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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Week 2 Highlights

The 2024 Fantasy Baseball season is underway, which means a whole new crop of rookies and first-year players are making their debuts across Major League Baseball. Each week this Rookie Report will look at the recent production of these players and what it means in a fantasy baseball context.

Rookies are among the most volatile assets in the fantasy baseball game, with the opportunity both to boom or bust right in front of us. Rookies and first-year players are a part of teams’ plans more than ever before; just take the World Series Champion Texas Rangers, for example. Rookie Evan Carter played in the postseason for the Rangers, but now DH Wyatt Langford and SP Cody Bradford join him and are key cogs of a team that hopes to repeat their championship.

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 past performances will hopefully help us look into a little bit of their future.

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Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Hitters

Jackson Chourio (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .276/.300/.517, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 2 R

Mostly from the bottom of the order, Jackson Chourio is starting to make his mark, now with a couple of home runs and a steal over the past eight days. After Garrett Mitchell was injured, Chourio was promoted to leadoff until Oliver Dunn took over, a sign that Chourio could make a leap up in the lineup if his strong start continues.

Jung Hoo Lee (OF, San Francisco Giants

  • .200/.268/.286, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, 2 R

It’s been a tough second week for Lee. He is in a 1-for-17 slump and has no RBI since he hit a home run on March 30. The Giants are keeping the faith, batting him leadoff in every game he has started so far, and he is still striking out less than 10% of his plate appearances. International players often need an adjustment period at some point, so hopefully Lee is just getting his out of the way early.

Wyatt Langford (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .265/.316/.353, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB, 3 R

I wonder when the last time was Wyatt Langford ever went eight straight games without a home run. Tee ball? Ever? Langford is making good contact and has an 11% barrel rate, but he just has to get his line drive rate way up over its current 14%. He’s too good a power hitter to remain without a home run for much longer, especially since he has been bumped up to third in the lineup.

Evan Carter (OF, Texas Rangers)

  • .208/.406/.333, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 6 R

Neither of the Rangers’ top rookies is having much success on offense, although Evan Carter is giving us a masterclass on how to draw walks so far. He has eight walks in eight games to salvage his value at least in OBP fantasy leagues. That on-base prowess is allowing him to score runs, but the power and speed game has been almost non-existent to this point.

Victor Scott II (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .083/.154/.139, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 SB, 6 R

Victor Scott looks completely overmatched right now, and he doesn’t have a hit in his last 15 plate appearances. He also hasn’t drawn a walk in four games, so his other-worldly speed doesn’t even get a chance to get showcased on the basepaths. This could result in a quick demotion when any of Dylan Carlson, Lars Nootbaar, or Tommy Edman return.

Colton Cowser (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

  • .455/.455/.636, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 1 R

Another Baltimore Orioles’ prospect – Colton Cowser – currently isn’t starting every day, but he is making the most of his chances when he does get an opportunity. Across parts of eight games, he has five hits including two doubles. Cowser might be relegated to a fourth outfielder role for a while, but if the Orioles want to try and find a taker for Austin Hays or Ryan O’Hearn, the pathway could clear up.

Brayan Rocchio (SS, Cleveland Guardians)

  • .310/.375/.482, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 4 R

Guardians’ shortstop Brayan Rocchio is a new name to monitor as he takes over the shortstop position full-time. Rocchio is walking 9.4% of the time and already has five doubles among his first nine Major League hits. Rocchio was consistently a 10-HR/15-SB guy in the minors and there is no reason he can’t do that now if the playing time remains consistent.

Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Pitchers

Jared Jones (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • 2 Start, 11.2 IP, 1 W, 3.86 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 13.1 K/9

Jared Jones improved on his impressive first start to allow just two runs with six strikeouts to the mighty Baltimore Orioles this weekend. He now has more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings and didn’t walk a single batter in his last start. With Paul Skenes likely to join the Pirates soon, Pittsburgh may have found themselves a pair of aces that can beat any other cards their opponents might be holding.

Shota Imanaga (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 2 Starts, 10.0 IP, 1 W, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 13.5 K/9

Shota Imanaga had his second straight gem cut short by rain on Sunday afternoon, as he was only able to finish four innings against the Dodgers. In that most recent start, he struck out three and didn’t walk a batter. He kept his ERA at an immaculate zero, and the Dodgers could only manage two baserunners in four innings. Chicago may have found themselves an ace for the next four years, and Imanaga and his nasty splitter are making batters look foolish.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

  • 3 Starts, 11.0 IP, 1 W, 4.09 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 12.3 K/9

After the implosion in South Korea to start the season, Yamamoto has not allowed a run over his next 10 innings, bringing his ERA down to around 4.00. He also has 13 strikeouts over those 10 innings, as “Yoshi” is starting to round into the form that the Dodgers thought they were paying $325 million for. Most importantly, Yamamoto has not allowed a home run yet this season, and keeping the ball in the yard is exactly what the oft-injured Dodgers pitching staff needs.

Abner Uribe (RP, Milwaukee Brewers)

  • 3 Saves, 4.0 IP, 0 W, 6.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4.5 K/9

It hasn’t been pretty at times for Abner Uribe, but he is tied for the Major League lead with three saves through the season’s first 10 days. It’s been an up-and-down ride with Uribe being perfect in two of his outings, but allowing three earned runs, four hits, and a walk in the other two. He is the guy with the ninth inning right now, and it’s possible he holds it until Devin Williams’ return.

Jordan Wicks (SP, Chicago Cubs)

  • 2 Starts, 8.2 IP, 0 W, 4.15 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 13.5 K/9

Overshadowed somewhat by Shota Imanaga, Jordan Wicks has started in the rotation this year and been a strikeout machine. He has 13 punch-outs in less than nine innings, but it has been somewhat neutralized by more than four walks per nine innings. He must keep men off the bases if he wants to maintain anything close to his current 4.15 ERA.

Max Meyer (SP, Miami Marlins)

  • 1 Starts, 5.0 IP, 0 W, 3.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 7.2 K/9

After Eury Perez got officially shut down and Braxton Garrett was not ready to return from injury, it was hot prospect Max Meyer getting the call to start this past week. He allowed just two runs while keeping men off base against the Los Angeles Angels. Meyer is likely here to stay in this rotation with all of the Miami injuries, and Meyer has a history with many seasons of over 10 strikeouts per nine innings in the minor leagues.

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.

Justin Foscue (1B/3B, Texas Rangers) – Rangers’ prospect was called up to take the roster spot for Josh Jung after he broke his wrist on a hit-by-pitch and will miss 8-10 weeks. The 25-year-old only had 15 AAA plate appearances before getting the call and was hitting just .231/333/.231. He did get his first Major League hit Sunday night against Josh Hader, but it doesn’t look like many starts are ahead for Foscue, if the lineup over the weekend is predictive of what’s to come.

Heston Kjerstad (1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles) – Outfied prospect Heston Kjerstad joins the next guy on this list as the two most ludicrous players to still be in AAA. Kjerstad still being down there is especially silly since he is 25 years old and spent time with the big club in 2023. Kjerstad is hitting .500/.548/1.111 over eight games with six home runs and 25 RBI (including a 10-RBI game). It’s just a matter of when, not if, Kjerstaf gets the call whenever the service time clock dictates it.

Jackson Holliday (SS, Baltimore Orioles) – Even though he is just 20 years old, Orioles’ shortstop (or second baseman) of the future Jackson Holliday doesn’t seem to be having much trouble in AAA this season. Through eight games, he has a .343/.478/.629 line with two homers and a steal (plus 18 runs scored). Either Ramon Urias or Jorge Mateo are about to get sent down or traded to make room for the number one prospect in all of baseball. Holliday likely plays shortstop with Gunnar Henderson moving to third when he arrives.

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