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 impact the 2019 season. Their ranks are predicated between 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. Logan Allen, SP San Diego Padres – ETA Late April
Logan Allen missed the cut for an Opening Day roster spot, but should not be too far behind with San Diego opting to start Nick Margevicius instead, a 22-year-old who has not pitched above High-A ball. Allen will be competing with former first-round pick Cal Quantrill for the first call-up, but should have the edge despite a rough Spring Training. Allen threw a combined 2.54 ERA between AA and AAA ball in 2018 with 151 strikeouts in 148.2 innings and has the potential to rival fellow rookie and teammate Chris Paddack.
2. Justus Sheffield, SP Seattle Mariners – ETA Mid May
Justus Sheffield may have one of the lowest ceilings of any pitcher on this list, but he will have the opportunity to play and should have a high-enough floor to stick in Seattle’s rotation once called up. There are a number of ways Sheffield makes the roster, making his call up a matter of when rather than if. Sheffield improved his control as 2018 progressed, but his command will likely be an impediment to immediate success as he will rack up strikeouts – but be limited with how far he pitches into games.
3. Michael Soroka, SP Atlanta Braves – ETA Early May
An Opening Day spot in the rotation was Michael Soroka‘s for the taking until a lingering shoulder injury forced him back down to the minors to rehab. Atlanta has young starting pitchers to spare, but Soroka is a cut above the others and has demonstrated he deserves a shot in an abbreviated 26 innings in 2018. In a full season, Soroka might hit 175 strikeouts and sport an elite ERA and WHIP.
4. Jonathan Loaisiga, SP New York Yankees – ETA Mid April
Jonathan Loaisiga provided a limited body of work in 2018, with only four starts and five relief appearances for New York, but was able to clearly demonstrate his elite talent. Loaisiga has three solid pitches (fastball, changeup, curveball) and is excellent at racking up strikeouts. He should have the edge on Luis Cessa and when a roster spot opens up once C.C. Sabathia‘s suspension is over and he is transferred to the IL – Loaisiga should be New York’s first call.
5. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid May
What the White Sox plan to do with Dylan Cease is still a mystery, but there is reason to believe Chicago might move him quickly now that they have locked down Eloy Jimenez and their rebuild is starting to come to fruition. Cease will get his first taste of Triple-A this spring after dominating High-A and Double-A ball in 2018 with a combined 2.40 ERA and 160 strikeouts over 124 innings. With Michael Kopech on the shelf recovering from Tommy John surgery, Cease is on the fast track to becoming the team’s new ace.
6. Forrest Whitley, SP Houston Astros – ETA June
The biggest caveat to this ranking is that Josh James won a bullpen spot to start the year in Houston as it will not cost them a roster move to give him a spot start or insert him into the rotation. The trio of Wade Miley, Colin McHugh, and Brad Peacock shouldn’t hold off Whitley for long, but Houston will likely take things slow as he only threw 26 innings in Double-A last season. Whitley will make an impact from Day One.
7. Lewis Thorpe, SP Minnesota Twins – ETA Early June
One of the most polished pitchers in Triple-A, Lewis Thorpe should see action sooner than later with a rotation anchored by Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez. Michael Pineda‘s durability is also a concern. While Stephen Gonsalves may have a leg up for a call, if Thorpe is able to replicate his 2018 success then Minnesota will be pining to give him a shot.
8. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Early June
Jesus Luzardo was on pace for an Opening Day roster spot until a sprained rotator cuff shut him down for 4-6 weeks. If able, Luzardo will need to work a few innings to get back on pace for a call-up with early June being an optimistic timetable. Luzardo is one of the most talented young arms in the minors and is an ace in the making. Given his delayed timetable he may also have to compete with A.J. Puk for a spot in the rotation.
9. Brent Honeywell, SP Tampa Bay Rays – ETA Late June
2018 was supposed to be the year of Brent Honeywell until he underwent Tommy John surgery in February 2018. Honeywell will be back on the mound in May and if he picks up where he left off, Tampa Bay should be calling him up soon after. Honeywell should make an immediate impact, but might have an innings cap that dampens his fantasy relevance in 2019. Until that becomes clearer, his talent and shaky timetable should keep him at the bottom of this list.
10. Brock Burke, SP Texas Rangers – ETA Late May
Double-A ball had supremely talented pitchers pass through it in 2018, among them Brock Burke, an exceptional talent throwing a 1.95 ERA and 71 strikeouts (to only 14 balls) in 55.1 innings. Burke hit a new gear upon his mid-summer promotion to Double-A, continuing to improve as the season progressed. Now with the Rangers, GM Jon Daniels is on record saying, “If he takes another step the way he did last year, he could come fairly quickly.” Burke is on the Rangers’ radar and could be a quick call-up if he continues to mow batters down.
Seconded. Thoughts on Touki?