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.
While my thoughts have begun to change on Vlad Guerrero Jr. (as a result of the Blue Jays losing 7 of their last 9 games), I still stand by this analysis of his and Eloy Jimenez‘ situations.
Nick Senzel still hasn’t played a game since May 3rd, so much of his call-up in 2018 will depend on how he plays after getting off of the disabled list. Having only played three games in May and only 22 games in Triple-A, the Reds will not be in a rush to force up their prized player. July 31 is probably much further than when Senzel will get the call (albeit not every day), but with the Reds 14 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central – the Reds will again be looking to sell, likely opening a space up for Senzel to get consistent playing time.
Willie Calhoun will be ending May with an average over .300 and only one home run. While the Rangers will want to see more power from one of their top prospects, it should be enough to get Calhoun a call-up once Super-Two passes. Calhoun is an offensively minded prospect with the potential to hit 30+ home runs (and will be playing in Arlington) each season and has great plate discipline despite his 2018 .267 batting average. We are reaching the point quickly where Calhoun would make for a great stash in standard leagues.
Max Schrock is doing what at its core level every player should be able to do, hit. Schrock is now hitting .299 on the season and only strikes out 9% of the time. A paltry 4.8% walk rate keeps his on-base percentage from being anything more than just above average, but Schrock should immediately make an impact at the bottom of the Cardinals lineup. His MLB blocker is Kolten Wong who is now hitting .148 in the month of May. Schrock won’t light up the fantasy scoreboard with steals or home runs, but should provide a stable middle infield bat for a team who is missing out (or ravaged by injury).
Willy Adames got his first taste of the MLB this week when Joey Wendle was placed on paternity leave. In his debut game he homered off of Chris Sale, but otherwise went 2 for 12. Three games a sample size does not make and make no mistake, Adames is ready for the MLB. His likeliest path to consistent playing time is for Adeiny Hechavarria to keep cool (once off of the disabled list) and Daniel Robertson inevitably regresses. Adames will be up again.
Nick Gordon was at long last promoted to Triple-A after crushing the ball in Double-A for two consecutive seasons. Much like Eloy Jimenez, the first major step for getting a call-up to the majors seems to be through some taste of Triple-A. With this promotion, Gordon is one step closer to making his major league debut. After six games, he is off to a great start, hitting .316. Eduardo Escobar has finally regressed, hitting .236 in May and Jorge Polanco is not expected back until at least July 2. If Gordon impresses quickly, he may force the Twins’ hand as they are very much still in competition to win the AL Central.
Christin Stewart has taken a bit to progress through the minors, but he is looking more and more like an MLB ready outfielder. This past week was rough for Stewart, striking out 10 times (his biggest red flag) – but is still hitting .269 in May and is one of the top home run hitters in Triple-A this season. Stewart is getting comps to J.D. Martinez, although he may be where Martinez was just prior to coming to the Tigers in 2014. The Tigers are still an offensive team and Stewart would make a useful addition to their roster.
I am among those a bit bummed the Rockies did not turn to Garrett Hampson to fill in second base for his electric speed – instead the Rockies made Ryan McMahon an interesting addition. He has played all around the infield in the minors, but should get an extended look at second base with DJ LeMahieu on the shelf for close to a month. McMahon has not had great success in 2018, but if he is able to replicate his 2017 success – McMahon would provide above-average power at second.
The Braves named Johan Camargo as its starting third baseman after cutting Jose Bautista last week. Camargo should be a stopgap for the team as they wait for Austin Riley to be brought up. Despite a .301 average so far in Triple-A, there is much to be concerned about with Riley including is 30% strikeout rate and .413 batting average on balls in play. Luck has factored into Riley’s success and the despite their success, the Braves will want to be patient with Riley’s development.
At what point do you bench an underperforming former all-star/veteran? This is the Angels debate between Ian Kinsler and David Fletcher. Kinsler is hitting a meager .182 so far this season and despite hitting at the top of a competitive Angels team. Fletcher has now been hitting .346 in Triple-A and only strikes out at a 6.7% rate, making his transition smoother if he gets the call. Fletcher may not get a full time role off the bat, but if his success translates – he may be lined up to displace Kinsler as the season progresses.
Tony Kemp is picking up where he left off in Triple-A and is off to the races in Houston. At first blush, his high batting average on balls in play may seem lucky, but Kemp has historically had a high BABIP because he’s quick. Tucker is only hitting .247 in May and the Astros have plenty of other outfield talents that could fill in if Kemp tapers off. Even if called up, Tucker may not make as big of an impact as the Astros are betting on.
Juan Soto: Own him if no one else does – easily the most excited prospect call-up this season and he has not disappointed.
Roman Quinn (tore a ligament and will be out 6-8 weeks)