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
Another week of play, another week of dominance for Zac Gallen who now sports a 1.14 ERA and a 55:8 K:BB ratio over 47.1 innings. Opposing hitters are hitting a paltry .121 and is averaging just under 3 hits per game. Gallen has the lowest ERA, most innings pitched, and most strikeouts of any pitcher with at least 20 innings under their belt this season. While his .153 BABIP and 93.8% Left-On-Base rate will both regress, Gallen has become a must-stash as he continues to force Miami’s hand to call him up as Sandy Alcantara and Trevor Rogers continue to struggle.
2. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late June
Little has come out about Jesus Luzardo‘s progression over the past two weeks, but given his initial 4-6 week timeline has now come and gone, the question remains when he will start his rehab in the minors. He will need to build his arm back up after a serious shoulder injury and should spend at least a month in the minors before Oakland would consider a call-up. In the spring he threw a 0.93 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 9.3 innings. Until there is more information, stand pat.
3. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid July
Dylan Cease struck out five batters in his sole game this week but was pulled after 4.1 innings after it took him 84 pitches (57 strikes) to do so. He let up four hits and three walks over that span, although letting up only 1 run. Cease is unlikely to be called up any time soon, with the best estimate being after his Super Two date in July.
4. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Mid July
Mitch Keller labored through his sole start of the week, throwing 83 pitches (only 47 strikes) over only 3 innings, where he also walked four and struck out 4. Poor control continues to erode Keller’s season, since arriving in Triple-A last season, Keller has had a double-digit walk percentage and frequently struggles to go deeper into games because of his pitch count. He strikes out batters at an elite rate (11.57 K/9 this season) but has been unable to find sustained success in Triple-A.
5. A.J. Puk, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late July
A.J. Puk began throwing to hitters in Extended Spring Training this past week, starting his road to recovery from Tommy John surgery that will take a lengthy rehab, about a month, before Oakland would consider a call-up. As Puk has never thrown above Double-A ball, where he has only 64 innings under his belt, Oakland might be even more patient with Puk’s return.
6. Forrest Whitley, SP Houston Astros – ETA Mid July
While Forrest Whitley‘s obscene 7 home runs in 18.1 innings is likely contributing to his ballooned 10.80 ERA (backed up by a 4.9 BB/9 rate and a 47.4% left-on-base rate), the short term concern is about Whitley’s use in 2019 is Houston using bullpen outings to manage his workload. It is increasingly likely that Whitley will not get a role in the majors until late in the season and that, if he did earn a role in 2019, it would be in the bullpen. Whitley’s future is still one of high whiffs (11.78 K/9 despite the above), which will keep him on radars despite his early struggles.
7. Brendan McKay, SP Tampa Bay Rays – ETA Late July
Tit-for-Tat, Brendan McKay has been one of the best pitchers in Double-A so far this season (alongside Matt Manning). McKay sports a 1.82 ERA and 47 strikeouts over 29.2 innings. While his ability to be a two-way player never came to fruition, as a pitcher McKay is lights out. Tampa Bay has moved McKay rapidly through their system, his longest stint in any given level was 9 starts (in 11 games) in High-A last year. If McKay keeps this up he should ascend to the Majors sometime this season.
8. Austin Voth, SP Washington Nationals – ETA Early June
Austin Voth has had a seemingly uninteresting season so far this year, but a 28.9 K%, a .390 BABIP, and a 2.73 FIP paint a picture of a pitcher that has been dominant on the mound with a large degree of bad luck. In 29.2 innings, Voth has only walked 7 batters to 37 strikeouts. Washington has a need for new blood with Anibal Sanchez and Jeremey Hellickson both better in some other capacity. Voth has made slow adjustments over the past few seasons and is looking more like a fantasy-worthy starter than ever before.
9. Logan Allen, SP San Diego Padres – ETA Late June
Removing Logan Allen‘s first two starts of the year (where he let up 12 runs in 5 innings)—we get a pitcher with a 2.19 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 24.2 innings. This line still accounting for a 3 home run game that netted him 4 earned runs in only 1.2 innings. Allen has been either dominant or wildly inconsistent, but worthy of a place in San Diego. Cal Quantrill has had two acceptable games in San Diego and as a whole, the team’s rotation has performed well so far. There is no clear path for Allen at the moment, but will be on the tip of the team’s tongue should the need arise.
10. Rico Garcia, SP Colorado Rockies – ETA Late July
Aside from Matt Manning and Brendan McKay, there has been no better pitcher than Rico Garcia. Breaking out so far this season (and doing so at age-25), Garcia has a 1.71 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 31.2 innings. A healthy 53.1% groundball rate is a particular highlight given his home park will be Coors Field. While some regression will be headed Garcia’s way, Colorado has a profound need for starting pitching with German Marquez the only starting pitcher with a sub-4.00 ERA and Jon Gray the team’s only sub-5.00 ERA starting pitcher.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)