Every weekend, 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.
1. Lucas Giolito (Washington Nationals) – So here we are. Lucas Giolito is back in the minors after pitching two games for the Nationals against the New York Metropolitans. For how long is the real question? In Giolito’s two starts he faired pretty well in one and very poorly in the other. His first start: 4 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BBs, 1 K and his second: 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Looks like those mechanic issues that haunted him to start the season returned on the major league stage, who woulda thunk? After his second start, Giolito was sent back down but to Class-A Hagerstown so he could stay on schedule. So of course he completely tore apart Class-A…oh, wait…strike that, reverse it. Class-A tore HIM apart: 7 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. While that may not seem awful, he gave up two HR’s to guys in Class-A which doesn’t indicate that he’s ready for the Show quite yet. That’s the bad news though. The good news – I think – is that the fact that he pitched when he did indicates that the Nationals could call him up again sooner rather than later. Listen, I’m putting Giolito first but there’s a lot of fear here. I was in the “Send up Austin Voth” club instead of Giolito but considering his recent struggles, that’s not really an option anymore. This is all to say, be cautious with Giolito and be patient. His stuff is filthy but it may take a bit before it arrives at a consistent level.
2. Tyler Glasnow (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Much like our pal Lucas Giolito, Tyler Glasnow got a little taste of the Majors before being replaced by Josh “Pinch-hit-grand-tatis” Bell (luckily, Glasnow didn’t seem to mind too much ). Much like our pal Giolito, Tyler Glasnow may also be back a little bit sooner than you think. As of now, Glasnow is scheduled to start on Monday the 18th, however there are rumors that the Pirates are trying to move either Jon Niese or Jeff Locke in order to clear a rotation spot for Glasnow. So basically Glasnow’s future depends on which sub-par starter Dan Duquette wants to waste what precious little prospects Baltimore has on. I’m being a bit flippant here of course but the point is, for Glasnow owners, as of now, I’d expect him returning to the Show sooner rather than later.
3. Jose Berrios (Minnesota Twins) – I guess we’re sort of developing a theme with this article: Jose Berrios hasn’t pitched in the minors since July 8th because he appeared in the AAA All-Star game (different from the All-Stars Future game) this past week. Berrios made an appearance in the 4th inning and went 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BBs, 1 K. Just like with everyone else, this isn’t necessarily a lot to go off of but it was nice to see that he was effective in his minimal appearance. As I mentioned last week, Berrios has been pitching exceptionally well in his past few starts and I think he should return to the Majors soon. The Twins are sort of in an interesting predicament though: because they’re virtually eliminated from the playoffs, they may not see a need to bring Berrios back up anytime soon. If he were to come up, he’d replace Tommy Milone who has been virtually ineffective and has seen his velo drop. However, Milone is the fifth highest paid player on the Twins, and third highest paid pitcher at $4.5 mil so the Twins may not went to put all that money in the pen. For all of our sakes however, I hope the Twins call him up sooner rather than later.
4. Alex Reyes (St. Louis Cardinals) – Reyes didn’t pitch in a regulation game this past week because he was prominently featured in the All-Stars Future game. The young RHP faired pretty well in his start for the World Futures team going 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. This is even more impressive considering two of those outs were Andrew Benintendi and Alex Bregman (he went 3-5 with a run scored). Reyes was pulled right after his walk but he still ended up going longer than any other pitcher on the World Futures team. So when is he going to get the call? To be short: by the end of the month. I definitely think that by the end of July we will see Alex Reyes in the Cardinals bullpen. Of course, if there’s an injury that will change but for now, come July 30th, I expect to see him in the bullpen. For now, Reyes is going to pitch Saturday night against the Albuquerque Isotopes.
5. Jose De Leon (Los Angeles Dodgers) – The strikeouts just keep coming in for Jose De Leon as last night he went 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. This puts De Leon’s K/9 up to a ridiculous 13.75 which I believe officially falls under the category of “videogame numbers”. I suppose theoretically you could chalk it up to small sample size but we’re talking about eight starts now, not like two or three. It definitely shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone though, De Leon has plus stuff all around: a plus Fastball with some crazy arm speed, an even better Changeup, and a slurvy Slider that is a highly effective strikeout pitch. Add a great sense of a command to all these pitches and you have one heck of a prospect. If De Leon can continue to do what he’s doing down in the minors, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in August. Why not sooner? The Dodgers are actually healthy for once and when Clayton Kershaw comes back from the DL, have at least six healthy starters. Now obviously you’d want De Leon pitching over Bud Norris, even with his recent success, but the truth of the matter is there isn’t as much urgency for De Leon as there was for Julio Urias a few weeks ago.
6. Joe Musgrove (Houston Astros) – Much like with Josh Hader, there isn’t too much of an update on Musgrove because, due to his All-Star Futures game appearance, he won’t be pitching until Tuesday, July 19th. Musgrove actually got the honor of being the starter for the U.S. Futures team in the All-Star game but only went 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. That he was pulled so early wasn’t a surprise, the U.S. Futures team ended up using 10 pitchers but it’s definitely good to see that he was effective. The amazing thing about Musgrove is his command. His fastball is…really strange. It’s actually a One-Seam Fastball and while it doesn’t have much velocity (low 90’s) its command is impeccable. The importance of that is it allows Musgrove to work on his other pitches, notably his changeup which has made a lot of strides. Musgrove’s ceiling is still a middle of the rotation guy but I think he can have a good impact this year.
7. Jake Thompson (Philadelphia Phillies) – Jake Thompson is officially on a tear. Last’s night performance – 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – is now the just latest in a string of really impressive starts for the young RHP. Over his last eight starts he has an absurdly low 0.64 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and only one home run allowed. Needless to say, when he gets the call his plus Fastball, plus Slider and above average command should have quite an impact on the club that isn’t completely out of contention quite yet. The case with Jake Thompson though is similar to that of Austin Pruitt. How quickly he gets called up seems to be contingent on how active the Phillies are in the trade market. While they’re not necessarily as out of it as the Rays are, they’re technically only 7 out of the WC, they seem very willing to trade Jeremy Hellickson. I highly doubt it’s pure coincidence that he and Thompson are on the same exact pitching schedule too. For now, I’d be keeping a close eye on the Phillies or at the very least stashing Thompson starting in a week or so.
8. Austin Pruitt (Tampa Bay Rays) – I think whether or not we see Pruitt anytime soon could be dependent on how active the Tampa Bay Rays are at the trade deadline. As of the All-Star Break, the Rays sit 17.5 games behind in the AL (b)East and 15.5 back in the wild card race. Needless to say, they’re likely sellers. The latest news seems to be that they’re hearing propositions regarding Chris Archer but haven’t been too impressed with what they’ve been offered. Pruitt hasn’t pitched a full game since the 8th because of his appearance in the AAA All-Star game – he went 1 IP, 0ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K and ended up earning the win – but is slated to make a start on Monday, July 18th. When he does get the call, I think he can have an impact on the Rays as he’s had quite the season in AAA pitching to a 2.90 ERA with a very impressive 0.98 WHIP.
9. Josh Hader (Milwaukee Brewers) – There isn’t much of an update on Hader as he hasn’t really pitched at all this past week and isn’t due to make his next start until this upcoming Monday. Hader made a very brief appearance in the All-Star Futures game facing only one batter, though he did strike him out. Due to no significant appearance, my prior analysis of Hader still rings true: until he can right the ship a bit in AAA he won’t be seeing the Show anytime soon. As of now, barring injury, I would be surprised if we see Hader before September.
10. Austin Voth (Washington Nationals) – I’m not going to beat around the bush with you, Voth is 10th on this list for a reason. He was tied with Brady Rodgers and my crush Reynaldo Lopez but they have struggled a bit recently so didn’t make the cut. Is Voth a top 50 prospect who has a top of the rotation ceiling? Absolutely not. That’s why he’s 10th. Can he be an effective stash for you as the season starts to wind down? Yes. Especially if you’re in a dynasty league. Voth turned in one of his better performances last night going 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Really nice to see Voth start to right the ship a bit as although he didn’t allow any ER in his last start he allowed six walks and only struck out two. As of now when the time comes for another pitcher to be promoted, Lucas Giolito seems the very likely candidate to get the call, but that doesn’t mean that Voth won’t see time in the Bigs this year. I think if he can string together a few more quality starts, like he seems to be doing, and find the same success as he did a few weeks ago in the minors, he’s definitely someone who can have a good impact on the Nationals roster as the season starts to wind down. Just keep in mind though, he’s 10th on this list for a reason.