The Stash 4/22: The Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
This season I will be taking over for Nic Gardiner’s column — the Stash. Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers that you should be stashing on your team. Unlike my other dynasty content that will focus on who to own for their production years down the road, these rankings will be done for a potential splash during 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.
1. Gleyber Torres (New York Yankees) – ETA TODAY
Word has it that Gleyber Torres is on his way up to the Majors after putting up a slash line of 370/.415/.543 in his first 46 at-bats back from Tommy John. Torres’ call-up was always a matter of when not if – he is an absolute must add if he is not already owned.
2. Ronald Acuna (Atlanta Braves) – ETA Early-May
Ronald Acuna flashed some signs of life this past week, but was neither consistent nor good enough to get called up. Braves GM, Alex Anthopoulos, said this past week that Acuna will get the call when he’s hot — best case scenario is still looking like Early-May. Its up to Acuna’s play, now (well, officially).
3. Nick Senzel (Cincinnati Reds) – ETA Mid-May
Similarly, had Nick Senzel performed in AAA this season – he may have had the call-up to replace the injured Eugenio Suarez. Like Ronald Acuna, Senzel has struggled to perform – seeing a rise in his strikeout rate and a dip in his walk rate. With only 11 games in, Senzel is still adapting to this new level of competition – a hot streak of his own could lead to a promotion.
4. Dustin Fowler (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Early-May
I’m comfortable saying that Dustin Fowler has shaken the rust off after missing the past year. Fowler is showing better plate discipline than in years past and is up to four steals (encouraging given his knee injury). Fowler should be a massive upgrade to a floundering Athletics Outfield, with no firm ETA I expect he’ll just be up whenever the Athletics decide to make a change.
5. Willie Calhoun (Texas Rangers) – Early-June
Willie Calhoun said this past week that getting sent to the minors was a “slap to his face.” Rangers GM, Jon Daniels, responded by doubling down on his assignment saying “I think if Willie had his say, obviously he’d be in the big leagues, but we don’t think he’s quite ready for that just yet.” Not particularly inspiring for fantasy owners and it would seem as though Calhoun is still a while off from a call-up.
6. Austin Hays (Baltimore Orioles) – ETA June
Plate discipline has not been a friend to Austin Hays, who currently sits with a 30% strikeout rate (having struck out 8/22 AB this past week to boot). Once thought a Spring Training call-up, Hays has pittered out hard in an attempt reclaim the torrid pace he hit at in 2017. While still in AA – the Orioles could opt to promote him to AAA once hot instead of the Majors. There is work to be done and the Orioles have (unfortunately for Oriole fans) the ability to take their time this year.
7. Francisco Mejia (Cleveland Indians) – ETA Early-June
Francisco Mejia as hit a bit of a cold patch – but the Indians don’t care as long as they can find a defensive place for him. His bat will turn around and once Mejia has a place(s) to play – he will be a must add (if nothing else for his catcher eligibility).
8. Willy Adames (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Early-June
Willy Adames is currently sporting an 18.2% walk rate and a 23.6% strikeout rate (for a combined .418 On-Base Percentage). I know early sample sizes will normalize statistics, but that level of plate discipline 55 at-bats into the season is still something I thought merited pointing out.
9. Nick Gordon (Minnesota Twins) – ETA Early-June
Nick Gordon looks ready not only to be promoted to AAA, but to the MLB. There were rumors last season that the Twins may skip AAA altogether for Gordon and the way he has begun 2018 – one can see why. Gordon is hitting .352 with two home runs and two steals. He has an elite .368 On-Base Percentage and although Eduardo Escobar has been serviceable in Jorge Polanco‘s absence, any faltering by Escobar could finally open the door for Gordon.
10. Max Schrock (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA Early-June
Hot take, Max Schrock and Kolten Wong are similarly profiled batters, but that Schrock will be getting the call to replace Wong at some point this season. Schrock is hitting the ball in AAA this year pretty well. Although his fantasy value is limited by his only average power/speed combination, Schrock will make contact – something the Cardinals are searching for right now in their middle infield. Think of Schrock as Bo Bichette-lite (but seriously, last season Schrock ended with a 9.2% strikeout rate to a 7.4% walk rate).
Victor Robles – While Robles will not require surgery, his hyperextended elbow will keep him on the disabled list for several months. Robles could get directly called into the Majors upon his return (when Washington is in the heat of the race) – his return date is too nebulous and there is no guarantee Washington would call him up immediately having missed so much time.
Jack Bauers – Less to do with Bauers talent, more to do with the talent of Nick Gordon and the opportunity that is now pounding down the Twin’s door.