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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Week 13 Highlights

Patience is the name of the game with Major League Baseball rookies, especially in fantasy baseball. Wyatt Langford, who had a fast track to MLB and was thought to be a no-doubt impact player, took almost three months to finally start hitting the way many thought he would in 2024. Other top prospects like Jackson Chourio and Jackson Holliday (demoted after a slow start) are still in search of that elusive hot streak that can guarantee playing time and a spot on the big league club.

Pitchers have far outpaced hitters this year in terms of impact based on draft position. But that doesn’t mean several rookie hitters can’t have an impact down the stretch for fantasy squads. If the skills and plate discipline are there, patience is a virtue. Better performances are yet to come. If a player is showing no signs of developing or improving, rookies might need to be the ones that clear space on our rosters for other players.

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)

  • .223/.272/.351, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 8 SB, 27 R

It’s time to sound the red alarm on Jackson Chourio and start a watch that might get him sent back to AAA. In the last week, Chourio was 3-for-17 (.176) with no home runs, no steals, and just two runs. He is starting to lose playing time to Jake Bauers and Sal Frelick a couple of times a week. If that doesn’t help, a trip back down to the minors might be in order.

David Hamilton (SS, Boston Red Sox)

  • .285/.333/.427, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 21 SB, 27 R

After an injury scare earlier in the week, David Hamilton jumped right back into his productive rookie season. I should say he ran right back into his productive rookie season because that’s exactly what he has been doing almost every game. In addition to keeping a high average and scoring runs, Hamilton stole seven bases, including four in one game. He is now on pace to get over 40 this season despite not being on the Opening Day roster. Hamilton might be one of our next great base stealers in fantasy.

Otto Lopez (2B, Miami Marlins)

  • .243/.276/.346, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB, 15 R

It’s rookie wall time for Otto Lopez. After busting out of the gate in his first few weeks, Lopez has come crashing down hard. In his last two weeks, Lopez is hitting .128 with no home runs, one RBI, and one steal. Miami is still running him out there in the seventh or eighth spot every day as they are clearly committed to getting their young guys some major playing time.

Michael Busch (1B, Chicago Cubs)

  • .260/.355/.456, 9 HR, 26 RBI, 1 SB, 34 R

Michael Busch was inserted as the number two hitter for the Cubs in three of his last four games, as the team tries to shake things up on offense. Seiya Suzuki moved down in the order. It has done some good this week for Busch as he has a .333 average with a home run and three RBI since the change happened.

Joey Ortiz (3B, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .277/.381/.448, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 4 SB, 31 R

Joey Ortiz continues to lead all rookies in OPS for 2024, including 10 points better than Wilyer Abreu. Joey Ortiz has turned into pure gold in on-base percentage leagues as his 34 walks this year have resulted in a .383 on-base rate.

Colton Cowser (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .225/.318/.422, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 5 SB, 28 R

With prospect Heston Kjerstad rumored to be getting another call-up to the roster in Baltimore this week, could Colton Cowser be the short straw that gets sent back down? After a strong first couple of months to the season, Cowser is hitting just .206 over the last two weeks with just two runs and five RBI.

Wenceel Pérez (OF, Detroit Tigers)

  • .264/.320/.403, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 6 SB, 28 R

Wenceel Perez had a masterful game on Sunday (two doubles, a run, a walk, and an RBI) which follows a trend of his starting to heat up lately. In the last two weeks he is hitting .277 and remains a danger on the basepaths with a few steals in that time. The power and run production have not been there much of the last month, but Perez has still been in the starting lineup in 12 of the last 13 games as the Tigers are committed to everyday playing time for him.

Jackson Merrill (SS/OF, San Diego Padres)

  • .289/.326/.445, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 9 SB, 34 R

It’s hard to describe just how hot Jackson Merrill is right now. In the past two weeks, he is hitting .370 with seven home runs and 12 RBI. Any struggles he was facing in early June are long since gone and he is turning into one of the better young shortstop hitters in the game. His reward for being a top-25 hitter in fantasy baseball over more than a week? He has finally been moved up fifth in the Brewers’ order in the last two games.

Wilyer Abreu (OF, Boston Red Sox)

  • .273/.344/.488, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 7 SB, 27 R

Wilyer Abreu was just activated off the injured list on Saturday (ankle sprain), and he was 1-for-3 in that game. He did not play Sunday and it seems the Red Sox will take a cautious approach to getting Abreu back into game action. He was a key piece of their surge into the Wild Card race, and they can not afford to lose him again.

Masyn Winn (SS, St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .299/.342/.436, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 8 SB, 31 R

It has been a fantastic week for Masyn Winn, as he hit .292 with a home run and seven runs to further solidify his spot at shortstop and at the top of the Cardinals’ batting order. Among all qualified rookies in the Majors this season, Winn’s .299 batting average is 10 points higher than any other rookie. Despite not being much of a power threat, Winn is also fifth in slugging percentage among his first-year peers.

Wyatt Langford (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .256/.311/.366, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 7 SB, 20 R

Wyatt Langford has finally arrived! Langford “only had an RBI double on Sunday, but in the past seven days, he is hitting .333 with two home runs, nine RBI, a steal, and a couple of runs. He finally broke the seal with his first home run out of the ballpark this past week and has been hitting the ball hard ever since. The buy-low window on Langford might be closing, so act soon if you want to acquire him for your roster.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Pitchers

Jared Jones (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 15 Starts, 86.0 IP, 5 W, 3.66 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 93 Ks

Wanting a little bit of the attention that Paul Skenes is getting this year, Jared Jones put up a masterful appearance on Saturday. He pitched seven innings, allowed two runs, six baserunners, and struck out eight in a win over the Rays. It was a strong bounce-back from allowing six earned runs in Colorado (which can happen to pitchers from time to time I hear). Jones has now crossed the 40% groundball threshold and is just a hair under 10 strikeouts per nine innings this season.

Shota Imanaga (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 14 Starts, 79.0 IP, 7 W, 2.96 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 81 Ks

Shota Imanaga imploded for 10 runs in three innings against the New York Mets on Friday, adding a full run to his ERA and bumping up his WHIP by 0.15 in one day. After that performance, Imanaga’s odds to win NL Rookie of the Year dropped all the way to +550 while Paul Skenes jumped to -175. Hopefully, this is just a hiccup for Imanaga, as he has been basically unhittable all year.

Drew Thorpe (SP, Chicago White Sox)

  • 3 Starts, 14.1 IP, 1 W, 5.02 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 9 Ks

It’s been a roller coaster first three starts for the former second-round pick from 2022 and top prospect for the Chicago White Sox. In his first start, he managed to hold the Mariners to just one earned run and four strikeouts in five innings. He then got lit up for eight runs in three innings against Arizona before shutting out Detroit for six innings on Saturday (with five strikeouts). There will be some ups and downs for the 23-year-old phenom, but his upside is worth having on your roster.

Mason Miller (RP, Oakland Athletics)

  • 14 Saves, 34.2 IP, 1 W, 2.08 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 60 Ks

Mason Miller was able to get back into the saves column with two of them over the last eight days. He continues to blow people away with his lightning fastball and wicked offspeed stuff. There have been talks about his trade value in Major League Baseball and how he would fare on several contending teams. However, considering how young he is and how much team control there still is left for Mason Miller, Oakland said they would have to be “blown away” by an offer to move him.

Paul Skenes (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 8 Starts, 46.1 IP, 4 W, 2.14 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 61 Ks

What more can we say about Paul Skenes that hasn’t been said already? He is a Kerry Wood and Strephen Strasburg level prospect who actually has the skills to be better than either of those guys. On his last pitch on Sunday afternoon (pitch number 98), Skenese dialed it up to 102 miles per hour to notch his eighth strikeout of the afternoon. Only six players have more strikeouts than Skenes in their first eight appearances in the Major Leagues.

Simeon Woods Richardson (SP, Minnesota Twins)

  • 12 Starts, 50.2 IP, 2 W, 3.26 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 52 Ks

Simeon Woods Richardson just can’t catch a break in the wins department this season. Despite allowing just two runs to the Rays over six innings (with six strikeouts) on June 20th, Woods Richardson failed to record a win again. Since April 14th, he has just one win despite his 3.26 ERA.

Luis Gil (SP, New York Yankees)

  • 15 Starts, 81.1 IP, 9 W, 2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 97 Ks

Luis Gil is human after all, it would appear. In his start against the Baltimore Orioles on June 20th, he allowed seven earned runs in just 1.1 innings, only striking out one batter. He still has allowed more than three earned runs just twice this season and the horrific start only brought his ERA to 2.77 on the year. Guys like Wyatt Langford and Mason Miller are still longshots, so Luis Gil maintains the pole position for AL Rookie of the Year (odds of -120).

*If Yoshi Yamamoto comes back from his injury this season, he will be added back onto the pitcher list for regular updates.

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.

Orelvis Martinez (2B, Toronto Blue Jays) – This story is going to go a little bit different than other top prospects who get called up to their team. On Friday, the Blue Jays promoted their top hitting prospect, Orelvis Martinez, to the Major Leagues. He got one hit in three plate appearances and looked to be in line for more playing time going forward. But then on Sunday, he was popped with an 80-game suspension for taking PEDs. Just like that his 2024 season is basically over. He will emerge in 2025 as a player to watch (71st-best prospect in baseball), but he will be a zero for the rest of this year.

Ben Rice (1B, New York Yankees) – With Anthony Rizzo on the IL, the Yankees needed a first base option and now a backup at DH with Giancarlo Stanton also joining Rizzo on the IL. Rice was 2-for-3 on Sunday, raising his average to .295 through his first six games. He has started five of the six games since he was called up and looks to be a lineup mainstay for some time. Rice is on on-base machine (he was at .440 in AAA this year) with just enough pop and speed on the basepaths to be relevant in fantasy baseball. If you play in an OBP league, Rice is a priority waiver right now.

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  1. Babbo B says

    Abreu did not START on Sunday against a LHP because he usually doesn’t, but he PLAYED by entering as a pinch-hitter against a righty reliever (like he often does) and then staying in the field, going 0-for-2.

    1. Ryan Kirksey says

      You’re right, thanks for the clarification there!

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