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. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid May
Dylan Cease extended his scoreless streak after his second start, pitching another sterling five innings. Cease utilizes four pitches ranging from above-average to elite and has the potential to garner more than the nine strikeouts he’s thrown in ten innings this season. Cease has a clear path to the majors and Chicago may reach a point where they cannot hold him in the minors any longer.
2. Justus Sheffield, SP Seattle Mariners – ETA Mid April
Ultimately, Erik Swanson filled in for the injured Wade LeBlanc. Swanson does not merit ownership quite yet, but he is trending up with his fastball-heavy approach. Justus Sheffield is also trending up, working his way back from a rough pair of starts to begin his season. He finally had a serviceable start on Wednesday letting up only two runs over 6.2 innings with six strikeouts. Walks have plagued Sheffield with three in each game so far this season and will continue to be the deciding factor in whether he will find longterm success.
3. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Early June
Jesus Luzardo is showing signs of progress recovering from a strained shoulder, with Oakland Manager Bob Melvin saying the young lefty feels “absolutely fantastic,” but he’s yet to throw. Luzardo is still without a timetable, but is within the initial four-to-six-week range for recovery. He was on track for an Opening Day roster spot prior to the shoulder injury, and with a few rehab starts should be a force in the majors for good.
4. Griffin Canning, SP Los Angeles Angels – ETA Mid May
Rapid promotion after rapid promotion in 2018 left Griffin Canning in Triple-A, where he stumbled. To start 2019, Canning has been on fire, allowing only one run in 16 innings while striking out 17. It’s clear Los Angeles wants Canning as soon as possible and if he can sustain his efforts, he should be usurping at least one of the Angels’ starting pitchers on a staff that’s inspired little confidence this season.
5. Forrest Whitley, SP Houston Astros – ETA June
Forrest Whitley‘s 2019 season will be colored by his second start of the year, where he gave up five runs in 1.1 innings. This should be a hiccup in Whitley’s otherwise strong pursuit of a Major League roster spot. Houston will likely keep Whitley in Triple-A for a while longer to better manage his innings, but a spot will be there for him when the Astros are ready to solidify the backend of their rotation.
6. Brent Honeywell, SP Tampa Bay Rays – ETA Mid June
Brent Honeywell was shut down on Friday with elbow soreness, a cautionary measure, but one that deserves attention as he’s working back from Tommy John surgery. He should only be shut down for a few days, which shouldn’t drastically affect his recovery timetable. When he last pitched in 2017, Honeywell threw a 3.49 ERA with 179 strikeouts in 136.2 innings, nearly all in Triple-A.
7. Logan Allen, SP San Diego Padres – ETA Late May
I’m still cutting Logan Allen some slack, he has a long minor league resume of great control despite his 2019 numbers, currently sitting at a 9.00 BB/9. A .469 BABIP has also inflated his overall rates. Allen showed signs of hope in his most recent start, still walking three in five innings, but striking out seven and letting up two runs. Still, with Nick Margevicius and Matt Strahm performing well, San Diego has time to spare to develop Allen and Cal Quantrill.
8. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Early July
Amazingly, despite 10 walks in his first 14 innings, Mitch Keller has managed to compile a sub-4.00 ERA. He continues to labor through games as a result of poor control – an issue that has sustained from his Triple-A season in 2018. Keller has the highest ceiling of any Pittsburgh pitcher, but will likely fall behind JT Brubaker, the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018, if the Pirates need an immediate fill-in.
9. 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 three offspeed pitches, with the command and control to back each up.
10. A.J. Puk, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late July
A.J. Puk began throwing to hitters this past week as he works back from Tommy John surgery, although his recovery timetable is still behind that of Honeywell. Puk had modest success in Double-A when he last pitched in 2017 and Oakland will want to see similar results before giving him the call. If the team is still competitive at the All-Star break, Puk will be a sneaky addition to most redraft teams.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)