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. Max Fried (Atlanta Braves) – ETA Today
Max Fried is getting the call back up with the Braves’ rotation drowning in red with injuries. Fried has been rock solid in Triple-A this season, save for a June 7th start he would be sporting a 3.06 ERA with fringe 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He saw some work in the Majors earlier in the season as a reliever (and one start) finding middling success. Fried is filling in for the injured Brandon McCarthy, who is out for at least a week and remains without a timetable. Fried’s first draw comes against the Cardinals and his second start against the Brewers — Fried would be worth a spot start for teams in need today.
2. Jalen Beeks (Boston Red Sox) – ETA Early July
In easily his worst start of the season, Jalen Beeks went only 2.1 innings, letting up 5 runs while only striking out 1. Sandwiched between his most recent start and last week’s article, Beeks threw a quality start going 7 innings, letting up no runs while striking out 7. Beeks has the ability to excel in the Majors when he is called back up again, but his window is closing quick with Drew Pomeranz set to embark on a rehab assignment on Monday. With Steven Wright recently injured, the Red Sox may have a spot start available on Tuesday or Wednesday for Beeks to redeem himself after his MLB debut. Beeks’ future in 2018 will rest on whether Pomeranz can get his 6.81 ERA down upon his return.
3. Enyel De Los Santos (Philadelphia Phillies) – ETA Late July
Enyel De Los Santos is the unluckiest man in the minor league. With a 1.76 ERA, a 9.18 strikeouts per nine, and only one start not be a quality start since the first of May – De Los Santos could not be more ready for the Majors. Despite the occasional struggles of Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez, the Phillies rotation looks pretty set this season. De Los Santos would be a hard trade piece to give up, but the Phillies have one of the youngest rotations in baseball as it stands now and would be dealing from a position of strength at the deadline. After nearly a decade the Phillies are in play.
4. Nick Kingham (Pittsburgh Pirates) – ETA Monday?
Nick Kingham should be in line to fill in for Chad Kuhl who was placed on the disabled list yesterday. A timetable has not been set for Kuhl’s return, meaning Kingham will likely have at least two starts in the Majors this go around. Despite his success relative to the Pirates’ rotation, Kingham still has not secured a longterm role in the 2018 rotation. He would get a tough draw against the Dodgers early in the week, so proceed with caution.
5. Yefry Ramirez (Baltimore Orioles) – ETA Mid July
Yefry Ramirez was back for a one-night-only show against Seattle. He threw 5 innings, not letting up a run, and struck out 3. Ramirez has excelled in Triple-A this season (sans a May 21 start where he let up 8 runs) although he has not pitched as deep into games as many of his other cohorts on this list. Baltimore has a clear need at the position and with outings like Thursday are giving Ramirez a chance to state his case for a permanent spot.
6. Kolby Allard (Atlanta Braves) – ETA Late July
Kolby Allard would be a clear upgrade over Anibal Sanchez or Brandon McCarthy in the Braves’ rotation, but is only 20 years old. Allard has yet to let up more than 3 runs in a game this season and despite a paltry 6.12 strikeouts per nine innings, remains one of Triple-A’s best pitchers. As the season progresses and the Braves at the top of the National League, the Braves will call him up to win now and he will make an impact when called.
7. Austin Voth (Washington Nationals) – ETA Late July
I maintain that Austin Voth is on the cusp of the Majors. The Nationals rolled the dice last weekend with Erick Fedde and Jefry Rodriguez in the absence of Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson. Neither Fedde or Rodriguez have been particularly effective this season although Fedde should remain in the Majors until Strasburg returns. With Hellickson returning from the disabled list on opportunity closed for Voth and he will be unlikely to fill in any time soon. Voth has continued to whittle down his ERA, now on a four quality start streak. Voth is a valuable trade piece at the deadline and given his talent he would get the call in most organizations – even if his debut is not for the Nationals, Voth has a strong chance of debuting this season.
8. Michael Kopech (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Late July
Michael Kopech has strung together two respectable starts, his most recent being his best since late-May (and the lowest amount of walks, 2). It is hard to trust that Kopech is finding a groove again, but fans will take what they can get given the stark contrast between the two types of starts Kopech seems capable of making. Although Kopech can be an impact starter and for fantasy purposes rack up strikeouts like few other pitchers can, his inconsistency so far this year will likely be the cause of a late-season call-up instead of the spring/summer call-up that seemed destined during the first two months of the season. Although his ceiling would rank him near the top of the list, his delayed start and known walk issues has him moving down.
9. Dakota Hudson (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA Late July
The Cardinals have had a wealth of talent come up from the minors this year between the now-injured Alex Reyes, Austin Gomber, and Daniel Poncedeleon. Dakota Hudson seems poised to be the next Redbird pitcher to get the call, but unlike Gomber and Poncedeleon, stick in the rotation. Hudson is a 2016 first-round pick that the Cardinals have aggressively moved through the minors and he has met expectations every step of the way. He currently sports a 2.10 ERA and although he does not strike out bats as frequently as top arms may, he should be able to carve out a role for himself in the Majors.
10. Zac Gallen (Miami Marlins) – ETA Mid July
The Marlins are throwing everything they’ve got into their rotation right now, with Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez getting starts yesterday and today. With Caleb Smith down for the season with a Grade 3 lat sprain, the Marlins are in a pit of terrible of starting pitching. Alcantara had a good enough debut, it remains to be seen with Lopez. If the Marlines opt to try out what they’ve got in Triple-A, Zac Gallen, who was also included in the Alcantara/Marcell Ozuna deal should get a look. He sports a 3.74 ERA on the season with a respectable 78 strikeouts so far this season. I had him on this list early in the season as a replacement for the Marlins, but given the team’s all-out approach to fill in – Gallen should be at least on the radar as I think he has the best shot at making an impact for the Marlins.
Shane Bieber: Bieber graduated off of this list last week, but given how much he is killing it – I wanted to point him out again as he should be owned in most leagues at this point, but is only owned in 45% of leagues. Snap him up if you can.
Ryan Borucki: Borucki found success in his MLB debut against the Astros, letting up 2 runs in 6 innings, striking out only 3. He should have at least another spot in the rotation before the Blue Jays have to decide what to do with Borcuki.
Sandy Alcantara: Alcantara also found success on Friday against the lesser Mets. Alcantara may be worth a spot start depending on the match-up.
Where would buehler be on this list?
At the top, but he has pitched too many innings to still be on the list.