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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.

This has been a busy week for prospect promotions, especially for hitters. Though only one pitcher of note was promoted, all five hitters discussed today are considered at least top five prospects within their respective organizations, three are consensus top 100 prospects and another is a fringe top 100 prospect. And as for that one pitcher of note, he too is a consensus top 100 prospect, so he certainly is no scrub. But what kind of impact should you expect from these fine prospects?

Without any further ado, let’s get right into talking about the recently promoted prospects for week 17!

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Lewis Brinson (OF, MIL) - *no Fleaflicker info on ownership percentage*
After Keon Broxton was optioned to the minors last week, it really seemed like only a matter of time until Brinson was going to be back up in the majors. With a slash line of .345/.417/.569, 10 homers and 11 stolen bases on the season, Brinson has had a standout campaign at Triple-A this season. It really took off for him when he was demoted to Triple-A again after a brief taste of the majors earlier this year. Since his demotion on June 26, he was a .404/.456/.691 slash line with four homers and four steals (no caught stealing).

There is concern with Brinson that his past issues of plate discipline will limit his batting average upside. However, Brinson has the ability to post incredibly strong power/speed numbers in the majors. He could hit 10 homers and swipe 10-15 bases for the rest of the season, which would prove to be quite valuable to fantasy owners. The upside greatly outweighs the risk here. He is a recommended add in 10+ team leagues.

Rafael Devers (3B, BOS) - 13% owned
Undoubtedly the most hyped prospect promotion of the week, Devers was called up by the Boston Red Sox over the weekend and officially debuted on Tuesday against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners. He finished the game 0-for-4 with a pair of walks, a strikeout and a run scored. The 20-year-old third baseman has made quick work of the minors, spending only 77 games at Double-A before a promotion to Triple-A and only nine games at Pawtucket before his call up to the bigs. He has a career-high 20 homers in the minors this season and a .311/.377/.576 slash line across the two levels.

When he was promoted, I’m sure fans all expected it was as a result of the Red Sox’s inability to land third baseman Todd Frazier and view his call-up as a sign that the team viewed him as an upgrade over any of the other alternatives on the market. However, late Tuesday night, the Boston brass completed a deal that sent Eduardo Nunez over to the team, likely filling the third base spot. Now Devers is stuck in a sort of limbo. He could remain in the majors and platoon with Nunez or he could be sent back down to Triple-A. He is worth a speculative add because of his upside, as well as the fact he would likely make up the strong-side of the platoon with Nunez. But don’t be surprised if Devers is shipped back down to Pawtucket.

Derek Fisher (OF, HOU) - 5% owned
Following an injury to starting center fielder George Springer, Fisher was recalled to the big leagues for the second time this season. He has been killing it at Triple-A, posting a .318/.384/.583 slash line with 21 homers and 16 stolen bases. Most impressive however is his improved plate discipline as he has registered a sub-20 percent strikeout rate (19.3 percent) for the first time in his career while still maintaining a high walk rate (9.1 percent).

Like with Devers, the Houston Astros’ long-term plans for Fisher remain a bit unclear. He has long been viewed as little more than trade bait to grab a starting pitcher or relief arm at the deadline, but at this point, he would be a clear upgrade over Nori Aoki in left field. There is a definite possibility that Fisher will be sent back down to the minors when the Astros activate Dallas Keuchel from the DL — they will need the roster — but that does not mean he should be dropped from rosters. He seems a solid bet to spend the majority of August and September in the majors and has the power/speed combination to make a big impact in all fantasy leagues.

Carson Kelly (C, STL) - 2% owned
One of the top catching prospects in the game, Kelly was called up to serve as Yadier Molina’s backup catcher for the remainder of the season following the DFA of Eric Fryer. This move is certainly a puzzling one as Kelly is a young up-and-comer who would benefit from seeing regular playing time, whether it be in the big leagues or at Triple-A. He has been putting together a career year at Memphis, but that does not necessarily make him a must-own prospect. Perhaps in deep leagues and dynasty leagues he would be a worthy add, but he has little value in redraft leagues as long as he is just a backup catcher.

Harrison Bader (OF, STL) - 1% owned
Another St. Louis Cardinals’ prospect? They’ve sure been busy with prospect promotions this week. After placing Dexter Fowler on the 10-day DL, they decided to give one of their top prospects the call up to the big leagues to see how he looks up close. Bader debuted Tuesday, collecting a double — his first hit in the majors — in four at-bats, scored a run and struck out once. He had a really rough season last year, but has really rebounded in 2017, posting a .297/.354/.517 slash line with 19 homers and nine stolen bases with a 6 percent walk rate and 23.6 percent strikeout rate. Bader has the potential to be a real impact bat in fantasy leagues and could be a solid add as long as Fowler is out. But his time in the majors is likely short, so view him more as a streaming piece and less as a rest-of-the-season addition.

Andrew Stevenson (OF, WAS) - 0% owned
The Washington Nationals needed some outfield depth with Chris Heisey hitting the DL and Ryan Raburn being placed on the bereavement list, and so they decided to promote one of their top prospects to the majors. Far from tearing up the minors, Stevenson had been having a mediocre season after a promotion to Triple-A, posting a .246/.293/.319 slash line with two homers and nine stolen bases. His top tool is his speed, and he could put it to use for fantasy owners . . . if he ever sees regular time. His time in the majors is probably going to be brief, and he figures to spend most of his time on the bench. He can be ignored in most formats for now.



Luke Weaver (SP, STL) - 3% owned
This just continues to be the week of the Cardinals. Weaver’s start at Triple-A this week was cancelled following the placement of Adam Wainwright on the 10-day DL, meaning Weaver is likely going to take his start on Thursday. He has been dominant at Triple-A this season, registering a ridiculous 1.91 ERA and 2.96 FIP to go along with a 27.3 percent strikeout rate, 5.5 percent walk rate and insane 4.93 K/BB ratio.

Regarded generally as a starter whose numbers are better than the stuff, Weaver is not expected to replicate that level of success in the majors. He has pinpoint control and decent, not great stuff. Does this mean he should be passed over by owners? Absolutely not. He knows how to pitch and get batters out, and should be able to translate that into quite a bit of success in the majors. I would expect him to put up numbers similar to Mike Leake, but with a few more strikeouts. He is certainly a worthy add in 10+ team leagues.

Steven Brault (SP, PIT) - 1% owned
Brault has long been one of the top names on my top 30 MLB-ready prospect lists, though his value had started to trend a bit downwards as it became less likely the Pittsburgh Pirates might trade any of their starters following their great second-half start. But Brault was promoted anyways to serve as bullpen depth. He had been posting yet another stellar season at Triple-A, registering a 2.06 ERA and 3.23 FIP over 100.1 IP (17 starts in 18 games). He has long been a strikeout machine in the minors, which makes him an appealing fantasy option. However, being that he was only promoted for the bullpen, his value is going to be limited. Brault could vulture a few starts, and thus might be worth an add in some deep/NL-only leagues.

Kyle Lloyd (SP, SD) - 0% owned
Filling the rotation spot of the traded Teddy Cahill, Lloyd debuted Tuesday for San Diego and lasted just four innings, giving up four runs on six hits (one homer), two walks and two strikeouts. His promotion was a bit surprising to many. Lloyd had pitched well at Double-A, but was kicked around over five starts at Triple-A (5.65 ERA and 5.03 FIP). The 26-year-old right-hander has shown the ability to miss bats in the past, but he hasn’t enough at Triple-A to really get over the other obvious concerns. I.e. when he doesn’t miss bats, he gets hit hard. He is really best left on the waivers for right now.

Edward Paredes (RP, LAD) - 0% owned
Paredes is a 30-year-old southpaw making his MLB debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has been a lethal weapon in the minors for a while, posting 29 percent strikeout rates or higher since 2013 (granted, he did not pitch at all in 2014 or 2015). And while walks have been an issue in the past, they have been reduced to only 3.3 percent of the time this season. He is not a hard-thrower, averaging only 91.6 mph on the fastball, but he knows how to miss bats. However, in that killer Dodger bullpen, he is far away from holds and saves. Unless he really goes nuts in the big leagues, he can be left on the waivers.


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