2018 Impact “Sleeper” Prospects: NL West: Various Starters Could Emerge & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know the big prospect names who can make an impact in 2018, whether it’s Ronald Acuna or Lewis Brinson or another one of the highly touted Top 100 prospects.  It’s the under-the-radar talent that people may not see coming that could make an impact for fantasy owners.  We’re going to identify one “sleeper” prospect per team (all of whom are featured in our Rotoprofessor 2018 Draft Guide, which you can purchase by clicking here) who can make an impact this season:


Arizona Diamondbacks
Jimmy Sherfy –  RHP

The assumption has been that Archie Bradley is going to step into the closers role, thanks to the departure of Fernando Rodney, but it’s easy to envision the back of the bullpen being unsettled early.  In fact there are three pitchers currently who can step into the job on Opening Day:

  1. Brad Boxberger
  2. Archie Bradley
  3. Yoshihisa Hirano

The glut of options makes it hard to imagine another pitcher breaking through, especially one that’s already starting the year in the minors.  Of course at Triple-A last season Sherfy posted an 11.20 K/9 (courtesy of an 11.9% SwStr%) and 1.84 BB/9 over 49.0 IP.  Those who want to worry about potential home run issues (34.5% groundball rate) now can have that fear eased due to the installation of a humidor.

This is a long shot, but if you are in need of saves it’s one to monitor.


Colorado Rockies
Yency Almonte – RHP

It’s easy to overlook Almonte, given the slew of young starters that the team has and his struggles upon reaching Triple-A last season (4.89 ERA over 35.0 IP).  The concerns are there due to:

  1. Significant drop in strikeouts (8.37 K/9 at Double-A to 5.66)
  2. Home run issues (1.80 HR/9 at Triple-A)
  3. Pedestrian control (3.66 BB/9 at Double-A, 4.20 overall)

That said his overall SwStr% was 11.7%, with a 10.2% mark at Triple-A, so the strikeouts aren’t an issue.  Home runs shouldn’t be as big of a problem either, considering a 47.7% groundball rate at Triple-A.  The control isn’t going to be spectacular, but even if he just keeps it in the 3.50-4.00 range the other skills will play and there should be an opportunity at some point.


Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.


Los Angeles Dodgers
Jake Peter – 2B/SS

Will Logan Forsythe be able to rediscover the value he once showed?  While it’s easy to point to Chris Taylor as the potential replacement, the Dodgers could also opt to keep him in the outfield and that would pave the way for Peter to step up.  Acquired as part of the trade with the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, Peter hit .279 with 13 HR and 11 SB split between Double and Triple-A last season.  The key is going to be keeping his strikeouts in check (24.0% strikeout rate last season), but a 10/10 middle infielder with a path to playing time can definitely make an impact.

Update – While the injury to Justin Turner doesn’t appear to change Peter’s status for Opening Day, a strong start in the minors could accelerate his arrival.


San Diego Padres
Joey Lucchesi – LHP

If Lucchesi was pitching for another organization he’d be getting a lot more attention, but the Padres are loaded with high-end pitching prospects so he simply gets lost in the mix.  Over 139.0 innings, split between High-A and Double-A, all he did was post the following:

  • Strikeouts – 9.58 K/9 (courtesy of a 12.6% SwStr%)
  • Control – 2.14 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 50.3%

Put those numbers into Petco Park and it’s easy to envision strong results.  Some will point towards a 7.91 K/9 at Double-A, and a 9.2% SwStr% does back up the drop (and the concern that he was simply “old” for High-A adds to it).  Even at a 7.50 K/9 the other skills would play, but the potential for more makes him all the more appealing.


San Francisco Giants
Andrew Suarez – LHP

The Giants’ system isn’t impressive overall, though they have both Suarez and Tyler Beede who could make an impact at the Major League level this season.  Suarez is the less heralded of the two and is coming off a year where he posted a 3.30 ERA over 155.2 IP split between Double and Triple-A.  His best skills are his control (2.43 BB/9) and groundballs (48.4%), though even the latter won’t blow you away.  It’s possible he gets some attention and make at least a short-term impact, but the numbers aren’t going to be sexy.

Source – Fangraphs

Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings?  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists:

First Base1-10
Second Base1-10
Third Base1-10

Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

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