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. Jalen Beeks (Boston Red Sox) – ETA Late July
Jalen Beeks continues to mow over Triple-A bats. For followers of this list, you know my love of Jalen Beeks. Beeks doesn’t walk batters often, but he does sport an 11.98 strikeouts per nine after 82.2 innings in Triple-A. He has a 3.05 ERA and while he has had spots of inconsistency, is one of maybe two minor league pitchers who could step into the MLB with ace-like potential. The Red Sox have a need at starting pitching, but have been unwilling to give Beeks another call despite poor performances and injuries to their rotation. If the Red Sox intend to win this year, they will want Beeks on their roster.
2. Enyel De Los Santos (Philadelphia Phillies) – ETA Late July
Enyel De Los Santos was not called up for a spot start to replace the injured Vince Velasquez after Velasquez took a comebacker to the arm. Velasquez is only expected to miss a game and may even get a start in prior to the All-Star break, had he been out longer I expect we would have seen De Los Santos who is still sporting a 1.89 ERA in Triple-A this season. The Phillies rotation has been inconsistent at times, but has overall been a solid unit so far this season. De Los Santos could see a shot at pitching this year if there is a long-term injury or if he is traded at the deadline.
3. Kolby Allard (Atlanta Braves) – ETA Late July
Kolby Allard has been effective all season long in Triple-A and is only 20 years old. The Braves are running with Max Fried while Brandon McCarthy is down. Anibal Sanchez will not keep up his run forever and if/when he takes that dip, the Braves will be looking to replace him. Alternatively, at the trade deadline, the Braves will be looking for a 3rd baseman and Allard is a sterling trade chip.
4. Austin Voth (Washington Nationals) – ETA Late July
Austin Voth did not get the call when Erick Fedde was placed on the disabled list this past week, instead, Jefry Rodriguez got the call. Rodriguez has been ineffective all season and the Nationals are looking more likely to stand pat with Voth for now. A trade at the deadline seems likely given the Nationals’ unwillingness to give Voth a spot start or two in the Majors despite the recent revolving door of starting pitcher injuries. Voth has now thrown 7 quality starts in a row and sans a three-game skid in May would have one of the best ERAs in Triple-A.
5. Michael Kopech (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early August
A week off would do Michael Kopech some good as he continues to implode with walks. The strikeouts are still there, but in combination with at least 4 walks per game in six of his last seven games – his effectiveness will be limited. The White Sox could still give him a chance this season and let him struggle with a foregone team as his general inability to control his pitches will still suffer in the Majors. His ceiling is that of an SP1, his floor is that of Tyler Glasnow.
6. Dakota Hudson (St. Louis Cardinals) – ETA Late July
Dakota Hudson is ready, more than any other Cardinals’ pitcher to get the call into the rotation when needed. Hudson has been moved quickly through the minors and currently holds a 2.33 ERA in Triple-A. He does not whiff that many batters, but is able to induce an extreme 57% ground ball rate. Luke Weaver threw his first quality start since May in his last start, but has otherwise been a trainwreck that would be better suited to the bullpen. Hudson is the natural fit to take his place.
7. Zac Gallen (Miami Marlins) – ETA Mid July
Zac Gallen got smoked on the 4th of July to the tune of 9 runs over 4.2 innings, skyrocketing his ERA into the stratosphere. Prior to his implosion, Gallen had a respectable ERA in the mid-3s. He strikes batters out at a slightly above average rate and the Marlins are throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. Gallen is in his second season in Triple-A and should get an opportunity to pitch before the summer is over and once he’s recovered from the shellshock.
8. Josh James (Houston Astros) – ETA Early September
Go with me on this, yes the Astros have the best team ERA in baseball (#1 – 2.85, #2 – 3.40 — its that good) meaning they have flexibility to either deal (not that they have a particular need) or reinforce where needed. Josh James has been phenomenal this season between Double-A and Triple-A ball. Collectively, he has the second most strikeouts in the minor leagues and is throwing a 3.14 on the season. If a starting pitcher were to go down, James would be a strong candidate to replace them. He may be capped due to the overwhelming talent and completeness of the Astros team, but his 2018 season is one that is worth taking stock.
9. Sean Reid-Foley (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Early September
With Ryan Borucki in the MLB now, Sean Reid-Foley is the next in line to get called up by the Blue Jays. Reid-Foley has only 42.1 innings under his belt in Triple-A and has been exceedingly unlucky in Triple-A (4.04 ERA / 2.83 FIP). His numbers in Double-A (2.02 ERA / 3.42 FIP) show that he is somewhere in between, but in both leagues he has been a strikeout machine, striking out 101 on the season. There is no clear place for Reid-Foley at the moment, but he should get a chance before the season is over.
10. Parker Dunshee (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Early September
Quite quietly, Parker Dunshee has been nothing short of astounding since getting drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 draft. The Athletics are moving him aggressively and is already in Double-A ball where he has not missed a step. He has a 2.74 ERA and 98 strikeouts on the season (about a 10.8 strikeouts per nine). Dunshee seldomly walks batters and could get a call-up from Double-A at the end of the season before starting the season in the minors again next year.
Max Fried: Fried has struggled with walks in each of his starts this season. His June 30 start shows how effective he can be – but it is hard to tell whether he is closer to that ceiling or his June 5 start floor.
Nick Kingham: Kingham has been marginally effective in most games he has pitched this season, with his most recent start being his worst. Monitor the matchups before streaming Kingham.
Yefry Ramirez: Despite going against three powerhouses in all three of his starts, Ramirez has put up three solid outings albeit just short of quality starts. He will be worth a spot start or two, especially against non-AL East teams.