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 Soon?
Turning in his best start since his 2019 debut, Zac Gallen thew 7 innings with only 1 earned run while striking out 11. Caleb Smith went to the Injured List with hip inflammation, which means this is the best opportunity Gallen has had all season for a call up, as Miami has only used the same five starting pitchers all season. Smith would not have started until Tuesday, so a decision is yet to be made whether to utilize relievers, Elieser Hernandez (who is on the 40-man roster and also been killing it in Triple-A), or Gallen. Stash Gallen now in hopes that he gets the call.
2. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Late June
Two games back in the minors since his spot-start, Mitch Keller has thrown 11 innings with only 2 earned runs while fanning 18 batters. He walked 5 batters in that span, demonstrating that while he may have kinks to work out—the Majors is where he should be working on them. Pittsburgh had a horrendous month of pitching, with Keller now on the 40-man roster, it is time for him to get the call and stick this time.
3. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid July
Dylan Cease has had a solid season-to-date throwing a 3.46 ERA and a 10.21 K/9. Still no notable news on a call-up, but Mid-July seems to be the likeliest of times as Chicago will probably keep him down until his Super Two deadline passes. So long as Cease continues to produce consistently, he should be in line for a promotion later this summer.
4. Brendan McKay, SP Tampa Bay Rays – ETA Early July
Brendan McKay makes it easy to project him in the Majors this season with his successes this season and now in Triple-A. McKay threw a 2-run game this past week over 5 innings while striking out 6 batters. While in Double-A, McKay threw a 1.30 ERA with 62 strikeouts over 41.2 frames. Tampa Bay would be a better team with McKay on its roster, but his inning limit may keep him down to allow his use in the post-season. McKay only threw 72.1 innings last season and has already thrown 51.2 so far this season. While McKay’s start schedule is non-traditional, he is still heading toward a potential inning cap.
5. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late July
Susan Slusser from the SF Chronicle reported on Friday that Jesus Luzardo is headed out for his rehab assignment starting in Single-A on Tuesday. It should be a lengthy rehab, but Oakland is planning on bringing Luzardo back as a starter—a role he would have won if not for his shoulder injury toward the end of Spring Training. Luzardo is an elite pitcher when on the mound and has met Oakland’s expectations as the team aggressively promoted him last season.
6. Logan Allen, SP San Diego Padres – ETA Late June
Logan Allen has had flashes of the good, the bad, and the ugly this season including a poor 65% left-on-base rate and a wild 18.6% HR/FB. Allen is still striking out about 10 batters per nine and walking batters at an acceptable 3.61 BB/9. Allen has not performed well with a 4.99 ERA and corresponding FIP, but has definitely been better than his stat line would suggest. Allen does not have an overwhelming arsenal, but has been inconsistent enough at times to make his season look like a failure. However, he has had an 8-game streak at one point having let up more than one run only once.
7. A.J. Puk, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late July
A.J. Puk is still throwing simulated games, but should be heading out on a rehab assignment of his own in the next two weeks. It will be important to see how the team handles him during his rehab assignment as he may be used as a reliever. Oakland’s rotation has done well this season and would be a natural way of controlling Puk’s innings as he works back from Tommy John surgery. If he is a reliever this season, his fantasy value would be nil.
8. Anthony Kay, SP New York Mets – ETA Late July
Anthony Kay may have had a delayed start to his career as a result of Tommy John surgery, but the former first-round pick has been excellent this season with a 1.62 ERA and 61 strikeouts in his first 61 innings of Double-A (he did not pitch a game this past week). New York’s rotation should be in flux around the trade deadline and, if New York keeps up its aggressive promotions and continues to manage Kay’s inning load (they pulled him from a 7th inning no-hit bid to do so in May), Kay could see time later this summer.
9. Rico Garcia, SP Colorado Rockies – ETA Early August
Rico Garcia was involved in this past week’s controversial game that had a bunt end a no-hitter in the top of the ninth inning as he began the game by throwing six hitless, walkless innings while striking out 11 batters. He had an incredibly measured response to the result of the game and certainly had his overall profile raised by the event. Garcia has been competing with Casey Mize and Matt Manning for the best of Double-A and while Peter Lambert may have been promoted this week, Colorado’s staff needs a lot more before it can be competitive.
10. Lewis Thorpe, SP Minnesota Twins – ETA Late July
Now having pitched 10 games, nearly half of Lewis Thorpe‘s season’s earned runs (38) were earned in the first two games of the season (15). If you toss in his May 4th start where he let up 6 runs in 1 inning—21 of his 28 runs came from just three games. Although unfair to do, if those starts were removed from his stat line, Thorpe would be a pitcher with a 3.11 ERA, an 11.31 K/9, and 1.16 BB/9. This would be a pitcher in the Major Leagues by now, but that is not how baseball works. This might just be using statistics for convenience, but Thorpe is a good baseball player that simply started the season poorly. Minnesota could still use another arm and if it is not Thorpe, Thorpe may well be dealt at the deadline.
Mike Shawaryn – Ended up working out of the bullpen, but still should be in line for a start soon.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)