The Stash 05/18: The Top 10 Pitching Prospects to Stash
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
Zac Gallen now has 7 quality starts in 8 attempts, with his lone non-quality start coming .1 innings shy of the statistic. Gallen threw another gem this past week, letting up only one earned run over 7 innings with 9 strikeouts—that brings Gallen’s season line to a 1.16 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. There has been no better pitcher in Triple-A baseball and Sandy Alcantara has been hapless at best in the Majors. Gallen should be on track for a late-May call-up.
2. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid July
Barring a catastrophic collapse, regardless of how well Dylan Cease performs, or how many injuries Chicago’s rotation incurs, Mid-July is the earliest we are likely to see Cease as he has blossomed into Chicago’s future ace (while fans forget about Michael Kopech as he works back from Tommy John) and the team will hold him down until his Super Two passes. Chicago is in no rush to win this season and as they continue to call up their young talent, Cease and his elite strikeout rate will be around.
3. Brendan McKay, SP Tampa Bay Rays – ETA Late May
Back-to-back scoreless outings bring Brendan McKay‘s season ERA to a stellar 1.51 with 53 strikeouts over 35.2 innings. McKay has breezed through every outing this season and has not let up more than one run in a game since his first of the season. Tampa Bay is a team incentivized to win-now and with an injury to Tyler Glasnow that will keep him out 4-6 weeks, the need is underscored. McKay is clearly ready to pitch in the Majors, his opportunity could be just around the corner.
4. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Mid July
There is every reason to be hawkish about Mitch Keller‘s ability to translate his minor league success into Major League success with a 4.28 BB/9 in Triple-A this season. Still, 50 strikeouts in 40 innings gives a salacious ceiling that is worth betting on as if he can reign in his control—he would be a surefire ace in Pittsburgh. While Keller works through his new slider (slowly as he’s only thrown it a select few times each game) and control issues, Pittsburgh will not be in a rush to call him up—even with Jameson Taillon heading to the Injured List.
5. Austin Voth, SP Washington Nationals – ETA Early June
Austin Voth has performed acceptably the past two weeks, but not to the above-average way he began the year. A 2.97 FIP to his 3.89 ERA in combination with an 11.42 K/9 and 2.08 BB/9 are strong indications that Voth has been severely unlucky and that his actual success this season is not properly reflected in his stat line. Voth is on Washington’s 40-man roster, making his eventual call-up easier in real life
6. A.J. Puk, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late July
A.J. Puk threw a simulated game in Extended Spring Training this past week, his first opportunity to face live batters since March of 2018. Puk seems to be on track for a rehab assignment that will start sometime in June with a return in July. Puk has a limited number of innings in the minor leagues, but is widely expected to be called to the Majors at some point this summer with an elite repertoire.
This past week, Jesus Luzardo threw his first bullpen session after straining his shoulder in March and is expected to start in the minors late this month. Luzardo dropped a bit in this week’s ranking after Athletic’s beat reporter Susan Slusser noted that an August return might be more realistic for Luzardo—an indication Luzardo’s injury is more significant than originally thought. Until Luzardo’s path to the Majors becomes more clear, err on the side of caution.
8. Forrest Whitley, SP Houston Astros – ETA Late July
Forrest Whitley will continue to be passed over for a starting role until he can dig his way out of the cellar of Triple-A ball. While he is a consensus top pitching prospect with an elite four-pitch repertoire, he has been hit up all season to the tune of 7 home runs and a 10.80 ERA. Whitley did not pitch this past week, he should be back this week to continue to work on his command. He should be able to work through these issues, but until he is able to—he remains a distant chance of a call-up, but with talent too elite to keep off of the Stash.
9. Logan Allen, SP San Diego Padres – ETA Late June
Logan Allen was hit by a comebacker during his start last Saturday and was removed after the first inning. No word yet on the severity of his injury or whether he is injured—Allen’s value is in a holding pattern until his situation is cleared up and with Nick Margevicius starting to falter in the Majors.
10. Rico Garcia, SP Colorado Rockies – ETA Late July
Rico Garcia is flying under many radars, although he probably should not be given his otherwise above-average minor league career. This season, he has taken his game to the next level, striking out 50 batters in his first 37.1 innings of the year with a sterling 1.69 ERA in Double-A ball. He has only let up more than one run once this season and Colorado has a desperate need for at least average starting pitchers. Garcia is still an extremely speculative stash, but one that could pay dividends if his situation changes over the next few weeks.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)