The Stash 04/07: The Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
Good Morning, everyone. Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers you should be stashing on your team. These rankings are done solely for prospects with the potential impact the 2019 season. Their ranks are predicated between when they will be called up and raw talent — we want to give you an edge in building your team throughout the year. Prospects are a great way to stay ahead of the curve once the most notable prospects are called up. Not all prospects need to be stashed in every league as not all league compositions are made equally.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Mid April
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is healthy and starting off the season in High-A ball. Guerrero Jr. should work his way back slowly as Toronto balances a Super Two deadline around the third week of April and their ability to justify holding him a little bit longer to secure an extra year of service. Guerrero Jr. is the clear cut top prospect in baseball and should be universally stashed on teams. He’s owned in 96% of ESPN leagues — this is but a technicality.
2. Nick Senzel, 2B/3B/OF, (Cincinnati Reds) – ETA Early May
Nick Senzel was ready to make the Opening Day roster after an excellent Spring Training until a rolled ankle forced him back into the minors. An early-May call up would give Senzel sufficient time to recover while getting some amount of at-bats and reps in center field at Triple-A. Senzel hit .310/.378/.509 with six home runs and eight stolen bases in a limited 2018 and continued to hit consistently during Spring Training. While Senzel is not a must-own prospect in every league, he should be owned in nearly all leagues.
3. Nate Lowe, 1B, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Mid June
Nate Lowe is off to a solid start in Triple-A after poor play in Spring Training tanked an Opening Day roster spot. Following the offseason trade of Jake Bauers, Lowe is the team’s future first baseman. Lowe broke out in a big way in 2018, slashing .330/.416/.568 and 27 home runs across three levels of the minors. Cutting back his strikeouts to Double-A levels will be the biggest factor in whether Lowe’s profile balances out. Impressively, for well over half of 2018 he walked more than he struck out.
4. Luis Rengifo, 2B/SS, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Late May
Luis Rengifo is a patient hitter that should find quick success in the Majors when given the opportunity. Rengifo struck out exactly as many times (75) as he walked in 2018. He sported an elite OBP (.399) and a combined 41 stolen bases across three levels of play in 2018. He is a prototypical leadoff man and is likely to stick at second unless Los Angeles is comfortable moving on from Andeltron Simmons after this season. Rengifo is a part of the team’s long term plans with the only question being when the opportunity will arise in 2019. If Los Angeles continues to slide, the team will be looking to shake things up sooner than later.
5. Oscar Mercado, OF, (Cleveland Indians) – ETA Early June
Oscar Mercado picked up in Triple-A where he left off after a hot spring where he slashed .400/.415/.750 with three home runs and a stolen base. Mercado got on base at an above-average clip (.346) and stole 37 of 49 bases in Triple-A last season. Leoyns Martin is blocking Mercado for now, but if Martin struggles and Mercado is able to consistently get on base, Mercado could get the call and work his way as the leadoff man in Cleveland.
6. Bo Bichette, 2B/SS, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Mid June
Bo Bichette has officially started the year in Triple-A and is a protracted hot streak away from getting called up and replacing the revolving door Toronto currently has at second base. Bichette would be a must-own and is a true five-category producer with an elite hit tool. He had a solid Spring Training, hitting .417 with four home runs and two stolen bases in 36 at-bats and although he is allegedly in the minors to work on his defense, Toronto’s rebuild is starting to take shape this year and Bichette is a key part in that development.
7. Yordan Alvarez, OF/DH, (Houston Astros) – ETA June
Yordan Alvarez is one of the hottest players in the minor leagues after mashing three home runs in his first three games (well, technically all three came in the same game). Alvarez has the potential to be a power hitting force that still gets on base at an above-average rate, with the defensive ability that will provide him the added staying power needed to lock down a starting role in Houston. That is if the team does not opt to have him DH the entirety of this season.
8. Carter Kieboom, SS/2B, (Washington Nationals) – ETA July
Despite Trea Turner‘s broken finger, Carter Kieboom did not get the call to replace him. Kieboom is only now seeing bats in Triple-A and Washington opted to maintain Kieboom’s progression. While injury forced Washington’s hand in 2018 resulting in a breakout performance by Juan Soto, it has not done the same quite yet. Kieboom had a solid Spring and slashed .280/.357/.444 with 16 home runs and 9 stolen bases between High-A and Double-A. Kieboom would be a must add at the position if Washington decides that he is ready.
9. Daz Cameron, OF, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Late June
Daz Cameron is a former first-round pick and was a part of the trade that sent Justin Verlander to Houston in 2017. Cameron has the potential to be a 10/20 player, but whose effectiveness will be determined by his ability to make consistent contact. In 2018 across three levels that culminated in Triple-A, he slashed .264/.343/.406 with eight home runs and 24 stolen bases. While he started to break out in High-A and Double-A, it slowed to a stop during his final month in Triple-A. Back again, Cameron is starting in Triple-A with an eye toward the starting centerfielder position currently occupied by Niko Goodrum and Mikie Mahtook. When the Tigers think Cameron is ready to go the position is his to claim.
10. Yu-Cheng Chang, SS, (Cleveland Indians) – ETA TBD Mid April
With Francisco Lindor on the shelf for at least the next month, Cleveland has rolled with Eric Stamets at shortstop, for which they have been rewarded with one sole hit in 20 attempts (technically better than Chris Davis‘ 0/19 start with Baltimore). While Cleveland wants to give Yu-Chen Chang more Triple-A at-bats, poor play may force the team’s hand. Chang would not be rostered in most leagues, but in deeper leagues where the top few tiers of shortstops are gone, Chang could make for a worthy dice roll.