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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Risers/Fallers (Week 8)

Well, the Major League season is already 30.2% of the way done. Some owners think that they are on their way to victory while others are patiently waiting for things to turn around. Still, while all the victory laps are being taken, the smart owner is looking forward to the rest of the year and finding what value can still be had. While the season always seems to move quickly, the dog days of summer are still upon us.

Now that we are rolling along, so too are the call-ups. This week, the Rotoballer team keeps tabs on all the new names and faces, with insight into their fantasy value to help any team. For owners looking for a cheap spark, look no further.

For redraft, dynasty, or general fantasy players knowing the new prospects is key to begin to plan out FAAB bids and waiver claims. Target or avoid these players to helps teams keep their competitive windows open.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


Rookie Debuts - Stock Up

These players helped their fantasy value with solid debut weeks for their respective team. If not on owners's radars, these players need to be.


Shaun Anderson (SP, SFG)

Drafted by the Red Sox in 2016, Anderson was dealt to the Giants in a package for Eduardo Nunez back in 2017. After struggling to start his pro career, Anderson looked to be a lottery ticket in the deal, and rather, has turned into one of the top pitching prospects in a weak system. Over seven starts at Triple-A, Anderson is averaging more than a K per inning and has dropped his ERA to 4.11. Taking into account that the PCL is a hitter’s league, these numbers are quite good and bode well for the future. This WHIP and ERA numbers are at worst league-average, and at best, hint at a effective arm that can play up in San Francisco.

There will be playing time for now, as the Giants are a bit short in the starting rotation. With no real arm to push him from Triple-A, Anderson will need to effective, but not dominant to keep those innings for fantasy owners. Add in the apparent benefits of pitching in Oracle Park, and Anderson is set-up to succeed more than some of the other pitching prospects on rebuilding clubs. In two starts and 10 innings to date with San Francisco, Anderson has gotten off to a good start. Add in the eight Ks and a 3.60 ERA, and there is clear fantasy interest here. For now, Anderson is a target for owners in need of arms, or who missed on the big names over the past few weeks. If he keeps pitching, Anderson will be an SP4 in most leagues.


Luis Arraez (2B, MIN)

If any of the prospects on this list surprised, in a good way, through their first few ABs, it was Arraez. Always thought out of as a future reserve infielder for the Twins, Arraez looks to be getting an early shot based on an excellent start to the year in the minors. In 38 games at Double-A, Arreaz was slashing .342/.415/.397 with three steals. Little to no power to dream on, Arraez works best as an MI option with batting average upside. He might add some steals, but with the Twins prolific homer attack, do not expend them to risk any outs on the bases. At the same time, with this offense, the fact that he can get on base makes the run scoring floor sit higher than most other prospects at second.

So far, in five games and 19 PAs with the Twins, Arraez has seven hits, one homer, and four runs scored. Expect a .260 batting average floor  based on early contact metrics, with room for a bit more based on good plate skills. With 17.2 launch angle, there are some interesting pieces in the analytics that can hint to a bit more lift on the ball, but the below-average exit velocity limits that upside. The good news is that the Twins plan to use him around the field, so there might be some positional flexibility coming soon. For now, Arraez is a limited impact option this year, but his dynasty stock is rising.


Rookie Debuts - Stock Neutral

These players neither helped nor hurt their fantasy value in the first week of play.


Brendan Rodgers (SS, COL)

The super prospect in Colorado is here, and fantasy owners are chomping at the bit. The context is that Rodger’s prospect stock has dipped a bit in the industry with some swing-and-miss concerns appearing in the minors over the past few years. And yet, he is still a top 50 player on most prospects lists. Still, there is always a concern with how the Rockies have used prospects in the past, and with Garrett Hampson, they might have already sunk some fantasy seasons. Rodgers is different, with the hype and skills to force his way into the team. At the very least, with this prospect, the Rockies NEED to know what they have before making moves the rest of the way. If he can play, Rodgers is a key piece moving forward, and if not, the team benefits from early information.

The first week has been good with four games, 17 ABs, and four hits. Three of those hits came in one game versus Pittsburgh, so this has not been a consistent start. For now, he is slated to be the starting option at second for the Rockies, and even while batting in the seven-hole will still get a run boost from the rest of the team and park context. The best news for owners is the declining K rate. In 19 games last year at Triple-A, Rodgers struck out 16 times. This year, in 36 games, he has only posted 25 Ks. For now, the stock is neutral with some concerns on both the tools and playing time. For owners in need of a boost, this might be the cheap option if he is still available in your league.


Rookie Debuts - Stock Down

These players hurt their fantasy value during their first week of play.


Jared Walsh (1B/P, LAA)

While he debuted in time for last week’s piece, Walsh appears this edition due to the need to see how the Angels were going to use him. A two-way player, on paper, Walsh is primarily a first baseman but might jump into the pen with some time. Even with two weeks of data, there is not much to talk about here. Only nine ABs over three games show the role and limits fantasy value without those chances. Unless he moves into a pitching role, there does not seem to be much for redrafters to get excited about for the rest of 2019.

For dynasty leaguers, the story might be a bit different. First, with Justin Bour not having the year many thought, Walsh could be moved into the primary bench option this year. Do not be surprised if he is given a chance to win more of a role next year. While most of the talk to date has focused on his pitching, the bat has some impact potential as well. With 59 homers in 397 career minor league games, and numbers that have risen with each step, Walsh projects as a CI option entering next year. Nothing to get excited about this year, but a name to learn for fantasy owners entering 2020.

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