Top 10 Players for 2018 – Numbers 6-10

Top 10 Players for 2018 – Numbers 6-10

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is just 86 days away, and March 29th will arrive before we know it.

Fantasy draft season is nearly upon us, and by the time pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, we’ll want to get ahead of our fantasy competition by taking stock of what lies ahead.

This is the first of a two-part article previewing our preseason favorites to be the top ten 2018 fantasy players. This ranking is independent of positional scarcity, and does not reflect anticipated average draft position. It is merely just our expectation for the top ten overall players in the upcoming season.

10.) Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets 

Syndergaard is coming off of a disappointing 2017 campaign marred by injury. He averaged 10.62 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) in his five April starts before missing the next five months with a lat strain. Assuming he can approach the same velocity (he was averaging 99.6 MPH on his fastball in 2017) and stay healthy for a full season, Syndergaard could be an absolute steal in fantasy drafts. Expect owners to be scared by the track record of recent Mets starting pitchers being injured consistently. Keep an eye on Thor in Spring Training: if he looks good, put him on your must buy list.

Projection: 3.11 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 13 wins, 220 strikeouts

9.) Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians

The two-time and reigning American League Cy Young Award winner is entering his age 32 season, so velocity is something we need to keep an eye on with Klubot in 2018. An absurd 2.25 season long ERA powered his Cy Young candidacy in 2017, bolstered specifically by a stretch of twelve starts in August and September where he averaged 10.52 K/9 and won 10 games. Kluber missed the entire month of May in 2017 with a back strain and still managed to strike out the third most batters in all of baseball and eclipse the 200 innings pitched plateau. If Kluber can stay healthy, he should be in the mix as a top fantasy asset once again in 2018. I might be more interested in drafting Thor, however – Kluber’s price may be much higher in redraft leagues for a player that profiles nearly identically.

Projection: 3.27 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 14 wins, 224 strikeouts

8.) Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks

The 30 year old slugger hit for 36 HR and 120 RBI in a successful 2017 campaign. We’ll see if Goldschmidt will continue to have the protection of free agent power hitter J.D. Martinez in the lineup in 2018 – the free agent still hasn’t signed a new contract despite the calendar flipping over to 2018. Goldschmidt is still well within the prime of his career and expected to deliver similar production in 2018 to his 2016 final line, which would be a slight dip from last season.

Projection: .291 average, 32 HR, 100 RBI, 99 runs, 16 stolen bases

7.) Manny Machado, SS/3B, Baltimore Orioles

Will they or won’t they? That’s the question when it comes to Baltimore’s front office and whether or not they’ll trade the 25 year old star entering his contract year. Whether it’s in Baltimore or elsewhere, Machado should continue to produce at an elite level – he’s got many years of high production left ahead of him if he can stay on the Alex Rodriguez-esque career arc. Machado slightly underperformed in 2017, hitting for just a .259 average, the lowest of his career. I expect to see him perform much better in 2018.

Projection: .292 average, 39 HR, 106 RBI, 101 runs, 8 stolen bases

6.) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies

Arenado hit over .300 for the first time in his career in 2017, finishing with a .309 batting average. Entering his age 27 season, the Colorado Rockies’ best player should continue to see mile high results in 2018. Colorado has made a strong push to improve their bullpen in the offseason, which means we should expect Nolan to see better pitching as opponents look to limit baserunners and force their opponents into more contact to hit into outs in 2018.

Projection: .296 average, 39 HR, 117 RBI, 100 runs, 4 stolen bases

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