The Stash 4/13: The Top 10 Pitching Prospects to Stash
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 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. Justus Sheffield, SP Seattle Mariners – ETA Mid April
Justus Sheffield may be up within the week with Wade LeBlanc expected to miss some time with a strained oblique. Sheffield’s first and only outing of the year was rough, walking five batters while striking out only one in 4.2 innings. He’s struggled with control in the past, but he was the centerpiece in the trade that sent James Paxton to New York and with Seattle hot and in need of an arm, he should get the call.
Atlanta’s rotation has steadied for now with Max Fried‘s second solid start on Tuesday, leaving only the spot currently occupied by Kyle Wright up for grabs. Wright has a 7.07 ERA after three starts and his leash is getting shorter. Mike Foltynewicz and Michael Soroka are both almost back from the disabled list, with the former guaranteed Wright’s spot. If Sean Newcomb continues to walk batters at a higher rate than he strikes them out, another injury pops up, or Fried slows down, Soroka will be in line for a few starts.
Author’s Edit: Atlanta pulled the plug on Wright after I wrote the article, Toussaint got the call. Soroka to keep conditioning in the minors. Go snag Toussaint, but be cautious of his poor control.
3. Logan Allen, SP San Diego Padres – ETA Late May
Logan Allen has started to drop in these rankings as Nick Margevicius has excelled, and while he’s due for some regression, he could stick around for a bit in San Diego. Margevicius is an extreme control pitcher (12:1 K:BB) that will not strike out many batters, but has the ability to induce groundballs at an elite rate. With both Allen and Cal Quantrill struggling in their first starts, San Diego has less of an incentive to call either up. Matt Strahm is now the odd man out when San Diego decides to try something new.
4. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid May
Dylan Cease is off to the races, striking out five and walking none over five innings in his Triple-A debut. Chicago has high aspirations for Cease and by all accounts from this offseason, has plans to move Cease quickly into the majors. Between pitching a combined 2.40 ERA and 160 strikeouts last season and his 2019 debut, Cease will be on his way sooner than later.
5. Forrest Whitley, SP Houston Astros – ETA June
Forrest Whitley will be working off of a tight inning limit this year as he was only able to get 26 innings under his belt in 2018 after a suspension and injuries derailed his season. His career-high is 91 innings in 2017. Whitley has an astounding fastball and an elite changeup with a curveball that should solidify him in the majors when he does get the call, but Houston is in no rush to promote him with the team doing well enough. Even if an injury were to occur, Whitely might not be the first choice with Joshua James excelling in the bullpen. Whitely will be up sometime this summer and should be a force.
6. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Early June
Jesus Luzardo is now in week three-and-a-half of his initial four- to six-week timeline recovering from a rotator cuff injury. Luzardo was nearly a lock for a starting role and while he will need to work back from his injury in the minors, he should force his way into the rotation if Oakland remains competitive in the AL West.
Brent Honeywell is back for the first time in fourteen months, pitching one inning or 25 pitches later today in extended Spring Training. He’s working his way back from Tommy John surgery and if his rehab appearances go well over the next month and a half, the right-hander could be up as soon as June. Honeywell was on the cusp of the majors when he went down, look for him to return with his exceptional control and make an impact. When last he pitched in 2017, Honeywell threw a 3.49 ERA with 179 strikeouts in 136.2 innings—nearly all in Triple-A.
8. Brock Burke, SP Texas Rangers – ETA Early June
In Brock Burke‘s 2019 debut, he struck out four and walked none over five innings. He was then placed on the IL with a blister (retroactive to April 5), although is only expected to miss one start. Texas has no shortage of holes in its rotation and the team has committed to moving Burke quickly. The lefty excels at racking up strikeouts despite his dependence on his three offspeed pitches, with the command and control to back each up.
9. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Early July
Inconsistent control created Mitch Keller‘s problems in Triple-A last season, where he finished the year with 22 walks in 52 innings and a 4.82 ERA. Over his first two games in 2019, his control issues remain prominent having walked six batters over 8.2 innings with a 5.19 ERA. While his second game had fewer walks, it came at the cost of eight hits. Keller has a prototypical fastball and curveball that will set him up for success in the majors, but until he can pitch more consistently, he will be working out of Triple-A for most of 2019.
10. Griffin Canning, SP Los Angeles Angels – ETA Mid May
Griffin Canning was promoted at a wild rate, making it to Triple-A in his first year, where he finally started to stumble. Canning has been rock solid to open 2019, with a 0.90 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 10 innings. It is clear that Los Angeles wants Canning as soon as practicable and if he can keep up his efforts, he should be usurping at least one of Los Angeles’ starting pitchers on a staff that’s inspired little confidence this season.