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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Week 12 Highlights

With Yoshinobu Yamamoto hitting the IL with a triceps injury, it looks like the National League Rookie of the Year race will come down to Shota Imanaga and Paul Skenes. It should be a fascinating race to the finish with both pitchers putting up stellar performances for fantasy baseball week after week. With both players so close in terms of stats, betting odds, and overall appeal, this could be the closest Rookie of the Year race since Ryan Braun (128 votes) edged out Troy Tulowitzki (126) in 2007.

This has certainly been the year of the rookie pitchers in real life and in fantasy baseball. While many hitters have struggled with their performance this year, both leagues look to have pitchers who will take home the best rookie award in 2024.

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)

  • .222/.276/.354, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 8 SB, 25 R

The past week has been much better at the plate for Chourio after a long struggle. He hit .364/.482/.546 with a home run, a steal, and four runs driven in. Hopefully, this is the start of some sustained success for the prized rookie.

David Hamilton (SS, Boston Red Sox)

  • .281/.331/.444, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 14 SB, 22 R

You want an absolute long shot for American League Rookie of the Year? How about David Hamilton who is providing average, speed, power, and runs in the top half of the Boston Red Sox lineup. He might end the year with 40 steals after starting the season in the minors. Right now he is +7500 to win Rookie of the Year but Luis Gil would need to fall way off.

Otto Lopez (2B, Miami Marlins)

  • .276/.306/.397, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 5 SB, 13 R

Otto Lopez has hit the rookie wall in June, hitting .226/.242/.258 with no home runs and just three runs batted in. He lost almost 20 points off his average over the last week and has not hit a home run since May 13. The bigger problem, however, is just one steal all month. We need that aspect of his game to get going as fantasy managers.

Michael Busch (1B, Chicago Cubs)

  • .254/.348/.437, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 1 SB, 30 R

Michael Busch has his fly ball rate up to 48% now and his barrel rate is approaching 13%. With those two things combined plus a 12.5% walk rate, we may start to see more of those home runs come in bunches like he showed us in May.

Joey Ortiz (3B, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .282/.382/.475, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 3 SB, 25 R

Joey Ortiz leads all qualified rookies in OPS, almost 30 points better than Wilyer Abreu. He also has 21 extra-base hits and 29 walks to complement his solid speed and defense. Among non-pitchers, Ortiz has the highest implied odds of winning National League Rookie of the Year (+1100).

Colton Cowser (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .234/.326/.442, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 5 SB, 28 R

The last Orioles prospect left standing this year, Colton Cowser continues to play well enough to get regular starts, but his power needs to start heating up. He has one home run and one double this month and has driven in only four. Austin Hays is starting to creep in on his playing time, so that’s something to watch with Cowser.

Wenceel Pérez (OF, Detroit Tigers)

  • .260/.318/.398, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 5 SB, 27 R

Wenceel Perez has hit first or third in five of the Detroit Tigers’ last seven games, signaling that they trust his bat near the top of the order to either get on base or create runs. It appears he will drop down to seventh anytime they face a left-handed pitcher, although he has hit .302/.348/.442 against lefties this season. If that production continues, Perez could see himself at the top of the order just about every day.

Jackson Merrill (SS/OF, San Diego Padres)

  • .282/.317/.312, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 9 SB, 30 R

Jackson Merrill had a huge last eight days, hitting .385/.407/.962 with four home runs, six RBI, and a steal. His power finally returned which had eluded him since the first month of the season. Over the last week, Merrill has been the eighth-most valuable hitter in fantasy baseball.

Wilyer Abreu (OF, Boston Red Sox)

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

Wilyer Abreu has been on the IL for 12 days with a sprained ankle suffered from slipping on dugout steps. He believes his return is near, however, and he should get back right where he left off with an elite combination of on-base ability, speed, and power.

Masyn Winn (SS, St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .294/.339/.417, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 8 SB, 23 R

Masyn Winn got a day off from playing shortstop on Sunday after hitting just .242/.265/.333 over his last eight games. He has one home run and one steal in June, and after an 0-for-5 day on Sunday, his slump is something to watch. He has been a fixture at leadoff for the Cardinals, but the rookie wall may have arrived.

Wyatt Langford (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .243/.302/.324, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 6 SB, 18 R

Wyatt Langford finally had a good week at the dish, hitting .360/.407/.520 over his last seven games with six RBI and an amazing five steals. Those steals are making up for the lack of home runs this year. Langford still has yet to hit one out of the park, with his only home run coming on a fluke missed play that resulted in an inside-the-park home run.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Pitchers

Jared Jones (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 14 Starts, 79.0 IP, 4 W, 3.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 85 Ks

Jared Jones’ last start was a disaster for Pittsburgh (4.2 innings, six earned runs, and four walks) but he only allowed one home run and it’s just the second time all season he has allowed more than three earned runs. As he inches closer to the 100-inning mark, we will need to watch his velocity and performance. He has never pitched more than 126 innings on any professional level.

Shota Imanaga (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 13 Starts, 76.0 IP, 7 W, 1.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 78 Ks

This tweet sums it up for Shota Imanaga’s season after he shut out the Cardinals across seven innings on Saturday afternoon:

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • 14 Starts, 74.o IP, 6 W, 2.92 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 84 Ks

Yoshinobu Yamamoto left his last start after just two innings and now he has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff. Expect Yamamoto to miss an extended period of time as the Dodgers look to protect their 12-year, $325 million star pitcher. The Dodgers have said it’s not season-ending. We will see.

Mason Miller (RP, Oakland Athletics)

  • 12 Saves, 31.2 IP, 1 W, 2.27 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 56 Ks

Let’s play a game called “Does Mason Miller Have a Save in the Month of June?” The answer is yes, he does, but just one. His pitching has still been elite, but the Oakland Athletics remembered they are the Oakland Athletics and are simply not giving him any save chances lately.

Paul Skenes (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 6 Starts, 33.1 IP, 3 W, 2.43 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 46 Ks

After a five-inning, three-run mini hiccup on June 5, Paul Skenes was back to elite status in his next start, throwing 6.1 innings of shutout ball with eight strikeouts. That’s now five of six starts with at least seven strikeouts and he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of them.

Simeon Woods Richardson (SP, Minnesota Twins)

  • 11 Starts, 54.2 IP, 2 W, 3.29 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 46 Ks

Although he continues to pitch well, the wins still can’t find Simeon Woods Richardson. Woods Richardson now has a groundball rate over 40% and has dropped his home run per fly ball rate to just 8.6%. He isn’t getting much help in the run support department, but wins should come at some point.

Luis Gil (SP, New York Yankees)

  • 14 Starts, 80.0 IP, 9 W, 2.03 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 96 Ks

Luis Gil has now pulled ahead of Tanner Houck and Corbin Burnes for the AL lead in ERA at 2.03. In addition, only Jack Flaherty and Garrett Crochet have more than Gil’s 10.8 K/9 in the American League this season. There’s just a couple of reasons right there why he is a -185 favorite to win Rookie of the Year.

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.

Coby Mayo (3B, Baltimore Orioles) – The Baltimore Orioles have been very aggressive in bringing up their young prospects. Some, like Colton Cowser, have worked out. Many others have not. Coby Mayo is the latest name in the Orioles’ system who is absolutely raking right now. He jumped from High-A ball to AAA this year and so far is hitting .291/.359/.605 with 13 home runs in 42 games for Norfolk. If Ramon Urias starts to slump at the plate, we could see Mayo come up and take over third base sometime near the halfway point of the season.

Max Meyer (SP, Miami Marlins) – The Miami Marlins are absolutely ravaged by injuries right now. Sandy Alcantara, Eury Perez, Edward Cabrera, and Sixto Sanchez are all starters on the IL. Braxton Garrett recently came off the IL and Ryan Weathers was the latest name added. Manager Skip Schumaker recently told the press that Max Meyer would be back in the big leagues soon. That could be this week or anytime in the next month. Meyer was excellent in his three-start stint earlier in the season. He had two wins in his three starts with a 2.12 ERA. If went down and refined his swing-and-miss stuff in AAA, he might be even more unhittable.

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