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BASEBALL IS BACK! After a long, dry off-season and the tease that is Spring Training, we are officially back to games that matter. Opening weekend is behind us now and full-season Minor League Baseball starts up on Thursday. With the first week underway, it's time for us to take a look at some of the more intriguing prospects out there.

For this first week, most of the prospects featured here will be players who made the Opening Day roster out of Spring Training like Scott Kingery or Shohei Ohtani. But going forward, this list will feature players from the majors and all levels of the minors, including big name, future-superstars and lesser known players on the verge of having a big breakout.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk prospects!

Editor's Note: Stay on top of our MLB off-season news and fantasy analysis all year round. Read our daily fantasy columns about MLB prospects, dynasty outlooks, player outlooks and much more. It's always fantasy baseball season here. Let's Go!

 

It's Good to be the King(ery)

OF Ronald Acuña—Gwinnett Stripers (Atlanta Braves: Triple-A)

Upcoming games: at Norfolk Tides 4/6-8, at Durham Bulls 4/9-11

Arguably the most exciting prospect in baseball now, Acuña absolutely dominated in Spring Training with a .432 average, 1.247 OPS and a team-high four home runs. His Spring Training success came off the heels of a 2017 campaign where he hit .325 with 21 HR and 44 steals between Single-A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A. With little left to prove, the main reason Acuña is starting the year off in Triple-A is simply due to the Braves trying to gain an additional year of control over the 20-year-old. As soon as the deadline passes — which appears it will be around mid-April — Acuña will most likely find himself roaming the outfield in Atlanta.

RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani—Los Angeles Angels

Projected starts: vs Oakland 4/7, at Kansas City 4/12

The highly anticipated two-way player made his debut both at the plate and on the mound over Opening Weekend for the Angels. In his only appearance as the designated hitter so far, Ohtani singled in his first plate appearance and finished 1-for-5 on Opening Day. Three days later, Ohtani made his first career start going against the Athletics. Over six innings of work, Ohtani allowed three runs on three hits and a walk while striking out six — the most by any Angels pitcher so far this year. While it seems he might not have as big of an impact as a hitter in fantasy, his performance on the mound Sunday is a good first step in his rookie season.

LHP Joey Lucchesi—San Diego Padres

Projected starts:  vs Colorado 4/5, at Colorado /10

Lucchesi was originally slated to start the year off in the minors, but after a late Spring Training injury landed Dinelson Lamet on the disabled list, Lucchesi was called upon to start the Padres second game of the season against the Brewers. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits with one strikeout over 4 2/3 innings in his Major League debut. It wasn't the best debut for the 24-year-old, but his 1.54 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 6.9 K/9 during Spring Training show promise that better days are still in store.

2B Scott Kingery—Philadelphia Phillies

Upcoming games: at New York (NL) 4/3-4, vs Miami 4/5, 4/7-8

After signing a six-year, $24 million contract before the start of the season, Kingery has hit the ground running in his first taste of the big leagues. Over two games, Kingery is 4-for-9 with two doubles and a strikeout. He has also shown solid plate discipline so far, as his 5.3 percent swinging strike rate is the lowest among Philadelphia position players. Last season between Double-A and Triple-A, Kingery hit .304 with 26 HR and 29 steals, and while he may not reach those exact numbers with Philadelphia in 2018, he has a bright future ahead of him and with each game under his belt he's only going to get better.

RHP Alex Faedo—Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit Tigers: Single-A Advanced)

Projected starts: vs Tampa Tarpons 4/6, vs Bradenton Marauders 4/11

Faedo did not pitch at all last season after the Tigers drafted him with their first round pick, as the organization chose to make sure he was fully recovered from 2016 knee surgery. Instead, he made his professional debut this spring with one inning of work, where he allowed one run on one hit with one strikeout. Faedo will start his first season of pro-ball in the Florida State League, where he is pegged to start the second game of the year for the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Faedo is one of the top pitching prospects in Detroit's system and he could be a future ace for the Tigers. Friday's start will be worth watching to see just what kind of future he has in store.

 

More 2018 MLB Prospects Analysis





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