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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.

17 14 4 4 1 1 5 2 2 2 8 1
Nelson Cruz 
Seattle Mariners  DH     #17 Overall

2018 Proj:   153 G   573 AB   .290 AVG  41 HR  110 RBI  1 SB  93 R  

Cruz fell one home run shy of hitting 40 homers for a fourth consecutive season in 2017. At 37, we cannot even say he is aging gracefully because he has shown no signs of aging. The overall numbers have been very consistent this decade and there have been no signs of him slowing down as he serves as a full-time DH. It is a testament to his power that there has been no dropoff in production since he left the comforts of Globe Life Park and Camden Yards for the more spacious Safeco Field. Cruz has played in 150 or more games in five of the past six seasons thanks in part to not having to take the field any longer. Cruz and Nolan Arenado were to the only two player last year with at least 35 homers, 90 runs driven in, 90 runs scored and a .285 average. Heís a good bet to make it four straight years in each of those departments.

25 20 6 6 1 1 6 3 4 2 9 2
Edwin Encarnacion 
Cleveland Indians  1B/DH     #25 Overall

2018 Proj:   156 G   565 AB   .262 AVG  37 HR  114 RBI  1 SB  97 R  

After a slow start with his new club, Encarnacion did what he always does: surge to surpass 30 homers and 100 RBI. He's now hit 34 or more home runs in six consecutive seasons and he's driven in 100-plus in five of his last six, finishing at 98 in that other year. He exceeded 100 walks in 2017 for the first time in his career, ranking fifth among qualified hitters in walk percentage. Further, Encarnacion kept his strikeout rate under 20 percent, so seemingly every skill is holding firm as he enters his age-35 season. Thankfully, he got 23 games at first base last season, so he maintains 1B eligibility with the luxury of playing most of his games at DH, and he has one of baseball's better lineups around him. As far as consistency from a power standpoint goes, Encarnacion has virtually no peers in today's game, and consistency is usually undervalued at the draft table. Act accordingly.

42 33 10 9 2 1 10 5 7 5 13 3
Khris Davis 
Oakland A's  OF/DH     #42 Overall

2018 Proj:   155 G   565 AB   .248 AVG  40 HR  103 RBI  3 SB  87 R  

Pop quiz: whoís the only batter to slug at least 40 homers in each of the last two seasons? With 42 in 2016 and 43 last year, Davisí 85 homers are second to Giancarlo Stantonís 86 in that span. The problem is, Davis fanned 361 times over that time, second only to his homonym counterpart, Chris Davis (414). Perhaps because pitchers were working him more carefully, Khris with a K registered a career-best 11 percent walk rate, rendering him a little more valuable in on-base or points formats. While he doesnít have ample plate appearances to say heís a reverse split hitter, itís curious that Davis hits righties better than lefties, especially last season. Though, that opens an avenue for improvement if he can benefit more from the usual platoon advantage. Aside from excessive strikeouts, Davisí other bugaboo is fielding as the metrics are not favorable. Entering his age-30 campaign, Davis could see more time at designated hitter.

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