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2018 Prospects - Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 2)

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.

The Shohei Ohtani train keeps rolling along. He’s quickly become a sensation and might already be one of the most exciting players in all of baseball. It is not out of the question to think he will eventually calm down — he can’t just keep hitting home runs and striking out every batter he faces — but he certainly has provided fantasy owners with exactly what they paid for at the beginning of the year.

More explosive prospects could be on the way shortly. It is getting close to Ronald Acuna time and Franklin Barreto has already been promoted to the majors — though he might be sent back once Chad Pinder is healthy again. This could be an exciting year for prospects and fantasy owners will want to continue to pay attention for potential stash chances.

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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. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 12 PA, .000/.083/.000, 0 HR, 0 SB, 8.3% BB%, 33.3% K%
ETA: Mid-April
Acuna will be able to be promoted Saturday while allowing the Atlanta Braves that extra year of team control. He has gotten off to a slow start at Triple-A, but that really shouldn’t matter. The 20-year-old outfielder has the chance to be one of the most dynamic fantasy prospects in recent memory and should already be stashed in all leagues. At this point, it is just a matter of days.

2. Nick Senzel (3B/SS, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 17 PA, .235/.235/.294, 0 HR, 1 SB, 0.0% BB%, 29.4% K%
ETA: Mid-April
A fractured thumb for Eugenio Suarez sent many scrambling to the waiver wire to pick up Senzel, but the Cincinnati Reds instead opted to promote Alex Blandino. Senzel is almost certainly major-league ready, but the rebuilding Reds will likely wait until next week to call him up and save that extra year of arbitration. Even when Suarez returns to full health, Jose Peraza has been an absolute nightmare at the plate and could easily be replaced by the much more offensive-gifted Senzel. Once promoted, Senzel’s combination of a plus-plus hit tool with plus power and above-average speed make him a worthy add in most leagues.

3. Gleyber Torres (2B/3B/SS, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 18 PA, .333/.333/.611, 1 HR, 1 SB, 0.0% BB%, 27.8% K%
ETA: Mid-May
Neil Walker has just not been able to hit as much as he needs to so far to begin the year. He was expected to be the primary roadblock for Torres given the now-New York Yankees’ top prospect’s playing time at second base, but a sub-.250 batting average is just not going to be enough if Torres hits as he is expected to. All the 21-year-old infield utility prospect does is hit everywhere he goes, and now fully healthy from his Tommy John surgery, he is ready to claim a spot on the Yankees’ roster. Once he reaches the majors, he might hit near the bottom of the lineup — which is not altogether a bad thing given the insane depth of the lineup. Torres would provide fantasy owners with a high batting average and could slug 15 home runs if promoted in May. The chance for strong counting stats and high floor make him an extremely exciting fantasy prospect and one worth owning in most leagues if given the chance to shine in the big leagues.

4. Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 22 PA, .190/.227/.238, 0 HR, 0 SB, 4.5% BB%, 36.4% K%
ETA: Early May
As it seems to be with every prospect, service time is the major reason Calhoun is not in the big leagues right now. Though defense could be the stated excuse the Texas Rangers give, it is clear the primary reason for his being in Triple-A is due to the fact the Rangers will gain that extra year of control over him if they limit his service time just a bit longer. Calhoun is limited to the outfield now which is disappointing to fantasy owners who would have liked to have seen him at second base. But his bat is so explosive that it should play very well in the outfield. He makes a ton of contact and always seems to hit the ball with authority. In a full season of work, Calhoun has what it takes to hit .290-plus with 30 home runs. He will be worth owning in all leagues once promoted.

5. Victor Robles (OF, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 15 PA, .385/.467/.385, 0 HR, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 6.7% K%
ETA: Early June
Robles was nearly seriously injured Monday and underwent examination Tuesday. It appears the touted outfield prospect will be good to go again shortly, which is a welcome sight for fantasy owners. Though not as exciting as Acuna, Robles has a plus hit tool, plus-plus speed and above-average power that make him an exciting fantasy prospect. And with Michael A. Taylor continuing to flounder at the major-league level, it should not be too long until the Washington Nationals decide to use the upgrade from within. Service time will be a consideration with him, but once promoted, Robles has what it takes to stay in the majors the rest of the season and be an impact bat in at least 12-plus team leagues.

6. Austin Hays (OF, BAL, AA)
Stats: 23 PA, .143/.217/.286, 1 HR, 1 SB, 8.7% BB%, 34.8% K%
ETA: Early June
In a somewhat puzzling move, the Baltimore Orioles decided to send their top prospect to Double-A to begin the 2018 season rather than Triple-A. Hays tore apart Advanced Class-A and Double-A last season before reaching the majors in September for a cup of coffee. However, here he is beginning the season at Bowie to start off the year. It should not matter too much. Hays is an exceptional prospect with both a plus hit tool and power. He does not take too many walks, but he also does not strikeout too much which helps his fantasy value. Hays currently sits behind Colby Rasmus and Anthony Santander in the depth chart, but he has what it takes to surpass both those players without much time. If he reaches the majors, his thunderous bat in the middle of a strong lineup would warrant owning in most 12-plus team leagues.

7. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 13 PA, .333/.385/.417, 0 HR, 0 SB, 7.7% BB%, 0.0% K%
ETA: Early June
Much as it has been seemingly throughout his entire career, Meadows’ value this season will come down to his health. Few doubt the tools the former ninth-overall pick possesses. He has an incredible knowledge of the strike zone, flashes plus speed, consistently drives the ball with authority. Scouts view Meadows as someone with the chance to hit .300 while posting 20/20 seasons regularly if he reaches his true ceiling. Meadows sits behind Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, but the rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates might move Dickerson if Meadows proves he’s ready for the big leagues. Meadows has what it takes to be one of the most exciting fantasy prospects in the game if he can stay off the DL and would be worth owning in all 12-plus-team leagues if he can carve out a regular role in Pittsburgh.

8. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 7.0 IP, 1.29 ERA, 0.51 FIP, 42.3% K%, 0.0% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early May
You’ve really got to feel for Flaherty. It would be tough to get much more out of him than what he provided the St. Louis Cardinals in his one start in the majors this season. Five innings with one run allowed on six hits and one walk with nine strikeouts. He then is demoted to Triple-A and essentially does the same thing only better, allowing one run over seven innings while scattering five hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts. Flaherty’s stuff is not going to fool too many hitters in the big leagues, but he knows how to wield his arsenal and offers one of the highest floors of any starting pitching prospect. He should be back up in the majors before too long and would be worth owning in all 12-team leagues.

9. Luiz Gohara (SP, ATL, 10-Day DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Late May
Gohara showed in 2017 what he can do on the mound and impressed all who had the chance to watch him when he debuted in the majors. He flashed one of the most lethal fastball/slider combinations from the left side. His control and changeup development are the next steps for him, but it is clear Gohara will miss plenty of bats when given his chance again to start in the majors. Gohara is recovering from an ankle injury and could start in the minors once he returns to full health, but it should not be long until he is in the big leagues again. And with his strikeout upside, he is worth taking a flier on in most 12-team leagues.

10. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 4.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1.90 FIP, 31.3% K%, 6.3% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early July
In his first start of the season, Buehler showed why he is considered one of the most exciting pitching prospects in the game. He spun four innings of one-run ball with just three hits and one walk allowed while striking out five batters. The stuff and control are not as much in question with Buehler. Scouts think he will be just fine in both those departments. Instead, there is concern over his durability given that he has never thrown over 100 innings in a professional season. If he is ever going to hit that milestone, it will have to be in 2018 for him to reach the majors. The Los Angeles Dodgers have plenty of pitching depth to keep Buehler in the minors for a while. Buehler could benefit from potential injuries or force his way to the big leagues, but he will have to prove he can handle the starter’s workload if promoted.

11. Alex Reyes (SP, STL, 60-Day DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Mid-June
Making his way back from Tommy John surgery, Reyes is not expected to hit a big-league mound again until late May at the very earliest. Even when he returns, it’s possible the Cardinals decide to use him just as a bullpen arm to ease him back into big-league action. His immense strikeout upside makes him among the more intriguing fantasy arms for the 2018 season. However, he still has work left in front of him before he can be a recommended stash in 2018 redraft leagues.

12. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 4.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.39 FIP, 47.1% K%, 11.8% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
Kopech only lasted four innings in his first start of the Triple-A season, but it was a dandy. He walked two, gave up two hits, did not allow a run and struck out eight. Hitters simply struggle to catch up to the overpowering fastball and come up looking silly against a wipeout slider. Kopech has control issues to address and a changeup that requires additional development before he is ready for the big leagues. And while the Chicago White Sox are often slow to call up their prospects, Kopech could force their hand over the summer. He might not see any time in the big leagues until September, which is the risk with Kopech. However, he is an elite talent and would warrant owning in all 10-team leagues once promoted given his incredible upside.

13. Luis Urias (2B/SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 19 PA, .385/.579/.385, 0 HR, 0 SB, 26.3% BB%, 15.8% K%
ETA: Mid-June
Scouts often seem to like to tease fantasy owners with Urias. Though most consistently grade him as a below-average power hitter, some scouts see Urias as a small body with a strong swing that could develop 20-homer power if he just puts some loft under his already strong swing. That is probably a bit of a stretch for Urias — especially given his future home of Petco Park. However, fantasy owners can take comfort in knowing that Urias has one of the most gifted hit tools in the minors and should be able to hit for a high average in the big leagues once he is given a chance. Even if the power does not come around as much, Urias offers a high floor from a middle-infield position and could potentially be valuable enough to start in some 12-team leagues.

14. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: (from MLB) 7.0 IP, 5.14 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 17.7% K%, 5.9% BB%, 14.3% HR/FB
ETA: Early May
In just seven innings in the majors, Woodruff did little to inspire. He posted a 5.14 ERA and a 4.45 FIP with a 17.7 percent strikeout rate and 5.9 percent walk rate. The lack of success sent Woodruff back to Triple-A for now, but he should be back up before too long. He is not a super high upside pitcher. However, he should be good for a lower ERA closer to 3.90 or 4.00 with a near-20 percent strikeout rate and fewer walks. He is not ever going to be worth owning in super shallow leagues, but if Woodruff can lock up a starting role in Milwaukee, he would be a solid depth add in 12-team leagues and could be a starting option in shallower leagues.

15. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 20 PA, .389/.450/.556, 0 HR, 1 SB, 10.0% BB%, 15.0% K%
ETA: Early July
It is somewhat difficult to get particularly excited by Gordon. Unlike his brother, Dee Gordon, Nick lacks any particular standout skill. He is not super fast, will not hit for much power and is only an above-average hitter for average. However, Gordon stands out for his ability to provide a little bit of everything. He has enough pop to hit 10-15 home runs in a full season of work and match that in stolen bases while batting around .270. With Jorge Polanco currently suspended and Eduardo Escobar best suited for a utility role, Gordon could emerge as a starting option for the Minnesota Twins over the summer if they remain in the hunt for the wild card. Gordon’s high floor makes him a solid depth add in some 12-team leagues if he is promoted to the big leagues.

16. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 13 PA, .308/.308/.308, 0 HR, 0 SB, 0.0% BB%, 15.4% K%
ETA: Late June
The most appealing thing about Verdugo from a fantasy perspective is his floor. His combination of plate discipline and ability to consistently barrel up the baseball lead scouts to believe he should not struggle to post a high batting average in the big leagues. The problem is Verdugo is not much of a power hitter and is not super fast on the bases. Scouts think he could at least be a 15/15 player, but he will need to work to reach that ceiling. Still, he is not far off from playing time and there is a lackluster list of veterans blocking him to the majors, which he should be able to pass with just a solid start to the season by Verdugo and struggles by some of the veterans. He should do enough to be owned in 12-team leagues as a depth outfield option once promoted.

17. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 3.2 IP, 9.82 ERA, 5.59 FIP, 25.0% K% 10.0% BB%, 20.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
Adams is buried underneath a mountain of quality starting pitching options the Yankees have. Pitchers are always prone to injuries and anything could happen, but it looks like a lot would have to take place for Adams to reach the majors as one of the Yankees’ five starting pitchers. His best path to playing time appears to be as a trade chip around the deadline. He has what it takes to be a quality No. 3 starter for fantasy owners, but his lack of a clear path to playing time means he is not yet a great stash option.

18. Anthony Alford (OF, TOR, A+)
Stats: 4 PA, .333/.500/.333, 0 HR, 0 SB, 0.0% BB%, 0.0% K%
ETA: Early July
If Alford could just stay healthy, he might already have a starting role in the majors. However, that has been the problem for him, and now he is expected to be sent to Triple-A once he is finished with his rehab assignment at Advanced Class-A. He fits the typical leadoff hitter mold, flashing an above-average power with plus-plus speed, while also showing average power. He could be a very reliable fantasy contributor in the outfield on top of a solid lineup once he regains his health and reaches the majors, making him a solid add in 12-plus-team leagues. It all comes down to whether or not he can return to full health.

19. Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 21 PA, .286/.286/.286, 0 HR, 2 SB, 0.0% BB%, 14.3% K%
ETA: Early June
Fowler was set to begin the season in Triple-A after struggling mightily through the spring and recovering from a serious knee surgery, but he is one of those players who might not be in the minors for long. He is sitting behind really just Boog Powell in center field in Oakland and offers a much more explosive skillset than Powell. Fowler has plus speed and above-average pop that could allow him to be a 15/30 hitter in the majors if given a full season of work. Scouts also grade his hit tool as above-average due in part to his ability to make plenty of contact despite a lack of patience at the dish. Fowler’s approach could lend itself to a slower adjustment period than most, but he has the skills fantasy owners would want to see out of a sleeper pick later in the year.

20. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS, AA)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early August
There is no guarantee that Jimenez will be promoted in 2018, which obviously makes him a very risky stash option. He has only a few at-bats at Double-A and the Chicago White Sox have typically been slow to call up prospects. But Jimenez is a much more well-rounded hitter than Yoan Moncada, who struck out over 30 percent in the minors and still does in the majors. Jimenez’s bat has fewer holes in it and he seems like the kind of prospect who would not take long to adjust to big-league pitching. He is no guarantee to be promoted, but his incredible bat warrants at least attention from fantasy owners in all leagues to monitor his progress through the minors.

21. Christian Arroyo (3B/SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 17 PA, .067/.176/.067, 0 HR, 0 SB, 11.8% BB%, 17.6% K%
ETA: Late May

22. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 17 PA, .250/.294/.438, 0 HR, 0 SB, 5.9% BB%, 11.8% K%
ETA: Early August

23. Francisco Mejia (C/3B/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 21 PA, .263/.333/.316, 0 HR, 0 SB, 9.5% BB%, 23.8% K%
ETA: Early August

24. Austin Riley (3B, ATL, AA)
Stats: 21 PA, .333/.429/.500, 0 HR, 0 SB, 14.3% BB%, 23.8% K%
ETA: Mid-August

25. Mike Soroka (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 5.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.74 FIP, 29.4% K%, 5.9% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

26. Kolby Allard (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: NA
ETA: Early August

27. Steven Duggar (OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 18 PA, .188/.278/.250, 0 HR, 1 SB, 11.1% BB%, 33.3% K%
ETA: Late May

28. Max Fried (SP, ATL, AA)
Stats: 4.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 31.6% K%, 15.8% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early July

29. Magneuris Sierra (OF, MIA, AAA)
Stats: 17 PA, .059/.059/.059, 0 HR, 0 SB, 0.0% BB%, 23.5% K%
ETA: Early August

30. Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL, AAA)
Stats: 25 PA, .360/.360/.880, 4 HR, 0 SB, 0.0% BB%, 20.0% K%
ETA: Early August


MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, LAA)

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

3. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIA)

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

5. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN)

6. Brian Anderson (3B, MIA)

7. Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI)

8. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK)

9. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

10. Ryan McMahon (1B/3B, COL)

11. Joey Lucchesi (SP, SD)

12. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN)

13. J.P. Crawford (3B/SS, PHI)

14. Chance Sisco (C, BAL)

15. Mitch Garver (C, MIN)

16. Carson Fulmer (SP, CWS)

17. Anthony Santander (OF, BAL)

18. Christian Villanueva (3B, SD)

19. Dan Vogelbach (1B, SEA)

20. Tyler Austin (1B, NYY)

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