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 Early August
After spending some time fielding ground balls at first base, Kyle Tucker made his debut at first base as Houston attempts to diversify their top batting prospect’s portfolio. It is an indication that the team is looking to retain Tucker as he is locked out of its outfield for at least the next two years (although Yulieski Gurriel is also locked down through 2020 at first base). Tucker has slowed down in July, but remains Houston’s best trading chip for a much needed controllable arm although with Tyler White‘s demotion yesterday a promotion could be imminent.
2. Bo Bichette, SS, (Toronto Blue Jays) – ETA Late July
After a three-game skid, Bo Bichette is back on a seven-game hitting streak and has a hit in 15 of his last 18 games (including 9 multi-hit performances). Bichette will be held down until Toronto decides what to do with Eric Sogard and Freddy Galvis who both have become surprising deadline pieces. From a player perspective, Bichette has done everything necessary to receive a promotion, but the team needs to deal with the practical issues related to a Bichette promotion before his promotion.
3. Isan Diaz, 2B/SS, (Miami Marlins) – ETA Early August
Miami has, amazingly, received some interest in Starlin Castro, making a deadline promotion for Isan Diaz all the more intriguing. Should Miami sell Castro for peanuts if a team is willing to eat his salary for the remainder of the year? It would give an opportunity for the team to play Diaz regularly after slashing .305/.396/.587 with 24 home runs and 5 stolen bases this year. Even if Castro is not traded, Diaz should be up sometime later this season.
4. Carter Kieboom, 2B/SS, (Washington Nationals) – ETA Early Sept.
After going 19-7 since the middle of June, Washington now finds itself atop the Wild Card race in the National League. Since June 1, Brian Dozier is hitting .277 with 7 home runs, limiting the opportunity for Carter Kieboom to break into a full time playing role short of an injury. Kieboom is too important a piece for Washington to trade this season as Dozier is only on a one-year contract meaning he’ll continue to hit in Triple-A for the foreseeable future.
5. Luis Robert, OF, (Chicago White Sox) – ETA Early Sept.
Despite decreasing his walk rate to 2.6%, Luis Robert is currently sporting one of the highest OBP of his minor league career, currently slashing .382/.436/.941 through his first 39 plate appearances in Triple-A. Robert continues to mash the ball at every level of play already with five home runs and three stolen bases. Chicago is looking to take the next step for their rebuild in 2020 and Robert will play a key piece. The team is getting a redo after holding Eloy Jimenez in the minors for the whole of 2018 only to lock him to a six-year deal in the offseason. Robert is performing at a level where Chicago will have a hard time justifying the team keeping him down.
6. Will Smith, C, (Los Angeles Dodgers) – ETA Late August
Los Angeles is sticking by Austin Barnes for now, but Will Smith is the clear replacement to Barnes who has hit .201 on the season with only five home runs. Smith, who only has 29 plate appearances to Barnes’ 221 has the same 0.5 WAR. Barnes has been generally ineffective the entire season and is retaining his role as the team’s top catcher by virtue of hope that he returns to the breakout form he showed in 2017, but was unable to replicate in 2018. Los Angeles is built to be the best at every position, catcher is the team’s clear weak link with Barnes aiming for the fences and unable to make contact.
7. Jorge Mateo, SS/2B, (Oakland Athletics) – ETA Early Sept.
A report from Martin Gallegos at MLB.com indicates that Oakland is intent on allowing Franklin Barreto to win the starting second base role alongside Jurickson Profar ahead of Jorge Mateo. Barreto is running the risk of becoming a Quad-A player after two previous years of success in Triple-A, but failing to make an impact in the Majors. This will likely be the longest look Barreto has had in the Majors, but if he continues to hit poorly could find himself demoted in favor of Mateo as Oakland looks to maintain its Wild Card spot.
8. Kevin Cron, 1B, (Arizona Diamondbacks) – ETA Late July
In talent alone, Kevin Cron would be the #1b on this list, but with Christian Walker manning first base Cron’s opportunities have been sparse, even when in the Majors. Arizona is poised to be Buyers at the deadline as the team is but a game out of a Wild Card spot and Cron is their best trade piece given his breathtaking 2019 season which has seen him slash .338/.448/.836 with 34 home runs between Triple-A and the MLB – he also has a 15.7% walk rate in Triple-A. Cron was recently called up for a stint as the team’s DH where he could be used again, briefly, in an upcoming series against the New York Yankees.
9. Jake Fraley, OF, (Seattle Mariners) – ETA Early August
Three weeks into his time in Triple-A, Jake Fraley has positioned himself for a MLB callup if Seattle opts to call him up in favor of Dylan Moore or the injured Mitch Haniger. Alternatively, if Seattle trades the hot-hitting and controllable Domingo Santana a corner outfield role would open up. Fraley has found a good amount of success this season, slashing .313/.386/.539 in Double-A with 11 home runs and 16 stolen bases. In 96 plate appearances in Triple-A, Fraley is hitting .264, but with five home runs and four stolen bases.
10. Jo Adell, OF, (Los Angeles Angels) – ETA Early August
A speculative selection given Jo Adell missed most of the season with a pair of injuries and is still playing in Double-A, but the results speak for themselves as he is slashing .347/.423/.595 with six home runs and five stolen bases in just 32 games. The Los Angeles Angels will need to make a decision soon if it intends to buy or sell at the deadline. After a hot start to the second half, going 5-0, the team has now dropped three in a row and sits 6.5 games out of an AL Wild Card. Adell would give the team a boost, but only if it was willing to pin their hopes on a 20-year-old with limited experience above High-A. If not shortly after the trade deadline, Adell would not see action until September at-best.
Luis Urias – Urias was promoted yesterday.
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter).