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Rookie Report: Recent MLB Prospect Call-Ups (Week 21)


With the fantasy playoffs looming around the corner (or, in some instances, in full swing), rookie impact becomes less and less important due to the fact that there simply aren't any great stashes remaining. A top prospect being promoted for a cup of coffee can make a huge impact, but there does not profile to be a ton of guys who will fill that role this season, making the prospect pool even less intriguing for fantasy purposes.

That does not mean, however, that there will not be any cups of coffee, as indicated by Michael Kopech's MLB debut this past Tuesday. Kopech, who had demonstrated that he was ready for the big leagues, pitched in the Show for the first time this past week despite the White Sox being unequivocally out of the playoff race. Instead of playing with his service clock, the White Sox did the right thing and promoted an MLB-ready player to the MLB. Good on them (no pressure, Blue Jays).

Michael Kopech and Bryse Wilson are the lone new names joining the list this week while Jeff McNeil joins them as a returner. Jacob Nix, Sean Reid-Foley, Touki Toussaint, Brandon Lowe, and Garrett Hampson are saying sayonara. Without further ado, this week's rookie report.

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Prospect Call-Ups and Rookie Performances

Michael Kopech (SP, CWS)

Kopech, after an abysmal 12-start stretch spanning from early May to early July, posted elite numbers for the last month to earn himself a call-up. During his string of bad outings, Kopech walked 47 batters in 55.1 innings and pitched to a 5.69 ERA with a WHIP of 1.59. Not exactly the type of stuff you want to see from a top-of-the-line prospect. The good news for Kopech is that something clicked for him in July; in his last seven minor league starts, Kopech fanned 59 batters in 44 innings and walked just four opposing hitters. He posted an elite 1.84 ERA and was one of the best pitchers in all of the minor leagues during this stretch. So good, in fact, that the White Sox finally decided he had earned a call-up to the show.

What did Kopech do to reward them? Just go two scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks in a rain-shortened debut. His fastball looked electric and sat in the high 90s with movement, and he featured three breaking pitches, at least two of which were average or better. Kopech has the makings of a legitimate ace and will be extremely fun to watch down the stretch provided that his old walk issues do not resurface.

Bryse Wilson (SP, ATL)

Wilson, a fourth-round draft pick by the Braves in the 2016 draft, came seemingly out of nowhere to make his MLB debut this past week. After starting the season in Single-A, Wilson managed to climb all the way up the minor league ladder, a rare feat for a starting pitcher, to make his big league debut on Monday night for the Braves against the Pirates and threw a gem: 5 IP, 5 SO, 3 H, 3 BB, 0 R. Wilson is just the fourth player from the 2016 draft class to debut but, unfortunately for him, it looks as though Monday's outing is no more than a spot start. He, like Touki Toussaint, will fall victim to an extremely deep Braves rotation and farm system and be sent back to Triple-A to work on his stuff.

Jeff McNeil (2B/3B, NYM)

Well hello, Jeff. Mr. McNeil, a 26-year-old rookie, is very good at hitting the baseball, which gives me great pleasure as a Mets fan. Entering player on Wednesday, McNeil sported a robust .326/.388/.472 triple-slash through exactly 100 plate appearances. What did he do on Wednesday? Just went 2-4 with an RBI, another day at the office for old Jeff. The reason McNeil was not a bigger prospect is that he has always been old for his level due to injuries, so his performance relative to what someone his age should have been doing at his assigned minor league levels has never stood out. This is a guy who can flat-out hit, though, and is a must-grab in all leagues of 12 teams or deeper, especially for those of you who need infield help. McNeil and his single-digit strikeout rate are both here to stay.

Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX)

Calhoun was demoted due to Nomar Mazara being activated from the disabled list, which is not an encouraging sign. The fact that Calhoun was triple-slashing a relatively uninspiring .275/.325/.391 was no help, but if the Rangers, who are rebuilding, aren't willing to give one of their top prospects an extended look in the majors during a down period for their big league club, that doesn't bode well for his fantasy value. He's a safe drop in all redraft leagues.

Danny Jansen (C, TOR)

Jansen is triple-slashed a cool .381/.391/.667 through his first six contests, making him an extremely valuable fantasy backstop since his debut. The problem is that he is only playing about four times a week, which is a lot less valuable. Still, a catcher who posts elite hitting stats, despite playing just four games a week, is an asset in any fantasy league. He went 0-2 with his first MLB walk on Wednesday night and remains one of the better catching options in fantasy. If he begins to see everyday playing time, he should immediately catapult into the top five fantasy catcher conversation.

Taylor Ward (C/3B, LAA)

Despite hitting well below .250 since his call-up, Ward has been a respectable fantasy catcher, which says a lot more about the state of the position than his hitting ability. Don't get me wrong, Ward should be a valuable fantasy producer at some point, but right now does not seem to be that time. When he loses catcher eligibility after this season he becomes a lot less valuable, so ride him while you can.

 

Quick Hits

Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

The Ronald is hot. So hot, in fact, that I think he is as good a bet as any to win Player of the Month for August. With his solo shot on Wednesday, Acuna raised his triple-slash this month to a ridiculous .341/.419/.756. He has also launched nine bombs, scored 21 runs, and driven in 17 in just 22 contests this month. Basically, Acuna is an absolute monster and is now likely the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year in the NL, or at the very least giving Juan Soto a run for his money.

Juan Soto (OF, WAS)

Soto has just five hits in his most recent 27 PA, but the good news is that he is still walking. The strikeouts have ticked up a little bit, but there is nothing in his profile that jumps out as a cause for concern. Deploy Childish Bambino as usual.

Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

Andujar still is not walking but it still does not matter. He is seven for his last 26 and has nearly pushed his average over .300 with his recent hot streak. If Andujar can continue hitting and the Red Sox continue to lose, there is a chance that he and the Baby Bombers can steal the AL East. I wouldn't count on it, though.

Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, LAA) 

Mike Scioscia said recently that Ohtani could pitch again this season for the Angels, which would be a miracle given that he is likely headed for Tommy John Surgery in the not-so-distant future. Meanwhile, the hitter version of Ohtani is four for his last 14 with a homer and four RBI, so that's good too.

Seranthony Dominguez (RP, PHI)

Dominguez, pitching in his first game action in nearly a week, blew the save in his first chance in a week. After recording the save in the second half of a twin bill with the Mets a week ago today, he was called upon once again for a save last night and was unable to shut the door, allowing a walk-off two-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman with the game on the line. Still, Dominguez has been dominant this season and remains one of the top relief arms in fantasy.

Gleyber Torres (2B/SS, NYY)

Torres has heated back up over the past week, picking up a hit in every contest but one over the last seven days. The Rookie of the Year candidate has notched eight hits over his last 24 ABs and is now back to playing shortstop with Didi Gregorius on the disabled list. Business as usual for the youngster.

Jake Bauers (1B, TB)

Bauers looks simply lost at the dish recently. The 22-year-old has just one hit in his last 41 PA and though the walks are still there, hits are a lot more productive for getting on base. If you need the roster space in a redraft league, dropping Bauers makes a lot of sense.

 

Josh Hader Update

Hader this past week: three perfect innings, five strikeouts, and a save to boot. Easy money for Hader.

 

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