his insane strikeout upside makes him worthy of an own in many leagues.

14. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 187 PA, .304/.374/.446, 5 HR, 1 SB, 8.6% BB rate, 16.0% K rate
ETA: Mid-June
Mike Napoli has been slightly better in May, but that’s almost strictly from a power perspective. His slugging percentage for the month is at .600, but his average is still a measly .246 and his on-base percentage is just .311, while the strikeouts remain high at 28.4 percent. Guzman, on the other hand, has struggled a bit more in May, but overall has outstanding numbers this season. He is still young, but has the talent to man a regular position in the majors. If he gets a chance, his ability to reach base at an incredibly high rate and knock a couple homers makes him a worthy own in deeper redraft leagues.

15. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 86 PA, .343/.447/.514, 2 HR, 0 SB, 16.3% BB rate, 12.8% K rate
ETA: Early July
Diaz just knows how to hit. He isn’t a great power hitter and won’t steal many bases, but he is a pure hitter who knows how to reach base as well as anybody. Unfortunately for him, there is not much of a clearing in Cleveland for him to find playing time. Should he find it, he’s got that hit tool that makes him worth owning in mixed leagues, but he has not clear path to PT yet. He could be a trade chip, however, and could start nearly anywhere else but Cleveland.

16. Luke Weaver (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 27.0 IP, 1.67 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 25.5% K rate, 1.0% BB rate, 4.8% HR/FB, .227 AVG
ETA: Early July
Weaver just needs something, anything to happen for him to start in the majors. He has completely dominated Triple-A so far, and is clearly the Cardinals’ sixth man in case of an injury. But thus far, nothing has happened to suggest the team may be calling him up. Even though Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright haven’t been great so far this year, neither of them are going to lose their rotation spots to a rookie anytime soon. But should you see any concerning signs in St. Louis of a possible injury in the rotation, Weaver should immediately become your top waiver priority.

17. Jeimer Candelario (3B, CHC, AAA)
Stats: 132 PA, .325/.417/.675, 7 HR, 0 SB, 12.1% BB rate, 23.5% K rate
ETA: Late July/Early August
Candelario could have done a bit better in his big-league debut, but he did hold down a spot on the team for a fair amount of time. But I’m going to put the same thing about him now that I had before he was promoted: his only hope for a ton of fantasy production this season comes from a trade. He seems the most likely trade candidate Chicago has, which is a promising sign for owners still holding onto the talented third baseman. He would become a starter nearly anywhere he is traded, but that trade still needs to take place.

18. A.J. Reed (1B, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 177 PA, .276/.379/.454, 5 HR, 0 SB, 14.1% BB rate, 28.2% K rate
ETA: Early August
Going back to the few struggles of the Astros, it is safe to say Yulieski Gurriel has not been quite as advertised. He has not been awful by any means, but he is only slashing .268/.300/.387 with just three homers. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either. Meanwhile, Reed has shown more offensive promise, walking a ton and continuing to flash plus power. But that strikeout rate is still scary. And that rate has only gone up in May, as it has been 29.5 percent so far this month. He has the potential to be a real impact player in the majors, but he still has a ways to go before he’s ready for a second-look in the majors.

19. Rafael Devers (3B, BOS, AA)
Stats: 144 PA, .320/.389/.555, 7 HR, 0 SB, 10.4% BB rate, 18.1% K rate
ETA: Early August
The calls for Devers to be promoted to the majors have been coming from everywhere. Recently, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, wrote a piece about why a Devers promotion makes the most sense for Boston, and I tend to agree with him. But, it’s not up to me or Cameron. It’s up to the Boston brass. And if Boston can find an external solution on the trade market, they may be more likely to that route given Devers’ youth. Should Devers find himself on that MLB roster this season, however, his insane offensive upside would demand ownership in nearly all leagues.

20. Jose De Leon (SP, TB, A+)
Stats: 8.1 IP, 2.16 ERA, 1.27 FIP, 37.5% K rate, 6.3% BB rate, 0.0% HR/FB, .167 AVG
ETA: Early August
De Leon has looked completely unhittable since returning from his injury . . . but it has been against High-A batters thus far. Before he completely skyrockets on this list, he will need to prove he still has it against batters at higher levels. But he has the potential to display real helium if he can continue to dominate, and might already be worth a stash in some leagues. Just keep in mind that he still has a little ways to go before the Rays are going to send him to their big-league rotation.

21. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA, AAA)
Stats: 124 PA, .262/.379/.447, 5 HR, 1 SB, 15.3% BB rate, 19.4% K rate
ETA: Early June

22. Carson Kelly (C, STL, AAA)
Stats: 127 PA, .321/.402/.527, 5 HR, 0 SB, 10.2% BB rate, 15.0% K rate
ETA: Early August

23. Nick Burdi (RP, MIN, AA)
Stats: 17.0 IP, 0.53 ERA, 2.17 FIP, 32.8% K rate, 6.6% BB rate, 7.7% HR/FB, .158 AVG
ETA: Early July

24. Patrick Weigel (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 45.1 IP, 4.57 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 23.0% K rate, 6.3% BB rate, 8.3% HR/FB, .261 AVG
ETA: Early August

25. Ozzie Albies (2B/SS, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 186 PA, .259/.308/.388, 2 HR, 13 SB, 7.0% BB rate, 22.6% K rate
ETA: Early August

26. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 167 PA, .290/.365/.359, 1 HR, 0 SB, 10.8% BB rate, 13.2% K rate
ETA: Early August

27. Dominic Smith (1B, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 198 PA, .320/.379/.481, 5 HR, 0 SB, 8.1% BB rate, 14.6% K rate
ETA: Early August

28. Jae-Gyun Hwang (3B, SF, AAA)
Stats: 162 PA, .277/.296/.426, 3 HR, 3 SB, 3.1% BB rate, 18.5% K rate
ETA: Early August

29. Dinelson Lamet (SP, SD, AAA)
Stats: 39.0 IP, 3.23 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 29.9% K rate, 12.0% BB rate, 7.1% HR/FB, .219 AVG
ETA: Late May

30. David Paulino (SP, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 9.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 6.35 FIP, 27.0% K rate, 16.2% BB rate, 14.3% HR/FB, .129 AVG
ETA: Early August

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)

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

3. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS)

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

5. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

6. Chad Pinder (SS, OAK)

7. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA)

8. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL)

9. Jordan Montgomery (SP, NYY)

10. German Marquez (SP, COL)

11. Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC)

12. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD)

13. Kyle Freeland (SP, COL)

14. James Pazos (RP, SEA)

15. Ben Gamel (OF, SEA)

16. Matt Davidson (3B, CWS)

17. Jharel Cotton (SP, OAK)

18. Antonio Senzatela (SP, COL)

19. Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL)

20. Carl Edwards Jr. (RP, CHC)