Week 20 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.

This was a big week for hitters. A pair of top first base prospects were promoted, as well as a prospect who can man a multitude of positions but will likely end up at first base longterm. There was also a solid pitching prospect promoted, though pitching is obviously not the story this week.

So without any further ado, let’s get right into talking about the recently promoted prospects for week 20!

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Hitters:

Rhys Hoskins (1B, PHI) - % owned
There has been no prospect more deserving of a promotion this season than Hoskins. The top Philadelphia Phillies’ first base prospect was called up to play left field with Aaron Altherr dealing with an injury. In 475 plate appearances at Triple-A this season, he has posted a .284/.385/.581 slash line with 29 home runs, four stolen bases, a 13.5 percent walk rate and 15.8 percent strikeout rate.

If defense was taken into account in fantasy leagues, Hoskins could be viewed as a liability. He is a true first baseman and is only being forced to play left field as a result of Altherr’s injury. Make no mistake, Hoskins’ longterm home is most definitely first base. Fortunately, defense doesn’t matter. All that matters is the bat, and Hoskins certainly brings a good one to the table. He blasted 38 homers a season ago at Double-A, and while many were skeptical of them because of the hitter-friendly nature of Reading, Hoskins has certainly proved the non-believers wrong this season. With the juiced ball in play, a hitter-friendly home ballpark in Philadelphia and one of the best bats in the minors, Hoskins is really a must-add in 10+ team leagues as long as he sees regular playing time.

Dominic Smith (1B, NYM) - % owned
Though Hoskins had the far superior performance overall at Triple-A, Smith’s promotion too was considerably long overdue. Not only had Smith been posting another solid season at Triple-A, but the New York Mets had already traded away Lucas Duda to free up first base for Smith. The 22-year-old first baseman had posted a .330/.386/.519 slash line with 16 homers, a stolen base, a 7.8 percent walk rate and 17.4 percent strikeout rate over 500 plate appearances at Las Vegas.

Unlike Hoskins, power remains a question for Smith. Raw power has always believed to be resting somewhere in his bat, but he has never been able to fully channel it. And while the 16 homers this season look pretty nice, it is important to keep in mind he plays in one of the most hitter-friendly home ballparks in the most hitter-friendly league in the upper minors. His plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills should help give him a high floor as he seems as likely as anyone to post a high batting average. But the power will be the determining factor in whether he is a must-own in 12+ team leagues or if he is just worth owning in 14+ team leagues.

Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL) - % owned
Another player who slugged his way through the minors, McMahon was promoted to be a semi-utility player and first base alternative for the Colorado Rockies. He torched Double-A pitching this season, slashing .326/.390/.536 with six homers and seven stolen bases over 49 games. That was enough to earn a promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque where — believe it or not — he actually did even better. Over his 59 games (269 PA), he slashed .375/.409/.625 with 13 long balls and four stolen bases, while keeping that strikeout rate below 20 percent (16.0 percent) and maintaining a decent albeit unimpressive 6.3 percent walk rate.

McMahon has always been a great power hitter, but his strikeout rates had generally been near 30 percent for most of his career which always kept his batting average low. This season, he has turned that around, while also adding some surprising speed. But fantasy owners need to be cautious with McMahon. He has the power certainly to be an impact bat in Colorado, but they should count on him to be almost exclusively a first baseman which will lower his upside. It may be a bit too early to be totally sold on his newfound bat-to-ball skills, meaning the batting average should be considered a gift if he brings it, but not an expected asset. And speed is almost certainly out of the question. This is not to say he is a bad prospect. McMahon will perform for owners in some 12 team leagues and all 14+ team leagues as long as he sees regular playing time. But owners should still trust the scouting reports more than the numbers he put up this season.

Phillip Ervin (OF, CIN) - % owned
Once a first-round draft choice by the Cincinnati Reds, Ervin was recalled by the Reds Tuesday to serve as some outfield depth for the club. He has been a solid performer this season at Triple-A, posting a .256/.328/.380 slash line with seven homers and 23 stolen bases with that strikeout rate right at 20.3 percent rate and the walk rate at 9.1 percent. Ervin has the tools to be both a producer in the home run and stolen base categories, though it appears as though he is more likely to be a 15/30 player than a 20/20 player. This is really all a moot point right now, however, as he does not appear super likely to steal a bunch of playing time from Billy Hamilton, Adam Duvall and Jesse Winker, even with Scott Schebler out. If he starts snagging starts though on a regular basis, he could be a decent depth add in NL-only/deep leagues.

Pedro Severino (C, WAS) - % owned
Severino was recalled by the Washington Nationals Tuesday to spend some time as the backup to Matt Wieters. The backstop has posted a mere .230/.275/.330 slash line at Triple-A Syracuse, adding only five home runs and struggling to walk at a high rate (5.9 percent) compared to his near league-average strikeout rate (20.1 percent). Severino is regarded as more of a defensive-minded backup, lacking much of anything potent in the bat. Even if he did garner starting time behind the dish, the offensive upside isn’t enough to make him an add really anywhere.

 

Pitchers:

Dietrich Enns (SP, MIN) - % owned
Acquired by the Minnesota Twins in the Jaime Garcia deal with the New York Yankees, Enns debuted last Thursday against Milwaukee and was pretty thoroughly kicked around for his 2.1 innings of work. Though he allowed just two runs (one earned), he surrendered five hits and one walk without striking out anyone. He was equally as ineffective in his next appearance — as a reliever — against Cleveland when he allowed two runs (both earned) to come across on the strength of two hits over 1.2 innings. He whiffed two batters in that outing.

Enns has been solid at Triple-A this season, though his stuff does not jump out off the page. In the minors this season — split between the Yankees and Twins — he posted a 2.10 ERA and 2.69 FIP over 51.1 innings of work. He struck out 25.1 percent of batters and walked only 5.9 percent. His ability to pitch rather than throw should help him pitch well on occasion against some of the weaker lineups in the AL Central — like Kansas City and Chicago — but he is by no means a must-add. Instead, view him as a solid depth piece in AL-only leagues and other deep leagues.

Chris Rowley (SP, TOR) - % owned
You may not have heard of Rowley before, but he is a unique player. When he debuted last Saturday, he became the first West Point graduate ever to reach the majors. In his debut, he allowed just one run over 5.1 innings of work on five hits while striking out three and walking one. The 27-year-old starter had been pitching quite well in Buffalo, posting a 2.82 ERA to go along with a 3.30 FIP. It was clear though that he is more of a finesse pitcher, striking out only 18.1 percent of batters compared to a 6.6 percent walk rate and 47 percent groundball rate. He will receive another start and could be a solid depth add in 16+ team leagues and AL-only leagues as long as he continues to prove he can get batters out. His lack of strikeouts however will put an extra emphasis on his ability to go somewhat deep into games and keep runs off the board in order to have value.

Ricardo Rodriguez (RP, TEX) - % owned
The top-listed reliever on this list, Rodriguez has been a real force out of Double-A Frisco’s bullpen this season. In 15 innings, the 24-year-old right-hander has posted a 1.20 ERA and 2.33 FIP thanks in large part to a ridiculous 32.1 percent strikeout rate and 1.9 percent walk rate. He is also holding batters to a .177 AVG on the year. His fastball sits in the upper-90s and he also heavily features a mid-80s slider that serves as his primary outpitch. Though he is just a reliever, he has the stuff and control to fight for a few save opportunities down the stretch (particularly in Texas’ mess of a bullpen). He is still not a great shallow league options, but owners in very deep/AL-only leagues can hope he finds himself in the backend of that bullpen at some point in September.

Tim Mayza (RP, TOR) - % owned
The second reliever on the list this week, Mayza has done a fine job keeping runs off the scoreboard at Triple-A, but that’s really all that can be said about him. Though he has a 0.93 ERA, his 2.77 FIP indicates a reliever headed to regression. The southpaw has also only fanned 19.8 percent of opposing batters while walking an alarming 8.6 percent of batters. Beyond just the fact he’s a reliever, there are too many redflags to warrant adding Mayza in any format.

Jeff Ferrell (RP, DET) - % owned
Ferrell — another reliever — has been a solid performer at Triple-A. He has a 2.51 ERA and 2.39 FIP. He has also done a fine job missing bats, eliciting strikeouts out of 26.6 percent of all batters faced while only walking 7.3 percent. But he’s not going to touch the ninth inning, and may not even get all that close. Therefore, he is not worth owning.

 

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