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. I have the same 10 guys but with more and more games to evaluate, new players will jump onto the list, while others could fall off entirely. Anyway, let us get down to business.
1) Jeff Hoffman, AAA, ETA: May
Jeff Hoffman remains #1 another week despite his 4.91 ERA. He has 11 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts vs 3 walks. He looked much better in his second start of the year with 6 IP, 5 strikeouts, 1 BB and only 2 ER. I think he is the most major league starting pitcher on this list and could cause the Rockies to make a move especially since their starting rotation consists of three players with an ERA north of 5.90.
2) Francis Martes (Houston Astros,.AAA) ETA: May
Francis Martes had a pretty good but not exceptional AAA start to the year. He did hold the Reno Aces (Arizona’s AAA team) scoreless through 5 innings but he did walk three and give up five hits while only striking out three. Good pitchers win games even when they get hit, Martes is good.
3) Joe Jimenez (Detroit Tigers, AAA) ETA: April
Joe Jimenez made his major League debut this past week pitching the ninth in a blowout loss to the Twins. He worked one inning, allowing no walks or hits and he struck out one. His threw his fastball nine of the fourteen pitches and he sat between 95.2 to 96.5 MPH. He was immediate optioned back to AAA after the game despite Detroit being ranked 27th in bullpen ERA with a 6.96 ERA. He has three IP in AAA already with two hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Joe Jimenez is the future of the Tigers pen. I imagine he will be off this list soon because they desperately need him.
4) Josh Hader (Milwaukee Brewers, AAA) ETA: May
Josh Hader has made two starts so far in AAA and has been very wild. He has allowed seven walks in 8 innings and three homeruns. He gave up only six HRs in all of 2016 in 126 IP. It is not a great start for Josh Hader and because of this; I have moved him down the list some. I do not believe this impacts his ETA just yet but it could very quickly if he does not start locating his pitches.
5) Chad Green (New York Yankees, AAA) ETA: May
Chad Green did not lock up the fifth spot; instead, it went to Jordan Montgomery. Chad Green has been good in AAA though striking out 13 in Nine innings. He has a 4.00 ERA but he has a low whip 1.11, and has only allowed one walk to those thirteen strikeouts. I think he could work his way into the majors again soon.
6) Luke Weaver (St. Louis Cardinals, AAA) ETA: May
Luke Weaver had some back spasms this spring, which means he is being eased in to the AAA rotation. He needs to get his pitch count back up, as he only pitched 2 innings in his AAA debut. He did look good striking out one and only allowing one base runner.
7) Reynaldo Lopez (Chicago White Sox, AAA) ETA: July
I am still unsure of his ETA but he has the potential to play himself into the White Sox Rotation. He has had mixed results so far in his two starts. He has 15 strikeouts, 7 walks, in 8.1 IP. He has been taken yard three times already in the two starts which contributes to his 6.48 ERA. Fantasy owners love seeing that K/9 but everything else needs work.
8) Yohander Mendez (Texas Rangers, AA) ETA: June
Mendez has had a good start to 2017 in AA with a 2.53 ERA through two starts. He has 10 strikeouts to three walks but has been hit some with a 1.471 WHIP. The Rangers like to keep their pitching prospects in AA to build their confidence in a slightly more pitcher friendly league than the International League. I think he could be up quickly if the Rangers need a starter since he is already on the 40-man roster.
9) Lucas Giolito (Chicago White Sox, AAA) ETA: July
Lucas Giolito’s start of 2017 is similar to Hader – he has 8.1 IP in two starts while walking six and allowing seven earned runs. He already is a question mark on the ETA even if he pitches well, so his poor start to the year could really affect him. I do think the White Sox are one of the better organizations for developing pitchers. He will need time to acclimate to the new organization.
10) Jose De Leon (Tampa Bay Rays, AAA DL) ETA: July
He is still on the DL and hasn’t played yet in 2017. He could be up very quickly or he could be down until the trade deadline. He is one to watch.