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.
There were a considerable number of call-ups this week – its a brave new list this week.
1. Nick Senzel, 2B/3B/OF, (Cincinnati Reds) – ETA 05/03/2019
Nick Senzel is still without a timetable to get to the Majors, but he started back up in Triple-A on Tuesday and will continue to work back from injury while learning how to play in centerfield. Given Cincinnati’s outfield troubles this season, Senzel should wrest a starting role quickly and learn on the job. Senzel is a bat-first prospect that has had significant injury concerns over the past two seasons, but when he is playing – he is a budding star.
Author’s Note: Nick Senzel is expected to be called up on Friday, May 3rd.
2. Yordan Alvarez, OF/DH, (Houston Astros) – ETA June
Tied with Kevin Cron for the most home runs in the minor leagues (10), Yordan Alvarez has not seen a ball that he could not mash so far this season. Alvarez is slashing a gaudy .328/.438/.836 and is walking at a 15% rate. Alvarez could immediately slot in as Houston’s designated hitter, filling time in left field and first base as well. Without an immediate role and with Houston’s offense red hot, there is no clear path or need for Alvarez – but Houston can only ignore his offensive prowess for so long.
3. Oscar Mercado, OF, (Cleveland Indians) – ETA Early May
Cleveland’s offense is a mess right now with the worst batting average in the American Leauge (.212) and the second lowest OBP behind Toronto (.304). Greg Allen is batting .105, Tyler Naquin .242, and Leonys Martin .256. Cleveland needs a change and the hot Oscar Mercado is an obvious solution. Mercado hit .400 in Spring Training and has slashed .342/.435/.575 with three home runs and eight steals so far in Triple-A.
4. Nate Lowe, 1B, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA 04/29/2019
Nate Lowe is now slashing .323/.464/.585 with three home runs and a 19% walk rate. Lowe is ready for the Major League and although Ji-Man Choi has been serviceable at first base so far this year – but is a house of cards. Lowe is Tampa Bay’s first baseman of the future and until Choi starts to falter, keep an eye on him.
Authors Note: Nate Lowe got the call on Monday, April 29th.
5. Cavan Biggio, 2B, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Mid June
Bo Bichette avoided the worst after fracturing his left hand, but will still be out 4-6 weeks and will likely be a late summer/early fall call-up. Toronto has had a rotating door at second base with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. playing the most games at the position (9) this season. Gurriel was sent to Triple-A two weeks ago, clearing a path for the hot-hitting Cavan Biggio to get the call-up. Biggio is slashing .397/.507/.603 with three home runs and two stolen bases this season. Toronto just called Vladimir Guerrero Jr. up, Biggio will be next in line.
6. Keston Hiura, 2B, (Milwaukee Brewers) – ETA Mid June
While Mike Moustakas has been sub-par at fielding second base and Travis Shaw is in the midst of confirming that his 2017 season was a fluke – batting .196 on the season with a 33% strikeout rate. It would make sense for Milwaukee to slide Moustakas back to third base and promote Keston Hiura, the 9th overall pick from the 2017 draft. Hiura hit .293 with 11 home runs and 15 stolen bases in 2018 between Double-A and Triple-A and is off to a hot start in 2019 with seven home runs and batting .333. Milwaukee has aggressively promoted him every step of the way and should see time in 2019.
7. Willi Castro, SS, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Late June
Swapped for Leonys Martin last season, Willi Castro has been looking more and more like a steal for Detroit. So far in 2019, Castro is slashing .333/.402/.427. A .429 BABIP would indicate that his average has a way to fall before that average stabilizes, but with Jordy Mercer on the injured list and hitting .233 on the year – Detroit may toy with the idea of giving Castro a shot. While he might be a utility man on most teams, Castro has the chance to be a starter in Detroit.
8. Kevin Cron, 1B/3B, (Arizona Diamondbacks) – ETA Late June
Kevin Cron is back on the list yet again despite having no discernable place to play in Arizona at the moment – with the team sporting the second highest team batting average in the league. Christian Walker is hitting a precarious .326 supported by a .400 BABIP and a 27.6% strikeout rate, which indicates he could come crashing down soon, but whether it is before the return of Jake Lamb remains to be seen. Cron has been a force in Triple-A, slashing .365/.448/.865 and a minor league-leading 10 home runs. He is walking at a 12% clip and has little left to prove in the minors. Cron has been taking reps at third base to add some degree of versatility to his defense – even if he just starts as a utility guy.
9. Daz Cameron, OF, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Late June
Daz Cameron has hit a bit of a rough patch this past week, batting 2 for 26 this past week – in part a product of collecting 11 strikeouts in that span. In the past week, he has gone hitless in as many games (4) as he had the rest of the season combined. Centerfield has been a massive thorn in Detroit’s offense this season, with their current starter, JaCoby Jones, batting .156 since his return from the injury list two weeks ago.
10. Jacob Wilson, 2B, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Late May
Jacob Wilson might be a leap of faith, but the journeyman second baseman is putting together one of the best seasons in the minor leagues through his first 19 games of Triple-A, hitting .324 with eight home runs and a 10:11 K:BB rate. This breakout seemingly came from nowhere and could fade out just as fast, but while he is mashing and Brian Dozier is striking out at a 30% clip and batting .176 – Wilson makes for an intriguing watchlist player.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Good stuff Brennen! What makes you think late May for Senzel? I could see him getting the callup way sooner than that. Schebler has been awful as you know, and Cincy has to feel like they have a real shot this year.
Am I asking because I have the kid stashed as a nice 2B/OF depth play, you ask? Why, yes I am!
I think Mid-May is a realistic target – Senzel has only been back for five games now and hasn’t done particularly well. I think that Cincinnati gives him another 10 games or so at least. That 2B eligibility this season will be clutch.
Biggio has got to be added to the 40 man first. I think Gurriel is going to get another shot before Biggio is called up.
Luis Urias is #1 on my list. SD needs to call him up and allow him to play thru the struggles that a 21 year old will go thru at the mlb level. AAA is no match for Babe Urias!
I’m still hesitant about Urias’ fantasy value as I think he’ll be a better player in real life than fantasy asset – but if Tatis Jr.’s injury from last night is significant, he’ll absolutely get the call.
You are not alon. However, he did have an excellent exit velocity last year which will teanslate to more power than most people think. My fantasy league highly values at bats, onbase, and slugging. Thus, a player like Urias is a big time value even if he is a .275/.375/.385 hitter. But I have faith he will slug closer to .425 if not better.