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2018 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 14)


Hello everyone, and welcome to my weekly top 30 fantasy baseball rankings for 2018 impact rookies! In this series, I will be going over the top prospects in baseball and discussing which ones figure to have an impact for the rest of this fantasy baseball season.

There have been tons of injuries lately. However, some of the top guys are starting to come back. Both Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna have returned from their injuries. You will notice that the rookie rankings have been reflected to show that with Acuna reclaiming the top spot and Ohtani settling in at No. 5. Ohtani would have been higher, but there’s still a considerable amount of uncertainty surrounding him and his health.

With the trade deadline fast approaching and rumors swirling, these prospect rankings could be pretty important for owners. They will give owners a glimpse of trade chips as well as guys who could benefit the most from trades below them. Expect to see these rankings changing quite a lot between now and the first release in August.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Top MLB Prospects - Fantasy Baseball Power Rankings

To be clear, this list is not the top 30 prospects in baseball. This is a list of the top 30 prospects who are likely going to rise to the major leagues and provide fantasy baseball value this season. The qualifications are simple: a player must not be on an active roster, they must have a clear path to the majors, and while they may have played in seasons prior to 2018, they must still have rookie eligibility. If a player is moved to the active roster of their team, they will be removed from this power rankings list and replaced.

 

1. Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 366 PA, .304/.371/.512, 13 HR, 14 SB, 9.8% BB%, 19.1% K%
ETA: Late July
After a scorching hot June, Tucker cooled off in July, slashing just .105/.150/.211 with only one extra-base hit so far. Of course, that is an incredibly small sample size and is really nothing to worry about for fantasy owners. The overall numbers for Tucker speak for themselves and show that he is ready for a big-league assignment. Finding playing time is a little tough at the moment with Tony Kemp playing so well alongside George Springer and Josh Reddick in the Houston Astros’ outfield, but these situations have a way of working themselves out. Expect Tucker to be promoted at some point soon and immediately step up as a key hitter in the Astros’ lineup.

2. Austin Riley (3B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 222 PA, .308/.369/.552, 10 HR, 1 SB, 8.1% BB%, 29.7% K%
ETA: Early August
Riley is currently out with a knee injury, but he should be back from that shortly. He had been producing strong numbers at Triple-A and appeared to be making a strong case for a call-up, but the injury did him no favors. He will need to prove he’s ready again for the majors once he’s back to full health. If he can force his way up to the majors, he has the power and middle-of-the-order profile needed to be a worthy add in plenty of fantasy leagues.

3. Christin Stewart (OF, DET, AAA)
Stats: 308 PA, .269/.351/.504, 15 HR, 0 SB, 11.0% BB%, 19.8% K%
ETA: Early August
As you all will see, injuries are quite the theme for many of the top prospects on this list. Unfortunately, Stewart too is currently on the DL with a calf injury. His does not seem too severe and he should be back in short order, but it’s important as always to monitor injuries for these prospects. If the injury proves minor, he should be able to return and force his way up to the big leagues before too long where his power would help him provide value to owners in 12-plus-team leagues.

4. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 240 PA, .351/.396/.518, 7 HR, 4 SB, 7.1% BB%, 12.5% K%
ETA: Early August
Verdugo’s numbers are really just pretty ridiculous overall, and they’ve been especially absurd over the past five games. He is slashing .625/.647/.875 with a home run and both a 5.9 percent walk and strikeout rate. It is painfully obvious that Verdugo is major-league ready, but he just doesn’t have the path to playing time. However, if he were to be traded to a team like Baltimore in a deadline move, he would almost certainly become a big leaguer right away. Verdugo is ready for the show. How he gets there right now is the only question.

5. Peter Alonso (1B, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 350 PA, .287/.420/.532, 18 HR, 0 SB, 16.0% BB%, 20.6% K%
ETA: Early August
Dominic Smith has continued to flounder in New York, but Alonso is off to a similarly cold start in Triple-A. The numbers overall look better for Alonso because he continues to walk and hit for power, but he will need to get that batting average above .194 and needs to cut down on his 28.6 percent strikeout rate. He is more than capable of doing that, so owners should continue to keep tabs on him as the summer goes on. All he needs to do is show he’s just a little bit better than Smith and he should get the start at first base for the Mets.

6. Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 351 PA, .291/.333/.430, 7 HR, 3 SB, 5.1% BB%, 10.8% K%
ETA: Mid-July
Since June 6, Calhoun has been doing everything he can to show those early season struggles were a thing of the past. He owns a .361/.389/.556 slash line and has three home runs with a minuscule 6.2 percent strikeout rate. He is hitting the way many expected him to when the season began, which should give fantasy owners hope that he will be up in the majors before too long. Calhoun has plenty of power and makes a ton of contact, helping him stand out as one of the game’s top bat-first prospects. He would be worth owning in all 12-plus-team leagues if called up and could be worth owning in some shallower if he can get back to where he was last year.

7. Jalen Beeks (SP, BOS, AAA)
Stats: 82.2 IP, 3.05 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 32.8% K%, 6.9% BB%, 13.7% HR/FB
ETA: Late July
Drew Pomeranz was awful in his rehab starter and Steven Wright is still out with his knee injury. And while Beeks wasn’t great in his lone start for Boston, it seems like he should receive another chance in the big leagues at some point. He has been outstanding at Triple-A despite a repertoire most scouts aren’t totally sold on in the big leagues. Beeks has missed plenty of bats and has located his pitches well, which should help him to at least provide fantasy owners with a solid cushion if he is promoted for the long term. Like with many prospects on this list, his surprising 2018 campaign could make him a trade chip and he could produce value as a starter for another big-league team.

8. Matt Thaiss (1B, LAA, AAA)
Stats: 348 PA, .292/.345/.517, 13 HR, 3 SB, 7.2% BB%, 18.7% K%
ETA: Early August
The Los Angeles Angels received the left-handed bat they needed with the return of Shohei Ohtani, but they certainly could use some more thump in the lineup. While Thaiss is not known as a slugger, he has joined the fly-ball revolution at Triple-A and has started to find some of his power. It is tough to say how much of his power will carry over to the big leagues if he is promoted, but his hit tool should be able to help him maintain at least solid value. He is worth monitoring in fantasy leagues since he would still offer a high floor with his ability to hit for average.

9. Kolby Allard (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 92.0 IP, 2.93 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 19.1% K%, 7.6% BB%, 5.8% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
Allard is one of the safest pitching prospects in baseball. Most view him as someone who will locate well enough at the big leagues to keep hitters from being able to kick him around. The drawback on him is that his stuff is not overpowering and the concern is that he has very little room for error. Still, the Atlanta Braves haven’t received what they would’ve liked from Luiz Gohara and Allard has proven he is a reliable pitching option at Triple-A. It would not be surprising to see him join the big-league club later this summer and get a chance at a few starts, making him a potentially valuable add in 12-plus-team leagues.

10. Cedric Mullins (OF, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 359 PA, .300/.356/.498, 9 HR, 14 SB, 7.2% BB%, 13.1% K%
ETA: Early August
The Baltimore Orioles have been atrocious and it’s only a matter of time until the fire sale begins. Manny Machado. Adam Jones. Maybe more. With all the moves that are about to happen, the team will need fresh players to come up and start moving the team in its younger direction. Mullins doesn’t have the hype that comes with Austin Hays or Ryan Mountcastle, but he has produced at every level of the minors he’s been at and profiles as a future leadoff-hitting center-fielder who can offer a bit of pop and some speed. Mullins is not the most exciting prospect in the world, but he could put up reliable numbers for fantasy owners if given the chance to start later this summer.

11. Danny Jansen (C, TOR, AAA)
Stats: 248 PA, .283/.397/.449, 5 HR, 4 SB, 11.7% BB%, 13.3% K%
ETA: Early August
The Toronto Blue Jays have certainly not been as bad as the Orioles this season, but they certainly are not in playoff contention anymore. They have fallen flat and it looks like they too might start making some moves. Russell Martin doesn’t figure to be a move made given his offensive struggles and the time left on his contract, but he is clearly in decline. That is why it would make sense for a team like Toronto to promote the MLB-ready bat in Jansen to learn receiving skills in time with Martin so Jansen will be ready as the starter in 2019 when both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are ready to make an impact in the majors. It could be a fun team next year to watch in Toronto, and right now, it seems Jansen has the best shot of being the first core member to reach the big leagues.

12. Francisco Mejia (C/3B/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 306 PA, .283/.331/.441, 7 HR, 0 SB, 5.6% BB%, 18.3% K%
ETA: Mid-August
As long as the Cleveland Indians are interested in adding some top-notch talent, Mejia’s name will be linked with the trade rumors. Everyone will want to grab him, which should make fantasy owners happy. He has no place in Cleveland right now, but his bat is MLB-ready and he could start for plenty other teams. Especially if the other team wants to keep him at catcher, Mejia could have plenty of value for owners. His redraft value for this season would be the most hurt by any player on this list to not be traded.

13. Forrest Whitley (SP, HOU, AA)
Stats: 20.1 IP, 4.43 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 34.1% K%, 8.2% BB%, 10.0% HR/FB
ETA: September
Whitley now has back-to-back rough outings after returning to Double-A on a hot streak. He has allowed 10 runs over his past two starts, spanning just 8.1 innings of work. The talent is there for Whitley to eventually be an ace for nearly any team, but he seems to have hit a little bit of a rough patch in his return. Still, he could be a potential September call-up and could rest some of Houston’s arms by eating some starts, which would be incredibly valuable for fantasy owners in most leagues given his control and dominant repertoire.

14. Enyel De Los Santos (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 89.1 IP, 1.81 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 23.6% K%, 8.3% BB%, 9.8% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
The Philadelphia Phillies have not needed much additional support from other starting pitchers given the success of their rotation, but should there be an injury, De Los Santos seems to be the next man up for the team. He has dazzled at Triple-A this season and could even be used as a trade chip given the success he has found. Most view him as a future bullpen piece, but if he could eat some innings for fantasy owners this season, his ability to miss bats could prove valuable for owners.

15. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 79.1 IP, 4.42 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 29.8% K%, 14.8% BB%, 7.2% HR/FB
ETA: September
Kopech has looked much improved over his past three starts, going at least six innings in two of them and not allowing any more than two earned runs in any of the outings. He also has 23 strikeouts in those 17 innings of work. Those numbers are impressive, but the walks remain high with 10 free passes issued during that span. Kopech should have been on the fast track to the majors this summer, but his control issues have really hurt his chances of a summer call-up. He could still receive a promotion in September if he starts to turn it around though, and his ability to miss bats at an incredibly high rate would make him an attractive fantasy asset to have.

16. Dakota Hudson (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 100.1 IP, 2.33 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 18.1% K%, 8.2% BB%, 1.4% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
The St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation seems pretty well-rounded right now and has no clear holes for Hudson to slide through, but he could become a trade chip for the Cardinals at the deadline. He has not been missing many bats at Triple-A, but he has been able to keeps runs off the board. Plus, given his repertoire, he should be able to find continued success in the majors. If he is promoted, Hudson might not be a reliable source of strikeouts, but he should at least be a solid back-end-of-the-rotation starter.

17. Luis Urias (2B/SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 356 PA, .279/.388/.412, 6 HR, 1 SB, 13.8% BB%, 20.5% K%
ETA: Mid-August
Urias went through a little bit of a cold spell in the beginning of June, but he certainly appears to be back now. Over his past 11 games, he owns a .383/.473/.468 slash line. He has struck out 29.1 percent of the time but has balanced that with a 14.5 percent walk rate. Many view Urias as having one of the top hit tools in baseball and see him potentially tapping into some raw power at the big-league level because of the contact he makes. He needs a couple trades to clear some space for him in San Diego right now, but he could be someone worth adding in plenty of leagues if that space is cleared up.

18. Steven Duggar (OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 342 PA, .273/.354/.421, 4 HR, 11 SB, 10.8% BB%, 29.5% K%
ETA: Early August
The strikeouts have remained high for Duggar, but he has been able to start posting stronger numbers at Triple-A in spite of that. Since May 30, he owns a promising .302/.377/.526 slash line despite a 29.2 percent strikeout rate. He also has four home runs and a pair of home runs in that span. The San Francisco Giants have plenty of outfield options, but few have done much with the chances given to them. Duggar should be the next player to get a look and with his power and speed, he might be worth a look in some deeper leagues.

19. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 275 PA, .313/.371/.541, 12 HR, 0 SB, 8.4% BB%, 16.4% K%
ETA: September
Jimenez returned to pounding the baseball at Triple-A after his promotion from Double-A, but he has now been sat down with a leg injury. It is unclear how long this injury will last or how drastically it affects his chances of a September call-up. If promoted, he has the kind of impact bat that could help owners in all leagues. It just remains a question of whether or not he will be promoted.

20. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3B/OF, TOR, AA)
Stats: 235 PA, .407/.457/.667, 11 HR, 3 SB, 8.5% BB%, 8.9% K%
ETA: September
Guerrero has reportedly been ahead of schedule in his road back, which means he could be playing again in short order. It seems likely he will spend little if any time in Double-A before ascending up to Triple-A. Still, the true effects of his injury are still a little murky, so fantasy owners will want to keep listening out for any news on Guerrero. If he seems likely to receive a big-league call-up, he immediately is worth owning in all leagues. But the odds continue to seem slimmer that will happen at this point.

21. Griffin Canning (SP, LAA, AA)
Stats: 66.0 IP, 3.27 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 28.4% K%, 11.1% BB%, 5.8% HR/FB
ETA: September

22. Nick Gordon (2B/SS, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 351 PA, .283/.320/.428, 6 HR, 8 SB, 4.6% BB%, 16.5% K%
ETA: September

23. Victor Robles (OF, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 15 PA, .385/.467/.385, 0 HR, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 6.7% K%
ETA: September

24. Myles Straw (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 379 PA, .334/.419/.411, 1 HR, 45 SB, 11.9% BB%, 15.0% K%
ETA: Early August

25. Carson Kelly (C, STL, AAA)
Stats: 179 PA, .271/.358/.445, 5 HR, 0 SB, 11.7% BB%, 11.7% K%
ETA: September

26. Justus Sheffield (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 79.2 IP, 2.49 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 27.2% K%, 11.1% BB%, 4.8% HR/FB
ETA: September

27. Sean Murphy (C, OAK, AA)
Stats: 271 PA, .292/.356/.510, 8 HR, 3 SB, 7.4% BB%, 16.6% K%
ETA: September

28. Jon Duplantier (SP, ARI, AA)
Stats: 35.2 IP, 2.52 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 28.5% K%, 7.6% BB%, 8.3% HR/FB
ETA: September

29. Stephen Gonsalves (SP, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 78.2 IP, 3.32 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 26.2% K%, 15.1% BB%, 9.3% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

30. Spencer Adams (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 95.0 IP, 4.36 ERA, 4.86 FIP, 16.4% K%, 7.1% BB%, 12.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

2. Gleyber Torres (2B/3B/SS, NYY)

3. Juan Soto (OF, WAS)

4. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)

5. Shohei Ohtani (OF, LAA)

6. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT)

7. Josh Hader (RP, MIL)

8. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

9. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL)

10. Colin Moran (1B/3B, PIT)

11. Fernando Romero (SP, MIN)

12. Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK)

13. Willy Adames (SS, TB)

14. Jake Bauers (OF, TB)

15. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN)

16. Brian Anderson (3B, MIA)

17. Christian Villanueva (3B, SD)

18. Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL)

19. Nick Kingham (SP, PIT)

20. Scott Kingery (2B/3B/SS/OF, PHI)




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