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2018 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 15)


Hello everyone, and welcome to my weekly Top-30 Fantasy Rankings for 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.

It might have seemed an unlikely week for prospect promotions, but there were a slew of players called up within the past couple days. Kyle Tucker, Nick Kingham, Jalen Beeks, Enyel De Los Santos, Greg Allen, Steven Duggar, Corbin Burnes and Sandy Alcantara, all of whom have been on this list at one point, were given the promotion to join the big-league club.

There are still plenty of names with exciting fantasy potential left in the minors, but the list is starting to draw thin and a lot of the players will need help from trades to clear space. Needless to say, once the trade deadline passes in a couple weeks, this list will again look drastically different.

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. Austin Riley (3B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 236 PA, .311/.377/.566, 11 HR, 1 SB, 8.9% BB%, 30.1% K%
ETA: Early August
Riley has begun his rehab assignment and will start working his way back to Triple-A. Once there, he will have to pick up right where he left off to show he’s ready for the majors. Riley is someone who could be a big boost to the Atlanta Braves, who need a right-handed power bat and could use an upgrade at third base. Riley still has some strikeout woes he will need to improve, but the power potential is there for him to really help both Atlanta and fantasy owners down the stretch if he’s given a chance in the big leagues.

2. Christin Stewart (OF, DET, AAA)
Stats: 311 PA, .266/.347/.498, 15 HR, 0 SB, 10.9% BB%, 19.6% K%
ETA: Late July
Stewart is still dealing with a calf injury, but once he’s back to full health, it should not be long until he’s back in the majors. Stewart has done everything he’s needed to do at Triple-A to show he’s big-league ready, starting with cutting into his usually high strikeout rates. Stewart has the power needed to be a potent contributor in fantasy leagues and someone worth rostering in mixed formats.

3. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 244 PA, .350/.393/.513, 7 HR, 4 SB, 7.0% BB%, 13.1% K%
ETA: Early August
Verdugo’s name is being tossed around in trade rumors, a prospect that should be very exciting for fantasy owners. Verdugo has no reason to be in Triple-A right now beyond the fact the Los Angeles Dodgers are stacked in the outfield. Verdugo would probably be a starter for nearly any other team and would be able to help fantasy owners out with at least solid production across the board. He’s not the most exciting prospect, but given playing time, he would be productive enough to warrant owning in plenty of mixed leagues.

4. Peter Alonso (1B, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 367 PA, .277/.411/.520, 19 HR, 0 SB, 15.5% BB%, 21.5% K%
ETA: Late July
Alonso is still looking to find his footing at Triple-A. It seems to be that when he makes contact, it’s almost certainly for extra bases. The problem is, he’s striking out at a 30.9 percent clip right now and is only batting .171. With his plate discipline, he should be able to start correcting this all soon and get back on track. If he can fix his issues, he should not have much of a problem pushing aside Dominic Smith for playing time in the majors. Right now, it just all comes down to performance.

5. Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL, AAA)
Stats: 208 PA, .304/.365/.663, 19 HR, 3 SB, 8.7% BB%, 24.5% K%
ETA: Late July
O’Neill was placed on the disabled list and could be sent back to the minors when he returns if St. Louis no longer needs another outfielder. He has seen the majors several times this season and has for the most part been unfazed, but there is no clear path to playing time without an injury. He could be a valuable trade chip for St. Louis and would start nearly anywhere else though, which makes him someone worth monitoring in most leagues.

6. Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 369 PA, .296/.341/.429, 7 HR, 4 SB, 5.1% BB%, 10.6% K%
ETA: Late July
Calhoun continues to rake at Triple-A. The only problem is, he is blocked in both corner outfield spots by Shin-Soo Choo, Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara. Calhoun has started to show why he is considered a top prospect, but the path to playing time is not currently there. The Rangers might try to trade off Choo, which would free up space for Calhoun to play, but for now, owners will have to be patient until playing time becomes more available to Calhoun.

7. Kolby Allard (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 97.1 IP, 2.96 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 20.0% K%, 7.3% BB%, 5.6% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
Allard is going through a confusing stretch of games lately. He has struck out at least eight in three of his past four starts, but he’s being hit around a bit more, having allowed at least seven hits in three of the four. His stuff has never been one to miss a ton of bats, but he has always located well enough to consistently record outs and keep himself away from too many crooked numbers. He should be able to get back on track and make a strong case for big-league playing time later this summer, but it will be important to monitor him the rest of the way to see if he has any prolonged struggles.

8. Cedric Mullins (OF, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 378 PA, .300/.359/.499, 10 HR, 15 SB, 7.7% BB%, 13.2% K%
ETA: Early August
The Baltimore Orioles are currently on pace for 44.5 wins this season. Just let that sink in. It’s been truly an abysmal year for the club and a firesale has to be coming at some point in the future. Even if a Manny Machado trade doesn’t impact Mullins, a trade of Adam Jones or Mark Trumbo would help the speedy center fielder’s path to the majors. Mullins has performed well at both Double- and Triple-A this season and seems to be one of the more promising prospects in a farm system largely devoid of top prospects. He should get his chance to play in the big leagues this season and even if the rest of the team is not very good, he has the power/speed combination to help out fantasy owners who add him.

9. Matt Thaiss (1B, LAA, AAA)
Stats: 365 PA, .284/.337/.504, 13 HR, 3 SB, 7.1% BB%, 18.9% K%
ETA: Early August
Even with Shohei Ohtani back, the Los Angeles Angels still need another decent left-handed bat in the lineup. Kole Calhoun has been fine this season, but the lineup remains too right-handed heavy. Acquiring someone via trade doesn’t seem terribly likely at this point given that Los Angeles could end up selling, so a promotion for Thaiss could be to come later this summer. He has knocked the cover off the ball this season and has continued to rise through Double-A into Triple-A. It’s tough to tell if the power is for real, but if Thaiss truly has embraced the fly-ball revolution, he could be a pleasant mix of batting average and power for fantasy owners in plenty of leagues.

10. Kevin Newman (2B/SS, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 343 PA, .307/.355/.393, 2 HR, 21 SB, 6.4% BB%, 10.8% K%
ETA: Early August
The Pittsburgh Pirates have cooled down after a hot start and could be faced with the decision to sell or stand pat at the deadline. Should they head down the sell path, Josh Harrison’s name could be tossed around in trade rumors as someone the Pirates might want to move. If he is dealt away, Newman seems to be the likely replacement. He has hit well enough at Triple-A, though he certainly has not knocked the cover off the ball, and probably deserves a look in the big leagues. He offers owners plenty of speed with a hit tool that should play in the majors. Newman wouldn’t be worth owning in all leagues, but he could provide value for teams in need of some middle-infield depth.

11. Danny Jansen (C, TOR, AAA)
Stats: 264 PA, .288/.411/.474, 7 HR, 4 SB, 12.9% BB%, 13.3% K%
ETA: Mid-August
There’s no reason to believe the Toronto Blue Jays are going to do anything but sell at the deadline. And while Russell Martin seems unlikely to go, that doesn’t mean the sell might move them into more of a rebuilding mode, which could mean Jansen would see time in the big leagues. He’s shown he’s ready with the bat and only needs to improve on his receiving skills, which he could improve on by working with Martin. If he is given a shot to take away starting minutes from Martin down the stretch of the season, his bat would play well enough in plenty of leagues to warrant owning.

12. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 82.1 IP, 4.70 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 30.1% K%, 15.2% BB%, 8.2% HR/FB
ETA: September
Kopech was cruising through three starts once again and then had another dumpster fire on July 5. The flame-throwing right-hander managed just three innings and allowed four runs on three hits and four walks with six strikeouts. The talent is clearly there for Kopech, who has shown he can be untouchable at times. The problem is he is walking batters at the highest rate of his career right now and can’t string together any consistent outings. He has the potential to be a high-impact player for the White Sox and could help fantasy owners in September if he can rein in his command. But he still has a ways to go before he can prove that.

13. Francisco Mejia (C/3B/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 319 PA, .279/.330/.431, 7 HR, 0 SB, 5.6% BB%, 18.2% K%
ETA: Early August
Mejia was injured after being hit by a pitch a couple days ago for Columbus, but it should not have much of an effect on his fantasy stock. Sure, Mejia could be the injury replacement for Yan Gomes later in the season, but most are starting to view him as a trade chip the Cleveland Indians might use to snag a top quality reliever. Mejia has shown this season that his bat is certainly ready for the big leagues and his defensive versatility could help get him into the lineup for any other team. Owners would prefer he stay at catcher, but the bat will play well anywhere and should help fantasy owners if given a chance to play regularly.

14. Forrest Whitley (SP, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 21.0 IP, 4.29 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 34.1% K%, 9.1% BB%, 10.0% HR/FB
ETA: September
Whitley is ineligible for the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t help out the Houston Astros in September. The Astros have made it clear they will be playing meaningful baseball in October and could have the division locked up in September if the Seattle Mariners start to fall back to Earth. If that’s the case, the Astros could opt to give Whitley a chance to eat up some innings out of the rotation and help rest some starters for the postseason in September much in the same way Walker Buehler helped the Los Angeles Dodgers last year. Whitley has a ton of fantasy potential and could be the best rookie pitcher to own in 2019, so owners should jump at the opportunity to grab him if he gets a chance to pitch at all in 2018.

15. Kevin Kramer (2B/SS, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 331 PA, .277/.341/.476, 11 HR, 7 SB, 7.9% BB%, 26.0% K%
ETA: Early August
If the Pirates do go into sell mode, Kramer is another player who could benefit from the playing time. Like his double-play partner Newman, Kramer is a solid hitter who can offer a little bit more than just a high batting average. He is a better power hitter than Newman, but does not quite offer the same speed. Kramer has more risk because he strikes out more than Newman does, but he might have the higher ceiling because of the power/speed combination. Though he won’t be an elite fantasy player by any means, Kramer could help fill in a hole if he has a chance to receive regular at-bats at the big league level.

16. Dakota Hudson (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 104.1 IP, 2.42 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 17.8% K%, 8.1% BB%, 1.3% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
There are plenty of pitching prospects with stuff that would seem to be swing-and-miss stuff, but for whatever reason just don’t miss any bats. Hudson is one such pitcher. His repertoire is well-rounded and can be explosive, but he hasn’t racked up the strikeout numbers some would expect of him. Still, he has been effective at Triple-A, and nearing the trade deadline, figures to be one of the Cardinals’ best trade chips since they don’t need him in the majors and he has produced. If promoted, he figures to be a pitcher similar to Nick Kingham who will be an effective middle-to-back-end-of-the-rotation starting pitcher for fantasy owners.

17. Ryan McMahon (1B, COL, AAA)
Stats: 167 PA, .263/.323/.461, 6 HR, 0 SB, 7.2% BB%, 28.1% K%
ETA: Early August
It’s mostly been a season to forget for McMahon who lost a starting role in the majors and has been bouncing between Triple-A and Colorado ever since. However, since the start of July, McMahon has found his swing for Albuquerque, slashing .333/.343/.636 with a pair of long balls in eight games. He certainly has the power and has shown at least a little bit in the past to be capable of hitting for a decent average. If he can find some consistency at the plate and find his way back to a starting role in hitter-friendly Coors Field, McMahon could still provide plenty of value to owners.

18. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 204 PA, .235/.348/.465, 9 HR, 3 SB, 13.2% BB%, 31.9% K%
ETA: Early August
Barreto might be starting to show his true profile. Though it’s still tough to deem a 22-year-old a finished product — and I certainly am not going to do that — it appears at this point the hit tool has lagged behind his power and he hasn’t channeled his speed as much as some thought he might. Still, scouts aren’t giving up on him just yet and given that he’s already been called up several times this season, it’s clear Barreto is someone the Oakland Athletics believe is near ready. Even if he strikes out too much, he has made himself into an effective power hitter with enough speed to make him an intriguing player to own in some deeper leagues.

19. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 275 PA, .313/.371/.541, 12 HR, 0 SB, 8.4% BB%, 16.0% K%
ETA: September
Jimenez has been dealing with an injury lately, but there are still some who believe the White Sox will promote him in September. He has hit well when healthy at Triple-A and has little left to prove in the minors. Even if he is up for just a month of the season, Jimenez’s power makes him one of the most enticing fantasy prospects in baseball and a must-own for the stretch playoff run.

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
There have been no recent updates to Guerrero’s health since the last top 30 ranking that came out. Guerrero appears to be ahead of schedule, but it is still unclear how that affects his fantasy stock. He has immense fantasy potential — more than anyone else on this list — but it awaits to be seen if he will be given the call this year or wait until early 2019.

21. Luis Urias (2B/SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 377 PA, .278/.391/.411, 6 HR, 1 SB, 14.3% BB%, 20.7% K%
ETA: September

22. Griffin Canning (SP, LAA, AA)
Stats: 70.2 IP, 3.18 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 28.9% K%, 11.3% BB%, 5.7% HR/FB
ETA: September

23. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 366 PA, .282/.318/.435, 7 HR, 8 SB, 4.4% BB%, 16.7% K%
ETA: September

24. Drew Dosch (3B, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 247 PA, .293/.356/.455, 5 HR, 1 SB, 8.1% BB%, 26.7% K%
ETA: Early August

25. Justus Sheffield (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 85.0 IP, 2.44 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 27.4% K%, 11.0% BB%, 4.5% HR/FB
ETA: September

26. Victor Robles (OF, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 19 PA, .313/.421/.313, 0 HR, 2 SB, 15.8% BB%, 10.5% K%
ETA: September

27. Myles Straw (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 396 PA, .322/.414/.396, 1 HR, 48 SB, 12.6% BB%, 14.9% K%
ETA: Mid-August

28. Carson Kelly (C, STL, AAA)
Stats: 191 PA, .283/.366/.446, 5 HR, 0 SB, 11.5% BB%, 11.5% K%
ETA: Mid-August

29. Ryan Mountcastle (3B/OF, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 235 PA, .316/.366/.509, 8 HR, 0 SB, 6.8% BB%, 15.7% K%
ETA: September

30. Spencer Adams (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 102.0 IP, 4.06 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 16.4% K%, 7.2% BB%, 11.6% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Juan Soto (OF, WAS)

2. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

3. Gleyber Torres (2B, NYY)

4. Shohei Ohtani (DH, LAA)

5. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT)

6. Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU)

7. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)

8. Josh Hader (RP, MIL)

9. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL)

10. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

11. Freddy Peralta (SP, MIL)

12. Colin Moran (1B, PIT)

13. Harrison Bader (OF, STL)

14. Willy Adames (SS, TB)

15. Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK)

16. Jake Bauers (OF, TB)

17. Brian Anderson (3B/OF, MIA)

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

19. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN)

20. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN)




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