Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball Opening Weekend Prospect Report: Gettin’ Ready


Welcome to the 2018 Fantasy Baseball Week 1 Prospect Report! Man oh man, we are so close to opening day. As of today, Spring Training is over. Shohei Ohtani, Scott Kingery, and Ryan McMahon up. Ronald Acuña, Michael Kopech, and A.J. Puk down (and out, Tommy John surgery likely).

With opening day tomorrow, we don’t have to listen to ballplayers in dugout interviews say they are “excited,” for the five millionth time when really what they mean is “let’s get this s#&% over with.”

Commentators can talk less (though probably won’t) about how (extremely) slowly they are coming around to sabermetrics, reviving all of our hopes that a job in the biz is within reach. I’ll tell you, if I hear one more announcer say they “just aren’t sure, yet,” and mockingly talk about xStats like some elitist looking down on out-of-touch nerds that have algorithm-ed their way out of reality, I’m going to drop a big ol’ heat map right on their desk and paper scorecard.

After that, I just might spray chart all over their laptops still displaying antiquated and, frankly, misleading statistics they got from AskJeeves.

They make me feel like the manager in this video of Bad News Bears meets Moneyball, which is amazing. Of course, the manager is kind of right about everything. So, all the jokes are on you “old school” folks.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I’m excited because the game that keeps us all young, brings the promise of summer, and gets us outside playing catch with loved ones will be here on Thursday. And with it comes the start of the fantasy version of that game that is better than all of that.

This is my first go at the Prospect Report and I want it to feel valuable to you. So, please leave comments on what you hope for in an article like this.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Opening Weekend Prospect Report

News & Notes

For all your rookie and prospect news.

Shohei Ohtani, SP, Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani had some highs and lows this spring and despite some send-him-to-the-minors noise he is set to open the season in the bigs. Read more about Ohtani and other spring training risers and fallers from our very own Tyler Gettmann here.

Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

Kingery broke camp and will be on the Phillies opening day roster along with his trend-setting six-year contract. Though his role is uncertain with Maikel Franco at 3B, J.P. Crawford making the team, too at SS, and Cesar Hernandez at 2B. Subsequently, he could start off as more of a utility guy. Won’t last long, though.

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Jack Flaherty, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

Flaherty has officially made the Cardinals roster since Adam Wainwright will be going on the DL with a hamstring strain. I have to say, I’m pumped about this one because he has a full arsenal with good fastball command to go along with a slider, curveball, and changeup. Furthermore, he successfully added a two-seamer this year and his curveball generates some nice swing and miss stuff. This all helped him get to 20 Ks in 13 spring innings.

Lewis Brinson, OF, Miami Marlins

Brinson is said to be considered for batting leadoff which may not be great given his ability to hit for power which would get him (and you) more RBIs if he were lower in the order. By and large, this kind of thing is happening more and more with guys with pop hitting first.

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Ryan McMahon, 1B, Colorado Rockies

McMahon had a great spring unsure if there was a path to playing time. However, he kept himself relevant hitting .355/.403/.581 in 27 games this spring and earning a spot. I’m hoping Gerardo Parra and Ian Desmond platoon in LF and give RyMac every day playing time at 1B. This may take a little time to work out and that shouldn’t stop you from picking him up as a CI if yours is not exciting or hurt (Greg Bird).

Notable rookies and prospects who are in the majors for opening day: Jesse Winker, Brandon Woodruff, A.J. Minter, Colin Moran and Chance Sisco.

The Next Big Thing

Guys you really need to know about.

Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers

Calhoun is maybe my favorite prospect and he should be one of yours. This is half because he is my height (5’ 8”) and half because he can flat out hit. When Yu Darvish was sent to the Dodgers from Arlington, Willie was the headliner going to Texas and boy oh boy is he going to fit nicely in that bandbox.

His prospect profile is above average power and hitting ability. Altogether he has a strong, skilled, and quick left-handed swing. While is not beautiful, it is forceful.

He doesn’t strike out too much (never below 15.9%) and just swings with all of his will (HA!). In fact, he hit 31 HRs in AAA and added one more in bigs in 2017 for good measure. In the minors, his ISO is steadily above .200, his wOBA over .340 and he hit for a good average. Despite all this, he was sent down after a so-so spring in what is thought to be about controlling his time and to work on his defense (which is bad).

His clearest path to playing time is through LF where he is getting some reps. Maybe he DHs some, too.

Waiver Pick Ups

Players worth your team’s consideration.

Jack Flaherty, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

I already wrote about him above. In sum, I like him in St. Louis with that coaching staff, that arsenal, and coming off a more confident spring where added the two-seamer.

He has the job and no real guarantee to keep it. It is possible that he or Wainwright could go the pen, though it feels unlikely. Maybe Wainwright needs more time to recover. Miles Mikolas could end up a failed experiment, too but he was rounding into form by the end of spring.

My gut is that Flaherty gets two to three solid if-not unspectacular starts. And therefore there is a chance that he performs, something shakes out and he stays up. For the most part, scouts say he is a number two or three pitcher. So, if you have a flyer you took late in a 12 team-mixer you aren’t excited about, grab Flaherty because he can provide a 20% k-rate with his 12% swinging strike rate and maybe he finds more. For keeper formats, he is an even better pick-up.

Risers and Sinkers

Highlighting players whose stock is rising and falling.

Risers – A.J. Minter, RP, Atlanta Braves

Firstly, follow Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) on Twitter and secondly, you should love AJ Minter as much as I do. This is because his slider is filthy, generating a 23% swinging strike rate and his four-seamer generates swing-and-misses, too at 96 MPH. A power pitcher, bro. Significantly, Minter had 26 Ks in 15 IPs for a short stint in the majors in 2017 and stuck out 10 in seven and a third innings this spring. Given that, there is a sleeper’s shot at the closer role if Arodys Vizcaino slips and Minter can bring down his walk rate.

Sinkers – Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox, SP

His stuff is filthy and undeniably is a  top prospect who, I think, will be an ace someday. Before reading more, look at this breaking ball. 20 feet of vertical movement? 30? 40 Feet!!!?

No, not quite that much. Still, dir-tay. And the dude struck out seven in seven innings this spring but also issued seven walks while giving up nine ERs. Consequently, this is more of a reminder that he is who we thought he was. Kopech is a prospect with nasty stuff who needs seasoning in the minors and may not succeed instantly when called up.

Thanks for reading the Prospect and Rookie Report.

Check out the rest of our great Fantasy Baseball content.

About Kyle Megrath

I care about lots of stuff. I'd like the world to be more just, equitable, and peaceful. I'd also like the Red Sox to win the world series every year. I would also like to win all my leagues and help you win all yours. I want the first one more than the second, yes, I'm not a butt. I also love reading about, writing about, and participating in Fantasy Baseball. I also love zombie movies.

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  1. Pingback: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - Fantasy Baseball Links -

  2. Hometown Hero

    March 28, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    What about Teoscar Hernandez? He has looked like a stud since last September and should be up quickly. Could be a 15/15 type player.

    • Kyle Megrath

      March 29, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Great question!

      Hernandez had to get his K% under control and swing less outside the zone. I think that 20/20 ceiling is real and maybe even more stolen baseballs. He just needs to get more consistent, strike out less, and improve OBP so he can work that speed. This article I remember reading last year was helpful for me. I think it is always good to remember likely and unlikely outcomes: 20/20 can happen and so can never getting there.

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