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Rookie Report: Recent MLB Prospect Call-Ups (Week 17)

Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed your all-star break. I certainly enjoyed mine; it gave me a chance to think about how to approach rookies and prospects for the rest of the season and get an extended look at some top-tier MiLB talent in the futures game. Particularly, Seuly Matias and Taylor Trammell caught my eye, but everyone already knew those guys were shaping up to be studs, so you could say I was late to the party.

On the big league front, there's been some notable movement among prospects over the past 14 days. A handful of callups, with more almost definitely in tow, have changed the rookie landscape and made things interesting for fantasy owners everywhere.

Enyel De Los Santos, Diego Castillo, Ryan Borucki and Corbin Burnes leaves the list this week. Jesse Winker, Gleyber Torres, Garrett Hampson, Jeff McNeil, Willie Calhoun, and Daniel Poncedeleon are joining (or, in Gleyber's and Jesse's case, rejoining). Without further ado, this week's rookie report:

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Prospect Call-Ups and Rookie Performances

Gleyber Torres (2B/3B, NYY)

Torres was activated off the disabled list by the Yankees on Wednesday and went 0-3 with a walk and a run scored. Deploy as usual.

Garrett Hampson (2B, COL)

Hampson, who has been exceptional this year in the minor leagues, finally got the call to the big leagues thanks to a DJ LeMahieu injury. He's triple-slashing a meaningless .250/.400/.500 through four games. The point is that he's taking walks at the same rate he is striking out and is also making solid contact with the ball. We have yet to see Hampson attempt any steals but those should be coming any day now.

For this season, Hampson is a solid asset, but long-term there are questions as to where he fits on the diamond. Story and Arenado are entrenched on the left side of the infield and Brendan Rodgers is the heir-apparent to second base once LeMahieu departs, so Hampson may end up filling a super-utility role or being traded (he doesn't have the bat for first base). There's also the off-chance that he gets moved to the outfield, but with Blackmon inking a long-term deal this year, he won't play center and doesn't have the bat for left or the arm for right. In short, there isn't a spot for Hampson on the diamond long term, but that doesn't matter for this year. Get him in your lineup if you still can.

Jeff McNeil (IF, NYM)

McNeil is a 26-year-old rookie who made his debut on Tuesday for the Amazins. A 26-year-old rookie is normally not an intriguing prospect, but McNeil has torn up AA and AAA for the Mets with an OPS of over 1.000 on the season across both levels. McNeil has been plagued by injuries (classic Mets) over the past few years and this year, now that he is finally healthy, he is hitting for some power. The infielder smacked 19 long balls before getting called to the bigs and is rocking a batting average and OBP of 1.000 now that he's in the bigs (1-1 with a walk). He isn't a must-add yet in redrafts but he should be added to all watch lists. In keeper and dynasty leagues, I'd be more likely to pull the trigger for a struggling end-of-the-bench guy.

Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX)

Calhoun has started a handful of games for the Rangers in the outfield since being called up. It hasn't been terrible, but he doesn't move like an outfielder out there. That doesn't matter for fantasy, though, because as long as he is adequate enough for the Rangers to keep trotting him out every day, that's good enough for us fantasy guys. The bat hasn't gotten going at the MLB level just yet, but with the Rangers not having anything to play for down the stretch, Calhoun should get a lot of action. In dynasty leagues he is a must add if he isn't owned already, and in redraft leagues, he's someone to keep an eye on.

Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU)

Tucker has not been good since coming to the bigs. In fact, he has been quite bad. I wish I could point to a number or figure and say "he's going to turn it around!" but I can't say with confidence that he will this year. You probably can't get much for him in a redraft at this point and selling him in a keeper league right now would be foolish. Hold the man on your bench if you have the space or trade him if you can get a solid offer in a redraft. Regardless of what you end up doing with Tucker, though, remember that he is a 21-year-old in the major leagues. Those guys take time to adjust. Not everyone can be Juan Soto.

Jalen Beeks (SP/RP, TB)

Beeks was shipped off to Tampa on Wednesday morning in exchange for Nathan Eovaldi. I think the trade is a solid move for both sides and the fantasy impact is generally positive for both guys. Eovaldi now has a better shot to pick up wins and Beeks will actually be consistently starting in the big leagues (or at least following the opener). This means that we will get a chance for an extended look at Beeks but he might not be picking up any quality starts any time soon if he's coming in after the "opener."

Shane Bieber (SP, CLE) 

Bieber got absolutely shelled on Tuesday night against the Pirates, lasting just 1.2 innings and allowing 7 runs on 7 hits. On the bright side, he still didn't walk anybody. These are the kind of blowups that young control artists are susceptible to because when they don't have their best stuff, they all-the-sudden become very hittable. Bieber is still a hold in every format; the Pirates are red-hot right now and this is likely not indicative of a longer-term trend.

Daniel Poncedeleon (SP, STL)

So the Cardinals do this thing where they turn everyone into a stud. I suppose Poncedeleon is the newest project; he went 7 hitless innings in his debut. He walked three and struck out just three, not a great ratio, but the fact that he threw seven hitless frames in the first place is incredible. The Cards optioned him back to the minors after the start, but we now know that Poncedeleon is a name to remember for down the stretch and beyond.

Jesse Winker (OF, CIN)

Winker has quietly been having one of the best seasons of any hitter in baseball. He isn't hitting for a ton of power or walking, but he is triple-slashing .299/.405/.431 with more strikeouts than walks. At the beginning of the season, I called that Winker would be a dark horse candidate for rookie of the year and it is looking that he will end up in the top two vote-getters for the NL (with Soto being the other). He doesn't hit for a ton of power but is an absolute stud at getting on base, so scoop him if he is somehow still available in your league.

Quick Hits

Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

Acuna is triple-slashing a cool .333/.438/.593 over the past two weeks with a HR, 2 SB, and a 5:6 K:BB ratio. You still may be best off shopping him in redraft leagues; people want to own the shiny new young toy and may overvalue him relative to their proven assets. Cash in if you can in redrafts (but obviously hold in all keeper leagues).

Juan Soto (OF, WAS)

Over the past two weeks, Soto is hitting just under .300 with 2 HR and a steal. His K:BB has taken a bit of a hit (five walks and nine strikeouts over the past two weeks, still respectable but not his normal paces) but he's still a monster. Hold and deploy as regular.

Seranthony Dominguez (RP, PHI)

Dominguez has been exposed recently whenever he pitches the second game of a back-to-back. In saves-only redraft leagues, I'd look into selling Dominguez because the Phillies are likely to chase a closing option so that Dominguez can be deployed in the multi-inning reliever role by Kapler. In holds leagues or keeper leagues, Seranthony is an easy hold.


Josh Hader Update

Hader over the past two weeks: 3 G, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 9 SO. Also a couple of insensitive tweets unveiled. None of those should affect his fantasy value, though.


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