2015 Fantasy Baseball: Rookie Report – Rest-of-Season Hitter Rankings
There have been so many high-profile prospects called up to the Majors recently let’s take stock of where they stand amongst each other.
1. Joc Pederson – You could place the second guy on this list here and I don’t think anyone would quibble with it, but Pederson has outproduced Mystery Man No. 2 throughout the season. Also, over the past 30 days Pederson has hit for more power, walked more and struck out less than the second guy on this list. No. 2 could do better than Pederson the rest of the season, but it’s a toss up for me – and Pederson has shown no signs of slowing down. He’s been the 14th-best hitter by wOBA in the past 30 days in all of baseball, minimum 100 plate appearances.
2. Kris Bryant – Bryant has the 30th highest wOBA in the last 30 days. He’s got 10 extra-base hits and nine walks in June through Monday night’s game. He crushes lefties, but is able to put up a .280/.381/.450 line against righties with a double-digit walk rate.
3. Maikel Franco – Franco has been on fire recently, coming in at 18th in wOBA in the last 30 days at .402. He’s hitting .319/.368/.604 in 154 plate appearances this season. He has 10 home runs so far, after hitting 31 in 2013 and 16 last season in the minors. Franco’s Isolated power sits at .285 so far, but his minor-league Iso was just .182. He’s hitting over 50 percent ground balls and a quarter of his fly balls are going for home runs. So I’d expect some regression in the home run department in the future. But since June 2 he’s hitting .405 through Monday night’s game, and he’s been able to use the entire field to his advantage (photo courtesy MLB Central):
4. Carlos Correa – Through his first 62 plate appearances Correa is hitting .313/.343/.578 with five doubles, four homers and four steals. Nine of his 19 hits have been for extra bases. This dude absolutely crushes the ball. According to MLB Central, from June 8 to June 18 Correa’s 13 balls in play of at least 100 mph were tied for the most in the Majors. He won’t turn 21 until late September.
5. Devon Travis – Travis has been out since May 16 with a bad shoulder, but he’s due back sometime this week. He has the eighth-best wOBA and seventh-highest Iso mark among rookies, as the diminutive second baseman had already compiled 10 doubles and seven home runs in the season’s first month and a half. He put up decent walk and strikeout rates, too, with only a .293 BABIP. Once he comes back, as long as he doesn’t fall flat on his face, he should be able to give you close to double-digits in home runs and steals.
6. Billy Burns – While only having two home runs and an Iso less than .100 Burns has managed the 10th best wOBA among rookies this year at .346. He leads them in steals, too, with 15, and that number ties him for seventh among all players. He’s only been caught three times. It’ll be surprising if Burns hits another homer this year, but he does have a very good line-drive rate (24.7 percent). His 86 percent contact rate is 32nd among qualified hitters, so while his .377 BABIP might fall he’s not producing extraordinarily over his head. Regardless of his average, his speed (four triples in 212 plate appearances) will make him an asset.
7. Steven Souza – At this point in time I think it’s safe to say this is what Steven Souza is. He’s striking out in a third of his plate appearances, but he’s also walking in over a tenth of them. He’s hitting for power (14 homers) and stealing bases (10-for-15). He’s second among rookies in homers and third in steals. It’s kind of crazy that his BABIP is .301 considering a quarter of his hits have been home runs, but I wouldn’t expect his average, OBP or slugging percentage to fluctuate much the rest of the year.
8. Joey Gallo – Adrian Beltre came off the DL Tuesday night, but Gallo stayed with the big-league club. He played left field and batted second, both positive signs. Even if Gallo is sent back down this season I think he comes back up and is in the Majors for at least September. Gallo is striking out 40 percent of the time (wow), but he’s also walking 12 percent of the time. He’s crushing righties to a 1.003 OPS, and while he’s been horrid against lefties he does have two homers off southpaws, including one off Clayton Kershaw.
9. Addison Russell – Russell’s been just about league-average by wRC+ this season (101), and while he hasn’t stood out too much he hasn’t been bad. He’s striking out a lot, but he does have 14 doubles and five home runs. Russell is tied for seventh in doubles and ninth in homers among second baseman. For a 21-year-old rookie, that’s not bad.
10. Rougned Odor – This came down to Odor and Byron Buxton, and I went with the guy who I think will give you more of a well-rounded game this season. Just last year as a 20-year-old in 386 plate appearances Odor had 14 doubles, seven triples and nine homers. He was horrible on the basepaths, but his 70 minor-league steals in 98 attempts tells me he’s better than what he’s shown in the Majors. He just came back up in mid-June and since then he’s 9-for-19 with a double and a home run.