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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 Preseason projections. Click headings to sort.
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Mike Trout 
Los Angeles Angels  OF     #1 Overall

2018 Preseason 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.

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Jose Altuve 
Houston Astros  2B     #2 Overall

2018 Preseason 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.

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Corey Kluber 
Cleveland Indians  SP     #3 Overall

2018 Preseason Proj:   31 G   210 IP   17 W  0 SV  249 K  2.79 ERA  0.97 WHIP  

Despite missing most of May with lower-back discomfort, Kluber won the American League Cy Young Award and joined Max Scherzer and Jeff Samardzija as the only pitchers to toss more than 200 innings in each of the last four seasons. Kluber shattered career bests in both strikeout (34.1) and walk (4.6) percentages, resulting in his lowest ERA ever. While back issues often resurface, there’s doesn't seem to be any real reason to be concerned about Kluber. The righty threw at least seven frames in 19 of his 29 outings. Of the 10 shorter efforts, three were in April as he battled blisters, one was his only May start when his back began barking, two were the games right after he came off the disabled list in June while another was his last start of the season as he was readying for the playoffs. Kluber’s skills and reliability place him among the elite, warranting first-round consideration in leagues that push pitching.

4 3 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1
Giancarlo Stanton 
New York Yankees  OF     #4 Overall

2018 Preseason Proj:   150 G   552 AB   .274 AVG  52 HR  118 RBI  1 SB  105 R  

Stanton's highlight-reel blasts and career 13.4 HR/AB rate have long made him a chic early-round fantasy pick, with owners willing to bet on the unmatched power he could bring over a full season of good health. That gamble paid massive dividends in 2017 with the oft-injured outfielder, who hadn't played more than 125 games in five of his previous seven campaigns, avoiding the DL entirely and swatting an MLB-best 59 homers. Stanton also capitalized on the improved talent around him in the Miami lineup to compile 132 RBI and 123 runs, placing him first and third, respectively, in baseball. A six-point drop in strikeout percentage (to 23.6 percent) also offered optimism that the .281 batting average he submitted last season may be sustainable. Although Stanton's injury history makes him a riskier investment than other stars, he'll move into a much more hitter-friendly environment for his home games and benefit from a deep supporting cast in the lineup around him in 2018 and beyond after he was traded to the Yankees in December.

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Mookie Betts 
Boston Red Sox  OF     #5 Overall

2018 Preseason Proj:   154 G   638 AB   .288 AVG  26 HR  102 RBI  25 SB  107 R  

After narrowly missing a 30-homer, 30-steal season in 2016, Betts made for an easy first-round selection heading into his age-24 campaign. Though he again filled out the counting-stats categories nicely, Betts’ 54-point downturn in batting average rendered him a disappointment relative to what many had forecasted. A .268 BABIP partially fueled by a decline in line-drive rate was the main culprit, as Betts’ batted-ball profile otherwise displayed no significant differences from his runner-up MVP season. If the right fielder is able to curb his popouts to some degree, he could notice a swift recovery in average, given that his exceptional speed has routinely allowed him to submit BABIPs above .300 throughout his pro career. Betts’ smallish frame makes it less certain that he’ll reach 30 home runs again, but even in a somewhat down year, he remained a plus power source. Another season of five-category excellence likely awaits Betts, who may only come at a slight discount on draft day with few likely to downgrade him much for the dip in average last year.

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