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.
|10||Lourdes Gurriel||Blue Jays||24||2019||9||13|
|18||Samad Taylor||Blue Jays||19||2021||16||20|
|T24||Luis La O||Rangers||26||2020||N/R||21|
Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2018?
Andy: In his first full season I expect pretty big things from Keston Hiura. He was one of the best pure hitters from the 2017 draft. He then dominated the AFL hitting .435 with four homers in just 15 games. I could see him hitting .300 with 20 plus homers in his first full season.
Paul: All Nick Solak does is hit and get on base. Unfortunately, he’s had only 30 games above High-A to make a strong impression. Solak should start at AA in 2018, and another strong showing of getting on base, showing that gap power, and tossing in some stolen bases will do wonders for his fantasy stock.
What prospect (if any) could make a surprising contribution to fantasy teams in 2018?
Andy: Scott Kingery should play a large part of the season in the majors. He is the easy choice here for me, even though I don’t like going with the easy choice if I can avoid it. Kingery raked through AA and AAA last year hitting .304 and 26 homers. The only concern is he never really showed power before his 18 homer half season at hitter friendly Reading.
Paul: Technically, Yairo Munoz should be ahead of Max Schrock in the Cardinals’ depth chart, but I’m going with the older Schrock here. Even more than Solak, all Schrock ever does is hit. He hit .321 last year and rarely strikes out (9.2% last year in AA). There are more exciting guys who can put up some power and chip in some steals, but Schrock may just be the tortoise that steadily gets the job done and wins the position later in the season.
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners put on their radars now?
Andy: I don’t know if he is really lesser known among prospects at the position, but I feel like Esteury Ruiz is off the radar in the general prospect landscape. Ruiz had back-to-back really nice seasons hitting .331/.386/.556 with nine homers over 108 games between the DSL and AZL. He will likely get his first taste of A-ball this season at 19 and if he has anywhere near the success he has had he is going to fly up prospect lists.
Paul: The Nationals did a great job in 2016 with their international draft, nabbing Ricardo Mendez, Yasel Antuna and second baseman Luis Garcia. Antuna is the one most are predicting the break out from, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Garcia doesn’t match him step by step. The 17-year-old hit .302 last year, striking out in just 15% of his at-bats. He has plus speed and with his nice feel for hitting, the ceiling is very high for the young Venezuelan. It will take some serious patience (and roster spots), but this is the type of lottery ticket, you should get in on.
What prospect can you see slipping down the rankings owners may want to trade/avoid?
Andy: This is Isan Diaz’s last chance to prove something for me. Upside can only go so far when you strikeout as much as he does in the lower level minors. The position’s lack of prospect depth has him higher, for me, than he really should be with his production.
Paul: I want to root for Lourdes Gurriel, but I’m having a hard time seeing more than a utility profile. A year ago, there was a ton of rust for the young second baseman. This year, he missed substantial time due to injuries. I guess the question is if he doesn’t pull it all together in 2018, how much longer can we wait? He’s shown little power, little speed, and nearly a 1:4 BB:K rate to this point. I for one am not going to give him the benefit of the doubt any longer.