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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Week 3 Highlights

The 2024 Fantasy Baseball season is underway, which means a whole new crop of rookies and first-year players are making their debuts across Major League Baseball. Each week this Rookie Report will look at the recent production of these players and what it means in a fantasy baseball context.

Rookies are among the most volatile assets in the fantasy baseball game, with the opportunity both to boom or bust right in front of us. Rookies and first-year players are a part of teams’ plans more than ever before; just take the World Series Champion Texas Rangers, for example. Rookie Evan Carter played in the postseason for the Rangers, but now DH Wyatt Langford and SP Cody Bradford join him and are key cogs of a team that hopes to repeat their championship.

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)

  • .240/.278/.380, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 2 SB, 5 R

It wasn’t a great week for Chourio as he hit .167/.200/.167 from Monday through Saturday without an extra base hit. He did get two chances to hit in the leadoff spot this week but was then promptly sent to the eighth spot and did not play on Sunday.

Cedanne Rafaela (OF, Boston Red Sox)

  • .186/.245/.302, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 6 R

Cedanne Rafaela’s defense in the outfield has been good so far, which is keeping him in the lineup because his offensive production has been putrid. He is striking out almost 29% of the time, has shown no power or speed, and after another 0-for-4 day on Sunday, might need a couple days of rest to get right.

Wyatt Langford (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .263/.328/.316, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 6 R

Wyatt Langford was on the receiving end of umpire Angel Hernandez’s latest fiasco this weekend, ringing him up on three pitches way outside the zone. For a moment at least, it takes away from the fact that Langford’s power has been nonexistent this year with just one double and no home runs.

Evan Carter (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .244/.393/.422, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 13 R

Langford’s teammate Evan Carter finally connected on his first home run this week, and he was able to add a second on Sunday afternoon. His on-base ability continues to be uncanny and how Carter is getting his power stroke back just when the Rangers’ offense seems to be scuffling.

Victor Scott II (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .098/.158/.157, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, 6 R

In terms of offensive WAR, Victor Scott II has been the worst qualified rookie to start the season in 2024. He got a day off on Sunday after two straight weeks of starts in hopes that the time off can help restore his batted-ball ability he displayed in the minors. Scott’s 21.5% strikeout rate is not bad at all, but the 3% walk rate simply must get better.

Colton Cowser (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .452/.471/.935, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB, 6 R

Colton Cowser found his power stroke this week (as well as his speed on the bases) and he was the second-best fantasy hitter over the last seven days. He hit two home runs, stole two bases, and slashed .450/.478/1.100 just in the last five days. In what might be a preview of later in the season, Cowser hit sixth one day this week and second in another game.

Jackson Holliday (SS, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .067/.067/.134, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 3 R

The other Baltimore Orioles’ rookie making news this week was Jackson Holliday as the number one prospect in all of baseball was called up after demolishing AAA. After an 0-for-13 start to his career, he finally got his first hit on Sunday afternoon, helping the Orioles to a win. There are many, many more of those to come this year for the game’s best prospect.

Michael Busch (1B, Chicago Cubs)

  • .375/.409/.825, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 0 RB, 7 R

What some players do in a month, Michael Busch has done over the last four days. He has home runs in four straight games plus seven hits and six RBI. His power has secured him the first base job in Chicago this season, and he bats sixth in that potent lineup every single day.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Pitchers

Jared Jones (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 3 Starts, 18.0 IP, 1 W, 4.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 12.5 K/9

That’s now three straight games with at least 5.2 innings pitched, seven strikeouts, and three or fewer runs allowed. Jones is piling up the strikeouts and he hasn’t walked a batter since his first start of the season on March 30th.

Shota Imanaga (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 3 Starts, 15.1 IP, 2 W, 0.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 9.39 K/9

Shota Imanaga finally gave up a run in his third Major League start, but it was due to an error, so his ERA remains immaculate heading into his fourth start. At just 1.17 walks allowed per nine innings, Imanaga is learning how to get Major League batters out while not having to pitch around them and risk walks.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • 46 Starts, 16.0 IP, 1 W, 4.50 ERA, 1.0 WHIP, 11.8 K/9

Yamamoto allowed his first two home runs of the season on Friday against San Diego, part of three runs allowed in five innings. It was a slight step back for the Japanese rookie who still has yet to log a Quality Start on the 2024 season.

Mason Miller (RP, Oakland Athletics)

  • 3 Saves, 8.0 IP, 0 W, 2.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 16.9 K/9

Yes, you read that right. Almost 17 strikeouts per nine innings for Mason Miller’s first eight frames of the 2024 season. He has ben unhittable in most outings and is locked in as the Oakland closer, a team that has been surprisingly competitive this year. Miller’s fastball is routinely over 100 miles per hour.

Jordan Wicks (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 3 Starts, 12.2 IP, 0 W, 1.89 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 13.5 K/9

It was a bad week for Jordan Wicks and any fantasy managers who started him. Pitching in Seattle, Wicks gave up five hits, four walks, and four earned runs in four innings. He still struck out six batters, so the stuff is still present, but eight walks in 12 innings is concerning.

Max Meyer (SP, Miami Marlins)

  • 3 Starts, 17.0 IP, 2 W, 2.12 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 7.41 K/9

Is Max Meyer the frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year after last week? He might be. Over the last eight days. Meyer pitched 12 innings, gave up two runs, and struck out 10 batters compared to one walk. Most impressively, Meyer and his wicked stuff on his pitches have shut down the Braves and Cardinals over his last two starts.

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) – With Jackson Holliday, Gunnar Henderson, and Adley Rutschman all called up, there can’t be anyone left, in the Orioles’ AAA who is Major League ready, right? Wrong. There are two guys raking down there and it’s just a matter of time before they get the call. Coby Mayo is tied for fifth in the International League with five bombs and is slashing .369/.417/.692 while also chipping in three stolen bases. I think Ryan O’Hearn (primarily the DH) needs to start getting his bags packed, because his days in Baltimore are numbered.

Heston Kjerstad (1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles) – Heston Kjerstad leads the world with 27 RBI through 15 minor league games, partially on the back of seven home runs and four doubles. His line is even better than Mayo’s at .361/.438/.770. Unless the Orioles want to get rid of O’Hearn and Ryan Mountcastle, or unless they bench Cedric Mullins (not happening), there simply may not be enough room for all of these incredible young players to get full-time starts.

Joey Loperfido  (1B/OF, Houston Astros) – The Houston Astros have a .207 slugging percentage as a team from their first base position this season. Only the Miami Marlins are worse. The Astros simply can’t keep running Jose Abreu and Jon Singleton out there at this point, which means home run sensation Joey Loperfido may be close to a call-up. Loperfido leads all of the Minor Leagues with 10 home runs (in 14 games) and is slugging .895. As a 24-year-old prospect, there is not much more for him to prove in the minors, so he could be playing first for Houston soon.

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