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 our “experts” to give you an idea of 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.
|2||Zack Collins||White Sox||23||2019||2||2|
|6||Danny Jansen||Blue Jays||22||2018||7||9|
|T22||Yermin Mercedes||White Sox||25||2018||20||20|
Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2018?
Andy: I am going to go with someone with a really nice name in Andy Yerzy. He had a bit of a breakout year last year with a .298 average and 13 homers in the Rookie League. This year tends to be the show me year as he advances to A-Ball. If he can do anything even close to what he did last year he is going to shoot up rankings.
Paul: It’s hard to call the #2 ranked guy a breakout candidate, but I expect big things from Zack Collins in 2018. He hits for big-time power and draws a ton of walks; he had nearly a .900 OPS in limited AA at-bats late last season. If he can do that again this year he’d be a top-5 hitter in all of AA at 23 years old – and at a premium position. Sure, he may never catch, but if the White Sox are willing to go with Welington Castillo for the next 1.5-2 years, perhaps they won’t mind a similar defensively challenged backstop after that.
What prospect (if any) could make a surprising Contribution to fantasy teams in 2018?
Andy: Yermin Mercedes was selected by the White Sox in the Rule 5 draft, and with the depth behind Castillo I think he should stick on the bench. He is just a super deep league flier, nothing more. Chance Sisco is in line right now for a lot of at bats in Baltimore so he is an option by default, I just think what you’re getting is a hollow average.
Paul: There’s little optimism for Carson Kelly in 2018, with Yadier Molina having played 135+ games in each of the past 50 seasons. I think at 65 years old (approximately), the odds are no longer in his favor. Kelly has some pop and should hit for a decent average. If Molina misses significant time, Kelly should be serviceable in two-catcher or deep leagues. He’s no top-ten option, but I can see him being an asset moving forward, even starting in 2018.
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners put on their radars now?
Andy: I admittedly didn’t know much of anything about Andrew Knizner before Paul put him on my radar so I feel bad stealing his guy, but I am going to anyway.
He has a .308 average over 148 games. The power is exciting too for a catcher as he would pace out to be about a 20 homer player.
Paul: I’m going with the baby brother of Willson, William Contreras of the Atlanta Braves. Like his brother, he has a good approach and strong athleticism. He just turned 20 and hasn’t seen full-season ball yet, so there’s plenty of time – just keep an eye on his performance as he may not last long on the wire in deep leagues.
What prospect can you see slipping down the rankings owners may want to avoid/trade?
Andy: I wouldn’t be surprised if Carson Kelly gets passed up by the guy I just mentioned. Kelly has a little power but not much. Hits for a decent average but not great. He also has Molina in front of him for a few years. He feels like the type that won’t get drafted every year but will have a few hot stretches that gets him on a fantasy roster randomly throughout the year. But he won’t be a dynasty league asset.
Paul: I really want to believe in Victor Caratini – I like the plate discipline and the overall offensive package. What I don’t like is the lack of opportunity and the fact he’ll surely lose his minors eligibility in 2018. I’m just not sure there will be any fantasy value to him at that point.