Hello Fantasy friends and foes! Welcome back to the SCFE’s Weekly Rookie Report.
With the NBA & NHL Finals over (Congrats Warriors! Caps!), now we can really concentrate on baseball.
Even though the Astros are not winning their division, are they still the team to beat? Are the Yankees the team to beat? Will the Yankees obtain another starter to solidify their staff? Will the Braves sustain this level? What will happen in the NL West?
It looks like we will have a great summer and fall of baseball upcoming, full of intrigue and drama. Speaking of intrigue, we continue to see the rise of prospects and rookies making an impact for their teams and your Fantasy teams.
Who is the latest In The Show players that Fantasy owners should consider? What is going on with Vlad Jr.? Which pitching prospect should be added immediately? Answers to those questions and more in the Week 11 Rookie Report.
Week 11 Rookie Report
In The Show
Seranthony Dominguez, RP, Phillies
All Seranthony Dominguez has done since coming into the majors on May 7 is retire 40 of the first 43 hitters he faced, 15 by strikeout. He didn’t walk a batter while racking up 13.2 scoreless innings. He started his big-league career with six straight games allowing no runs, hits or walks. No pitcher has accomplished that in more than four games to start their career.
He has been virtually untouchable all season. He has a 1-0 record, two saves, six holds, 1.13 ERA, and a 0.25 WHIP. Additionally, he has a 17:1 K:BB ratio along with an outstanding .091 BABIP and 2.48 xFIP.
Dominguez, 23, started the season with Double-A Reading but was promoted to Triple-A near the end of April. In 16 2/3 combined innings with Reading (13) and Lehigh Valley (3 2/3), Dominguez owns a 1.62 ERA with a 21/3 K/BB ratio. According to MLB Pipeline, Dominguez is the No. 11 prospect in the Phillies’ system
With a fastball that averages 98 mph, he has the stuff to be a shut-down closer. However, he doesn’t have a defined role in the bullpen, especially with unpredictable Phillies manager Gabe Kapler making the calls. Incumbent closer Hector Neris has struggled for most of the season, posting a 1-3 record with a 5.01 ERA, 1.54 WHIP with his nine saves in 12 chances this season. In dynasty/keeper leagues, the 23-year-old should already be scooped up. In season-long category leagues, Dominguez should also be added because of his outstanding strikeout ability and no one can hit him. If he ever completely takes over the closer role, watch out!
Jake Bauers, OF, Rays
Jake Bauers entered the season to quite a bit of Top 100 prospect fanfare, ranking 43rd at Fangraphs, 45th at Baseball America and 68th at MLB.com. (He’s since risen to 42 at BA and 55 at MLB.com.) He’s 22 and off to fine start in Triple-A Durham, slashing .279/357/.426 with five homers, 14 doubles, and 10 steals. He has drawn a walk in 10.4 percent of his 222 trips to the plate and has whiffed at a 21.2 percent clip.
Bauers got the call Wednesday night up to the big leagues. To make room for Bauers, the Rays designated Brad Miller, who was hitting .256 with five homers and 21 RBI. Bauers is going to take Miller’s at-bat moving forward, who was their starting first baseman for the majority of the season.
His patience and abilities at the plate will become an asset for the Rays’ lineup. Additionally, he is a first baseman with a nice walk rate and the ability to sprinkle in some stolen bases. His running ability has improved greatly in the past few seasons, from just two stolen bases in 2013 to 10 swipes in 2016 and 20 SB in 2017. Those improvements have allowed the Rays to send Bauers to the outfield to see if he could handle such a role.
Bauers doesn’t do one thing great but does a lot to help across each category. If his power blooms, he could become a Fantasy force in the middle of the lineup. He is worth a speculative add in 12-teams or larger leagues.
Frankie Montas, P, A’s
Frankie Montas got the call from Triple-A Nashville with Brett Anderson (shoulder) on the disabled list. Montas, the ninth Athletics pitcher to make a start this season, recorded a disappointing 4.39 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 41 innings pitching with Triple-A Nashville. He moves into the A’s rotation this season after making 23 relief appearances in 2017. He got pummeled with a 7.03 ERA in 32 innings.
His run averages were high in Triple-A, but his peripherals are what you are looking for with a 19.2 percent strikeout rate and a walk rate of 7.6 percent. Montas (2-1, 8.44 ERA, 2.250 WHIP) came into spring training as a challenger for a spot in the rotation. However, he didn’t pitch well at all and went 2-1, 8.44 ERA, and 2.250 WHIP. He was subsequently optioned back to Triple-A at the onset of this season.
The 25-year-old right-hander entered his first start this season having walked 29 batters in his 47 career big league innings. He only started in two of his 30 games in the big leagues up to this season. In his first start, he held the Diamondbacks hitless into the sixth inning. He departed with three hits and one run allowed in six innings to obtain his first win as a starter in his career. Montas shut out the Royals in his next start, scattering seven hits and did not issue a walk in eight innings. He has allowed just one run through 14 innings so far this season.
Montas is now 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP and two strikeouts. The numbers suggest that Montas is getting a bit lucky as evidenced by a 4.31 xFIP. Montas is no more than a speculative add as a streamer in good/great matchups.
On The Brink
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays
The weekly Vladimir Guerrero Jr. update is here. Unfortunately, any buzz of him being promoted within the Blue Jays organization is temporarily on hold as the 19-year-old superstar has suffered the first setback of his pro career. He injured his leg running out a single on Saturday, and then tweaked the injury on Wednesday, on another single. The extra caution of the Blue Jays organization means that Vlad Jr. has been placed on the 7-day disabled list.
The 19-year-old third baseman, the youngest player in the Eastern League, has never been on the DL before. He was ranked as the No.2 overall prospect in Major League Baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law.
His .407 batting average for Double-A New Hampshire leads all minor league hitters. He also has 11 home runs and 55 RBI in 53 games this season
Vlad Jr., the Eastern League’s player of the month for May, was possibly on the verge of being promoted to Triple-A until the injury delayed the Jays’ plans.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 5, 2018
It seems inevitable we will see Guerrero in the majors this season. It’s a matter of when not if. The Jays are currently sitting at 27-35 with a very slim chance of reaching the playoffs. Why not bring up Guerrero and see what he can do?
Forrest Whitley, P, Astros
Forrest Whitley captured attention for being one of the few pitchers ever to vault to Class AA in his first full minor-league season. Whitley posted a 2.83 ERA with 143 strikeouts and only 34 walks in 92.1 innings across three different levels of the Astros’ minor league system in 2017.
Unfortunately, he also gathered tons of attention following a 50-game suspension issued for violating the MiLB Drug Prevention and Treatment Program during the offseason. The 20-year-old right-handed starter considered the franchise’s best pitching prospect, is scheduled to make is 2018 debut this weekend.
The uber-prospect is expected to start his season in Corpus Christi, with a good chance to reach Triple-A Fresno and possibly pitch in the majors by the end of the season. In a June 6th article by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, Astros’ general manager Jeff Luhnow openly discussed the possibility of Whitley helping the Astros out in the major league level THIS SEASON.
Over at Baseball America, their staff ranks Whitley as the tenth-best prospect in baseball. Actually, he is the only Astros prospect in the top ten. Whitley has quality stuff as four of his pitches are projected to be “solid-or-better” by MLB Pipeline. Forrest Whitley projects as a difference-maker and the majority of owners have probably forgotten about him. If you are in a dynasty league, I would hope an owner was smart enough to hold on to him. He is the perfect stash candidate as he possesses ace-level stuff. Forrest Whitley will be contributing in some shape or form to a championship ball club, maybe even yours!
Photo Credit: Ron Kikuchi