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: 22 G, .271/.351/.459, 3 HR, 3 SB, 10 BB, 21 SO at Triple-A Louisville.
Senzel was placed on the 7-day disabled list with vertigo on Thursday, so he won't be eligible to return to the field until Thursday of this week and that's not a guarantee. While that obviously means the talented infielder won't be promoted anytime soon, he remains the top prospect on my board for the 2018 season, and in all honesty it's not all that close. He can hit for average, steal bases, and there's solid power in his right-handed bat as well. Is it disappointing for those who invested draft capital on Senzel that he's not up yet? Of course, but there's still plenty of time for him to make an impact on the 2018 season.
2. Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox
2018 stats: 7 G, 33 1/3 IP, 4.86 ERA, 2 HR, 17 BB, 44 SO at Triple-A Charlotte.
After a strong start to the season, Kopech has struggled over his past two outings. He was particularly bad on Friday, giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings with four walks. He did strike out six, however, before the wheels fell off of for the 22-year-old. The White Sox have said they aren't going to rush Kopech or another prospect we'll talk about in a little bit, and why should they? The White Sox are awful. Having said that -- and despite the last two starts -- Kopech's stuff is ready to roll, and he should be contributing for the White Sox pitching staff before the end of the summer.
3. Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
2018 stats: 5 G, 31 IP, 2.27 ERA, 2 HR, 7 BB, 41 SO at Triple-A Memphis; 2 G, 10 IP, 3.60 ERA, 5 BB, 11 SO at St. Louis.
Another dominating start for Flaherty on Wednesday. Facing Oklahoma City, the 22-year-old right-hander struck out 13 hitters in 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs in the process. Flaherty's ability to miss bats with three pitches -- and a solid fourth offering for good measure -- is impressive. The fact that he can command those pitches so well is the icing on the cake. With Adam Wainwright likely headed to the disabled list, Flaherty should be the next man up for the Cardinals.
4. Ryan McMahon, INF, Colorado Rockies
2018 stats: 11 G, .213/.260/.277, 0 HR, 0 SB, 3 BB, 14 SO at Triple-A Albuquerque; 28 G, .180/.317/.200, 0 HR 0 SB, 10 BB, 22 SO at Colorado.
McMahon got off to a horrific start after being sent down to Colorado Springs, but things have started to pick up as of late. He has four multi-hit games in his last 10, and while he's not hitting for much power, there's very little doubt that he should start to drive the ball; the sample size here is very small. McMahon was misused when he was with the Rockies to begin the year, and we hope the next time he comes up Colorado gives him an actual chance to play.
5. Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers
2018 stats: 26 G, .273/.331/.396, 3 HR, 0 SB, 11 BB, 22 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. Some of this could be due to the cold weather. Some of it could be a concerted effort to make more consistent contact. Whatever the reason, we hope to see the 60-grade power come back soon. It should.
6. Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
2018 stats: 1 G, 3.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0 HR, 1 BB, 6 SO at High-A Palm Beach.
It almost feels like cheating putting Reyes on this list while he's completing his rehab assignment, but he's a prospect, and he's a very good one in case you forgot. Reyes gets his fastball into the upper 90s with the occasional dip into triple digits, and he complements that fastball with an excellent change and quality -- albeit inconsistent -- curveball. What type of role Reyes will have with St. Louis is still a bit of a mystery, and it's why he ranks slightly lower than his talent might indicate. Even if he's pitching in relief, he has fantasy value because of his ability to miss bats.
7. Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
2018 stats: 33 G, .320/.399/.467, 3 HR, 2 SB, 17 BB, 30 SO at Triple-A Durham.
Adames numbers were beginning to drop -- relatively, anyway -- before back-to-back three-hit games saw his average rise 25 points. A great example of how talented Adames is with the bat, and also that we're still dealing with relatively small sample sizes in the middle of May. Adames may need to be a bit more aggressive to avoid putting himself in so many two-strike counts, but he makes hard contact all over the field, and he's not bereft of power. We should see him in Tampa Bay before the All-Star break.
8. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
2018 stats: 19 G, .397/.447/.645, 5 HR, 0 SB, 13 BB, 12 SO at Double-A New Hampshire.
It's getting harder and harder to justify placing Guerrero this 'low' on the list. He's still crushing the baseball to every part of the field, and he's still not striking out. He now has 19 extra-base hits compared to his 12 punchouts. That's just not normal. The Blue Jays don't have to call up Guerrero to Triple-A, but at some point, they might want to challenge him with a new assignment. It wouldn't be a surprise if he just skipped the level altogether, either. He's the best prospect in baseball.
9. Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox
2018 stats: 24 G, .333/.358/.636, 7 HR, 0 SB, 5 BB, 16 SO at Double-A Birmingham.
Welcome to the list, Mr. Jimenez. We've been expecting you. Jimenez has some of the best power in the minor leagues, and he can take pitches out on any part of the plate out to any part of the field. He's not just a power hitter as you can see from these numbers, as his plus bat speed and ability to recognize pitches give him a chance to hit for average as well. He won't give you any value on the bases, but that's okay. Jimenz should be up for the White Sox before the end of the season, and whenever he gets the call, he's a must-add to your fantasy roster.
10. Kolby Allard, LHP, Atlanta Braves
2018 stats: 7 G, 42 IP, 1.71 ERA, 1 HR, 13 BB, 32 SO at Triple-A Gwinnett.
The third and final new addition to the list this week. Allard won't turn 21 until September, but he's still been one of the best pitchers in the International League. He's not overpowewring -- his fastball rarely gets above 93 mph -- but his ability to locate it with movement makes it an above-average pitches. His change is a plus pitch, and he also can spin a curveball that he locates in the strike zone; or he can bury it with two strikes. Allard doesn't have the upside of the names above -- or some names that aren't here -- but his floor makes him one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. We could/should see him finish the year with Atlanta.
Just missed; Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals; Austin Hays, OF, Baltimore Orioles; Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland Indians; Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros; Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics