It was a busy week for call ups as we saw three guys from last weeks list get the call, Luke Weaver, Andrew Moore, and Drew Steckenrider. Weaver has allowed no earned runs in his two relief outings, Moore pitched 14 innings this week allowing 6 earned and striking out 6, while Steckenrider has pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless ball. This has caused me to dig deep and try and find some suitable replacements of guys I believe will make a fantasy impact in 2017. You might be upset to see Brent Honeywell not on the list, but that could change if the Rays start making some moves this month. They are rumored to be dealing from their pitching depth and could off load Chris Archer and more. So stay tuned, this list will change week to week from now till the end of the year.
Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers you should be stashing on your team. This list will be arranged by impact for this year only. 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. Prospects are a great way to stay ahead of everyone else rather you are in a dynasty league or a 10-team league. With the minor league season going, we can start seeing some movement with this list. With more and more games to evaluate, new players will jump onto the list, while others could fall off entirely.
1) Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox AAA, ETA: July
The Charlotte Knights have the Louisville Bats number this year having won eight of nine games. Lucas Giolito did his part in continuing their impressive showing after he went seven strong innings only allowing two hits, two walks while striking out 10. Quite a nice bounce back after he allowed seven runs in a 3.2 Inning pitched effort vs the Braves AAA team. He will strikeout his fair share of guys but the threat of him getting shelled it real. He does have the AL Central going in his favor, the division with the least runs scored. He is better as a streamer option and for teams that can afford to bench him vs top competition.
2) Chance Adams, New York Yankees AAA, ETA: August
The Yankees are 7-17 in their last 24 games. During that span, they are averaging 4.8 runs scored while allowing 5.5 runs a game. That is a much different picture than the 5.9 runs scored and 4 allowed during their 38-23 start to the year. This is largely in part to the Yankees bullpen falling apart, 23rd in ERA the last month. It is not because of they are being overworked, as the Yankees bullpen is 24th in innings pitched. The Yankees starting rotation has been quite good this year, 8th in ERA. The only underperforming starter the Yankees have is Tanaka, who is starting to turn is around with a 2.56 ERA in his last five starts. I am saying all of this because the Yankees are now 3.5 games back and if they call up Chance Adams it will likely be in a bullpen role until an injury or trade opens up a rotation spot.
3) Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox AAA, ETA: July
He should be starting the final game of the first half of the International League today. He has been quite good lately and has allowed two earned, 2 walks, 11 hits in 12.2 IP while striking out 17. The White Sox Starters are 26th in MLB and Reynaldo and Giolito could come in without much pressure to perform. I expect them up around the end of July. Reynaldo might be the safer bet, but Giolito has a higher ceiling.
4) Steven Brault, Pittsburgh Pirates AAA, ETA: July
Steven Brault pitched six strong innings allowing one earned which lowered his ERA from 2.04 to 2.00 on the year. The earned run bumped him from the top spot to #2 in the International League ERA leaderboard as Thomas Eshelman of the Phillies AAA team dropped his ERA to 1.96 after a seven innings, 0 earned outing. Steven Brault is a safe bet and could be up after the all-star break should the Pirates decide to move Trevor Williams down after his lackluster 2017. I said last week he has competition from Drew Hutchinson, but Tyler Glasnow could also be in the picture as he has a 1.84 ERA in 5 starts (29.1 IP), with 49 strikeouts.
5) Lucas Sims, Atlanta Braves AAA, ETA: August
Lucas Sims has a 3.97 ERA through two starts in July going 11.1 Innings walking 0 and striking out 12. The International League All Star has had his share of bad outings this year but has been impressive a majority of the time and is currently leading the league in strikeouts. With the trade deadline, approaching the Braves could look to make a move and send Lucas Sims out. They have been rumored to be in on Sonny Gray and that could be an ideal landing spot for the former first round pick.
6) Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds AAA, ETA: August
He started the year as the Reds #8 prospect and has risen to the 78th ranked prospect in the minors by Baseball America. He has had great success in AA this year with a 1.59 ERA through 14 starts. He had 87 strikeouts to 17 walks through 85 innings pitched. He has four pitches that grade average to above average, including a 96 mph fastball and has very good control of his pitches. He has made a decent transition to AAA despite his 5.02 ERA which is high because of one bad outing, 1.1 IP 5 Earned. He could be called up soon as the Reds Starters are last in MLB in ERA at 5.98.
7) Jimmie Sherfy, Arizona Diamondbacks AAA, ETA: July
Jimmie has allowed five earned runs on the year, three coming in a single outing, leaving his ERA at 1.39 through 32.1 IP. He has not allowed an earned run in 26 of his 29 outings and has 41 strikeouts to only three walks allowed. He could be up soon and would likely via for the closer role going into 2018. In big roster or keeper/dynasty, leagues he could be an interesting add. He throws hot fire.
8) Yohander Mendez, Texas Rangers AA, ETA: July
Scouts consider him the most MLB ready starting pitcher in the Rangers organization but he has been in a slump as of late. Yohander is 1-3 with a 5.25 ERA in his last four starts. On the plus side, he has hit six or more innings in three of those four starts. Another worrisome fact is he has allowed 18 homeruns this season through 99 innings pitched. That is more than he has allowed in his previous minor league career spanning five years (292.2 innings pitched with only 15 homeruns). All his other splits are in line with his career numbers so I am not sure if the lazy river in Frisco is attributing to the homeruns, or if he is losing some concentration in the Texas League.
9) Thomas Eshelman, Philadelphia Phillies AAA, ETA: August
I have been skeptical to adding Thomas Eshelman to the list because he does not profile more than a possible No.4/5 in a rotation. He even started the year not being listed on the MLB Pipeline top 30 prospects for the Phillies. I have followed him for quite some time, since his Cal State Fullerton days where he allowed only 0.43 walks per nine innings setting a new NCAA record, a mark that stood for 45 years. Eshelman has elite control, graded at 70, but has average offerings. The control could play well as a relief pitcher but the Phillies want to keep him stretched out as a starter. The impact might not be much but a streaming option but he has lit up the International League and has warranted some consideration.
10) Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals AAA, ETA: September
Jack Flaherty is going to the Futures Game this week and will be the US representative for the St Louis Cardinals. With Luke Weaver’s promotion, Jack Flaherty is next in line for a promotion. I do not believe that will be soon as the Cardinals have Luke Weaver in the bullpen and should they need a starter, they will likely go with Weaver. Jack has been impressive this year, especially in AA where he had a 1.42 ERA through 10 starts prior to his AAA promotion. He has a 4.11 ERA through six starts in AAA and has 35 strikeouts in 30.2 IP. The Cardinals could leave him in AAA the rest of the year, but the talent is there for an add if he is called up.
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