Every weekend, I post about the minor leaguers you should be stashing on your team. These rankings are done solely for prospects with the potential to impact the 2019 season. Their ranks are predicated on when they will be called up and raw talent—we want to give you an edge in building your team throughout the year. Prospects are a great way to stay ahead of the curve once the most notable prospects are called up. Not all prospects need to be stashed in every league, as not all league compositions are made equally.
1. Kyle Tucker, OF, (Houston Astros) – ETA Late July
Barring an injury or a trade, Kyle Tucker remains without a path for a promotion. Yordan Alvarez has continued to produce since his own promotion, leaving the hot-hitting Tucker to remain in the minors. Houston is in need of another arm and Tucker would make for a top-tier trade piece in the coming month for a controllable starter like Matthew Boyd or Marcus Stroman. Patience is key with Tucker, who has decimated Triple-A pitching since the start of May and is slashing .320/.397/.690 with 18 home runs and 14 stolen bases since May 1.
2. Luis Urias, 2B, (San Diego Padres) – ETA Mid July
Luis Urias had a great June, but his success was muted after a breakout April and May. San Diego is only 2.5 games out of a Wild Card placement and with Ian Kinsler finding his groove in June, Urias may be an expendable piece at the trade deadline as San Diego looks to shore up its chances of a playoff appearance. Urias could fetch an elite return that would have a sizable impact on San Diego’s outlook. Urias is slashing .323/.410/.625 with 17 home runs and seven stolen bases in Triple-A and is on the 40-man roster after two brief stints in the Majors.
3. Bo Bichette, SS, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Mid July
Bo Bichette is back on track in Triple-A and is rolling on his way to Toronto. Since his return to Triple-A after a broken hand, Bichette is hitting .333 with two home runs and seven stolen bases in just 13 games. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has been transitioning to the outfield, paving the way for Bichette to play at his natural ̶s̶̶e̶̶c̶̶o̶̶n̶̶d̶̶ ̶̶b̶̶a̶̶s̶̶e̶ shortstop alongside rookies Cavan Biggio and Vlad Guerrero Jr. If Bichette keeps this up for another week or two, Toronto will have few qualms about giving Bichette a promotion, even if Freddy Galvis is still on its roster after the trade deadline.
4. Carter Kieboom, 2B/SS, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Late July
After a sluggish start to June, Carter Kieboom will round out the month excellently, slashing .308/.450/.551 with four home runs and a recently ended seven-game hitting streak (including a run of 12 of 13 games). Kieboom was selected for the Futures Game and will represent Washington for the second year in a row. Kieboom had a quick 11-game stint in the Majors earlier this season and should be due back around the trade deadline, whether or not Washington is able to move Brian Dozier, who has come alive in June hitting .292 and five home runs.
5. Kevin Cron, 1B, (Arizona Diamondbacks) – ETA Late July
Kevin Cron’s time in the majors was punctuated by inconsistent playing time, most often coming in as a pinch hitter. Cron was involved in 23 games during his first MLB stint; he had more than two plate appearances in only eight of those games. His experience was “How to Ruin your Breakout Prospect 101” after Cron had dominated the first two months of Triple-A ball, on par with Yordan Alvarez. After only a week back in the minors, Cron took back most RBIs (72) and most Home Runs (25) in Triple-A. Since his return, Cron is hitting .381 with four home runs. If Arizona would give him consistent playing time, Cron would be a force—until then, it is hard to push him higher after a dejecting use of a budding star.
6. Jorge Mateo, SS/2B, (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Mid July
Since May 19th, Jorge Mateo has hit safely in 25 of his last 30 games, with 16 multi-hit appearances and 12 games with extra-base hits. This, in addition to a .309 batting average, seven home runs, and five stolen bases in that same span of time. Mateo will represent Oakland in the Futures Game, and with good reason. Jurickson Profar is now hitting just above .200 after a warm June, but Mateo would check more boxes for an Oakland team that ranks near the bottom in stolen bases and a very tepid 18th overall in batting average.
7. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, (Tampa Bay Rays) – ETA Early August
Nathaniel Lowe has had a favorable June, hitting .320 this month with five home runs. MLB counterpart Ji-Man Choi has put up comparable numbers at first base, leaving Tampa Bay without urgency to bring Lowe back into the fold. Even with Yandy Diaz on the Injured List, Tampa Bay is opting to rotate players at designated hitter for now, but with Yandy Diaz playing more often at third base, the team does not have a regular designated hitter—a role Lowe would be likely to fill in 2019.
8. Will Smith, C, (Los Angeles Dodgers) – ETA Late July
Will Smith had a quick trio of appearances in Los Angeles before getting a demotion earlier this week. Smith has been up once before this season in place of an injured Austin Barnes, but his next call-up might be more permanent, with Barnes scarcely hitting above .200 (.208). Barnes has another option if the Los Angeles opts to flip catchers down the stretch, as Smith has been extremely proficient in Triple-A, hitting .291 with 14 home runs this season (while walking 14.1% of the time!). GM Andrew Freidman is on record saying Smith’s defense could earn him a gold glove one day.
9. Isan Diaz, 2B/SS, (Miami Marlins) – ETA Late July
Miami is stuck paying Starlin Castro (currently hitting .220) through the remainder of 2019 before they can elect to waive his 2020 club option, at which point Isan Diaz can assume his franchise role as the team’s second baseman. Diaz was named to the Futures Game after breaking out in May and continuing to hit his way into 2019 relevance. Diaz is slashing .287/.374/.533 with 16 home runs and a 10.3% walk rate this season in Triple-A. Diaz is ready for the majors, both offensively and defensively, and although it is unclear when he will be part of Miami’s plans, he will be well suited to contribute when the team promotes.
10. Mauricio Dubon, SS, (Milwaukee Brewers) – ETA Early August
Mauricio Dubon is not likely to see significant time in Milwaukee this season, despite representing an improvement at shortstop over Orlando Arcia, but should make for a great trade chip at the deadline if the team pursues a player like Marcus Stroman. Dubon tore his ACL in 2018 and missed the majority of the season. Now back and healthy, Dubon is slashing .307/.346/.463 with 11 home runs and seven stolen bases. A low walk rate will limit his ability to get on base consistently (4.3%), but Dubon does not strike out too often (14%) and has hit consistently throughout his time in the minors.
Ian Miller – With Mitch Haniger now taking batting practice, Miller’s window has become too tight for a notable call-up.
Yadiel Hernandez – Despite a Triple-A All-Star Game nod, Hernandez’ playing time situation is tight.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter).
Why do you say Bichette’s ‘natural’ position is second? I don’t watch super closely but I don’t know that I have ever seen him at second in a box score.
If Jays are ever offered a Tucker for Stroman deal, they had better jump quickly before the Astro’s come to their senses
how about willi castro for the tigers
Jo Adell ??