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. Nick Senzel, SS/3B, (Cincinnati Reds) – ETA Mid-May
With Glebyer Torres and Ronald Acuna called up this past week, the new distinction of top stash goes to Nick Senzel. Senzel is still one of the must-own prospects, although with the Reds not calling him up when Eugenio Suarez went down indicates that we may have a bit of a wait to go. What the Reds lack in offensive talent, they make up with players with positional flexibility – the Reds will find a spot when they want to call him up.
2. Dustin Fowler, OF, (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Mid-May
While Dustin Fowler is clearly ready for the MLB, but the unexpected emergence (including an eight-game hitting streak) of Mark Canha is the likely cause for Fowler’s delay. Although some regression is in order, Canha seems as though he’ll lockdown centerfield until he cools. Fowler will force his way in at some point.
3. Willie Calhoun, OF, (Texas Rangers) – Early-May
The Rangers need to wait until May 4 before gaining an extra year of control over Willie Calhoun – with only a week away, it seems to be a fair expectation that they’ll wait that long. While his overall season numbers still seem subpar, Calhoun is on a five-game hitting streak and while he hasn’t hit for much power – I am not worried about it following soon after. His defense will be a liability in real life, but the Rangers will be sure to get him at-bats.
4. Max Schrock, 2B, (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA Mid-May
Max Schrock hit a bit of a cold patch this past week, but is still hitting .354 on the season and sports a 5.7% strikeout rate. Kolten Wong, on the other hand, is a clear weak link for the Cardinals with a slash rate of .208/.293/.266. The Cardinals hold a half-game lead over the Cubs, Pirates, and Brewers – the best way to keep that lead would be to give Schrock the call.
5. Willy Adames, SS, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Early-June
Willy Adames is doubling down on his fantastic 2017 AAA season, now hitting a ridiculous .347 with a 14.6% walk rate. He is a clear upgrade at shortstop although fourth in the AL East doesn’t give the Rays much reason to rush him. Adames would be a solid replacement for a shortstop starved team with an above average combination of speed and power.
6. Nick Gordon, SS, (Minnesota Twins) – ETA Early-June
Perhaps this is a continued bold call, but I think that the Twins will call Nick Gordon up straight from Double-A. He is absolutely killing it and the Twins have a clear need for him. Much like Willy Adames he does not excel at any one thing but will provide an all-around production that can fill out a roster at a weak position.
7. Austin Hays, OF, (Baltimore Orioles) – ETA June
Austin Hays put together a five-game hit streak this past week, but still only resulted in a .260 average. Despite hitting his first double of the season, Hays is putting together a case that he needs time in AAA instead of another direct call-up into the MLB. After hitting 32 home runs last year, it seems to be a matter of when for Hays.
8. Francisco Mejia, C/OF, (Cleveland Indians) – ETA Late-June
Francisco Mejia looking like a chump. Mejia is still transitioning to the outfield and he is not expected to get called up until he is comfortable with his new (for now) position. If the Indians shuffle him around, he could be up sooner. Expect his offensive numbers to get back to where they were last year.
9. Kyle Tucker, OF, (Houston Astros) – ETA Early Fall
Derek Fisher and Jake Marisnick continue to merely exist, Tucker could get the call sooner. The Astros have been pretty mum regarding Tucker’s future this season, but he is definitely a guy worth keeping tabs on for when he does get hot.
10. Alex Verdugo, OF, (Los Angeles Dodgers) – ETA Today
Alex Verdugo, we may have barely known you. As this article was being written, Verdugo got the call. It is unclear whether this will be a spot start after potential injuries to both Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. Verdugo will long-term term upgrade to Kemp and Joc Pederson, the Dodgers outfield is a four-man rotation, if Puig and Kemp hit the disabled list, Verdugo will get an extended look. Verdugo should be a stable bat with limited upside – not a must add, but watch closely.
Gleyber Torres – Not too shabby so far. Still unowned in 45% of leagues.
Ronald Acuna – He’s still unowned in 11% of ESPN leagues for some reason.