Every Saturday, Alex is here to write about which minor league pitchers you should be stashing on your team. This list will range from the top prospects to the more esoteric that should potentially be on your radar. Players who I believe are likely to receive the call to The Show soonest will be at the top and players who may be more of a long term stash will be featured closer to the bottom. Picking up these prospects can be a great way to stay ahead of the curve in your league regardless of whether it’s a deep dynasty league or a shallow 10 teamer.
Hey guys! First and foremost thanks for reading the article each week. All this research doesn’t mean a thing if you guys don’t read it over and discuss it with us. Secondly, gonna be taking a little break next week as the lady and I are heading off to Ireland (any tips on cool places in Dublin/Cork/Killarney are more than welcome). I’ll be back with a new article on Sunday June 19th. Thanks again!
1. Jameson Taillon (Pittsburgh Pirates) – The bad news is that Taillon’s 23.1 IP streak of not allowing a walk has come to an end. Wait. Read that one more time. Taillon pitched 23.1 consecutive innings without giving up a walk. Tyler Glasnow would change his name to Boaty McBoat Face if he could just go 6 IP without surrendering a walk and Taillon went 23.1. That’s really the only bad news per se from Taillon’s start last night: 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. The 3 ER isn’t great to see but you can take solace in the fact that two of them came in the first IP before Taillon settled down. The hits are in line with what Taillon has been giving up all year and the strikeouts are right where they should be too. It is great to see Taillon bounce back from last week’s 3 K performance though as the prospect raised his K/BB to 9.71. Right now, the Pirates rotation is like Baltimore Orioles level inept (read with tons of self loathing as I’m a die-hard O’s fan) so I’m sticking to my guns that once the estimated Super-Two is passed, Taillon is up. I’m also sticking to him being the first of their prospects to get the call.
2. Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays) – Guess Snell is made of rubber because he’s bouncin’ back! (I’m so…so sorry for that). The prospect recovered from a truly horrendous outing in which he gave up 5 ER in 5.1 IP by going 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. This has to be a sight for sore eyes for the Rays as their rotation has been struggle city recently. It’s also encouraging that, since that 5 walk outing in his second start back in the minors post Yankees debut, Snell has yet to walk more than three batters in a single outing. I’ll be curious to see what the Rays do here. I doubt they’re going to want to call Snell up right away and make righting their recent skid his problem. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Snell get another call in the next couple weeks meaning that if he’s available, he should 100% be on your team.
3. Alex Reyes (St. Louis Cardinals) – Man, it just keeps getting better and better for Reyes: 6 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. You just have to be super encouraged if you already have a share of him and, if you don’t and he’s available in your 12-team, it’s time to make him a part of your plans. With each start, the Cardinals are letting Reyes go more and more as his first start was 4 IP, his second 5IP and now his third, which was 6 IP. While the 2 ER aren’t great to see, I find some solace in the fact that they came in the first inning – he hit a batter and gave up a two run tater – before Reyes was really able to get settled. In fact, let’s turn this into a positive: after hitting that batter and giving up that tate, he regained his composure and dominated. Plenty a young arm would have unraveled right then and there but Reyes didn’t let it get the best of them, instead he struck out 11. Way too soon to start projecting when Reyes will be up, I’m also curious to see if his old command issues show up again any time soon, but I highly doubt we see him pre All-Star Break.
4. Tyler Glasnow (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Location, location, location. We’ve talked about it repeatedly on this list in the past and Glasnow still can’t find it: 5 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. I mean, yea, obviously super excited about not giving up a freakin’ hit in 5 IP but that’s the most free passes Glasnow has given up since May 17th. The last thing that the Pirates rotation needs is a pitcher who is going to walk more batters as they’re 3.54 BB/9 and 9.1 BB% are currently 25th and 26th respectively in the Majors. Listen, we know the stuff is still there as his 2.07 ERA, 2.58 FIP and 10.62 K/9 can attest to, but the biggest – and seemingly lone – issue remains to be Glasnow’s command. Considering prospects rarely come up to the Majors and have their command get better – looking at you Julio Urias – I feel as if the Pirates aren’t going to force their hand with Glasnow, especially when they have other pitchers in their system at their disposal. This is all just to say that I still think Jameson Taillon will get the call first.
5. Josh Hader (Milwaukee Brewers) – He did it. After 50.2 IP, opposing batters had finally Hader-nuff of Hader’s stuff and the LHP finally gave up his first HR of the year. 50.2 IP is one hell of a stretch to go without giving up a tatis. Luckily for Hader owners, this was the only run he gave up: 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BBs, 6 K. While it sucks that the homer streak is over, there is another streak that is very much alive for Hader: so far he is yet to give up more than three walks in an outing. His K/BB is a sparkling 11.47 and his ERA is an extremely impressive 0.88 (his FIP is also pretty attractive at 2.22). Just a heads up to those who are keeping track of Hader though, he is going to skip his next start. There are no injury concerns, it just appears that because he’s already pitched half of the IP that he did all of last year, the Brewers want to take it slow so they can increase that workload a bit. That means that we probably won’t be seeing Hader any time in the immediate future.
6. Joe Musgrove (Houston Astros) – Who is the best pitcher on the Astros right now? Dallas Keuchel? Lance McCullers? Orbit? Nope (although Orbit has a mean cutter) it’s Doug Fister. If that doesn’t reveal how badly the Astros need some pitching help right now, I just don’t know what does. We have already established that so far, Musgrove is having a heck of a season in AAA but we all know, every once in a while there’s going to be a dud thrown in there. This week was that dud: 5 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. He started the game out giving up back-to-back singles and home run and while he limited the damage after that, wasn’t really able to get into a groove. This is far and away Musgrove’s worst outing be it in AA or in AAA (he started the season in the former) and has inflated his ERA to 3.13. I’ll be curious to see how he bounces back but if his twitter is any indication, he’ll keep on fighting. The Astros need him but if he wants a shot at the rotation Joe Must-Grow some more consistency.
7. Cody Reed (Cincinnati Reds) – Reed continues to trend downwards as the prospects starts have gotten worse and worse the past couple weeks. Last night’s performance was no exception: 5 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Reed has now given up 9 ER in his last 11 IP, his walks have gone up and his strikeouts have gone down a bit. In terms of this last start, all 5 ER came in a brutal 3rd inning that saw Reed give up a grand slam to Kennys Vargas. Worse is after giving up the grand tatis, he was unable to regain his composure and gave up a few more singles. Let’s be frank: the Reds have a pretty terrible rotation right now. To put things in perspective, Alfredo Simon is still getting the ball every 5th day, which leads me to believe that the organization is in no rush whatsoever to move their prospects along. The fact that Anthony DeSclafani is going to be making his 2016 debut soon also adds to that argument. As a result, Reed should have plenty of time to right a ship that seems to be going a little off course and shouldn’t be up until after the All-Star Break.
8. Lucas Giolito (Washington Nationals) – Was really excited to check back in on Giolito after last’s week performance to see if he could keep it up and he didn’t really disappoint: 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. A lot jumps out at me with this performance, but lets start with the negative: 4 BBs. Considering Giolito’s previous two starts he let up two and one free pass respectively, it doesn’t get me too excited to see his early season command issues resurface for this start. Now onto the good: he’s struck out six in back to back performances now, gave up the fewest hits since May 14th and posted his second consecutive quality start. The good news, is there is a reason the command issues, and Giolito himself acknowledges that: “I’m hinging my hip open and I’m not driving down the mound as much power as I usually do. It makes my fastball flat, velocity go down, makes my curveball not as sharp, makes the change-up not have as much depth you could say and makes the command erratic as well, which explains the walks.”
9. Jose Berrios (Minnesota Twins) – Hey! No one told me Berrios got called back up: 5 IP, 7 ER, 10 H, 2 BBs, 6 K. Oh…wait… he didn’t get called up. He did the same thing in AAA as he did in his last couple starts in the Bigs? Well, that stinks. Alright I’m being a facetious butt-head right now, but this was far and away Berrios’ worst start of the year and is hands down the worst start of his minor league career. The almost miniscule silver lining is the 6 Ks, especially considering he only had one the start before. But unfortunately that’s it in terms of positive outlooks. A handful of the ER’s came on two long-balls too, so it’s not like we can chalk it up to a bunch of singles just finding holes. Listen, Berrios is not as bad as all this. The stuff is there but he’s obviously struggling with some mechanical issues right now. It’s way too early to hit the panic button right now but Berrios is going to be nowhere near the Show until he gets back on the right track.
10. Jose De Leon (Los Angeles Dodgers) – I have no idea why De Leon is still on the DL. I know that he’s there for shoulder inflammation but he was placed on the 7-Day about three weeks ago now and has been virtually absent from the internet which I didn’t even know possible. His one game back was such a tease – for those who forgot, this was his line from that one game way back on May 3rd: 5 IP, 0 ER, 2H, 1 BBs, 9 KS. I imagine that De Leon can have an impact when he comes back from the DL but I doubt he gets a call up for quite some time. As of now, he’s going to sit at the bottom of the list too, but once he puts some more starts under his belt, I imagine he’ll shoot up there pretty quick.