The Hitter Edition of The StashList is back and updated for Week 9.
This stash list highlights the 10 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 rostering 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 StashList 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 rostership percentages will be updated weekly.
- Stats will be updated weekly for all players through Friday’s games.
The Stash List
No recent promotions over the past week, but we can still check in on how some of the recent StashList graduates are doing. Starting with Edouard Julien, he is still struggling to hit for average since his promotion. Since coming back to the major leagues, he is striking out over 40% of the time. His chase rate would be amongst the best in baseball (13.7%), but his whiff rate is over 45%. His profile seems a lot less reliable than it did in the minor leagues and fantasy managers should expect these growing pains to continue.
Matt McLain has really turned things on at the plate. He is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak during which he has hit two home runs. His plate discipline looks excellent with strong quality of contact. He is looking much more reliable for fantasy managers than Julien.
Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
Jordan Westburg continues to be the top stash option in baseball. His current wRC+ of 136 would be an improvement on his impressive 126 number from last season. He is doing everything in his power to earn a promotion to the major leagues and the Orioles will not be able to keep him in Triple-A for too much longer. He is up to 12 home runs tearing the cover off the ball. Not only is his bat major league ready, but he is only chasing 15.3% of pitches. Westburg’s approach at the plate is mature and he should be a reliable source of walks once promoted.
At the major league level, Gunnar Henderson is finally starting to show signs of life. Not only is Henderson playing well, but Adam Frazier is slashing .341/.357/.634 since May 13th. This makes Westburg’s most likely path to the major leagues a little bit more complicated. Jorge Mateo meanwhile is batting .086 since May 10th. Luckily for Westburg, he is more than capable of playing all three infield positions. The team can also reopen the DH spot by shifting Anthony Santander back to the outfield. Westburg is going to force his way onto the major league roster one way or another and you need to make sure you are stashing him.
Jordan Walker is continuing to show signs of life at Triple-A. So far, it is looking more and more like Walker got in his head after the demotion but is back and proving why he is a top prospect in baseball. Walker is hitting for both average and power while making the case for a promotion back to the major leagues.
Jordan Walker (@Cardinals) wallops one 416 ft.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 24, 2023
His ground ball continues to run close to 60% which is concerning for his future outlook. The Cardinals will likely want to see this rate decrease before calling him back up.
The Cardinals do have an outfield spot open on the team. Alec Burleson and Óscar Mercado are platooning for the time being. Mercado is swinging a hot bat, but his success is not expected to continue. In addition, Brendan Donovan is seeing most of his time in left field, but is batting .222 since May 10th and .211 since the start of May. Walker is an offensive upgrade to all three of the players mentioned and should not be kept in Triple-A for long. Continue to be patient with this exciting prospect.
Elly De La Cruz continues to put his early struggles in the rearview mirror. De La Cruz has now hit safely in ten of his last eleven games while continuing to show improved patience at the plate. Since May 10th, he is walking as much as he is striking out and is proving that he should see an added boost in OBP leagues. Strikeouts are likely to always be an issue, but the raw tools are fantastic. Since May 6th, his ISO is .530. No, that is not a typo. .530 is an insane number and is a testament to his incredible power.
Elly De La Cruz effortlessly deposits a baseball over the wall in left center for an oppo homer. 408 feet and 107 off the bat.
I mean, come on? He’s a freak and he’s fixing the only blemish in his game. 23% K and 23% BB in his last 74 PA. pic.twitter.com/Fz3OVucbBY
— Beck (@Upper_Beck) May 26, 2023
There was a brief moment this week where we thought the Reds were calling De La Cruz up to the major leagues this week. Turns out it was just a day off, but the hype that was generated is evidence as to why you need to be stashing him now. The Reds are playing the combination of Kevin Newman and Jose Barrero on a regular basis. Newman has a 78 wRC+ and Barrero has a 69 wRC+ on the season. Neither one is a major league bat, and the Reds are not going to be able to justify keeping De La Cruz in the minor leagues for long. Pick him up now before it is too late.
Lately, Kyle Manzardo has not seen the same level of success he is used to experiencing. Since May 10th, Manzardo is batting .188/.322/.438 and has not hit a home run since May 13th. Despite his recent struggles, I remain high on Manzardo for both redraft and dynasty leagues. The recent struggles can be attributed to a .194 BABIP helping drag his average down. Throughout his minor league career, Manzardo has never posted a BABIP below .333. This year, he is hitting more line drives than ever (31.5%) yet has the lowest BABIP of his career. That will not last and Manzardo should start seeing more success soon.
The timeline for Manzardo’s promotion remains uncertain. Yandy Díaz continues to occupy first base with Harold Ramírez at DH. Replacing Ramírez could be an option as he is batting .227/.261/.318 since May 10th. Manzardo will be an instant impact bat for fantasy teams once he is promoted making him an excellent stash option.
As Royce Lewis‘ 2023 debut draws closer, his ranking on the StashList continues to improve. Lewis is eligible to come off the IL on May 29th, and the Twins might not waste any time past that date. He continues to play well in Triple-A and is now up to three home runs with two stolen bases in just six games. His profile features a combination of power and speed that will have an instant impact on all fantasy teams.
An added bonus for Lewis is the anticipation of additional eligibility. Lewis has been splitting time between shortstop and third base in the minor leagues and should play both positions once he is with the Twins. As the injuries have continued to pile up, there is no reason for Minnesota to keep him in the minor leagues and he should step right into an everyday role. Now might be your last chance to stash Lewis before it is too late.
While Ronny Mauricio continues to dominate Triple-A pitching, the strides he continues to make might be even more impressive. A high chase rate has been the one thing consistently limiting Mauricio’s production in the past. Despite his early season success, he was still chasing tons of pitches this year. According to Adam Leighton, this has changed recently:
Ronny Mauricio chase rate in April: 40%
.327/.370/.604, 20% strikeout rate
Ronny Mauricio chase rate in May: 29%
.386/.409/.602, 10% strikeout rate
— Aram Leighton (@AramLeighton8) May 25, 2023
If Mauricio is fixing the one part of his game with a flaw, then the sky truly is the limit. He is hitting for average, power, and speed so far. In a full major league season, I expect Mauricio to still bat closer to .260 than his current batting average in Triple-A. However, he has 25 home run power with 25 steal speed. He profiles as a dynamic talent and one that should be with the Mets soon. You stash for upside and Mauricio has plenty of it.
All Christian Encarnacion-Strand seems to do is hit home runs. He is running an HR/FB% north of 30% and is up to 12 on the year. 12 home runs on the year is one thing, but doing it in 28 games is even more impressive. He hit .391 in 2021, .304 in 2022, and now is hitting .347 in Triple-A. He is continuing to prove that his bat is one of the most impressive in all of minor league baseball. There is no speed to his profile, but that is irrelevant when you have as much power as CES.
At this point, you have to wonder what the Reds are waiting for. Spencer Steer is occupying first base and is playing well. However, he has enough versatility to play all over the infield. The team also has an opening at DH that CES could come up and fill. His aggressive approach at the plate keeps him lower on this list even though he still remains a very strong stash. He should be up in Cincinnati soon and now might be your last chance to get him.
Justyn-Henry Malloy has fallen into another slump at the plate. Since May 16th, he is striking out over 30% of the time with an average well below .200. Malloy’s overly patient approach seems to be getting him in trouble which is concerning. The walk rate is still impressive, but it would be nice to see Malloy start swinging more.
The Tigers continue to have holes throughout their lineup. The Nick Maton/Andy Ibáñez combination is not producing any results and Miguel Cabrera should not be earning everyday at-bats at this stage in his career. Despite his recent slump, the Malloy should find himself in Detroit before the Break and be a reliable fantasy contributor once he is up. If you play in an OBP league he should be a priority stash while still being a strong stash option for all leagues.
10. Colton Cowser, OF Baltimore Orioles
After the hype of last week, the Orioles, unfortunately, placed Colton Cowser on the IL. The injury does not seem serious which allows Cowser to maintain the final spot on this StashList. Prior to the injury, he was dominating Triple-A pitching. Baltimore continues to win meaning they will prioritize rostering the best possible lineup. Cowser is an instant upgrade over Terrin Vavra and should be with the club soon. This recent injury creates additional time to stash him before he returns and is added everywhere.
On The Bubble