Every weekend, I am 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. Yordan Alvarez, OF/DH, (Houston Astros) – ETA Early June
Yordan Alvarez tacked on another two home runs this past week, bringing his season total to 14 while hitting .398. Alvarez continues to rake while walking at a rate of 14.4%. Meanwhile, his biggest area of improvement is his 20% strikeout rate. The difficulty, of course, is finding a spot for him to play in Houston’s stacked lineup and there is no obvious place for him to play other than designated hitter. While the likeliest of scenarios is that he fills in as needed while manning designated hitter – the team is unlikely to call him up before his Super Two date in early June. That said, Alvarez deserves to be universally stashed.
2. Oscar Mercado, OF, (Cleveland Indians) – ETA Late May
Oscar Mercado bounced back from his cold streak this past week, hitting him 2 home runs and grabbing a stolen base. That brings his total to 4 home runs and 14 stolen bases on the season with a .294/.396/.496 slash line and an 11% walk rate. Mercado could slide in anywhere in Cleveland’s outfield and be an immediate improvement to one of Major League’s worst hitting outfields. For now, Cleveland seems intent on getting Mercado consistent at-bats in Triple-A, but there is a glaring need and Mercado is a good hot-hitting bet.
3. Cavan Biggio, 2B, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Mid June
Cavan Biggio is in a weird spot with Toronto. At 33 years old, Eric Sogard is having a career season at second while Lourdes Gurriel Jr. continues to work back from the yips in Triple-A. Biggio still does not have a defined path to the Majors despite slashing .327/.458/.548 with 6 home runs and 4 stolen bases this season. He can fill a utility role as the team has had him shifting around the infield this season, but with Gurriel Jr. possessing a 40-man roster spot – Biggio will need to keep hitting this well to stay in the immediate discussion.
4. Keston Hiura, 2B, (Milwaukee Brewers) – ETA Mid June
Other than a slightly alarming, but thankfully dropping 26.8% strikeout rate, there has been little Keston Hiura has not accomplished this season in Triple-A. Currently slashing .336/.406/.721 with 11 home runs and 3 stolen bases – Hiura is continuing to swat at everything thrown his way. Travis Shaw continues to struggle and if Milwaukee slides Mike Moustakas to third base, Hiura will be able to bat at his natural position. As with Cavan Biggio above.
5. Willi Castro, SS, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Mid July
In the Majors, Ronny Rodriguez hit a hot streak this past week that should keep him as the team’s infield utility man, but with Jordy Mercer immediately returning to the Injured List, Willi Castro’s immediate prospects look roughly the same as they did this time last week. Castro is still hitting well slashing .322/.412/.443 with a home run and 7 stolen bases. Notably, Castro has doubled his walk rate from the seasons prior, resulting in a skyrocketing OBP.
6. Kevin Cron, 1B/3B, (Arizona Diamondbacks) – ETA Late June
For the third Sunday in a row, Kevin Cron is tied with Yordan Alvarez for most home runs (14) in the minor leauges, Kevin Cron is quietly whalloping Triple-A pitching this season. He is slashing .310/.405/.706 and has a profile that looks consistent with a 12.7% walk rate, an 18.7% strikeout rate, and a .294 BABIP. While he has been playing games at third base for the first time this season, he is blocked by a very effective Eduardo Escobar, Christian Walker, and Jake Lamb. Walker’s game has begun to show red flags, but Lamb’s return is just around the corner with a rehab assignment likely to start this week.
7. Jacob Wilson, 2B, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Late May
Jacob Wilson kept pace with Yordan Alvarez and Kevin Cron this week, but remains 2 home runs behind the pair at 12. Despite his age (28), Wilson has figured something out and continues to add to his breakout. Now slashing .344/.422/.727 and a 12.1% walk rate, he is on a 9-game hitting streak – six of which were multi-hit efforts. Wilson is a low-key add and does not have a direct path to the Majors right now, but few players are hitting the ball at the rate Wilson has been this season.
8. Brendan Rodgers, SS/2B, (Colorado Rockies) – ETA Late July
After springtime discussions of whether Garrett Hampson or Ryan McMahon would be the team’s 2019 second baseman, the answer may end up Brendan Rodgers, the team’s top prospect who is slashing .333/.406/.587 with 7 home runs this season. Since Double-A last season, Rodgers has managed to slowly cut his strikeout rate while raising his walk rate. Colorado will not want to rush Rodgers through Triple-A as he initially struggled last year and has struggled initially with each promotion through his minor league career. The team will likely exercise patience before pulling the plug on either Hampson or McMahon.
9. Jorge Mateo, SS/2B, (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Early June
Jorge Mateo will always have a shakey profile in the Majors given his consistently decreasing walk rate each year, but for fantasy purposes, a healthy OBP and 25+ stolen bases will retain value as a one-trick pony. Although creeping back up, Mateo has cut his strikeout rate by 9% this season and is getting on base nearly 50% more than last season in Triple-A (.280 to .376). He is on pace to steal 30+ bases in Triple-A (11 to-date), the most he has stolen since 2016.
10. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/SS/3B, (Baltimore Orioles) – ETA Late June
Ryan Mountcastle drew a lot of Spring Training hype that he may skip Triple-A after his successful 2018 season and jump into the Majors directly. While that never came to fruition, he is a consistent name in Baltimore’s future. So far this year he has been productive, slashing .326/.354/.511 with 5 home runs. The team has played him more at first base than any other position, but has come through the minors as a shortstop and third baseman. Mountcastle walks at an alarmingly low rate (4% this season) and will never likely be a star, but in a pinch could provide more power than average depending on his positional availabilities in leagues.
Does Nate Lowe fit in here at all? Need steals and am thinking about dropping him or Whitley for Mercado.
Austin riley has been hot and has appeared in LF. Do you think he gets a call with inciarte slumping? Acuna would move to CF. And there is always the possibility of a Donaldson injury, but they also have Camago.