Every weekend I will be posting about the minor leaguers that you should be stashing on your team. These rankings are done solely for prospects who could potentially impact the 2019 season. Their ranks are predicated on when they will be called up and raw talent—we want to give you an edge in building your team throughout the year. Not all prospects need to be stashed in every league as not all league compositions are made equally.
1. Zac Gallen, SP Miami Marlins – ETA Late May
You cannot argue with results and Zac Gallen continues to produce in Triple-A, posting a 2.40 ERA and 17 strikeouts over 15 innings. Gallen does not have a direct line to a call-up, but his performance in conjunction with the poor performance of his Major league counterparts will lend to his ability to get the call, irrespective of an injury. The team is young and is working out what talent it will have available as it rebuilds—Gallen is doing his best to be Miami’s future.
2. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late June
Oakland has been mum about Jesus Luzardo’s progression from a shoulder injury whose original 4-6 week estimate is coming due. He is expected to start pitching in May and will need some time to build his form back from the spring where he threw a 0.93 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 9.3 innings. Luzardo has the potential to be Oakland’s ace when he returns and has risen rapidly through the minor leagues.
3. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid July
A successful bounce-back game this past week, Dylan Cease threw a season-high 11 strikeouts over 6 innings while letting up only two runs. After starting the season with back-to-back scoreless games, Cease blew up, letting up 11 runs in two games. Cease will look to build a more consistent profile before Chicago will consider a call-up. Even with the injury to Carlos Rodon, Chicago will not be giving Cease the nod, but if Rodon’s injury turns out to be as serious as many think—the rotating door that will follow should lend Cease an earlier opportunity to slide into the rotation. Still, it remains likely that Chicago holds Cease down until his Super Two deadline sometime in July.
4. Forrest Whitley, SP Houston Astros – ETA Mid July
Forrest Whitley continues to struggle in Triple-A and has still only thrown a combined 14.1 innings this season—facing 60 batters in the process. Coupled with Houston keeping a close eye on Whitley’s workload, a late summer call-up is likeliest with the notion that Whitley bounces back and reasserts his SP1 potential—through all his struggles this season, a lack of strikeouts is not one (11.57 K/9).
5. Brent Honeywell, SP Tampa Bay Rays – ETA Late July
Still in a holding pattern after getting shut down, Brent Honeywell is recuperating from a flare-up in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery. Although the worst has been avoided after a meeting with Dr. James Andrews, Honeywell’s timetable for recovery has been thrown into confusion as there is no clear idea of how long he will be shut down for—although he should still make his Major League debut this season.
6. Lewis Thorpe, SP Minnesota Twins – ETA Late May
Lewis Thorpe made it 6.1 innings, letting up 4 runs while striking out 5 this past week. Thorpe’s season line is not indicative of his real talent as he’ll have to saddle the 15 runs let up in his first two games all season. Thorpe has settled down over this past three games and should continue to excel in Triple-A with a high strikeout rate and passable control. Minnesota may be at the top of the AL Central, but it is not because of any solid pitching—if Minnesota wants to retain their lead, they will need better pitching.
7. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Early July
Mitch Keller had a pair of starts this past week, one great and the other not so great. In his first game, he let up 4 runs over 5 innings with 10 strikeouts. In his second game, he let up 2 runs over 6 innings with 6 strikeouts. Notably, he only let up 1 walk in total, marking his first game this season without a free pass. If Keller can continue to limit his walks, he should find sustained success—since he has been in Triple-A that can be a big “if.”
8. A.J. Puk, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late July
As with Jesus Luzardo, Oakland remains mum on A.J. Puk’s timeline as he rehabs from Tommy John. Puk has been throwing to hitters for the better part of a month and word should come soon when he is to begin a minor league assignment. When he returns should be one of the better rookie pitchers this season, but depending on how early he returns he may have a strict innings limit.
9. Taylor Widener, SP AZ Diamondbacks – ETA Late May
Arizona moved Zack Godley to the bullpen after he started the year with a 7.58 ERA, opening a spot in their rotation. Jon Duplantier is not stretched out enough, meaning Arizona will likely be pulling up either Taylor Widener or bring back Taylor Clarke from Triple-A. While it would seem to be Clarke as Widener has had a horrendous start to his season, Widener will be the better long-term play this season as Clarke is unlikely to stick if he does get the call. Widener pitched a 2.75 ERA with 175 strikeouts over 137.1 innings of Double-A ball in 2018. He has struggled dramatically with his control and home runs this season (currently triple his career HR/9), but has genuine SP2 potential when he puts it together.
10. Austin Voth, SP Washington Nationals – ETA Early June
Anibal Sanchez and Jeremy Hellickson have both turned back into pumpkins this season, if either is demoted or moved to the bullpen or Stephen Strasburg gets injured—Austin Voth is checking all of the boxes for a call-up. Voth saw a poor pair of starts in the Majors in 2018, but otherwise found success most of the year in Triple-A. This season, he has been one of the best starting pitchers in the minor leagues, with an unlucky 3.57 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 22.2 innings. Voth is taking a big step forward in 2019 and if it sticks, should have SP3/SP4 upside.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)
I’d love for you guys to do a stash list based on NA and IL pitchers. Long term keeper/dynasty holds for next season. Any love for Mackenzie Gore on a list like that?
I do not dislike that idea as it relates to the IL although I think a NA list could get too difficult to manage as each league varies so much. I have zero expectation that we see Gore this season and would doubt we see him next year if not for a cup ‘o tea.
Agreed on Gallen at #1, but you’re underselling how good he’s been this year. Stats are off my man
I had only used his past two starts (at the time) to demonstrate just how crazy he’s been – that stat line is three-to-four games worth of ball for most pitchers.
As always, top marks for putting this out, thanks again! Stashing luzardo at the first hint that he is throwing again
While I like Thorpe as a stash, I can’t say I quite agree that Minnesota’s on top of the AL Central despite their pitching. Their staff has the 10th best ERA and the 9th best fWAR. With how well Berrios, Odorizzi, and Perez are dealing, pitching might end up being their strong suit.
Love the article…but no love for Mize? Is it service time related? Lower K rate?
100% service time related, Detroit would be crazy to call him up any earlier than September. For a stud in the making, Matt Manning included, Detroit is better off getting that extra year. Although it will be interesting to see if they opt to lock both down to a buyout.
Do I drop a Josh James for Gallen in a dynasty? Just don’t see an opening in Houston unless they drop McHugh. Seems like a wasted roster spot at the moment especially if I can get a guy who will be up and is pitching out of his mind again tonight.