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. Michael Kopech (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early June
The walks ticked up a bit in Michael Kopech’s last start, but he remains the clearcut best starting pitching option in 2018. He currently sports a 3.00 and an 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings. The White Sox have the second-worst team ERA in baseball (AL Central representing with Minnesota seventh to last and Kansas City in dead last). Post-Super Two seems to be Kopech’s future, now in Mid-May, he’s worth the stash if you haven’t already.
2. Alex Reyes (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA Late May
This is the first time I have put Alex Reyes on my pitching stash list. My biggest concern with his 2018 value was (1) he did not have a designated role in St. Louis; (2) he is coming off of Tommy John surgery; (3) his ETA was unclear; and (4) when he came back, he would have a strict inning cap a la Walker Buehler. While I still have concerns about his inning cap, St. Louis announced this week that they would, in fact, be stretching out Reyes as a starter and it seems as though his call-up will be close to May 28th, when he is first available to come off of the Disabled List. He will still have dampened value because of his inning limit, but starting a few months into the season will help give him some longevity later in the year. He should be owned, monitor closely as he works himself back the next few weeks.
3. Nick Kingham (Pittsburgh Pirates) – ETA Mid June
There was nowhere for Nick Kingham to go but down after his darling debut. Despite letting up four runs in his second start, Kingham looked sharp, striking out seven and walking only one (his first walk). Kingham’s second start was the result of a spot start and for the next week or so the Pirates will only need a four-man rotation. Once the Pirates do need a fifth man, Joe Musgrove should get the first crack. if Musgrove falters or Trevor Williams finally regresses, Kingham will get his chance again.
4. Jalen Beeks (Boston Red Sox) – ETA Early June
There was a collective breath-holding this week when David Price was diagnosed with mild carpal tunnel syndrome. Price has not been sharp this year and this would have been a hard knock against the former All-Star. He doesn’t look like he’ll miss time, but would have made a Jalen Beeks callup happen. Eduardo Rodriguez just had a great five innings against the Yankees, but currently sports a 4.78 ERA. These are the two scenarios for Beeks, injury or poor performance. He will get a crack at some point, it’s just a matter of when. His four-seamer is filthy and he has an astounding amount of control.
5. Stephen Gonsalves (Minnesota Twins) – ETA Mid June
Fernando Romero is off to a rousing start in the Majors, making it seem as though it is only a matter of time until Stephen Gonsalves gets his turn. Gonsalves has been on fire this year between AA and AA ball – meanwhile, Lance Lynn has been a pumpkin. Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson, pumpkin candidates, have a better chance of sticking in the rotation as they each have one year left in arbitration — Lynn is on a one-year deal. If the Twins want to win, getting Gonsalves up will be one of their best hopes to do so.
6. Jack Flaherty (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA *Shrugs
With the announcement that Alex Reyes will be worked out as a starter, Jack Flaherty’s already waning value took another hit. Unless Reyes struggles or there is an injury, Flaherty will likely spend most of his season in the minors or in the bullpen. A closing role could come to pass given the general lackluster play the Cardinals bullpen, but I would not bet on Flaherty. He still retains some value as Reyes needs to earn a spot and could still get in a few starts, his value is fading fast. Sell while you can, if you can.
Edit: Flaherty will be getting a spot start on Tuesday, go ahead and stream him for now.
7. Austin Voth (Washington Nationals) – ETA Early July
Of all the pitcher-locked pitchers in the minors, Austin Voth is the king. Washington has the fifth best team ERA and all five of their starters have been pitching like veritable All-Stars. While that may not continue forever, Voth has an upward climb to break into the rotation. When he does it will be absolutely worth owning, but its the when that makes his immediate value difficult to assess. Voth currently sports a 2.49 ERA, a 11.37 strikeouts per nine innings, and a 2.13 walks per nine innings. Another avenue for Voth seems to be a potential trade deadline move as he is ready to play now.
8. Freddy Peralta (Milwaukee Brewers) – ETA Early June
Control is starting to get in the way of Freddy Peralta’s true production, now with a 3.63 ERA (although 3.13 FIP). He is still striking out batters at the top of AAA, only trailing Jalen Beeks, with a 11.94 strikeouts per nine innings. Brandon Woodruff was promoted from the bullpen to fill in for the injured Zach Davies and got rocked, hard. Brent Suter is still managing to get by with a 4.82 ERA and a lack of a finishing pitch. There is a clear need for a fresh starter and Peralta should get a chance sooner than later.
9. Brett Kennedy (San Diego Padres) – ETA Mid June
In the past week, Brett Kennedy has not done himself any favors by the way of a call-up, but neither has the San Diego rotation this season. Jordan Lyles was promoted out of the bullpen and will stick in the rotation for now, but a few strong outings from Kennedy may be enough to force a call-up.
10. Anthony Banda (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA TODAY
I am not sold on Anthony Banda as a worthwhile roster add, but the immediacy of his start makes him worth a flier. He struggled between AAA and the Majors in 2017 with a combined ERA in the mid-5s. Granted, he is not in pre-humidor Arizona anymore and in 2018 seems to have put something together, now with a 3.50 ERA (and 2.71 FIP). Banda has struck out the third most batters this season in AAA and holds a 11.0 strikeouts per nine (although still has serious control issues). He will get his first start in Baltimore and plays in the AL East, which further dampens his value. Stream him today and see what the Rays choose to do with him moving forward.
Luiz Gohara – Gohara’s value took a big hit as he was relegated to the bullpen (although looked masterful). Being in the Majors is one big step, if he continues to do well and the Braves will have a need for a starter at some point, Gohara could still retain some value moving forward (although at the moment, it’d be from spot starts).