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 Kingham (Pittsburgh Pirates) – ETA Today
The Pirates demoted Nick Kingham to AA last week in order to keep his starts fluid as they prepare to spot start him. He’s getting the call again today against a beatable Padres team making him at the very least a top streaming option today. A stellar performance may not be enough to lock down a role in the rotation yet – much of it will be decided by Joe Musgrove’s return sometime this upcoming week.
2. Michael Kopech (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early June
Sterling. Outstanding. Wunderkind. These are not words used to describe Michael Kopech’s most recent start where he let up eight runs on five hits and four walks. For two games in a row now, Kopech has struggled to locate the strike zone and has looked vulnerable when he is able to pitch inside. His season walk rate is now up to an unpalatable 4.59. The White Sox have committed to taking their time with Kopech, but it would still make the most sense to call him up after Super Two and let him experience some growing pains at the major league level. The White Sox finally have double-digit wins and are soundly in last place – they don’t have much to lose this season.
3. Alex Reyes (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA Late May
Alex Reyes has yet to let up a run in either rehab start and as struck out EIGHTEEN OF TWENTY-FIVE batters. Granted its a small sample size, at a low level, and Reyes is known to have control issues — but for a player coming back from Tommy John – this is all great news. Reyes is still a little more than a week away from his return date and should slot into the starting lineup once able. If Reyes isn’t rostered yet, he should be.
4. Jalen Beeks (Boston Red Sox) – ETA Mid June
The legend of Jalen Beeks continues to grow with a AAA leading 59 strikeouts (over 37.1 innings). For as well as the Red Sox are performing, it has little to do with their rotation with Drew Pomeranz nearly doubling his ERA from last season with a 5.97, Eduardo Rodriguez (4.68), or David Price’s 4.38. At some point, something has got to give because at this point there is no pitcher in the minor league system that has earned a call-up more than Beeks. In the worst case scenario they put him in the bullpen, but with Pomeranz on his final year of this contract – it would be a waste to have Beeks waste away in the pen. I would have Beeks ranked higher if we had a better ETA.
5. Stephen Gonsalves (Minnesota Twins) – ETA Mid June
Stephen Gonsalves AAA numbers are skewed after letting up six runs over 1.2 innings on four hits and three walks. Gonsalves has been killing it all year and this is likely a bump in the road. He is still an upgrade over Kyle Gibson (who finally regressed) and Lance Lynn (with a not league leading 6.99 walks per nine and not league leading 7.47 ERA). Lynn is on a one year contract – he should be gone once the Twins feel Gonsalves is ready.
6. Daniel Gossett (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Mid June
Alright, so did Daniel Gossett get eviscerated in his two early April starts? Yes, it was Thanos level evisceration. What Gossett has done since has been nothing but phenomenal work in AAA, now sporting a 1.63 ERA over 38.2 innings. Gossett is ready for a mulligan and with Brett Anderson and Andrew Triggs hitting the disabled list this weekend, he should have as good a shot as any to make the roster.
7. Austin Voth (Washington Nationals) – ETA Early July
It is apparently the week where my list gets walloped. Austin Voth let up seven earned runs (eight total) over (hold on for this) .1 innings, letting up five hits and two walks. The Nationals clearly thought this was an outlier as on the Nationals called Voth up to be their 26th player for their eventually postponed doubleheader against the Yankees. Twice now this season Voth has gotten the call, but sent back down before getting any work. The Nationals want him, it’s just a matter of when.
8. Yefry Ramirez (Baltimore Orioles) – ETA Early June
Yefry Ramirez is another high strikeout pitcher in AAA that could make an impact in 2018. He is fourth in strikeouts this season in AAA and sporting a seemingly unlucky 3.8 ERA (likely the result of a 67% left on base percentage). Since 2016 Ramirez has had consistent success in the minors, but this season his four-pitch arsenal has been mowing down lineups – most recently taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning. I would argue that not a single Baltimore pitcher is rosterable this season, the demand is there for a quality pitcher.
9. Brett Kennedy (San Diego Padres) – ETA Early July
With the recent waves of call-ups, many of these later ranked pitchers are incredibly speculative. Brett Kennedy has been playing well in AAA and the Padres have a carnival of starting pitchers. If Kennedy continues to do well, it would not be a surprise to see him get the call this year as the Padres are doing its best to work out their roster kinks and they prepare for a youthful rise a la the 2018 Atlanta Braves.
10. Kolby Allard (Atlanta Braves) – ETA The Fall
Kolby Allard has only let up more than one run twice so far this season (2 runs, 4 runs) and is currently coming off of a scoreless eight-inning gem. Still, at 20 years old and Luiz Gohara in the bullpen (and spot starting on Wednesday – take a look), it seems unlikely Allard will make an impact this season in the majors, although he can only perform so well before forcing the NL leading Braves to do something. Youth is in revolt in Atlanta, its time the Braves go all in. Allard is a pipedream call-up, but is doing well enough to warrant keeping an eye on in 2018.
Jack Flaherty – Jack is back (and did pretty well). Flaherty let up only one run over 5.1 innings and is in line for another start tomorrow against the Phillies. Flaherty is roster worthy while he is up, but his future 2018 value remains questionable with Reyes to be called up soon.
Freddy Peralta – Welcome to the Show, Mr. Peralta. Peralta struck out 13 batters in his MLB debut (MLB record is 15, for comparison Stephen Strasburg struck out 14). He only let up one hit and walked two batters in Colorado. He should be owned and started accordingly in all leagues.
Anthony Banda – Not a stellar showing, but almost a quality start. Banda is not worth rostering, except as a well-positioned spot start as his first start was against the Royals.