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.
Note: Rankings were compiled prior to Whitley suspension and Honeywell injury.
|T4||Michael Kopech||White Sox||21||2018||6||3|
|12||Dylan Cease||White Sox||22||2019||11||15|
|T23||Jay Groome||Red Sox||19||2020||20||29|
|T25||Alec Hansen||White Sox||23||2019||27||23|
Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2018?
Andy: The disparity between Paul and I on Matt Manning kind of makes me feel like he has to be my guy. In limited time in the minors Manning has struck out 32 percent of batters. He hasn’t thoroughly dominated to the tune of a sub two ERA or struck out an absurd amount of batters, but I think Manning is going to be a big riser this year.
Paul: Hunter Greene was the number 2 overall draft pick in 2017 as a pitcher despite the fact that he was also a first-round talent as a shortstop. There’s something about guys that throw 100 mph that makes it tough to keep them off of the mound. Greene was shut down early last year but look for big things in 2018. He’s already ranked pretty high, but with his stuff, he could be the number 1 SP prospect in the game by 2020.
What prospect (if any) could make a surprising fantasy contribution in 2018?
Andy: I will go way off the board and say Kolby Allard. By way off the board I mean I don’t think many expect him to make the majors this year. He threw 150 innings at AA last year after completely skipping high-A and he had a 3.18 ERA. The strikeouts might not be great, but overall Allard should be a fantasy asset. If it happens it won’t be until July, or more likely late August, but I would give him an add once, if, a promotion comes. Also much lower key and not really a prospect, but keep an eye on Drew Steckenrider in the Marlins bullpen.
Paul: Another guy who throws 100 mph, Michael Kopech has little left to prove in the minors after reaching AAA last year. The White Sox aren’t going to rush him with no chance at contention, but they’re going to be hard-pressed to keep the 6’3″ right-hander down for too long. Kopech had a ton of success in 2017, with opponents hitting just .193 against him in two levels, striking out 172 batters in just 134 innings of work. I love this arm!
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners put on their radars now?
Andy: Tommy John Surgery ended his promising 2016 early, but Chris Paddack should be back this year and hopefully he picks up where he left off. In 87 2/3 minor league innings he has a 1.54 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and a 33 percent strikeout rate. Outside of only the deepest leagues he should be unowned after being relatively off the radar before and missing an entire year. Now is the time to pounce before he builds any hype.
Paul: Jesus Luzardo was acquired by the Athletics as a part of the Doolittle/Madson deal from Washington. After his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Luzardo came out and struck out 48 hitters in 43 innings, allowing just a .216 batting average against last season. He’s just 20 years old but should move reasonably quickly from this point on. The power left-hander throws mid-90s heat, with potentially a plus curve and changeup. The window is closing to get in on Luzardo.
What prospect can you see slipping down the rankings fantasy owners may want to trade/avoid?
Andy: Hunter Greene is always going to worry, as well as Brendon McKay. Greene more so because with his velocity I worry an arm injury is coming. It is unfair to him to just say “he’s young, he throws hard, and he might get hurt” but he’s young, he throws hard, and he might get hurt. The elite fastball guys like him, Riley Pint, Tyler Kolek coming out of high school worry me more than the guys who throw hard coming out of college. Why I don’t really know, they just do. There is the added concern of if something goes wrong they make hime a short stop.
Paul: Chance Adams is ranked pretty high for a guy who likely becomes a 5th starter-type on an AL East team. That sounds pretty harsh for someone who went 15-5, 2.45 ERA and a .193 BAA in AA and AAA last year. I think he’s a solid arm, but nothing in his arsenal gets me too excited, despite the positive results. New York is a tough place to pitch, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Adams do well enough for the Yankees while not providing enough value to make him worthwhile in fantasy.