Back by popular demand, Paul Hartman and Andy Germani return to bring you their prospect rankings for the 2018 season. In addition to the rankings we pose a number of questions to each of or “experts” to give you an idea on who they are targeting and avoiding. While these rankings are primarily for those of you in keeper and dynasty leagues, some of the players could make a potential impact in 2018.
Note that players marked N/R were not ranked by that particular person. Players are also ranked using their primary position, so those that played multiple positions will not be duplicated elsewhere in our rankings.
|18||Sam Travis||Red Sox||24||2017||20||15|
|19||Rowdy Tellez||Blue Jays||23||2018||18||18|
Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2018?
Andy: I think Brent Rooker has the chance to be a big time breakout.The power he showed last year was pretty crazy, 18 homers in 62 minor league games. He should spend a good chunk of the year at AA, I hope, so he will have a chance to be a big breakout this year. You’ll read this from me a lot, but as long as he can make enough contact, that power is exciting. The strikeouts are a legitimate concern, though, as he struck out in 26 percent between rookie ball and high-A as a 22-year-old.
Paul: Evan White was a first-round pick in 2017, but only played in 14 games thanks to a quadriceps strain. With his advanced approach, he should move through a couple of levels in 2018. Seattle is where first-base prospects go to die, but White is not your typical power first baseman. He is extremely athletic, can handle the outfield and even possesses a plus run tool. It might be too bold to suggest a Top 50 prospect ranking heading into 2019, but I bet he gets close.
What prospect (if any) could make a surprising contribution to fantasy teams in 2018?
Andy: I struggled hard with this and changed my mind a few times. When it comes down to it no one is that appealing to me. I keep trying to figure out someone that will be up enough to matter. I don’t really like Jake Bauers, noted by the low ranking, but he seems to decent potential path to the majors. In deep leagues I would be giving him a look. The position at the major league level is just so deep I can’t really see too many guys not only coming up, but producing enough to be relevant.
Paul: There are 8 first-base prospects listed that could see time in 2018, but I can’t be sure that any will make an immediate significant fantasy contribution. I am forced to take the easy way out then and go with Ryan McMahon. I don’t know how Colorado will find at-bats for the young power left-handed hitter, but they’ve already shown a willingness to play him on the right side of the diamond.
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners put on their radars now?
Andy: He is kind of blocked, but Brian Mundell could have some nice years if he gets to play in Colorado. Two straight years hitting .300 with some decent pop can play well in Coors, he doesn’t strikeout too much either, but he has more of a bench bat or a first baseman on a bad team feel than an actual full-time starting first baseman.
Paul: Nick Pratto had a difficult debut, at least statistically in 2017. The advanced approached we heard about didn’t materialize as he struck out 25% of the time in rookie ball. He was just 18 years old, and there is plenty of time for Pratto to live up to his high pedigree. We rarely talk about 19-year-old first-base prospects, but with his future potential of batting average, power, and some speed, Pratto is someone you had better grab soon if you have the chance.
What prospect can you see slipping down the rankings owners may want to trade/avoid?
Andy:Brendan McKay is a bit of an easy choice for me. Local guy, for me, so I’ll be rooting for him but in terms of first base there is a lot of risk. If he struggles maybe he goes to pitching full-time. Or if he succeeds pitching, same thing. Dividing his time between the two is a concern. So many guys fail when they don’t put all of their focus on one.
Paul: I want to believe in fellow Canadian Josh Naylor, but he needs to finally show some of his batting-practice power in-game. The fact is though that even if it does show up, he hasn’t shown that he can hit left-handed pitching at all. Could he be a very good platoon player, ala Adam Lind? Sure, but that’s probably a best-case scenario. All of this is assuming the power shows up too. It’s a lot to ask, and not something I’d be surprised to see fall apart.
Come back next Friday to see our Second Base minor league rankings.