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2018 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 7)

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 prospect just continue to get promoted. Jack Flaherty is back in the majors (for good this time?) and slugging San Diego Padres’ outfielder Franmil Reyes was also promoted. Carson Kelly received the call-up to fill in for Yadier Molina, who will be out for some time with a groin injury. Even Clint Frazier — who does not qualify as a rookie and thus will not appear on either of these lists — was promoted to New York.

The rest are tough to speculate on from here on out. A lot of the players are in the minors for performance, some are rehabbing and some are just stuck behind a loaded position in the big leagues. For a lot of the other top guys, it shouldn’t be long till they’re promoted.

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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: 159 PA, .267/.327/.390, 3 HR, 0 SB, 7.5% BB%, 13.8% K%
ETA: Early June
Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth-Star Telegram on May 1 that the team had no plans to call up Calhoun. Since then, Calhoun has struck out just four times with a .340/.365/.440 slash line. He had gotten off to a slow start to begin the season, but he has started to get it going as of late. Though he hasn’t hit for the same 30-homer pop he has in seasons past, Calhoun has started to produce at the plate enough to at least warrant consideration for a promotion. It doesn’t hurt his case that Shin-Soo Choo has continued to disappoint in left field for Texas. When Calhoun is promoted — which should be sooner rather than later — his complete package at the plate will warrant ownership in all fantasy leagues.

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: Mid-June
The Cincinnati Reds seemed to need Senzel with Eugenio Suarez out, but now with the Reds’ third baseman back in the lineup, there is no clear spot for Senzel. Fans in Reds country continue to want to see second baseman Scooter Gennett traded to capitalize both on Gennett’s red-hot start to the season and give Senzel a place to play, but finding playing time for Senzel is all a moot point until he can get healthy. He is still dealing with vertigo and there’s currently no estimate for when he will return. Early reports indicate it’s not too serious, but it’s very tough to estimate. Continue to keep tabs on the exceptional Reds prospect for he would have a ton of value if he gets his chance to play in Great American Ballpark.

3. Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 165 PA, .292/.356/.431, 3 HR, 4 SB, 9.7% BB%, 21.2% K%
ETA: Mid-June
Over his past 15 games, Tucker has been on an absolute tear. The Houston Astros’ top hitting prospect has a pair of home runs and steals with a .344/.382/.525 slash line. Over Derek Fisher’s past 14 games, he has been turning it up just enough — .258/.294/.677 — to keep Tucker somewhat at bay; how much of that is related to the Astros desire to keep Tucker down in the minors past the Super Two deadline is unknown. Tucker seems as likely as anyone to reach the majors shortly given his performance in the minors and his team’s need at his position. He should probably already be stashed in most 12-plus-team leagues.

4. Alex Reyes (SP, STL, A+)
Stats: 8.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 FIP, 54.6% K%, 9.1% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early June
It’s so nice to finally put stats in for Reyes. The flame-throwing right-hander has returned from Tommy John surgery and is now working his way through the minors as he tries to rehab up to the majors. Finding starts for him in the big leagues isn’t easy, especially now that Jack Flaherty appears set for a couple turns in the rotation. But Reyes is an exceptional talent, one who could force the competing St. Louis Cardinals to make room for him in the big-league rotation. He could begin his big-league tenure in the bullpen where his arsenal would make him an elite relief option before eventually being tested in the rotation later in the season. Regardless, it wouldn’t be bad to start stashing him in some deeper leagues and even some 12-team leagues if he hasn’t been snagged already.

5. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 33.1 IP, 4.86 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 29.9% K%, 11.6% BB%, 7.1% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
When I last wrote about Kopech, he had a rough outing by his lofty standards. Now, his last outing was just an awful one. He allowed eight runs over 3.1 innings, walking four batters and giving up five hits including two home runs. Kopech was dominant early in his Triple-A tenure, but it’s possible his changeup is not as refined as it needs to be at this point. Kopech still seems like to warrant promotional consideration later this year given the current status of the Chicago White Sox’s rotation, but he will need to earn it. With his stuff and proximity to the majors, you never want to forget about Kopech. Keep him on fantasy radars even with the recent struggles.

6. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 111 PA, .266/.369/.467, 5 HR, 1 SB, 12.6% BB%, 26.1% K%
ETA: Early August
It’s weird to look at the standings and see the Oakland Athletics hovering around .500. It’s concerning for owners of Barreto because Jed Lowrie looked like he could be a valuable trade chip for Oakland and still could be. But if the A’s are competing, they might want to hold onto him. More likely than not, they are not really in the playoff picture for long and a veteran like Lowrie will be shipped off around the deadline. If that happens, Barreto, who has really started to hit at Triple-A, would immediately become a must-add fantasy prospect for his enticing power/speed combination.

7. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 122 PA, .286/.333/.393, 1 HR, 7 SB, 5.7% BB%, 13.9% K%
ETA: Late July
Some days it looks like the Pittsburgh Pirates are contenders and then other days it doesn’t. They’re tied for second in the NL Central right now thanks in large part to Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson leading the offense. Gregory Polanco has not been great, but even he has the power and walk rates needed to keep himself firmly entrenched in the lineup. Meadows is trying to force his way to the big leagues. He’s staying healthy, he’s hitting, he’s stealing bases, he’s playing all the different outfield positions. There’s just no room for him right now. It would probably take an injury or a trade for him to reach the majors at this point, which doesn’t make him the best stash option. If he does get his chance, he offers plenty at the plate to make him a worthwhile own in all 12-team leagues.

8. Austin Hays (OF, BAL, AA)
Stats: 152 PA, .224/.263/.399, 6 HR, 3 SB, 5.3% BB%, 25.0% K%
ETA: Late July
The Baltimore Orioles’ bad luck has appeared to seep down to their top prospect, for Hays has just not been able to find any form of consistency. He’ll string together back-to-back multi-hit games and then go 0-for-12 over the next three days. His batted-ball luck has not really been there for him with only a .260 BABIP, which is not good for someone who doesn’t have much patience and has an approach built off making a ton of contact. He is on pace for nearly 30 home runs, but the batting average needs to improve for him to be called up. If he can start to hit, there’s no one in Baltimore’s outfield besides Trey Mancini doing anything to keep Hays out. It’s all up to Hays to earn the starting time.

9. Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL, AAA)
Stats: 111 PA, .333/.342/.752, 13 HR, 0 SB, 1.8% BB%, 22.5% K%
ETA: Early July
O’Neill is clearly big-league ready. The walk rate is certainly less than optimal, but he just seems to crush at least one home run per game at this point. The problem is that the Cardinals have four outfielders already playing well enough at the major-league level to keep O’Neill at bay. But with St. Louis in contention, it certainly seems possible O’Neill could be used as a trade chip at the deadline. If that doesn’t happen, he will need another injury to happen or someone’s production to absolutely fall off a cliff. O’Neill has hit too well in the minors to not see time in the big leagues at some point. At-bats will find him eventually.

10. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 143 PA, .320/.399/.467, 3 HR, 2 SB, 11.9% BB%, 21.0% K%
ETA: Early July
The Tampa Bay Rays have scraped by with guys like Adeiny Hechavarria and Daniel Robertson making regular starts for them. While those two have been solid (as has Joey Wendle), none offer the upside a guy like Adames brings to the table. Adames has both power and speed to accompany an above-average defensive profile at shortstop. He would have to move someone aside right now to receive playing time, but if there’s anyone in the Rays’ farm system who players should be moved aside for, it’s Adames. There’s no indication of when a promotion might come up, but it seems safe to say it will be after the Super Two deadline at some point. Wait to stash him until there’s a better sign of when that call-up might be coming, but be ready to add him fast if it looks like it will be in the near future.

11. Nick Kingham (SP, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 33.2 IP, 2.94 ERA, 2.41 FIP, 24.5% K%, 7.9% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Saturday
Kingham made a start for Double-A Altoona and struggled a bit, but the move was less about performance and more about getting him ready for next Saturday. The original idea was that Kingham would start Monday for Double-A as opposed to Tuesday for Triple-A (Indianapolis had an off-day Monday) so he could be ready to start for the Pirates on Saturday when they need a fifth starter. That should still be the plan, though as previously stated, he wasn’t great in the start for Altoona. Still, he offers plenty of strikeouts from a well-rounded repertoire and has a high enough floor that he should be owned in all 12-plus-team leagues if he is actually being called up for good.

12. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD)
Stats: 94 PA, .287/.330/.471, 4 HR, 0 SB, 6.4% BB%, 18.1% K%
ETA: Early June
Sent down when Yasiel Puig came back off the DL, Verdugo did all he needed to do to prove he deserved to stay in the majors and it still wasn’t enough. The Los Angeles Dodgers have several outfielders blocking Verdugo from reaching the big leagues, though it awaits to be seen how long Joc Pederson can hold him off for. At some point, the Dodgers are just going to have to find room for Verdugo because he really has no business still playing at Triple-A. He doesn’t offer fantasy owners much beyond a nice batting average and some power, but he has a high floor and would be valuable in 12-plus team leagues.

13. Jake Bauers (OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 133 PA, .277/.353/.487, 5 HR, 6 SB, 9.8% BB%, 24.8% K%
ETA: Mid-June
Bauers has been demanding the Rays start to give him some attention. Since May 3, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound outfielder has a pair of home runs and steal to accompany a .343/.410/.600 slash line. He also is only striking out 20.5 percent of the time while walking at a 10.3 percent clip. With the Rays likely out of playoff contention, it makes the most sense to give at-bats to a future franchise piece like Bauers to see what he can offer the team moving forward instead of watching Carlos Gomez flail at the plate. It is probably just a matter of time until Bauers is given the call up to the majors.

14. Kolby Allard (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 42.0 IP, 1.71 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 19.1% K%, 7.7% BB%, 2.3% HR/FB
ETA: Mid-June
It’s tough to pitch much better than Allard did in his last outing. He gave the Stripers eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. General manager Alex Anthopoulos told a radio show on May 7 that Allard is “just a phone call away” and Allard has done nothing but show he deserves to receive that call. There’s a chance the Atlanta Braves wait until after the Super Two deadline, but they didn’t with Mike Soroka and Allard has arguably been just as dominant at Triple-A as Soroka was. Allard might not be a strikeout artist, but his well-rounded repertoire and plus-plus control give him a Soroka-like floor as a fantasy prospect.

15. Luis Urias (2B/SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 151 PA, .276/.411/.407, 3 HR, 1 SB, 17.2% BB%, 17.9% K%
ETA: Early August
Urias looked like he was well beyond major-league ready during the month of April. Since May 1, however, he is slashing just .229/.403/.354 with a home run and a steal. He is still walking nearly 20 percent of the time and has not had much batted-ball luck, but there’s no doubt this slump hurt his chances of a promotion. Still, if someone like Freddy Galvis is traded at the deadline, a spot could open up for the San Diego Padres to decide to test out the highly touted prospect. It still is a long way out though and owners are encouraged to take a wait-and-see approach for now with Urias.

16. Ryan McMahon (1B/3B, COL, AAA)
Stats: 54 PA, .240/.296/.300, 0 HR, 0 SB, 7.4% BB%, 25.9% K%
McMahon is this high only because of Coors Field and his long track record as a stellar hitter. But there’s no doubt his 2018 performances both in Colorado and at Triple-A have dimmed the prospect’s shine just a bit. McMahon has just not been able to make nearly enough contact to make the most of his above-average power, and when he does, he is pounding the ball into the ground. He is going to need to turn his season around in a hurry if he hopes to resurrect fantasy value for 2018.

17. Victor Robles (OF, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 15 PA, .385/.467/.385, 0 HR, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 6.7% K%
ETA: Early August
Same thing as pretty much every week. Keep waiting to hear more about Robles’ injury. For now, there is still a late June ETA for when he could potentially return. If that’s the case, he would probably shoot up this list. However, until there’s more clarity, owners should wait before stashing him.

18. Max Fried (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 19.2 IP, 2.75 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 24.7% K%, 11.8% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early June
You don’t want to use the term Quad-A for a guy who’s still a top prospect like Fried, but it seems like that’s where he’s at right now. He’s too good for Triple-A hitters, but he’s been kicked around in the big leagues. There’s a chance he has better stuff than both Soroka and Allard, but he lacks the polish and command of the other two and thus has been unable to translate his success to the majors. He should figure it out at some point and would be a high-strikeout pitcher in the big leagues. Until that happens, owners should err on the side of caution with Fried.

19. Steven Duggar (OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 154 PA, .246/.344/.351, 2 HR, 5 SB, 12.3% BB%, 28.6% K%
ETA: Mid-June
The San Francisco Giants have been able to tread water in the middle of the NL West thanks to disappointing performances from the Dodgers and the Padres (shocker). But there’s no doubt they need some help. Andrew McCutchen has produced in the outfield, but Hunter Pence and Austin Jackson are the Giants’ two worst hitters per fWAR, ranking even below all the pitchers who qualify for at-bats. Duggar has been no beast himself in the minors, but he has the speed to play all three outfield positions and offers the Giants an outfielder scouts project to have an above-average bat and plus-plus speed with a little bit of power. If Duggar can start to turn it around at the plate, he would be a very viable option for them to give at-bats to.

20. Francisco Mejia (C/3B/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 127 PA, .197/.254/.316, 3 HR, 0 SB, 4.7% BB%, 22.0% K%
ETA: September
Mejia has always been known as a bat-first catching prospect who might at some point be forced to move out from behind the plate. So it should be at least a little bit concerning to fantasy owners that he has not hit yet at Triple-A. In addition, while he still catches, he has also been asked to play third base and in the outfield. He never has been regarded as much of a power-hitting prospect, so there has been pressure for him to hit for a high average to maintain fantasy value. Fantasy owners should not give up on him just yet and the Cleveland Indians’ lack of a great catcher leaves the door open for Mejia to be called up if he starts to hit, right now there is too much risk to stash him in non-keeper leagues.

21. Magneuris Sierra (OF, MIA, AAA)
Stats: 143 PA, .241/.268/.285, 0 HR, 6 SB, 3.5% BB%, 23.8% K%
ETA: Early August

22. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 153 PA, .350/.392/.526, 3 HR, 5 SB, 5.9% BB%, 15.0% K%
ETA: September

23. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS, AA)
Stats: 110 PA, .320/.345/.612, 7 HR, 0 SB, 4.5% BB%, 15.5% K%
ETA: September

24. Christian Arroyo (2B/3B/SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 64 PA, .213/.250/.328, 1 HR, 0 SB, 4.7% BB%, 22.0% K%
ETA: Early July

25. Christin Stewart (OF, DET, AAA)
Stats: 143 PA, .304/.378/.648, 11 HR, 0 SB, 9.8% BB%, 16.8% K%
ETA: Early August

26. Zack Granite (OF, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 49 PA, .179/.333/.179, 0 HR, 2 SB, 18.4% BB%, 8.2% K%
ETA: Mid-June

27. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 33.1 IP, 5.67 ERA, 5.26 FIP, 21.9% K%, 9.6% BB%, 15.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

28. Austin Riley (3B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 140 PA, .336/.393/.680, 9 HR, 1 SB, 7.1% BB%, 25.7% K%
ETA: Mid-August

29. Jorge Mateo (SS/OF, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 141 PA, .197/.236/.303, 2 HR, 8 SB, 5.0% BB%, 30.5% K%
ETA: September

30. Cal Quantrill (SP, SD, AA)
Stats: 42.1 IP, 4.68 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 19.3% K%, 9.6% BB%, 4.4% HR/FB
ETA: September


MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

2. Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, LAA)

3. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)

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

5. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

6. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL)

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

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

9. Mike Soroka (SP, ATL)

10. Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK)

11. Fernando Romero (SP, MIN)

12. Luiz Gohara (SP/RP, ATL)

13. Jesse Winker (OF, CIN)

14. Harrison Bader (OF, STL)

15. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL)

16. Franchy Cordero (OF, SD)

17. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN)

18. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIA)

19. Brian Anderson (3B, MIA)

20. Franmil Reyes (OF, SD)

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