Week 16 Rookie Roundup: Recently Promoted Prospects

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Welcome to the 2017 edition of the Recently Promoted Prospects! Here I discuss some recently promoted prospects and what to make of their production for fantasy owners.

We are still over a week away from the trade deadline, but some serious moves are already being made. The Chicago White Sox have dealt Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs, Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees, and added from those deals Eloy Jimenez and Blake Rutherford — both consensus top-50 prospects. The Arizona Diamondbacks also added J.D. Martinez, and in exchange the Detroit Tigers got . . . some players.

With the rosters shifting around so much, more moves are down to happen. The next couple weeks are bound to be filled with tons of top prospects being promoted. It will definitely be an important time for fantasy owners to be following every team’s roster move. So without any further ado, let’s get right into talking about the recently promoted prospects for week 16!

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Hitters:

Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, CWS) - 18% owned
The prospect I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for, Moncada was promoted to replace Todd Frazier on the roster following Frazier’s departure to the Yankees. Over 80 games at Triple-A Charlotte this season, the top prospect has done exactly what everyone expected him to do: rake. He owns an impressive .282/.377/.447 slash line with 12 home runs, 17 stolen bases, a 13.6 percent walk rate and 28.3 percent strikeout rate. Though the whiffs are a bit high, it’s what he does when he makes contact that is so special.

Expectations for the 22-year-old phenom should be kept relatively tempered. He’s not going to hit .300 from now until the end of the season, and he’s not all of a sudden going to post a 30/30 season in just a few months. But that does not mean owners should leave him on the waivers. Quite the opposite. Though he is listed as a third baseman in some leagues, that will soon change as the expectation is that he will play second base for the White Sox after exclusively manning the position throughout his time in the minors this season. Combine his incredible power/speed combination with the fact that he will be playing one of the shallowest fantasy positions in baseball and you’ve got a true must-own player in all formats.

Magneuris Sierra (OF, STL) - 1% owned
The St. Louis Cardinals recalled one of their top prospects over the past weekend after Stephen Piscotty was placed on the 10-day DL. Sierra has the profile of a future top-of-the-lineup hitter, possessing both an ability to make consistent contact, but also has a plus-plus speed tool. While he is in the majors, Sierra should be able to provide fantasy owners with stolen bases, batting average and runs scored. He could earn a full-time spot on the team, but still only 21 years old, he seems likely to be headed back to the minors for more development and to see more regular playing time once Piscotty returns from the DL.

Garrett Cooper (1B, NYY) - 1% owned
The New York Yankees acquired Cooper for a bag of peanuts from the Milwaukee Brewers, and have tried him out at first base as the right-handed bat in a platoon with another rookie listed in the next spot. Cooper hit 17 home runs in the first-half of this season in the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, but that was in the launching pad that is Colorado Springs. He has some pop and might’ve been a solid bat longterm for the Bronx Bombers, but following the Yankees’ acquisition of Todd Frazier, it becomes a lot tougher to see a path to regular playing time for him.

Ji-Man Choi (1B, NYY) - 1% owned
Here is the left-handed bat of the Yankees’ first base platoon. Choi had been the more successful of the two bats at first base, owning a .267/.333/.733 slash line with a pair of homers in just six games. However, as with Cooper, his value now goes down significantly following the acquisition of Frazier. Choi may have more value being a left-handed bat, but it is much tougher to see him having any fantasy impact for the rest of this season.

Brett Phillips (OF, MIL) - 0% owned
Now getting his second shot in the big leagues, Phillips was recalled late last week to serve as bench depth for the Brewers. Phillips had been enjoying the best season of his pro career at Triple-A, already having tied his career-high in home runs with 17 to go along with a .293/.358/.582 slash line. However, he is most likely nothing more than bench depth for now, and though he is up in the majors now, the Brewers would likely turn to the hot-hitting Lewis Brinson for a starting role (should the need arise) before giving it to Phillips, who still has a long way to go in terms of improving his plate discipline (9.3 percent walk rate, 29.7 percent strikeout rate). His power upside may be worth owning in really deep/NL-only leagues, but his value is heavily capped unless he is traded elsewhere and becomes a starter.

Colin Moran (3B, HOU) - 0% owned
Moran was immediately recalled following the news that star shortstop Carlos Correa would be missing six to eight weeks with thumb surgery. The former sixth overall pick has never dazzled in the minors . . . until this season that is. With a .308/.373/.543 slash line and 18 home runs in just 79 games, Moran is putting together a career year. He may be the last player listed here, but he is probably the most interesting prospect, and arguably the most worthy of an add. The Houston Astros might choose to use Alex Bregman at shortstop and plug Moran in at third base during Correa’s absence. Scouts have long praised Moran’s bat and had expected the power to show up, but it just never did. Now that it has, and he can add that to a set of tools that already includes well above-average plate discipline and the ability to consistently make hard contact. He could be a solid add in 14+ team leagues to see if he really does have a starting role and if the power is for real.

 

Pitchers:

Ryan Merritt (SP, CLE) - 0% owned
A postseason hero of sorts for the Cleveland Indians, Merritt was promoted on Monday. The pitcher who made his second career start against the Toronto Blue Jays in the decisive Game 5 of the ALCS, Merritt has already made one spot start this season, though he only lasted four innings. He may have become one of the more famous pitching prospects for Cleveland, but his role in the majors is somewhat unclear, and his stuff isn’t so great that he must be called a must-own. Merritt is not worth an own in any format.

Jairo Diaz (RP, COL) - 0% owned
Amidst rumors that the Colorado Rockies are looking for relief help, they promoted Diaz to the bullpen to see if he can help them out. He has dominated Triple-A this season, owning a 2.13 ERA and 1.70 FIP with a ridiculous 8.00 K/BB ratio in the minors. Though the Rockies’ bullpen hasn’t been great this season and Diaz has been spectacular in the minors, he is not going to be getting any save chances and could soon be headed back to the minors if the Rockies need the roster space for new additions. He can be ignored in all leagues.

Austin Adams (RP, WAS) - 0% owned
Adams has been a strikeout machine in the minors this season, and finally got his chance to reach the majors this season with the Nationals after five seasons spent in the Los Angeles Angels’ farm system. However, in addition to being a strikeout machine, he is also a walks machine. He has walked 16.8 percent of batters at Triple-A this season, and even though the 30.6 percent strikeout rate is nice, that walk rate is unacceptable. Even in Washington where quality relievers seem to be few and far between, Adams can be ignored.

Simon Castro (RP, OAK) - 0% owned
A 29-year-old journeyman reliever was called up by the Oakland Athletics. But because there weren’t a ton of other big names promoted this week, he cracks the list. He has been racking up the strikeouts lately, but his control is still very shaky, and he is really only up because Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle were traded. There are still other relievers available to pick up the saves and holds in Oakland. The strikeouts are there, but the upside isn’t.

 

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