The Final Stash 9/2: September Hitting Prospects
Hello, Reader, welcome to the final Pitching Stash for the season. Though the name is no longer apt, it is still time to roster prospects for your final push (as needed). We’re in September so even as I write this article there will be plenty of call-ups after publication – so today’s Stash will attempt to include every pitcher you should (or not) be on the lookout for this September (well, at least 30 of them).
If you’re reading this, welcome to the playoffs.
Francisco Mejia (San Diego Padres): Since being traded to San Diego, Francisco Mejia has hit.296 with 5 home runs. He is back to solely playing catcher unlike the position shuffling Clevland had him doing. He is an offense-first catcher that should have value even when splitting time with Austin Hedges.
Frank Schwindel (Kansas City Royals): One of my personal favorites this season, Frank Schwindel finished was amounted to his second season in Triple-A, posting a career-best 24 home runs, 6% walk rate, and 12% strikeout rate while hitting .282. Kansas City traded Lucas Duda at the deadline, opening a place at first base for Schwindel to get at-bats.
Kevin Cron, 1B/3B, (Arizona Diamondbacks): Having split half of his time at first base and half of his time at third base, Kevin Cron is ready to shift around the diamond as needed once called up. Cron was the best bat in Triple-A for Arizona and could be the heir-apparent to Paul Goldschmidt in either a year or two depending on whether the team exercises Goldschmidt’s option. Cron hit .311/.372/.562 with 22 home runs this season.
Matt Thaiss (Los Angeles Angels): With Albert Pujols heading for the disabled list for the remainder of the season, the door has finally opened for Matt Thaiss to assume a consistent role at first base. Los Angeles will get a long look at Thaiss who hit .281 this season with 16 home runs. Thaiss’ production did not dip significantly when he was promoted to Triple-A during the middle of the season. Notably, though, his walk rate plummeted this season as a response to his newfound power and could pose a risk as he ascends.
Nick Gordon (Minnesota Twins): Nick Gordon has been the victim of some extreme bad luck, batting .212 (.264 FIP on a career .330ish FIP). Although his strikeout rate rose from Double-A to Triple-A, it still leveled at an acceptable 19%. Minnesota does not have a clear need for Gordon, so even if called his playing time is murky – but with Logan Forsythe‘s contract expiring at the end of the season, the Twins would benefit from testing Gordon out in September.
Franklin Barreto (Oakland Athletics): Over the past two seasons now Franklin Barreto has bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the MLB a few times. His clear lack of plate discipline will prevent him from finding sustained success in the Majors. His capacity to steal has withered, only completing five steals on seven attempts. He could still provide above-average power for his position, but probably isn’t worth the risk this fall.
Nicky Lopez (Kansas City Royals): This season Nicky Lopez has hit .311, hit nine home runs, and stolen 14 bases between Double-A and Triple-A. Veteran Alcides Escobar‘s contract is up after this season and although Adalberto Mondesi has done pretty well this season, all signs point to Lopez playing a large role in Kansas City’s future. Still, service time considerations may prevent a call-up as he has yet to crack Kansas City’s 40-man roster.
Ryan Mountcastle (Baltimore Orioles): Since the Manny Machado trade, Tim Beckham has shifted to shortstop, leaving an opening at third base. Ryan Mountcastle has performed well in Double-A this season hitting .297 with 12 home runs. As a third baseman, this is a barely relevant fantasy play, but Mountcastle could have shortstop eligibility as well as he split time at the position prior to 2018. Mountcastle could be promoted aggressively as the team did with Austin Hays. Otherwise, like Nicky Lopez, isn’t on Baltimore’s 40-man roster, so the team might choose to wait it out this time.
Willie Calhoun (Texas Rangers): Willie Calhoun had a successful stint earlier in the year, he will be back and should pick up where he left off. Calhoun’s power has taken a noticeable dip this season, but has otherwise stayed consistent all season. If you need an outfielder, Calhoun is definitely worth a look.
Christin Stewart (Detroit Tigers): If Triple-A Toledo makes the playoffs, Christin Stewart should stay with the team long enough to see through the Triple-A playoffs. Once Toledo’s season ends, Stewart should see a regular role in Detroit’s outfield. Author’s Note: Toledo made the playoffs – Stewart should have a delayed start.
Kyle Tucker (Houston Astros): See Christin Stewart, but Triple-A Fresno is locked in the playoffs.
Victor Robles (Washington Nationals): On Tuesday, Victor Robles should be getting a call to pay for Washington once again. Robles put together a solid abbreviated season, his only blemish being a .253 average. Robles is a 5-tool threat that could have as big of an impact as Juan Soto has throughout most of this season.
Alex Verdugo (Los Angeles Dodgers): Alex Verdugo is coming up as the team’s fourth outfielder and will have difficulty gaining regular enough time to warrant fantasy ownership. Although, with Matt Kemp hitting .215 over the past 30 days there could be room for Verdugo to wrest a starting role as the race for the NL West tightens. Verdugo hit .329 with 10 home runs and eight stolen bases in Triple-A this season and should succeed when playing.
Myles Straw (Houston Astros): Although Kyle Tucker has a clear path, the same cannot be said for Myles Straw who is hitting .293 between Double-A and Triple-A this season with 69 stolen bases on 77 attempts. Straw walks consistently and frequently, traits that will help him sustain success in the MLB even if his batting average takes a dip. Like several others, Straw is not on the 40-man roster and given Houston’s depth the team might wait until 2019.
DJ Stewart (Baltimore Orioles): After a full season in Triple-A, DJ Stewart flashed 15/15 potential, although his batting average was a dismal .235 that was part bad luck, part poor plate control. Stewart should be up next year and a September call-up will be his first taste. If he can bring his average up, he’ll be worth grabbing – but for now he’s more of a dynasty stash than a 2018 play.
Anthony Alford (Toronto Blue Jays): Some batters strikeout too frequently to capitalize on their potential — to date, Anthony Alford has been one of those players (to make matters worse, Alford doesn’t hit for much power). Until he proves that he can strikeout less, stash in dynasty, don’t play in 2018.
Vlad Gurrero Jr., 3B, (Toronto Blue Jays): Vlad will not be up this year and is headed to the Arizona Fall League.
Eloy Jimenez, OF, (Chicago White Sox): Jimenez will not be up this year and is headed to the Arizona Fall League.
Peter Alonso, 1B, (New York Mets): Alonso will not be up this year and is headed to the Arizona Fall League.
Cedric Mullins, OF, (Baltimore Orioles): Despite sprinting out of the gate over his first three weeks of MLB play, Cedric Mullins is a relatively unowned commodity. Mullins has hit .294 with three home runs in 77 plate appearances. He is striking out at only 15% and walking at a 9% clip. Mullins should be an incredibly useful pieces for the remainder of the season and like Austin Meadows has some track record in the MLB.
Luis Urias, 2B/SS, (San Diego Padres): In his first week in the MLB, Luis Urias‘ performance was mixed. He hit a home run, stole a base, but only hit .211. Urias is a bat first prospect and should get his average up and be a rosterable player the remainder of the season for teams in need of a middle infielder.
Austin Meadows, OF, (Tampa Bay Rays): Austin Meadows has too many at-bats to qualify for the above list, but he should be on every manager’s radar this fall. Meadows hit well earlier in the year before slumping and getting a demotion. Now in Tampa Bay, he should be a factor in their offense and worthy of a roster spot.
Raimel Tapia, OF, (Colorado Rockies): For three years Raimel Tapia has bounced between Triple-A and the MLB and generally has had consistent success at both levels. Tapia has 15/25 potential in Coors and should had a shot sooner. Colorado’s outfield is overflowing with players which will limit his playing time at least in 2018.
Chris Shaw, OF, (San Francisco Giants): Called up in response to Andrew McCutchen‘s trade to the Yankees, Chris Shaw is getting his first taste of the MLB. He is another player I am avoiding as he struck out at a whopping 34.1% rate this year (29% the year prior). As a matter of principle a batter with that high of a strikeout in the minors is not worth the risk until he establishes some level of success in the MLB.
Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, (Colorado Rockies): There had been some speculation that the Rockies top prospect would see time this fall, well, he will, but in the Arizona Fall League. Rodgers only played 19 sub-par games in Triple-A this season and will probably be up next fall (if not sooner if he starts to translate in Triple-A next year).
Michael Chavis (Boston Red Sox): See Brendan Rodgers, but with more success in fewer games in Triple-A.
Keston Hiura, 2B/SS, (Milwaukee Brewers): Milwaukee does not have the need at second base after dealing for Jonathan Schoop at the deadline. Keston Hiura split his time between A+ and Double-A this season and put up an above average season, hitting .291 with 13 home runs and 14 stolen bases (on 25 attempts though…). Hiura will be in the Arizona Fall League this fall.