Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers that you should be stashing on your team. Unlike dynasty content focusing on who to own for their production years down the road, these rankings will be done solely for the 2018 season (there will be discrepancies). Players that will be called up sooner will be ahead of players with more talent who might only be called up late in the year — we want to give you an edge. Prospects are a great way to stay ahead of everyone else rather you are in a dynasty league or a 10-team league.
1. Nick Senzel, SS/3B, (Cincinnati Reds) – ETA Early July
Nick Senzel has been on right on track since returning May 29th batting .289 with four stolen bases and seven walks. There is still no clear path for playing time and there are several possible call-up scenarios for Senzel including the Reds waiting until the trade deadline to clear space, moving Peraza to the outfield, calling him up without regular playing time as a super utility player, or waiting until September and giving him the Acuna treatment next Spring.
2. Max Schrock, 2B, (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA Late June
Max Schrock too has cooled off over the last week, batting .208 – but he is still maintaining a .286 batting average on the season. Kolten Wong is still batting under .200 on the season. I feel like this is the most repetitive player I’m pitching, but there isn’t such a clear need for a position and ready replacement as there is than Schrock/Wong. Schrock has a great hit tool and will not kill you in home runs or stolen bases, but he won’t win either category for you either. He will be a stable player to run if you missed out on one of the top middlemen.
3. Willy Adames, SS, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Mid June
Willy Adames is next in line for the Rays now that Jake Bauers was brought up earlier in the week. Adames has a hit in nine of his last eleven games, but is without a home run or steal in that span. Much like Max Schrock he doesn’t exceed at any one thing, but does plays well enough to warrant ownership in deeper leagues. Adames should return soon, keep on eye on him if you have a need at shortstop. He may not be an immediate add, but if he does well get ready to snag him.
4. David Fletcher, 2B/SS, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Mid June
David Fletcher increased his batting average marginally over the past week, but given that increase brings him to .354 – it is worth mentioning. He has real 20/20 potential while batting around .300, but is blocked by Ian Kinsler. Sometime soon the Angels have to pull the trigger on Fletcher who has more than forced his way into the discussion to start for the Angles. Andeltron Simmons isn’t moving off of short, which leaves Kinsler who is hitting .219 the odd man out – even if he is Ian Kinsler.
5. Willie Calhoun, OF, (Texas Rangers) – Late June
Willie Calhoun hit his first home run in 16 games and is hitting .200 in June. As an offensive first prospect and on a losing team, Calhoun is getting further and further away from a summertime call-up. His ceiling is such that a call-up even in a slump would be irrelevant, but Calhoun’s slump has now extended for nearly three months. A September call-up is looking more likely, but it is worth waiting now that we are in Super Two time to see if the Rangers pull the trigger.
6. Nick Gordon, SS, (Minnesota Twins) – ETA Mid June
Nick Gordon has not gotten too many countable stats (or walk, really) since his promotion to Triple-A, but he is still hitting .301 after 75 at-bats. Gordon is an upgrade for the Twins offensively and defensively and would fill a hole in their lineup that has persisted all season. Jorge Polanco is set to return in early July – now would be a good time to test the waters with Gordon, if he succeeds Polanco takes the second fiddle if he fails they can demote him to keep improving. Another option for playing time would be if Brian Dozier gets traded at the deadline now that he is in the final year of his contract and the Twins are 5.5 out in the AL Central.
7. Christin Stewart, OF, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Mid July
Christin Stewart is on an eight-game hitting streak (every game in June) adding value, despite not hitting a home run since May 29. Unfortunately, that streak is accompanied with at least one strikeout per game, although his season strikeout rate is still at a palatable 20.9% (and 10.4% walk rate). Stewart would be an improvement for the Tigers, but the organization is keeping him down right now to “work on his defense” – the Tigers, despite their status as competitors are not expected to compete as summer moves along. Stewart may be kept down until September to keep his MLB innings down in 2018.
8. Austin Riley, 3B, (Atlanta Braves) – ETA Early August
The shoe has got to drop for Austin Riley at some point soon. He currently sports a 33% strikeout rate and has a .410 batting average on balls in play despite a .286 batting average. The Braves seemed intent on rushing Riley, but he landed on the disabled list yesterday after spraining his PCL. There is no estimate for his return yet and chances are if it is prolonged, Riley will drop off this list as his timetable will shift to 2019 and the Braves focus on buying a 3B at the deadline.
9. Frank Schwindel, OF/1B/OF, (Kansas City Royals) – ETA Late July
Frank Schwindel has been the glowing angel of a terrible Royals farm system. Most recently playing right field, Schwindel can play first base and catcher as well, giving him some flexibility for the Royals. He has eleven home runs on the season and is hitting .273 on the season. The Royals have most of Schwindel’s positions locked up with league average players – so at the moment he could take on a super utility player to get regular enough playing time. If not, with the Royals at the bottom of the horrendous AL Central – they may make some deals at the deadline, it could open up regular playing time. Schwindel is ready to the MLB – he’ll be up at some point this summer.
10. Kyle Tucker, OF, (Houston Astros) – ETA Mid June
I own Myles Straw in my dynasty league, so I am secretly hoping the Astros act boldly and give him the call ahead of Kyle Tucker, but by virtue of the Astros organization whoever gets the call should produce even at the bottom of the lineup. Tucker has had such an uninspiring season in 2018, but given his status as Houston’s top batting prospect – the Astros have been chomping at the bit to give him a chance. He hasn’t earned a spot in the MLB the same way as many of the above players have, but that isn’t all there is to midsummer call-ups. Tucker is a look-to-his-ceiling addition.
Jake Bauers: Bauers got the call and started his first MLB game on Thursday – he has a good amount of power and speed. The Rays have already shifted him around the lineup, having him as high as the 2 hole. If he finds a groove, he will be hitting at the heart of Tampa’s offense.