After using the past month-plus to roll out our prospect rankings for the Top 100 overall, Top 10 by position and Top 30 by team, MLB Pipeline will now break down what should be an immensely talented 2018 rookie class based on potential fantasy value.Naturally, the following list is loaded
After using the past month-plus to roll out our prospect rankings for the Top 100 overall, Top 10 by position and Top 30 by team, MLB Pipeline will now break down what should be an immensely talented 2018 rookie class based on potential fantasy value.
Naturally, the following list is loaded with Top 100 prospects, as many of those players are in the best positions to impact their clubs in 2018. And as was the case in '17, hitters once again dominate this year's list, albeit with two very impressive hurlers sprinkled in.
Keep in mind that the rankings below are based solely on projected 2018 fantasy value, while the Top 100 reflects long-term all-around value.
• MLB.com's 2018 Player Preview | MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects
1. Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Angels' No. 1 prospect (No. 1 overall)
In his two abbreviated starts for the Angels this spring, Ohtani has already shown exactly what the hype is about. With a deep arsenal comprised of pitches that seemingly move in every direction, the right-hander possesses innate bat-missing ability and an impressive feel for pitching. While Ohtani doesn't offer as much fantasy potential on the other side of the ball, his strong power and underrated speed could make him a useful offensive option in deeper formats (Note: Ohtani is available to be drafted twice, once as a pitcher and once as a hitter, in Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball leagues).
2. Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Braves' No. 1 prospect (No. 2 overall)
After an outstanding 2017 season (.325/.374/.522, 21 homers, 44 steals) in which he torched opposing pitchers at three different levels and then won the Arizona Fall League MVP Award, Acuna is primed for big things at the highest classification of professional baseball in 2018. He's a true five-tool talent, one capable of hitting for average and power while also making his mark on the bases. Even if the Braves keep Acuna in the Minors at the outset of the season, the 20-year-old could have a sizable fantasy impact in 2018.
3. Gleyber Torres, SS, Yankees' No. 1 prospect (No. 5 overall)
After missing much of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow, Torres is now fully healthy and ready to make the same type of impact that was expected from him a year ago. The youngster is a dynamic player capable of contributing in all facets of the game, and his ability to hit for both average and power should be of particular interest to fantasy owners -- especially if he gains eligibility at multiple infield positions.
4. Victor Robles, OF, Nationals' No. 1 prospect (No. 6 overall)
Despite making the jump from Double-A to the Major Leagues at age 20 late last season, Robles was seemingly undaunted by the challenge. Spring Training has seen more of the same from the toolsy outfielder, who is making a strong case to break camp with the Nationals. Regardless of his Opening Day role, Robles is going to spend much of 2018 in the big leagues and should serve as an across-the-board fantasy contributor with help from his high-end speed, emerging power and knack for making hard contact.
5. Lewis Brinson, OF, Marlins' No. 1 prospect (No. 27 overall)
Brinson was set to fight for playing time in a crowded Brewers outfield until the club dealt him and three other prospects to the Marlins for Christian Yelich. Now with Miami, the 23-year-old outfielder represents a key part of the organization's rebuilding efforts. Brinson may not offer immediate help in the rate-stat categories, but he should provide plenty of power and speed in an everyday role.
6. Willie Calhoun, OF, Rangers' No. 2 prospect (No. 53 overall)
Although his defense is a question mark, Calhoun has never had a problem producing with the bat. The outfielder hit .300 with 31 homers in Triple-A last season, striking out just 11.4 percent of the time. Expected to get a chance to carve out an everyday role with the Rangers in 2018, the 23-year-old could be one of the most productive rookies in the game.
7. Scott Kingery, 2B, Phillies' No. 2 prospect (No. 35 overall)
Cesar Hernandez is currently penciled in as the Phillies' starting second baseman, but Kingery is knocking on the door for a big league opportunity. After hitting .304 with 26 homers and 29 steals in the Minors last year, the 23-year-old has put his blend of power and speed on full display during Spring Training. Kingery is also a plus defender at the keystone, and he's working to improve his versatility in an effort to increase his chances of earning a role with Philadelphia at some point this season.
8. Ryan McMahon, 1B, Rockies' No. 2 prospect (No. 41 overall)
McMahon scuffled in 2016, but he bounced back to hit .355 with 20 home runs in the Minors last season before making his big league debut in August. Likely to open 2018 as the Rockies' starting first baseman, the 23-year-old finds himself in a fantasy-friendly situation on a club with an offense-boosting home park and a talented lineup. McMahon can also play second and third base, so he could stick on Colorado's roster even if the production isn't there at the outset of the season.
9. Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals' No. 1 prospect (No. 17 overall)
Reyes was expected to be a major fantasy asset as a rookie last year, but he was diagnosed with a torn UCL in his right elbow during Spring Training and ended up sitting out the entire campaign while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Cardinals expect Reyes to miss all of April and haven't indicated how he'll be used once he returns, which limits his appeal in fantasy drafts. But the electric righty is still worth stashing in deeper mixed leagues, as he could eventually return to the rotation or even emerge as St. Louis' closer.
10. Nick Senzel, 3B, Reds' No. 1 prospect (No. 7 overall)
While any number of players could fit at the No. 10 spot on this list, Senzel gets the nod thanks to his stellar production in the Minors (.315/.393/.514 slash line, 21 homers, 32 steals in 187 career games) and impressive showing so far in Spring Training, where he's seen time at shortstop to go along with his usual work at third base. Even if the 22-year-old doesn't gain shortstop eligibility after he debuts with the Reds, he could provide plenty of fantasy value at the hot corner.
Honorable mentions:Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees; Christian Arroyo, 3B, Rays; J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies; Luiz Gohara, LHP, Braves; Austin Hays, OF, Orioles; Jesse Winker, OF, Reds
Sleeper candidates:Corbin Burnes, RHP, Brewers; Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies; Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres; Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox; Willy Adames, SS, Rays
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.