The Stash List Week 1: Top 10 Hitter Prospects to Stash in 2022

Top-10 Hitter Prospects to Stash in your Redraft League

Welcome to The Stash List, Hitter Edition!

The 2022 season is here and we finally get to see our fantasy teams in action! As managers we are looking forward to reaping the rewards of our offseason research and draft strategies, but for most of us, the fun is only just beginning.

Effective in-season management will propel your team into contention and understanding the outlook and ETA for some of baseball’s tops prospects will give you an advantage over your league mates.

The Stash List will highlight the top-10 hitter prospects who are most likely to make an impact this season and depending on your roster make-up and league rules, may deserve a spot on your squad sooner than later.

GROUND RULES

  • The Stash List is for your redraft leagues and does not consider impact beyond 2022
  • Only current minor league players who are expected to make an impact this season are included
  • Upside, proximity, health, and opportunity are all weighed for each player
  • The focus is on 12 team leagues with standard categories
  • Rankings and ownership percentages will be updated weekly

 

THE STASH LIST

Graduates

Each week this section is reserved for any hitters who received a call-up to the majors, and thus have graduated from The Stash List. Let’s acknowledge how tremendous it is for baseball to see so many prospects break camp with the the major league team.

This includes (in no particular order), Julio Rodriguez, Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Torkelson, Jeremy Peña, Josh LoweBryson Stott, CJ Abrams, Stephen Kwan, Geraldo Perdomo, Kyle Isbel, and Diego Castillo, among others. Had they started in the minors, the Stash List would be substantially different.

Heliot Ramos, OF, SFG – The Giants are promoting 22-year-old outfielder Heliot Ramos ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the Marlins. The move was somewhat unexpected as he’s coming off a mediocre 2021 where he hit .254 with 14 home runs and and 15 stolen bases over two-levels.

It’s unclear whether Ramos will get an extended look in the majors or is just getting a taste of the big leagues as a fill-in due to injury. He’s worth a speculative add in standard leagues due to his power and speed combo, but his hit tool may be tested and there is some uncertainty around his role.

 

Top 10 Hitter Prospects to Stash

1. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT

Has a hot Spring Training and a few gif’s ever rocketed someone into fantasy relevance more than Oneil Cruz in 2022? Good times. What’s unfortunate is that he’s even being covered in The Stash List instead of being included in Pittsburgh’s major league lineup. Nothing against Kevin Newman, but the Opening Day shortstop should have been Oneil Cruz.

Cruz hit .333 with 2 viral home runs over 15 at-bats during Spring Training and was promptly demoted to Triple-A Indianapolis. The reasoning, we’ll never understand, but here we are. Cruz crushed in 2021 over two levels to a tune of .310 average with 17 home runs, 19 stolen bases, and a .375 on-base percentage and is clearly ready for the big leagues. If there’s any concern, its his swing-and-miss tendencies, which he’s flirted with average-to-below-average rates during his professional career, and was exposed in his brief stint with the Pirates in 2021.

Regardless, based on how how he’s been swinging the bat, his opportunity, proximity, and upside, Cruz should be the number one stash in all redraft leagues. He needs to keep his phone close, because the Pirates will be calling. If he’s a free agent in your league, it’s time to find a more competitive league. Stash now.

2. Adley Rutschman, C, BAL

One of the top prospects in baseball, Adley would be debuting with the Orioles if it weren’t for a triceps strain (or phantom front office manipulation) that sidelined him for the beginning of the 2022 season. Early reports have him targeting May to return, but we are unsure of whether that might be for Triple-A Norfolk or some other affiliate.

Rutschman is coming off an impressive 2021 campaign that spanned two levels and saw him post 23 home runs, 75 RBI, and a near 1:1 BB to K ratio. The 23-year-old is ready for the next level, and that should come this summer.

Catcher is one of the thinnest positions in all of baseball so stashing Adley should be a top priority. The only reason he’s not #1 overall is the uncertainty around his health, but as that becomes clear he should be rostered in all formats.

3. Riley Greene, OF, DET

Greene was primed to start the season on the Tigers Opening Day roster before fouling a ball off his foot during Spring Training that resulted in a fracture and a minimum six to eight week recovery. Even with the setback, Greene’s enormous upside along with a possible mid-to-late season promotion still make him worthy of a stash.

Over two-levels in 2021, Greene hit .301 with 24 home runs, 84 runs batted in, and 16 stolen bases. He’s the complete package and was a near unanimous top-3 prospect across the industry.

The Tigers have made some aggressive rosters moves recently and have the pieces to contend in the AL Central. Depending on how the season is going when Greene gets healthy will likely determine how quickly they promote him to the majors. The uncertainty around his health is really the last hurdle. Stash Greene now, just keep an eye on his injury updates.

4. MJ Melendez, C, KC

Melendez is a masher and showcased his skillset in 2021, hitting .286/.386/.625 while launching a minor-league leading 41 home runs with 102 runs batted in. His success carried into Spring Training as well where he hit .412 over 17 at-bats with one home run.

Unfortunately, Melendez’ primary position is catcher, and the Royals have someone you may have heard of, Salvador Perez. For this reason, the 23-year-old has been getting experience playing third base and outfield, which is expected to continue during his time at Triple-A Omaha.

It’s quite possible that Melendez forces the Royals hand with his bat alone, but the big league roster is quite full of players who may see an opportunity first while he refines his defensive skills in the minors. Melendez makes for a fine upside stash across all redraft leagues but barring an injury it looks more like a second-half call-up.

5. Brennen Davis, OF, CHC

The future of Cubs baseball is right here. Across three levels in 2021, Davis hit .260 with 19 home runs, 8 stolen bases, and a .375 on base percentage while being tagged by scouts as having 30/30 (HR/SB) type upside if it all comes together. With only 17 games (at the time of this writing) played at Triple-A, Davis could use some additional experience and refinement of his five-tool potential.

There are a couple concerns with Davis’ profile, highlighted by his strikeout rate (28.3% in 2021) and he’s yet to unlock his in-game stolen base upside (only 18 SB in his professional career). Further, the Cubs complicated matters by signing Seiya Suzuki this offseason who will occupy an outfield spot along with Ian Happ and Jason Heyward. For the time being, Davis is an upside stash who is likely to debut in 2022 but it won’t be until mid-season at the earliest.

6. Jose Miranda, 3B, MIN

Miranda vaulted himself onto fantasy radars with a stellar 2021 season, where he hit .344/.401/.572 across two-levels with 30 home runs and 92 runs batted in. There was a moment this offseason when the Twins were doing some roster reshuffling where many thought Miranda might get the Opening Day nod at third base. However, scouts don’t think highly of Miranda’s defense currently and he’s been reassigned to Triple-A St. Paul.

Miranda’s minor league career has been a bit of a roller coaster, but he’s profiling now as a bat-first prospect which could lead to a call-up at any time. His proximity makes him an interesting stash but uncertainty on his defensive profile my lead to irregular playing time and limited at-bats. Considering the importance of a 3B/CI bat in your fantasy roster it’s worth stashing Miranda now as he could be one of the first to receive a call-up.

7. Triston Casas, 1B, BOS

Casas has the look of a future middle-of-the-order bat, possessing plus-power and an extremely good eye at the plate. In 2021 across two levels he hit .279 with 14 home runs and a .394 on-base percentage (15.3% walk rate!). The lefty received a taste of Spring Training ball this year, but only managed a few at-bats before being relegated to Triple-A Worcester.

It would be nice to see some additional in-game power from Casas as the season gets underway. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of an opportunity at the big league level with 1B being occupied by Bobby Dalbec and regular DH at-bats going to J.D. Martinez. In most leagues, it’s not quite time to stash Casas yet but he does have a nice combination of upside and proximity, but any opportunity he receives will likely be later in the season.

8. Gabriel Moreno, C, TOR

Moreno is very similar to Miranda, profiling as a bat first prospect with questions about his long-term defensive home. After missing some time early in 2021, Moreno came out firing in Double-A hitting .373/.441/.651 with 8 home runs and 46 runs batted in over 32 games before earning a late-season promotion to Triple A.

Moreno will start the year at Triple-A Buffalo where it’s expected he’s going to continue to refine his catching skills (which grade below average currently) but also get some additional experience elsewhere on the diamond, some speculated at third base. However,  the Blue Jays are absolutely loaded at the big league level, and specifically Moreno is blocked at catcher by Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen. With the singing of Matt Chapman to an extension, third base is occupied for the next couple of seasons as well.

Moreno’s bat upside makes him worthy of a stash in redraft leagues, but barring injury here isn’t much of an opportunity for him right now so he’ll keep getting regular at-bats in the minors.

9. Vidal Bruján, OF, TB

The Bruján prospect shine feels like it may be fading even though he offers elite stolen base upside and has added some in-game power. Burján made his major league debut with the Rays in 2021 after swiping 44 bags to go along with 12 home runs over 103 games at Triple-A Durham.  Despite his successes, Bruján returns to the minors to start the 2022 season.

The problem is that he lacks a defensive home and his hit tool is average at best. Bruján has started and batted leadoff in two the Bulls first three games so far this year, playing once at shortstop and once at third base. To complicate matters further, the Rays recently acquired Isaac Paredes from the Tigers, another infield prospect who will join the Triple-A squad and be vying for a major league call up.

The Rays appear content to let Bruján get regular at-bats in the minors while continuing to get additional defensive experience. He’s ready on a moments notice so is worth stashing for his proximity and stolen base upside. However, even with a call up we know the Rays are going to Ray, so his playing time and position will be very uncertain.

10. Nolan Gorman, 2B, STL

Gorman is coming off an outstanding 2021 season, spanning two levels he hit .279 with 25 home runs, 75 runs batted in, and seven stolen bases. His carrying tool will be his power, he’s not expected to be a strong contributor to batting average, on-base percentage, or stolen bases.

Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman have firm grasps on third base and second base as the season kicks off, but Gorman can easily be ready on a moments notice to join the Cardinals.

Gorman is a strong proximity stash considering his substantial experience and success in the upper minors, and its widely know that he’s focusing on defensive improvements after shifting to second base. Gorman can provide your team a power jolt once he is called up and may have dual eligibility depending on your leagues requirements.

Others considered (in no particular order): Vinnie Pasquantino, Pedro Leon, Alek Thomas, Royce Lewis, Oswald Peraza, Francisco Alvarez, Ryan Fitzgerald, Isaac Paredes

Photos by Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels, Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Drew Wheeler (@drewisokay on Twitter)

Greg Gibbons

Pitcher List Dynasty Team, Member FSWA, Vice President of the Cleveland Baseball Federation, Founder of Cleveland Rocks Dynasty (the greatest dynasty league in the Midwest)

4 responses to “The Stash List Week 1: Top 10 Hitter Prospects to Stash in 2022”

  1. Chris says:

    Regarding Cruz, don’t you think that the new CBA Service Time Manipulation ROY rule might keep him down a lot longer than just a couple of weeks?

    The top two players in Rookie of the Year voting must receive at least a full year of service time, regardless of when they were called up.

    • Greg Gibbons says:

      Thanks for reading Chris, this is certainly an interesting thought. For baseball’s sake I hope that is not the Pirates intention! With no way of knowing the Pirates plan, it’s speculative to an extent to suggest which players will be called up next, but Cruz’s upside is as good as any, even if you have to hold him for a while. It was great to see so many prospects make their club’s Opening Day roster, but many are struggling out of the gate. Cruz will be the #1 stash again this week, and it’s worth noting he was getting some experience in the outfield this week during games as well.

  2. J.C. Mosier says:

    Great update. Major-league ETAs?

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