Week 18 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.

Following the trade deadline, it is typically expected that top prospects are going to be promoted following the shifting of several rosters. However, it is rare that you see so many top prospects promoted so quickly. Last week, it was Rafael Devers, Derek Fisher and Lewis Brinson. This week, Amed Rosario and Ozzie Albies both got the call. But what kind of fantasy impact will they have this season?

Well, without any further ado, let’s get right into talking about the recently promoted prospects for week 18!

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Hitters:

Amed Rosario (SS, NYM) - 13% owned

That’s right Mets’ fans. It finally happened. The New York Mets officially promoted Rosario to the big-league roster and he debuted on Tuesday, collecting a hit and a strikeout in four at-bats. He earned the promotion after dominating the Pacific Coast League, posting a .328/.367/.466 slash line in 425 at-bats with seven homers, 19 stolen bases, a 5.4 percent walk rate and 15.8 percent strikeout rate.

Rosario has long been considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. The 21-year-old sits near the top of several midseason prospect lists, placing second on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospect list, second on Baseball Prospectus’ Top 50 and fourth on Baseball America’s Top 100. Regarded as a plus-plus defender, it would be easy for some to assume Rosario is more of a real life prospect than fantasy prospect. And while that is true to a degree, he still has plenty of fantasy potential.

Owners can expect a high batting average, plenty of runs scored and stolen bases as he progressively makes his ascension up the Mets’ batting order. The home runs may come in time, but owners should neither count on them nor a ton of RBIs initially from the young shortstop. There is a chance he doesn’t get off to the hot start many will hope for, but owners of 12+ team leagues should still seek him out and add him as a solid depth piece while owners in deeper leagues could theoretically use him as a starter already.

Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL) - 5% owned

It’s not often that you see a pair of consensus top 20 prospects promoted in one week, but that’s exactly what happened the day after the trade deadline. In a surprising move, the Atlanta Braves opted to promote their future second baseman to the majors Tuesday, and he debuted later that day against the Los Angeles Dodgers, finishing the day 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. The 20-year-old had been enjoying a solid return to Triple-A, compiling a .285/.330/.440 slash line with nine homers and 21 stolen bases. He struck out 20.1 percent of the time and walked 6.3 percent of the time.

Don’t be fooled by the nine homers. Albies is not much of a power hitter and should not be expected to contribute much in that area this season. However, he is one of the best contact hitters in the minors and easily one of the fastest, which should help him hit for a solid average (possibly around .260) and swipe his fair share of bags.

Some will justifiably wonder how much playing time to expect out of Albies. He is only 20 years old after all, and the Braves already have Brandon Phillips at second base. But Mark Bowman of MLB.com indicated Atlanta intends to use Albies as the primary second baseman for the remainder of the season unless his bat fails him. He is slightly risky as he is young and his discipline still has some work, but the upside here at a shallow position is tantalizing, and worth an own in all 12+ team leagues.

A.J. Reed (1B, HOU) - 2% owned

We go now from two prospects whose stock has soared over the past two seasons to a guy whose value has tanked over the last year. Though technically not a rookie, Reed only compiled 141 plate appearances (122 at-bats) last season in Houston and only exceeded the rookie threshold because of the number of days he spent on Houston’s active roster prior to September. This season at Triple-A, he has seen his numbers take a step back from a year ago at Fresno, as he has only managed a .251/.349/.481 slash line with 22 homers, a 12.9 percent walk rate and a 26 percent strikeout rate.

Reed clearly is still a legitimate source of power, but that thunder will be hard to come by if he does not receive playing time. He is not expected to take over the starting first base gig from Yuli Gurriel unless he plays with his hair on fire in the majors, and given his swing-and-miss issues, it would be surprising to see that happen. If it does, he could be worth an add for teams in need of some power. Otherwise, he is a super deep dynasty add at the most.

Jesse Winker (OF, CIN) - 1% owned

I feel as though every week I am writing about Winker being promoted again. The Cincinnati Reds’ top outfield prospect was recalled from Louisville for his fourth separate stint in the majors this season, and made his mark felt in his first game back, going 1-for-4 with a home run — his first in the majors — and a walk. However, the Reds’ outfield is quite crowded with Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton, so playing time will be challenging if not altogether impossible for Winker to find just yet. He is likely ready for a starting role in the majors, but he will have to wait. And fantasy owners should show similar patience and wait to pick him up until an opening is made for Winker in Cincinnati.

Jordan Luplow (OF, PIT) - 0% owned

Last season, Luplow was a mediocre, fringe prospect at Double-A who seemed to be near average at everything. This season, he flew through Double-A after posting a stout .287/.368/.535 slash line with 16 homers and a 0.64 BB/K ratio in 288 PA before making a similar mockery of Triple-A pitchers, slashing .324/.407/.568 with five homers in 21 games. Now he is in the majors, helping fill the outfield void left by the injury to Gregory Polanco. However, Polanco is expected to return soon, at which point Luplow will return either to the bench or to Indianapolis. In other words, enjoy him while he is up in the majors, but don’t expect him to have an extended fantasy impact.

Nicky Delmonico (3B, CWS) - 0% owned

Another prospect who has fought his way through the minors despite a set of lackluster tools according to scouts, Delmonico earned his trip to Chicago after posting a .262/.347/.421 slash line with 12 homers and four stolen bases to accompany a 10.7 percent walk rate and 17 percent strikeout rate. The 25-year-old does not have much of a defensive home, and likely will slot in as the designated hitter so long as he is able to continue his hitting ways. Fantasy owners should be wary that Delmonico has never before this season been a great hitter, and could receive a wake-up call after a while. He is worth a flier in deep AL-only leagues, but can be largely ignored by fantasy owners.

 

Pitchers:

Erick Fedde (SP, WAS) - 2% owned

The most highly regarded pitcher promoted this week, Fedde was chosen to make a spot start against the Colorado Rockies as the fill-in for Joe Ross who will miss the remainder of the season with Tommy John surgery. But if Sunday’s start was to be an example of things to come, Fedde may be only a temporary fill-in. He was spanked by the Rockies, allowing seven runs on 10 hits and two walks over just four innings of work while only striking out three.

And though he has generally been regarded as a solid pitching prospect, his results in Triple-A should have indicated that was bound to happen. He posted an awful 5.57 ERA and 4.21 FIP over 21 innings of work. Fedde has the stuff to be a long-term middle-of-the-rotation starting pitcher in the majors, but he is not a recommended add this season. He still has a lot of work to do before he is ready for the majors.

Lucas Sims (SP, ATL) - 2% owned

Making his MLB debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sims likely knew he was in for a challenge. But it proved to be a challenge he was up to, as he allowed just three runs on six hits and no walks over six innings while striking out three. He had enjoyed arguably the most impressive season of his career down at Triple-A as he registered a 3.75 ERA and 4.30 FIP thanks to a 28.1 percent strikeout rate and 7.7 percent walk rate. Sims ran into trouble with the long ball, a problem likely to be exacerbated by the hitter-friendly home confines of SunTrust Park. Still, Sims’ ability to miss bats could prove to be valuable in some formats and he could be a nice 14+ team league depth piece for a lot of fantasy rotations.

Chris Flexen (SP, NYM) - 0% owned

Flexen made one start against the San Diego Padres and was really kicked around, dishing out four runs (three earned) over three innings on five hits and four walks. He will make another start, but this will be a far greater challenge, this time taking on the Colorado Rockies. Flexen had been solid at Double-A this season, posting a 1.66 ERA and 2.69 FIP over seven starts, but he may not yet be ready for big-league hitters. After all, he began the year in High-A and was called up to Birmingham after only three starts. He could be a solid deep-league flier in some keeper leagues, but unless he dominates Colorado on Wednesday, he can remain off fantasy radars.

Wei-Chung Wang (RP, MIL) - 0% owned

Appearing in the majors for the first time since 2014, Wang made a relief appearance for the Milwaukee Brewers on July 30 against the Cubs. He faced one batter and gave up a hit. Exciting stuff. The once former starting pitcher has since been sent to the bullpen where he has been a solid if unspectacular arm in the minors this season. The strikeout rate is only at 22.3 percent, and while the 2.09 ERA looks nice, the 4.05 FIP does not. He has the high velocity stuff, but he is a long ways from saves or holds, and thus a long way from fantasy relevance. He can remain on the waivers.

 

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