This week’s 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report has seen a flurry of activity from top prospects called up. One top prospect announced his presence with authority, inserting himself into baseball lore.
Jameson Taillon stumbled in his last start, allowing four runs and giving up eight hits. Starts like that are bound to happen. How he pitches in his next start will show you what type of player he is. He also faced the Cubs juggernaut of an offense, which is no easy task for any pitcher.
Julio Urias has really settled in on the mound but the Dodgers are concerned with his innings pitched this season and are thinking of shifting him to the bullpen for the foreseeable future. Is this good for your Fantasy team? Absolutely not. This is a trend Fantasy owners may have to face with young arms. Taillon could be skipped multiple times in the rotation to preserve his arm. Cody Reed could be shut down in August. Blake Snell could be sent back down to the minors.
Luckily, hitting prospects do not face the same restrictions at the plate. They may receive more days off but if they can prove they belong, it is hard to take them out of the everyday line-up. There are plenty of prospects who will come up this season and identifying those who could make an impact before other owners take notice is key.
Let’s take a look around the league to see which players can help your roster.
2016 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report
In the Majors
Wilson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs
Homering in his first major league at-bat, Contreras announced his presence with authority. As reported by Jesse Rogers of ESPN, Contreras is expected to get the majority of starts going forward. He will not normally catch Jake Arrieta or Jon Lester, but should see time behind the plate the rest of the time. On June 22, Miguel Montero left the game with a possible ankle injury and Contreras came in and hit a home run while catching the remainder of the game.
This is a great sign for his value right now. Can he handle the majority of the staff and continue to hit at a high level is the question Fantasy owners will be asking. Contreras can have immediate value at catcher in most leagues. He is owned is just under 50-percent of leagues on Yahoo and CBS. Pick him up now before someone else does.
Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox
Anderson has started his big league career at the plate going 14-49 with five multi hit games. He is currently hitting .292 with one home run, seven RBIs, and one stolen base. Owned in 20-percent of Yahoo leagues, Anderson could be a valuable MI or SS in a deep or AL-only league. He has shown potential. Let’s see if he can keep up the production.
Steve Moya, OF, Detroit Tigers
With J.D. Martinez out due to injury, Steve Moya will get the majority of playing time in the outfield. Moya has a ton of power, he has already hit 13 home runs this season in the minors. The downside of Moya’s power is that he strikes out at a prodigious rate.
2015 AAA: 535 AB’s 30.3 K%, 5.0 BB%
2016 AAA: 215 AB’s, 21.4 K%, 3.7 BB%
Those numbers are not likely to improve drastically in the majors. His batting average will not kill you but if your league counts strikeouts as a negative, he may not be the guy for you. If you are looking for power, Moya is a good source.
Whit Merrifield, OF, Kansas City Royals
Merrifield is riding a hot streak. He is hitting .323 with two HRs and 12 RBIs. The Royals offense gets runners on base, moves runners over, and gets runners in. Merrifield has 21 runs scored in 29 games. His counting stats are not going to carry you but he will boost your average and score a ton of runs for your team.
Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins
Kepler has had a hot month of June. He has six doubles and two HRs and has brought his average up to .244. His K% is still 13 points higher than his Triple-A K%, so he has room to grow still. Miguel Sano has begun a rehab assignment which means he could be back on the major league roster before the end of the month. Kepler could lose his roster spot to make room for Sano.
Blake Snell, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Snell has lost both starts since being recalled by the Rays. Snell has been a tough luck loser allowing a total of three runs in both starts. His strikeouts have been low (three in each) and he has allowed three walks in each game. Snell is showing good stuff and is keeping his team in games. Be patient with him if he is on your roster.
Cody Reed. SP, Cincinnati Reds
One of Cincinnati’s top pitching prospects, Cody Reed, made his major league debut June 18. He showed big strikeout potential by striking out nine batters in seven innings. The problem is he allowed four runs and walked three in those seven innings. Reed has not shown huge strikeout numbers in the minors but managed an 8.77 K/9 this season in the minors.
The Reds are not a great team, which may make it hard for Reed to get wins. If he continues to strike out batters at a high rate, though, he will be worth the add in deep leagues.
On The Farm
AJ Reed, 1B, Houston Astros
Reed has been the hot name since the beginning of the season. He has struggled to live up to that hype so far this season but seems to be heating up this past week. He has a five game hitting streak with three multi-hit games and two home runs in the last three games.
The Astros can definitely benefit from another big bat in the line-up. If he is not already owned, this would be the time to pick him up in all leagues.
Alex Bregman, SS, Houston Astros
Bregman was hit in the head June 20 and removed from the game. He was also kept of out June 21 game for precautionary reasons. He did not sustain a concussion, which is a good. He seems to have avoided injury. Hopefully the shot to the head will not curtail his production.
Gavin Ceccini, SS, New York Mets
Ceccini was named the PCL player of the week for the week of June 13-19 by hitting .440. On the season, Ceccini is hitting .323 with four home runs, 32 runs and 29 RBIs.
The PCL is a hitters haven, so numbers are sometimes inflated. He has shown good on base skills this season with an OBP of .394 and walks in about 10-percent of his at-bats. The starting shortstop for the Mets has been a revolving door for a while. Asdrubal Cabrera is not driving any Fantasy team to a championship, but it is going to take more from Ceccini to supplant him as starter. He could be a late season call-up however, so keep an eye out.
Brandon Drury, 3B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Drury started the season so hot. He has cooled so much in the past month that he has been demoted to “figure things out” at Triple-A. Drury showed good power potential but strikes out in 21.2-percent of at-bats and walks in less than five-percent. That is not going to cut it. He will be back this season, so track his progress and health at the major league level.
Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Meadows just ended a 26 game hitting streak June 20. Between two levels this season, Meadows is hitting .309 with seven HR’, 35 runs scored and 28 RBIs. Meadows was just promoted to Triple-A on June 18. He was slugging an incredible .643 in Double-A before the call up.
Meadows is a great prospect for the Pirates. However, the Pirates possess the best young outfield in the game. Unless there is a significant injury to one of the three stars currently roaming the outfield, he will have to continue to tear up the minors.
Jose Berrios, SP, Minnesota Twins
Berrios has been up and down in his starts since being demoted to Triple-A. On the season, has a 3.86 BB/9 which is the highest at any level of the minor leagues and a significant increase from his 2015 1.67 BB/9.
His strikeout numbers are still high and and he is limiting HRs allowed. His ERA is a decent 3.35, but is inflated by two starts in which he allowed 12 runs in 11.2 innings. If Berrios can get his command back, he should see better results and earn a call up again later in the season.
Photo Credit: Minda Haas Kuhlmann
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