In this week’s 2016 MLB Rookie Report, more top pitching prospects have made their debuts. As the pitchers begin rounding into form, the hitters have begun to slump.
Tyler White, who started the year on fire is now hitting .224 and has only two hits in his last 10 games. Jeremy Hazelbaker seems to have righted the ship, bringing his batting average back up to .313, but the power has dropped off and he is currently striking out in 31-percent of his at-bats. Even Trevor Story has stopped hitting home runs every day, but he is hitting the baseball frequently.
The call ups have been fast and furious. Teams are hoping for contributions from young controllable talent. Your roster may look similar if you believe in the hype. Make sure to balance your roster with solid, predictable veterans and high upside rookies.
Hitting prospects were prominent last year and made a major impact on the 2015 season. As of now, 2016 has seen many high ranking pitching prospects get the call. Knowing your league format will help you best decide which prospects can help your roster.
Let’s take a look at the players who have made an impact this past week.
2016 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report
In the Majors
Aledmys Diaz, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
Diaz is absolutely crushing the ball. He is slashing .388/.424/.700 and his BABIP of .382 is lower than his average. He is making hard contact 42.5-percent of the time. Diaz is squaring the ball up on almost half the balls he puts in play. He is making medium contact on 43.8-percent of balls in play.
With contact skills like that, he is going to keep hitting. If he is still available on the waiver wire, you need to own him. If you can trade for him, make it happen.
Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers
Mazara continues to hit. He is hitting .325 through 88 at-bats and is in the midst of a six game hitting streak. He has hit three HRs with nine RBIs and 11 runs scored. Mazara’s BABIP is .355, which is high so a regression would most certainly coincide with a drop in batting average.
Currently he is making medium contact 58.5-percent of the time and hard contact 24.6-percent of the time. With those numbers, I would not expect a large increase in his power numbers, but he makes solid contact in over 80-percent of at-bats. The rangers can’t take him out of the lineup and you should not either.
Sean Manaea, SP, Oakland Athletics
Manaea’s first start was not awe inspiring. In five innings pitched, Manaea walked four batters and struck out three. He allowed four runs on four hits and one HR.
At all levels of the minor leagues, Manaea has pitched to a K/9 rate above 10.07 but in 2015 his BB/9 was 3.16 in 42 innings. He has a plus fastball with two good off speed pitches, but needs to work on his control. Manaea has the talent but it may take him some time to develop at the major league level. If he is still available, he may be worth a stash on the bench for a game or two until he settles into the big leagues. Wait and see how he performs as he could be back in the minors soon.
Alex Meyer, SP, Minnesota Twins
Meyer, another top pitching prospect from the Twins has been called up and has pitched 3.2 innings so far in 2016. He has allowed five ERs while striking out four and walking three.
Meyer is a power pitcher but has always struggled with control. In the 2014 and 2015 while in Triple-A, he managed a BB/9 of 4.42 and 4.70, respectively. He did have a lower BB/9 of 2.08 in 17 IP in the minors this season, which is encouraging.
Meyer has high strikeout potential but when given the opportunity in 2015, he had no idea where the ball was going. In a league that does not penalize for walks, he could help you with Ks but he will drag down your other categories. Let another owner pick him up.
Jose Berrios, SP, Minnesota Twins
Berrios earned a win in his second major league Start. He struck out eight and walked five. Five walks is not good, but the eight strikeouts is solid. Berrios possesses dominant stuff and has always shown good control and command. In 2015, Berrios had a 2.38 BB/9 over 90.2 IP at Double-A and 1.67 over 90.2 IP at Triple-A.
Berrios should provide the good strikeout numbers in each start, but the control against major league hitters may take some time. He may be overthrowing at times because he is feeling the pressure of being the top pitching prospect and trying to earn his innings. The command will return once he settles in.
Michael Fulmer, SP, Detroit Tigers
Fulmer, a key piece in the Yoenis Cespedes trade made his first start last week for the Tigers. At first glance, his 2016 minor league numbers were underwhelming. His 4.11 ERA and 4.43 FIP would tell you that the ERA was where it should be and he was getting knocked around. He did not seem to have his best stuff early on in the season, but one bad start elevated his numbers. He only allowed one run in his first two starts then blew up and allowed six in 4.2 innings in his third and final minor league start.
Fulmer’s strikeout and walk numbers were good:
- Start one: seven Ks and one BB in 5.2 innings
- Start two: seven Ks and three BBs in 5.1 innings
- Start Three: six Ks and one BB in 4.2 innings.
He also only allowed eight hits in three starts, with six coming in his last. The underlying stuff is good, but he was just unlucky in a small sample size.
He picked up a win in his first major league start, allowing seven hits and yielding two earned runs. He allowed one walk while striking out four. Fulmer will start again Thursday at Cleveland. If he is still available on the waiver wire, he is worth an add at the back of your rotation.
On the Farm
Wilson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs
Contreras, the cubs No. 2 prospect, could possibly make an impact in the second half of the season, according to Joe Maddon. With Miguel Montero on the DL for a flare up in a previous disk injury to his back and Kyle Schwarber injured, catching depth is shallow for the Cubs.
David Ross is old and Tim Federowicz has shuttled back and forth between the minors and majors the past four seasons so he is no guarantee.
This season, Contreras is hitting .359 with an OBP of .432. Contreras does not provide a lot of power as he hit 11 HRs in 2013 and 11 last season between Rookie ball and Double-A. In a Shallow league, he is not worth a the pick up, but in a deeper league he could provide better numbers than Montero or Federowicz when hs is called up. The call up will not come for a while, but keep and eye on him should Montero spend a prolonged amount of time on the DL or any other injuries occur to the Cubs’ catchers.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves
Swanson, the Braves No. 1 prospect, was promoted to Double-A Mississippi on Saturday. Swanson was hot to start the season as he was hitting .333 with one HR, 10 RBIs, 14 runs scored and seven SBs over 93 at-bats.
In eight at-bats in Double-A, Swanson has a single, double, and a home run. He is a seasoned college hitter who is dominating younger, less experienced pitching. The Braves are terrible this season, so keep an eye on his progress.
Ozzie Albies, SS, Atlanta Braves
The Swanson promotion was made in unison with the promotion of the No. 3 prospect to Triple-A Gwinnett. In 84 at-bats in his first season in Double-A, Albies was hitting .369 with one HR, 13 runs scored and two SBs.
Albies has never hit below .310 in his minor league career and he has a career .392 OBP. He has good contact skills and has shown the ability to get on base at a high rate. In 2015, Albies also stole 29 bases, so it will be interesting to see how the speed translates to the higher levels of competition
Erick Aybar is the current shortstop for the Braves but is having a miserable season so far. Aybar is batting .163 through 23 games. The Braves currently weigh cost-effective players with more value than performance. This season Aybar, who is making a reasonable salary with some of the cost being off-set by the Dodgers, fits that mold. However, sitting with a .163 BA, it will be hard to keep Albies out of the Majors if he succeeds in Triple-A.
Peter O’Brien, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
O’Brien hit .370 with five doubles, seven home runs and 21 RBIs in 20 games in Triple-A. He has always had a great bat but defense will be the issue. The sooner he can handle the outfield the sooner he will get another shot at the big leagues. Keep an eye on the Diamondbacks outfield situation.
Jameson Taillon, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Taillon has been stellar in the first month which is a great sign after missing the past two seasons due to injury. His .87 WHIP and 26 Ks to only three BBs is exactly what the pirates are looking to see. He has completed seven innings in his past two starts and currently sports a 1.19 ERA. Since Taillon has not pitched in two years, the Pirates may try and keep his inning count low this season. It is possible when he does get the call up he will just be a spot start or a bullpen arm. He has great potential in a keeper league.
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