The Stash 05/19: The Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
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 on 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.
I’ll start this week with a mea culpa regarding Austin Riley—with only four games at left field and a healthy Atlanta outfield, I had not included Riley on the Stash. An injury to Ender Inciarte on Tuesday changed that, with Riley getting the call to fill his spot. In his first two games, he has been stellar and should be an immediate add universally in leagues while his ownership is still below 25% (if it isn’t higher by the time this article publishes).
1. Yordan Alvarez, OF/DH, (Houston Astros) – ETA Late May
For the first time in three weeks, I have to change the first sentence discussing Yordan Alvarez, as instead of tacking on another two home runs this past week, he tacked on three. Alvarez now has 17 home runs on the season with a .410 batting average. That is utterly ridiculous. It surpasses Vlad Guerrero Jr. hype, as Alvarez is mashing the ball in a way Guerrero Jr. never had the chance to do in the minor leagues. Take ownership of Alvarez now and stash him everywhere—the future is scary if Houston is already the best team in baseball.
2. Carter Kieboom, 2B/SS, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Mid June
Carter Kieboom is back in Triple-A, and Trea Turner was activated Friday from the injured list. Kieboom struck out too often and a walked few too many times during his first stint in the majors. The small sample size will skew his metrics, but he was able to smash two home runs in his limited 11-game opportunity, and Kieboom will be back at some point this summer—especially with Brian Dozier only on a one-year contract and batting .187 (and only seven RBI despite 154 plate appearances).
3. Nate Lowe, 1B, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Mid June
Nate Lowe was demoted to Triple-A to clear room for Austin Meadows‘ return last week. He did not light the world on fire in his first nine games in the majors, slashing a meager .257/.289/.314 and a 10:2 K:BB ratio—a far cry from his 27:21 ratio in Triple-A this season. Competition is stiff for Lowe, as Yandy Diaz has designated hitter locked down and Ji-Man Choi is hitting a respectable .270 with a 10.2% walk rate while at first base.
4. Kevin Cron, 1B/3B, (Arizona Diamondbacks) – ETA Late June
Not to be outdone by Yordan Alvarez, Kevin Cron also hit three home runs this week, bringing his season total to 17—also tying Alvarez with 22 walks on the season (30 to 31 strikeouts). Cron is slashing .315/.411/.741 in Triple-A, but is blocked at first and third base in the majors. Unlike Alvarez in the American League, Cron does not have a designated hitter spot to slide into. Keep a close eye on Cron as he does everything possible to break into the majors instead of repeating a full season in Triple-A for the second year. If he had a clearer path, he would be the unquestionable No. 2 on this list.
5. Cavan Biggio, 2B, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Mid June
Cavan Biggio‘s metrics have gone lopsided in Triple-A with a 24:28 K:BB ratio. He is slashing .316/.449/.530 on the season with six home runs and four stolen bases and has been bouncing around the infield and most recently right field. May has been a slower month for Biggio, as he is hitting only .260 with a stolen base and home run, but it has helped to regress his profile without a catastrophic collapse. Toronto has been toying around with Biggio’s positional eligibility, now working him out in the outfield—a position Toronto will have a harder time filling out with its current minor league roster than second base.
6. Kyle Tucker, OF, (Houston Astros) – ETA Late July
If Kyle Tucker sees action in the majors this season, it will likely be on a different team, despite Houston’s reluctance to trade him in years past. Tucker is slashing .340/.450/.780 in May with six home runs and four stolen bases. Despite his success this month, he is still hitting .237 after a slow start, and with Yordan Alvarez possessing the first claim to a call-up, Tucker is the odd man out. Houston has both Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick locked down for another season at $16 million and $13 million, respectively, and with other useful outfielders like Myles Straw in tow, the utility of Tucker as an up-and-coming outfielder is mitigated in 2018.
7. Jorge Mateo, SS/2B, (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Early June
Although Jorge Mateo has managed to continue producing, some cracks have begun to show, as his strikeout rate has begun to inch upward. Mateo is still hitting .279 in May with four home runs and four stolen bases and would provide speed to an Oakland team with the sixth-fewest steals (14) this season (as a frame of reference, Mateo has 11 on the season). Oakland needs a true leadoff man, and while Mateo’s above-average OBP might keep him from being a “true” leadoff hitter, he is the best Oakland has ready.
8. D.J. Stewart, OF, (Baltimore Orioles) – ETA Mid June
I’m swapping out Ryan Mountcastle for D.J. Stewart. The two will likely be called up around the same time, but Stewart has the edge, as he is already on Baltimore’s 40-man roster after seeing some action in 2018. After a tepid start, Stewart has been on an absolute tear in May, slashing .487/.521/1.077 with five home runs and a stolen base. Stewart is also featuring a 22:24 K:BB ratio on the season. Both left and right field are locked down by Dwight Smith Jr. and Trey Mancini, but a shuffle in the outfield with Cedric Mullins demoted would open a spot for Stewart.
9. Jake Rogers, C, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Early July
Jake Rogers has undergone a massive shift in his game this season. He’s been a glove-first catcher throughout this career, so his real-life value has been tied to his defensive ability. Prior to 2019, Rogers has hit in the mid-.260s at best with a modest amount of power. After 27 games at Double-A this season, where Rogers slashed .302/.429/.535 and five home runs, he earned a promotion to Triple-A, where the gains he made are seeming to stick. Most notably, his walk rate jumped seven points and strikeout rate dropped five points. His batting average is assuredly due for a regression, but how much his profile changes will insulate the drop remains to be seen. Given his promotion means he will no longer be catching for Casey Mize and Matt Manning, it could be an indication Detroit wants Rogers in the majors sooner than later.
10. Jacob Wilson, 2B/3B, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Late June
The window is closing fast, if it has not shut already on Jacob Wilson. Despite his breakout success this season, he is now blocked by a healthy Turner and Kieboom, who is now on the team’s 40-man roster—oh, and technically Dozier. While he may be a call if Anthony Rendon gets injured, there are too many blockades in the way for Wilson to reasonably expect to play anytime soon. He is slashing .340/.420/.730 with 14 home runs and a 12.2% walk rate in Triple-A this season.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter).