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Christopher Crawford

Prospect Roundup

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Top 10 Prospects: April 16

Monday, April 16, 2018


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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. Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves

2018 stats: 8 G, .152/.222/.182, 0 HR, 1 SB, 3 BB, 12  SO


Those numbers are ugly, and after talking to a scout who watched him this week, I got a report that Acuna was “pressing” at the Triple-A level. That being said, 33 at-bats aren’t enough to take the uber-talented outfielder out of the top spot. It might take until the end of the month -- or perhaps even a little later -- but Acuna has the skill set to be among the best young outfielders in baseball. It would be foolish to give up on him just yet.

 

2. Nick Senzel, 2B, Cincinnati Reds

2018 stats: 10 G, .233/.283/.349, 1 HR, 1 SB, 3 BB, 11 SO


Senzel, like Acuna, hasn’t had a terrific start to the year, but, again, it’s not enough sampling to cause concern. He’s been playing third base as of late, and the injury to Eugenio Suarez opens up a spot for the 22-year-old. It would be an upset if Senzel wasn’t up very soon.

 

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3. Gleyber Torres, INF, New York Yankees

2018 stats:10 G, .385/.405/.564, 1 HR, 1 SB, 2 BB, 8 SO


Torres has been outstanding to begin the season, and I’m not sure why anyone is surprised. He was the top prospect in baseball at this point last year, and even after missing over half the season, that skill set wasn’t going to go away. The only reasons Torres ranks third are that 1. Acuna and Senzel are really good and 2. The Yankees infield seems full right now. If Torres keeps ripping the baseball like he has been, New York is going to have to find room.


4. Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox

2018 stats: 2 G, 10 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 HR, 4 BB, 11 SO


Kopech got off to a rough start in 2017. It certainly hasn’t been the case in the 2018 season. Kopech has made hitters look silly with his fastball/slider combination, and it’s just a matter of honing that third offering -- a below-average change -- before he’s up missing bats with the White Sox. He’s a potential early star.


5. Francisco Mejia, C/OF, Cleveland Indians

2018 stats: 8 G, .229/.289/.371, 1 HR, 0 SB, 3 BB, 9 SO


Mejia has struck out nine times in eight games so far for Columbus in the International League. He struck out 53 times all season last year. That could be a case of just facing some tough pitchers early on, or just not having his usual great feel for the strike zone to begin the year. Either way, it’s a slight -- and minor -- concern. Expect Mejia to make much more contact over the coming weeks, and to get a promotion to Cleveland not long after that.


6. Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers

2018 stats: 11 G, .267/.313/.400, 1 HR, 0 SB, 3 BB, 11 SO


Like Mejia, Calhoun has a reputation for consistently putting the ball in play. Also like Mejia, that hasn’t shown up to start the 2018 season. He also has just one homer, which is surprising considering he hit 31 last year, and he’s playing in a homer-friendly league. We’ll blame the poor start on the awful weather around the country, and also mention a small sample size for about the 86th time in this article. Calhoun is going to be just fine.


7. Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

2018 stats: 2 G, 9.0 IP, 2.00 ERA, 0 HR, 2 BB, 11 SO


Two solid -- if not spectacular -- starts for Buehler to begin the year, and he’s showing the quality command of his stuff that he showed for most of the 2017 campaign before his promotion to Los Angeles. There are still questions for this year whether or not he’s going to be a starter or reliever, but in either role, he has effectiveness because of his ability to miss bats while limiting the walks. There’s no denying the value increases substantially if he’s in the rotation, however.


8. Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

2018 stats: 2 G, 13 IP, 2.77 ERA, 0 HR, 2 BB, 16 SO


Compares to his first two dominant starts of the 2018 season, Flaherty was disappointing, if you can call a six-inning start where you allow three runs and strike out five disappointing, anyway. If this is him struggling, you’ll take it, because the first two sensational outings are well within reach for the 22-year-old right-hander. The Cardinals are going to have to make room in the rotation for Flaherty before the summer is over.


9. Austin Hays, OF, Baltimore Orioles

2018 stats: 9 G, .263/.317/.421, 2 HR, 1 SB, 3 BB, 11 SO


The numbers weren’t there for the handful of games for Hays, but the hits are starting to fall for the talented outfielder, and he also hit his first two homers of the season. He’s in Double-A right now because of a numbers crunch -- and because he didn’t spend much time there last season -- but there’s a really good chance he’ll be in Triple-A soon, or he could skip the level altogether. Either way, helping the Baltimore lineup is likely before the end of 2018.


10. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

2018 stats: 9 G, .361/.419/.639, 2 HR, 0 SB, 5 BB, 4 SO


I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to list Guerrero on my list at all this year. Here is is just three weeks into the season. He’s that good. There’s no prospect who has a better hit tool than Vladdy Jr., and the power is well above-average as well. Add in the fact that he commands the strike zone and doesn’t have the usual swing-and-miss from this type of profile, and you have a potential superstar. He only ranks this low because he’s a teenager in Double-A, but he’d be a must-add if he makes his big-league debut.


Just missed; Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals;  Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates; Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox; Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros; Luiz Gohara, LHP, Atlanta Braves



Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.
Email :Christopher Crawford



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