In this week’s 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report we see some hitters emerging and some pitchers continuing to struggle. Injuries have also taken a toll on a few of the young up and comers.
The Rays made an interesting call up to the Major league pitching rotation leaving a top prospect waiting in the minors. While two top prospects who did receive the call up have continued to struggle.
Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow continue to impress and dominate in the minors. This season the two have stuck out 80 batters in 70 combined innings and allowing 13 earned runs. The Pirates staff continues to hold it together but how much longer can Jeff Locke and Juan Nicasio hold off the young stars in waiting? It could take an injury to bring them up.
Sean Manaea and Michael Fulmer, two top pitching prospects who have been called up to due to injury have had rough beginnings to their major league careers. Hitters in the minor leagues are less disciplined than those in the majors leagues. The adjustment period has been difficult for these two. Control needs to be improved and the major leagues is a difficult place to make those adjustments.
Let’s take a look at how players are adjusting
2016 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report
In The Majors
Brandon Drury, 3B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Drury has started 2016 off strong with a .303 batting average in 114 plate appearances. He does not walk as he only has three so far, but he strikes out less than 20-percent of the time. Drury has six HRs, 13 RBIs and scored 13 runs. Drury’s OBP of .325 is solid, so he will get on base and will continue to score runs.
Being eligible at 3B and OF, he will continue to be a fixture in the Diamondbacks lineup. He will be useful as a third basemen but great in the corner infield slot. He will also be a good third or fourth outfielder.
Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Kansas City Royals
Cuthbert is filling in for Mike Moustakas while he is on the DL. Cuthbert was tearing up the minors so far this season. In 107 plate appearances, Cuthbert was hitting .333 with seven HRs and 28 RBIs. Hit hot bat seems to have carried over to the big leagues as he is hitting .313 with one HR and three RBIs in 16 at-bats.
Cuthbert was getting on base at a .402 clip and slugging..624 in the minors. He has never hit above .280 at any level until last month, so I would not expect a high average and he has never hit more than 12 HRs in a minor league season, so the power outburst is surprising. If his hot bat continues in the majors, he may be worth a temporary add, but I would not expect production better than Moustakas would provide.
Trayce Thompson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Thompson will be the right handed hitting half of the dodgers centerfield platoon for the foreseeable future. Joc Pederson is hitting well against righties and Thompson has held his own against lefties.
In 68 plate appearances, Thompson is hitting .277 with four HRs, 12 RBIs and 10 runs scored. His OBP is .309 and he is slugging .538. His current OBP is in line with his career number but his slugging is slightly elevated. Though he did slug .533 in 135 plate appearances for the White Sox last season. Thompson should be able to maintain similar rates this season. He will be a useful player in NL-only or deeper leagues as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Michael Fulmer, SP, Detroit Tigers
Fulmer is 2-1 with two decent starts and one bad start. Fulmer has a 9.6 K/9, but his BB/9 of 3.60 is less than desirable. With an ERA of 6.00, I would not look favorably on him if I saw his stat line in a trade or one the waiver wire.
Fulmer does have big strikeout potential but needs to get the walks in check. If owned him, I would pick the most favorable match ups to start him in.
Sean Manaea, SP, Oakland Athletics
Sean Manaea and his 11.38 ERA. What more do I need to say? He has only three major league starts, but he has given up a lot of runs. He has limited his walks in two starts but has not shown the strikeout stuff he had in the minors.
He is giving up 2.84 HR/9 and a 30.8 HR/FB. Those numbers are not a good sign for longevity. Opposing batters BABIP is currently sitting at .402, so he is getting extremely unlucky or he is leaving pitches out over the plate. Manaea has power stuff, but at this point I would not own him. If you do own him, I would pick weak hitting teams in pitchers parks or just sit him until he shows improvement.
Matt Andriese, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Andriese was called up after a dominant start in Triple-A where he struck out 14 batters. He then won his major league debut going seven innings and allowing one earned run on four hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.
In 34 Triple-A games this season, Andriese had 44 Ks and only seven walks. You can expect good control from Andriese as he has never had a BB/9 higher than 2.66 at any level in the minors. He will not blow hitters away, but he will work the corners and keep them off balance with his off-speed stuff. If he stays in the rotation, he could be worth an add in deep leagues.
Steven Matz, SP, New York Mets
After notching five wins in a row after an atrocious first start, Matz has hit a speed bump. Matz’s next start will be skipped due to elbow soreness. There is no MRI scheduled as of now but it is definitely a concern.
Matz currently owns a 2.86 ERA and was striking out slightly over a batter an inning. It would be a big loss to the Mets rotation as well as your Fantasy team if he landed on the DL. This could be a time to try and trade for him at a discounted price should his current owner panic. Although, you risk trading useable assets for a player who could be out for an extended period of time.
On The Farm
A.J. Reed, 1B, Houston Astros
A.J. Reed has been placed on the 7-day DL due to a hamstring strain. The Astros are not sure of the severity of the injury, but no injury is good news. Reed had six home runs with a .973 OPS through his first 27 games. The quicker he can get back on the field and back to hitting the better his chances are of being called up after the super two deadline.
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
In 49 plate appearances in April, Buxton struck out 49.0-percent of the time. That is not like Miguel Sano’s power potential, swing and miss strikeout percentage. That is an “I am overmatched and I’m drowning” type of strikeout percentage.
In Buxton’s 67 minor league at-bats since he was demoted, he is hitting a modest .299 with three HRs, seven RBIs and 13 runs scored. He has also cut his K% down to 23.3, which is much more manageable. He still needs time to develop and has been overmatched when he has reached the big leagues. I need to see a lot more before I add him.
Archie Bradley. SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Bradley threw 10.1 innings, allowed nine earned runs and walked more batters (seven), than he struck out (six). He was promptly sent back to Triple-A after his start.
Through five minor league games, Bradley had 34 strikeouts in 25.2 innings while walking 14. He allowed seven earned runs without giving up a homer. Bradley has always had a high BB/9 rate, but the 11.92 K/9 is encouraging. He will need to spend time in the minors working on his control. The fastball is great but he has shown that he can not simply throw fastballs past major league hitters. Keep an eye on the walks if they begin to decrease, Bradley could be headed back to the bigs.
Lucas Giolito, SP, Washington Nationals
Giolito, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, has seemed to struggle so far this season. He has done nothing to show he is ready for the call up to the majors. His starts have been good but not dominant. He has 21 Ks and 15 BBs in 24 innings. He has only allowed more than two runs in one game.
The lack of earned runs allowed is positive but the low strikeout numbers and high walk rate are not a good sign. He is going to need to show a lot more to be promoted to Triple-A, let alone the majors.
Julio Urias, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 7, 2016
Urias has been dominant so far this season. He has a 16 scoreless inning streak going and has only allowed five runs in 30 innings pitched this season. He has 33 strikeouts to six walks, which is outstanding.
Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said there has been some talk internally about Urias pitching out of the dodgers unsteady bullpen. Roberts did acknowledge that his future is as a starter, but pitching in relief may best help the team this season.
The Dodgers have been cautious with Urias since he joined the organization. It would not be a surprise if he pitched out of the bullpen to gain major league experience while limiting his innings this season. Time will tell, but he looks ready to make an impact.
Blake Snell, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
After two middling starts, Snell rebounded with a dominant start May 10. He struck out seven in 5.1 innings, allowing only one run on five hits and one walk. He stumbled a little after being sent down to the minors, but seems to have gotten back on track. As the super two deadline approaches, pay attention to Snell’s starts. If Matt Andriese should struggle, or another injury occurs, Snell could be the next man up.
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