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2018 Prospects - Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 18)


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.

What a crazy week it has been! The trade deadline passed with several more notable names being shipped off, several top prospects featured highly on last week’s list — including Tyler O’Neill and Kolby Allard — have since been promoted and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is on his way to Triple-A!

Now that the deadline is passed, we are hitting the home stretch for this series of articles. Only a handful of top prospects will be promoted between now and September, and once rosters expand, fantasy owners heading to the playoffs will need to make sure they have the most talent possible on their rosters.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. 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. Eloy Jimenez (OF, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 334 PA, .342/.392/.611, 18 HR, 0 SB, 7.8% BB%, 14.7% K%
ETA: Mid-August
Jimenez continues to tear up Triple-A pitching, and all signs at this point are pointing to a 2018 promotion for the slugging right fielder. Some have even speculated he could be up by mid-August. Though he has only been at Charlotte for a brief amount of time, it is clear the bat is ready to handle a big-league assignment and make his case for an Opening Day spot in 2019. He has the chance to be a middle-of-the-order masher for the White Sox and would help fantasy owners in all leagues once promoted.

2. Austin Meadows (OF, TB, AAA)
Stats: 179 PA, .279/.318/.394, 2 HR, 11 SB, 5.0% BB%, 13.4% K%
ETA: Mid-August
In one of the many blockbuster trades at the deadline, Meadows was shipped off to Tampa Bay as part of the return for Chris Archer. Though he was immediately sent down to Triple-A, the path for playing time becomes a lot more clear than it was in Pittsburgh. With the Pirates, Meadows was an injury replacement at best. In Tampa, he might be able to eventually supplant Carlos Gomez in the outfield and should get a chance to see regular playing time next to Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham. Meadows offers an enviable power/speed combination with a rare hit tool to match with the pairing. If he can stay healthy and force his way into the lineup, he should be a major impact player down the stretch.

3. Alex Verdugo (OF, LAD, AAA)
Stats: 283 PA, .349/.396/.506, 8 HR, 4 SB, 7.4% BB%, 13.4% K%
ETA: Mid-August
Verdugo was briefly recalled from Triple-A, but sent back down after a short stint in the majors. Like Jimenez, it is clear he is ready to be a full-time player in the majors. However, he does not have the easy path to playing time with the Los Angeles Dodgers boasting a far deeper outfield than Chicago. Verdugo should remain on fantasy radars since it is clear he is the next man up should anyone go down in Los Angeles’ outfield, and he brings enough polish to where he should be able to contribute to fantasy owners in plenty of leagues if he gets the playing time.

4. Austin Riley (3B, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 326 PA, .296/.371/.502, 11 HR, 1 SB, 9.5% BB%, 27.0% K%
ETA: Mid-August
The Atlanta Braves added Adam Duvall to give their lineup a little bit of right-handed pop, but they did not address their need of a real force at third base. While Johan Camargo has provided some surprising value at third this season, he is not the game-changing bat that a team competing for a spot in the playoffs like Atlanta requires. Riley has continued to tear up Triple-A pitching and while the strikeouts remain high, his power output should be enough to balance that out. If he is given the call up by the Braves, Riley figures to be an impact bat in plenty of shallow leagues and all deep formats.

5. Christin Stewart (OF, DET, AAA)
Stats: 395 PA, .252/.337/.484, 20 HR, 0 SB, 10.9% BB%, 20.3% K%
ETA: Early August
Mike Gerber was promoted to fill the spot of Leonys Martin on the Detroit Tigers’ roster, but before too long, it would not be too surprising to see Stewart either join or replace Gerber in the majors. Stewart has been a force at the plate this season, and while his batting average has dipped in recent days, the power numbers remain impressive and he’s kept the whiffs down. Stewart is no Jimenez at the dish, but fantasy owners seeking a power upgrade could do well picking up the left-handed Stewart should he reach the majors.

6. Peter Alonso (1B, NYM, AAA)
Stats: 440 PA, .277/.398/.532, 24 HR, 0 SB, 14.1% BB%, 22.0% K%
ETA: Mid-August
Alonso got off to a slow start at Triple-A, but he’s finding his footing now. In his past 11 games, he owns a .341/.412/.636 slash line with three home runs and a 5:11 BB:K ratio. With the New York Mets going nowhere fast and Dominic Smith already down at Triple-A, there is little reason for the team not to give Alonso a look at first base. He has raked all season and seems to be the likely next regular first baseman for the club in 2019. If promoted, Alonso should hit more than enough to make up for the fact he’ll be playing first base.

7. Cedric Mullins (OF, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 465 PA, .289/.343/.471, 11 HR, 18 SB, 7.1% BB%, 13.5% K%
ETA: Early August
One name not traded by the Baltimore Orioles during the deadline was Adam Jones. The Orioles’ center fielder remained out in the outfield, though he could be moved if he clears waivers. Even if he is not, Mullins still has a clear path to playing time. The Orioles have not had any production in right field (or really anywhere for that matter) and have started to move in a younger direction. Mullins has shown he is ready by putting together a strong start to his Triple-A career and could slide right into the top of the Orioles’ lineup and fit in well. If he gets a chance to see regular playing time, look for him to prove plenty valuable to owners searching for a player who can contribute a little bit of everything.

8. Taylor Ward (3B, LAA, AAA)
Stats: 400 PA, .352/.450/.543, 14 HR, 17 SB, 14.8% BB%, 20.5% K%
ETA: Mid-August
It seems all it took for Ward to find success at the dish was to move out from behind the plate. Now a third baseman, Ward has turned in a breakout campaign with the bat, demonstrating impressive power, speed and plate discipline. After the Los Angeles Angels moved on from Ian Kinsler, there is less competition in the majors for playing time. If Ward can force himself into the playing time picture in Anaheim, he could be a productive third baseman for owners searching for a high on-base bat.

9. Francisco Mejia (C/OF, SD, AAA)
Stats: 358 PA, .282/.333/.424, 7 HR, 0 SB, 5.9% BB%, 17.3% K%
ETA: Mid-August
A move to San Diego could be just what Mejia needed to stay behind the plate. Though Austin Hedges is an excellent defensive catcher, his bat has not caught up with the glove and it has left the Padres still looking for that productive bat behind the plate. Mejia has the bat; he just needs to improve the glove. It would not be surprising to see the two trade off in playing time down the stretch of the season as the Padres weigh the two options for the future. If Mejia even splits time behind the plate this season, his bat would be valuable enough to own in plenty of leagues given the lack of offensive depth at catcher this season.

10. Matt Thaiss (1B, LAA, AAA)
Stats: 441 PA, .288/.342/.501, 15 HR, 7 SB, 7.5% BB%, 17.7% K%
ETA: Mid-August
Ward is not the only Angel to have a breakout season in the minors. Thaiss has tapped into some of his raw power by improving his launch angle, helping him become a better offensive presence at first base. Though he is still blocked by Albert Pujols at first and Shohei Ohtani at designated hitter, Thaiss could force a platoon at first base later this season in an effort to show he deserves a chance to compete with Pujols for playing time next season. Thaiss doesn’t have the easiest path to playing time, but if he is able to see the majors this season, he offers a high floor with the batting average and a decent ceiling if he can maintain the power production to be worth owning in plenty of leagues.

11. Enyel De Los Santos (SP, PHI, AAA)
Stats: 104.0 IP, 2.51 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 22.7% K%, 8.4% BB%, 9.7% HR/FB
ETA: Early August
Since returning to Triple-A, De Los Santos has not been particularly sharp. He has not been able to make it past the fifth inning and has allowed a combined nine earned runs off 13 hits in the two outings. He has found too much success in 2018 to totally cloud his outlook for the rest of the season, but he will need to turn this trend around soon. If he does, he should be able to force his way back up to the majors and could earn a couple starts before the season is over. And with his strikeout upside, he could be worth owning in some 12-plus-team leagues.

12. Kevin Newman (SS, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 421 PA, .291/.341/.379, 3 HR, 26 SB, 6.7% BB%, 10.9% K%
ETA: Early August
The Pirates bought big-time at the deadline, leaving Jordy Mercer still ahead of Newman on the depth chart at shortstop. Despite this, Newman could still have value. He has arguably turned in the better offensive season to Mercer and could also provide defensive versatility in the infield. Newman is a fast, contact-first hitter who could help both the Pirates and fantasy owners if he is given the chance to see regular playing time.

13. Danny Jansen (C, TOR, AAA)
Stats: 323 PA, .269/.391/.458, 10 HR, 5 SB, 13.0% BB%, 13.9% K%
ETA: Mid-August
Jansen has swung a red-hot bat for most of the season, though his batting average has dipped lately. Since the start of July, he owns a .186/.333/.414 slash line. To be fair, he is still striking out below 18 percent, has five home runs this month and has not been helped by a dreadful .157 BABIP. However, he is known as a bat-first catcher, and in order to show he’s ready for the majors, he will have to start manufacturing his own luck and turn that trend around. He certainly has the potential to do it, and if he does get a chance in the majors, his bat at a position like catcher could prove invaluable to fantasy owners in two-catcher leagues.

14. Kevin Kramer (2B, PIT, AAA)
Stats: 405 PA, .291/.351/.468, 11 HR, 11 SB, 7.7% BB%, 25.4% K%
ETA: Early August
Kramer is less likely than Newman to receive the promotion to the majors in large part due to his strikeouts, but he might be the more exciting of the two. While Newman brings more speed and a top-of-the-order approach, Kramer has been the more dynamic offensive force at the plate this season, offering more power while still providing a little bit of speed. Kramer is not the defender Newman is and is more limited to second base, but he could still be a valuable piece for the Pirates should they opt to see what their young players can do in the majors.

15. Michael Kopech (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 99.1 IP, 4.26 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 30.9% K%, 13.3% BB%, 7.5% HR/FB
ETA: September
Fantasy owners have to love what Kopech has done over his past three starts. Seventeen innings pitched, four earned runs, 15 hits, 24 strikeouts and — most importantly — only two walks. Yes, that’s correct. Just two walks. Before that stretch, Kopech had just four starts dating back to May in which he only walked two in a game. Kopech still needs to prove he can maintain the success. The upside is tantalizing, but the risk for a blowup remains high — we’ve seen how other high-grade stuff, low-grade control guys like Tyler Glasnow and Lucas Giolito have panned out in the majors. But Kopech has the chance to be an exceptional pitcher with tremendous strikeout upside, making him a name to follow in the season’s final weeks.

16. Ryan Mountcastle (3B/OF, BAL, AA)
Stats: 294 PA ,.311/.361/.509, 11 HR, 0 SB, 6.8% BB%, 16.0% K%
ETA: September
Mountcastle has absolutely shined at Double-A this season, and given the current state of the Baltimore Orioles, a promotion could be in order for nothing else than just to bring some excitement to Camden Yards. He is a young, future middle-of-the-order hitter who could probably help the offense out right now. Baltimore’s lack of talent could allow him to play probably at either third base or shortstop, though neither seem super likely to be his long-term home. Even if he were only promoted to play in the outfield, his bat would still play well. Last year, the Orioles called up Austin Hays from Double-A because his bat appeared ready. They could be in a similar position this year with Mountcastle.

17. Luis Urias (2B/SS, SD, AAA)
Stats: 431 PA, .265/.379/.395, 7 HR, 2 SB, 13.9% BB%, 21.3% K%
ETA: September
It’s easy to forget how young Urias is. He’s still only 21 years old and yet has posted strong numbers at Triple-A this season. He’s striking out more than he has in the past, but that is just a part of the learning curve. Scouts rave about the bat and tout him as a future batting crown contender in the National League. If he is given a chance to play in September, his bat should help owners with both the batting average, and could be a sneaky source of power given how contact hitters have been able to show more pop in the big leagues. It’s tough to expect a promotion at this point, but owners should pounce on him in plenty of leagues should he get the call up.

18. Victor Robles (OF, WAS, AAA)
Stats: 81 PA, .308/.438/.385, 1 HR, 9 SB, 14.8% BB%, 11.1% K%
ETA: September
Robles has returned to Triple-A after battling back from a near-season-ending injury to his elbow. He is not hitting for a ton of power at the moment, but he has displayed impressive discipline and has flashed his plus-plus speed on the basepaths. The Washington Nationals have a loaded outfield as it is, but if anyone were to go down with a potential injury, it would not be surprising to see Robles jump Michael A. Taylor for playing time. Robles has the speed and bat to be a solid fantasy contributor in plenty of shallow formats if given the chance to see regular playing time.

19. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3B/OF, TOR, AAA)
Stats: 280 PA, .401/.448/.668, 14 HR, 3 SB, 7.9% BB%, 10.0% K%
ETA: September
Now up at Triple-A, Guerrero is officially one level away from reaching the majors. There is still uncertainty as to whether his debut will come in September or in April 2019 — barring injury — but there’s little doubt that he’s ready for the majors. He has clobbered pitchers every step of the way and has turned in a remarkable 2018 campaign. It would be a shame to not see him in the majors this season, but from a control perspective, it would make sense. Still, fantasy owners will want to monitor him carefully because there is not a bat in the minors with more potential than Guerrero’s.

20. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AAA)
Stats: 444 PA, .264/.302/.395, 7 HR, 13 SB, 4.5% BB%, 16.9% K%
ETA: September
With Brian Dozier traded to Los Angeles and Eduardo Escobar now playing in Arizona, Minnesota has opened up a pair of spots in its middle infield. While Gordon has not been stellar since arriving at Triple-A, he figures to be a mainstay at one of the two positions for the Twins for the foreseeable future. He offers a promising hit tool and a little bit of power and speed to help give fantasy owners a little bonus. He might only be promoted in September — if at all — and is still probably only a depth piece until he proves otherwise. However, there’s enough upside with him to at least make him an intriguing name to follow as the season winds down.

21. Luiz Gohara (SP, ATL, AAA)
Stats: 48.2 IP, 5.36 ERA, 4.79 FIP, 23.9% K%, 7.5% BB%, 16.1% HR/FB
ETA: Late August

22. Griffin Canning (SP, LAA, AA)
Stats: 85.2 IP, 3.57 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 26.5% K%, 10.6% BB%, 6.9% HR/FB
ETA: September

23. Drew Dosch (3B, BAL, AAA)
Stats: 301 PA, .273/.336/.413, 5 HR, 1 SB, 8.0% BB%, 26.2% K%
ETA: Early August

24. Forrest Whitley (SP, HOU, AA)
Stats: 21.0 IP, 4.29 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 34.1% K%, 9.1% BB%, 10.0% HR/FB
ETA: September

25. Justus Sheffield (SP, NYY, AAA)
Stats: 96.1 IP, 2.34 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 26.2% K%, 10.3% BB%, 3.8% HR/FB
ETA: September

26. Carson Kelly (C, STL, AAA)
Stats: 247 PA, .297/.389/.439, 5 HR, 0 SB, 12.6% BB%, 12.1% K%
ETA: September

27. Myles Straw (OF, HOU, AAA)
Stats: 467 PA, .304/.391/.366, 1 HR, 54 SB, 11.8% BB%, 16.9% K%
ETA: Late August

28. Spencer Adams (SP, CWS, AAA)
Stats: 120.2 IP, 4.03 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 14.9% K%, 8.3% BB%, 11.3% HR/FB
ETA: Late August

29. Jake Robson (OF, DET, AAA)
Stats: 422 PA, .296/.388/.458, 10 HR, 14 SB, 12.6% BB%, 24.6% K%
ETA: Early August

30. Sean Murphy (C, OAK, AA)
Stats: 277 PA, .291/.359/.506, 8 HR, 3 SB, 7.6% BB%, 16.2% K%
ETA: September

 

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL)

2. Juan Soto (OF, WAS)

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

4. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD)

5. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL)

6. Shohei Ohtani (DH, LAA)

7. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY)

8. Lourdes Gurriel (SS, TOR)

9. Jake Bauers (OF, TB)

10. Colin Moran (1B, PIT)

11. Willy Adames (2B/SS, TB)

12. Josh Hader (RP, MIL)

13. Willie Calhoun (OF, TEX)

14. Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU)

15. Seranthony Dominguez (RP, PHI)

16. Freddy Peralta (SP, MIL)

17. Brian Anderson (3B/OF, MIA)

18. Fernando Romero (SP, MIN)

19. Harrison Bader (OF, STL)

20. Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK)




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