Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 23 Rookie Report: September Swoon

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Hello Fantasy Baseball Fans and welcome back to the Rookie Report.

We are now in Week 23, and coincidentally there are approximately 23 remaining games in the 2017 season. Being on top of the standings at this time of the season is great, but what really matters is having the best record in baseball after the last day of the season.

Throughout baseball history, there have been a number of teams that looked like World Series contenders that have struggled late in the season. In some cases, these teams have lost playoff spots as a result of their September Swoon. Every fan remembers when their favorite team collapsed and choked away a chance to get into the playoffs.

My most memorable collapse was the 2005 Cleveland Indians. The Indians were sitting pretty in the final week of the 2005 season. They had a 1.5 game lead in the wild-card race and were just 2.5 games back in the AL Central after winning 13 of their 14 previous games. But that final week proved to be fatal for their playoff hopes. They lost two of three to Tampa Bay and then went into season-closing series with the White Sox with a chance to tie the White Sox for the division lead. The Indians ended up getting swept in the final series by the first-place White Sox, who were the eventual World Series winners. Cleveland lost their shot at the AL Central title and their wild-card spot. This produced one of then-White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen‘s more colorful moments–the infamous “choke job” gesture.

Fantasy owners, please don’t become victims of the September Swoon and lose your focus as the season is nearing its end. Take a moment to view new or current rookies making an impact that can help your fantasy team get to the promise land in the Week 23 Rookie Report.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 23 Rookie Report

In “The Show”

PlayerPositionTeam
Ozzie Albies2B/SSAtlanta Braves
Albert Almora, Jr.OFChicago Cubs
Andrew BenintendiOFBoston Red Sox
Josh Bell1BPittsburgh Pirates
Cody Bellinger1B/OFLos Angeles Dodgers
Jose BerriosSP Minnesota Twins
Ty BlachSPSan Francisco Giants
Jorge BonifacioOFKansas City Royals
Parker BridwellSPLos Angeles Angels
Byron BuxtonOFMinnesota Twins
Matt Chapman3BOakland A's
Matt Davidson3B/DHChicago White Sox
Paul DeJong2BSt. Louis Cardinals
Rafael Devers3BBoston Red Sox
Jacob FariaSPTampa Bay Rays
Derek FisherOF Houston Astros
Clint FrazierOF New York Yankees
Kyle FreelandSPColorado Rockies
Ben GamelOFSeattle Mariners
Mitch HanigerOFSeattle Mariners
Ian Happ2B/OFChicago Cubs
Austin HedgesCSan Diego Padres
Jeff HoffmanSPColorado Rockies
Aaron JudgeOFNew York Yankees
Dinelson LametSPSan Diego Padres
Manuel MargotOFSan Diego Padres
Trey ManciniOFBaltimore Orioles
German MarquezSPColorado Rockies
Ketel MarteSSArizona Diamondbacks
Yoan Moncada2B/3BChicago White Sox
Jordan MontgomerySPNew York Yankees
Sean NewcombSPAtlanta Braves
Hunter RenfroeOFSan Diego Padres
Amed RosarioSSNew York Mets
Antonio SenzatelaSPColorado Rockies
Lucas SimsSPAtlanta Braves
Dansby SwansonSSAtlanta Braves
Nick WilliamsOFPhiladelphia Phillies
Bradley ZimmerOFCleveland Indians

Dillon Peters, SP, Miami Marlins

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The Miami Marlins believed that lefty Dillon Peters represented their best chance at an in-house upgrade as they try to stay in the playoff race. Dillon Peters definitely did not disappoint.

He had perhaps the best debut of any pitcher in Marlins history. He shut out the Phillies for seven innings, allowing three hits and striking out eight. The eight strikeouts equaled Jose Fernandez‘s team record for most strikeouts by a Marlins pitcher in his big-league debut.

In 13 minor-league starts this season, Peters was 7-3 with a 1.57 ERA. Nine of those starts were at his highest level, Double A, where he went 6-2 with a 1.97 ERA along with a 0.96 WHIP, striking out 40 batters while walking just 11.

Unfortunately, Peters missed two and a half months following surgery on his fractured left thumb, suffered when he was hit by a comebacker in mid-April, If he was healthy, Peters likely would have in the majors already given all of the Marlins’ rotation woes.

Dillon Peters might be a sneaky pickup at this point of the season. He definitely should be on all fantasy radars for the 2018 season.

Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

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Ranked as the organization’s sixth-best prospect on MLBPipeline.com, Bader held his own against big-league pitching in his first stint in the big leagues earlier this season. In his initial 23 plate appearances, he slashed .286/.348/.381 with two doubles and two walks.

With Cardinals’ outfielders Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler banged up, Bader returned to the big-league club to serve as outfield depth during the month of September. Bader is 6 for 15 with three homers, a stolen base, six runs scored and seven RBI since his call-up from Triple-A Memphis.

The rookie now has a trio of two-hit games in September, and all three have included a homer. His current power surge has his line at an impressive .308/.357/.590 over 42 plate appearances.

Harrison Bader may find it difficult to secure playing time going forward as Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler could return from their respective injuries this week. Bader is worth a look in deeper leagues if he remains in the lineup.

On the Brink

PlayerPositionTeam
Ronald AcunaOFAtlanta Braves
Willie AdamesSSTampa Bay Rays
Chance AdamsSPNew York Yankees
Franklin BarretoSSOakland A's
Tyler BeedeSPSan Francisco Giants
Lewis BrinsonOFMilwaukee Brewers
Walker BuehlerRPLos Angeles Dodgers
Willie Calhoun2B/OFTexas Rangers
Lucas GiolitoSPChicago White Sox
Ronald Guzman1BTexas Rangers
Brent HoneywellSPTampa Bay Rays
Scott Kingery2BPhiladelphia Phillies
Austin MeadowsOFPittsburgh Pirates
Alex VerdugoOF Los Angeles Dodgers

Three Up

Luke Weaver, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

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Fantasy owners looking for the breakout pitcher next season should look at the 24-year-old Luke Weaver.

With his latest victory, he moved his record to 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA and is striking out batters out at an 11.25 K/9 rate. He has struck out eight or more batters in four out of his five starts. In addition, he has never walked more than two a game. His K-BB percentage is fourth-best in the league over that period, behind just Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, and Chris Archer.

The expectations for Luke Weaver have been high due to his amazing minor league numbers. He was 10-2 with 2.55 ERA for Triple-A Memphis this season, while striking out almost 25 percent of the batters he faced while walking about six percent. Since 2014, he was 25-11 with a 1.99 ERA, 8.8 strikeouts per nine and just 1.8 walks per nine in the minors.

Luke Weaver is a strong fantasy starter that should already be owned in most, if not all formats.

Lucas Giolito, SP, Chicago White Sox

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Lucas Giolito is a former consensus top five overall prospect.  In 2015 and 2016, Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus considered Giolito a top-10 minor leaguer. His status slid in the preseason rankings and fell even further when they were updated midseason

Giolito has had a uneven season in 2017. Prior to the Triple-A All-Star game, he started 17 games and went 3-8 with a 4.98 ERA. In seven starts after the All-Star break, he posted a 3-2 record with a 3.29 ERA with just 18 walks over 38.1 innings of work.

Now 23 and the youngest starter on the White Sox staff, Giolito is the first pitcher since Chris Sale to have double-digit strikeouts within his first three career starts. He has now allowed just a single run through 14 innings over his past two starts, while posting a 2-0 record with a 0.64 ERA and 14 strikeouts.

His strong finish to the season means that Giolito should be owned and started in the majority of leagues and someone to have on your fantasy radar for the 2018 season.

Jake Junis, SP, Kansas City Royals

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Jake Junis displayed some of the inconsistencies that you would expect from young and inexperienced starter in the first half of the season, posting a 5.66 ERA in the first half.

Since rejoining the Royals’ rotation in August, he has allowed three or fewer earned runs in all five of his starts and his 15 strikeouts in his last two starts shows his upside. He posted a 3-0 record with an ERA of 2.96 in August and pitched to a 4-0 record and 2.86 ERA in the second half of the season so far, while posting an 0.88 WHIP.

Junis has proved himself to be a more than a productive starter at Triple-A Omaha of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He recorded a 2.92 ERA with a 10.9 K/9 and a 1.9 BB/9 along with a 1.07 WHIP.

Fantasy owners should not sleep on Jake Junis next season.

Three Down

Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets

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Dominick Smith has struggled to this point in his big league career. He is now hitting just .200 since being called up.

In the hitters’ friendly Pacific Coast League, Smith was having a career season offensively. He had a .330/.386/.519 slash line with 16 homers and 76 RBI in 114 games. It followed a breakout season at Double-A Binghamton in which Smith reached double-digits in homers (14) for the first time.

While his long-term upside remains high, Smith probably shouldn’t be counted on to produce in seasonal formats at this stage of the game.

Lucas Sims, SP/RP, Atlanta Braves

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Lucas Sims has shown flashes through the first month of his major league career. His considerable inconsistency keeps him from being a reliable option. Sims, who just fell to 2-5, has allowed at least four earned runs in four of his first seven starts. The Braves have seen enough and now Sims will pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the season.

He has a 5.73 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 26 strikeouts in 37.2 innings as a starter.

Lucas Sims does have potential but his stuff screams to have him make the switch to a late-inning role. Stay tuned in 2018.

Paul Blackburn, SP, Oakland A’s

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Paul Blackburn (wrist) is expected to miss the remainder of the season after being hit by a comebacker late last month.  He was transferred to the 60-day DL on Tuesday, marking the season officially over for the right-hander.

In his 10 starts this season, Blackburn went 3-1 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. He pitched into the six innings in eight of his starts. He provided a sorely needed reliable option every fifth day for the A’s.

The recovery time from the injury combined with the necessity of bullpen sessions and potentially a rehab assignment meant that return is extremely unlikely with just a month to go.  The A’s have no reason to rush him back with the A’s on pace to lose 90+ games this season.

Additionally, the minor-league season will be over.  There will not be options for the rookie right-hander to get in any rehab innings.

Look for Paul Blackburn to be in the Oakland A’s rotation next season. Fantasy owners should view him as a streaming option in all formats because none of his peripheral numbers really stand out.


Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL and college football, MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS!) and MMA. He is an avid Cleveland and Ohio State sports fan. He has been called a Sports Geek by friends and foes alike and that fits him perfectly. He has been competing in fantasy sports, mainly fantasy football and baseball for over 20 years. He participates in numerous fantasy football leagues annually and is the commish in his two biggest money leagues. Also, participates in up to four fantasy baseball leagues annually and is the commish in one league that has been competing for over 15 years. Dennis has won several leagues in each sport and is the team to beat in the league and everyone knows it. Dennis is also an avid DFS player in both football and baseball. Dennis is a student of all sports and normally calls out what the game announcers say before they say it. Coming soon....twitter account.

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