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 looked solid in his first two outings pitching a total of 11 innings, allowing three earned runs, striking out six while walking only one. McKay was able to effectively limit contact against two of the top offensive teams in baseball. He was demoted to Triple-A before the All-Star break, but is set to start against the bottom-dwelling Baltimore Orioles. McKay had been dropped in quite a few leagues, snap him back now and hold onto him tight.
2. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Late July
Keller bounced back from his worst start of the season with a six-inning two-hit scoreless outing on Thursday where he struck out eight, but also walked three. Keller’s season has been consistent in Triple-A despite his struggles when called up to the Majors, his ace potential is real and his success will be determined by his ability to harness his command and limit walks, something that has not abated even in Triple-A.
3. Matt Manning, SP Detroit Tigers – ETA Early September
Matt Manning struggled during the Futures Game, laboring through .1 inning while allowing two runs on three hits. Now in the back half of the season, Manning should be in line for a promotion to Triple-A after rolling in his first 16 starts in Double-A. While he has struggled some over the past month, Manning has largely demonstrated that he is ready for the next step and, with some success in Triple-A, could get a quick look in the Majors this fall.
4. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Early Sept.
After straining his lat during what would have been one of his final outings before a call-up, Jesus Luzardo is now one week into a four-to-five week diagnosis. Luzardo would be on track for a late-season start after having washed away the bulk of his season between two unrelated injuries. Luzardo had picked up where he left off in Spring Training during his rehab, striking out 25 over 19.1 innings across High-A and Triple-A. If Luzardo is able to recover from this injury and return to Oakland without a setback, Oakland will have a place for him to start.
5. Anthony Kay, SP New York Mets – ETA Late July
Friday’s outing was an encouraging sign for Anthony Kay who had in his first four starts had been overwhelmed by his ascent into Triple-A. Kay threw 5.2 innings while allowing only one run, striking out three and walking none. He looked good at the Futures Game, needing only eight pitches while allowing one hit in his inning-long appearance. With Zack Wheeler one of the likeliest trade chips this year and Noah Syndergaard not ruled out, Kay has a shot at moving up a step higher in a hurry.
6. Kyle Wright, SP Atlanta Braves – ETA Early August
Since June 14th, Kyle Wright has been an entirely different pitcher, over five starts throwing a 1.99 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 31.2 innings. The long ball continues to plague Wright, but after struggling to go more than four innings per start most of the season, it is encouraging to see four quality starts in his past five games. Wright has not played a Major League game since April, when he seemed like a lock to take a starting role, with his newfound success in Triple-A, he may have the ability to try again soon.
7. Alex Faedo, SP Detroit Tigers – ETA Early September
Alex Faedo has 10 quality starts in 15 attempts, with three of those non-quality starts representing over half of his total runs for the season (18 of 34 runs). He has been a consistent presence on the mound and should be promoted alongside Matt Manning as Detroit prepares for 2020 to tee up their rebuild. A short appearance in September and a long spring in Triple-A could be in the cards.
8. Conner Menez, SP San Francisco Giants – ETA Early August
Conner Menez was promoted to Triple-A at the start of June after throwing a 2.72 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 59.2 innings. Since his promotion, Menez’ strikeout rate has gone up, but has lost control, allowing 16 walks just 29.2 innings. When Madison Bumgarner is moved at the deadline, Menez is the next best option in Triple-A with Shaun Anderson and Tyler Beede receiving promotions earlier in the year.
9. Rico Garcia, SP Colorado Rockies – ETA Early August
Rico Garcia has not pitched since the break, but has had mixed success since his promotion to Triple-A largely a result of the long ball (he has let up 5 in his first 15 innings in Triple-A after letting up only 4 in 68 Double-A innings). His numbers should normalize closer to his career 3.16 ERA and 0.78 HR/9 as he continues to progress through Triple-A. Colorado is 1.5 games out of the NL Wildcard and would benefit from an improved starting rotation.
10. AJ Puk, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Early August
AJ Puk threw a two-inning outing on Thursday, his longest outing since getting promoted to Double-A, striking out four. Puk remains on track for an August promotion as he builds back up from Tommy John surgery and despite mixed success so far is a lock for a promotion so long as he does not have any setbacks.
Dylan Cease – Walks limited Cease’s debut, but was pretty effective otherwise.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)