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Continuing our look at prospects by division, let's take a look at the NL East. In this division more than others it's a case of the Haves vs the Have Nots when it comes to prospects. You have the Braves with an absolutely loaded minor league system, the Marlins making trades left and right to start a rebuild, the Phillies and Nationals have a couple key prospects ready to make an impact at the major league level, and the Mets, who have a very nice stadium.

There are a lot of big name prospects in the NL East, featuring nine prospects generally considered in the top 50 in MLB, two of which are considered top-10 prospects. More than any other division, the NL East features top-tier prospects who can and likely will make an impact in fantasy this season.

Let's take a look at who is ready to make that impact.

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Top 10 Dynasty Prospects - NL East

10. OF Juan Soto  — Washington Nationals

A 19-year-old entering his third season of pro-ball, Soto has shown promise so far in limited playing time, hitting .362 with eight home runs, six stolen bases and a .953 OPS over 83 career games. During an injury-plagued 2017 season, Soto hit .351 with 10 extra base hits including three home runs. His walk rate took a slight dip to 8.9 percent from 10.1 percent in 2016, but he also lowered his strikeout rate from 15.2 percent to 6.0 percent. Soto is definitely one of the up-and-coming prospects in the Nationals organization, and now is the time to add him in dynasty leagues before his value gets higher.

9. OF Monte Harrison — Miami Marlins

After several injury-riddled seasons, Harrison had a breakout year in 2017 between the Carolina and Midwest Leagues. Over 122 games — the first time in his career he reached 100 games — he hit .272 with 28 doubles, 21 HR, 27 steals and a .832 OPS. While the 20-20 potential Harrison displays is very intriguing, his plate discipline is another concern (besides his health) for fantasy owners. Over the last four seasons, his lowest strikeout rate was 21.4 percent and last season he had a 27.1 percent rate. If he can improve his plate discipline and stay healthy for another year, he could quickly rise up the prospect rankings.

8. SS J.P. Crawford — Philadelphia Phillies

Already penciled in as the Phillies Opening Day shortstop, Crawford is ready to make an impact in fantasy leagues in 2018. Over 23 games in Philadelphia, Crawford was less than impressive in his first taste of major league pitching, hitting .214 with a 25.3 percent strikeout rate. His numbers in Triple-A Lehigh Valley though were better, as he hit .243 with 15 HR and a .351 OBP — 12th-highest in the International League. Crawford has double-digit home run and steal potential, and in OBP leagues he could end up one of the better options at shortstop. Over five years in the minors, he has a 13.4 percent walk rate and a .367 OBP. There will be an adjustment period for the 23-year-old to start the year, but he is a must-own in NL-only leagues, and worth a late-round flier in mixed leagues.

7. 2B Scott Kingery — Philadelphia Phillies

Kingery has had a dominant spring this year, hitting .378 with three home runs, four steals and a 1.086 OPS over 14 games. This coming on the heels of a breakout 2017 season where he hit .304 with 26 HR, 29 steals and a .530 SLG — the sixth-highest slugging percentage of any player in the minors last year. Over the last five years, there have been three second basemen with 20-20 seasons: Brian Dozier, Jean Segura and Jose Altuve — who has done so twice. Kingery is a star in the making, and while he will likely start the season in the minors in order to delay his free agency, he has a good shot at being named the starting second baseman in Philadelphia sometime this year. When Kingery does arrive in the majors, he will be a top 20 second baseman almost immediately. In leagues with deep benches, he is worth drafting and stashing until he gets the call-up.

6. LHP Luiz Gohara — Atlanta Braves

Before dealing with a groin and ankle injury that has kept him from pitching this spring, Gohara was considered a dark horse candidate to crack the Braves Opening Day rotation. He made his major league debut last season as a September call-up, posting a 1-3 record over five starts with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.364 WHIP while striking out 31 batters in 29.1 innings. Over five years in the minors, Gohara has accumulated a 10.3 K/9 rate and has never recorded lower than 9.5 K/9 in a season. One thing to keep in mind though is that last year was the first time in his career he logged more than 100 innings. But that being said, he was still able to maintain numbers in line with his career averages despite the increased workload. Entering his age-21 season, Gohara is poised to breakout in a big way and he could end up making an impact at the major league level sometime this year.

5. RHP Kyle Wright — Atlanta Braves

Wright has thrown only 17 innings in pro-ball, but the No. 5 overall pick in last year's draft has a lot of potential to become a top-of-the-line starter for Atlanta very soon. He was less than impressive this spring, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk over 2.1 innings, but Wright will look to build off his 1.000 WHIP and 9.5 K/9 from last year. Out of everyone on this list, Wright has the smallest body of work and therefore is the hardest one to project what his 2018 season will look like. Wright will probably start 2018 back with the Florida Fire Frogs, butwith his potential it wouldn't be surprising to see him dominate in the Florida State League and end up in Double-A before the end of the year.

4. RHP Sixto Sanchez — Philadelphia Phillies

The top prospect in the Phillies system according to MLB.com, Sanchez has improved in each season since his professional debut in 2015. Over 18 starts last year, Sanchez went 5-7 with a 3.03 ERA and 0.958 WHIP while increasing his K/9 rate to 8.0 from 7.3 in 2016. He has also shown impressive command of the strike-zone in his career with a 19.95 percent strikeout rate and a 5.06 percent walk rate. Sanchez will likely start this year back in the Florida State League, where he went 0-4 with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.301 WHIP over five starts. The 19-year-old has the potential to become a top-of-the-rotation starter for Philadelphia soon, and dynasty league owners should add Sanchez now before his value skyrockets.

3. OF Lewis Brinson — Miami Marlins

Brinson was the centerpiece of the the Marlins return from the Christian Yelich trade, and he is already penciled in to the starting lineup in Miami for 2018. As a 23-year-old last year, Brinson hit .331 with 13 HR and 11 stolen bases over 76 games in Triple-A. He also made his major league debut with Milwaukee, where he struggled with a .106 average and .513 OPS over 21 games, but he managed to hit two home runs and a triple in 47 at-bats before being sent back down. Brinson has the potential to be a 15-15 player while scoring a lot of runs from the top of Miami's lineup, but if he's going to succeed at the major league level he'll need to improve upon his career 25.6 percent strikeout rate. He's guaranteed playing time this year and he will be in the team's Opening Day lineup. While he will likely have some struggles as he adjusts to the majors, Brinson is worth a late round flier in any league for his potential upside.

2. OF Victor Robles — Washington Nationals

The Nationals have a crowded outfield right now, but if someone goes down with an injury you will see Robles as one of the first options the team turns to. Over four years in the minors, Robles has amassed a .304 average and .865 OPS while averaging over 27 steals a season. He also has double-digit home run potential, which he displayed last year by hitting 37 doubles and 10 HR over 114 games between the Eastern and Carolina Leagues. Robles will open his 2018 campaign in Triple-A and should get another taste of the major leagues this year. He likely won't have much of an impact in fantasy this year, but he should be able to compete for a starting spot in Washington's lineup next spring.

1. OF Ronald Acuna — Atlanta Braves

There are few prospects right now that are as exciting and as ready to make an impact in fantasy as Ronald Acuna. He will start the year in the minors to delay his service time, but he should be the best rookie in fantasy in 2018. As a 19-year-old last season, Acuna went from High-A all the way up to Triple-A — compiling a .325 average with 21 HR, 44 steals and a .896 OPS. The one concern to keep an eye on with Acuna is he had a career-low 6.9 percent walk rate and a career-high 24.8 percent strikeout rate last year. So while expectations for Acuna should be somewhat tempered, owners should still be excited about the potential he brings to the plate this season.

 

More 2018 MLB Prospects Analysis





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