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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Week 11 Highlights

We are reaching the point of the fantasy baseball season where some teams realize what their fates will be, so they are starting to see what they have in prospects. As you will see in the “Who’s Next?” section, two of the worst teams in the majors are bringing up top prospects so they can get half a year of MLB experience.

Other teams like the Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds have been struck by injuries and setbacks and are bringing up prospects just to fill holes until their regulars are ready to go. In both situations, fantasy managers are getting long glimpses of players who could have massive fantasy implications. We should be paying attention to all of them.

This weekly piece will track some of the notable performances from rookies during the 2024 season with an eye toward actionable advice for each one. In dynasty and keeper formats, most of these players will be long gone, but in seasonal leagues, is it worth clogging up a roster spot with a rookie? Diving into their performance this season will hopefully help us look into a little bit of their future.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Hitters

Jackson Chourio (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .217/.257/.344, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 7 SB, 23 R

Despite getting his first home run in more than six weeks, it’s hit rock bottom for Jackson Chourio. Out of 24 qualified rookie hitters this year, his .601 OPS ranks 20th with only backups and light-hitting middle infielders behind him. As a result, he’s starting to get more days off. Chourio hasn’t started in seven of Milwaukee’s last 15 games.

David Hamilton (SS, Boston Red Sox)

  • .282/.339/.436, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 13 SB, 19 R

David Hamilton might be in the running for the biggest surprise rookie fantasy sensation with his high average, decent power, and basketfuls of steals. On Sunday, the Red Sox moved Hamilton up to sixth in their batting order for just the second time and that could signal more plate appearances for the talented shortstop.

Otto Lopez (2B, Miami Marlins)

  • .295/.324/.421, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 4 SB, 11 R

Only Masyn Winn has a better batting average among qualified rookies than Otto Lopez heading into Week 12 of the season. Lopez has given fantasy managers a little bit of everything and only his stint on the Paternity List the past few days could slow him down right now. Watch out for when he comes back because the #NewDad narrative will be firmly in play here.

Michael Busch (1B, Chicago Cubs)

  • .242/.341/.440, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB, 29 R

Michael Busch has certainly fared better than teammates Pete Crow-Armstrong and Matt Mervis in the rookie comparison game. Busch has at least shown glimpses of massive power, even if it does come with a hefty number of strikeouts. If your fantasy team can withstand the batting average, Busch has proved to be a nice source of home runs, runs, and RBI this season.

Joey Ortiz (3B, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .284/.379/.467, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 3 SB, 25 R

An interesting pattern has started to develop for Joey Ortiz over the last two weeks. Each time the Brewers have faced a left-hander, Ortiz has hit leadoff. He has four hits and four runs in those three games and overall had seven hits in his last five games before he ran into the Tarik Skubal buzz saw on Sunday afternoon.

Colton Cowser (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .233/.327/.428, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 4 SB, 26 R

With Connor Norby also off to a slow start since his debut a few days ago, it looks like Colton Cowser is going to remain the last rookie standing for Baltimore for some time. Cowser had a 2-for-5 day at the plate on Sunday and he really needed that because his average had fallen from .256 to .229 in about two weeks time.

Wenceel Pérez (OF, Detroit Tigers)

  • .252/.316/.413, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB, 24 R

Once the breakout rookie of the month of May, Wenceel Perez seems to have hit the rookie wall over the last 12 games. His batting average before that time was .295 but now sits at .252 because he has hit .133/.188/.222 in that time with no home runs and no steals. He is still leading off primarily, so hopefully the Tigers will let him work his way out of this slump.

Jackson Merrill (SS/OF, San Diego Padres)

  • .272/.309/.355, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 9 SB, 25 R

Jackson Merrill has kept the average up this season, but there has been zero power for a couple of months now. He has one home run in all of May and June, but has fortunately been running enough and has a high enough average to stay fantasy-relevant. Mostly because of a lack of other viable options, the Padres are putting Merrill out there in center field just about every day that they play.

Wilyer Abreu (OF, Boston Red Sox)

  • .272/.344/.485, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 7 SB, 26 R

A promising rookie season crashed onto the IL last week when Abreu suffered a sprained right ankle after slipping on dugout stairs. It’s enough to keep him out at least 10 days, but he should pick up his spot in right field and number two in the batting order as soon as he is back. Among AL rookies, Abreu’s .829 OPS ranks first overall.

Masyn Winn (SS, St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .306/.355/.435, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 8 SB, 22 R

If not for three unbelievable rookie pitchers in the NL, you would be looking at your NL Rookie of the Year frontrunner in Masyn Winn. As it stands now (+2500), Winn has a long way to go, but he has been the most productive overall rookie hitter in 2024. He’s given the Cardinals on-base skills, speed, timely hitting, and solid shortstop defense all year long.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Pitchers

Jared Jones (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 13 Starts, 74.1 IP, 4 W, 3.27 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 79 Ks

Lost in all the Paul Skenes conversation is the fact that Jared Jones just keeps mowing people down and putting up strong start after strong start. He is somehow an afterthought in the NL Rookie of the Year race (+3000), but he has given up more than three earned runs just once in his 13 starts this season.

Shota Imanaga (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 12 Starts, 69.0 IP, 6 W, 1.96 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 72 Ks

Imanaga turned in another fabulous performance on Sunday afternoon, shutting down the Reds by allowing just two earned runs in 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts. Imanaga (+135) is right now a large favorite over Yoshinobu Yamamoto (+340) for NL Rookie of the Year, but I see this as a complete toss-up between those two and Paul Skenes right now.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • 13 Starts, 72.o IP, 6 W, 3.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 83 Ks

If we take away the Opening Series one-inning debacle in South Korea on March 21, Yamamoto would have a 2.41 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 71 innings pitched. Since that time, he has allowed a .214 opponents’ batting average and just a .345 slugging percentage against.

Mason Miller (RP, Oakland Athletics)

  • 12 Saves, 28.2 IP, 1 W, 1.96 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 54 Ks

The Athletics are back to their losing ways and it’s been the only way to slow down Mason Miller in 2024. He is now up to almost two strikeouts per inning on the season and is in the top 10 in saves on the season. What’s even scarier is his expected ERA or xERA (1.47) is better than his real number, so Miller could get even better over the next three months.

Paul Skenes (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 5 Starts, 27.0 IP, 3 W, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 38 Ks

Paul Skenes now has just one game in his five starts where he has fewer than seven strikeouts and we saw him sit down Shohei Ohtani on Saturday with 101 mile-per-hour straight gas (before Ohtani got him back later in the game). He has been prone to a few long balls this season, but with a 12.7 K/9 ratio and 50% groundball rate, Paul Skenes should continue to dominate the rest of the season.

Simeon Woods Richardson (SP, Minnesota Twins)

  • 10 Starts, 50.2 IP, 2 W, 2.84 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 42 Ks

It’s time to start taking Simeon Woods Richardson seriously after posting a 2.84 ERA in his first 10 starts of 2024. He may not be an overpowering strikeout machine like many of the other rookie pitchers on this list, but he allows very few hard-hit balls (36.8%) and induces 41% of his batted balls into groundballs. There might be some small BABIP luck here with a .265 number, but he doesn’t walk anyone, which has helped keep the runs down so far.

Luis Gil (SP, New York Yankees)

  • 13 Starts, 75.0 IP, 8 W, 2.04 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 90 Ks

Even after a rocky start against the Dodgers on Sunday night, Luis Gil is a massive favorite to be the AL Rookie of the Year (-135) after the last three weeks. He was unhittable for long stretches and is now third in the AL with his 2.04 ERA. He is also third in his league in strikeouts per nine innings.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Who’s Next?

This section will look at any noteworthy rookies who have just debuted, are on the verge of debuting, or might be on their way up soon, and whether they are worth the roster position on your fantasy squads.

Adael Amador (2B, Colorado Rockies) – With Brendan Rodgers going on the IL this weekend, the Colorado Rockies called up Adael Amador straight from Double-A to make his debut on Sunday. He was able to collect a hit and a stolen base in that game and should man the position until at least Rodgers comes back. Amador has massive speed and on-base ability as evidenced by his 22 steals and .337 OBP (.194 batting average) in AA this season. Signed at age 16 from the Dominican Republic, Amador is now just 21 years old and has plenty of room to grow, but is getting a shot now as the top prospect in the Rockies system.

Drew Thorpe (SP, Chicago White Sox) – Drew Thorpe has been traded twice in the past two years for MLB stars. The San Diego Padres acquired him in the Juan Soto trade and then proceeded to trade him to the White Sox in the Dylan Cease move prior to 2024. Thorpe is the number seven prospect in the White Sox system this year, but now has also been called up straight from Double-A to start against the Mariners on Tuesday night. Thorpe has massive strikeout potential (he’s over 10 K/9 in the minor leagues), and has a 1.35 ERA in 11 starts this season. The matchup against the free-swinging Mariners is a nice first landing spot for Thorpe.

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