Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

These prospects will make the biggest impact in 2018

MLB.com

Not every rookie will leave his mark on baseball like Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger did a year ago, but each club has a prospect or prospects who should crack its big league roster in 2018. Below are MLB Pipeline's choices for the rookies who will make the biggest impact on each team in each division.

• Impact prospects by division: NL East | NL Central | NL West | AL East | AL Central | AL West

Not every rookie will leave his mark on baseball like Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger did a year ago, but each club has a prospect or prospects who should crack its big league roster in 2018. Below are MLB Pipeline's choices for the rookies who will make the biggest impact on each team in each division.

• Impact prospects by division: NL East | NL Central | NL West | AL East | AL Central | AL West

AL EAST

Baltimore: Austin Hays, OF (No. 1 on O's Top 30; No. 23 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Norfolk
Hays became the first hitter from the 2016 Draft class to reach the Major Leagues last September after he tore through two Minor League levels while hitting .329 with 32 home runs. More »

Boston: Sam Travis, 1B (No. 5 on Red Sox's Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Pawtucket
Boston may not have an open spot in its lineup for Travis, but he is the best pure hitter in its farm system and has challenged for the big league lead in Spring Training home runs. More »

New York: Gleyber Torres, INF (No. 1 on Yankees' Top 30; No. 5 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Scranton/W-B
The jewel of the Aroldis Chapman trade with the Cubs two summers ago, Torres might already be an established big leaguer if he hadn't injured his non-throwing elbow and required Tommy John surgery last June. More »

Tampa Bay: Christian Arroyo, 3B/SS (No. 6 on Rays' Top 30; No. 81 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Durham
Acquired from the Giants in the offseason Evan Longoria deal, Arroyo, who appeared in parts of 34 games with San Francisco in 2017, could slot into any number of spots in the Rays' infield this season. More »

Toronto: Anthony Alford, OF (No. 3 on Blue Jays' Top 30; No. 47 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Disabled list
Alford was poised to carve out a role in Toronto's outfield last May before landing on the disabled list with a broken hamate bone. More »

NL EAST

Atlanta: Ronald Acuna, OF (No. 1 on Braves' Top 30; No. 2 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Gwinnett
Right now, there is a lot of focus on the fact Acuna didn't make the Opening Day roster. By the end of the year, no one is going to care, kind of like what happened with Kris Bryant in his rookie season. More »

Miami: Lewis Brinson, OF (No. 1 on Marlins' Top 30; No. 27 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Marlins
Acquired along with three other prospects in the offseason blockbuster trade for Christian Yelich, Brinson, a Florida native, already seems at home as part of the Marlins' organization. More »

New York: Chris Flexen, RHP (No. 9 on Mets' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Las Vegas
Flexen was rushed to the big leagues from Double-A last year out of need and struggled, posting a 7.88 ERA in 48 innings. More »

Philadelphia: J.P. Crawford, SS (No. 3 on Phillies' Top 30; No. 37 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Phillies
Crawford shook off a rough start to the first half of 2017 in Triple-A to turn things around and earn his first big league callup, playing numerous positions over the season's final month. More »

Washington: Victor Robles, OF (No. 1 on Nationals' Top 30; No. 6 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Syracuse
Robles made the jump from Double-A to the Major Leagues at age 20 last September en route to a spot on the Nationals' postseason roster. More »

AL CENTRAL

Cleveland: Francisco Mejia, C (No. 1 on Indians' Top 30; No. 11 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Columbus
There is no question about Mejia's hitting ability, as scouts widely view him as one of the Minors' best pure hitters. More »

Chicago: Michael Kopech, RHP (No. 2 on White Sox Top 30; No. 10 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Charlotte
In Eloy Jimenez and Kopech -- both acquired in trades -- the White Sox have the game's best combo of hitting and pitching prospects, and both should surface at Guaranteed Rate Field sometime this summer. More »

Detroit: Mike Gerber, OF (No. 11 on Tigers' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Toledo
Gerber has some power, some speed and can hit, although he's not plus in any one category. But he can do a little bit of everything, plus play all three outfield positions. More »

Kansas City: Hunter Dozier, 3B/OF (No. 7 on Royals' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Omaha
A surprise pick at No. 8 overall in the 2013 Draft, Dozier would have gotten at-bats with the Royals last year had he not been waylaid by hamate and oblique injuries. More »

Minnesota: Fernando Romero, RHP (No. 2 on Twins' Top 30; No. 68 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Double-A Chattanooga
All Romero did this spring was throw eight hitless innings, walking one and striking out eight. But it was never in the plans for him to break camp with the Twins. More »

NL CENTRAL

Chicago: Victor Caratini, C/1B (No. 8 on Cubs' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Cubs
The Cubs' stacked young lineup is ready for a run at another World Series championship, which won't leave many at-bats for Caratini. Nevertheless, he beat out veteran Chris Gimenez to win the backup catching job. More »

Cincinnati: Jesse Winker, OF (No. 4 on Reds' Top 30; No. 82 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Reds
Winker has hit pretty much everywhere he's been, including his 121 at-bat big league debut last year. So it should come as no surprise that he's hit .348/.415/.522 during Spring Training as he prepares for his first full season in the bigs. More »

Milwaukee: Brandon Woodruff, RHP (No. 3 on Brewers' Top 30; No. 96 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Brewers
A hamstring injury delayed Woodruff's big league debut until August, and he pitched to a 4.81 ERA in eight starts once finally healthy. More »

Pittsburgh: Colin Moran, 3B (No. 8 on Pirates' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Pirates
Part of the Gerrit Cole trade, Moran will be the Pirates' regular third baseman after a strong Grapefruit League showing. More »

St. Louis: Jack Flaherty, RHP (No. 2 on Cards' Top 30; No. 38 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Cardinals
Flaherty, who was set to head to the Minors before an injury to Adam Wainwright, was dominant across two levels of the Minors in 2017, leading to his first taste of the big leagues at age 21. More »

AL WEST

Houston: J.D. Davis, 3B/1B (No. 9 on Astros' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Astros
Davis won't wrest the hot-corner job away from Alex Bregman , but an impressive Grapefruit League performance earned him a spot on the Opening Day roster and some playing time at first base while Yuli Gurriel is sidelined with a hand injury. More »

Los Angeles: Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH (No. 1 on Angels' Top 30; No. 1 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Angels
Yes, Ohtani has struggled in acclimating to the game here this spring, especially at the plate. But the stuff on the mound is legit, so even if the bat doesn't get going, he's going to impact the Angels' rotation. More »

Oakland: A.J. Puk, LHP (No. 1 on A's Top 30; No. 32 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A DL
Puk looked like a dark-horse candidate to crack the A's Opening Day rotation up until he recently was shut down with biceps tendinitis. More »

Seattle: Daniel Vogelbach, 1B (No. 11 on Mariners' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Mariners
Vogelbach has struggled to find consistency over parts of two seasons in the big leagues with the Mariners, hitting just .175 in 40 at-bats and 24 games. But a monstrous spring has the big first baseman's stock pointing up ahead of the 2018 season. More »

Texas: Willie Calhoun, OF (No. 2 on Rangers' Top 30; No. 53 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Round Rock
The best of the three prospects the Rangers acquired from the Dodgers in exchange for Yu Darvish last July, Calhoun combines hitting ability and power better than most prospects. More »

NL WEST

Arizona: Taylor Clarke, RHP (No. 7 on D-backs' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Reno
The D-backs might get help in the bullpen from arms like Jimmie Sherfy or Jared Miller, but if a spot in the rotation needs to be filled, Clarke could be the one to step in. More »

Colorado: Ryan McMahon, 1B/2B/3B (No. 2 on Rockies' Top 30; No. 41 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Rockies
While the Rockies' decision to re-sign Carlos Gonzalez may push Ian Desmond to first base and obstruct McMahon's path to an everyday role, the rookie might be the best hitter of that trio. More »

Los Angeles: Walker Buehler, RHP (No. 1 on Dodgers' Top 30; No. 12 on Top 100)
Opening Day 2018: Triple-A Oklahoma City
Fully recovered from Tommy John last season, Buehler rocketed from high Class A in April to Los Angeles in September, showing better stuff than he had before his elbow was reconstructed. More »

San Diego: Franchy Cordero, OF (No. 10 on Padres' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: Disabled list (groin injury)
That Cordero led the Minors with 18 triples while also tallying 17 home runs and 21 doubles last season speaks to his athleticism and tools as well as his overall capacity to make things happen at the plate. More »

San Francisco: Steven Duggar, OF (No. 3 on Giants' Top 30)
Opening Day 2018: TBD, S.F. or Triple-A Sacramento
Club officials acknowledge that Duggar is their center fielder of the future, and that future could come as early as Opening Day because he has outperformed his veteran competition during Cactus League play. More »