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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report - Prospect Risers and Fallers for Week 11

oneil cruz fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers MLB prospects

Welcome to RotoBaller’s Recently Promoted Prospects series for fantasy baseball! 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.

In the past two weeks, we have seen a few more high-impact rookies make their MLB debut. 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.

Here are your recently promoted prospects for Week 11 of the fantasy baseball season.

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Kyle Stowers, Baltimore Orioles

0% Rostered on Yahoo

Situation: With Baltimore Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander being placed on the restricted list before a series with the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada (due to COVID-19 vaccine requirements), the Orioles promoted outfield prospect, Kyle Stowers, on Monday, June 13. Stowers, who has rocketed up dynasty prospect rankings over the past year due to a solid 2021 campaign, was hitting .253/.356/.545 with 12 home runs and 34 RBI in 178 at-bats over 49 games at Triple-A Norfolk to begin 2022. In 2021, Stowers posted an impressive .278/.383/.514 slash line with 27 HR, 85 RBI, and eight steals over three minor league levels. Since his promotion, Stowers is just 1-for-7 with an RBI double, no walks and four strikeouts in two games played.

Skill: Stowers is a 6’3” left-handed 24-year-old power bat who was a supplemental draft pick of the Orioles in the 2019 draft.  He is currently the Orioles’ eighth-ranked prospect as per MLB Pipeline. As mentioned, he has moved up dynasty draft rankings due to an impressive 2021 campaign which showcased his power hitting and on-base potential. Unfortunately, he is prone to the strikeout which could limit his ceiling in the majors. During his excellent 2021 season, Stowers struck out 171 times despite posting an impressive .383 on-base percentage. Before his promotion, he stuck out 53 times in just 178 at-bats at Triple-A in 2022.

Projection: Stowers is likely up with the MLB club just temporarily until Santander is removed from the restricted list once the Orioles-Jays series concludes in Toronto.  Even if he heads back down to Triple-A, Stowers is likely the first option for promotion back to the Orioles later in the season if a spot opens up in the Baltimore outfield via injury or trade. Despite the propensity for strikeouts, Stowers should be rostered in most competitive dynasty formats, particularly in OBP formats.

In terms of redraft, owners in dire need of outfield help in deeper or AL-Only formats could throw a dollar or two in FAAB at Stowers. Of course, it is more likely than not he will head back to Triple-A very shortly and be a hole on your bench until he returns. If he can eventually get the strikeouts under control, Stowers has a very high ceiling given his OBP skill set.

 

Jonah Bride, Oakland A’s

1% Rostered on Yahoo

Situation: The Oakland A’s called up infielder/catcher Jonah Bride on Tuesday, June 14 after a strong start to the 2022 campaign over two minor league levels. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Bride has posted a .347/.443/.581 slash line with five home runs, 29 RBI, and 30 runs scored in 33 games over 124 at-bats. He is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he posted a .265/.407/.424 slash with nine HR and 49 RBI in 78 games at Double-A. In his three MLB games since promotion, Bride is 3-for-10 with three singles.

Skill: The 26-year-old Bride is not considered a top prospect in the A’s organization. He is the 26th-ranked prospect in the Oakland organization as per MLB Pipeline. A 23rd-round draft pick by the A’s in the 2018 draft (683rd overall pick), his rise to the majors in just four years is a great accomplishment. He possesses a very strong on-base skill set, having posted a career .388 on-base percentage in the minors over 284 games and five levels. Bride doesn’t have a strong power skill set, exemplified by only 27 career minor league home runs.

Projection: With 3B Matt Davidson struggling, it appears Bride will get a decent amount of playing time at third base in the immediate future to prove himself at the MLB level. From a fantasy perspective, Bride can provide value in average, OBP, and runs scored. He also possesses value given his potential for multi-position eligibility (think of a Luis Arraez who can catch….but in a worse lineup). Because of his shortcomings in the power department, he’s not a great option as a starting corner infielder in any format. He is best left to the waiver wire in most formats, except deeper two-catcher formats (once he obtains position eligibility at catcher) or very deep leagues where bench depth is thin.

 

Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates

34% Rostered on Yahoo

Situation: I know…Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz hasn’t been promoted yet but it does appear that the Pirates will be calling up the elite prospect imminently. Cruz made his MLB debut in late 2021, playing in two games. He failed to make the 2022 Pirates roster out of spring training and got off to a slow start in the minors this season. After an April in which he slashed just .176/.282/.284 with one home run over 19 games at Triple-A, he is now hitting .236/.342/.433 with nine HR, 33 RBI, 11 steals, and 40 runs scored in 52 games. In 2021, over two minor league levels, Cruz impressively slashed .310/.375/.594 with 17 HR and 19 steals in just 68 games (and 271 at-bats).

Skill: Cruz is a massive 6’7” 220-pound 23-year-old shortstop who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. He was traded to the Pirates in 2017 as part of the deal that sent reliever Tony Watson to the Dodgers. Cruz is the top-ranked prospect in the Pirates’ organization as per Baseball America, and the third-ranked prospect in the Pirates’ organization, and the 22nd overall prospect in all of MLB as per MLB Pipeline.

He projects as a starting MLB shortstop with elite power and above-average speed. He had a brief taste of the majors in late 2021 when he played in two games for the Pirates and went 3-for-9 with a home run and three RBI. He is an elite prospect with a very high ceiling who could consistently be a 20-20 threat, making him a fantasy darling for years to come.

Projection: If Cruz is called up by the Pirates and can produce, he will likely remain with the club for the duration of the season. He should be a priority add in all redraft formats. As a top-20 MLB prospect, he is obviously already rostered in any dynasty format. The Pirates have little to play for in 2022, so there is the potential for service time manipulation which could delay his promotion. There is also the possibility that the Pirates will continue to play Rodolfo Castro and/or Diego Castillo at shortstop regularly. As a result, the Pirates may opt to move Cruz to the outfield which, reportedly, he has taken issue with. As a result, Cruz's reported protestations may further delay his arrival in Pittsburgh. In any event, fantasy managers should pounce now and aggressively bid for Cruz if he is available in redraft formats. The wait is almost over...hopefully.



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