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.
I feel for the Los Angeles Dodgers and their pitching rotation that is painted red with injury. There will be some replacements needed, but they are in too unclear a situation to give a recommendation to stash as it is now. Keep an eye out though.
1. Michael Kopech (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early June
Based entirely on his stuff, Michael Kopech has the potential to be an ace for the White Sox. The hazard comes from his lack of control that gives me flashes of Tyler Glasnow. Kopech had a disastrous start last Saturday, letting up seven runs over two innings, striking out two. He bounced back yesterday letting up two runs over six innings, striking out ten. Walks remain to be an issue for Kopech this season who walked four last Saturday and five yesterday. If he can solve the issue, he’ll find great success – if not, he may end up failing to succeed as many top pitching prospects before him. This is the kind of issue that may take some time in the Majors to correct – dampening his immediate value – but that stuff, oh Marone, that stuff, still makes him a worthy add when called up.
2. Jalen Beeks (Boston Red Sox) – ETA Late June
Jalen Beeks got the call! Beeks got the call! Beeks got the ca-…oh. Beeks was predictably optioned after letting up six runs over four innings against the Tigers on Thursday. Beeks got the call after Drew Pomeranz went to the disabled list and Justin Haley is taking his place while Pomeranz is still on the disabled list. Beeks looked more and more comfortable as he went through his start, but it wasn’t enough to cover up the five runs he gave up in the first inning. I’m still pretty high on Beeks moving forward and he should find a chance to get the call again this summer after a few more dominant starts in Triple-A. See you again, bud.
3. Austin Voth (Washington Nationals) – ETA TBD ATM
I am speculatively bumping Austin Voth up on this list after Stephen Strasburg was pulled last night with shoulder inflammation – he will be having an MRI to assess the severity today if he requires a trip to the disabled list – I would suspect Voth would get the call in his place. Other than a three-game slide earlier in the season, Voth has performed well and at two separate times got the call, only to not play. Voth has an above average strikeout per nine innings and walks batters at a rate that doesn’t initially concern me. His call-up would not be permanent but will give the Nationals something to work with at the trade deadline if Voth performs well.
4. Enyel De Los Santos (Philadelphia Phillies) – ETA Late June
Enyel De Los Santos‘ time looks to be coming quicker and quicker. Vince Velasquez let up 10 runs in last nights start, bringing his season ERA up a full point to 4.95. Zach Elfin bounced back this past week but has still looked underwhelming in his three starts prior. Even in his last game, although he only let up one run over seven innings, he still allowed eight hits and a walk – not a recipe for sustained success. De Los Santos continues to dominate Triple-A and is heartily knocking on the door – the Phillies will make a decision out of necessity, soon.
5. Shane Bieber (Cleveland Indians) – ETA Late June
Shane Bieber didn’t exactly bounce back in his return to Triple-A, but remains the best pitcher available to the Indians (yes, Triston McKenzie is likely the better pitcher, but he isn’t ready in 2018). The Indians are back on a five-man rotation and recalled Adam Plukto to fill in for the time being. Bieber is the long-term favorite to hold down the fifth spot, but Plukto is coming off of a complete game shutout and a quality start follow-up in the minors and is getting priority.
6. Freddy Peralta (Milwaukee Brewers) – ETA Late June
Speaking of players with control issues, in his past five minor league games Freddy Peralta has walked 3 batters each game. He couples that with an amazing strikeout rate, which gives him a significant value in most leagues. If not for a horrendous April 26 game, Peralta would sport a sterling 1.5 ERA in Triple-A (the 8 runs he gave up there are the same amount he’s given up in every other minor league game this season, total). Starting pitching is a glaring issue for the leading team in the National League and Peralta would be an upgrade to at least half of the Brewer’s rotation. There are only so many games Brent Suter can throw less than 6 innings or Zach Davies throws above a 5.0 ERA before the Brewer’s try something new. Jimmy Nelson will return in a month, but Peralta should find the time at some point if the Brewers are intent on winning.
7. Yefry Ramirez (Baltimore Orioles) – ETA Mid June
Yefry Ramirez has a shot at the majors in 2018 because that’s just how terrible the Orioles’ rotation is – FOUR of their starters have ERAs over 4.0 (Five if we count the injured Chris Tillman instead of his replacement David Hess). Although Ramirez too has an ERA over 4, it can be chalked up to one poor 8 run game in May without which would put him in the low 3s. Ramirez sports an above average 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He doesn’t let up many home runs, which is great for a pitcher in Camden.
8. Josh Rogers (New York Yankees) – ETA Mid June
Jordan Montgomery underwent Tommy John surgery on Thursday, opening up the fifth spot of the Yankees rotation permanently. Whereas the Yankees may have been content with letting Domingo German see how high he can make his ERA climb (one quality start in five starts), they now are in a position where they will need to find a permanent replacement. In all likelihood, this will come in the form of a trade deadline trade, but until then it’ll be down to German, Justus Sheffield, Josh Rogers, and Jonathan Loaisiga. Sheffield is one of baseball’s top prospects and has done well at every level of play, although walks are a significant issue for him. I think that the Yankees end up moving Sheffield at the deadline and keep him in Triple-A to keep his trade value up. Loaisiga is still in Double-A, but was rumored to have almost gotten a doubleheader start last week. Rogers is now coming off of the worst start of his worst start of the season, but seems to still be in contention for a call-up.
9. Kolby Allard (Atlanta Braves) – ETA Late Summer
Kolby Allard is weird. Despite having relatively no ability to strike players out (currently sporting an awful 5.74 strikeouts per nine innings) he has gone at least 6 innings in every game since April 28th and holds a proud 2.22 ERA. He has a fairly standard groundball rate and doesn’t walk players often. He does not have a clear spot in the rotation yet and is only 20 years old, but would serve as an improvement to the Braves’ lineup when called. The Braves are not in a rush to rush Allard, but may find themselves pulling out all the stops to win this season.
10. Stephen Gonsalves (Minnesota Twins) – ETA Late July
After scouring through Triple-A to find a potential replacement for Stephen Gonsalves at #10, but opted to keep Gonsalves for another week as I think his potential outstrips some of the other players who could fill this spot. Gonsalves has lost the control he earned in 2017, walking 4 batters in three of his past four games. Despite this, he hasn’t played poorly, just inconsistently. Given enough time I think he can still right the ship and be effective for the Twins in 2018.
Is Caleb Smith…Robbie Ray lite?
Seems like an apt comparison between ’17 Ray and ’18 Smith had Ray not gotten so lucky in ’17.
Minor correction: Plutko’s start on 6/2 was not just a shutout, it was a no-hitter.
He was also 2 outs away from a perfect game before giving up a walk with 1 out in the 9th.