Baseball is back in our lives and the grind of a full season is finally hitting some of the rookies on this list. A few have responded quite positively and others have been completely overwhelmed. After two plus weeks of action youngsters like Kyle Drabek and Michael Pineda have flourished, while others like Brandon Belt and Freddie Freeman seem to be overmatched. Some new names have jumped into the rankings this week and other entrants are familiar, having made the list in the preseason. Patterns are certainly starting to develop and tendencies can easily be seen so now more than ever make sure to pay close attention and get your learn on.
1) Kyle Drabek – Tor (LW:1)
With his first three professional starts under his belt, Drabek has done absolutely nothing to dispel the notion that he is rookie of the year worthy. Despite some uncharacteristic walk totals to start the season, Drabek has been able to escape damage and presently sports a sparkling 1.93 ERA in 19 innings. He got himself into a bit of trouble in his last outing against the Mariners, but limited the damage by surrendering only two runs in 5.2 innings. A stiff test against the Yankees next week will give us all a clear indication of just how bulletproof this youngster actually is.
2) Michael Pineda – Sea (LW:4)
Michael Pineda has made just two starts thus far in the early going, but the results have been extremely impressive. He held an explosive Rangers lineup to just three runs in six innings his first time out and kept the Blue Jays offense at bay in his most recent start. He gave up just one run in seven plus innings on Tuesday while striking out 7. His 11/3 strikeout to walk ratio is very promising and shows that his electric fastball has enough behind it to get on top of hitters very quickly. There is still a bit of doubt as to how he will fare once teams get a book on him and develop a scouting report, but his raw stuff is good enough to get him through the bumps along the way.
3) Zach Britton – Bal (LW:6)
Britton is another young gun who has taken the league by storm in the early going and has provided his team with immediate dividends. He is sporting a microscopic 0.66 ERA after his first two starts and has kept two very respectable offenses at bay. His multiple pitch arsenal and exceptional control have contributed to all the early success. Britton has been very effective at locating his heavy sinker and keeping the ball in the park, which has done wonders in terms of limiting mistakes. His peripherals wont blow you away, but his poise will. He remains a viable option in fantasy baseball games.
4) Craig Kimbrel – Atl (LW:3)
Kimbrel takes a small hit in the rankings this week, but it was due in large part to a lack of activity. The Braves just haven’t needed him all that much this week so he hasn’t notched a save. He has still yet to be scored on in his first five professional innings and has racked up nine strikeouts in that time span. The young flamethrower has only walked one batter in his first five innings as well and has shown the type of control necessary of a closer. He has taken the 9th inning role by storm and wont be letting loose anytime soon.
5) Jeremy Hellickson – TB (LW:2)
Jeremy Hellickson takes a bit of a dive in the rankings this week after a shaky performance his last time out against the Red Sox. Pitching in the AL East will provide its fair share of bumps and bruises, but Hellickson will need to be better in order to remain effective. Although he was able to grab a win in the game, he struck out just one batter while walking five. If not for the general ineptitude of the Boston offense, he would have been burned badly. He will improve for sure, but don’t expect double-digit K’s each time out.
6) J.P Arencibia – Tor (LW:7)
Arencibia just continues to smash the ball all over the yard. His average sits at a remarkable .323 after 31 at-bats which is a real nice sample size in terms of what you can expect from the young backstop going forward. His power number also offer a great deal of promise and he has the Blue Jays feeling quite satisfied with their decision to bring him to the majors to begin the year. He has also done a fantastic job of calling games and handling a young and emerging Toronto pitching staff, which will keep him in the lineup for the immediate future.
7) Alexi Ogando – Tex (LW:NR)
Alexi Ogando is a new addition to the rankings this week after a spring training that was marked with uncertainty. There was much speculation as to whether or not Ogando would begin the season as the Rangers closer or in the rotation but one thing is for certain, this kid can bring it. He has yet to be scored on in his first 13 innings of work and with a potent offense behind him, this youngster could be well on his way to a rookie of the year type season. His strikeout numbers don’t jump out at you, but those figure to rise as the season progresses.
8) Brandon Beachy – Atl (LW:5)
A slight dip in value for Brandon Beachy this week as he ran into some of the same issues that plagued Jeremy Hellickson as well. Beachy hasn’t made it past the sixth inning in any of his starts thus far and was lit up for five runs in 5+ innings his last time out against the Marlins. His peripherals are still decent enough for him to remain effective, but he will need to keep the ball in yard with more consistency to be useful to his team and to fantasy baseball owners alike.
9) Brent Morel – CHW (LW:NR)
Brent Morel is a rookie who was known for his glove coming into the season, but surprisingly the glove has deserted him and instead he has found his stroke. His numbers aren’t eye-popping, but he has filled in at third base admirably for the White Sox and they appear comfortable using him there for the foreseeable future. He will need to hit more consistently to stay in the lineup, but the talent is certainly undeniable. Time will tell if he can develop more power while focusing on improved defense at third.
10) Lonnie Chisenhall – Cle (LW:NR)
Lonnie Chisenhall is a young infielder who made these rankings in the early stages of spring training, but was sent down by the Indians which led to him falling off the list. He is still in AAA with the Columbus Clippers, but is making a very strong case for a promotion back to Cleveland. The Indians presently have the perpetually mediocre Jack Hannahan manning third base, but have made it very clear that Chisenhall is the future. He has done a good job of limiting his strikeouts and has played his position very well so far which leads me to believe he will be back up with the big club sooner rather than later.
Dropped Out: Brandon Belt (SF), Freddie Freeman (Atl), Jordan Walden (LAA)