Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers that you should be stashing on your team. Unlike dynasty content focusing on who to own for their production years down the road, these rankings will be done solely for 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. Jack Flaherty (St. Louis Cardinals) – TODAY
Adam Wainwright is on the disabled list. If he isn’t owned yet, go grab Jack Flaherty – he is starting today against the Pirates, so it should be a good matchup for Flaherty. Wainwright has a rough 2-4 week timeline, but this is the same elbow he had surgery on this past offseason, so I do not see the Cardinals being in too much of a rush to bring him back. This will be a good opportunity to see what the team has in Flaherty.
2. Nick Kingham (Pittsburgh Pirates) – TOMORROW
I’m giving Nick Kingham a bump as the Pirates have opted to give him a call-up tomorrow. It is tentatively a spot start, but it is a sign of confidence in Kingham instead of giving Tyler Glasgow the start (or I suppose lack of in Glasgow). The Pirates have plans for Kingham, while he won’t be up long at this juncture, his success will determine how long it will be until he is up for good, whether this spring or sometime this summer.
3. Michael Kopech (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early-June
Michael Kopech is looking like a complete prospect at this point and the White Sox look out of contention. He is demonstrating sustained control although his changeup needs to be utilized more to consider it a tool in his chest. The White Sox have already secured an additional year of control, I would expect to see Kopech after Super Two so the White Sox can save money long term.
Luiz Gohara will make two more starts before heading back to the Majors. Tentatively having him start in the second week of May – he should stay up when up. Gohara will be a high strikeout guy with good enough control to make an impact on most rosters. If you have an open DL spot on your roster – Gohara would be worth the stash.
Walker Buehler looked sharp on Monday letting up no runs while striking out five. Buehler is expected to get the start again tonight against the Giants. He is in a bit of an odd spot, as he is on the unofficial “taxi squad” for the Dodgers. I don’t expect this call-up to last long (he should be down once Rich Hill is back – but for now enjoy. As far as 2018 goes, I still am bearish against Buehler as he will have an inning limit and no guaranteed time starting. If he does stick for a bit – prepare to sell high.
6. Mike Soroka (Atlanta Braves) – ETA Mid-May
Last week Alex Anthopoulos listed Mike Soroka as “very very close” and subsequently called up Max Fried (granted to the Braves’ bullpen and also seems to be on his way back down soon). We’re starting to get a better picture of the Brave’s minor league pitching and it looks as though Luiz Gohara will get first dibs and Soroka soon after with Fried not in competition for a starting spot right now.
7. Fernando Romero (Minnesota Twins) – ETA Early June
Fernando Romero is improving with each start in AAA this year (striking out 10 over 6.2 innings in his last outing). The Twins are back to a five-man rotation, with Phil Hughes leading the way — that should end soon. Lance Lynn probably won’t miss time after rolling his ankle, but the Twins may wish that he would given his inept pitching this year. Stephen Gonslaves finally got called up to AAA, which muddles who would get the call first a bit – my money is still on Romero.
8. Jalen Beeks (Boston Red Sox) – ETA Early June
Lord have mercy. While he may not have logged as many innings as Michael Kopech or Austin Gomber, Jalen Beeks has absolutely shredded the competition so far this year, striking out no fewer than 8 batters per game (26 batters over 14 innings). While those numbers are clearly unsustainable, this is a clear continuation of the immense breakout Beeks had in 2017. Four spots in Boston’s rotation are solidly locked down, leaving Beeks’ fate to Eduardo Rodriguez‘ performance as to whether a spot will appear (I’m not too hopeful as Rodriguez seems to have figured something out).
9. Freddy Peralta (Milwaukee Brewers) – ETA Early June
Alright Milwaukee, time put Brent Suter in the bullpen and call Freddy Peralta up. In reality, he may be a long shot with top prospect Brandon Woodruff shuffling his way in and Jimmy Nelson making his way back sometime in July. I still plan to keep an eye on him as Suter can only do so poorly for so long before the Brewers make a change.
Mitch Keller is looking incredibly sharp after two games in AA this year, letting up his first run after letting up three hits and two walks over 5.1 innings — he struck out five. I’ve dropped Keller because his ETA is incredibly likely to not be this year, but I’m still gambling that his upside forces the Pirates to do something that would result in 2018 value.
Jalen Beeks – Jaw drops.
Matt Strahm – The Padres announced on Tuesday that Strahm will, in fact, return as a reliever after alternating his games between starting and relief so far this year. The team does not want to risk his health – in this role he would not bring much fantasy value in standard leagues.
Chance Adams – Yankees starting pitching may be struggling, but Adams has done little in the way of demonstrating he would provide more value than the current rotation. Until he turns it around, he’ll be staying put. At this point, Josh Rogers has a better shot of a call-up.