Generally, most of the top-shelf MLB prospects get called up in June, yet as the season goes on and injuries pile up, some teams still have deep enough farm systems to be calling up big-time rookies even now.
Are they worth adding to your roster at this point? A lot of that depends on your roster, of course. Generally, the rookie hitters are going to have a better shot at delivering quality stats down the stretch than rookie pitchers. The adjustments to MLB talent are just more challenging for pitchers.
There are always exceptions, however, so keep an eye on the waiver wires to see where rookie help might be a benefit to your team as you chase down the league leaders in the dog days of summer.
Players to Get on Your Team Now
1. Ian Kennedy, RP, Kansas City Royals: Look who is closing in K.C. these days! He has 20 saves and is still owned in barely a third of online fantasy leagues. How is that possible? Don’t ask—just grab him off waivers if you can. Kennedy may have found a second career as a closer.
2. Jason Vargas, SP, Philadelphia Phillies: Ignore his age (36) and lifetime 4.25 ERA, for now. In his last four starts, Vargas has given up just eight earned runs in 24 innings pitched, and he’s notched 22 Ks in the process. He is hot right now, and the Phillies are making a postseason push.
3. Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays: Another son of a former MLB star, his first week in the majors has been good (.407 average, 11 hits in 30 plate appearances). Bichette is a top prospect, and the Blue Jays stink, so grab him especially if you’re in a keeper league.
4. Josh VanMeter, UTL, Cincinnati Reds: He has hit well so far, although he’s in a platoon. The good news is VanMeter faces all the righties, and he’s done well with that so far through 84 ABs (four HRs, 11 RBI, 3 SBs, .876 OPS). See how long the 24-year old can keep it up if he can fit into any of several positional slots for your team.
Players to Drop to Waivers Now
1. Luke Jackson, RP, Atlanta Braves: Thanks to injuries, he ended up as the Braves closer, but he’s not doing that anymore after the team made several trades last week. Drop him and appreciate the 17 saves you did get out of him unexpectedly in 2019.
2. John Means, SP, Baltimore Orioles: A biceps strain is never a good injury for a pitcher, and even if he is coming back off the disabled list, let someone else roll the dice on that situation. He had a 5.24 ERA in July with that injury, and chances are he’s going to experience more of the same despite the time off.
3. Nick Markakis, OF, Atlanta Braves: He has a .701 OPS in the second half, anyway, and now he’s got a fractured wrist. No way he comes back anywhere near 100 percent from that in time to make a difference down the stretch. Waivers time for Markakis.
4. Rámon Laureano, OF, Oakland Athletics: Our misfortune streak continues, in recommending guys and then watching them get hurt soon thereafter. Laureano had 15 HRs and 40 RBI since June 1, but now he’s on the DL with a shin injury. That’s not good for his game, and he’s out for at least four weeks. The A’s want him healthy for the postseason, so he won’t be rushed back.