While no one from the previous installment of MLB Pipeline's list of the top fantasy prospects for 2018 has since been promoted to the Majors, Tyler O'Neill was called up Thursday.O'Neill's promotion comes after a torrid start to the season with Triple-A Memphis, where he hit .388/.385/.837 with six home
While no one from the previous installment of MLB Pipeline's list of the top fantasy prospects for 2018 has since been promoted to the Majors, Tyler O'Neill was called up Thursday.
O'Neill's promotion comes after a torrid start to the season with Triple-A Memphis, where he hit .388/.385/.837 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in his first 12 games. He has hit 93 home runs in 378 games since the start of 2015, highlighted by a pair of 30-plus-homer campaigns (2015, '17).
The Cardinals' No. 4 prospect (No. 94 overall), with his tremendous right-handed power, has the potential to make a major fantasy impact at some point. However, his ultimate fantasy impact will boil down to his ability to make consistent contact while capitalizing on his playing time in a deep St. Louis outfield.
O'Neill struck out swinging in his lone at-bat Thursday in his big league debut, a pinch-hit opportunity in the fifth inning against the Cubs. Although the 22-year-old was one of the most accomplished home run hitters in the Minors, swing-and-miss tendencies have been a part of his game at every level.
As for the players who are still in the Minor Leagues, below are our updated rankings of the top 10 fantasy prospects. 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 Jr., OF, Braves (Previous rank: 1)
Acuna finally entered the home run column this week, as the 20-year-old phenom connected on a two-run shot to left field in his second multihit game of the season for Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday. Though he's started slowly, hitting .182 with a .567 OPS and 17 strikeouts in his first 11 games, there is little reason to doubt Acuna's impact potential once he finally gets the call to Atlanta.
2. Willie Calhoun, OF, Rangers (Previous rank: 3)
Calhoun hasn't exactly blistered the ball in the early going, hitting .250/.308/.400 with two homers in 15 games with Triple-A Round Rock. That said, the 23-year-old left-handed hitter, who appeared in 13 games with Texas as a September callup in 2017, should be up for good once his bat picks up, especially with the Rangers' outfield currently plagued by injuries and lacking productivity.
3. Gleyber Torres, INF, Yankees (Previous rank: 4)
Few, if any, hitters appear more poised for an early callup than Torres, who has opened his season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre by hitting .372/.408/.558 with five extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in 12 games. The bulk of Torres' playing time so far has come at third base (eight games) -- an obvious area of need for the Yankees early this season -- and it's the 21-year-old's potential for multiposition eligibility (3B/SS/2B) that, when combined with his offensive ceiling, makes him such an appealing fantasy asset.
4. Nick Senzel, 3B, Reds (Previous rank: 2)
Senzel, 22, opened his season with Triple-A Louisville playing mostly second base, but he has since moved back to the hot corner in the wake of Eugenio Suarez landing on the disabled list for six to eight weeks (fractured right thumb). Like Torres, Senzel is a potentially versatile infielder who can hit for average and power while supplying some speed.
5. Victor Robles, OF, Nationals (Previous rank: 6)
The Nationals received good news late last week when it was announced that Robles would miss months, rather than all of 2018, after suffering a hyperextended left elbow on April 9 while diving for a ball in center field. The injury still will cost Robles a chunk of his season, but the 20-year-old outfielder, with his ability to contribute in all facets of the game, could be a boon for fantasy owners chasing batting average, runs and steals during the second half.
6. Austin Hays, OF, Orioles (Previous rank: 8)
After battling minor injuries during Spring Training, Hays opened his season back in Double-A, as the Orioles' Triple-A outfield has a logjam of short-term and veteran options such Joey Rickard, Jaycob Brugman and Alex Presley. They shouldn't keep Hays from rising through the Minors as he did in 2017, when he became the first 2016 Draft pick to the reach the Major Leagues. Strikeouts have been an issue for Hays so far, but he's connected on three home runs in 13 games.
7. Dustin Fowler, OF, A's (Previous rank: 7)
Fowler impressed the A's while competing for the center-field job during Spring Training, and he's swung the bat well so far in Triple-A while accumulating much-needed at-bats after missing substantial time due to the knee injury he suffered in his big league debut with the Yankees last June. Fowler's power-speed blend makes him an intriguing option for Oakland in center field, where the team is deploying an underwhelming combination of Mark Canha and Jake Smolinski with Boog Powell on the DL.
8. Francisco Mejia, C, Indians (Previous rank: 9)
Mejia has seen nearly as much time in left field (four games) as he has behind the plate (six games) with Triple-A Columbus, as the Indians continue to explore ways to get the talented switch-hitter's bat into their big league lineup. While his average sits at .208 through 11 games, Mejia has connected on two home runs and doubles apiece despite frigid conditions in the International League.
9. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox (Previous rank: NR)
A mild pectoral strain sidelined Jimenez during the first half of April, but the 21-year-old outfielder is officially back in action after making his season debut Thursday with Double-A Birmingham (0-for-3, RBI, BB). Jimenez torched Southern League pitching over 18 games last summer, hitting .353/.397/.559, and it would surprise no one if he did something similar this year en route to the Major Leagues. With an elite blend of hitting ability and power, Jimenez has the ceiling of a real-life and fantasy star.
10. Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox (Previous rank: 10)
After a shaky spring in big league camp, Kopech, 21, has looked like his usual self with Triple-A Charlotte, posting a 0.90 ERA with seven hits allowed and 11 strikeouts in 10 innings (two starts). There's sure to be other highly regarding pitching prospects to get the call before Kopech, but none have the potential to impact a fantasy roster quite like the South Siders' young flamethrower.
Dropped out:Jack Flaherty, RHP, Cardinals (Previous rank: 5)
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.