Hello Fantasy friends and foes! Welcome back to the SCFE’s Weekly Rookie Report.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Fathers and Grandfathers out there! I hope you enjoy your day!
Most fathers love to take their kids to the ballpark. They love to watch them play ball from the time they can swing a bat and through it all, fathers are their kids’ number one fans.
In my latest view of rookies and prospects, I came up with six players who are all-stars in their fathers’ eyes but let’s see what I think of them in the Week 12 Rookie Report.
Week 12 Rookie Report
In The Show
Tom Murphy, C, Rockies
Tom Murphy was smashing the ball at Triple-A Albuquerque by hitting .289 and 16 homers, which ranks second in the Pacific Coast League. In addition, he had 14 doubles, two triples, 45 RBI, and 34 runs scored. He joins Chris Iannetta (.228/.324/.402) and Tony Wolters (.156/.281/.229) to give the Rockies a three-headed monster at catcher. Murphy is in Colorado to provide an offensive burst to the catching platoon.
Murphy missed a huge chunk of the 2017 season with a fractured wrist and seems to be injury-prone. He won’t play every day, but he has proven that he can hit.
It’s hard to trust Tom Murphy. Even at the shallow catcher position, Murphy is best served to be owned in two-catcher leagues. His defensive limitations and lack of consistent playing time make Murphy a streaming catcher. Good luck in knowing if and when he will go off.
Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets
Dominic Smith will get an opportunity at first base with Adrian Gonzalez being released by the Mets. Smith is hitting just .260/.343/.370 with a mediocre .713 OPS and two homers with 16 doubles in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
In 49 games with the Mets last season, Smith hit .198/.262/.395 with nine homers in his first taste at the big league level. He was supposed to compete for the first base job in spring training, however, he sustained a quadriceps injury in his first game and never returned to the lineup.
With two Mets outfielders hitting the disabled list this month, Smith saw some action in the outfield at Las Vegas to increase his versatility. The Mets brought up Smith to see if he can do something at the big league level. Currently, first baseman Peter Alonso has a .310/.441/.567 slash line with 15 home runs in Double-A. Alonso should be promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas shortly. If successful at Triple-A, I think we will see Peter Alonso with the Mets this season. I don’t see any upside for Dominic Smith. He shouldn’t be placed in the outfield, he cannot run well and is limited on defense. It also appears that he cannot handle major league pitching.
Erick Fedde, SP, Nationals
The Nationals called up their top pitching prospect and the No. 4 overall prospect in the organization as rated by MLB Pipeline as Stephen Strasburg’s (shoulder) replacement in their rotation. Erick Fedde made two starts in 2017, posting a 9.39 ERA, but his velocity dipped and his command was off before the team eventually shut him down in September.
Fedde has already made one start for the Nationals this season. The right-hander took on a Padres lineup that scores 3.87 runs per game (sixth-worst in the majors). He surrendered three runs in 5.2 innings on May 23. He was immediately sent back to Triple-A Syracuse. In his 11 starts at Syracuse, he is 3-2 with a 4.76 ERA. Furthermore, he struck out 61 batters in 56.2 innings while issuing just 15 walks.
In his second start of the season, Fedde gave up four runs in five innings against the Yankees, whose 5.39 runs per game are tops in baseball. Fedde now has a 5.91 ERA and 4.41 FIP in his two starts this season. Depending upon the health of starters Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson, Fedde will be asked to make more starts. In leagues that utilize wins as a category, you might be able to stream him. His unimpressive production does not translate into Fantasy relevance.
Adam Plutko, SP, Indians
The Cleveland Indians called up right-hander Adam Plutko to solidify the fifth spot in their rotation. In his first four starts, he beat the Blue Jays and the Cubs in an impressive manner, then he had to face the White Sox. He went five innings and got the win but Chicago scored five runs on six hits. Plutko just took on the White Sox again on Tuesday and he got hit hard. He went only 4.2 innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits while walking three and striking out five.
Overall, Plutko is 3-1 with a 5.09 ERA, 1.304 WHIP, and an unsavory 6.61 FIP. If Plutko can stay away from the White Sox, he would look like a productive pitcher. He has given up 10 earned runs, 14 hits, and four walks in 9.2 innings against the Central Division foes.
With Triple-A Columbus this season, he is 5-3 with a 1.83 ERA over 59 innings while striking out 48 and walking just 10 batters. Twice, he tinkered with perfection, throwing a minor-league no-hitter once and having his chance for a perfect game cut short after 23 straight outs because of a pitch count restriction.
Adam Plutko does not stand out in any capacity, making him an optimal fifth starter. The Indians need someone to step in to complete their rotation and they have already thrown out there Shane Bieber to toe the rubber. I see Plutko’s ceiling as a pitcher to stream in clear mismatches. As a result, nothing to see here.
On The Brink
Nick Senzel, INF, Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds top prospect Nick Senzel seems to be back on track after a spell of vertigo wiped out most of his May. Senzel only played in 33 of Triple-A Louisville’s first 58 games. He was out from May 3 to May 29. The infielder was hitless in his first two games after returning from the disabled list, however, he has a hit in 10 of his 11 games since.
In 37 games this season, he is hitting .299/.376/.458 with three homers, 18 RBI, and seven stolen bases along with a .834 OPS. To add to his baseball resume, Senzel has started to hit leadoff for Louisville. He is hitting a sharp .571 (8-for-14) at the top of the order.
Senzel, 22, was drafted as a third baseman. He’s blocked there by Eugenio Suárez. Senzel’s been playing second base for Louisville. He’s blocked there by Scooter Gennett. The Reds played Senzel some at shortstop in spring training, yet he hasn’t played there for Louisville. By never posting a wRC+ below 131 in his career, look for the 22-year-old to be playing in Cincinnati after the Super Two deadline. Fantasy owners should pick him now.
Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers
The Detroit Tigers lineup suffered a significant blow Tuesday when Miguel Cabrera ruptured a tendon in his bicep that will require season-ending surgery. The Tigers need impact bats as they start their rebuilding project. Currently, the best hitter in their system is outfielder Christin Stewart. He has proven that he can hit at all minor-league levels. Stewart has smacked 81 home runs over four seasons. In addition, he has a career on-base percentage of .362 with a .517 slugging percentage and an OPS of .881.
Currently, Stewart is leading the International League in homers with 13 and is slashing .279/.355/.515 with a .765 OPS. For a Tigers team that ranks second to last in Major League Baseball in home runs, his power would be a welcome sight.
So why haven’t we seen Christin Stewart hitting in Comerica Park? His defense or should say the lack thereof defense. He is primarily a left fielder who is better served as a DH. Stewart has been putting the work in so he won’t be a liability in the outfield. To say it is still a work in progress is being kind.
Currently, the Tigers are 33-37, 4.5 games behind the first place Cleveland Indians. While it’s not impossible to be contenders for their division, they are more than likely just pretenders based upon their lack of offense. At worst, Stewart is called up after the Super Two deadline passes. Therefore, he gets called up shortly to hopefully alleviate the hole in the lineup that losing Miguel Cabrera created. Christin Stewart has fantasy value only in dynasty formats.