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Which First Year Players Should You Own?

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Which players, rookie or prospect, should you own for the rest of the season?

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Prospects and rookies might be the most intriguing players in fantasy baseball. You never know what you're going to get with them. They could live up to the hype, or they could completely flounder. At least with middle to low end players, you know the upside and downside when you take them, and the same can't be said for prospects. Which is why it can be a risk to take them.

Last year was a fun year for prospects. Maybe the best in recent memory. Almost all of them lived up to their hype. Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa were everything that people said they would be, and they both won the Rookie of the Year awards. Francisco Lindorand Kyle Schwarber also lived up to the hype. Lindor finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. Schwarber hit for a ton of power. Joc Pederson lived up to the power hype for a while, but after the All Star break he was dreadful.

Many owners are hoping that the first year players they took will live up to their upside. Today, I'm going to rank the prospects/rookies you should own for the rest of the year. I will be doing it 1-10, 1 being the best. Let's get started.

1. Corey Seager

Seager was the number one ranked prospect on MLB.com. He is also probably the favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year. It's for a reason, too. He profiles to be a power hitting shortstop who hits for average. His best season in the minors was in 2014, where he hit .349/.402/.602/1.004 with 20 home runs and 97 RBI. That would put him on the level of Correa and Tulo among offensive shortstops. Why WOULDN'T you want to own that? He also came up for a brief stint at the end of last season, and did not disappoint. He posted a .337/.425/.561/.986 slash line with 4 homers and 17 RBI. There isn't too much to say about him. As of now, he is struggling, hitting only .246/.303/.391/.694, but that won't last long. If healthy, he will be a top shortstop, and will finish as high as Top 5.

2. Nomar Mazara

Mazara is the second ranked outfielder on MLB.com. He also profiles as a power guy with decent average. Last year he hit .296/.366/.443/.808 with 14 home runs and 69 RBI between AA and AAA. Mazara was called up about two weeks ago, filling a need with Shin Soo Choo's injury. And, boy he hasn't disappointed. In 12 games, he is hitting .357/.396/.476/.872 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI. In his debut, he went 3-4 with a home run and an RBI. Okay, yes his numbers will go down. He won't have those god like numbers all season long. However, if he keeps performing with Choo out, he will have a permanent spot in the lineup. For that, he will be must own rest of season. Due to the fact we might not see many outfield prospects coming up, he will be at the top of the list for outfield rookies. As for outfielders, top 40 isn't out of the question. Also, he has one of the sweetest things in baseball, and why wouldn't you want to have that?

3. Tyler Glasnow

Glasnow is currently the 3rd ranked pitching prospect in baseball. Similarly to Giolito, he throws a mid to upper 90's fastball, with a good curveball and changeup. He has swing and miss stuff already, and should be ready to pitch in the big leagues soon. He's posted K/9 of 13.3, 11.4, and 11.2 throughout his career in the minors, and struck out 136 batters in 109.1 innings between A-, AA, and AAA in 2015. That also came with a 2.39 ERA. He is currently pitching at AAA Indianapolis, posting a 0-1 record, 3.60 ERA, 2.89 FIP, and 19 strikeouts to just 6 walks in 15 innings. Due to the fact that the Pirates rotation is worse than the Nats, they will need Glasnow sooner than the Nats will need Gioltio. That's why the race between top spot of rookie pitchers will be tight between these two, and another pitcher yet to be mentioned, because Glasnow will be up sooner. He will strikeout a ton of batters, maybe more than Giolito, which is why he is ranked so high.

4. Lucas Giolito

Giolito is currently the number 1 prospect in all of baseball. He has yet to make his debut, but I'm very excited for it. Giolito throws a mid to high 90's fastball, a power 12-6 curveball, and a pretty good changeup. He strikes out a good amount of batters, striking out 131 in 117.0 innings between A+ and AA last year. 2014 was the standout year, however. In A, he posted a 10-2 record, 2.20 ERA, 3.16 FIP, and 110 strikeouts in 98.0 innings. He is currently 0-1 with a 2.31 ERA and 9 strikeouts in 11.2 innings at AA Harrisburg. The only thing that looks a little off in the 8 walks he has issued, but I'm sure he may just be having early season control problems. Giolito profiles to be a high end starter in the majors, but it could be a little tough to project him for this season. We don't know exactly when we will see him, but it could be pretty soon. Look for Giolito to be atop the rookie pitcher rankings at the end of the season.

5. Julio Urias

Urias isn't even 20, and he is already at the top of the MLB.com prospects and close to the majors. Like the others, he can trow mid to upper 90's, with a great curveball and changeup. He is ranked as the top lefty because of this, and he already has great control of all his pitches, better than the other two. He also is only 19, which is one of the biggest factors to his ranking. Last year, at the age of 18, he posted a 3-5 record, 3.81 ERA, and 88 K's in 80.1 innings. The reason I rank him so high is the Dodgers rotation. After Kershaw, it's bad. Sure, Maeda has been great, and Ross Strippling has been pitching out of his mind. But Kazmir hasn't been good, and Strippling won't sustain it. He will be called up before the All Star break most likely, as he has been great in AAA Oklahoma City so far. He's actually been masterful. He is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 3.11 FIP, and 20(!!!!) strikeouts to 2(!!!) walks in 15 innings. Look for Urias to be among Glasnow and Giolito in the rookie pitcher rankings.

6. Byung-ho Park

This may seem weird, but hear me out. The 29 year old Korean star signed a 4 year, $12 million contract this offseason. In 2015, with the KBO's Nexen Heroes, Park was amazing. He hit .343/.436/.714/1.150 with 53 home runs and 146 RBI. He has premier power, which is why I put him so high on the list. But with what he has done so far, you may be skeptical. He is only hitting .233, but he is slugging .558 and his OPS is .885, so he is still showing that elite power. He has hit 4 home runs, driven in 5, and he has hit 2 doubles in 13 games. He is off to a slow start, despite his very good .326 ISO, but he still may have to acclimate to the game, and his power will be there all season. The park he plays in is ranked 17th for hitters parks, but that won't matter for Park. Look for him to be a good source of power, hitting at least 30.

7. Byron Buxton

You may be wondering why the number one ranked rookie according to MLB.com from 2013-2015 is so low. Well, it's because he has been dreadful. In 46 games last year, he hit .209/.250/.326/.576, hardly the numbers of the player he was supposed to be. Those numbers turned many people off of him, including me. And he hasn't helped himself so far this year, hitting .150/.209/.275/.484. It's possible that he could be sent down to AAA for a brief stint to fix some things, we saw that work with Rougned Odor last year. If that happens, and it helps Buxton, there's no doubt he would win AL Rookie of the Year with his upside. If he can fix what's wrong, and start hitting, he will be at the top with Corey Seager, but for now, he is this low because of his immense struggles.

8. Blake Snell

Snell is the second best left handed pitching prospect in baseball. He made his MLB debut on Saturday, and pitched well. He pitched 5 innings of 2 hit, 1 run baseball while striking out 6 and walking just 1 in a no decision. Snell throws his fastball anywhere from 92-96, his best swing and miss pitch is his slider, and he is working on his changeup. He broke out last year, starting the season throwing 46 scoreless innings. Between A+, AA, and AAA, he pitched to a 15-4 record, a minor league leading 1.41 ERA, he was 4th in the minors in strikeouts with 163 to 53 walks. One thing he needs to work on is his control, which he showed a glimpse of with two wild pitches on Saturday. If he can fix his control problems, he could be up there with Giolito, Glasnow, and Urias, and he could have a chance to win AL ROY.

9. Jose Berrios

If Berrios gets the call, he would probably be the Twins best pitcher. He sits at mid 90's with a plus curveball and good changeup. In 2014, between three levels, he pitched to a 2.77 ERA in 139.2 innings with 140 strikeouts to 38 walks. He was even better last year between AA and AAA, striking out 175 batters to just 38 in 166.1 innings. He has shown that he has elite strikeout stuff, which again he has shown this year in AAA Rochester striking out 20 in 17 innings. Like Glasnow, he may be called up sooner than the other due to the lackluster rotation of the Twins.

10. J.P. Crawford

Crawford is kind of like Francisco Lindor. He profiles to be one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, and hits for average with some pop. Crawford has great plate discipline, he walked more than he struck out in 2015 (63BB/54K). Crawford hit .288/.380/.414/.793 last year with 6 home runs and 42 RBI. His career high in home runs is 11, which is probably around his upside in that category. He is currently hitting .308/.427/.419/.846 in 16 games for AA Reading. He has always been a good on base guy, and could hit at the top of the order for the Phillies. He is so low because we don't know exactly when we will be up, but his upside is high.

Honorable Mentions: A.J. Reed, Joey Gallo, Trea Turner, Orlando Arcia, Steven Matz, and Robert Stephenson.