The All-star break is less than a week away. This week’s 2016 fantasy baseball rookie report will take a look at the top performers and the underachievers for the first half of the season.
The prospect call ups and demotions were all exciting and many disappointing. Two high ceiling prospects remain in the minors waiting for this time to shine. Both Joey Gallo and Trea Turner are hugely talented players who received a call up to the big leagues yet saw limited at bats before being sent down unceremoniously.
Some prospects began their big league careers incredibly hot, producing numbers high above the rest of the league, they were like “fantasy fireworks.” These players exploded onto the big league scene soaring higher and higher up the waiver wire, making a beautiful explosion on your fantasy roster’’s stat line, Only to fizzle and fade back down to the bench and/or the minor leagues with your hopes of finding the next Mike Trout dashed.
I will nominate my mid season AL/NL Rookie of the year and other fantasy studs from the first half as well as my pick for fantasy duds or my “Fantasy Fireworks.” Who will continue to star for your team? Who should you drop? Which big names can still make an impact in the second half?
Let’s take a look at the top rookie performers and those who struggled in the first half.
2016 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report
AL Fantasy Rookie of the Year- First Half
Michael Fulmer, SP, Detroit Tigers
12 GS, 9-2, 72 K’s, 25 27, 2.11 ERA
All I can say is WOW! If you were one of the owners who hung with him after his first few starts you have been handsomely rewarded. No other rookie pitcher has more than five wins. His ERA is awesome. He is almost striking out a batter an inning. Fulmer is a valuable pitcher to any staff.
One negative that I can see going forward for Fulmer is his innings pitched. He has already thrown 91.0 innings this season between AAA and Detroit. Fulmer threw 124.2 innings in 2015, the most he has thrown professionally. In the second half he will most likely have starts skipped, be put to the bullpen to conserve innings or be shut down somewhere between 150 and 160 innings. Keep up with the information coming out of Detroit.
Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers
.284/.332/.426, 11 HR’s, 35 RBI, 35 R 82 hits
Mazara started off his big league career swinging a scalding hot bat. He has since cooled but continues to thrive in the rangers line-up. Mazara has the power potential you look for in a rookie call up and the contact skills (medium or hard contact in 76.9 percent of at-bats) to continue to excel in the majors.
Dae-Ho Lee, 1B, Seattle Mariners
Lee has provided good power to the mariners line-up hitting 11 HR’s, three doubles, and 36 RBI(the most of any AL rookie batter). He does not see everyday at bats but has been productive in the 167 that he has received. Look for him to continue to improve throughout the season.
Whit Merrifield, 2B, Kansas City Royals
Merrifield has been very good for the Royals this season. He is hitting .301 in 173 at-bats with 12 doubles and two HR’s and five stolen bases. He has not been incredibly valuable in shallow leagues, but in deep leagues he has done well as a 2B and/or MI.
Player to watch
Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins
Kepler’s first go round in the big leagues was not a positive one. His second go round however, has been much better. Kepler has hit safely in 21 of 24 games since June 10th. He has also hit five HR’s in that period. He seems to have found his stroke. In deep leagues he is a player to ride until the gas runs out.
NL Fantasy Rookie of the Year
Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
.303/.367/.537, 17 HR’s, 41 RBI, 59 Runs scored, three SB, and 102 hits
Seager leads his team in Hits, doubles, triples, home runs, second in runs batted in and runs scored, batting average, tied for first in on-base percentage, and slugging. What more can be said. Seager has been everything that has been advertised. If you took the gamble and drafted him early you have been rewarded for your bravery and intuition.
Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
.259/.327/.535, 19 HR’s, 50 RBI, 47 Runs scored, five SB, 78 hits
Trevor had a storybook beginning to the 2016 season. His power has dropped off but he still leads all rookies in home runs and all shortstops. The Rockies have cleared the path to playing time for Story. If you can handle his 108 strikeouts he is a valuable piece of any team.
Aledmys Diaz, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
For me, Story and Diaz are almost even in value, Story just has more power. Diaz has more runs scored, 53, but less RBI, 42. Diaz’s power production has slowed since the beginning of the season but he continues to make contact and hit for a high average with far less strikeouts.
Player to watch
Junior Guerra, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
I know it seems funny to be interested in another player from the brewer besides Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy but Guerra has been close to dominant in his 12 starts this season. Going 6-1 with a 2.93 ERA. Guerra does not post huge strikeout numbers but his 1.02 whip in valuable to any team.
One down side with Guerra, much like Fulmer, is his innings pitched. Guerra has already thrown more innings that he ever has in major or minor league baseball. The brewers are not going to challenge for a playoff spot. Make sure to stay up to date with the Brewers plans for Guerra’s second half of the season.
I will not list too many players in this section as they are of no value to your fantasy team currently. I mention them more as a lesson or reminder with rookie potential.
To begin each season there are players who come out of spring training swinging hot bats, ready to contribute.
Spring Training Heroes
Tyler White and Jeremy Hazelbaker are two great examples of this. Each started the season hitting the ball a ton, hitting for power and average, scoring a boat load of runs. These two players lacked the ability to adjust to the pitchers after they developed a scouting report.
Neither player was highly touted but for that first month of the season played like baseball gods. If you picked them up early and rode the hot streak your team got valuable points. Knowing when to trade high or dump these types of players are important to your team
There are two other fantasy Fireworks I want to talk about. Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton. Both highly touted prospects. Both failed miserably this season in their time in the majors. This type of prospect can happen to any top prospect so choose wisely when adding and dropping players for your team.
Remember, both players have turned things around. Buxton still strikes out too much but has been better at the plate. Berrios has been lights out his past five starts in the minors. The Twins rotation is terrible, it is only a matter of time before Berrios is given another chance.
Being that next week is the All-Star break I will focus mainly on the futures game and what to expect from the top prospects going forward in 2016.
Another Pirates Pitching Prospect
One Minor league prospect I do have to talk about is Tyler Glasnow who has finally received his call up to the big leagues. He will pitch July 7th. How long he stays in the rotation, I am not sure. If he walks five batters he will most certainly be sent back down to the minors. If he strikes out 11 and allows zero runs he may take a spot in the rotation after the break. He is worth the gamble in all leagues
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