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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.

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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.

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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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Joey Votto 
Cincinnati Reds  1B     #9 Overall

2018 Proj:   160 G   556 AB   .320 AVG  33 HR  98 RBI  4 SB  103 R  

Votto improbably keeps finding ways to improve, even at age 33. In 2017 he finished 2nd in NL MVP voting, narrowly losing to Giancarlo Stanton following a .320/.454/.578 season. Votto struck out a career-low 11.7 percent of the time after making that a point of emphasis in the offseason. As long as he remains healthy, and he played every inning of 2017, you can take a .300 BA and .400 OBP to the bank, and with the Reds' offense on the rise, perhaps his counting stats will come along for the ride. The bigger question is how early do you take him? First base is such a deep position, and his stolen bases continue to decline -- chances are he'll land in the second round in your mixed leagues even with his remarkable consistency. Don't worry about a potential trade away from the Reds -- he has a complete no-trade clause and has consistently expressed a desire to stay in Cincinnati.

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Cody Bellinger 
Los Angeles Dodgers  1B/OF     #11 Overall

2018 Proj:   159 G   579 AB   .266 AVG  42 HR  115 RBI  11 SB  104 R  

An injury to Adrian Gonzalez opened the door for Bellinger sooner than expected and Bellinger made the most of the opportunity. He finished second in the National League in home runs and tied for 13th in RBI despite spending the first three weeks of the season in the minors and later making a trip to the disabled list. He finished inside the top six in both ISO (.315) and hard-hit rate (43 percent), utilizing a violent uppercut swing to generate immense power. The 22-year-old endured some struggles in the postseason, finishing 4-for-28 with 17 strikeouts in the World Series, and there may be something to those struggles: Bellinger was routinely exploited on inside breaking balls. Perhaps that is a hole that will be exposed more moving forward, but we'll bet on Bellinger's talent and say he figures it out. Look for him to bat cleanup every day after posting a .903 OPS against left-handed pitching as a rookie.

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