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Rookie Report: Recent MLB Prospect Call-Ups (Week 26)


It's our final Rookie Report of the 2018 season, and in it we'll take a look at a former first round pick who finally made his major league debut.

After being the 31st overall pick in the 2014 draft, Justus Sheffield made his debut with a shutout ninth inning in the Yankees' 10-1 win over the Red Sox last Wednesday. Sheffield wasn't the only lefty starting pitcher to make his debut, as Detroit's Matt Hall has made three appearances in relief over the last week and a half. Hall was a little shaky in his first two outings, but he has shown improvement in each appearance since his debut.

Let's take a closer look at their performances and the rest of the rookies around the league for one last time this year.

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Prospect Call-Ups and Rookie Performances

Justus Sheffield (SP/RP, NYY)

Sheffield's debut was good but underwhelming against the Red Sox, as he allowed two hits and one walk with no strikeouts over one inning. It was good to see him able to shut down Boston's potent offense, but there isn't that much to take away from this one outing. Looking at his minor league numbers this year gives a much better picture (obviously) of what's in store for Sheffield. Over 20 starts and five relief appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, he posted a career-best 2.48 ERA  and 1.138 WHIP while striking out 123 over 116 innings pitched. This year was the fourth time in five seasons in the minors where Sheffield posted a K/9 of at least 9.3, with his one "off" season in 2017 seeing him post an 8.1 K/9. With several Yankees starters set to be free agents this off-season, Sheffield could have a shot at cracking the rotation out of Spring Training next year.

Matt Hall (SP/RP, DET)

After allowing nine runs — six earned — over one inning in his major league debut, Hall settled down over his next two appearances, culminating in his most recent outing on Sunday where he allowed just one hit while striking out two over two scoreless innings. While he has hit a few speed bumps in the majors, he dominated the minors between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Over 14 starts and 23 relief appearances, recorded career-bests in ERA (2.13) and WHIP (1.085) while also recording his first season with double-digit K/9 with a 10.6 mark over 114 1/3 innings. There's a good chance Hall could get a shot at making the team out of Spring Training, and if so he could be worth looking at in AL-only and deeper mixed-leagues.

Quick Hits

Francisco Mejia (C/OF, SDP)

The bat has cooled off for Mejia over the last week, as he's hitting .176 with one double and a 6:1 K:BB ratio over 18 plate appearances. It's obviously not a good way to end the season, but fantasy owners shouldn't put much stock into this performance when looking forward to 2019.

Rowdy Tellez (1B, TOR)

While Mejia may have cooled off, Tellez is heating up this past week. He's currently hitting .273 with two doubles, two home runs and six RBI over 22 plate appearances. The one concern for owners is his lack of walks, as Tellez only has one walk in 19 games and has not drawn a walk over his last 42 plate appearances. Despite that, he's one of my deep sleeper picks at first base for next season, as he seems like he should provide solid average and power.

Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD)

Verdugo has been used solely as a late-inning replacement over the last week, which is not surprising given his struggles and the Dodgers still pushing for a playoff spot. He's only had four plate appearances since last Wednesday, and he has two singles and a strikeout in that span. It's been a lackluster year for Verdugo in the majors, as he is currently looking like he is poised to begin his third straight season at Triple-A in 2019.

Jeff McNeil (2B/3B, NYM)

Once again, McNeil continues to hit well as he makes a name for himself as a solid fantasy utility player. Over 26 plate appearances this past week, McNeil is hitting .318 with a double, a triple and three runs scored while posting a 3:3 K:BB ratio. He won't be worth owning in shallower leagues next year, but in NL-only leagues he'll be a must-own in part due to his positional flexibility.

Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

Sound the alarms! It's time to panic on Acuna! He's hitting just .158 with eight strikeouts and three walks over his last 24 plate appearances. Obviously this means the rest of his season is meaningless and he is a bust. That being said, I'm willing to do you a solid and take him off your hands for you.

Juan Soto (OF, WAS)

Over his last 23 plate appearances, Soto is hitting .190 with a double and a home run. Yet another disappointing rookie that I will be willing to take off your hands for you. Could I interest you in trading Soto for Yolmer Sanchez? Seems only fair.

Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

There's no disappointment this week with Andujar, who is hitting .333 with three doubles and two home runs, while only striking out once in his last 25 plate appearances. There's no question Andujar will be drafted in the early rounds next year, and fantasy owners can only hope that Andujar doesn't end up becoming Gary Sanchez 2.0.

Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, LAA) 

Ohtani will be heading under the knife as soon as the off-season starts, with Tommy John surgery set to sideline him from the mound for 2019. But you don't need ligaments in your elbow to hit apparently, as Ohtani has now homered twice in his last 10 games. While the home runs are nice, Ohtani is slumping a bit, hitting .200 with 12 strikeouts over his last 39 plate appearances. Fantasy owners will hope Ohtani can hit well next season as he recovers from surgery.

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