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2018 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

RotoWire's fantasy baseball rankings for the 2018 MLB season.

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Player stats shown are 2018 projections. Click headings to sort.
2018 MLB Player Outlooks
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Mike Trout 
Los Angeles Angels  OF     #1 Overall

2018 Proj:   156 G   548 AB   .308 AVG  39 HR  97 RBI  26 SB  119 R  

For the first time in his career, Trout required a stint on the DL in 2017 after he tore the UCL in his left thumb in late May. He missed 39 games as a result of the injury, but showed no lingering effects of the ailment after returning to the lineup following the All-Star break. Over his final 67 games, Trout hit .285/.429/.552, with 17 homers, 36 RBI, 12 steals, and a 58:48 BB:K in 301 plate appearances, a pace that would have made him a 40-homer, 30-steal player over a full 162-game season. The per-game production was once again at an MVP level, and it's hard to believe that he's still just 26 years old. Since the second half of the 2017 season, the Angels have upgraded the supporting cast around Trout, and his run-production numbers could tick up slightly in 2018 as a result. Even if he's no longer the unanimous choice as the No. 1 overall pick in drafts, he's still on the short list of players in the conversation.

2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1
Paul Goldschmidt 
Arizona Diamondbacks  1B     #2 Overall

2018 Proj:   157 G   567 AB   .302 AVG  32 HR  110 RBI  23 SB  111 R  

Only Charlie Blackmon, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge outearned Goldschmidt last season. The overall numbers picked up where 2015 left off after the slight power hiccup in 2016. The only thing that has held Goldschmidt back in recent years was the broken hand that ended his season in early August of 2014. As long as Goldschmidt is on the field, especially when he is at home, the production is a first-round lock. The numbers are consistent across the board and where other hitters suffer volatility from year to year -- you can practically pencil in a $35-plus season for Goldschmidt and see what happens in the stolen-base department. Eventually, the bonus speed from the first-base position is going to wane, but as long as he has an aggressive manager that lets him run, Goldschmidt should at least get to double digits for a couple more seasons.

3 3 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1
Nolan Arenado 
Colorado Rockies  3B     #3 Overall

2018 Proj:   159 G   612 AB   .302 AVG  40 HR  135 RBI  2 SB  105 R  

For the third consecutive season, Arenado finished as a top-six fantasy earner among hitters. He's averaging 40 homers and 131 RBI over the past three years, and his batting average has seen steady growth as Arenado has learned to be more patient (9.1 percent walk rate last season) and work the ball the other way when he has to. There was a notable dip against right-handers in 2017, with his OPS against righties falling more than 100 points to .843, but his bounce-back against lefties more than made up for it. He remains a Gold Glove defender at third base, so he's on the field every day, plus he's productive away from Coors Field (.283/.355/.531 on the road last season). Arenado makes consistent contact, is just entering his age-27 campaign and his home park gives him an excellent floor for fantasy production. Thinking Arenado won't return first-round value again seems silly at this point.

4 4 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 2 1
Jose Altuve 
Houston Astros  2B     #4 Overall

2018 Proj:   156 G   615 AB   .337 AVG  23 HR  84 RBI  31 SB  106 R  

Altuve proved that his 2016 power surge wasn't a fluke, matching his home-run total (24) from the previous year and setting new career bests with his entire slash line (.346/.410/.547) while improving his success rate on the basepaths (84.2 percent). For the fourth consecutive season, he led the American League in hits, despite his lowest total of plate appearances since 2012. A perennial All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner, Altuve has played at an elite level annually since 2014, when fantasy owners were enthralled by his ability as a 50-steal contributor. An early-season spike in strikeouts in April was offset by three straight months with a K-rate under 10 percent, and while his season rate was up from 9.8 to 12.7 percent, whiffs are not an issue for him. As part of a Houston core that figures to remain intact for at least another two years, Altuve is positioned to once again make another run at being the best player in the game.

5 5 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 2 1
Charlie Blackmon 
Colorado Rockies  OF     #5 Overall

2018 Proj:   154 G   617 AB   .323 AVG  31 HR  89 RBI  17 SB  121 R  

Blackmon's fourth full season with the Rockies was his best yet, as he established new career-highs in nearly every meaningful offensive category while becoming the fourth Colorado player in the last five seasons to capture the National League batting title. With another step forward in power, Blackmon's stolen-base output dropped slightly, and his lower success rate (14-for-24, 58.3 percent) could lead to fewer green lights in the future. Other than the declining efficiency on the basepaths, he's proven to be a very good player in an excellent situation. Over the past two seasons, he's shown significant improvement against lefties, topping out with a .952 OPS against southpaws in 2017. Blackmon was extremely productive at home last season, posting a .391/.466/.733 line at Coors Field, improving his home OPS by 300 points from 2016, and topping his road OPS (.784) by 455 points. Expecting a repeat is unfair, but he was nearly a top-five player with his 2016 numbers, so he'll likely be among the first 10-12 players off the board in 2018.

40 32 9 9 1 1 10 5 7 5 12 3
Kenley Jansen 
Los Angeles Dodgers  RP     #40 Overall

2018 Proj:   65 G   66 IP   4 W  42 SV  103 K  1.64 ERA  0.73 WHIP  

Jansen is one of the best closers of this generation, if not the best. The 2017 season didn't end as he'd hoped -- Jansen allowed runs in three consecutive appearances and blew a save in the World Series -- but the right-hander was absolutely dominant throughout most of the year. He posted a 1.31 FIP (best among all pitchers with at least 50 innings) and 39.5 K-BB percentage while going 41-for-42 in save chances during the regular season. The walk rate was the lowest of his career and his swinging-strike rate was his highest mark ever, so while it seems impossible for him to get any better, the skills are elite and there aren't even any yellow flags entering his age-30 season. The team context solidifies Jansen as the top closer option on the board.

56 44 13 12 2 2 11 6 7 7 19 4
Craig Kimbrel 
Boston Red Sox  RP     #56 Overall

2018 Proj:   63 G   62 IP   4 W  41 SV  106 K  2.18 ERA  0.87 WHIP  

His Red Sox career got off to a somewhat disappointing start in 2016, but Kimbrel returned to elite form last season. The right-hander tapped into a bit of extra velocity and that helped him boost his strikeout rate by more than two per nine to 16.4. Best of all, he dramatically lowered his walk rate, shaving it from a career-high 5.1 BB/9 to a career-low 1.8 BB/9. Kimbrel was hit hard at times -- he allowed a 39.1 percent hard-hit rate and 91.4 mph average exit velocity -- but that's not a big deal when you allow so few batted balls in play (110 batted-ball events). An uptick in velocity can sometimes be a precursor to injury, but Kimbrel has been incredibly durable throughout his career, and with the skills bouncing back, Kimbrel has a clear case to go ahead of every reliever not named Kenley Jansen.

81 64 18 16 3 2 14 12 10 10 28 4
Shohei Ohtani 
Los Angeles Angels  SP/RP     #81 Overall

2018 Proj:   79 G   171 IP   11 W  0 SV  175 K  2.89 ERA  1.12 WHIP  

Ohtani could be the best player ever to come to MLB from Japan. In addition to racking up 624 strikeouts and posting a 2.52 ERA along with a 1.08 WHIP in 543 innings over the last five seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters, Ohtani has hit .286/.358/.500 with 48 homers in 1,170 plate appearances. He's hit at least .300 in each of the last two seasons, while carrying an OBP above .400 and a slugging percentage above .500. The Angels signed Ohtani in December, and he will immediately join the front of the team's rotation. Soon after he signed, it was revealed that Ohtani has a first-degree sprain of the UCL in his right elbow, but the Angels knew about the injury before signing him. Additionally, he missed most of 2017 as a result of an ankle injury that required surgery in October. The Angels are considering a six-man rotation. With that, he may get two turns in the lineup as the DH between each start on the mound.

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