Hello there Fantasy friends and foes! Welcome back to the SCFE Weekly Rookie Report as we dive into the week 17 rookie report.
I am glad that the All-Star break is over. I’m looking forward to the second half of the 2018 season. Which top prospects will get called up? Will Vlad Jr. finally get called up? Who will be the winners/losers of the 2018 Trade Deadline? Will the Yankees break the single-season record for home runs? Will the Manny Machado trade catapult the Dodgers to a World Series return? There is so much excitement and intrigue to witness in the second half. It is great to be a baseball fan!
MLB teams are Ready To Play and are looking to secure their playoff spots as we get back into action. There will be a ton of prospects that will be brought up to showcase their talents for either their team or other teams scouting them for potential trades. I review two hot prospects that are currently playing in the big leagues that should make notable impacts. Additionally, there are three other prospects you should see in an MLB stadium near you. Each is fantasy-radar worthy. Let’s look at these five players in the Week 17 Rookie Report.
Week 17 Rookie Report
Week 17 Rookie Report: In The Show
Willie Calhoun, OF, Rangers
Here's where #Rangers' Willie Calhoun ranks among @MLB's Top 100 prospects over the past 30 days (min. 50 PA):
.381 AVG – 1st
.454 OBP – 2nd
.978 OPS – 2nd
40 hits – 1st
55 TB – 2nd
19 R – T1
5.9 K% – 2nd
More: https://t.co/ab9b867oUW pic.twitter.com/oJINiyv8oh
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 20, 2018
The Rangers announced today that their top prospect Willie Calhoun is headed up to the big leagues. He will take the spot of outfielder Nomar Mazara, who will hit the disabled list with a thumb sprain. Through 408 plate appearances this year for Triple-A Round Rock, he carries a .306/.360/.444 slash with eight home runs and 27 walks to go with 40 strikeouts. Calhoun has really heated up over the last month, batting .421 in his last 10 games.
Calhoun, who came to the Texas organization in last summer’s Yu Darvish swap, is a left-handed slugger who smashed 31 home runs while slashing .300/.355/572 with two Class-AAA teams last season. The Rangers have always believed that Calhoun was going to hit. However, don’t ask him to put on a glove. He has no set position on the field. After starting as a second baseman in the Dodgers system, he was converted to an outfielder with the Rangers.
Willie Calhoun has a versatile, powerful bat and is best suited to be a DH. However, Shin-Soo Choo is the Rangers’ regular DH. Unless Texas can unload Choo and his big contract this summer, Calhoun will struggle to get at-bats when Mazara returns. No reason to pick up Calhoun yet.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
— AT&T SportsNet SW (@ATTSportsNetSW) July 11, 2018
The Astros top prospect had numbers that begged the Astros to call him up to the big leagues. He had nothing to prove anymore in the minors. Houston finally did so on July 7th. Kyle Tucker was slashing .293/.360/.493/.853 with 14 homers and 61 RBI when he was promoted. He has a great approach at the plate. Tucker has struck out just 70 times this season to 36 walks. He is a legitimate 20/20 candidate in the majors.
Tucker has struggled initially since being promoted. He is now hitting 4-for-31 (.129) with an OPS of .206. He has scored five runs in his first 10 games. Looking at some Statcast numbers, Tucker has a higher average exit velocity (93.7 MPH) than the typical major leaguer (88.7 MPH), so he is making hard contact. Additionally, he has only struck out seven times in his 31 at-bats.
The Astros have expressed that they will be patient with the young outfielder. Unless they go out and trade for another bat, their options are limited in the outfield. He will be given every opportunity to take over in left field, where the Astros have rotated multiple players but no one has produced enough to take the starting role.
Week 17 Rookie Report: On The Brink
Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets
There has NEVER been a home run of 113+ mph with a 40+ degree launch angle measured by @statcast. Until @Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso did this in today's #FuturesGame: https://t.co/TnRERMFTjb pic.twitter.com/QHwdW49QFI
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 16, 2018
Peter Alonso is a legitimate power prospect who made headlines at the Futures Game. According to StatCast, Alonso’s 7th inning moonshot home run was the first ever recorded home run of 113+ mph and a launch angle of 40+ degrees. That is a pretty incredible feat considering StatCast has been around for over three years.
Alonso played in 65 games for Double-A Binghamton, hitting .314/.440/.573 and smashing 15 home runs. Thanks to his outstanding play, he was called up to the Triple-A Las Vegas where he is only hitting .190 thus far with six homers in 23 games. Alonso’s combined slashing line for the season is .280/.410/.539 with 21 home runs.
His batting average for the first month in Triple-A was an eyebrow-raising .190. He should develop into a power hitting impact first baseman. However, his defense, on the other hand, might be an issue. With the Mets expected to be dumping salaries and veterans after the break, Alonso should see an opportunity to create some much-needed excitement for the Mets.
Dominic Smith was once thought to be the future first baseman for the Mets but has an anemic .183/.216/.324 line the last two seasons. He doesn’t seem likely to be part of the Mets future at first base. The Mets have thrown out veterans Todd Frazier and Wilmer Flores at first base, who have yet to impress and are likely to be shipped at the deadline. Peter Alonso is the future and the future could be this summer.
Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
Could Eloy Jiménez become a prominent figure in Chicago sports, similar to Frank Thomas? Barons broadcaster @CurtBloom4 believes the potential is there.
— Sox On 35th (@SoxOn35th) July 13, 2018
White Sox No.1 prospect Eloy Jimenez has recorded a hit in each game since returning from injury on July 15. Through 17 games with Triple-A Charlotte, Jimenez has a slash line of .297/.357/.484 with an OPS of .842. He was sidelined for two weeks with a left abductor strain and has been slowed a bit by multiple short-term injuries this season.
Still just 21, Jimenez was promoted last month after he hit .317 with 10 homers, 15 doubles, and 42 RBI in 53 games at Double-A Birmingham. Overall on the season, Jimenez is hitting .309/.364/.540 with 13 homers and 18 doubles and has drawn 23 walks to 46 strikeouts.
Injuries may be the only thing that has kept Jimenez from joining the White Sox. Jimenez isn’t just a home run or bust type of hitter. He has excellent plate coverage and has shown the ability to make adjustments. He makes hard contact to all fields, as evidenced by this impressive spray chart.
The White Sox are playing for the future and Jimenez is a potential 40 homer a season guy. He still needs work in the outfield defensively but he should contribute enough to justify placing him at DH at least to start his big league career. Look for Jimenez in the White Sox lineup this summer. Dynasty owners should already be all over Eloy Jimenez.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays
So, this Vladimir Guerrero Jr. kid …
🔹 Is 19.
🔹 Went 2-for-4 tonight.
🔹 Is now batting .408.
🔹 Has hit in 6 straight since return from DL.
🔹 Has now gone 1 FULL YEAR without going hitless in consecutive games.#BlueJays/@MLB No. 1 prospect: https://t.co/TuTZgdnqLq pic.twitter.com/U6DDgzSNMZ
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 21, 2018
The 19-year-old Guerrero Jr. was destroying Double-A pitching this year before he was placed on the disabled list on June 7 with a strained patella tendon. He owned a .407/.457/.667 slash line with 11 home runs and 55 RBI over 53 games before the injury. He reached base in 50 of those 53 games and has shown incredible plate discipline for a young hitter, with just 21 strikeouts and 20 walks in 224 plate appearances.
Guerrero Jr. has officially moved to the top of MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings after Atlanta Braves phenom Ronald Acuna Jr.’s graduation from the list. The mega-prospect is ready for his return and promotion. So are Fantasy owners!
His injury set him back a little bit, but he may just be in a Blue Jay uniform when rosters expand in September, if not sooner.
So the Week 17 Rookie Report is nearly done, but don’t leave yet! Take a look at who I think are the Rookie All-Stars in the first half, Week 16 Rookie Report: Rookie Mid-Season All-Stars. Also, don’t forget to view the latest hot topics in David Rubin’s Week 15 Hot Topics: Jobu Needs A Refill Edition. Are you a rookie in fantasy football? Our new writer Conlin Postma has you covered with some great tips for fantasy football first-time players in his 7 Important Fantasy Football Tips For The First Time Player.