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2018 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 8)

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.

I mean, whoa. I really can’t begin to explain how surprising it was that the Washington Nationals promoted Juan Soto. I need to give them kudos though because they acknowledged that as a team competing, they need the 25 best players in their organization and he is absolutely one of them. Victor Robles owners are probably feeling pretty burned because it most certainly would have been him that received the call-up if he hadn’t gotten hurt (which is why he dropped in the rankings this week).

One thing you will notice is that the Soto promotion has altered some names. For starters, there’s a new No. 1 prospect (I’ll give you a hint, he’s also 19 years old). There are also a couple other names on here that have been moved up as well based more on talent and big-league team need because it would be wise for other teams to follow in the trend of the Nationals and try to have their 25 best players. I’m not saying it will happen per say, but it’s just better to be prepared than be totally blind-sided like with the Soto promotion.

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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. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B/3B/OF, TOR, AA)
Stats: 179 PA, .421/.472/.697, 8 HR, 2 SB, 8.9% BB%, 8.4% K%
ETA: Early June
I’ve been on record several times saying — including in the past week — that Guerrero would get a cup of coffee in September at best. As you all can tell, I’ve made a complete 180 on that. If the Nationals are going to call up Soto, the most logical follow-up scenario is that the Toronto Blue Jays promote Guerrero, who has made an absolute mockery of Double-A pitching. There’s really no chance at this point that he reaches Triple-A if Toronto is still even remotely competitive in early June. Even with the defensive question marks surrounding Guerrero, his bat could be a real difference maker. There’s a good chance he’s already the team’s second-best hitter — could even be the best given Josh Donaldson’s notable issues.

If he’s available in your league — it doesn’t not matter what league it is — you need to add Guerrero now. That roster spot needs to go to Guerrero. He’s the best hitter in the minors and with his combination of incredible plate discipline, a quick bat and a ton of power, he is probably the most complete hitter that will be promoted to the majors this year.

2. Alex Reyes (SP, STL, AA)
Stats: 16.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.84 FIP, 52.5% K%, 10.2% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Late May
Reyes will rejoin the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation once he is activated from the disabled list, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold. Reyes has made three rehab starts and just blown away the competition in each one, striking out 31 with just six walks over 16 scoreless innings of work. He seems to have recovered from his surgery just fine, and his stuff gives him arguably the highest strikeout upside of any current minor-league pitcher likely to reach the majors this season. His control could lend him to the occasional clunker of an outing, but those strikeouts are going to prove exceptionally valuable. It’s time to add him to rosters in all leagues.

3. Nick Senzel (3B/SS, CIN, AAA)
Stats: 97 PA, .271/.351/.459, 3 HR, 3 SB, 10.3% BB%, 21.6% K%
ETA: Mid-June
The only hitter in the minors whose hit tool might even sniff Guerrero’s is Senzel. The Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect has dealt with vertigo for a stretch, but he’s preparing to resume baseball activities now. His big-league team is in a bit of a different situation than Guerrero and Soto in that the Reds are no where near the playoff picture. However, if the Reds do opt to trade the emerging bat of Scooter Gennett or replace the inconsistent Jose Peraza at shortstop, the most obvious player to receive playing time is Senzel. Senzel is easily one of the Reds’ top 25 players, and to keep him in the minors for too long would be a real shame. He deserves to be in the big leagues. He also would warrant stashing in plenty of redraft leagues and owning in all leagues once he is called up to the majors.

4. Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 190 PA, .289/.356/.440, 4 HR, 5 SB, 10.0% BB%, 20.5% K%
ETA: Mid-June
Tony Kemp seems to be hitting well enough for right now to hold down the left field job. He and the struggling Marwin Gonzalzes are currently the only players standing between Tucker and playing time. With Derek Fisher on the disabled list and Jake Marisnick in the minors, Tucker is basically on the verge of having to be promoted given the lack of remaining outfield options. It seems probable at this point that Houston is just waiting for the Super Two deadline to pass for Tucker just as it did with Carlos Correa. Though he certainly does not have Correa’s offensive ceiling, Tucker should still be one of the better outfield options promoted this summer and would be worth rostering in most leagues for his well-rounded fantasy profile.

5. Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX, AAA)
Stats: 186 PA, .269/.328/.398, 4 HR, 0 SB, 7.0% BB%, 13.4% K%
ETA: Late June
It’s tough to advocate for a bat-first left fielder when the bat isn’t showing up. It is almost two months into the season and Calhoun has neither raised his batting average above .270 nor reached even five total home runs. The talented prospect is sure to get it going at some point, but he has to really earn his promotion. Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has made it well clear it will not be handed to him. His bat profiles as one that would be worth owning in all leagues if he does finally get it going. When that will be is anyone’s guess at this point.

6. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 40.1 IP, 4.02 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 30.6% K%, 11.0% BB%, 5.4% HR/FB%
ETA: Early July
Last week, Kopech turned in exactly the sort of start fantasy owners love to see. He gave Triple-A Charlotte seven scoreless innings with just two hits and two walks to accompany nine strikeouts. This snapped a rough stretch of five games where he posted a 6.56 ERA. Kopech has a similar profile to Reyes: high-octane fastball, wipeout breaking ball, solid changeup and wavering control. Like Reyes, Kopech should see extensive time in the big leagues once he can string a couple consistent starts together and get past the Super Two deadline. He offers incredible strikeout upside and is worth stashing in some deeper leagues and owning in most leagues once he is promoted to the big leagues.

7. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AAA)
Stats: 173 PA, .311/.387/.466, 4 HR, 3 SB, 11.6% BB%, 22.5% K%
ETA: Late June
There’s not a clear path to playing time for Adames, but when a prospect is hitting like he is at the highest minor-league level, space will eventually be found. Though he’s not dazzling with either power or speed so far, he’s walking at a high rate while batting over .300 for the first time in his career. He is the Rays’ franchise shortstop and is already a better bat than Adeiny Hechavarria, and his glove is not too far behind. Adames will see time in the majors at some point this season, probably some time after the Super Two deadline. His power could play up once he reaches the big leagues, making him a solid shortstop add in some 10-team leagues and most 12-team leagues.

Editor's Note: It was announced Tuesday after this article had been completed that Adames would be promoted to the big-league club.

8. 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: Early June
With Joe Musgrove returning from the DL, Kingham was sent back down to the minors despite another solid big-league outing in which he allowed three runs over six innings with five strikeouts and a walk. Kingham seems to be the new Jack Flaherty in that despite an only slightly above-average repertoire and plus control, he seems to be more than ready for the big leagues. It’s just that there’s no spot for him. But Flaherty has found his spot in St. Louis’ rotation, and Kingham will at some point too in Pittsburgh. Owners who have added him in deeper leagues just need to be patient and know that eventually he should be up for good.

9. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 108 PA, .297/.333/.455, 4 HR, 0 SB, 5.6% BB%, 15.7% K%
ETA: Mid-July
The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be overthinking their missing shortstop problem. They moved Chris Taylor to shortstop and Cody Bellinger to center field and are now rumored to be looking for a new first baseman. The easiest solution would have been to move Taylor to shortstop and then just call up Verdugo for good. He has shown that he’s ready for the majors, both in his major-league stints and his performance this season at Triple-A. Verdugo seems to be the injury replacement at this point, but could also be used as a trade chip to acquire said first baseman.

10. Kolby Allard (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 49.0 IP, 2.02 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 18.4% K%, 6.6% BB%, 5.7% HR/FB
ETA: Mid-June
It is a testament to the Atlanta Braves’ farm system that they promote both their top hitting prospect and pitching prospect and still have three prospects in the top 20 on this list. Unfortunately for them, Mike Soroka went on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury. Allard also left his last start with an undisclosed injury, but he has not been placed on the disabled list. Allard is big-league ready, but has a low ceiling and high floor. He won’t be a high strikeout guy, but he should be a consistent producer in the majors for owners in 12-plus-team leagues.

11. Austin Riley (3B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 171 PA, .316/.374/.600, 9 HR, 1 SB, 7.6% BB%, 26.3% K%
ETA: Late June
The Braves have leaned on Johan Camargo and Ryan Flaherty at third base while Riley bides his time in the minors. The Braves’ top batting prospect still left in the minors has absolutely raked, forcing a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A just 27 games into the season. He offers a middle-of-the-order bat with plenty of power that would prove plenty valuable to owners in 12-plus-team leagues despite the fact he could have a low batting average and strike out a fair amount. It’s not as certain with Riley that he will receive the promotion before September, but if the Braves have shown one thing this season, it’s been that they will promote their prospects if they feel they’re ready to help the big-league club. Riley is certainly a better third base option than either Camargo or Flaherty.

12. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 139 PA, .231/.345/.419, 5 HR, 2 SB, 12.9% BB%, 30.2% K%
ETA: Early August
Barreto is mired in an absolutely abysmal stretch at the moment. Over his past 12 games, Barreto owns a .114/.291/.136 slash line with a 30.9 percent strikeout rate. He has the skillset to be a dynamic fantasy contributor, providing power and speed from one of the two middle-infield positions. But he needs to get it going at the plate so in the event the Oakland Athletics trade Jed Lowrie or an injury comes up, he’ll show that he’s ready to take his place in Oakland’s infield.

13. Austin Hays (OF, BAL, AA)
Stats: 177 PA, .223/.260/.373, 6 HR, 4 SB, 5.1% BB%, 23.2% K%
ETA: Early August
Hays has just continued to have short stints in which he will have a couple back-to-back multi-hit games and then he falls right back off the table. He just can’t seem to find a consistent streak of hitting at the plate right now, and it’s hurting his chances of reaching the majors. He’s in almost the exact same boat as Calhoun: everyone expects him to hit and once he does, he has one of the clearest paths to the majors. Right now, it’s just on him to start putting it all together at the dish. Fantasy owners can avoid owning him until he can start to find a consistent streak down at Double-A.

14. Jake Bauers (OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 163 PA, .281/.356/.473, 5 HR, 7 SB, 9.8% BB%, 25.2% K%
ETA: Early July
Bauers has had quite the month of May. He has three homers to accompany a .314/.392/.529 slash line in 18 games of work so far. Though he’s not quite the franchise cornerstone piece Adames has the chance to be, Bauers is a solid, young outfielder with the chance to be a regular contributor in the big leagues. With Carlos Gomez really struggling this season and the rebuilding Rays looking to get younger, it only makes sense that Bauers replace the Rays’ veteran right fielder after the Super Two deadline passes. Bauers would be a solid depth piece in 12-plus team leagues once promoted.

15. Ryan McMahon (1B, COL, AAA)
Stats: 81 PA, .233/.309/.397, 3 HR, 0 SB, 9.9% BB%, 30.9% K%
ETA: Early August
After starting off his time back in Triple-A 0-for-13, McMahon has started to turn things around a little bit. With three home runs and a .283/.358/.483 slash line, McMahon has at least started to look somewhat competent at the plate, a change from how the rest of his season has gone. He has the offensive upside to be an impact player, and calling Coors Field home can only boost his value. But as is the case with both Calhoun and Hays, he has to earn the playing time and he hasn’t done so to this point. Keep an eye on his progress in the minors for he could be a valuable piece later on in the year if he starts to hit.

16. Luis Urias (2B/SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 177 PA, .274/.401/.418, 4 HR, 1 SB, 15.8% BB%, 18.1% K%
ETA: Early August
One player who has had no problems hitting this season — or any season for that matter — is Urias. The San Diego Padres’ 20-year-old middle-infield prospect has just continued to plod along through his first trip to Triple-A, hitting for more power than he has at any point in his professional career. Urias is biding his time in the minors, waiting for an injury or a trade at the major league level to clear up some space for him. He figures to have a shot at some point this season, though his profile is not necessarily one that requires stashing just yet. Wait until his path to playing time is more clear before adding Urias.

17. Max Fried (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 26.0 IP, 3.12 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 23.6% K%, 10.9% BB%, 0.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early June
Fried was supposed to start in place of the injured Soroka, but instead the game was rained out. So Fried was sent back down to the minors and Matt Wisler was promoted instead. Fried is sort of stuck in the middle of the majors and minors, showing that he can overwhelm Triple-A batters while struggling against major-league batters. He has the stuff needed to succeed at the highest level; he just needs to find his control. Eventually Fried will be up in the majors this season for good, either in a relief or swing-man role. With his strikeout upside, that could be valuable in some deeper leagues.

18. Shane Bieber (SP, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 58.1 IP, 1.23 ERA, 2.27 FIP, 24.8% K%, 1.4% BB%, 5.9% HR/FB
ETA: Early July
The Cleveland Indians currently have four starters very much entrenched in their roles this season. But Josh Tomlin was very bad out of the rotation and Adam Plutko seems to be only a solid stop-gap until Bieber is ready. Bieber dominated Double-A and has continued that into Triple-A this season. The 22-year-old right-hander is not known for his repertoire, flashing really only average to slightly above-average pitches across the board. Instead, Bieber has found success with arguably the best control of any pitcher in the minors, walking batters at a rate below 3 percent at every level he’s reached so far. Bieber has about as high of a floor as anyone here and should not have too rough of an adjustment to the majors. He would be worth owning in most 12-plus-team leagues as a solid depth starter.

19. Steven Duggar (OF, SF, AAA)
Stats: 185 PA, .244/.330/.348, 2 HR, 7 SB, 10.8% BB%, 29.2% K%
ETA: Late June
Duggar has hits in six of his past seven games, but it has not amounted to much overall production. He has slowed down at the plate some and his overall numbers this season don’t jump out. He has a clear path to playing time with no one in San Francisco’s outfield outside of Andrew McCutchen and Mac Williamson really demanding playing time. Duggar will at no point warrant stashing, but his solid power and above-average speed would make him a solid depth outfielder to add if he does get the chance to play frequently in the majors.

20. Danny Jansen (C, TOR, AAA)
Stats: 123 PA, .300/.418/.450, 2 HR, 4 SB, 13.0% BB%, 12.2% K%
ETA: Early August
If the Blue Jays are going to go all out, they might as well promote Jansen too. The 23-year-old catcher isn’t setting the world on fire like Vlad, but he’s walking more than he strikes out with a batting average above .300. Russell Martin has struggled offensively at the plate this year and if the Jays are going to compete, they will need all the additional help they can get. Jansen would not only be a solid defender, but he’d bring a stronger bat to the lineup than Martin and his .621 OPS are currently bringing. He would be worth owning in all two-catcher leagues and most 12-team leagues.

21. Francisco Mejia (C/OF, CLE, AAA)
Stats: 155 PA, .193/.255/.300, 3 HR, 0 SB, 5.8% BB%, 22.6% K%
ETA: September

22. Victor Robles (OF, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 15 PA, .385/.467/.385, 0 HR, 2 SB, 13.3% BB%, 6.7% K%
ETA: September

23. Magneuris Sierra (OF, MIA, AAA)
Stats: 160 PA, .229/.252/.268, 0 HR, 6 SB, 3.1% BB%, 23.8% K%
ETA: Early August

24. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA)
Stats: 181 PA, .333/.381/.525, 5 HR, 7 SB, 6.1% BB%, 14.9% K%
ETA: September

25. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS, AA)
Stats: 136 PA, .328/.360/.608, 8 HR, 0 SB, 5.9% BB%, 15.4% K%
ETA: September

26. Chance Adams (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 40.1 IP, 4.69 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 24.9% K%, 9.5% BB%, 13.0% HR/FB
ETA: Early August

27. Christin Stewart (OF, DET, AAA)
Stats: 173 PA, .291/.370/.589, 11 HR, 0 SB, 10.4% BB%, 18.5% K%
ETA: Early August

28. Zack Granite (OF, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 81 PA, .203/.313/.203, 0 HR, 4 SB, 13.6% BB%, 7.4% K%
ETA: Early June

29. Jorge Mateo (SS/OF, OAK, AAA)
Stats: 163 PA, .205/.247/.325, 2 HR, 9 SB, 5.5% BB%, 30.7% K%
ETA: September

30. Cal Quantrill (SP, SD, AA)
Stats: 47.1 IP, 5.32 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 18.8% K%, 9.9% BB%, 6.1% HR/FB
ETA: September


MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

2. Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, LAA)

3. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)

4. Juan Soto (OF, WAS)

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

6. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL)

7. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

8. Austin Meadows (OF, PIT)

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

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

11. Fernando Romero (SP, MIN)

12. Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK)

13. Luiz Gohara (SP, ATL)

14. Harrison Bader (OF, STL)

15. Franchy Cordero (OF, SD)

16. Franmil Reyes (OF, SD)

17. Mike Soroka (SP, ATL)

18. Lewis Brinson (OF, MIA)

19. Brian Anderson (3B, MIA)

20. Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL)


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