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Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report - MLB Rookie Risers and Fallers for Week 15

Nolan Jones fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers waiver wire pickups

Welcome to the first full week after the All-Star break, Week 15, and another edition of RotoBaller’s Recently Promoted Prospects series for fantasy baseball prospects! In this article are your recently promoted MLB prospects and their outlooks as we head into Week 15 of the fantasy baseball season.

Here I discuss some recently-promoted top MLB prospects and rookies, making note of what I think their upside could be for fantasy baseball managers, and whether they are potential risers or fallers.

We have seen a few high-impact rookies make their MLB debut in the past few weeks. Below I discuss three rookies that might work their way into fantasy relevance. I will use industry scouting reports, analytics, and RotoBaller’s premium projections to predict what each recently called-up player could do if given a continued opportunity in 2022.

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Max Meyer, Miami Marlins

39% Rostered on Yahoo

Situation: Miami Marlins top starting pitching prospect Max Meyer was called up by the Marlins on July 14. In his first start in the majors on July 16, he allowed five earned runs on seven hits, including two homers, and one walk over 5 1/3 innings pitched against the Philadelphia Phillies while striking out five.

Though it was not a good start, the reviews of Meyer’s arsenal were positive. In 2022 over 58 IP at Triple-A Jacksonville, Meyer has posted a 3.72 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and 65 strikeouts with just 19 walks in 12 starts.

In 2021, over two levels (Double-A and Triple-A) Meyer posted an impressive 2.27 ERA, and a 1.19 WHIP, to go with 130 strikeouts and just 42 walks over 111 IP in 22 starts. With a career minor league 2.77 ERA and 1.111 WHIP, and high strikeout potential, Meyer is one of the top pitching prospects to reach the majors in 2022.

Skill: Meyer is a 6’0” 24-year-old righty who was drafted by the Marlins third overall in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft. As per MLB Pipeline, Meyer is the Marlins’ second-ranked prospect and he is the 21st-overall prospect in all of baseball.

As shown in the minors, he exhibits excellent control and has both an excellent slider, and a fastball that sits in the mid-90s. His changeup is considered somewhat average in comparison to his more dominant offerings.

Projection: Despite his rough first MLB start against the Phillies, Meyer is a must-add in all formats. There is a strong chance that Meyer will remain with the MLB club through the remainder of the season unless he struggles.

While expectations about rookies have to be tempered (unless you’re talking about Julio Rodriguez), Meyer should still help managers in redraft formats in need of pitching with strikeouts and ratios through the remainder of the season.

Though wins on the Marlins may be hard to come by, Meyer should be productive in these other categories for fantasy purposes going forward, particularly given his solid command and propensity to generate swings and misses.

 

Nolan Jones, Cleveland Guardians

29% Rostered on Yahoo

Situation: The Cleveland Guardians called up infield/outfield prospect Nolan Jones back in early July and he made his MLB debut on July 8. Since his debut, all he has done is hit. Over ten games, Jones has posted a .333/.455/.519 slash line to go with one homer, nine RBI, and two doubles over 27 at-bats.

In 2022 at Triple-A before his promotion, Jones slashed .311/.417/.500 with three HR, 25 RBI, six doubles, and four steals over 90 at-bats. He owns a six-year minor league career .275/.399/.448 slash line (over six levels) with 54 HR and 27 steals over 1600 at-bats.

Skill: The 24-year-old Jones is a 6’4”, 195-pound righty who was drafted by Cleveland in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He is currently the eighth-ranked prospect in the Guardians’ organization and the 100th-ranked prospect in all of MLB, as per MLB Pipeline.

Jones is a solid hitter who uses all fields. Struggles in 2021 at Triple-A Columbus impacted his dynasty and prospect rankings when he slashed just .238/.356/.431 with 13 HR and 48 RBI over 341 AB. Though he is currently batting over .300 at the MLB level and was hitting .311 at Triple-A before his promotion, his career .275 minor league average suggests some regression.

Despite this, Jones' on-base skill set is excellent, as shown by his .356 on-base percentage even during a down year in 2021. He has above-average power, though his career high in homers in a given season is 19. While his status as a top-tier prospect has slipped in the past year, he should remain a strong fantasy asset given his position flexibility in the infield corners and outfield.

Projection: With rookie outfielder Oscar Gonzalez (abdomen) due to return from the injured list soon, Jones may be the odd man out and be relegated to a bench role or be sent back to Triple-A. There is the option to play Jones at first, but he would be blocked by Franmil Reyes unless a trade opens up a slot in the lineup.

Of course, while he is hitting .333, it is hard to justify removing Jones from the lineup or sending him back to Columbus. If Jones remains with the club and can get regular playing time courtesy of a trade or another injury, he will hold fantasy value through the remainder of the season, particularly in OBP leagues.

He can help managers with some HR output and RBI. His skill set and initial MLB production are reminiscent of a Brandon Nimmo or Mark Canha profile. There are certainly worse options to roster this late in the season for those redraft managers in need of some offense.

 

Esteury Ruiz, San Diego Padres

41% Rostered on Yahoo

Situation: The San Diego Padres called up outfield prospect Esteury Ruiz on July 12. In six games since his promotion to the majors from Triple-A El Paso, Ruiz has slashed .263/.263/.421, to go with a double, a triple, 2 RBI, and 1 steal over 19 at-bats.

Before his promotion, he tore up the minors over two levels in 2022. He slashed .333/.467/.560 with 13 HR, 46 RBI, 23 doubles, and 60 (yes 60) stolen bases. Over a six-year minor league career, Ruiz has stolen an incredible 218 bases to go with a .281/.360/.457 slash line (in just over 1800 AB).

Skill: The 23-year-old right-handed hitter was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic by the Kansas City Royals in 2015. He was traded to the Padres as part of a multi-player deal in the middle of the 2017 season.

He is 6’0” and a lanky 169 pounds. He is currently the number 28 prospect in the Padres' organization as per MLB Pipeline. Ruiz played some second base in the minors in addition to the outfield and possesses elite speed (obviously).

He has had ups and downs in the minors throughout his career, though this season's breakout can be attributed to much better plate discipline. He has posted a career-low strikeout rate (17.4%) and a career-high walk rate (13.9%) in 2022.

Projection: There is no question that Ruiz can help managers in dire need of steals if he gets regular playing time. For that reason alone, Ruiz is a must-add in redraft formats where stolen bases are hard to come by and could be the difference maker in several leagues.

Ruiz's minor league career slash line suggests he should be able to help managers with ratios, though expectations should be tempered. There will be an adjustment to MLB pitching, exemplified by his .263 on-base percentage (and lack of walks) so far. With Jurickson Profar (concussion) recently back from the injured list, Ruiz could have trouble consistently cracking the lineup.

Of course, should Trent Grisham continue to struggle at the plate, Ruiz could become the right side of a platoon with him. Even in that case though, Ruiz would not be a lineup regular. Mangers in redraft formats in need of steals should certainly make a move to grab Ruiz, just don't break the bank given the playing time risk.



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