The Stash 06/17: The Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers that you should be stashing on your team. Unlike dynasty content focusing on who to own for their production years down the road, these rankings will be done solely for the 2018 season (there will be discrepancies). Players that will be called up sooner will be ahead of players with more talent who might only be called up late in the year — we want to give you an edge. Prospects are a great way to stay ahead of everyone else rather you are in a dynasty league or a 10-team league.
1. Nick Senzel, SS/3B, (Cincinnati Reds) – ETA Late July
Nick Senzel would not get the call until he had a regular spot to play in the lineup – meaning a call-up prior to the trade deadline unlikely with the Reds infield tearing it up, even former top prospect Jose Peraza has hit a groove of sorts. Senzel has been on a tear since returning from the disabled list to the tune of a .348/.410/.507 line and 5 stolen bases (none caught stealing). Senzel is reminding the league why he is considered a top prospect and why he warrants stashing in most leagues.
2. Willie Calhoun, OF, (Texas Rangers) – Late June
Willie Calhoun has also been on a June tear, hitting .328/.361/.534 with 2 home runs and only 5 strikeouts in 59 at-bats. The path to playing time would involve Ronald Guzman, hitting .220, getting benched and Joey Gallo sliding to first in an effort to open up left field for Calhoun. Until now Calhoun seemingly has done everything in his power to not earn a promotion – although his June efforts are demonstrating it is more than a hot streak. Calhoun is starting to knock on Texas’ door – now to see when they’ll open it.
3. Max Schrock, 2B, (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA Late June
Max Schrock is ranked high for me because he has a clear position to usurp and although not the sexiest pick – is a stable player you can lock in to help cover middle infield. He is capped on stolen bases and home runs, but should contribute enough to be of some assistance. I view Schrock as a DJ LeMahieu type player who will be a fringe top-10 player at his position because of their ability to limit strikeouts and focus on contact. Schrock is a floor, not a ceiling pick.
4. Kyle Tucker, OF, (Houston Astros) – ETA Late June
The Astros shuffle their outfields around pretty consistently, so Tony Kemp‘s red-hot start should not limit Kyle Tucker too much given how poorly the rest of his outfield has been this season (sans George Springer). Tucker is hitting .346/.379/.596 so far in June and given the level of investment the Astros have in Tucker and in a repeat championship, Tucker will be up sooner than later.
5. Christin Stewart, OF, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Late July
Christin Stewart‘s eight-game hitting streak ended at eight games and is still without a home run in the month of June. He isn’t doing anything particularly different, although his batting average has dipped down .255 in the month of June. Stewart represents an upgrade to the Tigers who are only 2.5 games out of first in the AL Central (although not intending to compete and just lost Miguel Cabrera for the season). If the Tigers decide to move Nick Castellanos to first or move him at the deadline, it would open up a spot for Stewart in left field otherwise he would be an immediate upgrade in left field.
6. Nick Gordon, SS, (Minnesota Twins) – ETA Early August
Whoop there it is. Nick Gordon had been hitting at an unsustainable pace since his promotion to Triple-A and got a hard correction this past week, dropping his batting average to .269. As he adjusts his walk rate should start to climb back and his strikeout rate fall to where they were in Double-A over the past season and a half. Gordon will go through a correction over the summer and with the Twins still only 4 games out of first in the AL Central – their success may determine how quickly they give Gordon the call.
7. Frank Schwindel, OF/1B, (Kansas City Royals) – ETA Mid July
Frank Schwindel is doing enough to get a promotion in the Royals farm system. He’s upped his batting average a few points and is now .288/.337/522 on the season. Playing time is not as clear as the Royals have the outfield and first base locked up with veterans, but Schwindel has played nearly every position in the minors and should be able to fill in where needed if the Royals opt to not give him full time at one position. He offers a good deal of power without sacrificing batting average.
8. Myles Straw, OF, (Houston Astros) – ETA Mid July
I want to hedge my bets a bit now that Myles Straw has been promoted to Triple-A. At the time of his promotion, he had a league-leading 35 stolen bases and hit for .327/.414/.390. Although Straw will be lucky to scratch one or two home runs a year, his ability to steal while maintaining that high of an on-base percentage would represent a huge impact player for one of the league’s best offenses.
9. Peter Alonso, 1B, (New York Mets) – ETA Early August
First-half callups are good indicators of how well a player is performing and how that organization views the player. Peter Alonso hit .314/.440/.573 with 14 home runs in Double-A this season and was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A yesterday. If he continues to hit as he has and more importantly is able to sustain his walk rate, which jumped 11% this year – Alonso should force a call-up with only Dominic Smith holding down first base now that Adrian Gonzalez has been released. Defense is an issue for Alonso, but if his bat continues to be an impact bat – the Mets should let him work on it in the MLB.
10. Matt Thaiss, 1B, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Late July
This one makes me the saddest to type, sigh. With Shohei Ohtani out for the foreseeable future – the Angels have a need at first base as Albert Pujols is back to being a full time designated hitter. Luis Valbuena is the current stopgap, Matt Thaiss is the solution. Thaiss doesn’t have the power normally associated with a first baseman (his 10 so far this season between AA/AAA is a pleasant surprise), but he does have a borderline elite on-base percentage throughout his minor league career, which should serve him well in his transition to the Majors.