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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Week 14 Highlights

Maybe the second time will be the charm for Heston Kjerstad, who was recalled by the Baltimore Orioles this week. Kjerstad failed miserably in his first stint with the big club (some would say because he didn’t get regular at-bats), but now is playing very well. This is often the case with top fantasy baseball rookies. They need to get that little taste, get the nerves out, and learn what it means to be a big-leaguer before they can be productive as a big-leaguer.

They all can’t be Paul Skenes, after all.

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)

  • .243/.289/.391, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 8 SB, 34 R

This was the week Jackson Chourio needed to get himself going and to give the Brewers some reason to keep him in the lineup. Chourio hit .429/.429/.810 with two homers and six RBI over the last week and did not strike out even one time. After a LONG struggle period, Chourio is finally back on track.

David Hamilton (SS, Boston Red Sox)

  • .268/.318/.427, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 21 SB, 28 R

Yikes. David Hamilton did homer this week, but otherwise hit .143 with a .143 OBP and did not steal a base. In fact, he has stolen just one base since June 19 and he is now way off the 50-steal pace he was tracking towards over the previous few weeks.

Heston Kjerstad (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .300/.432/.567, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 3 R

After hitting .143/.294/.143 with no home runs in his brief call-up in May, Heston Kjerstad got his second chance and isn’t letting it go to waste. He was hitting .417/.563/.1000 with two home runs and seven RBI in the five games leading up to Sunday night. Then he proceeded to get two more hits and an RBI. Kjerstad is, of course, somewhere in the middle of all of that, but this is much better showing this time around.

Michael Busch (1B, Chicago Cubs)

  • .258/.356/.446, 10 HR, 30 RBI, 1 SB, 35 R

Michael Busch has got to cut his strikeouts down to get any of that early-season power back. He struck out 43% of the time this week despite hitting .269/.367/.423. He should be able to get some of his power stroke back if he can get to the point where he can make consistent contact.

Joey Ortiz (3B, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .275/.380/.455, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 5 SB, 32 R

Joey Ortiz has been injured and hasn’t played the last three days, which is a shame because he was hitting .300/.364/.600 throughout the week before he got hurt. So far, Ortiz has not been put on the IL, but monitor this situation closely.

Colton Cowser (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .223/.309/.442, 12 HR, 34 RBI, 5 SB, 32 R

Three home runs over the last week for Colton Cowser have helped get him out of a slump that lasted multiple weeks and started some rumors he could get sent back down to AAA. Those rumors have likely disappeared after he slugged .750 over the last week.

Wenceel Pérez (OF, Detroit Tigers)

  • .264/.320/.396, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 6 SB, 31 R

Wenceel Perez continues to be a conundrum for fantasy managers this season. He is still hitting very well (.333/.379/.444 this week), but he is offering nothing in terms of home runs, steals, or RBI. He has become a singles and doubles hitter only and the sorry state of the Tigers offense is preventing him from driving in runs.

Jackson Merrill (SS/OF, San Diego Padres)

  • .294/.328/.464, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 9 SB, 39 R

After a scorching-hot week two weeks ago that was the best of his big league career, Jackson Merrill had “only” two home runs and seven RBI this week. He continues to be perhaps the best National League rookie hitter we have, and his odds to win National League Rookie of the Year (+340) are now second to only Paul Skenes.

Wilyer Abreu (OF, Boston Red Sox)

  • .272/.340/.471, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 7 SB, 30 R

This was a horrible week for Wilyer Abreu after he had been looking good after a return from injury. He had zero home runs, RBI, or steals and chipped in just one run while hitting .176/.222/.235 over the last seven days. He still played six games so he is getting the run from Boston, but it hasn’t been pretty.

Masyn Winn (SS, St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .286/.331/.414, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 8 SB, 32 R

And here’s another rookie who officially hit the wall this week. Masyn Winn struck out about 30% of the time which is unheard of for him this season. He also managed just a .120/.185/.160 slash line with home runs, RBI, or steals.

Wyatt Langford (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .260/.322/.390, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 7 SB, 25 R

Wyatt Langford followed up his best week of the season with six lackluster days where he hit just 4-for-21 with no power at all. Then Sunday night happened. Langford busted out of that slump with a 4-for-5 night which saw him hit for the cycle and drive in four runs. That puts his final tally for June at .309/.368/.526.

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

Jared Jones had his start skipped in favor of Martin Perez this week as the Pirates attempt to manage his workload for the rest of the season. They have stated they want him to pitch the whole year, but that it will require some breaks along the way. Jones is already just 40 innings shy of the most in his professional career.

Shota Imanaga (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 15 Starts, 85.0 IP, 7 W, 3.05 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 84 Ks

After an implosion last Sunday night against the Mets, Shota Imanaga was human again in his start this week. He got a quality start allowing just three runs in six innings, but he also struck out just three batters and walked two. Some of the Shota shine has worn off since the first six weeks of the season.

Drew Thorpe (SP, Chicago White Sox)

  • 4 Starts, 20.1 IP, 2 W, 4.43 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 13 Ks

Drew Thorpe was able to right the ship with a solid six-inning, two-run game this week where he struck out four batters and walked just one. In that game, Thorpe was also able to get 44% of balls in play to be grounders which is a great sign for him moving forward.

Mason Miller (RP, Oakland Athletics)

  • 14 Saves, 36.2 IP, 1 W, 1.96 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 64 Ks

Poor Mason Miller. So many quality outings, so few saves. Miller’s last save was on June 21 and he has just two total since June 5. The stats are as good as they have ever been, but his talent is being wasted on the joke that is the Oakland Athletics.

Paul Skenes (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 9 Starts, 52.1 IP, 4 W, 2.06 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 70 Ks

We now need to start thinking less about how good Paul Skenes has been as a rookie this year and start thinking about how good he is compared to every other season. His first eight starts are eerily similar to Stephen Strasburg, and Skenes has a chance to join Dwight Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, Kerry Wood, and Michael Soroka with one of the best rookie pitching seasons ever. Skenes is currently -270 to win National League Rookie of the Year.

Simeon Woods Richardson (SP, Minnesota Twins)

  • 13 Starts, 66.0 IP, 3 W, 3.41 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 56 Ks

Simeon Woods Richardson has one good start and one bad start in his last two outings, but altogether he has been very solid. In addition to his 1.14 WHIP this year, he only has a .228 batting average against and just 2.5 walks per nine innings after 5.8 walks per nine in his short stint in 2023.

Luis Gil (SP, New York Yankees)

  • 16 Starts, 85.2 IP, 9 W, 3.15 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 99 Ks

It’s been downright awful for Luis Gil the past two weeks. He has a crazy 19.10 ERA with 9.5 walks per nine innings in his six innings pitched in that span. Something is clearly going on here as the once-reliable Gil has not been able to get hitters out, he lets baserunners score, and his powerful strikeout rate is now under five strikeouts per nine innings the last two weeks.

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.

Jhonkensy Noel (1B/OF, Cleveland Guardians) – Jhonkensy Noel already has somewhat of a cult following among the Cleveland faithful after just four games with the club. has a 1.055 OPS with two home runs in just his first five games with the Guardians. This is a player with 70-graded raw power and already had 18 home runs in AAA this year. He also has seasons of 27 and 32 home runs in his past two minor league years and should serve as the primary right fielder at least as long as Will Brennan is injured.

James Wood (OF, Washington Nationals) – The long wait is finally over. Washington Nationals uber-prospect James Wood will reportedly get his first taste of Major League action on July 1 when he is brought up from AAA. There is really not much more Wood can prove in Triple-A. He is hitting .353/.463/.595 as a 21-year-old with 10 home runs, 37 RBI, and 10 steals in 52 games. With Joey Gallo on the IL, Joey Meneses stinking up the joint, and the ghost of Eddie Rosario still on the roster, there is no shortage of places where Wood can play when he arrives. Don’t be surprised if he gets another 10 homers and 10 steals in the big leagues this year.

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