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Rookie Report: Recent MLB Prospect Call-Ups (Week 20)

A handful of intriguing rookies made their MLB debuts this past week, with two of the top 100 prospects according to MLB Pipeline joining The Show. Save for Jansen, I do not really foresee any of the recently promoted prospects being impact players, at least for fantasy, down the stretch, so it still remained a rather ho-hum week in fake baseball land.

Just two more weeks remain until rosters expand, at which point we should see a handful of guys that are on their team's respective forty-man rosters but would otherwise not have an opportunity to play. Unfortunately, for fantasy purposes, this does not mean a whole lot as most fantasy managers will already have their fate decided by the time some of the more interesting rookies are recalled in September.

Seven names hop on board the list this week: Jacob Nix, Danny Jansen, Sean Reid-Foley, Touki Toussaint, and Taylor Ward, and the returners Miguel Andujar and Shohei Ohtani. Jeff McNeil, Chance Adams, Trey Wingenter, and Shane Bieber all leave the list. Without further ado, this week's rookie report.

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Prospect Call-Ups and Rookie Performances

Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

Last week, I anointed Juan Soto the NL Rookie of the Year. Ronald Acuna, apparently, took exception to that, because over the last week he has triple-slashed .483/.545/1.276 with seven HR, 12 R, and 13 RBI. He homered in five consecutive games, including a three-game stretch where he led off the game with a homer. Jose Urena did not like that Acuna was playing baseball so well against him and his teammates, so he plunked Acuna with his first pitch on Wednesday night and Acuna had to leave the game early. Testing results have been good for Acuna thus far, but monitor the situation to see if anything pops up for the young stud. We now have a race for the NL Rookie of the Year.

Danny Jansen (C, TOR)

Jansen was finally given an opportunity to prove himself in the big leagues and he has shown out so far, going 3-7 with a homer in his two big league contests. He sat on Wednesday night so it looks like he will still get only about four starts per week, but four starts of excellent production from behind the dish is worth rostering, even in shallower formats. In the minors, Jansen's calling card was his plate discipline; the 23-year-old posted an 11.0% walk rate and 12.2% strikeout rate across six minor league seasons. It may be tough to stomach just four starts from your catcher each week, but I'm sure Jansen's productivity will be easy to swallow.

Jacob Nix (SP, SD)

Nix was very good in his MLB debut, throwing six shutout innings against the scuffling Phillies offense. He allowed just four hits and walked two while picking up six strikeouts. While this start may seem good on the surface (and it was a good start, don't get me wrong), Nix is really a two-pitch pitcher at this point. He has an average fastball that he can locate well, and a killer change-up that should be featured heavily whenever he takes the mound. However, he lacks an MLB-ready third pitch, so any success that he has this season is probably not sustainable. Nix is an interesting add in keeper and dynasty formats, but I would hold off on using him as anything but a streamer this season.

Sean Reid-Foley (SP, Tor)

Sean Reid-Foley made his debut on Monday against the Kansas City Royals, and it could have been better. It also could have been a lot worse. In five innings, Reid-Foley allowed five hits, walked three, coughed up three runs (all earned), and struck out just three. For a guy who struck out over a batter per inning in the minor leagues, I would have liked to see more Ks, but major league hitters are a lot better than minor league hitters so I'm not that surprised. The walks, however, are concerning to me, and it seemed that every time a batter made contact against him it was loud contact and the ball went far. I think Reid-Foley, like Nix, is an intriguing play for next season and beyond, but I wouldn't count on him delivering a ton of value in fantasy in 2018.

Touki Toussaint (SP, Atl)

Toussaint, the Braves #7 prospect and the #76 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was solid in his MLB debut. He got the nod in Monday's contest against Miami (yes, it is Miami, so take it with a grain of salt) and delivered a quality start, going six innings, allowing one run (earned), walking two, giving up two hits, and striking out four. He was pulled after just 83 pitches because his spot in the lineup came up during a huge sixth inning where the Braves scored five runs, but overall a solid debut. Toussaint showcased his high-90s heater as well as his electric curveball.

The problem with Toussaint, like Nix, is that he lacks a great third pitch, so he will not be effective as a starter in the near future. Toussaint's current stuff, though (read: his fastball and curveball), is already MLB ready, so he could theoretically slot into the back end of the Braves bullpen tomorrow, should the Brave choose to go that route. They won't because if Toussaint can develop a third pitch, he instantly becomes a potential MLB ace. Fortunately for the Braves, they have four MLB starters under team control for at least two more seasons and a handful of other pitching prospects that can cover the fifth slot, so Toussaint can take his time to develop in the minors. Don't expect to see a lot of Toussaint for the remainder of 2018, and I wouldn't count on him delivering a ton of fantasy value in 2019 either.

Taylor Ward (C/3B, LAA)

Ward, who came up as a catcher, is now a full-time third baseman. Major fantasy platforms, however, still have him listed as a catcher, which makes him a must-own in nearly every format. A catcher-eligible player who plays every day and actually hits? Yes, please. Imagine Isiah Kiner-Falefa but better and playing every day. That's pretty much what Ward is.

Since being called up, Ward is 3-8 with a double, an RBI, a walk, and a strikeout, which is unsustainable but gives us a glimpse of what he is capable of. When all is said and done, Ward will probably settle in as a .280/.380/.480 hitter with a very respectable strikeout-to-walk ratio and good power, which is more than anyone can ask for out of their catcher spot. Add Ward now, ask questions later.

Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

I had to add Andujar back to the list because he has quietly been an absolute savage since the All-Star break. Playing in the shadows of Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres, Andujar has slashed .354/.374/.646 with 14 extra-base hits (7 HR) 18 R, and 20 RBI since July 20th. He still hasn't learned how to take a walk, and I don't know that he ever will, but if he's going to hit like he has since the ASB, that doesn't matter. Andujar has vaulted himself over Torres in the Rookie of the Year talks, and this should be a fun race to watch down the stretch.

Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, LAA) 

This is more of an announcement that Ohtani recently threw a bullpen session than that he is hitting well. His OPS is almost .900, which is excellent, but as a DH-only, he simply is not delivering that much fantasy value. He threw a 33-pitch bullpen earlier this week, though, so we could see Ohtani pitch again this season. Just an update.

Brandon Lowe (2B/SS/OF)

It took Lowe seven games, but he finally got his first hits and RBI and on Wednesday night, going 2-4 with two RBI in a win over the Yankees. Lowe has seen virtually equal time between left field and second base (and remember, he was listed primarily as a SS on ESPN so that's a bonus), but has not yet made himself into a valuable fantasy asset due to his 8:2 K:BB ratio and complete lack of production prior to yesterday. Hopefully, though, this is a sign of things to come for the 24-year-old.

Garrett Hampson (2B, COL)

Hampson was recalled to the majors earlier this week as infield depth while Scott Oberg is on the paternity list. We already know that Hampson is ready for the bigs, but finding time for him with LeMahieu and Story in the middle infield will be difficult this season. Look for Hampson to make an impact in 2019.


Quick Hits

Juan Soto (OF, WAS)

Soto has gone cold this past week, picking up just four hits in 29 PA. He's still getting on base at a very respectable clip, and has a 6:6 K:BB ratio during his cold streak.

Seranthony Dominguez (RP, PHI)

Dominguez righted the ship after his blowup last week. In two outings, he threw 2.1 innings, struck out two, allowed one hit, gave up no walks or runs, and added a save to his season tally.

Gleyber Torres (2B/SS, NYY)

While Andujar has gone hot, Torres has gone cold. The 21-year-old has triple-slashed .145/.250/.290 with just three homers since the All-Star break.

Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX)

Calhoun has begun sitting against lefties which is a very bad sign for his fantasy value. He has been productive when on the field, though, garnering three hits in nine at-bats with two walks this past week.

Jake Bauers (1B, TB)

Bauers has gone completely cold at the dish with just one hit and nine strikeouts in his last 20 PA. Unfortunately, the on-base production has also halted, making Bauers a tough start recently. In shallower formats, he can be dropped to ride the hot hand.


Josh Hader Update

After Corey Knebel blew up, Hader was called upon to get a two-inning save and that he did, going two perfect innings with three strikeouts for his ninth save of the season.


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