Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Brendan Rodgers, Willie Calhoun join the prospect parade

It's been an incredible week for prospect callups, with big names like Keston Hiura and Austin Riley getting the call, joined by promising options like Oscar Mercado and Nicky Lopez. And the flood hasn't stopped yet, as two more got the call heading into Friday's action. And one is extraordinarily exciting: Brendan Rodgers.

Scott White was all set to write about Rodgers in his Prospects Report column Thursday, but reports surfaced that Rodgers would be getting the call to make his MLB debut Friday, pushing him from "Five on the verge" to "One who is already here."

Here's what Scott had to say about Rodgers:

"Rodgers has basically been Yordan Alvarez since about two weeks into the season, batting .427 (35 for 82) with seven homers and a 1.283 OPS in his past 21 games, and finally appears to be living up to his top prospect standing — which, to be fair, has remained steady despite his ups and downs in the years since the Rockies drafted him third overall. 

'What I see through my scouting eye is him, time and time, laying off tough pitches — good breaking balls that are strike-to-ball — or taking those the opposite way,' senior player development director Zach Wilson recently told MLB.com 'It's allowing him to get into better counts and stay in the middle of the field. We saw that in spring training, and thought eventually the hits would pile up. They have over the last three weeks.'

Though naturally a shortstop, Rodgers has been playing mostly second base, where he's more likely to break in given the presence of Trevor Story. One of his impediments to the role at second, Garrett Hampson, just got optioned after a miserable start, and Ryan McMahon, the darling of spring training, hasn't been quite as miserable to begin the year but has been an obvious sore spot after failing in previous stints as well. Maybe the Rockies finally move on from him or maybe Daniel Murphy gets hurt again, allowing McMahon to shift to first. But sooner or later, a change is coming."

That chance is here, and you should expect Rodgers to play close to everyday now that he's up. And he's the kind of prospect who can make a significant impact for Fantasy, especially playing half his games at Coors. He projects to be a plus power hitter, with three straight seasons of at least 17 homers in no more than 114 games. Don't expect much speed, but Rodgers could be a four-category contributor in this Rockies lineup.

Down the road, it wouldn't shock me to see Rodgers ride the thin air of Coors Field to a top-two-round draft spot someday. For now, he's a must-add Fantasy option, somewhere between Hiura (my favorite callup of the week) and Riley. When waivers run, you should be willing to put up 25% of your FAAB budget down.

Five more to add on waivers

Willie Calhoun (13%) — Calhoun isn't on the Rodgers level of prospects, but his history — top prospect who gets called up sporadically but never sticks, yet keeps mashing in the minors — should remind you of another recent success story: Alex Verdugo. When we say "All Calhoun does is hits," it's meant quite literally, as nearly all of his value will come from his bat. However, with three seasons of at least 23 homers under his belt, he can hit quite a lot. And he does it without sacrificing contact. In an ideal world, Calhoun can be a 25-homer guy with a low enough strikeout rate to hit in the .280 range. He had two hits including a homer in five trips to the plate without striking out in his debut Wednesday, a good preview of what might happen.

Tommy La Stella (64%) — I'll admit, I remain deeply skeptical of this quite literally unbelievable start to the season from La Stella. He has now more than doubled his career homer total in just 38 games, after he hit his 11th of the season Wednesday. With nine hits in his last 15 at-bats, he's scorching hot, and whether I buy into it fully or not, he's doing too much to simply leave on the waiver wire if you see him.

Willians Astudillo (69%) — With Mitch Garver out with a high-ankle sprain, there's going to be a lot of playing time available for Astudillo. He's been in a slump, going 2 for 16 in four games back from his own injury, but he should play pretty regularly moving forward, and we know you're at least going to get a healthy batting average from him. That's enough to make Astudillo a must-own catcher in all two-catcher formats, and a reasonable starting option in one-catcher leagues, too.

Luke Jackson (60%) — The Braves' bullpen has been a major issue, but Jackson hasn't. He locked down another save Wednesday, his fourth in his last five appearances, striking out three with no baserunners allowed in two innings of work. He now has a 2.05 ERA with 27 strikeouts and seven walks in 22 innings. He's the guy here.

Logan Forsythe (5%) — It was a century ago in Fantasy years, but Forsythe was a legitimately useful option as recently as 2016, when he hit .264 with 20 homers and six steals in 127 games. Forsythe has been a lot better than even that this season, hitting .316/.414/.541 for the Rangers in 2019, with nine hits in his last six games. He doesn't play every day, but he plays enough to be worth a look in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues.

Winners

Yu Darvish — 11 strikeouts and zero walks in 5.1 qualifies as Darvish's best outing of the season, and it's not particularly close. It's just one start, but it's a promising one.

Ronald Acuna — I was skeptical that Acuna could live up to first-round expectations this season, primarily because the Braves didn't show a willingness to let him run when he wasn't batting leadoff last season. In 36 games batting fourth, he attempted two steals this season; in five since being moved to leadoff, he's up to three. Let's hope he stays there.

Kenta Maeda — It had been a rough start for Maeda, who had a 5.20 ERA through his first five starts. After Wednesday's 12-strikeout gem, he's down to 3.51 for the season, with 52 strikeouts in 51.1 innings. He's back to normal.

Losers

German Marquez — It was a tough matchup for Marquez Wednesday, but you still expect him to hold his own against a team like Boston on the road. His ERA now stands at 3.80, with a dramatic home/road split. That may just be who he is, given where he spends half his games.

Miguel Andujar — Andujar finally opted to undergo surgery on his torn labrum, after initially trying to play through the injury. 2019 goes down as a lost season for him, and given the defensive concerns surrounding him and the Yankees' depth, it's not quite clear what the future holds for him in pinstripes.

J.A. Happ — Happ was always a solid pitcher to have fall into your lap late in drafts, but he became someone to covet in 2019. That hasn't gone as planned. He struck out just three batters Wednesday, his fourth start out of nine with three or fewer. He'll turn things around somewhat, but with a 10th/11th-round ADP this season, it's looking like a long shot he'll end up returning value for those who drafted him. 

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories