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.
This week is our penultimate week – see you on September 1/2!
0. Vlad Guerrero Jr., 3B, (Toronto Blue Jays) – April 2019
Vlad Guerrero Jr. probably will not be up this season – to accrue a “season” in the MLB, 173 service days are needed (out of a 187 day MLB season). At best that means Guerrero Jr. will be up in the second week of April 2019 so Toronto can keep him an additional year before he can enter free agency. If Guerrero Jr. was brought up in 2019, Toronto would further have to delay in 2019 Guerrero Jr.’s promotion (something, I suspect would anger fans more than not promoting him in 2018). Given a demotion for poor play is unlikely, Toronto is taking their time to get every potential competitive season out of Guerrero Jr. Keep monitoring – I plan on stashing him still on a wing and a prayer, but for now, see ya soon, man.
1. Eloy Jimenez, OF, (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early September
Eloy Jimenez will be up on September 1, hot on the heels of teammate Michael Kopech. Jimenez is slashing .337/.384/.582 on the season with 21 home runs in only 421 plate appearances. Jimenez looks to be a .300 hitter and is set to hit at the heart of Chicago’s lineup. Jimenez is a universal must-own and is still owned in only 16% of leagues.
2. Willie Calhoun, OF, (Texas Rangers) – ETA Early September
Willie Calhoun performed well for the Rangers in his 22-game stint with Texas, hitting .275 with one home run. With Nomar Mazara back, Calhoun was optioned back to Triple-A until rosters expand. Calhoun will shuffle around once back up, but should get enough playing time to be a relevant factor in most fantasy lineups. He has room to improve, but even more of the same will be productive. He’s a safer bet than most on this list given his good start.
3. Francisco Mejia, C, (San Diego Padres) – ETA Early September
Francisco Mejia continues to prove that his disastrous spring was an anomaly, hitting .315 with the Padres Triple-A affiliate since getting traded over in July. Mejia does not walk often, but should provide an above average bat at a thin position. He will split time with Austin Hedges, but he should still provide top-10 value at the position in September.
4. Christin Stewart, OF, (Detroit Tigers) – ETA Early September
Christin Stewart has made the gains necessary to find success in the MLB – even if they have not translated into success in Triple-A. Despite a .248 batting average, Stewart has increased his OBP to .349, upped his walk rate to 12.2% and cut his strikeout rate without sacrificing his power. Stewart should provide a solid power bat in the outfield as a OF2/OF3 role and should hit near the heart of the lineup even once Miguel Cabrera returns in 2019.
5. Frank Schwindel, 1B, (Kansas City Royals) – ETA Early September
Frank Schwindel is back on the rise with his batting average up to .285. Schwindel, like Christin Stewart, has increased his walk rate (to 6.5%) and decreased his strikeout rate (down to 12.9%). Schwindel is hitting for power consistently and is set to eclipse his previous seasons best of 23 home runs before the season is over. Schwindel is Kansas City’s first baseman of the future and should finally get the call in September after two under the radar successful seasons in Triple-A.
6. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, (Baltimore Orioles) – ETA Early September
Ryan Mountcastle may well be this year’s Austin Hay after a successful season in Double-A, hitting .297 and 12 home runs. Camden Park should give a bump to Mountcastle’s power and he should be able to find playing time splitting time between third base and shortstop. Cedric Mullins was called up two weeks ago and has found success, Mountcastle should follow in his steps this time next week.
7. Peter Alonso, 1B, (New York Mets) – ETA Early September
Peter Alonso is hitting .284 in the month of August and more notably is tied as the home run king in the minor leagues this year with 32 home runs (Ibandel Isabel did it in High-A). Alonso has done everything he’s needed to in order to get a call in September having now spent have his season in Triple-A. Although his Triple-A batting average is a low .243 – he has made substantial gains as he has adjusted to the new level – there is the risk he still struggles to hit the ball, but when he does – it’ll go far.
8. Victor Robles, OF, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Mid September
Juan Soto took his opportunity and ran with it – had he not, we would have seen Victor Robles by now. After missing most of the season, Robles has not hit the ground running the same way he has in years past, but should see opportunities this fall – shifting around the outfield as needed. He should get enough playing time to warrant ownership, Robles has average power and above average speed and should hit for close to .300. Don’t take too much out of Robles’ abbreviated 2018 numbers.
9. Alex Verdugo, OF, (Los Angeles Dodgers) – ETA Early September
Alex Verdugo is will split time with Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, and Enrique Hernandez when called up, but should see enough time to warrant ownership a la Victor Robles. Barring an injury, Verdugo will have streamable value as he has average power and speed, though he too should hit for .300. Verdugo is hitting .331 in Triple-A this season with nine home runs and seven stolen bases.
10. Luis Urias, 2B/SS, (San Diego Padres) – ETA Early September
Luis Urias was not called up to work the infield in place of the Christian Villanueva who will be out for the next month. Urias should be up soon regardless and get consistent playing time at either second base or shortstop. Urias is not particularly fast or powerful, but should get on base consistently (.398 OBP this season in Triple-A) and hit near the top of the lineup providing some fantasy value for middle infield starved teams.