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).
It is an ugly time to be stashing pitching prospects! I don’t think Reyes poses any threat to Flaherty. It is going to be a long time before Reyes can do anything other that hurt his team as an SP. His command was always poor and TJ won’t help – combine that with strict pitch counts and he is not going to be able to give them 6 innings even in the best case for a long time.
Some people seem to think Beeks profiles as a stud long reliever (It’s a lame/cheap relation, but it seems like Hader is going to cause more stud arms who already have filled rotations to be brought up to mop up 2-3 innings until they can fit into the rotation). Is there any worry that Boston may just toss him in the bullpen for a bit to make him a Sixth or Seventh inning guy? I love his stuff, but that worries me. I’ve got him and Sixto on my bench in my dynasty league, and I don’t want to hold on if he’s going to end up carrying mid bullpen stats.
He very well may end up a long reliever in 2018, but with E-Rod performing poorly, Pomeranz struggling (and in the final year of his contract), and the possibility of Price hitting the DL – I think he’s the clear replacement SP for the competitive Red Sox. In a dynasty, I have Beeks, I think he’s profiling as Pomeranz’ replacement in 2019. Although a lot of that depends on how he finishes this year as his meteoric rise was a bit surprising.
Sell Flaherty? Are you kidding? I’m in a dynasty league and there’s no way I’m selling Flaherty. He’ll get his chance, eventually. Patience my friend, patience!!!
Flaherty could be a 2 start this week since Waino is having more elbow issues
That well may be the case – if he does well, it may force the Cardinal’s hand with regard to Reyes.
The context of this particular column is for prospect value in redraft leagues, in a dynasty you should absolutely hold. Flaherty’s value is muddled if Reyes gets called up as a starter in 2018. Long-term Flaherty still has a good deal of value as a starter – but that isn’t the aim of this article.
Come on bro, if youre gonna come out even slightly firing, at least read the brief intro. Not dynasty focused here.