Welcome to the Hitter Edition of The Stash List
This stash list highlights the ten best-hitting prospects likely to make an impact during the 2023 season.
Prospects are often thought of as only holding value in dynasty formats. However, knowing which prospects hold value for the current season can help set you apart in redraft leagues. Several have a 2023 ETA and getting ahead of the curve on owning these prospects is a key part of roster management.
- The Stash List is for your redraft leagues and does not consider impact beyond 2023.
- 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.
- Stats will be updated weekly for all players
The Stash List
Notable Prospects on Opening Day Roster
This section of the stash list is reserved for prospects who are currently on a Major League roster. If a prospect is up, you are no longer stashing them. Prospects can appear here and then later appear on the stash list if they are sent back down to the Minor Leagues.
There are several prospects that made their team’s Opening Day roster. Thanks to the new incentive program implemented last season, teams have shown a willingness to avoid service time manipulation. We saw it last year with Julio Rodriguez and again this year. Anthony Volpe and Jordan Walker are the most notable names to make the Opening Day roster. They would have been the top two names on this stash list. Yainer Diaz, James Outman, Joey Wiemer, and Brice Turang are other prospects that would have been in consideration for one of the lower spots on this stash list.
Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
1. Elly De La Cruz, SS, Cincinnati Reds
An outstanding 2022 season during which he slashed .304/.359/.586 resulted in De La Cruz flying up prospect lists. He has potentially the highest ceiling of any Minor League player right now thanks to an impressive blend of power and speed. EDLC hit 28 home runs with 47 stolen bases and profiles similar to Oneil Cruz. He is a rare prospect with 30/30 potential if all goes right. A strikeout problem is the only red flag to his profile which the Reds will want to see improvement before promoting him to the Major Leagues.
De La Cruz is a great stash because of his upside and close proximity to the Major Leagues. He will begin the 2023 season at Triple-A with very little competition ahead of him on the Major League depth chart. Kevin Newman and Chad Pinder do not possess the game-changing upside that De La Cruz does, and he will make his debut at some point in 2023. Once he shows any signs of improvement in the strikeout area, the Reds will make him their everyday shortstop.
2. Endy Rodriguez, C, Pittsburgh Pirates
Henry Davis was viewed as the catcher of the future in Pittsburgh after being selected number one overall in 2020. Nobody thought twice about Endy Rodriguez who was a no-name prospect acquired for Joey Lucchesi. However, Rodriguez has managed to change that perception after batting .323/.407/.590 across three different levels in 2022. Excellent plate discipline and contact skills make Rodriguez’s profile exciting without factoring in the 25 home runs he mashed in 2022.
The catcher position is always volatile in fantasy. After the top-tier guys, the position tends to drop off fast. Rodriguez is right around the corner from a promotion to the Major Leagues and could have an instant fantasy impact. A bonus is Rodriguez’s ability to play both second base and outfield. The Pirates could call him up to play any of those three positions and you could roster a catcher who is playing every day at second base. Stash Rodriguez now and expect a Major League call-up early in the season.
3. Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets
Brett Baty was one of my favorite upside picks during the 2023 fantasy baseball draft season. After a breakout campaign, Baty earned the starting third base job before an injury cost him to end last season on the IL. The former 12th overall pick worked hard last season to increase his launch angle and the results were 19 home runs with a .312 batting average in Double-A. Baty has plus power, good plate discipline, and a solid hit tool. The key is just continuing to turn this raw power into game power which he started showing last year.
Baty is a perfect stash candidate because he already has Major League experience. Combine that with a dominant Spring Training and Baty could be with the Mets before the end of April. The Mets want to win now and if Escobar plays as he did during the first half of last season (.224/.279/.397), Baty will be an early-season call-up. There is potential for .280 with 25 home runs in a loaded Mets lineup if Baty can elevate the ball enough.
4. Casey Schmitt, 3B/SS, San Francisco Giants
There was a time during Spring Training when it looked like Casey Schmitt had a real chance to break camp with the team. Likely as a result of only playing in 33 games above High-A, the Giants sent him back to Triple-A to start the season. Schmitt broke out last year batting .293 with 21 home runs across three levels. I wrote a prospect analysis piece on him during the off-season detailing much to like in his profile.
Schmitt is a great stash due to his outstanding glove. While the bat is impressive and is a big reason for his placement on this list, the glove will keep him in the lineup regardless of the results. Unlike most prospects, Schmitt can experience struggles at the plate and not risk being demoted again. He is already in Triple-A and the combination of JD Davis and David Villar will not keep him down for long.
5. Sal Frelick, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers’ first-round pick from 2021 has made quick work of the Minor Leagues. After starting the 2022 season in High-A, Frelick made it all the way to Triple-A. Frolic seemed unphased by the increased competition that came with each promotion. Frelick hit .291 in High-A, .317 in Double-A, and finished the season off with a .365 batting average in Triple-A. He stole 24 bases over the course of the season while striking out under 12% of the time. Although the power is below average, Frelick makes up for this with his hit tool and speed.
Entering last season, the Brewers had three outfield prospects quickly approaching the Major Leagues. Garrett Mitchell is going to be the team’s Opening Day center fielder while Sal Frelick heads to Triple-A. Mitchell is far from a sure thing and Brian Anderson is not a lock to hold onto the right field job. Frelick almost made the team out of Spring Training and should be expected to join the Brewers before the All-Star Break. Another top prospect Joey Wiemer recently was called up by the Brewers making Frelick the next man up.
6. Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
Kyle Manzardo is everything you want from a first-base prospect in fantasy baseball. Although his power is more geared to go gap-to-gap, he has 20+ home run potential, the plate discipline to walk at least 10% of the time, and the hit tool to bat .290. Manzardo is going to be an offensive powerhouse as soon as the Rays give him a chance. There is very little risk when it comes to his profile after batting .327 with 22 home runs last year.
The only reason Manzardo does not rank higher is due to the Rays’ organizational depth. The Rays have plenty of young players that they want to get looks at and Manzardo might not find himself in Tampa Bay until later in the season. Manzardo’s talent and Triple-A placement warrant a spot high on this list, but the Rays are too unpredictable to call Manzardo a sure thing for 2023. Harold Ramirez should not keep Manzardo in the Minor Leagues for long and once up he will be an instant impact bat for fantasy baseball.
7. Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets
The most well-known catching prospect in baseball comes in at number seven on this list. Francisco Alvarez followed up a 22-home run campaign in 2021 with 28 home runs in 2022. Alvarez got a taste of the big leagues last year and profiles to be the Mets’ catcher of the future. Alvarez’s combination of power and plate discipline gives him a high ceiling, especially for OBP leagues. He has the potential to hit 30 home runs which is something only seven catchers have done since 2010.
His fantasy ceiling is what makes Alvarez such a good stash. He has the potential to be a true difference-maker at the catcher position. The one thing that separates Alvarez from Rodriguez who ranks second on this list is team build. The Mets are a championship-caliber team, with a veteran pitching staff, and a proven catcher on the roster in Omar Narvaez. The coaching staff has been vocal about wanting Alvarez to go back to Triple-A to work on improving his defense and reducing his strikeouts. Alvarez will be up at some point in 2023 but do not expect it to be as early as Rodriguez.
8. Edouard Julien, 2B, Minnesota Twins
A 2019 18th-round draft pick, Edouard Julien has quickly made a name for himself in prospect circles. His professional debut in 2021 saw him bat .266 with 18 home runs and 34 stolen bases between Low-A and High-A. If that was not enough to grab your attention, he hit .300 with 17 home runs, 19 stolen bases, and a walk rate over 19%. Julien has a smooth and consistent swing path that allows him to hit tons of line drives. He pairs this with an excellent understanding of the strike zone, boosting his value even higher in OBP leagues. There is little left for Julien to prove at the plate before getting a call-up to the Major Leagues.
The flaw in Julien’s profile is his defense. He primarily plays second base but is a well below-average defender. In a sense, he is in a similar position to where Jose Miranda was last season. There are no doubts about the bat, but where is he going to play? The infield is crowded and will only get more crowded once Alex Kirilloff and Jorge Polanco return. The DH spot in the lineup is occupied between Miranda and Byron Buxton. Polanco’s injury was not enough to earn Julien an everyday lineup spot and it will likely take another injury to get him to the Major Leagues. He is a great stash because of his fantasy upside, but a crowded depth chart prevents him from ranking higher on this list.
9. Curtis Mead, 2B/3B, Tampa Bay Rays
Nobody thought twice about the Phillies trading Curtis Mead to the Rays prior to the 2021 season. He had never played a game above rookie ball, but the Rays clearly identified something they liked. Since that time Mead has dominated the minor leagues with excellent contact skills, good walk rates, and plus power from the right side of the plate. After posting a 146 wRC+ in 56 Double-A games, Mead posted a 129 wRC+ through 20 games at Triple-A. The bat is going to play even if Mead does not have a true defensive home.
Despite a crowded infield, there are rumors that Mead almost made the Rays out of Spring Training. The team has reportedly been trying to work out a long-term contract extension with Mead to remove any concerns about starting his service clock. Another benefit of stashing Mead is his multi-positional eligibility. Once Mead is with the Rays you can plug him in at 3B, 2B, MI, and CI. This is a huge plus for fantasy and helps ensure that the Rays will be able to get Mead into the lineup on a regular basis.
10. Oswald Peraza, SS New York Yankees
At the beginning of the off-season, Oswald Peraza was the favorite to be the Yankees’ Opening Day shortstop. Injuries and struggles at the plate combined with the impressive showing of Anthony Volpe resulted in Peraza being sent back to Triple-A to start the season. Just because Peraza did not win the shortstop job does not mean the off-season love should disappear. He was a popular breakout pick for 2023 and has all the skills to make an instant fantasy impact.
Peraza is an excellent stash because he has already shown he is ready for the Major Leagues. He has demonstrated a power speed blend that should entice fantasy managers and his fielding should help him break back into the Major Leagues. Josh Donaldson is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career and despite the hype, Volpe is unproven and could struggle. Peraza should not be in the Minor Leagues for long whether with the Yankees or another team. When he comes back up he will be an instant fantasy asset.
Where would Vaughn Grissom find himself on this list?
Grissom would probably find himself 8th here. I like the talent, but I don’t think he comes back up without an injury. Behind Julien ahead of Mead I think.
For Elly, just a note that Pinder didn’t make the team. So currently ahead of him on the depth chart is Newman and Jose Barrero.
Very nice. Love the new “blocked by” column.
what do you think of Parker Meadows ?