The 2018 Minor League Baseball season is underway. Our heralded leader John Sickels gave us his preseason Top 175 back on March 22. How did the top-10 fare in their first action?
1. Ronald Acuna, Jr., Gwinnett Stripers
Gwinnett has only played one game thanks to some lousy weather. The top prospect in baseball went 0-fer in his lone start against Norfolk.
2. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., New Hampshire Fisher Cats
The 19-year-old did not spend much time in A-ball, playing just 119 games split between High and Low-A before making the jump to Double-A. Thus far, he has two hits in 11 at bats, showing his unreal plate discipline by walking three times and striking out once against much more advanced pitching as one of the youngest in the league.
3. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Haven’t you heard? Turns out this Ohtani fella is pretty good. He has seven hits in his first 18 big league at bats, slugging homers in three-straight games. Ohtani is also perfect on the mound, picking up a win in his first start. He got hit a bit, allowing three runs on a Matt Chapman home run, but he did strike out six and walked just one in his six-inning debut.
4. Fernando Tatis, Jr., San Antonio Missions
Another 19-year-old who made quick time of A-ball, Tatis, Jr. is back in San Antonio after his 17-game 2017 debut. He has yet to register a hit in his three games, 0-for-12 on the young season.
5. Bo Bichette, New Hampshire Fisher Cats
The second half of the Toronto Blue Jays young bash brothers is off to a slow start compared to his breakthrough 2017 but still looks good. Bichette has four hits in his first 14 at bats, but just one extra-base hit (a double).
6. Nick Senzel, Louisville Bats
Welcome to Triple-A, Senzel. The only people not happy are opposing pitchers. Senzel has four hits in his first nine at bats with consecutive multi-hit games under his belt.
7. Gleyber Torres, Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre
It is not so much what Torres is doing on the field. It is more promising that he is playing and looking healthy after seeing his 2017 ended by injury.
Torres has just one hit in his first nine at bats. That one hit was a home run, however. Torres has struck out three times and walked none. He’s played both games at shortstop, making just one error.
8. Forrest Whitley, Corpus Christi Hooks
Whitely was unfortunately suspended for 50 games to start the 2018 season. He climbed both the minor league ladder (three levels in 2017) and prospect rankings, so his return is highly anticipated.
9. Eloy Jimenez, Birmingham Barons
Jimenez has had a rough spring. He got off to a slow start, playing in just four spring training games before a knee injury slowed him down. He then strained his left pectoral muscle in extended spring training and has been shut down since. He should slowly return to action later this week.
10. Victor Robles, Syracuse Chiefs
How’s a 4-hit game sound for a hot start? The Washington Nationals top prospect went 4-for-4 against the RailRiders, scoring two runs, driving in another and swiping a base. He also reached a fifth time drawing a walk. Robles has true five-tool and seven-skill potential and already has five hits on the young season.