The Stash 8/13: Ranking The Top 10 Hitting Prospects To Stash
Well the Mets finally called up their top prospects in Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith. I look forward to watching them over the next month and a half to see how they perform in the majors. Joining them in the majors were Ryder Jones, Ozzie Albies and Rhys Hoskins. I didn’t expect Hoskins promotion this early but I am happy to see him working out in LF. I think the Phillies attempted to deal Tommy Joseph and didn’t receive much interest. That means Hoskins is likely the LF starter in 2018 should be continue to perform at the big league level.
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.
1) Alex Verdugo, Los Angeles Dodgers AAA, ETA: August
I thought for sure Alex Verdugo would be dealt to the Rangers in the Yu Darvish deal but that did not materialize as Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis headed to Texas. The Dodger must think highly of Verdugo, I sure do. He has the best plate discipline of any 21-year-old player in the minors. I am not sure what to expect from him, he has some pop and speed but he is heavily reliant on his average and OBP. That is fine by me.
2) Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves AAA, ETA: September
I do not think he actually is called up in 2017, but his value if a call happen warrants a high ranking. The Braves could give the Atlanta crowds a taste of the future with Lucas Sims, Dansby Swanson, Ozzy Albies, and Sean Newcomb already on the roster; they could bring up Acuna to get the early 2018 season ticket promotions going. I could write all about him, but I think this fan graphs article does it better. He can contribute across the five categories and should be a very interesting dynasty piece.
3) Willie Calhoun, LF/2B, Texas Rangers AAA, ETA: September
I did not want Willie Calhoun in the Yu Darvish deal. I was adamant the Rangers would not take him because they do not have a spot for him. He cannot play 2B, so the only position for him is LF or DH and with Choo taking the DH spot and an aging Beltre, it seems Calhoun is destined for LF. Calhoun is easily the best hitting prospect the Rangers have. He has four Homeruns in his first eight games for the Rangers and only one strikeout in 33 at bats. Interesting fact courtesy of Jamey Newburg: “He is 5’8″ with boots on. Per Baseball Reference, only three players that height have hit 20 homers since 1980: Ray Durham, Marcus Giles and Kirby Puckett. (Shorter still: Jimmy Rollins and Jose Altuve.) Calhoun has as good a chance as anyone to join that list.”
4) Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics AAA, ETA: August
His MLB Debut did not go according to plan as he hit .190 with a .642 OPS through 11 games. He has been decent in AAA and has a .280/.331/.483/.814 post all-star break with 13 XBHs in 28 games. The Athletics could still ship Jed Lowrie out of town but Barreto should be up this year again at some point rather Lowrie is there or not.
5) JP Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies AAA, ETA: August
It is a tale of two halves for JP Crawford. His slash line pre-all-star break was .211/.328/.330/.658 through 76 games and 279 at bats. In his 111 at bats in 29 games after the break, he has a .306/.398/.604/1.002 slash line. He looks to finally be living up to his potential. Scouts raved about him being a complete short stop two years ago, could be possibly be transforming into that player? He should be up soon and I like his potential.
6) Brian Anderson, 3B, Miami Marlins AAA, ETA: September
Martin Prado is out and Brian Anderson could be up soon. He is the top hitting prospect the Marlins have. He has an average bat with slightly above average power. He has been lighting AAA on fire since his promotion in mid-July with a .341 AVG through 24 games. He now has 20 Homeruns on the season and could be a 20-25 HR player during his prime.
7) Ronald Guzman, 1B, Texas Rangers AAA, ETA: September
Mike Napoli is a fan favorite in Texas but it might be time to pass the torch to Ronald Guzman. Guzman has below average power for his position but he makes very good contact and has some speed. He is Yuli Gurriel but with a bit, more speed. It will not translate too many stolen bases but he can stretch a double to a triple and he can get around the bases. He is hitting .316 in the Pacific Coast League with 70 Runs, 12 HRs, 58 RBIS, and 4 SB. He could be up in September.
8) Dan Vogelbach, 1B/DH, Seattle Mariners AAA, ETA: September
Dan Vogelbach continues to hit well in the Pacific Coast League with a .868 OPS through 107 games. He now has 56 runs, 16 Hrs, 75 RBIs, and 3 SB on the year. He has walked 67 times and struck out 84 times. His OPS post All-Star break currently sits at 1.020. He is strictly a platoon hitter, which is why he is listed lower than other guys are but he hits RHP to a slash line of .317/.429/.523/.952 with 14 of his 16 homeruns coming vs righties.
9) Yandy Diaz, OF, Cleveland Indians AAA, ETA: September
Yandy had a cup of coffee in the bigs but never found his groove as he hit .203 through 18 games. He was sent back down and has gone back to demolishing AAA hitting. He has a .348 AVG on the year in the International league. He has a career minor league avg of .314 and has 254 walks to 244 strikeouts. He has good plate discipline but with only 23 homeruns and 22 stolen bases through 410 games, you wonder if he is a one trick pony. He should hit for average but it could be an empty average, as he might not contribute to the other categories as much as you think a .300 hitter might.
10) Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland Indians AA, ETA: September
After a bad July, that included a stint on the DL, Francisco Mejia is starting to turn it around in AA. He is hitting .270 in August and has a .311 average on the year. He has 43 runs, 12 homeruns, 45 runs batted in, and 6 stolen bases in 78 games in the Eastern League. A promotion could happen this month but possibly only to AAA. I hope he gets a call to the bigs, but that might be wishful thinking. Should he get the call, he is necessary add for teams looking for backstop help.