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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Risers (Week 16) - Rookies to Stash and Top Performers

Shay Whitcomb - Fantasy Baseball Prospects, Draft Sleepers, MLB Rookies

The minor league baseball season is well underway, and several top prospects have gotten off to a hot start in the minor leagues and have carried that momentum into the majors.

However, the question is do these performances truly matter for this season? How easy will it be for these prospects to reach the big leagues, and are they worth stashing on your redraft roster?

Knowing which prospects to watch can put you ahead of your league mates and in the driver’s seat during the second half of the season. Adding the right prospect can fill the missing piece on your roster and power you to a fantasy baseball championship. This fantasy baseball prospects biweekly series will examine a few key players in the minor leagues and assess whether they have a path to fantasy stardom in 2024. 

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Jackson Jobe, SP, Detroit Tigers

Detroit No. 11, Overall 11

One of the best pitching prospects in the sport recently recovered from a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for just over a month.

Jobe, selected with the third overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Heritage High School, has shown immense potential and has been nothing short of spectacular throughout his time in the minor leagues. 

After getting his first taste of minor league ball at a Single-A stint in 2022 and posting a career-high 4.52 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, the right-hander has been stellar ever since and is now on the radar of not only dynasty fantasy managers.

In his first taste of High-A ball in 2022, he had a 1.15 ERA but a poor 4.78 xFIP across a limited 15-inning sample size.

In his second stint at High-A in 2023, Jobe's performance was particularly noteworthy. He posted a near-perfect 1.91 xFIP, a significant improvement from his previous stint. His increased ground-ball rate during this time is a positive sign for pitchers, demonstrating his adaptability and rapid improvement at that level.

He concluded the 2023 season by getting a brief six-inning taste of Double-A, where he logged just one start in which he did not allow a run and struck out six.

This summer, Jobe returned to Double-A Erie, where he tossed 16 2/3 frames to the tune of a 2.16 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and a 10:24 BB:K ratio. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury to his left hamstring, which kept him on the sidelines for just over a month. He completed a short rehab stint with High-A and returned to Double-A on July 5, where he tossed five innings of one-run ball with a season-high eight strikeouts.

It is safe to say that this injury did not halt his development at all.

Through his first extended look at Double-A this season, he has yet to allow a long ball and is currently sitting with a career-best 36.4% K rate. In addition, he spots a 2.02 FIP, which is an incredible mark given how little experience he has had in the upper levels of the minor leagues.

The No. 11-ranked prospect in all of baseball is developing into an ace this season and could make a similar jump that Drew Thorpe and Spencer Schwellenbach made last month from Double-A directly to the major leagues. He is a must-roster player in keeper and dynasty leagues.

Verdict: Stash in deeper redraft leagues, wait in standard leagues, must roster in all keeper leagues
 

Shay Whitcomb, SS, Houston Astros

Houston No. 29, Overall N/A

Shay Whitcomb, currently at the No. 29 spot in the Houston system on MLB.com, has been making significant strides this summer. His rapid improvement is truly impressive and he is on pace to surpass his previous career-high totals.

At Triple-A Sugar Land this season, Whitcomb has posted an excellent .309/.393/.560 line with 19 long balls, 71 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 80 games. In a similar 87 games at Triple-A last summer, the former fifth-round pick looked like a completely different player with a modest .224/.281/.434 line with 23 home runs, 66 RBI, and 12 swiped bags.

A look under the hood shows how drastic his improvements in one calendar year have been. This season, he lowered his K rate from 31.1% to a solid 20.8%. In addition, he raised his walk rate from 6.1% to 11.2%.

When looking at his contact skills, his BABIP jumped from a poor .266 in 2023 to a stellar .349 in 2024. He also raised his wOBA from .306 to .409 and wRC+ from 62 to 132.

While he may not currently have a spot on the Astros' depth chart, he may force his way up if he continues this excellent play.

Verdict: Stash in deeper leagues
 

Brady House, 3B, Washington Nationals

Washington No. 3, Overall 44

Let's talk about another Nationals prospect in this series, third baseman Brady House. With the promotion of James Wood to the big leagues and reigning national champion Dylan Crews to Triple-A, House's potential may have gone under the radar over the past few months.

The third baseman was selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft and progressed through the lower levels of the minors reasonably quickly last summer.

After spending all of 2022 at Single-A, the 21-year-old started 2023 with a brief stint at Single-A and eventually ended the campaign at Double-A for his final 36 games.

Overall, that season, he posted an excellent .312/.365/.497 line with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, and nine stolen bases. In his first look at Double-A, he was even better with a .324/.358/.475 line.

This summer, he opened the campaign with Double-A Harrisburg and saw his stat line drop to .234/.310/.423 in a much longer 75-game stint.

However, a stat line can often be misleading. This season, he lowered his K rate from 28.4% to 24.5% and raised his walk rate from 4.7% to 7.8%.

When looking at his batting skills, he has a higher wRC this season with 40 compared to 23 last summer but a much lower .273 BABIP compared to the stellar .442 he posted last season.

On Sunday, July 7, House was promoted to Triple-A as former Triple-A third baseman Trey Lipscomb got the bump up to the big leagues. It may be hard to picture a 2024 debut for House, but it would not be impossible if Lipscomb were to struggle in the big leagues and the Nationals hang around the Wild Card race.

Verdict: Continue to monitor



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