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. Vlad Guerrero Jr., 3B, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Early September
Vlad Guerrero Jr. finally got the call to Triple-A on Tuesday and hit the ground running. Getting to Triple-A is Guerrero Jr.’s final step before an early September call-up (before subsequently waiting until April 2019 to play in earnest). He sports a 2018 line of .399/.456/.659 with 14 home runs and a 29/28 K:BB rate. In terms of talent, Guerrero Jr. should have been up much earlier this season, but fell victim to the uncompetitive Blue Jays holding onto his contract another year. Guerrero Jr. is a must-stash.
2. Eloy Jimenez, OF, (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early September
Eloy Jimenez is the other must-stash on this list. While Guerrero Jr. worked back from a knee injury, Jimenez has crushed Triple-A even quicker than Double-A. After only 120 plate appearances, Jimenez has 8 home runs and a .376 batting average. Jimenez’ ceiling is that of 40 home runs and a close-to-.300 batting average and should be the core of the White Sox lineup from day one. Even if it is a terrible lineup in 2018, someone has to drive in runs – Jimenez will be that guy come September.
3. Francisco Mejia, C, (San Diego Padres) – ETA Mid August
Francisco Mejia only has nine games logged for the Padres’ Triple-A system, but it would not be surprising to see him called up sooner than later. He is one of the few impact catchers ready for the show now and has maintained his hot streak that began June 1. Austin Hedges is his main impediment, but the Padres should give Mejia a chance to perform this year as his ability to influence an offense is second to none with Triple-A catchers.
4. Christin Stewart, OF, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Late August
Christin Stewart was not called to fill out the outfield, but Mike Gerber, Martin’s replacement, appears to only be a stop-gap for Stewart. Stewart should still get the call this season and be in line for a starting role next year. Despite his batting average never picking back up after he went on a month-long cold streak – the changes he has made to his game this season seem to be sticking and should help give him a better chance of success in the Majors.
5. Frank Schwindel, OF/1B, (Kansas City Royals) – ETA Early September
Frank Schwindel is on a 12 game hitting streak and Ryan O’Hearn got the call-up to Kansas City. Schwindel ranks second in the PCL in extra-base hits and has been the best bat in the Kansas City system by far. This seems to be confirmation that the Royals are waiting until September to give their star first baseman the call, which is disappointing given the back-to-back success Schwindel has had in Triple-A in both 2017 and 2018. Schwindel is a low-key middle of the order bat who will is the heir to Eric Hosmer and may even outperform Hosmer at some point.
6. Luis Urias, 2B/SS, (San Diego Padres) – ETA Early September
Luis Urias next step after a full season in Triple-A is the MLB, which should happen come late August/early September. Urias is not a star in any one category, but will contribute across the board in a way that will make him worthy of ownership. He currently has seven home runs and two stolen bases with a .272 batting average. These are fringe fantasy numbers, but second base is shallow and there have been significant injuries at second base this season. Given the weakness San Diego has at the position, Urias could wind-up hitting near the top of the lineup come September.
7. Victor Robles, OF, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Mid September
In a bit of speculation, I think Victor Robles will get enough starting time come September to warrant ownership in most leagues. Robles is one of the top prospects in all of baseball, although he lost most of his season to injury. With Bryce Harper a free agent after this season ends, I think the Nationals will want to have a look at Robles to assess a Harper-less team (even with a Harper-Soto-Eaton-Taylor jam). Robles is set to be a five-category contributor and was already called up to the Majors in 2017 for a cup-of-tea.
8. Matt Thaiss, 1B, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Late August
Matt Thaiss matched his 2016 and 2017 combined home run total this week, having now hit 15 home runs. Thaiss’ power seems here to stay and he has been cutting his strikeout rate all the while (along with his walk rate…) Whether that translates into success in the Majors remains to be seen, but Thaiss has made improvements that make him a more impactful player. Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols are blocking Thaiss – but there are a number of opportunities this season ranging from Ohtani focusing on pitching, an injury, or a platoon with Pujols.
9. Brandon Lowe, 2B, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Early September
If Daniel Robertson does need surgery and is out for the season, it could open the door to Brandon Lowe getting the playing time he has earned from his performance this season with 22 home runs and a .297 batting average between Double-A and Triple-A. Lowe has a 12.8% walk rate and a 22.9% strikeout rate and looks to be a worthwhile addition as second base is shallow and he could be a top power hitter at his position. Joey Wendle will get most of the reps at 2B, but the Rays have had no issue shifting players around on a game-by-game basis to get players at-bats. Lowe would likely play multiple positions as Robertson had.
10. Danny Jansen, C, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Early September
Even when Danny Jansen gets the call and platoons with Russell Martin, the impact that Jansen brings offensively as a fantasy catcher will make him worthy of ownership unless you have a top-5 catcher. Even with a part-time role could wind up as a top-10 catcher in the month of September. Jansen has been cold the month of July, but is getting hot again over the past 10 games, hitting .306 with two home runs. If he keeps up a hot streak through August, a September call-up is destiny.