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Week 21 Rookie Report: Still Going Strong

2018 Week 21 Rookie Report: Still Going Strong
Elvis Kennedy

Hello Fantasy friends and foes. Welcome back to the SCFE Rookie Report.

Are you ready for your Fantasy playoffs? Are you happy with your roster? Now is the time to strengthen your roster. Knowing which rookie is being promoted or about to be promoted is a great way to get the advantage over your potential playoff opponents.

Just as MLB teams look to find out if their rookies are productive players, Fantasy owners can grab these players to help get them past their opponents including adding players for a category-specific advantage.

Who are the current rookies that can help your Fantasy team? Which prospects will be up in September? Find out here in my Week 21 Rookie Report.

Week 21 Rookie Report

In The Show

Willy Adames, 2B/SS. Rays

Willy Adames has been a rated prospect for four years, and lately, he has been living up to the hype. Adames has hit .386 with three homers, eight RBI, and 1.110 OPS, and stole four bases in his first 14 games this month.

Adames is currently showcasing his Fantasy value after having an up and down season until this month. He has been on the quick shuttle between Tampa Bay and Triple-A Durham. In his 64 games at Triple-A, he had a .286/.353/.412 slash with just four homers and three steals.

He has value in deep leagues or AL-only formats as your MI for his speed and if he continues to show pop in his bat, he becomes even more desirable.

Adam Plutko, SP, Indians

The Indians suffer another injury to their pitching staff with Trevor Bauer becoming the fifth pitcher on the Indians disabled list. Bauer was placed on the 10-day disabled list on August 12 with a small fracture in his right leg. The stint on the disabled list is the first of Bauer’s MLB career. To take his spot in the rotation, the Indians promoted right-hander Adam Plutko.

In 14 starts at Triple-A Columbus, Plutko is 7-3 with an International League-leading 1.70 ERA. Plutko has been on a pitching tear in Columbus. He allowed just two runs in 19.2 innings over his last four starts while making three scoreless appearances.

Plutko has split time this season between Columbus and with Cleveland Indians. With the Indians, he has been used as a starter and a reliever. In six starts, he is 4-2 with a 4.67 ERA. He posted a 5.14 ERA in three relief appearances. Across 41.2 innings this season, Plutko has allowed 22 earned runs while walking 11 batters and striking out 29, which translates to an ERA+ of 94.

Plutko will be in line for multiple starts with Bauer probably out for the remainder of the regular season. He is a worth a look in deeper formats especially as a nice streaming option for the AL Central Division-leading Cleveland Indians.

Taylor Ward, C, Angels

Taylor Ward, who is ranked the Angels’ No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, joined the Angels on Tuesday. He has emerged as an offensive force this season, batting .349 with a .977 OPS, 14 homers, and 60 RBI and even swiped 18 bases in 102 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

Ward, 24, was originally drafted as a catcher before making the transition to third base this season. In his MLB debut, Ward went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk.

In his first four MLB games, he is hitting .308/.400/.385 in 13 at-bats. Ward could be a sneaky pickup as your CI in a deeper league due to his hitting pedigree. Additionally, Ward might have catcher eligibility. IF so, please pick him up immediately.


On The Brink

Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., 3B, Blue Jays

Guerrero, baseball’s No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has flirted with having a .400 average this season with a high-water mark of .438 on May 25.

The Blue Jays promoted from Double-A to Triple-A in late July after hitting .402 with 14 homers and 60 RBI. In 16 games at Triple-A, he has continued his onslaught, hitting .345 with a 1.048 OPS,  .600 slugging percentage and four homers and seven RBI.

After turning 19 in March, he has been the youngest position player to see any significant time in Triple-A this season. Furthermore, he has walked more than he has struck out across his minor-league career. In addition, he also has an OPS has improved at every level from .808 rookie ball in Low A to the current 1.048 in his limited time at Triple-A.

With all of the hype, we still might not see Vlad Jr. in the majors this season. Still, you want to own him in all formats as the pressure mounts to promote him. Instead, let’s enjoy all of the highlights of that majestic power and hitting stroke.

Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox

Injuries have limited Eloy Jimenez to 91 games this season. After hitting .317 with 10 homers in 53 games with Double-A to start this season, he has actually increased his offensive onslaught after being promoted to Triple-A. In 38 games with Triple-A,  Jimenez has a .340 average, 1.016 OPS and has 11 homers, 10 doubles, and 26 RBI.

This hitting display has been outstanding, he has cemented his status as a top-three prospect in baseball and a future middle of the order masher for the White Sox. It would be awesome if he made his major league debut sooner rather than later.

Jimenez will eventually reach the point where the only way he can continue his progression is by playing at the big league level. Jimenez should get his opportunity with the White Sox by September. I hope you have been proactive and already have him on your roster(s).

Justus Sheffield, P, Yankees

General Manager Brian Cashman has confirmed that with the recent loss of CC Sabathia to the disabled list and Luis Cessa not pitching well the Yankees will call up Justus Sheffield this season. Sheffield hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since June 2 or given up a home run since June 22nd.

Sheffield has been outstanding with Triple-A Scranton. He has thrown 79 innings with a 2.16 ERA and a 23.4 % strikeout rate while being more than four years younger than the average International League player.

Every time a regular member of the Yankees rotation is forced to miss a start, the Justus Sheffield call-out begins immediately. Plain and simple, the Yankees don’t think he’s ready. The Yankees are concerned about Sheffield on a couple different fronts. Sheffield is walking too many batters (9.7%) and it’s taking him too many pitches to get into the middle innings. Sheffield is still learning to command his pitch arsenal, learning to become a more efficient pitcher so he can pitch deeper into games.

The most likely outcome for Sheffield this season is that the Yankees will utilize him as a September call-up. Like any other MLB teams, the Yankees are in need of more pitching depth. Sheffield could be a high-impact arm that could help the Yankees as they head into the postseason. Unfortunately, Sheffield will only be Fantasy-relevant for dynasty owners.

Looking for some more Fantasy Baseball help, take a look at what to do with your hitting, Week 20 Hitting Planner: Sorry For The Rain Delay. Who is making the latest baseball headlines, take a look here, Letting the Post-Trade Deadline Dust Settle.

Preparing for your Fantasy Football drafts, take a look at what happened in Week 1 of the preseason, Fantasy Football Week 1 Preseason Analysis: Andrew Luck Returns.

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