Week 7 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 week, we saw quite a number of big-time promotions. Bradley Zimmer, Ian Happ, Jeimer Candelario, Raimel Tapia, Jose Berrios, Jeff Hoffman and Amir Garrett all were recalled to their big-league rosters. And guess what? All are regarded as consensus Top-100 prospects!

Now, not all of these guys are going to have a major fantasy impact. Only a handful are even guaranteed starting roles. Which players are going to have an impact this season? Well, I guess you’ll have to keep reading to find out. So without any further ado, let’s get right into talking about the recently promoted prospects for Week Seven!

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Hitters:

Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE) - 7% owned

Zimmer’s debut has gone almost about how you would expect. Day one: 0-3 with three strikeouts. Day two: 2-4 with a home run, RBI double and a strikeout. That strikeout rate currently sits at 57.1 percent, but hey, at least he’s hitting bombs, right?!

A major boom or bust outfielder, Zimmer has the power to hit 20 dingers and the speed to steal as many bases, but strikeouts will follow him wherever he goes. Expectations should be kept relatively tame for Zimmer this season, baring in mind that he has a tendency to get off to slow starts when first beginning at a new level. He will receive ample opportunity, however, to prove his mettle in the majors as he is likely to be the starting center fielder as long as Abraham Almonte remains out. His power/speed combination makes him an intriguing add in deeper leagues, but owners in 10 team leagues or lower need to wait for now and see just how well he adjusts.

Ian Happ (2B/OF, CHC) - 11% owned

Talk about getting off to a hot start, Happ is on some other planet with the way he is playing right now. His slash line currently sits at .400/.538/1.100 with a pair of home runs in 13 plate appearances so far. And what was once believed to be a temporary call-up, now appears to be a more permanent move.

Happ has long been viewed as one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Ranked 23rd overall by MLB Pipeline, Happ has been credited as having a promising hit tool and solid power/speed combination to boot. This season though, he’s been all about the power, having now 11 combined home runs between Triple-A and the majors. And while his plate discipline still leaves a little left to be desired, there’s no doubt he has the tools to balance out his possible swing-and-miss issues. It still has yet to be seen whether or not he sticks on the big league roster, but as long as he does — and as long as he appears to have even a minor starting role — he is worth owning in most 12+ team leagues.

Jeimer Candelario (3B, CHC) - 1% owned

Unlike Happ, Candelario may not have much longer in the majors. Jesse Rogers of MLB.com has reported that he may be sent back down to Triple-A in an effort to see regular playing time. At this point, that may not be a bad idea since Candelario is long believed to be more of a trade piece for Chicago rather than franchise building block.

He has the power and reliable bat to have an impact at the big-league level, but without a full-time role, he will not provide enough to warrant an own in most redraft leagues. Leave him on the waivers for now, and add him again when he gets traded at the deadline.

Raimel Tapia (OF, COL) - 1% owned

Prior to his promotion to the majors, Tapia had been swinging a wicked hot bat down at Triple-A. With a .400/.434/.583 slash line and eight stolen bases, it’s not hard to see why Tapia was recalled by Colorado. And with a skillset resembling that of a prototypical leadoff hitter, Tapia might appear to be an attractive pickup off the waivers for fantasy owners.

However, since being called up, he has yet to start in a single game. Ordinarily, that might not be much of an issue, but with Ian Desmond, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez holding down the fort in the outfield right now, there does not appear to be much of an avenue for playing time. Especially now that Mark Reynolds is hitting enough to keep Desmond off of first base and David Dahl grows ever nearer to a return from off the DL, playing time is going to be really hard to come by for Tapia. He is an intriguing player, and could still have fantasy value this season, but it will probably only come if he is traded at the deadline to another team. Until such a time comes, leave him on the waivers alongside Candelario.

Erik Gonzalez (SS, CLE) - 0% owned
Speaking of guys to leave on the waivers, Gonzalez was recently promoted by the Indians. A glove-first shortstop, it should be pretty clear why Gonzalez is getting nowhere fast in Cleveland. He is not going to take over short at any point, and the other infield positions are held down pretty well right now too. He can be ignored in all fantasy formats.

 

Pitchers:

Jose Berrios (SP, MIN) - 17% owned

Remember that pitcher who could not find the strike zone or miss a bat last season in Minnesota? Well, he’s back, and now he’s looking like the top prospect many heralded him to be when he first broke into the majors. In his 2017 debut last Saturday, Berrios allowed just one run on a walk and two hits over 7.2 innings against the Cleveland Indians. In performing as well as he did, he likely bought himself many more starts to come in Minnesota.

To those who have been following Berrios this season, it likely did not come as much of a surprise to see him dazzle the way he did. This season at Triple-A, his command has been sterling and his execution even better. He had walked only 5.3 percent of opposing batters and fanned 25.7 percent. Hitters were also only able to muster a meager .167 average against Berrios down in Rochester. This guy looks like the ace many have seen in him for a while, and he most likely has the most talent of any pitcher available on your waiver wire (assuming he is still there). He is worthy of an own in all leagues, and I would add him fast before others catch on to the next Twins’ ace.

Amir Garrett (SP, CIN) - 21% owned

Garrett was briefly sent down to the minors for a week before being recalled back to Cincinnati, but he warrants a discussion anyways just to briefly touch up on why he is still worthy of an own. Overall on the season, he has a 4.25 ERA and 4.97 FIP, both somewhat startling numbers. But take away his dreadful start against Milwaukee on April 24, and that ERA goes down to 2.20 and that FIP goes down to 3.49. And though the strikeouts have not really been there for him this season as much as many thought (18.9 percent rate), he has kept the walks in check (9.5 percent) and done a good job limiting the long ball (three excluding his game against the Brewers).

I encourage fantasy owners to remain patient with Garrett, and to add him back to your roster if you dropped him. He brings a ton of upside to the table, and could be a productive arm this season as he begins to emerge as a darkhorse NL rookie of the year candidate.

Jeff Hoffman (SP, COL) - 1% owned

The Rockies honestly just need to decide what they’re going to do with Hoffman, because I’m getting tired of writing about him! He was promoted to the majors, made a relief appearance and a spot start. He wasn’t good in the relief outing, but the spot start was solid as he pitched 5.1 innings, walked only two batters, gave up six hits and three runs and struck out eight batters. It could’ve been better, but regardless, he was sent back down to the minors afterwards.

Hoffman is a decent pitcher, and a future rotation piece for Colorado, but it does not appear that this season is going to be his year. He seems like he is the clear sixth man for Colorado, and thus is likely to be on the bus all the time between Denver and Albuquerque. Until that bus stops permanently in Denver, Hoffman can remain waiver fodder.

Lisalverto Bonilla (SP, CIN) - 1% owned

Bonilla made a spot start against San Francisco on May 13, and it went well enough that he will start again on Friday against Colorado. It was what would normally be called a “workman’s outing” where he went eight innings against the Giants, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks. His outing wasn’t great, but it was solid. Nonetheless, he’s a career minor-leaguer, and not a pitcher likely to be making an impact this season. His control has remained shaky, and his strikeouts have been going down over the past few seasons. Unless he dominates over his next couple outings and appears to turn a leaf, he will not need to be owned in any leagues.

Ben Lively (SP, PHI) - 0% owned

Lively was briefly promoted to the majors on Sunday for the doubleheader and was promptly sent back down after the day was over. How does this help you? It probably doesn’t. It tells you that Lively is probably the sixth or seventh man in the Phillies rotation. He is not a big strikeout guy, but could be a solid innings-eater if he is promoted again to the rotation. But until that happens, he can stay on the waiver wire.

 

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