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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Week 8 Highlights

Several fantasy baseball rookies have let us down to start the season. Both Jackson Holliday and Heston Kjerstad were awful at the plate and have been sent back down. Wyatt Langford had no power and is now on the injured list. Pete Crow-Armstrong has largely been a bust for the Cubs. What are fantasy managers supposed to do in redraft leagues?

Leagues with deep benches can hold onto the most promising rookies, hoping they weather the storm and start performing. But in shallow leagues, rookies are the most unpredictable commodity there is. If there is someone else who can help your roster now, I always lean towards making the move.

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)

  • .226/.272/.350, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 6 SB, 19 R

The playing time has been there for Jackson Chourio, but the power has not. He has one home run since April 21 and just two stolen bases in that span. In those 24 games, he is hitting just .215/.250/.277 and sat out a stretch of four straight games to try and clear his head and get his offensive game back in gear.

Pete Crow-Armstrong (OF, Chicago Cubs)

  • .236/.295/.364, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 5 SB, 4 R

It’s been a largely disappointing debut for PCA, and the Cubs have started him just three times in the last nine games. When Dansby Swanson comes off the IL in the next week or so, look for either PCA or Miles Mastrobuoni to get sent back down to AAA. The five steals over his first four weeks are not enough to keep in our lineups.

Kyle Manzardo (1B, Cleveland Guardians)

  • .161/.212/.226, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 1 R

Kyle Manzardo has only started eight of the 13 games since his call-up on May 6. His performance at the plate has not been good enough for a team scratching and clawing to keep their lead in the AL Central Division. At this rate, when Steven Kwan comes off the IL, Estevan Florial will move back into the DH role, which will send Manzardo back to AAA for some more marinating.

Evan Carter (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .205/.293/.394, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, 23 R

The last three weeks have not been kind to the rookie that so many on the Rangers and in fantasy circles were excited about. He missed a stretch of about seven days with a nagging injury, and in the other 15 games, he has hit .186/.271/.256 with no home runs and just five runs driven in. Coming back from injury, he was slotted down at sixth in the batting order, which may be where he stays until his bat heats.

Joey Ortiz (3B, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .292/.387/.538, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 1 SB, 16 R

If not for about four or five pitchers in the National League, Joey Ortiz (+1300) would be the odds-on favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year. While Paul Skenes and Shota Imanaga are unlikely to let that happen, it doesn’t discount how good Ortiz has been this year. He has been on a tear lately, and it is backed up by a 39% hard-hit rate this season.

Colton Cowser (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .277/.371/.521, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 3 SB, 16 R

After three more hits, a double, two runs scored, and an RBI on Sunday, Colton Cowser keeps on proving he is the one Orioles rookie who deserves to be in the Major Leagues right now. His high 29% strikeout rate is offset by a fantastic 13% walk rate and his actual numbers are right in line with his expected statistics.

Wenceel Pérez (OF, Detroit Tigers)

  • .301/.377/.527, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 4 SB, 16 R

Unlike many rookies, Pérez seems to be getting better as the season rolls along. He is hitting .298/.370/.447 since May 1 and he is doing that without any home runs during that span. His 45% fly ball rate says more homers are coming, and he is supplementing the lack of power with plenty of help in the average and speed departments.

Jackson Merrill (SS/OF, San Diego Padres)

  • .291/.338/.392, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 7 SB, 19 R

Jackson Merrill has proven to be a three-category stud rookie with the San Diego Padres, with significant contributions in runs, average, and steals. His multi-position eligibility offers another advantage to having him on your roster if your league has him as a SS/OF. Perhaps most impressively, he is striking out only 16% of the time as a rookie.

Wilyer Abreu (OF, Boston Red Sox)

  • .270/.354/.468, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 6 SB, 20 R

Wilyer Abreu’s 47% flyball rate is largely what’s driving his power and his success at the plate this year. I worry a little about his .337 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) because that could regress by 50 points at any time. However, Abreu keeps putting up good numbers and defying the projections, and with a solidified spot at number two in the Red Sox order, it might be best to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Blaze Alexander (SS, Arizona Diamondbacks)

  • .253/.333/.407, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 1 SB, 13 R

If the last few weeks have shown the Arizona Diamondbacks anything about their shortstop position, it’s that they can’t wait for top prospect Jordan Lawler to recover from his long-term injury. After a hot start to the season, Alexander has hit .107/.242/.107 in his last 12 games with nary a home run or a steal. Whichever of Nick Ahmed or Jordan Lawler is healthy first will likely get the job  as soon as they’re ready.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Pitchers

Jared Jones (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 9 Starts, 53.0 IP, 3 W, 2.89 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 63 Ks

Now somewhat overshadowed by teammate Paul Skenes, Jared Jones has still been stellar in his last five games. He has a 2.70 ERA and three wins in his last five starts including three games with at least seven strikeouts.

Shota Imanaga (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 9 Starts, 53.2 IP, 5 W, 0.84 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 58 Ks

Shota Imanaga is now not only the prohibitive favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year award (+100), but he is gaining ground fast on Zach Wheeler (+330) for the NL Cy Young for 2024 (Imanaga is at +500). He has simply been unhittable, as all of his ratios will prove. He is quickly moving from a question-mark foreign prospect to one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • 9 Starts, 47.2 IP, 4 W, 3.21 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 53 Ks

If you remove the one-inning disaster when Yamamoto started his career in South Korea against the Padres, his stats for 2024 would look much better. He would have a 2.31 ERA, more than a strikeout per inning, and just a .602 OPS against. Yamamoto has had some excellent outings in the last three weeks and has allowed more than two earned runs just once in his last four games.

Mason Miller (RP, Oakland Athletics)

  • 8 Saves, 19.1 IP, 0 W, 0.93 ERA, 0.62 WHIP, 38 Ks

Meet your favorite for the AL Rookie of the Year race (+195). He is beating out Colton Cowser and Luis Gil although both also have strong cases. At these odds, I’m not sure I’m biting because of stretches like Oakland has just had. They are 1-9 in their last 10 games, and Miller hasn’t had a Save since April 30. There are going to be some tough weeks ahead, but his ratios will help any roster.

Paul Skenes (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 2 Starts, 10.0 IP, 1 W, 2.70 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 18 Ks

Guess what? Paul Skenes is really good! He struck out 11 batters over six innings against the Cubs on Friday and was throwing 101 mph with ease. He allowed zero hits and one walk in one of the best rookie pitching performances ever. It was a much more efficient and controlled outing over his debut when he allowed three runs, and this latest start showed the full arsenal of just how dangerous Skenes can be to hitters.

Christian Scott (SP, New York Mets)

  • 3 Starts, 16.2 IP, 0 W, 4.32 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 17 Ks

After two dominant starts to begin his Major League career, Christian Scott showed he is human with a four-inning, four-run performance against a weak Miami Marlins team this weekend. Scott, who has some filthy stuff, will have some growing pains in the weeks to come, but this is a pitcher who had an ERA around 3.00 and struck out almost 13 batters per nine innings in AAA. There should be much more good than bad.

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.

Junior Caminero (SS/3B, Tampa Bay Rays) – The Tampa Bay Rays have been giving prized prospect Junior Caminero a couple of starts at second base, perhaps signaling that a call-up could happen soon. Caminero has nothing left to prove with his bat, as he is hitting .301 with a .908 OPS in AAA this season, and has seven home runs. The Rays just want to make sure the defense is Major League ready before he is inevitably called up soon.

Jordan Beck (OF, Colorado Rockies) – With Nolan Jones and Kris Bryant still injured, and the Rockies relying on guys like Jake Cave, Jordan Beck got the call-up to the Major Leagues on the first of May and he has played 17 of 18 games so far. In AAA, Beck had a .999 OPS with five home runs and five steals. So far with the big club, he is hitting .220 with a .356 slugging percentage to go along with a 39% strikeout rate. That’s not ideal, but he does have a couple of homers and a steal.

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