MLB Ready Prospects: Top 30 Fantasy Rankings for Impact Rookies (Week 16)

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Who would have guessed that the first person promoted from the promising 2015 draft would have been Carson Fulmer? I mean no offense to Fulmer, but he had a 4.76 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 9.31 K/9, 5.28 BB/9 and 0.72 HR/9 in Double-A. Those numbers are certainly not terrible, but I don’t know if they are so great that they warrant an early promotion, even if it is just to the bullpen.

I would’ve thought Alex Bregman, Andrew Benintendi or Dansby Swanson would’ve been the first promoted. It is a puzzling move to say the least and I don’t recommend that anyone add him at this point as he still has some issues he needs to work out before he is worth owning.

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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. Tyler Glasnow (SP, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 96.0 IP, 1.78 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 10.69 K/9, 4.88 BB/9, 0.38 HR/9, 1.14 WHIP
ETA: Wednesday
As of my writing this, Tyler Glasnow has not been promoted, but it will only be a matter of days. Jon Niese was shifted to the bullpen in an effort to free up a rotation spot for Glasnow; the corresponding promotion has just yet to be made. No starter has been announced for Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers and there is a 99% chance it is the talented right-hander. Glasnow is an elite strikeout machine and should be considered a top of the line starting pitching option once promoted back to the majors, in spite of his well documented struggles with command. He should be owned in all leagues already.

2. Alex Bregman (SS, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 337 PA, .305/.411/.589, 19 HR, 5 SB, 10.4% K rate, 13.4% BB rate
ETA: Late July/Early August
The signing of Yulieski Gurriel throws things off a bit, but owners should still expect to see Bregman reach the majors very soon. After putting on a show in the Futures’ Game, there was speculation he would be promoted straight to the majors, but Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow put an end to that conversation very quickly. What has been said since the signing of Gurriel is that Bregman and Gurriel will split time at DH when both are promoted. They will both also see time at third, first and the outfield. Make no mistake, Bregman has an elite bat and should reach the majors very soon. Like with Glasnow, he should already be owned in all leagues.

3. Yulieski Gurriel (3B, HOU, NA)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early August
The recent signee has not even been added into Yahoo! leagues and already I am urging that people start to buy into him. Last season playing in the Cuban National League, the 32-year-old slugger slashed .500/.589/.874 with 15 home runs in 224 plate appearances. Yes, you read that right, he is batting .500 with over 200 plate appearances. And at his age, there is no time to waste as he is already nearing the end of his prime. But for teams in 2016 redraft leagues, you will still get a chance to own this major impact bat. As stated with Bregman, the two of them will split time in the infield, at designated hitter and in the outfield (with Bregman likely playing the most outfield).

Gurriel would be number one on this list because of his clearly ready MLB bat, but he will almost certainly be promoted later than both of the aforementioned prospects. The plan for him is to spend a week or two in Rookie League, then spending a few more weeks in Double-A before finally reaching the big leagues just in time to help the Astros with their final postseason push. It would still be wise to really just consider all three of these guys to be tied for most valuable as all of them are poised to have serious impacts in 2016 redraft leagues. He should be owned in all leagues once he is made available.

4. Lucas Giolito (SP, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 78.0 IP, 3.35 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 8.77 K/9, 3.92 BB/9, 0.46 HR/9, 1.37 WHIP
ETA: Next week
There is a very good chance Giolito is promoted to start the Nationals’ game on July 23 (they have an off-day coming up which will allow them to go with a four man rotation for a bit). But if he stands such a strong chance of returning to the majors, why is he so much lower? Because unlike Glasnow who is joining the rotation because there are no other quality options, Giolito will face constant pressure to perform because the Nationals have too many options. Joe Ross could come off the DL and force Giolito back down to the minors, Austin Voth could be promoted should Giolito struggle and Ross need more time on the DL or the Nats could turn to A.J. Cole (however unlikely given his struggles in Triple-A this season). Giolito has the potential to dazzle and force the Nats to keep him in the rotation, but he has very little room for error and one bad start could cost him a shot at staying in the starting five. Still, as long as he is in the rotation, his upside is too great to pass up on and he should be owned in all leagues.

5. Manuel Margot (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 384 PA, .298/.347/.418, 4 HR, 23 SB, 9.4% K rate, 6.3% BB rate
ETA: Early August
Manny Margot should thank Melvin Upton for putting together such a strong season and giving the Padres a valuable trade piece. Upton appears to be on the trade block and is very likely going to be dealt at some point on or before the deadline, leaving a spot in the outfield open. That hole will likely be filled by Margot. Margot, the highlight of the Craig Kimbrel return package, has the potential to not only bat at the top of the order for the Padres and hit over .290, but also provide fantasy owners with a fair amount of stolen bases. He has proven himself to be a 30 stolen base threat and could steal 15+ in his time between August and September in the majors. Once promoted, Margot is an elite enough talent that he warrants owning in all leagues.

6. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS, AA)
Stats: 364 PA, .303/.371/.511, 7 HR, 14 SB, 9.9% K rate, 9.3% BB rate
ETA: Late July
One of the few guys on this list who could potentially be called up without a trade taking place, Andrew Benintendi stands as a very plausible answer to the on-going question of the Red Sox left field hole. With Chris Young on the DL and Brock Holt hardly starter material, Benintendi could come in and provide near elite production for the Red Sox should they decide to promote him. Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski has already stated that he has no problem with promoting prospects straight from Double-A and in this instance it is a move that makes a tremendous amount of sense for Boston. As of right now, Benintendi is slashing a very promising .283/.346/.484 with six home runs, six stolen bases, a 9.3% walk rate and a 13.2% strikeout rate in 205 plate appearances (49 games). His numbers since June 10, even more impressive. In 121 PA and 29 games, .340/.413/.632 slash with six bombs, three steals an 11.6% walk and identical strikeout rate. Scouts view him as one of the more promising bats in the minors and he stands a very good chance of getting to bring his talents to the big stage in a matter of weeks if not days. Once promoted, he will be worth owning in all leagues and should probably be stashed in most leagues at this point.

7. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 359 PA, .324/.407/.535, 13 HR, 1 SB, 15.3% K rate, 11.4% BB rate
ETA: August 1
Poor Josh Bell. He was optioned back to the minors after just three plate appearances in the majors. And all he did was get on-base. Literally, he played no defense. He just came up to the majors, walked twice, singled and hit a pinch-hit grand slam. He will be back up though. The Pirates’ only reason for demoting him is that they don’t like his glove at first base, which is a funny reason considering the fact that a) John Jaso is considered to be an average if not slightly below-average defender and b) it is first base. This is not shortstop where defense is a must, this is the corner where people go to play if they literally can’t play any position. There have been rumors about John Jaso possibly being traded, which would make a lot of sense considering that he is not the first baseman of the future for the Pirates and Bell has been widely regarded as the best first base prospect in baseball. He is in the minors for now, but don’t be surprised if Jaso is traded and Bell is promoted by Aug. 1.

8. Jose De Leon (SP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 35.1 IP, 3.06 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 13.75 K/9, 3.57 BB/9, 1.02 HR/9, 1.13 WHIP
ETA: Late July/Early August
The Dodgers are currently running out a rotation of Brandon McCarthy, Bud Norris, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda. That is not a winning rotation. Granted, soon Clayton Kershaw will return off the DL and go back to dominating the majors, but that is about the extent of the help the Dodgers will receive unless they promote Jose De Leon. The young starter has been nothing short of extraordinary this season at Triple-A, demonstrating above-average command while racking up gaudy strikeout totals. In his most recent start, the 23-year-old right-hander did what he typically does, he went 5.2 innings, surrendered two runs off five hits and three walks while striking out ten. Opponents rarely hit him hard and owners should expect that trend to continue into the big leagues. It should only be a matter of time until the Dodgers elect to upgrade their rotation from within and turn to De Leon. Once promoted, he will be worth owning in all leagues.

9. Robert Stephenson (SP, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 88.0 IP, 3.89 ERA, 4.72 FIP, 7.67 K/9, 4.70 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9, 1.32 WHIP
ETA: Next week
The Reds have a lot of shifting in their rotation that will likely take place before the trade deadline. Homer Bailey is nearing his return, Brandon Finnegan is nearing his career-high in innings, Dan Straily could have some trade value and Cody Reed could probably use some more time in Triple-A. Not to mention the fact that John Lamb was recently optioned to Triple-A (which could mean a promotion for Stephenson on Lamb’s next scheduled start). Meanwhile it should only be a few more trips around the rotation before flame-throwing right-hander Robert Stephenson is promoted to join the rotation. He has started to show the ability to strike out batters again while still keeping the walk rates moderately low. He has also gone at least six innings in 12 of his 15 Triple-A starts this season, showing himself to be capable of providing quality starts to his team. If promoted, he immediately would be worth owning in 12+ team leagues and could make himself worth owning in shallower leagues if he translates his recent surge in strikeouts into Major League results.

10. Orlando Arcia (SS, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 382 PA, .269/.325/.407, 7 HR, 13 SB, 17.3% K rate, 7.1% BB rate
ETA: Late July/Early August
A couple of reasons why you should expect to see Arcia promoted to the majors. First, he is swinging a hot bat again with a .325/.413/.600 slash over his past 10 games. Second, the right-handed platoon at second base, Aaron Hill has already been traded, leaving Scooter Gennett and Jake Elmore to man second over there. And third, though Jonathan Villar is having a breakout season, he could easily play third base where the Brewers have been stuck with an ineffective duo of Will Middlebrooks and Hernan Perez. An Arcia promotion would encourage fans to show up at the ballpark at a time when the team is in the middle of a dismal season and getting ready to deal away franchise catcher Jonathan Lucroy and possibly Ryan Braun. If promoted, Arcia brings a very solid batting average and above-average speed to fantasy owners. He is not electric as other shortstop prospects from an offensive standpoint, but he will provide enough value to warrant owning in 12+ team leagues.

11. Jake Thompson (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 111.2 IP, 2.42 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 6.21 K/9, 2.58 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9, 1.10 WHIP
ETA: Late July
Thompson’s numbers? Yeah they just keep getting better. He made a start on July 15 and delivered his second consecutive outing of seven shutout innings. Except in this start, he only walked one batter (as opposed to two his previous time out) and struck out five (as opposed to three). That means that since June 5, he has thrown 56.1 innings in eight starts (averaging seven innings a start) with a 0.64 ERA, 3.02 FIP, .196 opponent’s batting average, 0.91 WHIP, improved 5.11 K/9 rate, 2.08 BB/9 and very solid 0.16 HR/9. Look for him to be promoted some time before August to eat up some necessary innings for this young rotation as most of those young arms surpass 100 innings. With his lack of strikeouts, his upside is limited, but he would still be worth owning in 12+ team leagues for his quality innings and all-around reliability.

12. Jose Berrios (SP, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 83.1 IP, 2.59 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 9.18 K/9, 3.24 BB/9, 0.65 HR/9, 1.04 WHIP
ETA: Early August
I wrote this article before I could see the results of Jose Berrios’ start on Sunday, but I would imagine that it will be spectacular. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? He has been ridiculously good over his last five starts, producing 35.2 innings with a 1.26 ERA and 2.88 FIP while most impressively reducing his walk rate to 2.52 BB/9. I would not be too terribly concerned about his command problems any more as he has seemed to iron them out since he returned to Triple-A after his brief stint in the majors. He will undoubtedly get another shot at the majors this season, but it is tough to tell when that will come. He will immediately be worth owning in 12+ team leagues and if his control seems to hold up in the bigs, he will be worth an add in all leagues.

13. Gary Sanchez (C, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 261 PA, .281/.322/.479, 9 HR, 5 SB, 14.6% K rate, 5.0% BB rate
ETA: August 1
Another guy on this list who only has value if a trade is made, he could potentially reach the majors if either Brian McCann or Carlos Beltran were to be traded. Obviously he will see far more time if McCann is traded because then he moves in to become the starting catcher, but he could also see some time at DH if Beltran were dealt. And with his explosive bat, one of the most potent from any catching prospect in the minors, he would immediately be worth owning in all leagues. However, this is all a moot point if the Yankees decide to stand pat at the deadline. Owners desperate for help could consider stashing him in deeper, two-catcher leagues, but only by knowing that it may be a stash in vain if the Bronx Bombers don’t sell off any players.

14. Josh Hader (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 81.0 IP, 2.56 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 11.56 K/9, 3.67 BB/9, 0.33 HR/9, 1.21 WHIP
ETA: August 1
Hader will make his first start since July 3 later tonight (Monday, July 18) so I do not have his stats from that game to work with (obviously). But the stats that I do have to work with tell me that Hader needs to show some signs of improvement in order to stay as high as he is on this list. His biggest issue has been his command which has seen his walk rate increase from 3.00 BB/9 at Double-A to 5.25 BB/9 at Triple-A. He has also been getting rocked a bit as evidenced by the opponents’ average of .294 to start his AAA career. Now right now that has been boosted by a ridiculous .424 BABIP, but that is not too much of an excuse for the way he has pitched. If he doesn’t show some improvements in his next outing, he could take a tumble on this list.

15. Dan Vogelbach (1B, CHC, AAA)
Stats: 357 PA, .310/.420/.535, 15 HR, 0 SB, 18.8% K rate, 15.4% BB rate
ETA: August 1
If the Cubs trade to acquire a reliever, Vogelbach will certainly be one of the first prospects added into the return for said reliever. The poor guy is stuck behind All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo and absolutely needs to be traded to have any value. He has done nothing but hit at every level of the Minor Leagues and would be an upgrade at first over a lot of other guys in the majors (and could also be plugged into the DH role of a lot of American League teams). Since he requires a trade to a team with a hole either at first or DH, he is likely not worth stashing. But if a trade like that happens, he should become a hot commodity and should definitely receive a look in most fantasy leagues.

16. Alex Reyes (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 46.1 IP, 4.86 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 13.01 K/9, 4.27 BB/9, 0.78 HR/9, 1.40 WHIP
ETA: Late July
Reyes has been higher on this list in the past, but it appears that a promotion for him means a promotion to the bullpen. And not to the closer’s role, but just as a middle or long reliever. He is a talented prospect, but a promotion like that is not very useful to fantasy owners. Should any Cardinal starting pitcher go down with an injury, Reyes is likely the first name called up to join the five. But with the combination of his control issues at Triple-A and the likelihood of him being promoted solely for a bullpen role limit his fantasy upside. A promotion might make him worth a skeptical look for owners in deeper leagues, but he needs to be in the rotation to be worth owning in any league with fewer than 14 teams.

17. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 382 PA, .332/.359/.602, 21 HR, 3 SB, 19.1% K rate, 3.9% BB rate
ETA: August 1
The second Padres outfielder to make it on this list, Renfroe is hoping that when the Padres start selling, they deal Matt Kemp as well as Melvin Upton. It appears that if only one outfielder is dealt away, it will probably only be Margot who is promoted despite Renfroe having more experience at Triple-A. Should Renfroe see time in the majors, he has enough power to do well even at Petco and would be a valuable outfielder in 12+ team leagues. Don’t expect him to bat over .330, but he could potentially bat over .280 if he makes improvements in his plate discipline.

18. Joey Gallo (3B/OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 261 PA, .249/.383/.554, 16 HR, 1 SB, 29.9% K rate, 17.6% BB rate
ETA: August 1
With the Texas Rangers in the market for some pitching help, they could look to deal slugging third baseman Joey Gallo. As of right now, Gallo has no clear path to playing time on the team and it looks like he could be stuck in that position for a while. If the Rangers were to make him available in a trade, he could probably become one of the biggest trade assets on the market in spite having played on 37 games at the big league level. The Rangers were linked recently to Matt Moore and though giving up Gallo would probably be overpaying the Rays, he could be used as a way of getting more than Moore (possibly another starter or reliever). For redraft leagues, Gallo needs to be traded or else it is unlikely he sees any significant playing time this season.

19. Jesse Winker/Scott Schebler (OF, CIN, AAA)
JW Stats: 262 PA, .293/.385/.396, 4 HR, 0 SB, 13.7% K rate, 13.7% BB rate
SS Stats: 262 PA, .295/.355/.523, 10 HR, 1 SB, 19.1% K rate, 5.7% BB rate
ETA: August 1
Whoa! This is weird, two prospects on the same line. Why is that? Well it is because at this point, it is impossible to tell which way the Reds will go with regards to which prospect is promoted when (not if) Jay Bruce is traded. Winker obviously has the higher upside and has shown himself to be far more disciplined than not only Schebler, but most prospects out there. But he is coming back from an injury and has not hit for as much power as the Reds would like. Meanwhile Schebler has already struggled at the big league level, but he has done much better at Triple-A, demonstrating some pop and an ability to hit for a respectable average. Plus by promoting Schebler instead of Winker, they will be saving some extra service days of Winker for the future. The verdict remains the same for both players: no need to stash either one of them, but both would be worth adding in 12+ team leagues just to see how they do in full big league playing time in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark.

20. J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 390 PA, .272/.371/.383, 6 HR, 10 SB, 13.6% K rate, 13.3% BB rate
ETA: September
It awaits to be seen whether the Phillies will promote their talented shortstop prospect, but Crawford has been doing everything in his power to warrant a promotion. Since June 15, he is slashing .351/.405/.505 with three bombs and steals apiece, a 7.3% walk rate and a 13.0% strikeout rate. He has certainly been proving over the past month that though he got off to a slow start, he is certainly not intimidated by the higher level of pitching. And while the Phillies are not in the postseason picture for 2016, teams often promote their young prospects to energize the fanbase and to give their young talent some time to adjust to big league pitching a year before they are going to be thrust into a full time role. And there is no doubt that Crawford will enter 2017 as the Phillies’ starting shortstop. He does not overwhelm anyone with his offensive skillset, but he should be viewed as a low-risk guy to produce in the batting average category while also running into the occasional home run and swiping the occasional bag. If promoted, he would be worth owning in 12+ team leagues.

21. Gavin Cecchini (SS, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 296 PA, .322/.401/.446, 4 HR, 3 SB, 11.8% K rate, 11.8% BB rate
ETA: August 1

22. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AA)
Stats: 370 PA, .269/.369/.440, 8 HR, 10 SB, 20.3% K rate, 13.2% BB rate
ETA: Mid-August

23. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 370 PA, .261/.357/.469, 16 HR, 5 SB, 23.2% K rate, 11.4% BB rate
ETA: September

24. Jordan Patterson (OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 301 PA, .317/.411/.484, 5 HR, 7 SB, 20.9% K rate, 12.0% BB rate
ETA: August 1

25. Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL, AA)
Stats: 371 PA, .284/.372/.444, 7 HR, 10 SB, 17.3% K rate, 11.1% BB rate
ETA: September

26. Anthony Banda (SP, ARI, AAA)
Stats: 91.1 IP, 2.86 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 9.76 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 0.69 HR/9, 1.40 WHIP
ETA: Early August

27. Carlos Asuaje (SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 385 PA, .328/.388/.469, 5 HR, 7 SB, 12.2% K rate, 8.6% BB rate
ETA: Early August

28. Yandy Diaz (3B, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 350 PA, .308/.410/.435, 6 HR, 10 SB, 15.4% K rate, 14.6% BB rate
ETA: Mid-August

29. Aaron Wilkerson (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 99.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 3.07 FIP, 9.93 K/9, 2.53 BB/9, 0.72 HR/9, 1.08 WHIP
ETA: Early August

30. David Dahl (OF, COL, AAA)
Stats: 375 PA, .307/.391/.564, 18 HR, 16 SB, 23.7% K rate, 11.7% BB rate
ETA: September

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Corey Seager (SS, LAD)

2. Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX)

3. Trevor Story (SS, COL)

4. Aledmys Diaz (SS, STL)

5. Willson Contreras (C, CHC)

6. Michael Fulmer (SP, DET)

7. Kenta Maeda (SP, LAD)

8. Steven Matz (SP, NYM)

9. Blake Snell (SP, TB)

10. Tyler Naquin (OF, CLE)

11. Jon Gray (SP, COL)

12. Dae-Ho Lee (1B, SEA)

13. Trea Turner (2B, WAS)

14. Tyler Glasnow (SP, PIT)

15. Alex Bregman (SS, HOU)

16. Yulieski Gurriel (3B, HOU)

17. Lucas Giolito (SP, WAS)

18. Jose De Leon (SP, LAD)

19. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

20. Jameson Taillon (SP, PIT)

 

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