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Week 8 Rookie Roundup: Recently Promoted Prospects


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.

Another top-100 prospect was promoted! . . . and he got injured. Unfortunately, we only got to enjoy Anthony Alford for a little bit in the majors before he suffered a broken hamate, likely sidelining him for several weeks if not months. But fortunately for you all who clicked on this article, several other solid prospects got the call this week. Guys like Sam Travis and Dinelson Lamet both debut this week in the majors, and could have potential impacts in fantasy leagues!

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

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Hitters:

Anthony Alford (OF, TOR) - 1% owned
Alford — the top prospect promoted this week — was called up to the majors and five days later suffered a devastating injury, fracturing his left hamate. There is currently no timetable for his reactivation off the DL, and no telling if he will return to the majors this season. Given that his promotion was already expected to be brief added to the severity of the injury, my money is that he will not see much time even when he is reactivated off the DL. He remains a top prospect in dynasty leagues, but owners in redraft leagues can go ahead and send him back to the waivers.

Sam Travis (1B, BOS) - 2% owned
Travis was called up by the Red Sox and debuted with the team on Wednesday, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. His stay in the majors is expected to be relatively permanent, with the expectation being that he will be the right-handed bat in a platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base.

Travis is a solid first baseman who has always demonstrated a knack for posting a high average, but has never really tapped into his raw power the way many envisioned he might. Some foresaw a 20-homer bat, but now he appears more poised to be a 10-15 homer guy (though he was on pace for about 20 homers this season at Triple-A). As an overall package, Travis could provide consistent value to fantasy owners, but only those in deeper leagues should consider him a worthy own. Given that he covers the weak-side platoon and does not have much power, he is not worth a snag in leagues shallower than the deepest mixed leagues or AL-only leagues.

Carlos Asuaje (2B, SD) - 0% owned
As an overall player, Asuaje brings some positional versatility and a consistent bat to the Padres. As a fantasy player, he bears little appeal. He is neither particularly fast, nor does he have any semblance of power. He also lacks a starting role in San Diego, at least for right now. That combination makes him practically useless in all formats.

Nolan Fontana (2B, LAA) - 0% owned
Likely promoted to serve as a fresh look at second base, a position previously manned primarily by the complete offensive disaster of Danny Espinosa, Fontana . . . made it to the majors. Which is more than can be said of thousands of others. But Fontana lacks much of any offensive abilities beyond excellent plate discipline, and therefore has no real fantasy appeal. He can be ignored in all formats.

Rio Ruiz (3B, ATL) - 0% owned
Ruiz was promoted to cover for the injured Adonis Garcia, who is currently on the 10-day DL, but it could be a more permanent move. After all, it looks better when telling fans that you are rebuilding to start a 23-year-old at the hot corner than a 32-year-old veteran. Ruiz has some power, having launched double-digit home run totals three times in his MiLB career and generally reaches base at a high clip. But his strikeouts have been a concern this season, and it appears he may be selling out for power. And even though he is doing that, he was still only on pace for 17 home runs before his promotion to the majors. Though he is one of the more intriguing players at the backend of this list, he is still far from fantasy relevance and can be ignored until he lowers that strikeout rate to the sub-20 percent mark we had come to expect.

 

Pitchers:

Dinelson Lamet (SP, SD) - 1% owned
Lamet has been promoted to start Thursday’s game for San Diego, so we don’t know yet how he’ll do in the majors. But if he can keep the strikeouts going like he has in the minors, he could be a solid deep-league sleeper. He generally maintains strikeout rates above 25 percent in the minors, and though the higher walk rates and recent home run surge have been a tad concerning, he can get away with those mistakes pitching in Petco where his control issues will definitely be less magnified. He faces a relatively mediocre Mets’ offense on Thursday, and so it will be valuable to see how he performs in that start, but he could prove to be a solid starting pitcher in deeper leagues.

Jake Junis (SP, KC) - 0% owned
Junis was called up by Kansas City, started against Minnesota and was sent back down. His start against the Twins wasn’t great, as he lasted just 4.2 innings, gave up two runs on five hits and three walks with four punchouts. He had previously shown a lot of promise in the minors, most recently posting a sparkling 2.83 FIP and 3.07 ERA at Triple-A prior to his promotion, and appeared to have finally added the ability to miss bats to a skillset that already featured premium command.

He is no future ace, but in Kansas City where the team is likely to give youngsters like Junis a start, we could see the 24-year-old back in the majors before too long. He likely won’t be an option in shallow redraft leagues, but deeper leagues or AL-only leagues could find value in him should he receive an extended look later this season.

Asher Wojchiechowski (SP, CIN) - 0% owned
The former first round pick is back, and now he’s wearing his Red. The 41st overall pick in the 2010 draft, Wojchiechowski (whose name is as difficult to type as it is to pronounce) was enjoying a stellar Triple-A campaign that saw him post a 1.40 ERA and 2.81 FIP across five starts before being promoted to Cincinnati to serve as bullpen depth. However, before this season, he hadn’t posted an ERA or FIP below 4.00 since 2013. The question now is, are his latest numbers a sign of improvement, or just good luck?

Though I’m not quite sure just yet as I have not seen him pitch enough to really know just yet, I know he could get a shot at the rotation later on this season. Amir Garrett is scuffling right now for Cincinnati, and Lisalverto Bonilla is just treading water (not even to mention Bronson Arroyo). The 28-year-old Wojchiechowski is no spring chicken, and is certainly no top prospect anymore, but if his success in Louisville can translate to the majors, owners in deep/NL-only leagues could theoretically find room for him. However, unless he really appears to have turned a corner, he can be ignored in all formats.

Samuel Gaviglio (SP, SEA) - 2% owned
The Mariners recently promoted 27-year-old Sam Gaviglio to the majors, and thus far, he has looked pretty solid. He made one relief appearance earlier in the season, a start against the White Sox (5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K) and another start on Wednesday against Washington (6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (1 ER), 1 HR, 2 BB, 1 K). So the results so far? Mixed, but overall solid.

And that should not be surprising to those who have seen his MiLB track record. Historically, he is not a big strikeout pitcher (has only twice above rookie-league struck out more than 20 percent of opposing hitters) and has typically been more of a control specialist, with walk rates hovering somewhere between 5 and 8 percent. What he has excelled at is keeping the ball on the ground, as evidenced by the GB% that typically has sat around at least 55 percent in the minors. So while he’s not going to provide ace-like numbers, and certainly no strikeouts, he could prove to be a backend of the rotation innings-eater in deep/AL-only leagues moving forward.

Felix Pena (RP, CHC) - 0% owned
Pena is a reliever. There is not much else that can be said beyond that. And though some relievers have fantasy value, those guys are either tallying saves or striking out batters left and right. Pena, does none of that, and in fact has only seen strikeout rates above 20 percent in three of his nine MiLB seasons. Safe to say, you can pass on him.

 

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