Fantasy baseball players love their rookies. Whether you are talking about a Baseball America top-10 prospect like Jarred Kelenic or a player like Ha-Seong Kim, who left the Korean Baseball Organization to start fresh in the United States, fantasy players routinely push their chips all-in on the rookies with the hope of discovering the next big thing.
It’s called “Shiny New Toy Syndrome,” and none of us are immune. We love the clean slate, the promise of what may come and the hope that sprigs eternal when competing for a championship. And best of all, there are so many from which to choose.
The first wave arrives during spring training. This season we watched Ke’Bryan Hayes and Dylan Carlson, among others, carve out roles for themselves with their respective teams, and we knew that by drafting them, for better or for worse, we would see an immediate impact. A hot start from Jazz Chisholm kept us amped up, while injuries to Hayes and struggles for players like Leody Taveras left us looking ahead to the next wave.
The service-time fight between players and management tends to highlight the action in April, as budding superstars like Kelenic and Alex Kirilloff force their teams into calling them up. Whether there are injuries or underperforming veterans, some general managers understand that fielding the best possible team is vastly more important than keeping a player down for an extra year of control.
Some have already been drafted by over-exuberant fantasy managers, while those who remain on the open market become Priority No. 1 during waiver claims. We are now at this point in the 2021 season — bubbling with anticipation for the third wave.
Mid-June to late June marks the Super-Two deadline, when clubs can safely call up rookies without affecting service time. Bobby Witt Jr., Vidal Brujan, Wander Franco and Jesus Sanchez should all be arriving by the end of the month, so if you are able to acquire and stash any of them, now is the time. All three are highly touted and dominating at the minor league level. It may hurt to lose a bench spot for a two- or three-week stash, but it should be worth it.
For Julio Rodriguez and the rest, the final wave arrives Sept. 1. You may see a few trickle in here or there, but late August is your target date for those stashes. In the meantime, stay focused on the next wave as these will likely be the most important and impactful.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.