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2018 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 4)

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.

This was a big week for prospect promotions. Sure, Franklin Barreto was sent back down to Triple-A, but promotions for Gleyber Torres, Walker Buehler and Tyler O’Neill?! Not too shabby.

It awaits to be seen how long Buehler will be in the majors and O'Neill has already been sent down, but Torres should be up for the long haul unless he really struggles to hit. The plan is for him to be the starting second baseman in the Bronx and given his offensive upside, he really is now a must-own in all fantasy formats. The bat is just too special to ignore.

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. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 73 PA, .215/.301/.277, 1 HR, 4 SB, 11.0% BB%, 27.4% K%
ETA: Late April
It remains just a waiting game with Acuna who only needs to hit now to be promoted. However, he has started to get it going at the dish, slashing .310/.375/.414 with a home run and three steals over his past seven games. The Atlanta Braves have already delayed his call-up enough to gain that extra year of control, so it should be any day now that he gets the call. It goes without saying at this point, but there’s no reason Acuna should not already be owned in all leagues.

*Editor's Note: Ronald Acuna was promoted to the majors early Wednesday morning

2. Nick Senzel (3B/SS, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 64 PA, .259/.328/.379, 1 HR, 2 SB, 9.4% BB%, 20.3% K%
ETA: Early May
Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price was relieved last week after his team has gotten off to an absolutely dreadful start to the season. Part of the problem has been the lack of another middle-of-the-order bat since Eugenio Suarez went down with an injury. It seemed that Senzel would be the most obvious candidate to replace him, but he has not been promoted. Suarez is nearing his return from injury, but if Senzel starts to hit in the minors — which is the reason general manager Dick Williams has not promoted him yet — he should still be promoted at some point. Senzel has started to hit as of late, slashing .333/.405/.515 over his past eight games, so there’s becoming fewer reasons to keep him down. There just aren’t enough good bats right now in Cincinnati to keep him in the minors for too much longer.

3. Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 82 PA, .243/.317/.405, 3 HR, 0 SB, 8.5% BB%, 19.5% K%
ETA: Early May
It’s easy to say that Calhoun will be promoted once the Texas Rangers gain that extra year of control, but the same was said about Acuna and Senzel. Calhoun also has not set the world on fire at Triple-A. He has a long track record of crushing in the minors, but given his shortcomings on defense, an added emphasis will be placed on his bat to produce. Like with Senzel and Acuna, it won’t be long until Calhoun is in the majors. He too will be a worthy add in all leagues.

4. Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 87 PA, .270/.360/.392, 1 HR, 2 SB, 12.6% BB%, 18.4% K%
ETA: Mid June
It did not appear earlier in the season Tucker was going to have a clear shot at big league playing time in 2018. With an outfield with George Springer, Josh Reddick and former top 100 prospect Derek Fisher, Houston appeared set in the outfield. But Fisher has not caught fire at the big league level and no other outfielder appears to be doing enough to occupy that third spot. While Tucker has not set the world on fire in the minors just yet either, he has continued to hit at a steady rate just as he has throughout his minor-league career. Tucker offers a high floor with his approach to the plate while combining both well above-average power and above-average speed. Plug his high-upside bat into that stacked lineup and you’ve got a guy who could be a top fantasy asset for owners if he does in fact get the call earlier than initially expected.

5. Austin Hays (OF, BAL, AA)
Stats: 78 PA, .232/.308/.391, 3 HR, 1 SB, 10.3% BB%, 26.9% K%
ETA: Late May
It’s one thing for the aforementioned trio of hitters to struggle at Triple-A. It’s another for Hays to be struggling at Double-A. It’s still way too early to be panicking about Hays given his track record and the belief scouts share that his bat will carry him to the middle of a lineup in the future, but the strikeouts are particularly concerning because he doesn’t have a lot of patience and has always relied on a contact-heavy approach. Hays should get it going eventually and there is a need for him in Baltimore once he starts to turn his production around. He isn’t yet worth stashing, but his bat would make a nice addition to just about any fantasy team.

6. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 20.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 2.47 FIP, 29.0% K%, 4.0% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early May
Flaherty continues to dominate the minors and at this point, it’s only a matter of time until he’s back in St. Louis’ rotation. Though not a future ace, Flaherty has more than proven he’s a quality big-league starter who probably slots in as a No. 3 starter for most teams. The most logical replacement in the rotation is probably Adam Wainwright, who has posted a solid ERA but whose peripheral numbers are bad and whose velocity is way down. Regardless, if he just keeps posting his solid stat lines in the minors, it will be tough to keep him down. He might not be as talented as some of the other pitchers on this list, but he should be considered the one with the highest floor for 2018 redraft leagues and thus worthy of owning in most leagues.

*Editor's Note: Jack Flaherty was announced as the Cardinals' starter for Saturday's game late Tuesday

7. Luiz Gohara (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 7.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 25.0% K%, 9.4% BB%, 14.3% HR/FB
ETA: Mid-May
Rehabbing his way back from injury at Triple-A right now, Gohara figures to have just two more starts in the minors until he returns to the big leagues. The southpaw is a strikeout machine that should jump right into Atlanta’s rotation and have an immediate impact on fantasy owners. Though he might experience some bumps in the road due to spotty control, Gohara is one of the best pitching prospects expected to have a significant role in 2018 and should be owned in most leagues when he’s done rehabbing.

8. Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 74 PA, .275/.311/.304, 0 HR, 5 SB, 5.4% BB%, 13.5% K%
ETA: Mid-May
Like Gohara, Fowler has been slowly making his way back from injury. He looked shaky during spring training, but has started to heat up at the plate. There is not much standing in the way between Fowler and regular playing time in Oakland, so it really is only a matter of time until he takes a starting role in the Athletics’ outfield. He offers a nice power/speed combination with the chance to hit for a decent batting average as long as he keeps the strikeouts down. He won’t set the world on fire like a lot of prospects, but he could be a solid starting option in 12-team leagues once he is promoted.

9. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 27 PA, .217/.296/.522, 2 HR, 0 SB, 11.1% BB%, 29.6% K%
ETA: Early June
Barreto’s tenure in the majors this season amounted to just one at-bat and the dynamic 22-year-old didn’t do anything with it. He also has done nothing in the minors except continue to strikeout a lot, though he has hit for a little more power. Barreto has what it takes to be one of the most exciting fantasy prospects in baseball, but he needs to scale down his aggressive approach and make more consistent contact to best utilize his legs. He could force the Athletics to play him, but with both Jed Lowrie and Marcus Semien proving reliable in the middle of the infield, Barreto needs to do a better job forcing the issue before he can really be considered a stash candidate for redraft leagues.

10. Alex Reyes (SP, STL, DL)
Stats: NA
ETA: Mid-June
Reyes continues to near a potential rehab assignment, which is an exciting thought for fantasy owners. The flame-throwing right hander has all the makings of a future ace, with the only uncertainty being how his control will be given all the time he’s had off. There aren’t many pitchers who boast the type of arsenal Reyes had pre-surgery. The thought is that as soon as he finishes rehabbing, he will return to St. Louis to pitch — perhaps in the bullpen to start, but rotation later. Reyes is one of the game’s best pitching prospects and will warrant owning in all formats.

11. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 45 PA, .293/.356/.390, 0 HR, 2 SB, 6.7% BB%, 15.6% K%
ETA: Early July
Through no fault of his own, Meadows is going to have a tough time forcing his way to the big leagues. The former ninth overall pick has had no problems hitting at Triple-A to start off this season and given his pedigree, he should be able to reach the majors at some point this season. But with Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco entrenched in the Pirates’ outfield and Corey Dickerson off to a hot start, Meadows just doesn’t currently have a clear path to playing time. Still, a trade of Dickerson would free up space in the outfield as would any injury to one of the current outfielders. The murky path for Meadows makes him an unappealing stash option, but he would be worth owning in the event a spot opens up for him.

12. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 15.0 IP, 2.40 ERA, 1.99 FIP, 33.3% K%, 7.9% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early July
The stuff Kopech possesses has been well documented over his years in the minors. There are few that can match his upside. He has work left to do with his control and changeup consistency, but those are really the only two things he still has left that separate him from reaching the majors. He has appeared to have sharper control to start off the 2018 season and if he can continue at this rate, he should be in the majors sooner rather than later. He is an exceptional talent and if he can continue to dominate Triple-A batters like he has to start the campaign, it will not be long until he is in the big leagues.

13. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 68 PA, .297/.324/.531, 4 HR, 0 SB, 4.4% BB%, 20.6% K%
ETA: Early June
Verdugo has long been viewed as a contact over power guy who could be valuable for his defense in the outfield and be a solid, albeit unimpressive bat in the lineup. This season, however, Verdugo has started to hit for plenty of power with already four home runs in the early part of the season with an increased strikeout rate and lower walk rate. It awaits to be seen if he’s selling out too much for power or if he’s finally starting to tap into his raw strength, but Verdugo would be a particularly valuable asset given his already high floor if he adds power to his profile.

14. Victor Robles (OF, WAS, DL)
Stats: 15 PA, .385/.467/.385, 0 HR, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 6.7% K%
ETA: Late July
The injury to Robles has set him back months in what could have been a fairly early promotion to the majors. With Michael A. Taylor struggling, there’s a clear need for another outfielder in Washington. But Robles will have to wait some time and return from his injury before he is ready for that. He could be a valuable player to add, but owners will want to wait a little while before rushing out to claim him on the waiver wire.

15. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 16.1 IP, 1.65 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 21.2% K%, 10.6% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early May
Since being sent down to the minors, Woodruff has done everything he’s needed to do to prove he doesn’t belong at Triple-A. He has allowed just one run in each of his three starts and was especially sharp in his last outing, walking just one with seven strikeouts and three hits allowed over five innings of work. The floor is high with Woodruff given his control and above-average repertoire, though the ceiling is probably no higher than that of a No. 3 starter. Still, there’s enough to like with Woodruff to make him a worthy own in 12-plus-team leagues if he is promoted and is given a chance to occupy a starting rotation spot in Milwaukee.

16. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 18.2 IP, 4.82 ERA, 4.83 FIP, 26.3% K%, 12.5% BB%, 15.0% HR/FB
ETA: Mid-August
The problem with the current New York Yankees’ rotation is that even if a pitcher struggles, all have such a lengthy track record of success that the pitcher would be unlikely to be replaced. Such is the case with Sonny Gray, who has an ERA above 8.00 through four starts this season. Adams has not done nearly enough to prove he deserves a spot over Gray at least so far in 2018, but his success through the minors is well documented and he probably deserves at least a look at some point. He might not get it in 2018 unless he is traded or a Yankee arm is injured, however, leaving him on the outside looking in for playing time.

17. Nick Gordon (2B/SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 68 PA, .375/.382/.578, 2 HR, 3 SB, 2.9% BB%, 14.7% K%
ETA: Early August
Gordon has absolutely knocked the cover off the ball to begin the season at Double-A, and it’s honestly surprising he has not been promoted to Triple-A at this point. Though he’s only 68 plate appearances into this season, he was rock solid last year in a full year of Double-A work and has little left to prove there. If he continues on this torrid pace, it will be tough to keep him down in the minors at all, let alone Chattanooga. He could already be the best option the Minnesota Twins have for shortstop with Jorge Polanco out and Eduardo Escobar struggling. His lack of elite power or speed limits his fantasy upside, but he would offer fantasy owners a high floor and consistent production if given the chance in the majors.

18. Luis Urias (2B/SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 78 PA, .269/.372/.373, 2 HR, 0 SB, 12.8% BB%, 19.2% K%
ETA: Early August
The .269 batting average Urias is currently sporting would be the lowest mark recorded in the career of Urias at any level, and it’s not particularly close. However, he has made up for it by maintaining a high walk rate while clubbing two home runs, just one shy of last season’s total. Urias’ hit tool is considered one of the best in the minors and it should help carry him to the majors at some point this season. He will need a couple infielders to be cleared out first, but he should have what it takes to hit at the big-league level even as just a 20-year-old.

19. Mike Soroka (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 22.2 IP, 1.99 ERA, 1.93 FIP, 27.6% K%, 5.8% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early May
Soroka has dominated Triple-A in his first taste of the league and his last outing was just his latest outstanding showing. The 20-year-old right-hander delivered seven shutout innings with three hits, three walks and four strikeouts. Though the start did not see a lot of strikeouts, Soroka has been able to miss more bats in general this season, something he has not done in the past. Even with his solid repertoire of pitches, Soroka is not expected to be a prolific strikeout artist in the majors. Instead, he will rely on control to pitch to contact and avoid big hits. If he continues to operate in such a way at Triple-A, it will get tough for Atlanta to keep the exceptional talent in the minors for long.

*Editor's Note: Comments from Braves GM Alex Anthopolous that Soroka is "very, very close" have moved his expected ETA to Early May

20. Jake Bauers (OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 60 PA, .231/.333/.385, 1 HR, 4 SB, 11.7% BB%, 21.7% K%
ETA: Early August
The rebuilding Tampa Bay Rays have little to gain by starting Carlos Gomez in right field and plenty by testing Bauers in the outfield. Throw in the injury to Kevin Kiermaier and it really makes sense to have Bauers in the big leagues. However, Bauers needs to start hitting at Triple-A to prove he is worthy of the promotion first. He has above-average pop and a little bit of speed to go along with a consistent bat, but he has just been unable to get things going so far in Durham. He should see Tampa Bay’s outfield at some point this season. Right now, it’s just up to him to prove he should be there.

21. Anthony Alford (OF, TOR, AAA)
Stats: 37 PA, .188/.297/.219, 0 HR, 0 SB, 8.1% BB%, 37.8% K%
ETA: Mid-August

22. Francisco Mejia (C/3B/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 68 PA, .215/.250/.354, 2 HR, 0 SB, 4.4% BB%, 22.1% K%
ETA: Early August

23. Christian Arroyo (2B/3B/SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 27 PA, .200/.259/.240, 0 HR, 0 SB, 7.4% BB%, 18.5% K%
ETA: Early June

24. Mauricio Dubon (2B/SS, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 68 PA, .308/.313/.508, 2 HR, 3 SB, 1.5% BB%, 14.7% K%
ETA: Early July

25. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS, AA)
Stats: 19 PA, .176/.263/.529, 2 HR, 0 SB, 10.5% BB%, 5.3% K%
ETA: Mid-August

26. Steven Duggar (OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 69 PA, .283/.377/.367, 0 HR, 3 SB, 13.0% BB%, 27.5% K%
ETA: Late May

27. Kolby Allard (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 14.2 IP, 3.68 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 21.3% K%, 9.8% BB%, 6.3% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

28. Jorge Mateo (SS/OF, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 71 PA, .182/.225/.212, 0 HR, 4 SB, 5.6% BB%, 31.0% K%
ETA: Early August

29. Magneuris Sierra (OF, MIA, AAA)
Stats: 67 PA, .203/.227/.234, 0 HR, 3 SB, 3.0% BB%, 29.9% K%
ETA: Early August

30. Zack Granite (OF, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 40 PA, .161/.333/.161, 0 HR, 1 SB, 20.0% BB%, 7.5% K%
ETA: Early July


MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Shohei Ohtani (OF/SP, LAA)

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

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

4. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

5. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIA)

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

7. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)

8. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN)

9. Brian Anderson (3B, MIA)

10. Christian Villanueva (3B, SD)

11. Joey Lucchesi (SP, SD)

12. Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI)

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

14. J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI)

15. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN)

16. Chance Sisco (C, BAL)

17. Harrison Bader (OF, STL)

18. Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL)

19. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX)

20. Yonny Chirinos (SP, TB)


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