A reminder that this is strictly a list for 2018. Several of these prospects are among the best in baseball, but for the purpose of this series, it’s just measuring potential impact for the coming season. You can view my top 100 prospects for 2018 and my top prospects by position in our Rotoworld MLB Season Pass.
Without further ado, here’s the top 10 fantasy prospects for the 2018 season.
1. Nick Senzel, INF, Cincinnati Reds
2018 stats: 18 G, .271/.351/.459, 3 HR, 3 SB, 10 BB, 21 SO at Triple-A Louisville.
It wasn't a great week for Senzel, as he's been out since Thursday after experiencing dizziness -- though he reportedly could be back in the lineup this week -- and there's also reports that the third baseman isn't going to be called up anytime soon. Bummer. He still ranks as the top fantasy prospect for 2018 because of his talent, and it'd be a major upset if he didn't spend most of the year in a Cincinnati uniform. You have to be patient, but there's high upside and a high floor when he gets the call.
2. Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox
2018 stats: 6 G, 30 IP, 3.00 ERA, 0 HR, 13 BB, 38 SO at Triple-A Charlotte.
Kopech dealt with command issues for the first time this year in his start on Saturday, as he walked four in his three innings while allowing two runs in Colorado Springs. Considering how well he was throwing strikes coming into the outing, you can't be too concerned about one bad start. Kopech is missing bats at an exceptional rate, and he's keeping the ball in the park as you can see from the stats above. He'll be starting games for the White Sox soon.
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3. Ryan McMahon, INF, Colorado Rockies
2018 stats: 5 G, .182/.217/.227, 0 HR, 0 SB, 1 BB, 6 SO at Triple-A Albuquerque; 28 G, .180/.317/.200, 0 HR 0 SB, 10 BB, 22 SO at Colorado.
To be blunt, I do not understand what exactly Colorado was doing with McMahon on the roster. It was exciting to see him make the initial 25-man group, and then it was baffling when he essentially just operated as a pinch hitter. Why you'd have a 23-year-old top prospect not getting regular playing time, I don't understand. McMahon should get another call to Colorado soon, and while all of the numbers above are uninspiring, they're also small samples. Expect him to start crushing Triple-A pitching soon, and for him to get regular run when they figure out Ian Desmond isn't very good anymore.
4. Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
2018 stats: 4 G, 25 IP, 2.16 ERA, 1 HR, 7 BB, 28 SO at Triple-A Memphis; 2 G, 10 IP, 3.60 ERA, 5 BB, 11 SO at St. Louis.
Flaherty didn't have his best control in his first Triple-A start since April 19 when he faced Nashville on Friday, but despite the four walks he was able to hold the Sounds to just one run over five innings while striking out six. Flaherty's stuff -- and ability to locate it -- is way too good for Triple-A hitters to have a chance. We should see the 22-year-old hurler back with St. Louis very soon -- likely whenever the Cardinals need a fifth starter.
5. Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers
2018 stats: 31 G, .254/.323/.381, 3 HR, 0 SB, 11 BB, 20 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.
Calhoun is starting to make more contact, which is great. Calhoun is not showing much power at all, which is not so great, and quite frankly confusing. This is a player that hit 58 homers over the last two years, but he hasn't homered since April 19. He did double in back-to-back games this weekend, so maybe the extra-base hits will start falling in with more regularity. The Rangers aren't going to contend in the AL West and they haven't gotten much contribution from their left fielders this year. He should get his second taste of big-league pitching soon.
6. Francisco Mejia, C/OF, Cleveland Indians
2018 stats: 20 G, .191/.246/.309, 3 HR, 0 SB, 6 BB, 25 SO at Triple-A Columbus.
If we had to name a 'most disappointing' prospect for the 2018 season, it would have to be Mejia. The long-term future is very bright for the backstop, but he's struggling to make contract -- he's already nearly halfway to his strikeout total of 54 last year -- and his low slugging percentage shows you that he's not exactly making hard contact when he does put the ball in play. He still has a great chance of contributing this year, but it's understandably frustrating to see him be this bad for close to a quarter of the year. We're not giving up on you, Francisco, but we want to see improvement soon. We're not mad, we're just disappointed.
7. Luiz Gohara, LHP, Atlanta Braves
2018 stats: 4 G, 15.2 IP, 6.89 ERA, 5 HR, 10 BB, 15 SO at Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.
It's pretty clear that Gohara has a lot of rust to shake off, as he's struggling to throw strikes since returning from his ankle injury. He's walked three or more hitters in every start but one, and while that's not a huge number per se, it's a lot larger when you consider he's yet to go above 4 1/3 innings in a start. Gohara is still missing bats at least, but he's going to have to show better command before he joins the Atlanta rotation.
8. Austin Hays, OF, Baltimore Orioles
2018 stats: 27 G, .243/.292/.441, 5 HR, 1 SB, 8 BB, 28 SO at Double-A Bowie.
There we go. Hays' overall numbers are still not where they should be for a player of his talent, but he had an excellent week with a 1.040 OPS and four extra-base hits for the Baysox. The Orioles are atrocious, and it's in large part due to their lineup outside of Manny Machado. Long story short, Hays has an excellent chance to spend the majority of his year in Baltimore, even if he's still hitting at the Double-A level right now.
9. Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
2018 stats: 27 G, .302/.397/.479, 3 HR, 2 SB, 16 BB, 25 SO at Triple-A Durham.
Adames is a very patient hitter, which helps him get on with more than his fair share of walks. There's a trade-off to those walks, however, as taking a bunch of pitches also leads to two-strike counts, which leads to strikeouts. That works great for the on-base percentage, but it's tough to hit for average when you strike out as often as Adames does. He could be an exception because he makes so much hard contact when he does put the ball in play, but it's something you have to keep in mind.
2018 stats: 19 G, .398/.455/.624, 3 HR, 0 SB, 12 BB, 12 SO at Double-A New Hampshire.
No, really, I don't know what to say. Guerrero just keeps on hitting, and he now has a 14-to-12 lead in extra-base hits over strikeouts. You're not supposed to be able to do this when you're a teenager. You're not supposed to be this good, period. This is the best prospect in baseball, and at some point, I'm going to have to move him up this list. The only reason he ranks this low is because it's still unlikely he makes his debut in 2018. But goodness gracious, this is just awesome.
Just missed; Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals; Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates; Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox; Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros; Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics