We were spoiled last season with the rookies who emerged on the fantasy landscape.
The seasons Correa, Lindor, Kang, Bryant, Pederson, and Sano put together, created a measuring stick for all the rookie debuts to come.
Even with our acknowledgment that this rookie class wouldn't be as elite as last years, we have the right to be mildly disappointed so far.
Sure Trevor Story has been great, but one of the most valuable rookie pitchers has been Daniel Mengden, an arm that I doubt many knew the name of prior to the start of the season.
We're still bitter from the debuts of Jose Berrios and Julio Urias. Blake Snell's recent run has showcased his control issues, and Trea Turner looked good, but the Nationals seem to be fine holding him AAA. Add to that A.J. Reed's 1-for-17 debut and you can't blame skeptical owners who are just done with these mid season call-ups for the time being.
But being a prospect hound myself, I rarely become discouraged by underwhelming debuts. I still have a ton of faith in the power of A.J. Reed, am decently excited for Jose Berrios's return, but am mainly waiting for two names to emerge.
Hunter Renfroe and the hotter commodity, Aaron Judge.
I'm sure most of you savvy fantasy owners have read an article or two on judge, so I'll be short and sweet.
It's time to stash him.
The 6'7", 230 pound monster has 9 home runs in the month of June and cut his strikeout rate by 5% when compared to last season. The power is elite, and should already be in a Yankee outfield that is a fly ball away from a 15 day DL stint.
Renfroe you probably know a little bit less about. The sneaky Padres prospect with more home runs than the previously mentioned Judge, profiles as a high average bat that strikes out less than 20% of the time. Like last week's buy, Steven Moya, Renfroe doesn't walk a lot, which makes him a more appealing asset for Roto leagues, but still very addable everywhere upon arrival in San Diego.
He stands slightly open in the box, with a stance and swing path reminds me a lot of Angel's first basemen C.J. Cron with more fluid hands. A canny ability to go the other way with outside pitches, like this opposite field home run, makes me think his hit tool should translate to the majors well. Despite perceptions, the Padres offense is actually right around league average, and better against lefties, so counting stats won't be a huge concern.
I wouldn't stash Judge over him, but don't have a problem holding Renfroe if somebody already nabbed the Yank's young asset. Let's hope for an uptick in rookie performance, starting with these two.
Who was that writer telling you to add Pineda?
Michael Pineda - He should be owned in all leagues. With how disappointing pitching has been all season, it still surprises me how tentative owners were with Pineda as his peripherals jump to the near-elite level in the middle of June. Whether this is a flash in the pan or a clear turn around from his horrible April, hopefully you'll find out with him on your team and not on a fellow owner's roster. He has 49 Ks over 36 innings, a 5.5:1 strikeout to walk ratio, and a 2.75 ERA in June. What more do you want?! I think he has finally graduated from this column with his ownership near 56% in ESPN leagues and 70% in Yahoo leagues.
Matt Moore - There seems to be periods of time with Matt Moore where he storms onto our radars only to quietly fade back to fringe ownership. The consistency we seek with the former top prospect has just not come this season. He has been much better at home, a lefty version of '15 Julio Teheran, but otherwise there are no real tells as to when he'll have a productive 7+ IP start or a game where he gives up a few too many home runs. While I have an odd feeling 2017 could be his season, I think unless something changes post All-Star break, I will remain lukewarm on him for the time being. (18% owned ESPN, 22% owned Yahoo)
CC Sabathia - It's funny how it only takes one bad start from a 35 year old arm for everybody to jump ship. The reality is that you really just can't trust him game-to-game. Even while his reemergence was notable in the last few months, he still maintained a WHIP north of 1.25 which spelled disaster. Add to that his lackluster strikeout numbers and these last two starts of his are probably more of the norm moving forward. (35% owned ESPN, 41% owned Yahoo)
A.J. Griffin - The Texas Rangers are one of the best teams in baseball, there's no doubting that. But every team has a flaw and without Yu Darvish in that rotation, I've always been worried about how they'll matchup with a team in a seven game postseason set. Griffin has been a relatively valuable asset when actually on the mound. After missing just under two months with a shoulder injury, Griffin has posted two great games versus the Red Sox and Yankees. If he can get through six innings consistently, and stay in the ballpark of a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio, I can see him being worth a flier, especially if you're trying to vulture wins. (28% owned ESPN, 33% owned Yahoo)
Anthony DeSclafani - A common pick for a breakout season in Spring Training, DeSclafani has been fantastic in his last three starts. Eclipsing 6.2 innings in each with a combined 19:2 strikeout to walk ratio is a flash of how talented he is. The wins will be an issue on one of the leagues worst teams, but with Iglesias in the bullpen for the time being, DeSclafani is a nice option in all leagues moving forward. If his Wednesday start against the Cubs turns out well, that'll be three great starts agains the Ranges, Nationals, and Cubs. Not many pitchers can say they've succeeded against those three, and 2/3 won't be bad either. (35% owned ESPN, 46% owned Yahoo)
Trevor Rosenthal - While his baserunners allowed stats this year have been terrible, he still only blew three saves in 17 chances. Sure Matheny has removed him from the role, but with Siegrist now on the DL and Seung Hwan Oh looking pretty mediocre in two chances under more pressure, it's not impossible that he gets this job back. We'd need to get lucky and have Oh blow a save or two and not be available for the next days save situation, forcing Matheny to turn to Rosenthal over journeyman Jonathan Broxton. If you're desperate for saves, he might be the option with the highest upside that is on some waiver wires. (69% owned ESPN, 80% owned Yahoo)
Jose Reyes - A reunion with the Mets was just too good of a fit. It looks like he'll play a few more games at AA before slotting in at third base and taking Wilmer Flores's job. That means I would look to add him by Tuesday at the latest if I needed some middle infield help. Off the field, it is tough to respect him after what he did, but on the field he will likely be a valuable fantasy asset. He was raking with AAA Albuquerque, looks ok with Binghamton, and will be needed in a bad lineup. (13% owned ESPN, 35% owned)
Joe Panik - If you need it, here is some more middle infield help currently on the 7-day DL with a concussion. Even though these things tend to linger, prior to being hit in the head with a pitch, Panik was finally turning it on. I think he's worth a shot in 12 teamers, but anything shallower I would hold off until he looks back to normal post DL stint. His BABIP has been severely low all season, and we shouldn't be surprised if a second half turnaround is in order. (65% owned ESPN, 41% owned Yahoo)
Max Kepler - The German is a very 'toolsy' outfielder that the Twins seem to love in right field. While I don't see him busting out with a potential 15/15 run the rest of the way, something around 8/12 or 10/15 power speed comb isn't impossible if the Twins intend on RF being his job to lose. His value comes from defense and speed, yet only one of those translates to fantasy value, so he's limited for the time being, but a hot bat at the moment. I own him in one 12 teamer and have been pleased with his production so far. (4% owned ESPN, 8% owned Yahoo)
Mark Teixeira - I actually think Tex has been healthy in his last six games (shocking I know), and in that stretch, he shows you why he's still a valuable fantasy commodity. Power and more power, with little of anything else is his profile, and even with home runs up overall this year, there is always room if you're hurting at fist base. Two homers in his last six games, he'll still demolish the right field porch in Yankee Stadium, and his HR/FB% has been oddly low compared to his career. Add away! (20% owned in ESPN, 30% owned)
Brandon Nimmo - Simply put, he's a Mets prospect that I do not see a ton of fantasy value in. He has hit well in his first six big league games, the biggest of which was his first major league home run last night, but his minor league number show nothing too special in the way of power and speed. I can see some value in deep OBP leagues if he starts walking like he did in AAA, but there's really not much upside in my eyes, especially if pitchers expand the book on him like they did to Michael Conforto. (5% owned ESPN, 6% owned Yahoo)
Best of luck this weekend, sorry for posting this up later than my usual Friday release!
Hopefully you have some lingering questions, so feel free to tweet at me, @LanceBrozdow, and check out my site BigThreeSports.com.