Hello Fantasy friends and foes. Welcome back to the SCFE’s Weekly Rookie Report.
As we head into the All-Star break, I will take a look at the impactful rookies that we saw in the first half. I came up with a Rookie All-Star team for the first half. Who was left out? Who shouldn’t be on this team? Hit me up with your thoughts.
I hope there are not some obvious snubs as we had for this year’s All-Star game. Well, enough of me talking about it, take a look at the Rookie All-Star team in the Week 16 Rookie Report: Rookie Mid-Season All-Stars.
Week 16 Rookie Report: Rookie Mid-Season All-Stars
Max Stassi, C, Astros
Max Stassi’s Fantasy stock has been up and down so far this season. Brian McCann is the Astros’ everyday catcher but is now on the disabled list for the second time due to knee issues. This time his right knee requires surgery and McCann is expected to be out at least four-to-six weeks following surgery. Stassi was anointed the starting catcher for the Astros in both instances.
Stassi will get most of the starts behind the plate in the foreseeable future. He is in an everyday lineup that will have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and be driven in by his teammates. Stassi has actually outhit McCann so far this season, the rookie backstop owns a .255/.339/465 slash line with seven homers and 24 RBI compared to .206/.283/.323 with five homers and 17 RBI for his veteran teammate. Stassi has emerged as a fantasy-relevant option at a very shallow position.
Honorable Mention: Jorge Alfaro, Phillies
Ronald Guzman, 1B, Rangers
Ronald Guzman was called up to become the regular first baseman early in the season after injuries forced the Rangers to shuffle their lineup. He owns a .257/.329/.438 slash line with eight homers and 33 RBI.
In his last six games, Guzman is batting .471 with a 1.176 OPS. Guzman will receive the majority of the playing time at first base for the remainder of the season.
Honorable Mention: Jake Bauers, Rays
Gleyber Torres, 2B, Yankees
Gleyber Torres hit off a tee and did work in the weight room today. Yanks head athletic trainer Steve Donohue will travel with him to the All-Star Game so they can continue his rehab work.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 10, 2018
Gleyber Torres has lived up to all the hype as one of the Yankees’ top prospects. He owns a .294/.350/.555 slash line with 15 home runs, 42 RBI, and 30 runs in 63 games. The youngest Yankee is an All-Star as a rookie, but he is currently on the disabled list due to a strained right hip flexor and isn’t expected to play.
The 21-year-old didn’t make his season debut until April 22, but he leads all American League rookies in home runs (15) and RBI (42). His .905 OPS is on pace to be the best ever by a second baseman in his first season in the major leagues.
Fantasy owners can’t wait to get him back in their starting lineups in the second half. The Yankees are also eager to get Torres back into the lineup. Wednesday marked just the 28th game this season the Yankees played without the rookie second baseman, and they entered just 14-13 in those games. Torres has started running and hitting off a tee, so the Yankees are hoping that he will eligible to be activated from the DL after the All-Star Break.
Honorable Mention: Joey Wendle, Rays
Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees
Miguel Andujar was just named the AL Rookie of the Month for June, thanks to a .560 slugging percentage, seven home runs, and 20 RBI in 25 games. On the season, Andujar is hitting .283/.320/.498 with 12 homers and 39 RBI. He leads all major league rookies with 27 doubles. His 39 RBI are fourth among MLB rookies and Andujar is on pace for 45 doubles and 23 homers this season.
However, even with all of that success, all of the Manny Machado-related trade chatter has created some doubt where Andujar will be playing for the entire season. The whispers of Andujar being a potential trade chip will tarnish his Fantasy value somewhat if he is playing outside of the pinstripes.
Honorable Mention: Brian Anderson, Marlins
Yairo Munoz, SS, Cardinals
Yairo Munoz did a great job in place of Paul DeJong, who suffered a broken hand and was sidelined for six-plus weeks. Munoz made the most of it by hitting .285/.339/.417 with five homers, 23 RBI, four stolen bases in 55 games this seasons.
With DeJong now back, Munoz will likely see a decrease in playing time, but he can play all over the field. In seven games this month, he is hitting 7-for-20 (.350) with two homers and six RBI.
Honorable Mention: Scott Kingery, Phillies
Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves
Ronald Acuna, the top prospect in baseball, and reigning Baseball America’s minor league player of the year took a nasty tumble on May 27 leading many to initially believe his season was over. The diagnosis was the best news for which the Braves and Fantasy owners could have asked for. The 20-year-old missed 28 games because of a left-knee sprain and left-knee and lower-back contusions.
He has yet to set the world on fire as everyone predicted but he still might be working his back in his return from the injury. Last week, he left the game with groin tightness but it appears to have avoided another trip to the DL.
He has been struggling since the start of July with just seven hits in 32 at-bats with one homer, and four RBI. Overall, Acuna is hitting .261/.318/.460 with seven homers and 19 RBI along with a .778 OPS. Hopefully, the All-Star break will provide the much-needed rest so he can live up to the hype and help the Braves surge into the playoffs. Look for Acuna to breakout in the second half.
Harrison Bader, OF, Cardinals
#STLCards poll time! Should the Cards offer Harrison Bader to SD for Brad Hand?
— Redbird Rants (@FSRedbirdRants) June 19, 2018
Harrison Bader is currently batting .269/.338/.412 while hitting six homers and nine stolen bases in 182 at-bats. He has accumulated a 1.4 WAR on the season and yet continues not to start every game. Bader splits right field duties with Dexter Fowler.
Bader is the Cardinals best defensive outfielder and should be the regular starter. He will continue to make starts against left-handed pitching and come in as a defensive replacement. He is the better option than Fowler. Hopefully, the Cardinals also figure that out and give the majority of at-bats to Bader.
Juan Soto, OF, Nationals
Juan Soto is going where few teenagers have ever gone before. pic.twitter.com/9H28NkXdcn
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) July 5, 2018
The 19-year-old Juan Soto is making it look too easy. He started this season in low Single-A, got promoted to Double-A, and after just eight games he was then playing games at Nationals Park on May 20. He was hitting .362 in the minors this year before heading to Washington.
Soto leads NL rookies in several departments including batting average (.306), OBP (.413), and OPS (.942).
Say hello to the NL Rookie of the Year!
Honorable Mention: Franchy Cordero, Padres; Austin Meadows, Pirates; Jesse Winkler, Reds;
Shohei Ohtani, Angels
🎶I love Shohei!🎶 pic.twitter.com/M2jvHPlBOs
— Angels (@Angels) July 9, 2018
Shohei Ohtani was given the approval by doctors to be used only as a hitter as he tries to recover from his Grade 2 UCL sprain. Ohtani will serve as the Angels’ primary designated hitter for the remainder of the season.
He is hitting .285/.364/.526 with seven homers and 22 RBI along with an 889 OPS in 137 at-bats. If Ohtani was a full-time DH, he likely would have been a top-50 pick.
Honorable Mention: Dustin Fowler, A’s
Shane Bieber, SP, Indians
Shane Bieber was called up to take over Josh Tomlin as the Indians’ fifth starter. All Bieber has done in his seven outings is pitch into the sixth inning in each start. Additionally, he has struck out at least five batters in all but one of his starts.
Overall, Bieber is 5-1 with a 3.53 ERA along with a 1.34 WHIP and an impressive 42/8 K/BB ratio this season. He will remain in Cleveland’s rotation for the rest of this season. Hopefully, you were able to pick him up.
Walker Buehler, SP, Dodgers
Elite Prospect Walker Buehler was called up amidst a series of injuries to the Dodgers rotation. On the season, Buehler has pitched well, sporting a 4-2 record with a 3.44 ERA and a 54/12 K/BB ratio.
Buehler missed a portion of the first half after being placed on the 10-day disabled list after recovering from a rib injury. He pitched well in his return, going five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
The caveat with Buehler is now the starting rotation is healthy and his status in the rotation is not clear. Of all of their starters, Buehler has the most experience in the bullpen and without an injury looks destined to help set up for closer Kenley Jansen.
Jack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals
Jack Flaherty owns a 3-4 record with a 3.47 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in his 70 innings pitched across 13 games started this season. He owns a 10.5 K/9 but has struggled in his last three starts.
Flaherty has allowed three homers and 10 earned runs while lasting just 12.1 innings in those three shaky starts. He has shown to be a strikeout artist that helps his Fantasy owners with 80 strikeouts and 19 walks in 67.2 innings. If he can also limit his home runs allowed, he will become a top-of-the-rotation starter.
Joey Lucchesi, SP, Padres
Joey Lucchesi missed five weeks with a right hip strain between May and June. In nine starts before the injury, the southpaw owned a 3.23 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning.
Lucchesi has a solid 3.34 ERA and 1.22 WHIP through 67.2 innings this season in 14 starts. Although he was just optioned to the minors, he will return to the big leagues after the All-Star break.
Shohei Ohtani, SP, Angels
It is hard to believe that Shohei Ohtani is just 23 years old. He has only played in 43 major league games and while the media circus surrounding him is almost overwhelming, it is fairly evident that Ohtani has a very bright future ahead of him.
Ohtani is currently on the disabled list with a Grade 2 sprain of an ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He will not pitch the remainder of this season, but he will not require Tommy John surgery. However, he is capable of hitting as the Angels removed him from the DL, so he can serve as their designated hitter.
As a pitcher this season, Ohtani has a 4-1 record and a 3.10 ERA with 11.1 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 across 49.1 innings. It’s very disappointing that we don’t get to see Ohtani the pitcher for the entire season.
Honorable Mention: Jaime Barria, Angels; Tyler Mahle, Reds; Dereck Rodriguez, Giants; Fernando Romero, Angels; Andrew Suarez, Giants
Seranthony Dominguez, RP, Phillies
Seranthony Dominguez, Unhittable 99mph Cutting Fastball. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/MheW4GxLWW
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 13, 2018
Seranthony Dominguez initially took over the Phillies’ bullpen by force, making 12 consecutive scoreless outings to begin his career. He has used that dominance to catapult him into the closer role and it looks like he is not letting go. He is posting a 1.60 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, and 43/6 K/BB ratio across 33.2 innings so far this season.
With elite set-up reliever Pat Neshek returning, Dominguez should be limited to just the ninth inning which should help him increase his dominance.
A.J. Minter, RP, Braves
Minter is considered the closer of the future for the Atlanta Braves. However, he has stepped up recently and is currently a part-time closer with Dan Winkler as the Braves are being cautious with closer Arodys Vizcaino. Vizcaino is recovering from shoulder inflammation and is being eased back into his role.
Minter is a prime handcuff to own and a worthy stash. He is 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and has 11 holds to go along with his four saves. He has a 10.1 K/9 in 37.1 innings this season.
Reyes Moronta, RP, Giants
— SF Giants Report (@sfgiants_fanly) July 14, 2018
It was difficult for me to not include Reyes Moronta as one of the best rookies so far this season. Moronta is 5-1 with an impressive 1.76 ERA to go along with a 1.00 WHIP, seven holds and one save. He owns a 10.8 K/9 and a 1.4 WAR.
Currently, he has gone 12 straight appearances without allowing a hit across 8.1 innings. The Giants utilize him in a variety of situations. They do not put him in there in save opportunities very often yet, but would not be surprised if he will garner more save opportunities in the second half.
Honorable Mention: Jordan Hicks, Cardinals; Lou Trivino, A’s; Hector Velazquez, Red Sox; Ryan Yarbrough, Rays; Dan Winkler, Braves