Top 10 Players for 2018 – Numbers 1-5

Top 10 Players for 2018 – Numbers 1-5

This is the second of a two-part article previewing the top ten fantasy baseball options in 2018. Read part one before this list to get the full picture.

We round out the top ten fantasy players for 2018 with three more starting pitchers, two outfielders, and a top two from the same city:

5.) Chris Sale, SP, Boston Red Sox

Chris Sale lived up to the hype in his first year in Boston, striking out 308 batters and going 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA in his 32 starts for the Red Sox. Sale deteriorated down the stretch, though – his 4.38 ERA in August jumps out most specifically. New manager Alex Cora and his pitching coach Dana LeVangie need to figure out a way to keep the fireballer’s arm healthy down the stretch. Hopefully adding a healthy David Price to the rotation and Tyler Thornburg to the Boston bullpen will help lessen the burden on Sale’s shoulder a bit.

Projection: 3.17 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 15 wins, 242 strikeouts

4.) Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals

Scherzer is like a fine wine: much better with age. The 33 year old ace posted the best ERA of his career in 2017: 2.51. The defending National League Cy Young Award winner battled through an assortment of nagging injuries in 2017, but is reportedly good to go for Spring Training in 2018 and feels fully healthy. He finished with a monstrous 12.02 K/9 in 2017, so while that is expected to pull back a bit in 2018, he’s still clearly pitching at an elite level, and one of the best buys at the position overall.

Projection: 3.38 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 15 wins, 260 strikeouts

3.) Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Kershaw’s 2.31 ERA in 2017 powered him to an 18-4 season for the National League champion Dodgers. He finished the regular season campaign with a 10.39 K/9 for the second year in a row. The models expect this to pull back slightly in 2018 (10.15), but Kershaw is still the best pitcher in baseball, and thus, the best pitcher in fantasy baseball.

Projection: 2.76 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 16 wins, 243 strikeouts

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2.) Giancarlo Stanton, OF, New York Yankees

The projection models love Stanton’s move to hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, and they’ve added seven more home runs to his anticipated total since we last looked at the data, vaulting him to number two on this list. The 2017 National League MVP should threaten for the same title in the American League in 2018 hitting between Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.

Projection: .283 average, 55 HR, 127 RBI, 112 runs, 3 stolen bases

1.) Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels

The perennial all star outfielder missed about a month and a half of baseball in 2017 with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He still managed to hit 33 HR and 72 RBI with a .306 average in just 114 games, roughly 70% of the total he usually plays. This paces out to a torrid 46 HR, 100 RBI campaign over a full season. While the 2018 projection models don’t foresee that kind of power from Trout on deck, the true five tool player’s anticipated production in all phases of the game keeps him solidly at the top of this list for another year. If Trout falls to the second overall pick in your drafts because of Stanton hype, take him.

Projection: .309 average, 39 HR, 108 RBI, 114 runs, 20 stolen bases