Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Here are 10 prospects to help your fantasy team

Braves' Acuna claims top spot; Rangers' Calhoun jumps up list
MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

In case we needed another reminder that Spring Training statistics are essentially meaningless, Shohei Ohtani is providing it. After hitters battered him for a .529 average and a 27.00 ERA while he went 4-for-32 with 10 strikeouts at the plate in Cactus League play, Japan's Babe Ruth has done a passable imitation of America's.

Ohtani dominating (outside of a three-run homer by Matt Chapman) in his first big league start on the mound and homered in his second and third games as a DH. That's a small sample size, to be sure, but also an indication that he should live up to MLB Pipeline's billing as 2018's most productive prospect for fantasy baseball purposes.

In case we needed another reminder that Spring Training statistics are essentially meaningless, Shohei Ohtani is providing it. After hitters battered him for a .529 average and a 27.00 ERA while he went 4-for-32 with 10 strikeouts at the plate in Cactus League play, Japan's Babe Ruth has done a passable imitation of America's.

Ohtani dominating (outside of a three-run homer by Matt Chapman) in his first big league start on the mound and homered in his second and third games as a DH. That's a small sample size, to be sure, but also an indication that he should live up to MLB Pipeline's billing as 2018's most productive prospect for fantasy baseball purposes.

Top prospect stats

Below are our updated rankings of the top 10 fantasy prospects presently in the Minor Leagues, which began play Thursday. As always, we're considering only expected 2018 fantasy production in the big leagues, while our Top 100 Prospects list reflects long-term value in all phases of the game.

1. Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves (Preseason rank: 2)
Preston Tucker is off to a hot start and there are future-free-agency considerations that make all kind of sense to keep Acuna in Triple-A for at least a couple of weeks. But the most talented prospect in the Minors has nothing left to prove there even if he's only 20, and he could provide 20 homers and at least as many steals as a rookie if Atlanta gives him the at-bats.

Video: Jim Callis compares Acuna to 2011 Mike Trout

2. Willie Calhoun, OF, Rangers (Preseason rank: 6)
Though Texas demoted Calhoun from big league camp earlier than expected, he still combines the ability to hit for power and make contact better than most prospects. The Rangers already have lost one outfielder (Delino DeShields Jr.) to injury and aren't getting much out of Ryan Rua, while Calhoun could lead all rookies in homers if he gets a starting job soon enough.

3. Gleyber Torres, INF, Yankees (Preseason rank: 3)
New York has a number of options at second and third base: Miguel Andujar, Brandon Drury, Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade and Neil Walker. Torres has more offensive upside than any of them, with quick hands that should translate into high batting averages and plenty of power, and he should find a spot in the lineup after some time in Triple-A.

4. Victor Robles, OF, Nationals (Preseason rank: 4)
His package of tools has ranked as the best on the Top 100 for two years running, yet Robles will make his Triple-A debut before Washington hands him its center-field job. He's too talented to keep down for long, as his bat, speed and developing power are all assets (as is his Gold Glove-caliber defense, which doesn't matter in fantasy).

Video: Callis on the impact prospects for 2018

5. Nick Senzel, 3B, Reds (Preseason rank: 10)
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft batted .321/.391/.514 in his first full year as a pro, and his pure hitting ability makes him big league-ready now. Eugenio Suarez had a breakout season in Cincinnati, however, so Senzel will get some exposure to Triple-A and even try his hand at shortstop before he can help your fantasy team in just about every category.

6. Austin Hays, OF, Orioles (Preseason rank: unranked)
Don't read too much into Hays' assignment to Double-A, which is Baltimore's way of easing him back in after he missed time in Spring Training with shoulder soreness. The first player from the 2016 Draft to reach the big leagues despite being only a third-rounder, he hits for power and average and should rejoin the offensively challenged Orioles before too long.

7. Dustin Fowler, OF, Athletics (Preseason rank: unranked)
Fowler is better offensively and defensively than the two players Oakland has employed in center field so far this season, Boog Powell and Jake Smolinski. He's a sleeper 20-20 possibility, though he may need time to acclimate to the big leagues after rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee in his first big league game last June.

Video: Callis discusses his Top 3 MILB Opening Day rosters

8. Christian Arroyo, 3B, Rays (Preseason rank: unranked)
The long-term left side of Tampa Bay's infield is beginning the season at Triple-A Durham, with Arroyo at third base and Willy Adames at shortstop. The key to the Evan Longoria trade from the Rays' perspective, Arroyo has outstanding hand-eye coordination and should hit for more average and power than current big league starter Matt Duffy.

9. Francisco Mejia, C, Indians (Preseason rank: unranked)
Mejia has a higher offensive ceiling than any catcher in the Minors and than Cleveland's backstop tandem of Yan Gomes and Robert Perez. But he's still a work in progress defensively, so he'll work on that aspect of his game in Triple-A for a while.

Video: Callis on the AL Central's impact prospects

10. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox (Preseason rank: unranked)
Someone who's ticketed to start 2018 in Double-A and currently on the disabled list with a strained left pectoral muscle may not seem like a prime fantasy candidate. But Jimenez combines hitting ability and power better than any prospect not named Vladimir Guerrero Jr., so he could force his way to Chicago quicker than expected.

Dropped out: Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Angels (Preseason rank: 1); Lewis Brinson, OF, Marlins (Preseason rank: 5); Scott Kingery, INF/OF, Phillies (Preseason rank: 7); Ryan McMahon, 1B, Rockies (Preseason rank: 8); Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (Preseason rank: 9).

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.