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. Griffin Canning, SP Los Angeles Angels – 04/30/19
Griffin Canning will make his Major League debut on Tuesday, April 30th after a rapid ascent through the minors that included only two games below Double-A. Canning is a must-add in leagues as he is an impact arm that should fit safely in Los Angeles rotation. Canning has excellent control and will induce an above-average amount of strikeouts—he may never be an ace, but he will be a solid SP2/SP3.
2. Jesus Luzardo, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late June
Jesus Luzardo is progressing through his rehab program with no issues and should be back in the minors sometime mid-May. With a phenomenal spring under his belt here he threw a 0.93 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 9.3 innings, Luzardo will need to work back some innings before a promotion is under consideration. He is an absolute force on the mound and will be universally owned for years to come once he gets the call.
3. Zac Gallen, SP Miami Marlins – ETA Mid May
Zac Gallen has taken Triple-A by storm after several modest seasons in the minor leagues. Through 25.1 innings, Gallen has let up only one earned run while striking out 31 batters. Gallen has been the best pitcher in the minor leagues this season and Miami has shown no hesitancy to call up their young players— Gallen should be up sooner than later and will be well worth the add.
4. Forrest Whitley, SP Houston Astros – ETA Late June
Forrest Whitley will not be up anytime soon through some combination of Houston artificially suppressing Whitley’s innings and Whitley’s inability to induce groundballs (currently at a well below league average 28.6%). Whitley has a passable 13:5 strikeout to walk ratio and most of the damage to his ERA came in one start. Whitley is only 21 years old and has never pitched more than 91 innings in a season—Houston will not be rushing him into the Majors.
5. Brent Honeywell, SP Tampa Bay Rays – ETA Mid July
Still shutdown, Brent Honeywell had a consultation with Dr. James Andrews this past week—there was no structural damage. Honeywell should return in a few weeks to extended spring training, where he will continue to work back from Tommy John surgery. This pushes back his ETA, but the worst was avoided and Honeywell should still see the mound in Tampa sometime mid-to-late summer.
6. Dylan Cease, SP Chicago White Sox – ETA Mid July
Dylan Cease’s road to the Majors hit a road bump over the past week after letting up 11 runs over 8.1 innings across two starts. While Cease still has a 3.44 ERA on the season as a result of his first two sterling outings—inconsistent starts like these will only serve to justify Chicago working Cease out in Triple-A. There is a clear need in Chicago, even more so with Ervin Santana’s DFA. It is increasingly likely that Chicago holds Cease down until his Super Two deadline sometime in July.
7. Lewis Thorpe, SP Minnesota Twins – ETA Late May
Back-to-back 12 strikeout appearances with a 1.98 ERA has launched Lewis Thorpe back onto our radar. This is the Thorpe we expected, who in his final two months last season threw a 2.82 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. All but one of Minnesota’s pitchers have an ERA above 4.00 and Minnesota has no qualms with trying out their young pitchers—another start or two like this pair and Thorpe will be in consideration for a call-up once again.
8. Mitch Keller, SP Pittsburgh Pirates – ETA Early July
“Fake it till you make it” is currently Mitch Keller’s guiding principle in Triple-A ball. Despite a ghastly 13 walks in 20 innings, Keller is still sporting a healthy 2.70 ERA and has a reputable 22 strikeouts over that span. Keller’s control issues may yet get the best of him, but if he figures things out before they do—Keller will look for a strong call-up mid-season.
9. A.J. Puk, SP Oakland Athletics – ETA Late July
A.J. Puk’s timeline to work back from Tommy John now more closely aligns with Brent Honeywell, but Puk lacks the repertoire depth to which Honeywell has access. There has been little news of Puk’s progression as he works his way back, but when he returns should be one of the better rookie pitchers this season.
10. Brock Burke, SP Texas Rangers – ETA Early July
Brock Burke had a strong bounce-back game, not letting up a run and striking out eight over 4.2 innings on Monday. Burke has only made three starts this season for Texas after an injury scare and was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Jurickson Profar to Tampa Bay. Although in Double-A, Texas intends on moving Burke quickly through the minors after hurling a 1.95 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 55.1 Double-A innings last season.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)