The Hitter Edition of The Stash List is back and updated for week two.
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. You can check out last week’s edition of the list here and keep reading to find out the latest updates.
- 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 through Friday’s games
The Stash List
This section in the stash list remains reserved for any prospects who have been promoted to the Major Leagues. Several prospects were on their team’s Opening Day roster. This list includes Anthony Volpe, Jordan Walker, James Outman, Joey Wiemer, Yainer Diaz, and Brice Turang. Five of the six mentioned are off to fast starts while Yainer Diaz is struggling with inconsistent playing time.
An Omar Narvaez injury resulting in Francisco Alvarez’s promotion removes him from consideration for the list below. Alvarez ranked as the seventh-best-hitting prospect to stash last week and hopefully will pay off for those of you who listened. He has game-changing power from the catcher position but will need to make enough contact to be a reliable fantasy asset. If you need catching help and he is still available, go get him now.
Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
1. Elly De La Cruz, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Thanks to his rare upside, Elly De La Cruz remains at the top of the stash list. He is the hitting prospect you should be most eager to add to your redraft leagues due to his blend of power and speed. Cruz can easily go 30/30 if given a chance.
Although Cruz has yet to make his 2023 debut, he should be up quickly after he returns from injury. The Reds have currently been rotating between Jose Barrero and Kevin Newman at shortstop. Neither one is showing any signs of life at the plate and the Reds will not be able to justify keeping Cruz off the Major League roster. Expect Cruz back soon and contributing in the Major Leagues before the All-Star Break.
2. Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets
After dominating Triple-A pitching for the first few games of the season, I was fully prepared to move Brett Baty up to number one on this list. Unfortunately, Baty suffered a thumb injury on Tuesday and was removed from the game. Tests revealed no structural damage to the thumb which is a good sign although he is yet to return to the lineup. If you recall, a thumb injury is what cost Baty the end of the 2023 season. I want to see him get past these thumb injuries before potentially moving him up.
While the injury is a bit concerning, Baty is right on the verge of a Major League promotion. He hit two home runs in his first 15 at-bats while showing an improved ability to elevate the ball. Eduardo Escobar has struggled early on and appears to be losing playing time to Luis Guillorme. The Mets turning to Guillorme signals that as soon as Baty is healthy the Mets will hand the job over to him. He is the most talented third baseman in the organization and remains a prime stash candidate regardless of his current thumb injury.
3. Endy Rodriguez, C, Pittsburgh Pirates
The catching situation in Pittsburgh is bleak. Hedges still holds value thanks to his defense, but he is a major liability swinging the bat. If Hedges were hitting, the Pirates would be able to justify keeping Rodriguez in the Minor Leagues for longer, but this is not the case. Hedges is not a viable Major League option and Rodriguez should be called up very soon.
Rodriguez is off to a slow start at Triple-A. He is batting just .154 so far, but that comes with a .100 BABIP. The rest of his batted ball metrics and plate discipline statistics look normal, and Rodriguez should see his slash line improve over the coming weeks. Rodriguez should continue to be recognized as a high-value stash in redraft leagues.
4. Casey Schmitt, 3B/SS, San Francisco Giants
The Giants are prioritizing adding to Schmitt’s versatility early in the season. So far he is splitting time evenly between shortstop and third base at Triple-A. Schmitt was impressive during Spring Training and is off to a solid start in the Minor Leagues. The Giants are looking at creating multiple paths to the majors for their promising young infielder making him an even more valuable stash. Middle and corner infield eligibility only enhances Schmitt’s fantasy value.
Schmitt’s main competition was initially labeled to be David Villar. Villar is swinging a hot bat early demonstrating plenty of power. Underneath his power are the same red flags that have always existed, high strikeout rates and poor contact metrics. However, as long as he is hitting Schmitt is blocked. Looking at shortstop, the Giants are unlikely to just replace Brandon Crawford. However, Crawford has not played more than 138 games since 2019 and is not getting any younger. Schmitt remains an enticing stash option and should find himself in the Major Leagues early on this season.
5. Addison Barger, 2B/3B/SS, Toronto Blue Jays
One of the first names off last week’s edition of the stash list was Addison Barger. Barger put together a breakout 2022 season where he hit .308 with 26 home runs between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. The most impressive part of his profile was the ability to lower his strikeout rate with each promotion. Although he models his swing after Ichiro (naturally born a right-handed hitter), Barger packs plenty of power with a swing designed to tap into his pull-side power. Barger has 25 home run upside with plate discipline, boosting his value in OBP leagues.
Barger’s quick rise up this stash list can be attributed to two factors. The first is his early season success. Barger was impressive during Spring Training and has carried that over into the Minor League season. Barger is batting .333 with a home run already and is proving that he is ready for a call-up to the majors. The second factor pushing him up this list is the struggles of the current Blue Jays’ second basemen. Whit Merrifield is over the hill and has looked like a shell of his former self early this season. Santiago Espinal has a -20 wRC+ early on and the Blue Jay shave been resistant to hand Cavan Biggio an everyday role in the past.
Barger can play all over the infield and is the Jays’ best offensive option at second base. Toronto needs to win as many games as possible to keep up with the Yankees and Rays and will not waste time moving on from Merrifield
6. Sal Frelick, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
The biggest cause for Frelick moving down this stash list has nothing to do with him personally. While Frelick is not off to the best start, his slide to seventh on this list has to do with the early success of Garrett Mitchell and Joey Wiemer. Mitchell has looked every bit ready for the everyday center field job, while Wiemer has not missed a step since his early season promotion. Frelick’s promotion has always been dependent on an injury or one of the other young outfielders struggling. There are only three outfield spots available in the lineup and none appear up for grabs at the moment.
Frelick is still a prime stash candidate. We are only a week and a half into the season and there is plenty of time for Mitchell or Wiemer to falter. Mitchell is still whiffing over 37% of the time while Frelick is walking more than he has struck out in Triple-A. The Brewers are also thin due to the injury of Luis Urias. Outside of Frelick, there are not many other internal options in the event of another injury. Frelick will be up soon and can contribute to your fantasy teams instantly.
7. Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
Kyle Manzardo was listed as the sixth most important hitting prospect to stash in last week’s edition. This week, Manzardo comes in at number seven. So, why the fall? Part of this is opportunity. As mentioned last week, the Rays do not just hand their young players everyday roles. They like to utilize platoons and ease their prospects into playing time until they prove themselves. Manzardo is a left-handed corner infielder. His most likely path to playing time is in place of Luke Raley. Raley has already hit three home runs with a batting average over .300. Meanwhile Manzardo has struggled out of the gate down at Triple-A.
Manzardo remains a great stash thanks to his excellent hit tool and plus power. One week’s worth of Minor League games is not enough to significantly impact Manzardo’s stock, and we can still expect him to make his debut this season.
8. Jordan Westburg, SS/2B/3B, Baltimore Orioles
Is it possible for the Orioles to have another young prospect ready to break into the Major Leagues? Yes, and Jordan Westburg might be up very soon. After failing to make the opening list, Westburg now ranks as the eighth-best-hitting prospect to stash for your redraft leagues. The 30th overall pick from 2020, Westburg has flown under the radar compared to other Orioles’ prospects. Here is one comparison of 2021-2022 stats that might stick out:
Player A: .274/.371/.489/11.6BB%/24.3K%/.215 ISO/29SB
Player B: .278/.384/.504/14.0BB%/26.8K%/.226 ISO/38 SB
The edge in most of the stats listed goes to Player B, but they are relatively close across the board. Player A is Westburg, while Player B is Gunnar Henderson. Henderson generates all the hype, but Westburg could be just as good. Westburg posts excellent exit velocities and has a chance to contribute to your fantasy team in all five categories.
Another contributing factor to Westburg’s stash value is the Major League depth chart ahead of him. Ramon Urias is playing third base and is off to a terrible start striking out over 40% of the time. Listening to Eno Sarris on Rates and Barrells, he is confident that the team will promote Westburg to the majors as soon as the super-two deadline passes. Urias is doing nothing to prove that he deserves to keep the job and Westburg will be up before you know it.
9. Oswald Peraza, SS New York Yankees
Oswald Peraza moves up one spot thanks to the promotion of Francisco Alvarez. Peraza is not off to the fastest start, but his two stolen bases in four games highlight the fantasy upside to his profile. Peraza has underrated power that could play up in Yankee Stadium and enough speed to be a true difference-maker in fantasy. Josh Donaldson is already dealing with an injury and Peraza figures to be a primary option to replace him in the starting lineup.
Outside of New York, Peraza should be a hot commodity on the trade market. The Yankees are thin at starting pitchers and could look to flip Peraza for help in the rotation. There are plenty of ways for Peraza to make it back to the Major Leagues and you should stash him on your bench if you have the room.
10. Justyn Henry-Malloy, 3B/OF Detroit Tigers
A third new name on the stash list. Justyn Henry-Malloy was acquired by Detroit in the trade that sent Joe Jimenez to Atlanta. Known as a bat-first prospect, Henry-Malloy hit 17 home runs across three levels in Atlanta’s system last season. His best attribute is his plate discipline. His excellent understanding of the strike zone has allowed him to maintain a walk percentage of at least 14% at every Minor League level. This year at Triple-A, he has walked nine times in his first 31 plate appearances. Standing at 6’1″ and 213 pounds, there is plenty of raw power to his game. The biggest obstacle has been getting him to elevate the ball enough. If Detroit can help him increase his launch angle, there is 25-home-run potential here.
Henry Malloy breaks onto this stash list thanks to a combination of his early season success and the lack of success at the Major League level. The Tigers also acquired Nick Maton this off-season and have been platooning him with Ryan Kreidler. They have a combined three hits in 32 plate appearances this season. Neither player has a strong track record of success and the Tigers do not have a lot invested in either one. If they continue to struggle and Henry-Malloy continues to play well the team will not hesitate to make the switch. Henry-Malloy is not the flashiest pick for category leagues due to his lack of speed, but he gets a significant boost for those who play in OBP leagues.
On The Bubble
In no particular order, the top five hitters that were in consideration for inclusion to this list were: Curtis Mead(8th last week), Edouard Julien(9th last week), Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Jordan Diaz, and Bo Naylor.
Matt Mervis isn’t a consideration?
I don’t really see Henry-Malloy as having any path to value. Plate disc is not a carrying tool. He sure seems like a guy that you could replace off of any waiver wire if he is playing every day and I don’t think he would because he doesn’t have any tools. I don’t even think he is roster worthy in the deepest format. I love to see other people rostering him though!
I would say Mervis is for sure a good pick as mentioned above.
There are a ton of guys in AAA that have some potential impact like Soderstom, Maurico, and Mead. I’m not sure who is assigned to AAA, but there are guys in AA that have a better chance of making an impact that some of these guys. There is just no reason to roster guys just because they might get called up. If their ceiling is having 2% ownership, then don’t own them.