Christopher Crawford

Prospect Roundup

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Top 10 Prospects: June 4

Monday, June 4, 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. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays

2018 stats: 51 G, .409/.461/.677, 11 HR, 3 SB, 20 BB, 21 SO at Double-A New Hampshire.

It's sort of odd timing to promote Guerrero to the top spot, as he suffered an undisclosed injury and wasn't in the lineup on Sunday for the Fisher Cats. The injury isn't considered serious, however, and Vlad Jr. is just too good at this point in the season to not sit in this rightful place. He can hit for average, he can hit for power, he draws walks, he doesn't strike out. He's tremendous, and while it's not a lock he sees time with the Blue Jays this year, it's likely enough to keep him in the top spot until he gets the call. Be prepared.


2. Nick Senzel, INF, Cincinnati Reds

2018 stats: 28 G, .267/.352/.438, 3 HR, 6 SB, 14 BB, 26 SO at Triple-A Louisville.


Senzel returned to the lineup on May 29 after missing almost a month with vertigo, and while the results haven't been great (.710 OPS), there have been very positive developments. The biggest positive being that he's back on the field, of course. He's also shown a quality approach with four walks, and he's stolen three bases in those six games as well. Senzel can really hit, and it's only a matter of time until he's hitting for the Reds in 2018.


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3. Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox

2018 stats: 11 G, 53 1/3 IP, 4.89 ERA, 4 HR, 29 BB, 70 SO at Triple-A Charlotte.


Kopech's ERA took a big hit with a disaster of a start on Saturday in Buffalo. He gave up seven earned runs in just two innings against the Bisons, and he walked four while just striking out two. It's a disappointing start, but it's not bad enough to drop him from the top three of this list -- mainly because there's no obvious players that should be placed ahead of him. When Kopech is at his best, he shows some of the best swing-and-miss stuff of any prospect you'll see. Unfortunately, he does have some volatility because of the command. You take the bitter with the better.


4. Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

2018 stats: 49 G, .295/.364/.426, 4 HR, 3 SB, 21 BB, 48 SO at Triple-A Durham.


Adames has struggled since coming back from the big leagues, hitting .229/.250/.257 and striking out nine times in the 36 plate appearances. It's a small sample size, however, and the overall numbers are still impressive for the 22-year-old shortstop. The ability to hit for average and get on base is amplified because he does it while playing shortstop, and assuming Tampa Bay continues to fall from contention, he should finish the season with the Rays. Don't panic over less than two weeks of struggles.


5. Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox

2018 stats: 41 G, .331/.374/.614, 10 HR, 0 SB, 13 BB, 29 SO at Double-A Birmingham.


Jimenez is absolutely blistering the baseball right now, and in the month of May, the slugger had an OPS of 1.082 from a .374/.419/.664 line. It's no surprise, as Jimenez was considered by many to be one of the best hitting prospects in the game, as he hits the ball hard to every part of the field from pitches on any part of the plate. The White Sox aren't going anywhere in 2018, and they should see what they have him Jimenez at some point this summer. My guess is they have something pretty good.

6. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros

2018 stats: 51 G, .273/.350/.454, 8 HR, 6 SB, 27 BB, 46 SO at Triple-A Fresno.


Tucker rebounded from his struggles nicely this week, hitting three homers and drawing four walks while striking out just once in six games. There is some length to Tucker's swing, but there's plenty of bat speed, and he's capable of hitting for both average and power at the highest level. The only reason Tucker doesn't rank in the top five is because of Houston's current outfield situation, but that might not matter soon. Tucker looks like he's ready to contribute to the Astros at the highest level.

7. Austin Riley, 3B, Atlanta Braves

2018 stats: 47 G, .308/.369/.552, 10 HR, 1 SB, 18 BB, 66 SO at Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.


The good: Riley continues to hit for power, hitting two homers this week and showing the plus pop that makes him one of the best corner infield prospects in the game. The bad, Riley really struggled to make contact this week, striking out a dozen times and seeing his average drop more than 15 points in the process. The Braves need to see Riley make more consistent contact before he's going to get called up, but with the Braves in contention, he could be a cog that can help Atlanta reach the postseason, and your fantasy team in the process.


8. Kolby Allard, LHP, Atlanta Braves

2018 stats: 10 G, 2.00 ERA, 63 IP, 3 HR, 16 BB, 40 SO at Triple-A Gwinnett.


One of the most impressive things about Allard is how deep he's able to get into games. In his last four starts, Allard has gone at least seven innings, and he has yet to allow more than three runs in any start he's made this year. No he's not going to miss as many bats as some of the other big-name pitching prospects, but the stuff is above-average, and his ability to locate his arsenal is a step above that. Considering his age (20) he's not a lock to come up for Atlanta this year, but he sure looks like he's ready to contribute to their pitching staff. He's definitely worth monitoring over the summer months.


9. Luis Urias, SS, San Diego Padres 

2018 stats: 52 G, .264/.377/.399, 5 HR, 1 SB, 30 BB, 40 SO at Triple-A El Paso.


Since being placed on this list, Urias has struggled. Struggled is probably too nice of a word, to be honest. What word would you use to describe a hitter who is hitting .083 with no extra-base hits in that time frame? The good news is it's just a bad week, and his on-base percentage is still pretty darn solid for having a stretch like this. Urias still has one of the best hit tools of any shortstop prospect in the game, and he should be up for the Padres before the season finishes. Assuming these struggles are temporary, anyway.


10. Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers

2018 stats: 56 G, .258/.309/.373, 4 HR, 0 SB, 14 BB, 31 SO at Triple-A Round Rock.


What a disappointing season this has ben for Calhoun. He's not getting on base, he's not hitting for power, and he's not showing his trademark ability to put the ball in play with hard contact all over the park. This is no longer a small sample size, and the only reason he stays in the top 10 is because of what we've seen him do in the past. It also helps that the Rangers aren't in contention, but they're not going to call Calhoun up until he starts hitting.


Just missed: Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers; Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates; Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Minnesota Twins; Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros



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