Over the past few weeks there have been a number of rookies who have made their season debut. There seems to be a new one promoted everyday. Most of the time rookies struggle at the major league level and usually do not have an immediate fantasy impact. I’m going to take a look at some of the recently promoted rookies and tell you which ones could improve your team. Because there are far too many rookies I will limit it to those who have recently been called up. They are ranked in order from best to worst as to who would be the best pickups.
1. Juan Nicasio (COL) SP- In his major league debut last week he shut out a very good Cardinals lineup for 7 innings. He doesn’t give up a whole lot of runs and should always have a pretty good ERA. He also strikes out a good numbers of hitters and is almost a K per inning guy. The strikeouts will take some time at the major league level so don’t expect a whole lot from him right now. He has a lot of upside and is expected to be a good pitcher. Right now he is fighting to stay in the rotation, but I believe his performance will keep him there, especially over Clayton Mortensen. He gives the Rockies their best chance to win right now, and they want to win right now. Either watch him or roll the dice and grab him right now as he may help your pitching staff out in every category. Think of him as another impact guy like Jhoulys Chacin was last year for them.
2. Dillon Gee (NYM) SP- 5-0 with a 3.83 ERA so far this season. The first thing that should jump out at you is the slightly high 3.83 ERA. He has received a nice number of run support so far and only has 3 quality starts during those 5 wins. Regardless he is still pitching well for a rookie and worth adding. Don’t expect him to continue to be a win machine, and don’t expect him to keep an ERA in the 3’s either. Most of his value comes from his rising strikeout totals. He already has 3 starts with 5+ K’s to go with a decent ERA and some wins. That’s value, especially from a rookie. I do still warn that he has overachieved some and will come down.
3. Jordan Lyles (HOU) SP- Lyles almost made the rotation out of spring training so he has some upside. In his major league debut this past week he threw 7 innings with 1 ER and 4 K. He is major league ready and should stay with the team even when Wandy Rodriguez comes back. I expect him to be a good source of quality starts with a nice low 3 ERA. His strikeouts will be mediocre and he may struggle to find wins with that offense. Overall he is a nice add in a deep league and should be a decent consistent starter on your staff for the rest of the season. He is projected long term to be a good #2 or #3 starter.
4. Domonic Brown (PHI) OF- Just talked about him a few weeks ago on the Baseball America article I did. He seems to be producing right now and seems to be a spark plug in the lineup when he’s in there. He is making things happen much like a Jose Reyes or Carl Crawford tends to do. He certainly has a promising future and i was highly impressed watching him play at Nats Park this past series. His fantasy problem is playing time. Even with Victorino out he isn’t getting consistent playing time. If he becomes an everyday starter I say add him and make him your #3 or #4 outfielder. He should be fine the rest of the season and be a nice balance of average, power, and speed.
5. Josh Collmenter (ARI) SP- 3 of his starts this season have been quality starts. He had an impressive 41-27 record in the minors over the last 4 seasons and was well over a K per inning. So far his strikeout totals have not converted to the big leagues. He should be a decent option for quality starts as he consistently reaches the 6th inning. However, the Diamondbacks are overachieving, will eventually start to fall, and so will his stats. He’s good enough to ride while he is pitching well, but eventually he’s going to get hit. I don’t think he’s going to help you a whole lot in the wins and strikeouts categories.
6. Danny Duffy (KC) SP- As long as he stays in the rotation I expect him to be decent. He struggled to find consistency in his young career, but at times has shown flashes of brilliance. His minor league ERA was very miniscule and it should translate to a good major league ERA. He also has the ability to put up decent K’s. I expect him to improve more and more as the season progresses and to have a good rookie season. Wins may be hard to obtain though.
7. Brandon Crawford (SF) SS- Keep an eye on him. He is supposed to be a 5 tool player. He hasn’t played every single game since he’s come up, but he has played a good bit. He seems to be getting hits, already has a HR, and has already stolen a base. Long term he is a 15-20 HR guy with 15-20 SB potential. He can also hit for average. At a very thin SS position he may be worth a risk if your desperate. He could become more than a desperation pickup in the next few weeks.
8. Guillermo Moscoso (OAK) SP- 2 decent starts so far. Scouts weren’t sure if he would be a setup man or a #4-#5 starter in the majors. Either way that isn’t good news. Combine that with the 4 ER that the Orioles hit him up for in his last start and you don’t have a very good add. But at least he has a spot in the rotation and pitches in the best park for a pitcher to pitch in. That gives him some upside.
9. Tony Campana (CHC) OF- He seems to be playing everyday for the Cubs, and he has massive speed, so he may have value long term. He isn’t an elite hitter so it should take him awhile to get used to the majors, which means a low average. He is very quick though and already has 5 stolen bases, 4 coming in one game. He is a great bunter and will reach base via bunt hit a good bit. If he continues to play everday and your looking for a guy with no power at all who can steal a ton of bases then he’s actually worth looking it. Think of him as a cheaper Michael Bourn. The only problem is that Michael Bourn is already cheap himself.
10. Yunesky Maya (WAS) SP- Maya is Cuban defector so he isn’t really young. He seems to be a poor man’s Ricky Nolasco. His ERA will be a little elevated as he puts up decent K’s. He will show flashes of greatness at times and have some very good outings. He will also have some poor outings and be pretty inconsistent. His spot in the rotation will probably be in jeopardy once Tom Gorzelanny returns, plus he’s too hard to predict. With a little more seasoning he will be worth an add and a roster spot for some years to come.
11. Andy Dirks (DET) OF- He’s a decent source of average. He had some high averages in the minor leagues and is already hitting pretty good in the majors. He is only a 10-15 HR guy with little speed, so average is the only thing he will really help you in. But don’t expect his average to be very high as a rookie. I expect it to come down some.
12. Alex Cobb (TB) SP- High upside. Quality start in his last outing. 22 years old. A lot to like here. I expect a lot of growing pains this year though. Not a guy I would add right away, but definitely worth watching.
13. Blake Tekotte (SD) OF- The Padres centerfielder of the future has already showed plenty of growing pains. He did have one electric game against the Nationals last week though that may have been a preview of the future. For now i don’t think he’s the greatest pickup because he is going to struggle big time. Long term he should hit for average, with little power, and a decent 25-30 stolen base total. This season he won’t come close to any of that…except for the little power part….he will hit that on the nose.
14. Jordan Schafer (ATL) OF- We all remember watching this guy on opening night 2 years ago when he homered in his first at bat off of the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies. Schafer has since been quoted to say that was the worst thing that could have ever happened to him. He believes that he tried to be something that he wasn’t from that point forward. For now Schafer will continue to struggle offensively, especially against lefties, until he becomes a decent source of hits and steals. He’s only a good waiver wire guy while streaking.
15. Andy Oliver (DET) SP- Pretty good pitching prospect, but he was only up for a spot start because of a doubleheader. He did throw a quality start in his first outing so keep an eye on him when he comes back up again later this year. With Phil Coke being Phil Coke he has potential to be back and make an impact this year.
16. Clayton Mortensen (COL) SP- He really didn’t have much success at the minor league level. He does have a few quality starts already at the major league level, but he’s also been inconsistent and hit around a little. He isn’t a dominant pitcher and won’t get you many K’s. He also won’t get you many wins with his inconsistency, and his ERA will be a little high. I expect him to find more consistency eventually if he stays at the major league level, but I think hes either sent to the bullpen or back down eventually.
17. Ryan Adams (BAL) 2B- For now he’s playing a little bit because Brian Roberts is out. He doesn’t start enough even now to be worthy of a fantasy roster spot. Long term he projects to hit for average (.280+) with limited power and speed. Which means in most standard leagues he will only benefit your average. But not this year.
18. Chad Reineke (CIN) SP- He’s in the rotation for the injured Homer Bailey, but I don’t think it will be for long. I’m actually surprised that they decided to use him as a starter because he has always been projected to be a major league reliever. It should only take another starter or two of him being hit hard for him to be sent back down while someone else gets the chance.