This week’s Rookie Report has seen pitching prospects finally make a move to the forefront. Some Pitchers who have earned call ups this season have taken a while to round into form, like Julio Urias and Michael Fulmer, or have just been bad and have been shuttled back-and-forth between Triple-A and the majors like Jose Berrios and Sean Manaea.
The pitchers I have highlighted have made terrific starts for their perspective teams and look to stay in the rotation for the remainder of the season. Young pitchers may take longer to get their mechanics right and get comfortable with the travel and the adjustment rate of the the big league hitters. It is no coincidence that by the end of the season, these highly skilled prospects have gotten the “bugs” worked out of their deliveries and are dominating hitters.
Lineups are also beginning to thin out with young players getting a shot to show their teams what they can do. The pitchers will see the same thing happen. Guys will get spot starts that may be merely an arm to get the team innings. Try and take advantage of those matchups for your hitters and pitchers.
The Rangers have recalled Joey Gallo but he will most likely have little to no role in the offense as he has for the majority of the season. Gallo hit 25 HRs this season but only hit .240. This seems to have been a down year for Gallo and the Rangers organization did him no favors. The lack of support could be messing with his confidence which could be hurting his production. His stock seems to be dropping.
Let’s take a look around the league to see who can help your team out.
In the Majors
Yulieski Gurriel, 1B/DH, Houston Astros
Gurriel seems to be settling into the major leagues nicely. He is making good contact, 80.5% of balls in play have been medium or hard contact, with the majority being medium contact. The power has not come yet as he has only three doubles and zero home runs. Gurriel has also only walked once. Power is king and Gurriel has not found his stroke yet. Until he does, there is no need to start him.
Yoan Moncada, 3B, Boston Red Sox
Moncada is an athletic freak and is developing quickly as a young player. The Red Sox are using him exclusively at 3B and he is playing most days. He has yet to steal any bases and has only one extra base hit. For this season, he could heat up and be a big contributor to your playoff win. Or, he could continue to experience the growing pains of becoming an everyday major leaguer. In redraft leagues he is a risky player with high upside. In keeper leagues he needs to be on your team.
Ben Gamel, OF, Seattle Mariners
Gamel has seen some playing time in the Mariners outfield since being traded by the Yankees. He scored two runs and walked four times in his first two games but only has one hit. The past two games he has been used as a pinch hitter. Gamel does not have much power but the speed should play well.
T.J. Rivera, 2B/3B, New York Mets
Rivera, the Pacific Coast League batting title winner, was called up to the Mets September 6. With the loss of Neil Walker, Rivera looks to earn a starting spot at second base. Rivera hit .353 with 11 HRs and 85 RBI this season. Rivera only struck out 12.2 % of the time this season which is a great sign for his contact skills. In deep or NL- only leagues, he could be a solid contributor if he gets the at-bats.
Robert Stephenson, SP, Cincinnati Reds
Stephenson was very good in his most recent major league start. Stephenson was not great in the minors this season but has always possessed good stuff. Against the Mets September 5, Stephenson allowed two earned runs in 5.1 innings and struck out nine while walking one. Stephenson looks to be in the rotation for the remainder of the season. In deeper leagues, he will be a good streaming option.
Luke Weaver, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Weaver has been every bit of the first round draft pick the Cardinals hoped for. He has not pitched deep into games, but has two quality starts. HIs K/9 of 11.16 has been phenomenal. Weaver opposes the Brewers in his next start which looks to be a good matchup.
Jose De Leon, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
After the dim picture I painted of Jose De Leon’s chances of pitching in the Majors in 2016, I was promptly proved wrong by his call up September 4. He was brilliant in his big league debut, striking out nine in six innings and allowing only one run. De Leon has two-plus pitches in his arsenal and is older than most top prospects at 24. He should be able to continue his success in the major leagues.
The Dodgers have not confirmed if he will make his next start. He may be moved to the bullpen where he would have little value. Watch to see what comes from the Dodgers front office.
Seth Lugo, SP, New York Mets
Seth Lugo is another young pitcher in the line of good young Mets pitching. In 24.2 innings, Lugo has only allowed six earned runs. Lugo does not have big strikeout stuff but he limits contact and does not walk many batters. He is a solid streaming option in all formats. As he becomes exposed to more teams, look to see if he makes the adjustments necessary to stay dominant.
A.J. Cole, SP, Washington Nationals
After a few mediocre starts, Cole turned in a Gem against the New York Mets lackluster offense. He allowed one run in six innings and struck out five. Cole’s next matchup is a favorable one against the Phillies.
Jharel Cotton, SP, Oakland A’s
Cotton made his Major league Debut September 7, and was very strong by only allowing one run in 6.1 innings of work while striking out two. In the minors, he was a strikeout pitcher, tallying 155 Ks in 135 innings so he has the swing and miss stuff to challenge big league hitters. Cotton will stay in the big leagues and looks to be pitching to earn a spot in next season’s rotation. His next matchup is against the Royals, so it may be a good idea to sit him. However, he is a viable option against most teams down the stretch.
On the Farm
Cody Bellinger, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bellinger was just called up to Triple-A and has been stinging the ball, hitting .545 with three HRs and six RBI without a strikeout over three games. Therefore, he looks like he will be able to handle Triple-A pitching. I do not think he will get a call this season as Adrian Gonzalez has the position well in hand, but he could make some noise next season.
Ozzie Albies, SS/2B, Atlanta Braves
If the Braves had it their way, Dansby Swanson would be manning the Shortstop position for the next 10 to 15 years. This means that Albies is going to have to move positions to fit into the big league lineup. He was demoted to Double-A so that he can learn to play second base alongside Swanson. Albies was not overly impressive at the plate in Triple-A, but has been taking the Double-A pitching to school. Look for him next season to help with steals.
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