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 affect 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. Brendan McKay, SP Tampa Bay Rays – ETA Today
Brendan McKay is up today against Texas. Chances are high that this is a spot start with a full spot in the rotation coming shortly after the All-Star Break. McKay has been an absolute monster in the minor leagues moving from Rookie league ball in 2018 to the Majors in the middle of 2019, combining for a 1.85 ERA, an 11.56 K/9, and a 1.85 BB/9 throughout his minor league career. Add McKay universally if you do not already have him, even if he is only up for a start he has crossed the 40-man threshold and will be up again this season although an inning limit will be a persisting concern in 2019.
2. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Early July
Mitch Keller has bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the Majors a few times this past month and in his recent return to Triple-A dominated to the tune of one earned run over 7.1 innings with six strikeouts and most importantly without a walk. Now that his 10-day MLB-mandated period has passed, Keller should be back in Pittsburgh any day now and will be a must add universally if he was not stashed after his last stint in the Majors. Control will determine Keller’s success and his past two months in Triple-A have been encouraging.
3. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Mid July
Jesus Luzardo continues to increase his pitch count as he rehabs from a spring shoulder injury. Luzardo pitched two games in Triple-A this past week after dominating his first pair of starts in High-A, for a total of four runs over 8.1 innings and nine strikeouts. Luzardo touched 99 mph and has shown pretty consistent control as he inches closer to his MLB debut. A few more outings and Luzardo will be in the conversation for a call-up.
4. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid-July
Dylan Cease squeezed in only an inning this past week as weather cut his start short. After a rough June, Cease did not end the month on a high note, needing 25 pitches (12 strikes) to get through the inning. While Cease could be up in Mid-July when his Super Two date passes, he has not performed well enough for Chicago to necessitate giving him a run in the Majors quite yet. While Chicago had nothing to lose, they will likely exercise patience until Cease strings together a few quality starts.
Author’s Note: On 06.30.2019 it was announced that Cease will make his debut on Wednesday, July 3rd in an incredibly favorable matchup against Detroit. Add him and play him.
5. A.J. Puk, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Early August
A.J. Puk is projected to make his MLB debut in August according to MLB.com’s Martin Gallegos. This is the clearest confirmed timeline yet for Puk, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Puk needs to slowly build up his pitch count and has been limited to only two innings per outing in his three rehab games. Despite Frankie Montas‘ suspension, there remains a real possibility that Puk throws out of the bullpen, limiting his 2019 fantasy value. How Oakland handles his workload in the coming month will be reflective of how to handle Puk this season.
6. Rico Garcia, SP Colorado Rockies – ETA Late July
Rico Garcia imploded this past week, letting up eight runs (including four home runs) in only 5 innings while striking out three. As a frame of reference, his four home runs allowed doubled his season total and it took him eight starts to accumulate that many runs to start the season. This is only Garcia’s second game in Triple-A and he should bounce back after mowing down batters in Double-A all season. With Colorado in competition for a Wild Card spot and a poor rotation, Garcia will be an attractive call-up if he can get a few successful starts under his belt. It is an absolute shame that Garcia was not named to the National League’s MLB Futures roster who put together as rock solid a resume as any on the roster.
7. Anthony Kay, SP New York Mets – ETA Late July
After throwing a 1.49 ERA and 70 strikeouts in Double-A, Anthony Kay has been caught flatfooted in Triple-A with an 11.00 ERA and 10 strikeouts in his first three starts (nine innings total). The strikeouts are a good sign that Kay’s pitches are translating well at a higher level and a .482 BABIP combined with a 52.3% left-on-base rate demonstrates that Kay has gotten woefully and uncharacteristically unlucky. Kay will be pitching in the Futures All-Star game, it will be a good chance to see how he fairs against the best in the minor leagues.
8. Chance Adams, SP New York Yankees – ETA Early August
Chance Adams is getting brought along for New York’s trip to England as an injury reserve player, which is in line with his use to-date as the team’s 26th man. Adams has gotten a rough shake over the past month, getting called up and sent back several times for brief appearances as the team needed him and the results were acceptable at best. Prior to that, Adams had dominated, letting up fewer than two runs in a start since April and had five quality starts in that same time period. Adams will likely be on the block at the deadline and could be starting for a Major League team after the deadline.
9. Matt Manning, SP Detroit Tigers – ETA Early September
Matt Manning was named to the MLB Futures Game, so he will take a break from Double-A where he has been one of the most dominant pitchers this season with a 2.60 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 86.2 innings. Manning has consistently cut his walk rate throughout his time in the minors and now sits at a respectable 2.91 BB/9. Detroit is in no rush to compete this season, but with an eye toward 2021, September will be a good option for the team to give Manning a test run before starting him in Triple-A next season.
10. Alex Faedo, SP Detroit Tigers – ETA Early September
To get bolder, Detroit has three of the top pitchers in Double-A baseball and with Casey Mize getting baby proofed after suffering a shoulder injury, Alex Faedo could get a late-season call-up alongside Matt Manning as Detroit gives its talent crop of young pitchers a long look before starting them in Triple-A in 2020. Faedo has been brilliant this season, drastically raising his strikeout rate to 10.38 K/9, slashing his walks in half (down to a 1.50 BB/9), and dropping his ERA by a point an a half to 3.35. The former first-round pick has started to blossom into a minor league all-star.
Lewis Thorpe – In what could be just a great spot start against the Chicago White Sox after Minnesota’s 18-inning loss to Tampa Bay, Thorpe is finally going to debut.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)