We saw the much anticipated debut of Rafael Devers this week. His first major league hit was a homerun off Andrew Moore. Devers is 5 for 17 in his first 4 games with 3 runs, 1 HR, and 2 RBIs. The Sox traded for Eduardo Nunez and it appears the two will coexist in a line up with Nunez playing a super utility role. Another prospect, Derek Fisher, also was called up this week. He has continued to hit well at the major league level, but the Astros have a crowded outfield and Fisher could be shipped out before the deadline ends.
Every weekend, I will be posting about the minor leaguers you should be stashing on your team. This list will be arranged by impact for this year only. 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.
1) Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets AAA, ETA: August
The Mets dealt away Lucas Duda and the word is Dominic Smith should soon be playing in Citi Field. First base is pretty stacked so Dominic Smith might have a hard time finding fantasy at bats on some rosters but in keeper, dynasty or big roster leagues, he is a good add. He has a post All-Star game slash line of .410/.463/.705 through 15 games. That .295 ISO is significantly higher than his .170 pre All Star Game line. He should have a good average and could be a poor man’s Eric Hosmer.
2) Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets AAA, ETA: August
The Mets have two hot players in Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores both with OPS north of .880 over the last 30 days, and they just got Neil Walker back from the DL. Even if Cabrera is dealt, there still might not be room for Rosario. Rosario is doing his part in AAA to continue the discussion as he is hitting .400 in July and has now swiped 19 bags on 25 attempts. The waiting game could continue with this one.
3) Ryder Jones, 3B, San Francisco Giants AAA, ETA: August
Giants dealt away Eduardo Nunez to the Red Sox and with Gomez, Gillaspie and Hwang all hitting with an OPS sub .700, I imagine Ryder Jones could be promoted to man the hot corner. Jones is hitting .394 since being demoted and has three HRs and two stolen bases in those nine games. I do not expect a lot from Jones but timeline and at bats will likely make his impact more substantial than other prospects on this list.
4) Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers AAA, ETA: August
If the Dodgers would deal Verdugo, they would have Gray or Darvish. I think they will eventually make Verdugo available to keep Walker Buehler. Verdugo might spend some time in the minors to be acclimated with the new organization but I expect him up before September. He is hitting .330 in AAA and has 21 doubles, 4 triples and 4 homeruns. Most impressive is his 42 walks to only 37 strikeouts. I think he could be a solid OF option but he is limited by his power and stolen bases.
5) Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta Braves AAA, ETA: September
He has an OPS of .970 vs Lefties and .711 vs Righties. It has been the main stat I have watched with Albies. He is making more contact vs RHP but its still worrying. He has been improving throughout the year and his batting average in June and July (.306) is 40 points higher than his average was in April and May, .266. His OPS is also up during the same time, .382 in April/May to .510 in June/July. Brandon Phillips keeps hitting at the Major League Level, and unless a deal occurs, Albies could be blocked the remainder of 2017. He could get a September call up but the at bats could be limited.
6) Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Seattle Mariners AAA, ETA: August
While we are all waiting for Rhys Hoskins to get the call, Dan Vogelbach is in Tacoma hitting his way up the list. He has a .359 AVG with eight Runs, two HRs, nine RBIs, and eight walks to seven strikeouts in his last 10 games. He now has 13 HRs on the year and.852 OPS in the PCL. The Mariners should give him another shot soon and he is likely the next call up should an injury occur. He is a strictly RHP platoon player but that has some value, Adam Lind was another 1B with RHP splits and he’s made quite the career out of it. Vogelbach has some good bench value for fantasy clubs and vs RHP, he could be a borderline top 15 1B.
7) Willie Calhoun, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers AAA, ETA: September
Willie Calhoun is a love him or hate him type of prospect. His bat is quite the talking point with a .296 average with 64 runs, 23 HRs, 67 RBIS, and 3 stolen bases. The Dodgers would love to unload him to acquire Yu Darvish or Gray but it does not seem either team is trying to make a deal with Calhoun as the centerpiece. Calhoun is defensively the worst prospect on a top 100 list. He is stuck to 2B, LF, or DH. The Rangers have Odor at 2B, and Choo in LF which blocks Calhoun for the near future and with an aging Adrian Beltre, the Rangers do not want to commit their DH spot going forward. Athletics have a number of middle infield options and even more prospects on their way up in Barreto, Munoz, and Schrock. Calhoun could still be dealt this weekend and see a path to the bigs open up for him. He is the type of player I tend to avoid because his defense is so bad, he has to smash. That makes his leash short. The bat is top notch though and at 2B, he could be a premium add, but he needs to be traded.
8) Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies AAA, ETA: September
The trade deadline is approaching and the Tommy Joseph trade chatter is non-existent. The Phillies will likely need to hold on to Tommy Joseph until the offseason, which makes Hoskins promotion delayed to either 2018 or possibly worse, a time-share. Hoskins has a .283/.385/.563 slash line in AAA this season and is ready but the at bats will be limited in a time-share and could make his value be not more than a bat streaming option. If you are stashing him, hold on through the deadline, but if no Tommy Joseph trade materializes, feel free to drop.
9) Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland Indians AA, ETA: September
Francisco Mejia returned last night after spending a week on the bench with a hip injury. The AA catcher is hitting .319 on the season but has hit a rough spot in July going 10 for 45 (.222 avg), and only two XBHs through 14 games. The Indians could use some catching help as Yan Gomes has a .685 OPS. I do not think the Indians will push to promote Mejia, but he could be added in late August with the hopes that he can be an option should the Indians make the playoffs.
10) Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves AAA, ETA: September
Acuna is already being stashed in my keeper league. He has a 1.006 OPS in the International League after being promoted earlier this month. He has a .313/63 Runs/16 HRs/59 RBIs/35 SB stat line across two levels. The Braves could possibly promote him in September but he is still only 19 years old. I think he could be an opening day option for the Braves but 2017 might be a bit premature. If he were promoted, I would love him on my team. He has the chance to contribute across all five hitting categories and would be a nice add for the playoffs.