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2018 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 6)

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.

At this point, it’s only a matter of time until this list is only discussing prospects with late season or unexpected ETAs. Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuna, Walker Buehler, Gleyber Torres, Alex Verdugo, all these top prospects who comprised the top of the list early have been called up. It won’t be long until Willie Calhoun and Nick Senzel join them.

Some might be going back and forth from the minors and majors, however. We’ve already seen it with Nick Kingham, who did well and was quickly sent down, and Brandon Woodruff who has a sub-3.40 FIP. Both should at some point be in the big leagues for good, but look for both to be taking many buses between teams.

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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. Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 135 PA, .252/.319/.374, 3 HR, 0 SB, 8.1% BB%, 15.6% K%
ETA: Late May
Calhoun is right there on the edge. All he has to do is do the thing he has done so well throughout his minor-league career: hit. But right now, he just isn’t doing that. His bat has been relatively dormant since the beginning of the season, and even though it’s not totally cold, it certainly is not enough for Texas to call him up given his immense defensive woes. Calhoun should start hitting at some point and once he does, he will be called up fairly swiftly. Right now though, it’s just all up to his bat.

2. Nick Senzel (2B/3B/SS, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 97 PA, .271/.351/.459, 3 HR, 3 SB, 10.3% BB%, 21.6% K%
ETA: Early June
Senzel experienced some dizziness in a start on May 2 and hasn’t played since. He dealt with vertigo toward the end of last season, so this is somewhat of a concern for the uber-prospect. He was really starting to hit before it happened, and at this point, he could force his way to the majors even with no clear path to starting time. It makes sense now for the Cincinnati Reds to keep him in the minors regardless of his health beyond the Super Two deadline. However, vertigo is a serious issue and it is something that could take some time for him to recover from. His health will be worth following over the next couple days.

3. Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 134 PA, .299/.371/.435, 2 HR, 4 SB, 10.4% BB%, 20.9% K%
ETA: Mid-June
Be warned, Derek Fisher. Tucker is coming. After a slow start to the year, Tucker has nearly raised his average to .300 while Fisher is still whiffing nearly 50 percent of the time. The Houston Astros have given no indication they are willing to demote Fisher just yet, but there’s no doubt that once the Super Two deadline passes, that will become a major consideration. Tucker would offer fantasy owners a little bit of everything and would become a near must-own in all leagues once he is given the call up to Houston.

4. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 30.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 29.7% K%, 10.2% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early June
It’s a good thing for the Chicago White Sox Kopech had a bad outing Sunday because it was getting very hard to justify keeping him in the minors. The flame-throwing right-hander has largely made mince-meat out of every opposing lineup he has faced at Triple-A. It really looks like once the Super Two deadline passes, Kopech should have no problems reaching the majors — especially given the immense struggles of Chicago’s big-league rotation. With his strikeout percentage and chance to be a future ace, he will warrant owning in all leagues.

5. Luiz Gohara (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 15.2 IP, 6.89 ERA, 7.75 FIP, 19.0% K%, 12.7% BB%, 25.0% HR/FB
ETA: Late May
After struggling with an ankle injury and then taking some time to find his footing in the minors, Gohara is now being considered as a bullpen option, David O’Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Gohara will miss a ton of bats and could be a dominant reliever similar to Josh Hader. This role would not close the door on him starting, however, and it would seem likely he would get a couple spot starts here and there, eventually forcing his way into the rotation for good. At this point, owners in most leagues would be happy with a pitcher as overpowering as Gohara reaching the big leagues in any fashion.

Editor's Note: Gohara was promoted late Tuesday night after this story was written.

6. Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 128 PA, .303/.328/.451, 2 HR, 8 SB, 3.9% BB%, 15.6% K%
ETA: Early June
Fowler just continues to prove that it’s ridiculous that he’s not in the majors right now. Batting now over .300 with two homers and eight steals, he really has little left to prove at Triple-A. It’s especially puzzling given that it seemed the only reason he was in the minors to begin with was because he wasn’t hitting in Spring Training and the Athletics wanted to give him some more time. It might be time to stash him in 12-plus team leagues and then wait in shallower leagues until he gets the call. With his hit tool, above-average power and plus speed, he would make an appealing fantasy option in plenty of leagues.

Editor's Note: Fowler was also promoted after this story was written, receiving the call Wednesday morning.

7. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL, AAA)
Stats: 25.0 IP, 2.16 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 28.0% K%, 7.0% BB%, 4.8% HR/FB
ETA: Late May
Flaherty’s last outing in the minors wasn’t spectacular, but at this point, he would really have to struggle to totally fall off fantasy radars. He has too long of a minor-league track record and has pitched too well in the majors for one start to scare off fantasy owners. Flaherty will continue to bide his time in the minors. He could be up and down for a little bit, but if an injury comes up or a starter struggles, Flaherty’s name will be the first called up.

8. Alex Reyes (SP, STL, NA)
Stats: NA
ETA: Mid-June
Reyes is getting closer and closer to a rehab assignment. Given his stardom and explosive stuff, he could instantly be one of the highest owned rookies in the majors. With that said, owners will want to be patient with Reyes, who might have to fight his way back into the rotation and could potentially go the Gohara route and spend some time in the bullpen. But the stuff is nearly as electric as Kopech’s and would warrant owning in most leagues even if he is only in the pen. Continue to monitor his health since he could be a serious game-changer for fantasy owners.

9. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 84 PA, .301/.381/.589, 5 HR, 1 SB, 10.7% BB%, 27.4% K%
ETA: Late June
Barreto is starting to hit again. Since April 22, he owns a .339/.409/.627 slash line with four home runs and a stolen base. The strikeout rate is important to keep in mind given that it is what has plagued him in the majors, and it currently sits at 22.7 percent in that timeframe. No one doubts Barreto has what it takes to succeed in the majors and his power/speed combination in the middle of the infield would make him an elite fantasy prospect to own. But he needs to continue to make more consistent contact before people should go sprinting to the waiver wire. Still, his minor-league success is something to keep an eye on. And if Jed Lowrie is traded this season, Barreto stands to be the major beneficiary of playing time.

10. Austin Hays (OF, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 124 PA, .235/.282/.426, 5 HR, 1 SB, 6.5% BB%, 24.2% K%
ETA: Early July
I could really copy and paste the write-up about Calhoun and put it here for Hays. The opening is there for Hays. If Tucker were in Baltimore’s farm system, he might be up already. But instead Hays has just not hit like he was expected. The biggest issue is that his woes have come at Double-A, an assignment that at the beginning of the year seemed ridiculous and now could be justified. Hays has all the makings of a future middle-of-the-order bat in a near-identical mold of Adam Jones — power, contact, a little bit of speed, zero walks. He will hit eventually and for that, he should be on radars of fantasy owners. But he does not need to be stashed just yet.

11. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 96 PA, .276/.330/.379, 1 HR, 5 SB, 6.3% BB%, 13.5% K%
ETA: Early August
Meadows has done everything he needs to do to reach the majors. He has stayed healthy, he is hitting, stealing bases and playing solid defense in center field for Indianapolis. He just needs the path to get there. If an outfielder gets injured, Meadows should be the first to receive the call. But it’s never safe to bet on an injury. Keep Meadows on all fantasy radars, but don’t stash him until it looks like he will receive the call to the big leagues.

12. Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL, AAA)
Stats: 85 PA, .354/.353/.695, 8 HR, 0 SB, 1.2% BB%, 22.4% K%
ETA: Late July
O’Neill did nothing in his brief taste of the majors, but in only nine plate appearances, it’s probably just too small of a sample size. What isn’t too small of a sample size is his 85 plate appearances in the minors in which he has absolutely demolished Triple-A pitching. Though the walk rate is concerning, O’Neill’s power is very exciting and would be valuable to owners. He could be a trade chip at the deadline or eventually given another shot should an injury come up. Right now, he doesn’t have a clear path with four capable outfielders in St. Louis. But it’s clear he has little left to prove in Memphis.

13. Ryan McMahon (1B/3B, COL, AAA)
Stats: 28 PA, .192/.250/.269, 0 HR, 0 SB, 7.1% BB%, 25.0% K%
ETA: Early July
Sent down after a disappointing start to his major-league career, McMahon needs to really prove himself again to return to the majors. Scouts still love the bat, and when it’s working, he offers both a solid batting average with plenty of power. The extra appeal comes from the fact he calls Coors Field home. However, if he can’t make consistent enough contact, he can’t stay in the majors. He can bring himself back to fantasy relevance, but he has work to do first.

14. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 120 PA, .324/.358/.491, 3 HR, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 20.8% K%
ETA: Early August
You have to feel bad for Adames. He’s doing his best to prove he belongs. But really, who would’ve expected Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson to be doing so well and keep him down in the minors. In terms of pure talent, it’s tough to say right now that either of the two are better than Adames. But performance-wise, they have done just enough to block Adames and keep him in Durham. At some point, Adames will crack through and begin his reign as Tampa’s franchise shortstop. It’s just a matter of time.

15. Victor Robles (OF, WAS, DL)
Stats: 15 PA, .385/.467/.385, 0 HR, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 6.7% K%
ETA: Early August
As is said every week with Robles, his recovery is going to be paramount to his fantasy value. If it goes slowly, he might not reach the majors this season. He is athletic enough, however, to leave open the possibility of a quicker recovery, which could allow him to be in the majors by August. His situation will be one to follow as the months progress.

16. Nick Kingham (SP, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 22.2 IP, 1.59 ERA, 2.08 FIP, 30.3% K%, 7.9% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early July
Nearly perfect in his debut, Kingham proved to be human in his second outing, giving up four runs over 5.1 innings despite seven strikeouts and only one walk. Still, he has looked impressive and is clearly big-league ready. Like a lot of the prospects on this list, he just doesn’t have the path to playing time at the moment. Expect Kingham to be the spot starter the team needs for a double-header or the next guy up if Joe Musgrove struggles in his return to the rotation.

17. Luis Urias (SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 121 PA, .313/.438/.465, 3 HR, 1 SB, 16.5% BB%, 15.7% K%
ETA: Early July
All Urias does is hit. Since April 21, he is slashing an absurd .425/.574/.700 with a pair of home runs and a stolen base. The biggest knock on him has always been that he is small (no pun intended). But in a time where the top college hitter is under 6-foot and the reigning AL MVP is too, size doesn’t really matter as much in the big leagues. The only requirement is to hit. And that’s all Urias does. For that reason, he could be in the majors at some point over the summer and would be worth owning in 12-plus team leagues for his high floor.

18. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 111 PA, .273/.351/.475, 4 HR, 6 SB, 9.9% BB%, 25.2% K%
ETA: Early August
After a rough first week in the minors, Bauers has looked more like himself, slashing .303/.376/.526 with four homers and five stolen bases in 19 games of action. He is making plenty of hard contact and looks ready for a big-league assignment. Though he’s not considered a top-50 prospect, Bauers might be kept down until after the Super Two deadline. He might also stay until after the trade deadline just so the Rays can clear up a spot for him. Regardless, he seems to be forcing his way to the majors and should spend at least the last two months as one of the starters in the outfield for Tampa Bay. His skillset isn’t electrifying enough to warrant owning in all leagues and there is some swing-and-miss risk here, but it would be worth taking the chance on in 12-plus leagues once he is officially promoted.

19. Mauricio Dubon (2B/SS, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 114 PA, .343/.348/.574, 4 HR, 6 SB, 1.8% BB%, 16.7% K%
ETA: Early July
Dubon strained his knee during a game Saturday. The severity is still unknown. If he can rebound, he offers fantasy owners speed with a high batting average and could be in the majors as a super utility player shortly. His injury will be worth monitoring.

*Editor's Note: Dubon's injury was revealed Wednesday morning to be a torn ACL. He will miss the remainder of the season.

20. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA)
Stats: 19.0 IP, 1.89 ERA, 4.55 FIP, 21.3% K%, 12.5% BB%, 6.3% HR/FB
ETA: Late May
It almost seems like Woodruff is destined to never have a concrete role. One minute, he’s starting in the majors, the next he’s in the bullpen. One day he’s pitching in Milwaukee, the next he’s back in Colorado Springs. That might be what this season is like for him. He’s a solid pitcher who has been effective in the majors this season with a 3.86 ERA and 3.38 FIP, striking out batters at a 24.4 percent clip. But it’s tough to really rely on someone with this much uncertainty. He can be a solid add in deeper leagues, but until that role gets nailed down, he’s not going to be of consistent value to owners in shallower leagues.

21. Francisco Mejia (C/3B/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 123 PA, .202/.254/.325, 3 HR, 0 SB, 4.9% BB%, 21.1% K%
ETA: September

22. Christian Arroyo (2B/3B/SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 47 PA, .244/.277/.400, 1 HR, 0 SB, 4.3% BB%, 21.3% K%
ETA: Early June

23. Steven Duggar (OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 122 PA, .267/.369/.381, 2 HR, 4 SB, 13.1% BB%, 28.7% K%
ETA: Early June

24. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS, AA)
Stats: 80 PA, .324/.350/.649, 6 HR, 0 SB, 5.0% BB%, 16.3% K%
ETA: September

25. Kolby Allard (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 28.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 19.6% K%, 8.0% BB%, 3.2% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

26. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 30.2 IP, 4.70 ERA, 5.36 FIP, 23.3% K%, 10.1% BB%, 17.1% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

27. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 120 PA, .324/.358/.491, 2 HR, 3 SB, 5.8% BB%, 15.0% K%
ETA: September

28. Magneuris Sierra (OF, MIA, AAA)
Stats: 118 PA, .239/.265/.292, 0 HR, 4 SB, 3.4% BB%, 22.9% K%
ETA: Early August

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

30. Max Fried (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 15.2 IP, 1.72 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 24.6% K%, 10.8% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early June


MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

2. Shohei Ohtani (SP/OF, LAA)

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

4. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

5. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)

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

7. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN)

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

9. Mike Soroka (SP, ATL)

10. Brian Anderson (3B, MIA)

11. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD)

12. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIA)

13. Joey Lucchesi (SP, SD)

14. Harrison Bader (OF, STL)

15. Josh Hader (RP, MIL)

16. Christian Villanueva (3B, SD)

17. Franchy Cordero (OF, SD)

18. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN)

19. Caleb Smith (SP, MIA)

20. Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI)

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