It’s going to be a tough act to follow for the rookies of 2016. After the “Year of the Rookie” in 2015, what can we expect from the freshman class this year? Will we have another deep class featuring numerous high impact players to fill our fantasy squads? Or will we scale back this year, and only have a few true must own froshes? Below we’ll dive into the high impact rookies to target in drafts, and keep an eye on for later season call ups. For these reasons, I’ve broken them into two tiers; those that should break camp with big league club, and those that should be high impact call ups during the season. Just for fun I’ve added top 5 lists from some of your favorite Razzball personalities to give you idea of what others besides myself are thinking. Enjoy!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Robert Stephenson reminds me of another some-time-ago Reds prospect, Edinson Volquez.  Nasty stuff that some people thought could turn into a number two starter.  Unfortunately, for a while, Edinson was just a number two, but not as in a starter.  Then Ray Searage happened.  The Pirates pitching coach fixed Edinson like Chris Martin fixed Gwyneth or like Bill Cosby fixed your mom’s drink in the late 70s, essentially helping Edinson harness his control.  Edinson maxes out at 98 MPH, and Stephenson goes above that, touching 100 MPH on occasion.  Everything else looks to be similar.  Stephenson has no control, and the videos of him give me the impression that he’s still a thrower, not a pitcher.  It’s God’s cruel joke that guys that throw fast can never command their pitches.  Or Vishnu’s cruel joke if you’re reading in India.  Or General Tso if you’re reading in China.  Or Ben Carson if you’re a once-conjoined twin reading this in a church.  If Stephenson wasn’t ready for a starting rotation job out of this spring and able to have a 9+ K/9, we wouldn’t be here talking about him, but we are here and we are talking about him.  Anyway, what can we expect of Robert Stephenson for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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In an NFBC 15-team league where there are no pickups in-season, I already plan on drafting Trevor Story, and it’s only November, and this is coming from a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing next weekend.  How’s that for excitement, Spanish beach?  Hmm, maybe that makes more sense if I leave it as playa.  Here’s what Prospect Mike said recently, “(Story went) 20/20 in Double and Triple-A as a 22-year-old with a decent average…knocking on the door at Coors with only Jose Reyes in his way?  Gimme.  The strikeout rate has always been a concern for him, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take with his offensive upside at shortstop.  2016 should see him in the majors, and depending on how quickly the Rockies unload Reyes (or he gets injured) it could be a quick stay in Triple-A for Trevor.  Now if we could only unload Grey.”  Geez, what did I do to this guy?  I’ll go Mike one better, Reyes won’t be playing for the Rockies by May.  What makes me so confident?  For the past three years, Reyes hasn’t made it out of April without an injury.  It was a solid career, but doode’s so toast that Wonder Bread calls him up for a booty call.  Anyway, what can we expect from Trevor Story for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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Pretty high up the food chain of requirements for these posts is playing time with the major league club. I’m doing these rookie posts with an eye on redraft leagues. Can they be used for keeper leagues? Does a bear crap in the woods into a hollowed-out tree trunk and then yell to his bear wife, “Baby, do we have toilet paper in the other bathroom?” With that said, Jose Peraza has a bit of a muddled picture for playing time, which is not as wonderful as being muddled with mint. You hear me, Mojito?! On the bright side, Don Mattingly is out of town, so we don’t have to worry about him accidentally playing Ethier at 2nd base. On the less than bright side, the Dodgers are a team that expects to make the playoffs and should have Corey Seager and Joc Pederson already in the lineup, so how many fresh-facers can they play? My guess is two and Peraza isn’t one of them. So, why on earth am I highlighting Peraza if this is meant for primarily redraft leagues? I’m glad you asked. Or rather, I asked: Anyway, what can we expect of Jose Peraza for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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My predilection is to draft rookie hitters over rookie pitchers.  Predilection is also one dirty sounding word.  Slap an NC-17 stamp on the word predilection, Tipper Gore!  Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever drafted a rookie pitcher outside of an NL or AL-Only league and/or keeper.  Further (Grey just won’t stop!), I’m not sure I’ve ever drafted a rookie in a standard redraft league who was slated to start the year in the minors.  By standard redraft, I mean leagues with waivers.  I don’t believe in sitting on lottery tickets on my bench.  Obviously, there’s times when this should’ve been done.  Trout’s rookie year comes to mind; Braun’s rookie year was a thing of beauty; even last year’s Bryant was someone that would’ve been nice to grab in drafts.  The rookies that are worthwhile to sit on from March until they’re called up are few and far between, and aside from Trout and Braun’s rookie years, you can draft a guy who is slated to start the year in the majors around the same time as any rookie and get just as good of value.  I.e., Bryant was solid last year, but you could’ve drafted a ton of guys that were solid when he was drafted.  I bring all of this up now because today’s rookie, Julio Urias, won’t start the year in the majors.  He’s young enough to be Jose Tabata’s wife’s grandchild, listed currently at 19 years old.  But I think there’s something to super-young Latino players.  As we have a Latin 30 in the Razzball glossary, which means a player says they’re one age but are really much older, I think there’s an opposite phenomenon with Latin players who are super young.  They don’t want to do anything but play baseball, so when a major league team asks to sign them, they say they’re 16, as Urias did with the Dodgers, but he could be 12 years old and no one has any idea.  Since he’s 19 going on 12, which was also a Jennifer Garner movie remake that Subway Jared tried to greenlight, Urias will start the year in the minors, and won’t be up until June at the earliest and may not be up at all this year.  Anyway, what can we expect from Julio Urias for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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There was an article at Fangraphs titled, “On Orlando Arcia‘s Lack of Power.”  I didn’t read the article, because its SEO jackhammer title sorta gave me an idea as to what it was going to be about.  Arcia is only 21 years old, so the title might’ve been better off being, “Orlando Arcia’s Lack of Power, But, I Mean, He is Super Young and It Could Develop.”  If his power does develop, he will be a first round fantasy talent, because everything else is gorge.  Like the Continental Army is going to set up at Valley Gorge and beat those Brits or at least not drink their tea.  Arcia hits .300, he doesn’t strikeout much, he is capable of thirty steals and he’s a shortstop.  Going back to the lack of power, I decided to watch about a month’s worth of Arcia’s at-bats condensed into a three-minute video.  Thank you, iMovie.  Know what I took away from that?  The reason he hasn’t hit for power.  I’m honestly not even sure why someone needed to write an article about his lack of power, because if you watch him it’s as obvious as the schnoz on Jon Niese’s face.  He doesn’t hit for power because he looks like Edgar Renteria.  I mean, he looks just like him.  As if him and Renteria were attached at one point and Ben Carson separated them.  Right now, people are likely barfing in their mouth, swishing it around and spitting it into their scrapbook labeled, “Renteria,” but Renteria wasn’t always terrible.  He had a few 10+ homer, 30+ SB seasons when he was young.  Renteria also had a .286 batting average over 2100 major league games, and suddenly this post became the Wikipedia page for Renteria.  Anyway, what can we expect from Orlando Arcia for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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I’m a bit rookie pitcher-phobic.  Waking up in a dank dungeon missing a kidney after being slipped a roofie from a rookie pitcher will do that to you.  By the by, all dungeons are dank, don’t tell Previous Sentence Grey.  This is why I tend to focus mostly on bats when I’m breaking down the rookies that will impact 2016 fantasy baseball (take that deft SEO, Bleacher Report!).  Today, I turn my lazy, left googly eye towards a rookie pitcher.  Before I wrote up this rookie pitcher post, I decided that I wanted a guy that was on the cusp of breaking into the majors, after diligently researching what a cusp was.  So, it’s not a plural misspelled cup?  Noted.  This guy I found (don’t look at the title, it’ll ruin the surprise) should’ve been up in the majors last year.  In fact, I wrote a Buy for him in August.  Okay, okay, his name is Jose Berrios.  Hi ho the Berrios, snitches!  Here’s what I said last August, “If I could quickly evaluate the Twins current crop of starters that are prospblocking Berrios:  Garbage, More Garbage, Utter Garbage, Shirley Manson in Garbage, Magic Garbage.  (Magic Garbage is Utah garbage where you find soiled magic underpants.)  I haven’t even started talking about how Berrios was bred in a lab in Knott’s Berry Farm by the founder of the boysenberry, Rudolph Boysen, whose grandchild killed his parents and is currently behind bars (true story; yes, Dateline is dropping the ball by not featuring this).  The only thing that’s been stopping me from adding Berrios in every league is I have no idea when he’ll be called up.”  And that’s me quoting me!  The Twins’ pitching rotation isn’t going to be better come April.  That’s why Berrios will start the year with the club.  Anyway, what can we expect of Jose Berrios for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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Before watching the video on Lucas Giolito, I looked at his vitals.  This is something I don’t usually do.  Doesn’t really matter to me if a guy is six-foot-one or five-ten.  But, dizzamn, Giolito is a strapping young man, huh?  He’s listed at six-six and 230.  He’s only 21 years old, but I think he’s done growing.  Hopefully, cause his mom tells CBS Sports that his “feet already hang off the bed.”  With a six-six frame, as you can imagine, he throws fast.  (Christall Young is the exception that proves the rule, which never made any sense to me.  If it’s an exception, how does it prove anything?  It proves that there’s exceptions, but that’s about it, right?  I’m gonna move on before my brain hurts in my thought-nodes.)  Giolito hits 97 MPH on his fastball, which is actually up a tick from the previous year.  If he keeps steadily increasing his fastball every year, by the time he’s 40 years old, he’s going to be throwing 117 MPH.  He throws from nearly right over the top, so the ball fires downhill and hitters have about no chance of hitting it.  A 9+ K/9 seems to be a given once he gets settled in the majors.  With speed comes no control, to sound like a drunk Yoda.  Or does it?!  Snap, reversed on that.  No, Giolito has control too.  97 MPH with command?  I’ll say it for you, hummna-hummna.  Oh, and his strikeout pitch is his hard breaking curve.  In 20 years, Al Pacino could be playing the role of a Hall of Fame pitcher in the film, Giolito’s Way.  Assuming Pacino has eighteen-inch stilettos.  Anyway, what can we expect from Lucas Giolito for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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As I previously mentioned, Prospect Mike had a large (foam) hand in what prospects I covered as rookies that could impact in 2016 fantasy baseball.  I used his Midseason Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list, and asked him for input.  In case you couldn’t tell from his Mike Schmidt avatar, it’s no secret he’s a Phillies fan, a phan.  I mention this now because today’s prospect is J.P. Crawford, the top prospect in the Phillies system.  So, I had to be a cyclops with a monocle to make sure Prospect Mike wasn’t using Liberty Bell IPA goggles when he listed Crawford high up in his prospect lists.  Prospect Mike said, “Crawford should sit comfortably in the top twenty on just about every prospect list this spring.  There’s 20/20 upside at shortstop and a high floor thanks to an advanced approach.  The 20-year-old will likely reach the majors midsummer and a fair comparison would be Addison Russell in Chicago – albeit with a tick less power and a tick more speed.  The left side of the infield in Philly is loaded with fantasy potential.  Imagine, if you will, Grey’s brain, but instead of empty it’s full.”  Aw, man, Mike’s mean to me!  So, Crawford is a cousin of Carl Crawford, and not related to J.P. Arencibia, according to the research I did.  Crawford doesn’t have his cousin’s speed or the unrelated Arencibia’s power.  Crawford is a shortstop though, so immediately he becomes interesting as a fantasy commodity.  How interesting is the question, which is actually a statement.  Weird, right?  No, you’re weird!  Anyway, what can we expect from J.P. Crawford for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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For the uninitiated, a Three True Outcome (TTO) player is one that walks, Ks or homers.  That’s it.  A famous example of this is Adam Dunn aka The Big Donkey.  The Three True Outcome label works for baseball.  Real baseball, that is.  It doesn’t encapsulate everything for fantasy.  That’s where the Donkey label comes in.  A Donkey is player that Ks, homers and steals.  Big Donkey once stole 19 bases, and perennially stole more than seven bases a year, until he became more Big than Donkey.  Mini Donkey, Mark Reynolds, had himself a nice little run for a few years, once stealing 24 bases.  Mini Mini Donkey, Ian Stewart, failed to live up to his Donkey expectations.  Perhaps the Donkey expectations are what ended up dragging him down, I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist in matters of the donkey.  So, hopefully, when we call Joey Gallo, Donkey Dong Jr., we are not putting unrealistic expectations on him.  Shame to think Donkey expectations were what did in any player when Donkey expectations mean no harm.  Donkey expectations just want a roof over its head, a hot meal and foot rub from a topless dame.  Last year, Gallo hit six homers and stole three bases in only 108 at-bats for the Rangers while hitting 14 homers in 53 Triple-A games.  Am I reluctantly failing to mention his Ks?  If they were as bad as Gallo’s, you’d be reluctant too.  Anyway, what can we expect of Joey Gallo for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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