By virtue of early call ups or prior season experience, several rookies lose eligibility when the time comes to rank them in mid-season prospect lists. We know you’re left wondering where a Raimel Tapia would fit in, especially if you’re trying to gauge trade value when comparing other names on our FakeTeams Top 100 Fantasy Prospects list.
What follows are players with less than 100 IP and 250 AB that would rank in the top 100. While ultimately still arbitrary, those two marks are roughly half a season of work for a pitcher or hitter. Any more than that and they’re nearly full-time regulars and not worth ranking as prospects anymore.
Bradley Zimmer, OF (CLE) - Between 10th-15th overall
Zimmer surpassed his prospect eligibility early last week but is still well under 250 AB. In his time with the Indians, he’s put up a very solid .285/.339/.450 line with 5 HR and 9 SB. He’s more than holding his own and hasn’t looked absolutely lost. Coming into the season, Zimmer had very intriguing power/speed potential mitigated by strikeout and platoon concerns. His K% is 26%, still above the 21% league average, but it’s below the 30%+ people expected. His lefty splits are concerning, though. He has below a .670 OPS against southpaws. Overall, though, dynasty owners have to be pleased with the early returns.
Raimel Tapia, OF (COL) - Between 10th-15th overall
If you want to make an argument that Tapia is a hair better than Zimmer at this point in time, I’d accept your recency bias. Getting everyday AB with the Rockies, Tapia has been fantastic, slashing .323/.375/.490. He’s lacking a bit in the HR and SB department, but owners will take what they can get. Sticking true to his profile, he’s striking out at just a 20% clip. It’s hard to seriously ding him for much right now.
Julio Urias, SP (LAD) - Between 20th-25th overall
I cheated a little bit and snuck Urias here even though he has 100.1 IP. Urias opened the season with three solid starts before crashing hard, giving up 12 ER in 6.1 IP @COL & vs. MIA, leading to a demotion. To make matters worse, in late June it was announced he’d undergo shoulder surgery to repair his left anterior capsule. Other guys who have had that surgery include Johan Santana, Rich Harden and Mark Prior. It’s ominous, I know.
I see a couple of silver linings here though. Those guys had surgery at an older age. Urias had it at age 20. His career is anything but done. Shoulder surgeries are worrisome, but he’s got plenty of time to recover and should be pitching in late 2018 again. In addition, while arm surgeries that knock prospects out over a year are dangerous for development time, Urias is so ahead of the curve. Players his age are usually in A-ball. There is much he still needs to learn, but time is definitely on his side.
Ian Happ, OF (CHC) - Between 20th-25th overall
If you included his MLB stats, Happ would be tied for third overall in the minors with 22 HR on the season, 13 of them coming with the Cubs. In the bigs, he has an OPS of .870 with an ISO of .290, far surpassing expectations he’d set earlier in his minor league career when he looked like a mid-teens HR guy. This year his power has taken off and is racking up everyday AB with the team with strong results, albeit with a subpar 30% K%. We all wondered how the Cubs would ever find playing time for the 2015 first rounder and here we are.
Jeff Hoffman, SP (COL) - Between 30th-40th overall
Outside of one majestic implosion v. ARI, Jeff Hoffman has been pretty consistent, giving up 3 ER or less in seven of nine starts. His 4.00+ ERA is deceptive as he has a FIP under 3.50, which is very impressive for a rookie at Coors. He’s shown his best walk rates since 2015 in AA and averages 95 mph on his fastball, which would be 11th fastest if he qualified. He needs to continue working on his slider and curveball, but when he figures them out, he’ll be a legitimate ace*.
*Or what one would consider an ace in Coors Field.
Jacob Faria, SP (TB) - Between 40th-50th overall
Faria wasn’t highly ranked entering the season, but it’s time we adjust our expectations now that we’ve seen what he did in AAA and the majors. If we combine his stats across leagues this year, he has 97 IP, 121 Ks, 31 walks and a 2.69 ERA. He’s gone at least six innings in all of his MLB starts and finished the first half by outdueling Chris Sale and holding Boston scoreless (albeit with 4 BB to 2 Ks). Faria isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
German Marquez, SP (COL) - Between 70th-80th overall
Marquez hasn’t flashed brilliance like some of the other names, but he’s held his own. He had a nice stretch of starts in May where he gave up 4 ER in 24.2 IP, but he’s been average outside of that. On the season he has a 4.36 ERA (3.97 FIP) and is striking out and walking batters at league average rate. He averages a whopping 95.1 mph on his fastball and 92.7 mph on his slider, but it’s his curveball that scouts expect to be his best secondary pitch. However, despite the velocity he has a pedestrian 8.4% SwStr%. Overall, a solid #4 SP with potential for a bit more.