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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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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. Thanks to a late-season deal for Justin Upton, the Angels' supporting cast around Trout was upgraded, 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.

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Nolan Arenado 
Colorado Rockies  3B     #2 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 everyday, 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.

3 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 1
Charlie Blackmon 
Colorado Rockies  OF     #3 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.

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Paul Goldschmidt 
Arizona Diamondbacks  1B     #4 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.

5 5 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 3 1
Jose Altuve 
Houston Astros  2B     #5 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 also improving his success rate on the basepaths (32-for-38, 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% under 10 percent, and while his season rate was up from 9.8 to 12.7 percent, whiffs are simply 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 -- both in the American League and in fantasy.

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Trea Turner 
Washington Nationals  SS     #15 Overall

2018 Proj:   146 G   586 AB   .304 AVG  16 HR  66 RBI  57 SB  102 R  

Can we please stop the “Turner doesn’t have the track record to be a first-rounder” nonsense? If you want to argue injury-risk, OK, you have a point… maybe. However, there’s no longer denying Turner’s skills aren’t elite. He deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon with respect to steals, while hitting well more than twice as many homers as them, combined. Double-digit homers with at least 50 steals is first-round material, especially since his contact rate and groundball proclivity portend a fantasy-friendly batting average. That brings us to health. In 2015, his first full season as a professional, Turner played 142 games, most at Double- and Triple-A before appearing in 27 with the Nationals. In 2016, he played 156 contests, split between Triple-A and the majors. If you want to avoid a first-round talent because he was hit by a pitch in late June, costing him about two months, that’s your prerogative.

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Carlos Correa 
Houston Astros  SS     #27 Overall

2018 Proj:   146 G   561 AB   .294 AVG  27 HR  102 RBI  9 SB  90 R  

Correa took another big step forward in his age-22 season, setting new career-highs in homers (24), batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.391) and sluggin percentage (.550) while cutting his strikeout rate down to 19.1 percent. The counting stats could have been even better if he hadn't lost two months to a thumb injury suffered while he was sliding into home plate in early July. After returning in September, Correa hit just four homers in the final month of the season, but he swatted five in 18 postseason games while doing his part to help the Astros bring home a World Series title. After reaching double-digit stolen bases in each of his first two seasons with Houston, Correa had just two steals in 2017, which is a particularly surprising shift when you consider that he was 27-for-34 (79.4 percent) in his career prior to last season. With an excellent supporting cast returning around him in Houston, Correa has shown the talent to emerge as an MVP candidate with a completely healthy season in 2018.

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Francisco Lindor 
Cleveland Indians  SS     #30 Overall

2018 Proj:   159 G   630 AB   .287 AVG  28 HR  83 RBI  17 SB  96 R  

Lindor hit more homers last season (33) than he did in his first two seasons combined (27), but impressively, he did that without selling out at the plate to add pop as he accomplished that feat with the same strikeout rate (12.9 percent K%) and walk rate (8.3 percent BB%) that he had in 2016. The difference came from an increased ability to barrel up pitches, which Lindor did in 7.2 percent of his batted-ball events (4.1 percent in 2016). Somewhat surprisingly, Lindor's HR/FB rate wasn't through the roof (14.0 percent), he simply hit the ball in the air more often, improving his flyball rate from 28.4 percent to 42.4 percent last season. The flyball increase led to the drop in batting average, but the altered approach is a net positive for the Cleveland offense and to fantasy owners. Lindor was effective again as a basestealer, going 15-for-18 despite the increased power and a slight drop in OBP. The new level looks sustainable, making Lindor a top-25 fantasy player and potential MVP candidate.

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