The Stash 04/14: 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 past Super Two with Toronto controlling his contract with 2025, all that remains is for him to complete his rehab. On Friday, Toronto General Manager Ross Atkins spoke on Guerrero Jr.’s timeline saying “[o]ur sense is that it’s sooner than later.” Sooner is a vague answer that could mean this week or next week, but Guerrero Jr. is back in Triple-A mashing so there is reason to be optimistic sooner does mean soon. Still, with 95% ownership in ESPN leagues, there are not many leagues where Guerrero Jr. is not already stashed.
2. Nick Senzel, 2B/3B/OF, (Cincinnati Reds) – ETA Late May
Nick Senzel is still weeks away from playing in a game while he rehabs from a sprained ankle, pushing his projected callup date back. Senzel is a Major League ready player and Cincinnati is in need of an offensive change of pace with their outfield batting a combined 27 for 166 (.162). Senzel would be expected to take over in centerfield. 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.
3. Yordan Alvarez, OF/DH, (Houston Astros) – ETA June
Yordan Alvarez continues to be one of the hottest players in the minor leagues, still tied for the most home runs in Triple-A with 5 home runs. Alvarez is sporting a .346 batting average and has a 5:6 K:BB rate. Houston does not have a spot for Alvarez at first base or left field, but Alvarez would be well suited to cement the revolving door at designated hitter. Alvarez is competing with top prospect Kyle Tucker for playing time and Alvarez has the leg up for now.
4. Nate Lowe, 1B, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Mid June
Tampa Bay presents a stark difference to Cincinnati as while Nate Lowe has had an interesting season (hitting only .231, but with two doubles, two home runs, and a 7:5 K:BB rate in 26 at-bats) his Major League counterparts have been serviceable on a team that has sprung out to a 5.5 game lead in the AL East to start the year. Tampa Bay will not be in a rush to promote Lowe, but if he were to hit a hot streak the team would have difficulty justifying keeping him down.
5. Bo Bichette, 2B/SS, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Early June
Other than teammate Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette is the youngest player currently playing in Triple-A and has a path to playing time in Toronto this season. Bichette was never going to be an early-season call-up—a May/June ETA gives Freddy Galvis time to cool down to his career .248 average and make Toronto’s need for Bichette all the more apparent. Between Guerrero Jr., Danny Jansen, Anthony Alford, and Cavan Biggio, Toronto’s youth movement has arrived.
6. Oscar Mercado, OF, (Cleveland Indians) – ETA Early June
Despite striking out at a 34% percent clip in his first 35 plate appearances, Oscar Mercado is getting on base more than any other time in his career. While both numbers are inflated due to a small sample size, Mercado is a player whose fantasy value will be largely tied to stolen bases. Mercado has been on base 11 times so far this season and stolen three bases. In the minors he has stolen 193 bags since 2013 while consistently improving his batting average and on-base percentage.
7. Luis Rengifo, 2B/SS, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Late June
Luis Rengifo is waiting in the wings for his opportunity to open up in the Majors. Rengifo started the year cold after a hot Spring Training, which will slow down the likelihood of a call-up in the short term. Rengifo makes solid contact and is excellent on the bases—a suitable fantasy replacement for many teams missing out on the top players. Barring injury, Tommy La Stella will hold down second with David Fletcher working as the team’s infield utilityman.
8. Carter Kieboom, SS/2B, (Washington Nationals) – ETA July
Carter Kieboom is off to the races in Triple-A, just missing out on a cycle this past week. Trea Turner now has a definitive 4-6 week timetable to heal from his broken finger and Washington is keeping pace with the NL East despite a tepid start to their season. While injury forced Washington’s hand in 2018, resulting in a breakout performance by Juan Soto, it will take a few more weeks of Kieboom hitting like this to force his timetable up any sooner.
9. Daz Cameron, OF, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Late June
Detroit’s centerfield is a mess. The team recalled JaCoby Jones from Triple-A now that he is healthy and cut Mikie Mahtook who was doing his best Chris Davis impersonation, starting the season 0 for 25. Jones is a career .198 hitter and will be a stopgap until the team gives Daz Cameron a shot in the Majors. In 2018 across three levels that culminated in Triple-A, he slashed .264/.343/.406 with eight home runs and 24 stolen bases. Cameron is off to a solid start in Triple-A and while Detroit is off to a blistering start, is unlikely to be called up until the summer.
10. Cole Tucker, SS, (Pittsburgh Pirates) – ETA Mid May
Erik Gonzalez won the starting shortstop role over Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker to start the season. Newman has been placed on the IL and Gonzalez has been a weak spot in Pittsburgh’s lineup. Tucker hit the ground running to start his season in Triple-A and is now hitting .286 with two home runs and three stolen bases in his first 42 plate appearances. The former first round pick is a good bet for a promotion is Gonzalez continues to struggle.