Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers you should stash on your team. These rankings are done solely for prospects who could 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. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late Aug.
Jesus Luzardo struggled in his return to Triple-A this week, allowing four earned runs over 3.1 innings with only one strikeout. Luzardo had only let up six runs prior to this outing over his first 24.1 innings and is still a good bet to be in starting in the majors shortly. He should have at least one more start in Triple-A as he rehabs from a Grade 2 lat strain, but after that he could be called up at a moment’s notice. Luzardo should be universally stashed as he has an elite arm that can help in a fantasy playoff push.
Kyle Wright threw his first non-quality start in Triple-A since late June, pitching 5.0 innings while allowing two runs on two hits and five walks while striking out five. The walks stuck out as they have not been a significant issue for Wright, with five representing the combined total from his five previous games. Chalk it up to an off night, because Wright has been an absolute rock in Triple-A. Still, he’s been unable to translate that into success in the majors.
Mitch Keller received his promotion last week and started off well in his return to the majors, but Pittsburgh has another intriguing arm worthy of a call-up come September: James Marvel. Marvel has a 2.74 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and since his promotion to Triple-A on July 5 has thrown a 1.82 ERA in Double-A. In the era of a juiced ball, Marvel has accomplished what few other pitchers have accomplished—and certainly not to this degree—he lowered his ERA. He offers a slightly above-average strikeout rate (7.64 K/9) and control that should transition well into the majors as a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher.
Justus Sheffield had his first non-quality start since mid-June, allowing three runs in only 5.2 innings while striking out eight. Sheffield has been on an absolute tear in Double-A since he was demoted. A promotion to the majors would likely skip Triple-A altogether as Sheffield is already on the 40-man roster after struggling mightily when given the opportunity earlier this season. He seems to have rediscovered himself in Double-A and has re-established himself as a potential frontline starter. He could be up sooner than later.
After a rocky Triple-A debut, Ian Anderson is largely back on track, throwing a six-inning quality start, letting up a single run on three hits and three walks while striking out six. The uptick in walks remained from the week prior after having not walked three or more batters since the beginning of June, but the six strikeouts were encouraging. Anderson has an outside shot at a meaningful promotion this season, but he has not been ruled out as late-season call-up.
Starting from April 29, Lewis Thorpe has had a fantastic season (to remove his first two games is to drop his ERA a full point). He has a 3.51 ERA in Triple-A, a scintillating 11.06 K/9, and an elite 1.91 BB/9. He has bounced between MLB and Triple-A, throwing one start and three relief outings for Minnesota. The team does not immediately need another starting pitcher with Michael Pineda returning from the injured list (well, maybe they should), but once rosters expand, Thorpe will assuredly be called up and work as a hybrid starter/long reliever. He has a higher value in dynasty leagues, but could still make enough of an occasional fantasy impact in 2019 to justify his placement.
Adbert Alzolay continues to build up innings, throwing four in his most recent start while allowing a solo home run and striking out seven. This start represented a big return for Alzolay, who had been inconsistent during his rehab from bicep inflammation. Chicago’s lineup is set, barring an injury, but with several older arms in their rotation—the team may opt to rest its starters if the club can squeeze ahead in a tight NL Central race. Alzolay should get the call-up before then, working in long relief—but should be an option when a spot start is needed.
Starting as early as tomorrow (Sunday), Tony Gonsolin could be back with Los Angeles after a successful, albeit brief, two-game stint with the team earlier in the month. Despite a rocky Triple-A season marred by inconsistent performances, Gonsolin looked sharp—without any of the worrisome walk issues he has had this season in Triple-A. If he starts on Sunday, Atlanta would mark the toughest offense he had faced yet—but would be worth the stream.
Logan Webb is making his debut for San Francisco on Saturday after only a single game in Triple-A. Webb has been electric this year, sporting a 1.85 ERA despite missing two months of the season with an 80-game suspension. It is worth noting that at 22, Webb is the youngest pitcher to debut for San Francisco since Madison Bumgarner.
Matt Manning is scoreless in three of his last four outings, combining for 25 strikeouts and only two walks in that span. It is increasingly likely that Manning stays put this season, with Detroit rolling the dice on Kyle Funkhouser (7.50 ERA) or Beau Burrows (5.51 ERA) out of Triple-A. Detroit’s future rotation is cemented soundly in Double-A despite a full year of elite performances as the team obstinately drags its feet toward another poor year in 2020 before coming out with a bang in 2021.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)