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10 prospects who could make MLB impact soon

Jimenez, Tucker could help fantasy teams in big way this season
MLB.com

This week marked the midpoint in the 2018 season for many of the full-season Minor League levels, and with it came a flurry of promotions ahead of the second half.

Eloy Jimenez's promotion to Triple-A is the most noteworthy given his enormous offensive upside and proximity to the Major Leagues, though he wasn't the only Top 100 prospect to move up a level.

This week marked the midpoint in the 2018 season for many of the full-season Minor League levels, and with it came a flurry of promotions ahead of the second half.

Eloy Jimenez's promotion to Triple-A is the most noteworthy given his enormous offensive upside and proximity to the Major Leagues, though he wasn't the only Top 100 prospect to move up a level.

Fellow White Sox outfielder Luis Robert (No. 26 overall prospect) was bumped up to the Class A Advanced level after just 14 games in the South Atlantic League, while the Twins promoted 20-year-old Alex Kirilloff (No. 71) to the Florida State League after his torrid first half with Class A Cedar Rapids. Shortstop Carter Kieboom (No. 66), also 20, homered in his first Double-A game after going deep 11 times and producing an .880 OPS in 61 games with Class A Advanced Potomac.

Although most of these players won't contribute in the Majors at any point this season, taking note of such in-season promotions, especially when it involves an already highly touted prospect, can be a valuable tool for predicting future success and building a long-term fantasy roster.

MLB Pipeline: Updated Top 100 Prospects list

Another fantastic tool for fantasy owners is MLB Pipeline's prospects stats page, which allows users to sift through numbers for all 900 prospects on team Top 30 lists in many ways.

Below are our updated rankings of the top 10 fantasy prospects presently in the Minors. As always, they're based solely on expected 2018 fantasy production in the big leagues, while our Top 100 reflects long-term value in all phases of the game.

1. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox No. 1/No. 4 overall (Previous rank: 1)

The White Sox promoted Jimenez to Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday after he slashed .317/.368/.556 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs over 53 games in Double-A. Though he'd likely be fine making the jump directly from the Southern League to the Major Leagues, the 21-year-old will have to lay waste to International League pitching for a bit -- which he will -- ahead of his inevitable callup to Chicago. He's a must-own fantasy asset the moment he arrives, as there are few prospects who can rival Jimenez's potential as a four-category contributor.

Video: Eloy Jimenez on working hard, preparing for Majors

2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays' No. 1/No. 2 overall (Previous rank: 2)

A strained patellar tendon in his Guerrero's left knee, which he sustained earlier in the month, will likely keep the 19-year-old phenom off the field until July. That said, there's still every reason to believe Guerrero will pick up right where he left off and mash his way to the Majors at some point during the second half. Prior to his injury, Guerrero had produced a robust .407/.457/.667 batting line, with 30 extra-base hits (11 HR), 55 RBIs and nearly as many walks (20) as strikeouts (21).

3. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros' No. 1/No. 10 overall (Previous rank: 3)

Tucker is hitting an even .500 during his 10-game hitting streak and owns a .400/.436/.643 slash line in 17 games with Triple-A Fresno in June. One of 10 Minor Leagues to record at least 20 homers and 20 steals (25 HR/21 SB) in 2017, the 21-year-old outfielder is halfway there this season with 10 homers and 12 steals in 66 games, during which he's produced a .306/.375/.506 batting line with 54 runs scored and 56 RBIs -- both of which rank second in the Pacific Coast League. He's an obvious offensive upgrade for Houston in left field over Tony Kemp and Marwin Gonzalez and seemingly has little left to prove in the Minors.

4. Nick Senzel, 3B/2B, Reds' No. 1/No. 6 overall (Previous rank: 4)

Senzel recorded his third career multi-homer game on Thursday as he pushed his hitting streak to 11 games for Triple-A Louisville. The 2016 first-rounder's nine multihit performances during that stretch have helped raise his average from .256 to .310, and he's been driving the ball with consistency (3 HR, 9 2B in 21 games) since returning from the disabled list in late May. There's no obvious spot for him in the Reds' infield with both Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett having strong years, though that could quickly change with an injury or trade.

Video: Casey discusses Senzel's potential callup to the Reds

5. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros' No. 2/No. 11 overall (Previous rank: NR)

MLB Pipeline's top pitching prospect posted his third straight scoreless start for Double-A Corpus Christi this week, allowing two hits and one walk with a season-high seven strikeouts over innings. The 20-year-old righty has permitted five hits while striking out 18 batters in 12 innings so far, showing his usual dominant stuff and, more importantly, no signs of rust in his return from a season-opening 50-game suspension. That the Astros nearly promoted Whitley late last season makes it likely that we'll see him in the Majors at some point in 2018, and he misses enough bats to offer fantasy value in either a starting or relief role.

6. Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox No. 2/No. 12 overall (Previous rank: 5)

Kopech's feel for the strike zone has deserted him in June, resulting in an ugly 20-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a 9.00 ERA and a .928 opponents' OPS over his past 16 innings (four starts). Kopech's 6.1 BB/9 in 67 1/3 Triple-A frames underscores the 22-year-old righty's current shortcomings, and he'll need to get back on track as a strike-thrower before the White Sox offer him a spot in their underwhelming rotation.

7. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Yankees' No. 2/No. 42 overall (Previous rank: 7)

Sheffield, 22, is seemingly next in line to start for the Yankees and could get that opportunity relatively soon should recently promoted starter Jonathan Loaisiga scuffle. The left-hander quietly has made a smooth transition in Triple-A, posting a 3.03 ERA in seven starts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after registering a 2.25 ERA over five turns at Double-A Trenton. The walk rate (4.5 BB/9) could be better, but he's still racking up strikeouts (10.7) and limiting hard contact (.185 BAA).

8. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres' No. 1/No. 5 overall (Previous rank: 8)

The 19-year-old shortstop is hitting .314/.396/.546 with 26 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 48 games since May 1 after slashing a dismal .177/.231/.333 in April. With an .819 OPS, 34 extra-base hits and 11 steals through 72 games, Tatis is putting up numbers on par with his breakout 2017 campaign. Current Padres shortstop Freddy Galvis, meanwhile, sports a .241 average and .658 OPS through 77 games.

Video: Urias, Tatis Jr. poised to take leap forward in 2018

9. Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers' No. 1/No. 32 overall (Previous rank: 9)

Billed as the most advanced hitter in the 2017 Draft class, Hiura has raked at a .375/.420/.547 clip since being promoted to Double-A, giving the 21-year-old second baseman a robust .333/.391/.533 batting line, with 35 extra-base hits and nine steals for the season.

10. Willie Calhoun, OF, Rangers' No. 2/No. 48 overall (Previous rank: 7)

Calhoun scuffled out the gate but has produced a .302 average with 19 extra-base hits in 44 games since the calendar flipped to May. Though he's yet to tap into his trademark raw power as he had in prior seasons, the 23-year-old outfielder is still having a solid campaign, hitting .276/.321/.415 with six homers and 20 doubles.

Dropped out: Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (No. 6)

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.