Christopher Crawford

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Top 2018 Prospects

Monday, October 2, 2017


The 2017 season has been over for less than 24 hours, but we’re prospect folks, and us prospect folks never stop looking towards the future.

Here’s the top 10 prospects for the 2018 season. Keep in mind that these are not the best overall prospects, but like our weekly lists this past season, it covers the 10 prospects who have the best chance of making an impact in 2018, so things like proximity to the majors and positional availability matter here as well.

Without further ado, here’s the top 10:


1. Gleyber Torres, IF, New York Yankees -- With all due respect to the other players on this list, Torres is a pretty easy player to top this list. Even recovering from a freak injury that cost him most of his 2017 season can’t keep the former Cubs prospect from being here. He’s a shortstop who can hit for average with solid power, and he’s a savvy baserunner who can steal bases as well. While he’s a more-than-adequate shortstop, he’ll likely spend 2018 at third base with Chase Headley’s contract expiring. Torres has the talent to be a special baseball player.

2. Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves -- If we’re just going by pure talent, Acuna would top this list. He’s one of -- if not the -- best prospects in baseball. The question is: how much time will he spend in Atlanta in 2018? He had a sensational season, but he doesn’t turn 20 until December, and the Braves may want to be extra cautious in his development. If he does see time in Atlanta, he’s a must-add, as he has all of the skills including plus-plus speed that make him an automatic stolen base threat anytime he’s on. He’s the only prospect who has a chance to match Torres in impact in 2018.

3. Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland Indians -- Somewhat surprisingly, Mejia made his big-league debut in 2017. That surprise has to do with his projected timeline, as he clearly already has big-league ability. He’s a switch-hitter who can make hard contact to all parts of the field, and the power is coming along, as well. Mejia is going to the Arizona Fall League to play third base, so there’s a good chance he’ll be eligible for two positions next year.

4. Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays -- If there was one prospect that surprisingly failed to see time in the majors this year, it was Honeywell. He was one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues last year, and he showed a complete arsenal and the ability to command that arsenal exceptionally well. There’s zero reason to think he won’t be a part of the Rays’ rotation at some point next season.

5. Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals -- It might have been just as surprising that Robles reached the bigs, as it was that Honeywell didn’t. After all, he was a 20-year-old who started the year in High-A Potomac. When you consider his talent, however, it’s not that surprising. The only skill that doesn’t project as plus is his power, and 15 to 20 homer seasons are certainly possible. There might not be room in the Nationals outfield next year -- and he’s almost certain to start the year in Triple-A -- but Robles is an excellent speculative add for those who are looking for upside in 2018.

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6. Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies-- You’d be hard-pressed to find a prospect who improved his stock more than Kingery did. The 2015 second-round pick added some strength and loft to his swing, and that increased his power while keeping the same quality hitting talent he showed at the University of Arizona. He’s also a quality defender who has shown some versatility, which should allow him to play a solid amount of innings for the Phillies next summer.

 

7. Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee Brewers -- Brinson’s time with Triple-A Colorado Springs was excellent. His time with the Brewers? Not so much. That’s a small sample size, however, and Brinson illustrated the talent that made him the focal point of the Jonathan Lucroy trade in the summer of 2016. The only question is whether he will make enough contact to tap into his impressive power/speed combination. I’m still betting he will.

8. Ryan McMahon, IF, Colorado Rockies -- It’s great to see McMahon reach this kind of status again, as there were many who wrote him off after his struggles in 2016. It was anything but a struggle for the left-handed hitting infielder in 2017. When you add his ability to the fact he’ll be playing in Coors Field, it’s a very intriguing situation. The only reason he ranks this low is there’s no obvious place for him to play right now.

9. Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Detroit Tigers -- As we wrote about several times, there was no prospect who needed a change of scenery more than Candelario. No longer blocked by Kris Bryant, the switch-hitting third baseman has a chance to be a solid regular with his ability to get on base and demonstrate his improving power. There are fits of inconsistency, but there are enough good moments to outweigh the bad. He should be a regular for the woeful Tigers next year from day one.

10. Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers -- When the Dodgers took Buehler in the first-round of the 2015 draft, they knew they were getting a talented prospect. They likely didn’t know he was going to be this good. Buehler has outstanding stuff, and like Honeywell, he commands that stuff exceptionally well for being so inexperienced. There’s a strong chance he’ll force his way into the Los Angeles rotation next year.



Christopher Crawford is a prospect writer for Rotoworld. He's scouted and covered prospects since 2009 and resides in Coronado, Calif. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.
Email :Christopher Crawford



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