Welcome to The Stash List, Hitter Edition!
The Stash List will highlight the top-10 hitter prospects who are most likely to make an impact this season.
Effective in-season management will propel your team into contention, and understanding the outlook and ETA for some of baseball’s top prospects will give you an advantage over your league mates. 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.
Previous Week’s Stash List: The Stash List, Hitter Edition: Week 10
- 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.
- Stats shown are through June 20.
Graduates and Notable Call Ups
Riley Greene, OF, DET
Greene is finally a big leaguer. After a huge 2021, it was expected he would break camp with the Tigers. Unfortunately, a broken foot resulting from a foul ball delayed the start of his 2022 campaign. Now fully healthy, Greene made his MLB debut this past Saturday.
Greene is a consensus top prospect with five-category upside, the kind of upside that can be a difference maker on your fantasy team. Somehow he is still only rostered in 59% of Yahoo leagues. He is a must roster; check your waiver wire and if he’s available add him now.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 18, 2022
Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT
Perhaps the most highly scrutinized prospect so far this season, Oneil Cruz made his 2022 MLB debut on Monday. After a slew of overreactions and rankings demotions due to a tough April, Cruz lit the minor leagues up over the last month and earned his promotion.
The success and hype carried into his debut, picking up a couple hits, including a 112.9 mph double, and four total runs batted in.
There’s no shortage of Cruz content out there, so I will cut straight to it: if he’s available in your league you need to add him now. Barring an injury or significant struggles in the field, Cruz should be given the reigns to shortstop in Pittsburgh and be a virtual lock for regular playing time. He has the upside and opportunity to be a significant fantasy contributor the rest of the season.
3 innings into his 2022 debut, @Pirates' Oneil Cruz has registered:
🏴☠️The hardest throw by an infielder in @MLB this year (96.7 mph)
🏴☠️The hardest hit ball of the year by a Pirate (112.9)
🏴☠️The 3 fastest sprint speeds of the year by a Pirate (31.5, 30.7, 30.3) pic.twitter.com/nScTK5mD4A
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 21, 2022
C.J. Abrams, MI/OF, SDP
Abrams is back in the The Show. After a disappointing start to his big league career, Abrams spent some additional time in Triple-A. In June, he hit .371 over 62 at bats, with three home runs, 10 runs batted in, and five stolen bases. During this time he had a 9.2% strikeout rate and 82.2% contact rate.
Similar to Greene, Abrams is a consensus top prospect who will could be a dual eligible five-category contributor for your fantasy team. He’s still young and lacks experience, but as long as he’s in the Majors he needs to be rostered.
— El Paso Chihuahuas (@epchihuahuas) June 12, 2022
1. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, KCR – ETA June
On the surface, Vinnie has cooled a bit here in June. This week he hit only .208 with zero home runs and only five runs batted in. Though, since June 1 he still walked (9) more then he struck out (5) and dealt with some tough luck on batted balls, managing only a .185 BABIP.
On the year, he still has superb plate discipline including; a 13.0% strikeout rate, 12.6% walk rate, and 84.6% contact rate. You have to wonder if he’s getting bored in the minors.
He’s not on the 40-man roster, and this is his first year in Triple-A, but he’s already 24-years-old and quite bluntly the Royals current first base options stink (though Santana has been playing well in June). Since Oneil Cruz was called up we can now turn our full attention to solving why Vinnie is still in Triple-A. Either way, stash him now and be thankful later.
2. Jonathan Aranda, MI, TBR – ETA June
Aranda is a hitting machine, and has been for the better part of the last two seasons. This year he’s up to .310/.386/.512 with 11 homers, three stolen bases, a 20.0% strikeout rate, 10.0% walk rate, and 76.8% contact rate.
Aranda is already on the 40-man roster and looks like the next one up. The Rays may need to add someone here this week in light of injuries to Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot. When he does receive the call, his role and playing time could be very uncertain. He’s worth a speculative add now due to his proximity.
Note: After this piece was written Jonathan Aranda was called up by the Rays and is expected to make his MLB debut on Wednesday, June 22.
3. Miguel Vargas, 3B, LAD – ETA July
Vargas had a light week at the dish, only hitting .231 with zero homers over seven games. Though, like Pasquantino, even when the hits don’t fall the plate discipline shines through; he walked (4) more than he struck out (2) and also chipped in two stolen bases. On the year, he’s hitting .278/.376/.475 with a 16.1% strikeout rate, 12.4% walk rate, and 81.2% contact rate.
If Vargas were on any other team, he’d either be at the top of this list or already in the Majors. The problem for Vargas is the lack of opportunity with the Dodgers; his last hurdle to a promotion, but a big one.
He is worth a stash based on his upside, but right now, there are too many mouths to feed in Los Angeles, so he’s ticketed for regular at-bats in Oklahoma City. He’s an injury away from being a significant contributor for your fantasy team.
4. Esteury Ruiz, OF, SDP – ETA August
Ruiz is perhaps the most polarizing prospect in all of baseball right now. His gaudy numbers across two levels have led to a meteoric rise in the rankings and now it’s quite possible he’s knocking on the big league door.
Over the last 30 days, Ruiz is hitting .367/.457/.684 with eight home runs, 24 stolen bases, a 20.2% strikeout rate, and 10.1% walk rate. My goodness, he’s about as hot as a hitter can be right now.
Not to throw cold water on the idea that Ruiz is the next great prospect, but his BABIP is an unsustainable .536 in Triple-A (.422 on the year), his strikeout rate has jumped over 5% since he’s been promoted, and his contact rate is an unspectacular 71.1%. So some regression is certainly coming.
Stashing Ruiz right now feels like it’s high-risk, high-reward. It’s very uncertain as to when he might be considered for a call up, if at all. But, if his successes continue he is a 70 grade runner with growing power who can win you categories down the stretch. He’s worth a speculative stash in deeper redraft leagues or if you have an unused NA spot, based purely on upside.
We should really start scheduling these tweets
— El Paso Chihuahuas (@epchihuahuas) June 17, 2022
5. Alec Burleson, OF, STL – ETA July
Burleson continues to hit. Over the last two weeks, Burleson has hit .366/.417/.561 with two home runs, seven runs batted in, a 8:5 K:BB ratio. On the year, the lefty slugger has a 17.9% strikeout rate and 5.8% walk rate.
The Cardinals have another big time bat in the pipeline, though considering their recent promotions and the play of some of their veterans there is limited space on the big league club for another hitter. However, the recent injury to Tyler O’Neill may open the door for Burleson. Expect Burleson to get regular at-bats in Triple-A for now, but he could be a contributor sooner than later.
6. Triston Casas, 1B, BOS – ETA August
Casas still hasn’t played since May 17. He is currently on the minor league injured list with an ankle injury and it’s been reported that he is “not close” to returning to action.
Casas will almost certainly need some time to ramp back up once he gets healthy, which is most likely going to push a potential call up to the second half. He is still worth stash due to his upside and proximity, we just may have to wait a little long than anticipated.
7. Spencer Steer, SS, MIN – ETA August
Steer is another prospect that is climbing the rankings this season and is slowly aligning himself for a 2022 debut. The 24-year-old doesn’t have standout tools but his in game power and hit tools have been on display this season. He’s coming off a 28 homer season over two levels in 2021, and is now on the verge of a call up.
Steer was promoted to Triple-A at the end of May, so he doesn’t have a ton of experience at this level yet. However, he’s holding his own; slashing .253/.342/.576 with nine homers, a 20.2% strikeout rate, and 9.6% walk rate. He vaulted onto fantasy radars in early June when he hit six homers over a five-day span, include a three homer day on June 5.
The Twins appear to be priming him for a call-up in a versatile role, having logged time at 2B, 3B, and SS this season. Steer is not worth stashing yet, as he’s not on the 40-man roster and still needs some time in Triple-A. However, he’s a name to know for the second half.
8. Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals – ETA July
Pratto has been heating up as we get into June. This week he hit .316/.417/.526 and was on base in six of seven games. He offers tremendous power upside though he still has plenty of things to iron out in Triple-A, namely to cut down on strikeouts (30.6% strikeout rate).
It’s worth noting that Pratto is actually on the 40-man roster (where as Vinnie Pasquantino is not). For this reason, it’s entirely possible Pratto gets an opportunity first, but the ensuing riot by Royals fans might not be worth the risk.
9. Corbin Carroll, OF, ARI – ETA September
If you haven’t heard, Corbin Carroll is doing extraordinary things this season and is in the drivers seat to be baseball’s new number one prospect heading into 2023. Carroll is hitting an absurd .323/.438/.659 with 16 home runs, 20 stolen bases, a 24.5% strikeout rate and 14.7% walk rate; good for a 172 wRC+. He looks beyond ready for a promotion to Triple-A, if not the big leagues.
Carroll is only 21-years-old and due to the lost 2020 season still has very limited professional experience, but he’s still owning every stop in the minor leagues and deserves the next challenge. The last-place Diamondbacks are likely not in any rush to start the service time clock on Carroll so its highly unlikely he sees the big leagues for a long-enough time this season to make a significant impact in redraft leagues. Though, his upside is enormous and for this reason is still worth keeping on our radars.
10. Francisco Álvarez, C, NYM, ETA – August
Another prospect making waves in Double-A is Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez. He’s been insanely hot lately and is making a case for his promotion as well. Over the last 30 days Alvarez is hitting .327/.400/.762 with 12 home runs and is currently in the midst of an 11 game hit-streak.
Alvarez is really blossoming this season, showcasing his prestigious power but also showing that he can hit advanced pitching. Most impressively, Alvarez is still only 20-years-old. A call-up is not imminent but the first place Mets could probably use him down the stretch. Keep and eye on him in the second half.
Others considered (in no particular order): Moises Gomez, Pedro Leon, Ryan Fitzgerald
Photos by Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels, Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Drew Wheeler (@drewisokay on Twitter)