What a year it has been for rookies. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing some absolute studs make their much anticipated MLB debuts thus season. This is truly one of the special rookie classes, and they have not disappointed. In a star-studded year, there have been several rookies that have flown under the radar. Below are a couple of them, and a freshly called up rook that figures to make an impact down the stretch.

 

Bryan Reynolds – OF, Pirates

(29.5% owned in ESPN, 43% in Yahoo)

I know, I know. I’ve already suggested picking up Reynolds some weeks back. And yes, I know his ownership rates are finally getting up there. But he’s still somehow available in nearly 60% of Yahoo leagues, so I felt the need to write about him again. Reynolds has been having an excellent rookie year, to the tune of a .337/.409/.523 slash line through his first 347 big league plate appearances. He has added 10 home runs, scored 55 runs, knocked in 45, and stolen one base.

Reynolds might not have 30 home run power in his bat or be a base stealer, but he has been a phenomenal all around hitter for the Pirates and fantasy teams thus far. In fact, his .394 wOBA is tied for 11th in the league among guys with 300+ PA and ahead of guys like Rafael Devers and Kris Bryant. His 146 wRC+ are also tied for 11th among the same group of hitters, just above Freddie Freeman and Xander Bogaerts. Reynolds has certainly solidified a spot in the lineup, but the departure of Corey Dickerson will further ensure an everyday role for the Pirates. I don’t understand how he is still so widely available, so add him if he’s still out there.

Steamer ROS: .287/.351/.439 with 5 HR, 23 R, 20 RBI, and 2 SB through 186 PA (42 GP)

 

Mike Tauchman – OF, Yankees

(9.2% owned in ESPN, 33% in Yahoo)

Though he played in MLB action for the Rockies in 2017 and 2018, Tauchman is still technically a rookie. Tauchman is one of many players that has stepped number was for an injury riddled Yankees team when his number was called. Through 190 plate appearances, Tauchman has slashed .294/.368/.541 to go along with 9 HR, 35 runs scored, 34 runs batted in, and 3-for-3 in stolen bases. The 28-year-old rookie has certainly made the most of his opportunities, and has hit .429 with a 1.297 OPS, 5 HR, and 17 RBI over the past 30 days. While he has struck out in 26.8% of his PA, he has also walked at a healthy 10.5% clip.

Even despite the injuries, Tauchman hits in one of the league’s elite offenses. This bodes well for his opportunity to create runs. Creating runs is something he has done a fine job of thus far, and his 137 wRC+ ranks 25th among hitters with 190+ PA. The downside in hitting in a premier offense is that he often finds himself in the bottom third of the batting order. That hasn’t prevented him from generating runs lately though, as he has scored 17 runs and knocked in 15 in the past 15 games played. When the team gets back to full health, Tauchman may be hard pressed for playing time. However, that is a problem for another day and Tauchman has been swinging a hot bat lately. Ride the hot streak and reap the benefits that come.

Steamer ROS: .248/.317/.395 with 2 HR, 9 R, 9 RBI, and 2 SB through 79 PA (20 GP)

 

Isan Diaz – 2B, Marlins

(6.3% owned in ESPN, 26% in Yahoo)

Highly sought after in fantasy free agency, go ahead and grab Diaz if he is still available in your league. Prospect call-ups are usually a hot commodity and many of you play in serious leagues, but Diaz is still available in the vast majority of leagues. Marlins Park is certainly not the most hitter friendly environment to hit in, but Diaz has some great hit tools that should lead to success regardless. In his major league debut, Diaz smacked a home run in his first MLB at-bat. You’ve most likely seen the video of his father’s priceless reaction mid interview to Isan going ya-ya off DeGrom.

A former top 100 prospect, Diaz had a couple underwhelming seasons in the minor leagues before really showcasing his skills this year. In 102 AAA games this season, Diaz slashed .305/.395/.578 to go along with 26 HR, 89 R, 70 RBI, and 5 SB. He impressed with a .273 ISO, .403 wOBA, and 131 wRC+ through his 435 PA before getting the call. Diaz figures to be the Marlins long-term solution at the keystone position, so the job should be his to lose to close out the year. He has been slotted in the 2-hole in his first two games for the Marlins, further evidence that they are fully committed to seeing what Diaz will give them.

Steamer ROS: .232/.308/.396 with 6 HR, 21 R, 18 RBI, and 2 SB through 184 PA (42 GP)

 

 

 
  1. jAy says:
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    Who would you rather have as a keeper for the next 5 years, Villar or Whit Merrifield?

    I thought the latter was the no-brainer, but it seems unlikely that Whit is 2B eligible beyond next year and he’s slowed a bit

    • Yost

      Yost says:
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      Definitely a valid thing to consider. I’d still roll with Whit though, even though his SB will dwindle I think his bat has a bunch of value

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