The Stash 7/14: The Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
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
Kyle Tucker is looking more and more like a trade piece at the deadline with Houston starting to rest him regularly. Tucker has cooled down, but is still hitting a respectable .286 with three home runs and six stolen bases over the past month (finally eclipsing 20/20). Tucker is the best bat on the edge of a major-league promotion and should be stashed universally as Houston contemplates how to best utilize their top offensive prospect.
2. Bo Bichette, SS, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Late July
In the past month since his debut in Triple-A, Bo Bichette is batting .330 (including an eight-game hitting streak that ended at the break) with four home runs and nine stolen bases. If not for his broken hand earlier in the year, Bichette would already be in the majors, as he has little to prove in the minors after not missing a step in his rehab, the only question is when. Toronto has Freddy Galvis and Eric Sogard hitting above expectations, making either an interesting, cheap, trade deadline piece. If the team does not sell either, Bichette’s timetable would likely be pushed back until rosters expand in September.
3. Luis Urias, 2B, (San Diego Padres) – ETA Early August
After a brief injury scare, Luis Urias should be back today. Ian Kinsler has cooled off considerably and his batting .167 over his past 15 games, scoring only two runs and batting in a single run in that span. In his last 15 games, Urias went on a 10-game hitting streak, including three multi-hit appearances. San Diego has Kinsler for another year, but with Urias on the rise, Kinsler should be taking on a utility role at some point before his contract is up, barring a trade.
4. Carter Kieboom, 2B/SS, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Early August
The next month will be the biggest factor for Carter Kieboom, who has continued to hit well in Triple-A, slashing .310/.420/.566 with an impressive 15.3% walk rate, as Washington currently holds a Wild Card spot. The loss of Max Scherzer and the presence of nine other teams within five games will create some soul searching as a team on the bubble. Since the start of June, Brian Dozier is hitting .273 with seven home runs, although he has cooled off over his past 15 games: He is back to hitting .217 in that span. Kieboom’s situation is apt to change quickly as the trade deadline nears.
5. Kevin Cron, 1B, (Arizona Diamondbacks) – ETA Mid July
Kevin Cron is the laughably best player in the minor leagues and was squandered in his first major-league stint. Cron is slashing .340/.450/.840 in Triple-A with 29 home runs on the season, and in the 11 games since his return he has batted .340 with eight home runs. Cron should get a short promotion to play DH this coming week, but without consistent playing time as Christian Walker and Jake Lamb man first base, Cron will not be able to adequately adjust or have enough at-bats for fantasy relevance. Arizona’s treatment of Cron to date would indicate he could be an expendable player. Lamb has a year of arbitration and Walker has four years left—not much room on a National League team for another first baseman, barring a trade.
6. Luis Robert, OF, (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early September
Luis Robert was promoted to Triple-A this past week after tearing up High-A and Double-A earlier this season. Across all levels this season, Robert is slashing .354/.404/.637 with 18 home runs and 29 stolen bases. He has hit the ground running in Triple-A with two home runs and a .462 batting average in his first three games (including seven RBIs in his debut). While Chicago did not call Eloy Jimenez up last fall, they did sign Jimenez to a six-year contract in March, alleviating any service time concerns. Service time could affect Robert, but the renegotiations that began last month between the MLB and the MLBPA (two-years earlier than required) make it likely that Jimenez and Robert’s situations are not equal.
7. Jorge Mateo, SS/2B, (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Late July
Jorge Mateo was on full display for the Triple-A All-Star Game, with a fantastic infield single, a triple, and a stolen base. Jurickson Profar has been poor this season, hitting .212 to date, but Oakland has a feast of players to try and replace them when the team decides between a former top-prospect Franklin Barreto, the surprise Corban Joseph, or the speedy Mateo. While Mateo offers a high-ceiling and a low-floor, the addition of speed to Oakland would set him apart not only from his competition, but any other player in Oakland (Oakland has 29 stolen bases on the year; Mateo has 18).
8. Will Smith, C, (Los Angeles Dodgers) – ETA Late August
Leading their division by 12.5 games and the National League by 4.5, the Los Angeles Dodgers are taking a patient approach to Austin Barnes as he hits .153 since the start of June and .204 on the season. The team considers Will Smith to already have a Gold Glove caliber defensive prowess and coupled with his .282 batting average, 16 home runs, and 13.4% walk rate is chomping at the bit for more consistent playing time. Los Angeles is unwilling/unlikely to part with Smith and he could be the option for Los Angeles if their patience grows too thin with Barnes.
9. Isan Diaz, 2B/SS, (Miami Marlins) – ETA Early August
Starlin Castro is on what is expected to be his final year in Miami; with Isan Diaz playing solely at second base since his trade to Miami, Diaz is the heir apparent at the position. Slashing .291/.387/.556 with 20 home runs and an 11.8% walk rate presents a stable profile and compared to his 2018 profile—a much-improved and patient hitter. Diaz is fast and his defense is major-league-ready.
10. Jo Adell, OF, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Mid August
Jo Adell had a late start to the season after missing the first two months of the year due to an ankle and a hamstring injury. Since his promotion to Double-A on June 3rd, he has not stopped, slashing .376/.442/.673 in Double-A with six home runs and four stolen bases. Los Angeles is a fringe Wild Card team, currently sitting at fourth in their own division, but if they remain in contention and make a push for the playoffs, Adell would be a necessary addition. As with many of the above players, how the next two to three weeks play out will affect their value in 2019.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter).