It’s finally here. The fantasy baseball season has begun and all of the MLB rosters have been finalized. This last week taught us a significant amount about how teams are approaching the timelines for all of their top prospects. Rotation battles were won by some really promising young arms and five of the top eight arms in the first version of this list are currently on Major League rosters.
In this first weekly version of The Stash List for pitchers, there are a handful of big risers who have seen their outlooks improve drastically in Spring Training. Prioritize the top five in your early season waiver wire runs, and be ready to pounce when the doors open a little further down the line for the rest of the guys on this list.
I’ll have an update on how these guys are doing and who’s making MLB teams every Saturday this season, so sit back, relax, and strap it down.
- 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
Top 10 Pitcher Prospects to Stash
1. Grayson Rodriguez, BAL
The Baltimore Orioles shocked just about everyone when they assigned Grayson Rodriguez to AAA prior to the start of this season. I wrote in this first article that GrayRod had the most secure spot in the Opening Day rotation of anyone on the list, but I was absolutely wrong about that.
He struggled mightily in his few Spring Training starts, even though Eno Sarris’ Pitching+ model registered him at a 119.5 Stuff+ in the starts where Statcast was available. He struggled in hitting his locations consistently and carried a 9.9% walk rate in his 15.1 innings. It’s definitely an uptick from what we’ve seen before, as he has a career walk rate below 8% in both AA and AAA.
I’m still confident that Rodriguez will have a significant impact on the Major League roster soon this season, and this could be a move in load management as much as it is about his performance.
2. Brandon Pfaadt, ARI
Brandon Pfaadt dazzled in his three Spring Training starts this year. Given what he was able to accomplish in the Pacific Coast League last season, he should have cemented himself as the next man up for the Diamondbacks. He passes Drey Jameson in the pecking order, whose command failed him in the spring. It seems absolutely possible that the Diamondbacks could move on from one of Zach Davies or Madison Bumgarner if they aren’t looking viable after about a month.
3. Gavin Stone, LAD
Gavin Stone is another Leapfrog player, overtaking his counterpart Bobby Miller both because of his stellar spring performances and because of his health. Miller recently was shut down with shoulder soreness and Stone is the Opening Day starter for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. In four Spring Training appearances, Stone threw 6.2 innings, didn’t allow a run, and struck out 14 batters.
4. DL Hall, BAL
DL Hall didn’t get a ton of run out of the pen in Spring Training, so even though he saw some time in the Majors to end last season, he’ll start this year in AAA with Grayson Rodriguez. Hall possesses some of the best strikeout stuff in the Minor Leagues (he managed to strike out 7 batters in his 4 ST innings), but his pitching repertoire and approach closely resembles Matt Brash’s, so we may see a similar season arc for him this year. I wouldn’t count on Hall making double digit starts for the O’s, but he could be a real weapon out of the pen and might be good for a few key spot starts.
5. Tanner Bibee, CLE
It came as a bit of a surprise when Bibee was assigned to AAA before the season started, only because Gavin Williams was assigned to AA. I assumed Williams was ahead of Bibee in the organization because of Williams’ upside. It’s extremely impressive for Bibee considering he was drafted 133 picks after Williams in the 2021 Amateur Draft. The key to his success last year was his minuscule walk rates paired with above-average strikeout rates. While he wasn’t drafted with the rocket arm that Williams has, he worked to add velocity and now he may be the more complete pitcher at this point in their early careers.
6. Kyle Harrison, SFG
I mentioned Kyle Harrison on the On The Farm podcast as my pick to be the prospect that disappoints us most this upcoming season. I have no doubt in the impressiveness of his stuff or his outlook long term, but this 21-year-old pitcher already has lofty expectations that might be hard to meet in 2023. He’s expected to see time in the Major League rotation, which is why he’s on this list. However, I’m weary of the 11.2% walk rate he carried in 84 AA innings last year. He will be a high-variance streamer once he’s promoted, so be prepared for a few short outings with ugly ratios.
7. Taj Bradley, TBR
Taj Bradley has a 2.61 ERA in 310.2 IP in the Minor Leagues. As if that isn’t impressive enough, he’s managed to improve his walk rate after every one of his four promotions to higher levels. He finished last season with 59 solid innings at AAA, but he saw his strikeout rate drop by almost 10 percentage points. Due to his good volume of innings last year and his experience in the upper levels of the minors, he has the makings of being a fast riser to the Bigs if he can bump that K rate back up above 24% early on.
8. Luis Ortiz, PIT
Luis Ortiz made a brief Major Legue debut last season and flashed some extremely impressive pitches. He has a lot of work to do to harness those offerings, but he’s on a team with a glut of opportunities. He’s another high variance play, but he doesn’t come with the prestige that Harrison does. That should also make him cheaper to acquire in the season.
9. Gavin Williams, CLE
Gavin Williams is a first-round fireballer who finds himself in one of the best organizations for pitching development. It’s a fantastic setup, but as of right now it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer than expected to see him in the MLB rotation after his assignment to AA. This might just be a case of the team doing everything they can to keep their young stud healthy for as long as possible. After posting a 1.96 ERA and 11.7 K/9 in 115 innings last season, it’s hard to imagine that they keep the training wheels on him for very long.
10. Bobby Miller, LAD
Bobby Miller was looking like the favorite of the Dodgers’ MiLB pitchers to potentially crack the rotation in April. With the Tony Gonsolin injury, the 5th rotation spot opened up and if Michael Grove had faltered, Miller would have been right there waiting for his chance. However, Miller has been sidelined with shoulder soreness to begin this season. While it’s unclear how severe the injury may be right now, it’s safe to assume that this sets his timeline back by a good amount regardless of the state of the MLB rotation.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Painter. We have yet to get a clear timeline for when he could be back on a professional mound, but it’s looking unlikely that he’ll graduate from prospect status this season. I’m in the camp that will be hesitant to invest a ton of FAAB dollars in redraft leagues when his time does come. He’ll be elite but in good time.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Yay! Love the stash list articles. ETAs?
Eury Perez? I love your stash articles as well.