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 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.
|3||Eloy Jimenez||White Sox||21||2019||3||3|
|9||Luis Robert||White Sox||20||2019||9||11|
|10||Anthony Alford||Blue Jays||23||2017||10||14|
Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2018?
Andy: Heliot Ramos feels like the hot name this offseason and I am going there as well. He dominated in his first run at the minors last year and this year I think he has a chance to show the true power-speed potential. I think there is more speed than power long term. He could be a perennial 15/25 type player and I think this year is the start of that.
Paul: Hitting .281 with 13 home runs and 41 stolen bases probably already constitutes a breakout, though I’m expecting even bigger things in 2018 from Taylor Trammell. Trammell has plus speed and a great approach at the plate. The power is developing, and he could very well develop into a 15/30 type player. Just 20 years old, Trammell has a few years ahead of him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a top-20 prospect heading into 2019. Honorable mention to Daz Cameron.
What prospect could make a surprising contribution to fantasy teams in 2018?
Andy: I think Willie Calhoun is being overlooked. It isn’t a surprise to anyone that he will be playing in the majors and be contributing, but I think there is a .300 average and 25 plus homer potential there this season. Depending on where he hits in the order there could be RBI opportunities as well.
Paul: Franchy Cordero had a rough debut last year, hitting .222 with 44% K in 92 at-bats. On the positive side, he did hit 3 home runs and 3 triples in those limited at-bats. On the positive side, Cordero had the 7th highest speed score in the majors (thank you Fangraphs) ahead of Keon Broxton, and the 35th highest average exit velocity. Fast forward to the winter, and Cordero was named Rookie of the Year and MVP of the Dominican Winter League where he hit .323/.393/.495 in 186 at-bats. Put it all together and there’s a ton of potential for someone who has nothing left to prove in the minors.
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners put on their radars now?
Andy: I don’t think he is “lesser known” really but I feel like he constantly gets overlooked because of how deep and the outfield crop of prospects is. Jesus Sanchez is likely to be on most top-100 lists, but he finds himself in that weird spot where he isn’t quite as exciting as Soto, Brinson, etc. and he is less of a “high upside dart throw” than guys like Heredia, Adell, etc. Like Ramos, there is great power-speed potential here, but unlike Ramos, he has more power than speed. He could be a contributor in all fantasy categories in a few years.
Paul: Not ranked at all here because of his youth and the sheer number of more accomplished prospects, I would still watch Yankees’, Everson Pereira. Pereira just 16, signed out of Venezuela last July. He is a plus runner and plus defender in centerfield. He has big-time bat speed and makes a ton of hard contact. It’s way too early to get excited about him, but if your league rosters 450+, I think he makes for a worthy (and fun) roster spot.
What prospect can you see slipping down the rankings fantasy owners may want to trade/avoid?
Andy: If Corey Ray doesn’t show something this year he is going to drop dramatically. The steals have been there to this point but not much else. He is below the 30% strikeout threshold so far, so there might be some bad BABIP luck there. He has been a little ground ball pull heavy if you check out his spray chart, and his 44% ground ball rate doesn’t really help his chances of being exciting either.
Paul: I really like all of these guys and it’s tough to project failure on them, but if I had to choose I would go with Austin Meadows. Meadows has already seen his stock fall heading into 2018, after another disappointing, injury-filled season. In fact, in two seasons in AAA, Meadows has hit .214/.297/460 and then .250/.311/.359. Meadows could be a candidate for the “Most Likely to Contribute in 2018” question, with the McCutchen trade opening up a spot for him. I just question whether he’s ready and whether his prospect eligibility ends up lost with little to show for it in 2018. I do still think he’s a decent buy-low guy in larger dynasty leagues.