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The Stash Week 13: Top 10 Hitter Prospects to Stash in 2022

Top 10 hitter prospects to stash in your redraft league.

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 12

 

Ground Rules

 

  • 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 July 1.

 

Graduates and Notable Call Ups

 

Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, KCR

 

A traditional Italian breakfast includes coffee, tea, and a mix of bread, butters, and pastries. Vinnie Pasquantino is anything but traditional, including his nicknames. After a long and grueling wait, he was finally called up to the Royals this week, making his MLB debut on Tuesday.

Pasquantino is a special blend of power and hit tools and has excellent plate discipline. Prior to his call-up, he hit .280/.372/.576 with 18 home runs, 67 runs batted in, a 12.2% strikeout rate, 12.5% walk rate, and an 85.6% contact rate.

The Royals traded Carlos Santana to open up a spot for Vinnie, so he’s expected to get regular playing time at first base and designated hitter. His high upside and high floor as a fantasy contributor deserve a spot on your fantasy team.

 

 

Top 10 Hitter Prospects to Stash

 

1. Miguel Vargas, 3B, LAD – ETA July

 

Vargas is scorching hot as we enter July and is in the midst of a 13-game hit streak. During this time he’s hitting .392/.483/.647 with two home runs, seven doubles, 12 runs batted in and only eight strikeouts. His plate discipline truly is amazing.

On the year, he has a 16.1% strikeout rate, 12.3% walk rate, and 81.2% contact rate. Defensively, Vargas is moving around the field a lot, having started games at third base (60), second base (7), first base (2), and left field (2). Additional versatility will help his case in getting to Los Angeles.

Justin Turner has been getting regular starts at third base, and though he’s sprinkled in some nice games, he’s had a poor year overall, hitting just .224/.297/.371 with only six home runs over 71 games. Vargas has no immediate opportunities, but once there are, he will be a significant fantasy contributor.

 

2. 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.

Ruiz had a nice week at the plate, hitting .320/.433/.360 with four walks and six stolen bases. Despite his breakout and hot streak, the jury is still out on whether his hit tool will play at the highest level. His speed will play anywhere.

Stashing Ruiz right now feels like it’s high-risk, high-reward. It’s very uncertain when he might be considered for a call-up, if at all. But, if his successes continue he is a plus-plus 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.

 

3. Alec Burleson, OF, STL – ETA July

 

Burleson continues to hit. Over the last two weeks, Burleson has hit .341/.442/.523 with two home runs, nine runs batted in, and an 8:6 K: BB ratio. On the year, the lefty slugger has a 13.4% strikeout rate and 6.5% walk rate. He is within the top 10 of most of minor league baseball’s offensive leaderboards.

The Cardinals run pretty deep at the Major League level, but injuries to Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader could open the door for Burleson. Opportunity seems to be the last hurdle to Burleson’s call-up. He’s worth a stash due to his proximity, but nothing is imminent.

 

4. Jonathan Aranda, 2B, TBR – ETA July

 

After a cup of coffee with the Rays in late June, Aranda was returned to Triple-A Durham, where he’s continued to rake. In the three games back with the Bulls, Aranda is hitting .462/.533/.769 with a home run, five runs batted in, and two walks. He just hits.

His return to the Rays is highly uncertain right now, but Aranda has nothing left to prove in the minors. There really doesn’t seem to be a spot for him to get regular at-bats in Tampa right now, so we’ll just have to wait until the next opportunity arises.

 

5. Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals – ETA July

 

Pratto continued his hot June, rounding out the month by hitting .292/.433/.583 over the last week with two home runs and six runs batted in, and has been on-base in 13 straight games.  He offers tremendous power upside, though he still has plenty of things to iron out in Triple-A, namely cutting down on strikeouts (31.8% strikeout rate).

In the wake of Vinnie Pasquantino’s promotion to the Royals, there is no immediate opening for Pratto. However, the Royals are expected to be big-time sellers at the trade deadline, so July will likely bring a whole different outlook on their roster construction. We’ll likely see Pratto called up once an opportunity for everyday at-bats presents itself. Stash him in deeper leagues where you can use his power.

 

6. Francisco Álvarez, C, NYM, ETA – August

 

Álvarez probably came across your Twitter feed this week after he caught Max Scherzer during his rehab start with Binghampton, who offered his praises of Álvarez in the post-game interview. He had a decent week at the plate, hitting .273/.385/.545 with two home runs, and a 4:6 K:BB ratio.

Álvarez is really blossoming this season, showcasing his prestigious power but also showing that he can hit advanced pitching. Most impressively, Álvarez 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 an eye on him in the second half.

Note: After this piece was written Francisco Alvarez was promoted to Triple-A. He is expected to report on Monday.

 

7. Spencer Steer, SS, MIN – ETA August

 

Steer is another prospect that is climbing the rankings this season and 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 full 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 .257/.338/.574 with 11 homers, a 20.1% strikeout rate, and a 9.1% walk rate.

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. Triston Casas, 1B, BOS – ETA August

 

Casas still hasn’t played since May 17, as he is currently on the minor league IL with an ankle injury. He finally returned to practice this week, reportedly having started fielding and taking batting practice.

Casas will need some time to ramp back up once he gets healthy, which is going to push a potential call up to the second half. He is still worth a stash due to his upside and proximity, we just have to wait a little longer than anticipated.

 

9. Samad Taylor, 2B/OF, TOR, ETA – August

 

Samad Taylor launched himself onto fantasy radars in 2021 with a breakout season in Double-A New Hampshire, hitting .294/.385/.503 with 16 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Taylor carried his success into this season in Triple-A; he’s currently slashing .260/.339/.430 with nine home runs and 23 stolen bases and is making a case to be promoted this year.

Taylor has cooled over the last week, but on the year, he has an impressive 21.6% strikeout rate and 10.1% walk rate. He’s a versatile fielder too, spending time at second base (37), left field (24), and shortstop (1).

The Blue Jays are in the thick of a playoff hunt and have several backup infield and outfield options at the Major League level, so Taylor’s call-up this year is highly speculative. He’s not on the 40-man roster, and most likely would be in a utility role if called up. He’s not worth stashing in any league right now but is a name to know for the second half.

 

10. Oswald Peraza, SS, NYY – ETA August 

 

Peraza’s stat line isn’t eye-catching but he’s been cooking at the dish since the start of June; hitting .303/.379/.513 with four home runs, nine runs batted in, and five stolen bases. During this time, he’s been on base in 13 straight games and improved his strikeout rate and walk rate to 23.0% and 9.2%, respectively.

Peraza has spent the majority of his time at shortstop this year, and although the Yankees aren’t looking for help at the Major League level, Peraza is starting to look like a viable option. He’s more of a name to know down the stretch and isn’t worth stashing in redraft leagues right now.

 

Because you’ll ask:

These are some big-time prospects putting up some big-time numbers in the minor leagues. All are likely top-10 prospects in baseball but were not included in the top-10 hitters to stash in redraft leagues. Right now it appears unlikely they will make a significant contribution for fantasy purposes in 2022. This does not mean they will not be called up — it’s quite possible, but it’s most likely in September, if at all, and not for a meaningful amount of time.

The Orioles, Diamondbacks, and Rockies are all in fourth or fifth place in their respective divisions, and outside of rewarding their guys with a cup of coffee in September, there is no incentive to call them up now.

If you’re stashing purely based on upside and have the roster depth to speculate on a high-upside name like Carroll, Henderson, and Tovar,  then absolutely make the add. As of this week, their ETAs all look more like 2023. But, like anything in this speculative article, this certainly can change on a moment’s notice.

 

Others considered (in no particular order):

Previously debuted, currently in minors: Kyle Stowers (BAL – AAA), Ezequiel Duran (TEX – AAA), Cal Mitchell (PIT – AAA)

Yet to make their MLB debut: Moises Gomez (STL – AAA), Pedro Leon (HOU – AAA), Jordan Westburg (BAL – AAA), Gunnar Henderson (BAL – AAA), Ezequiel Tover (COL – AA), Corbin Carroll (BAL – AA),

 

Photos by Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels, Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Drew Wheeler (@drewisokay on Twitter)

Greg Gibbons

Pitcher List Dynasty Team, Member FSWA, Vice President of the Cleveland Baseball Federation, Founder of Cleveland Rocks Dynasty (the greatest dynasty league in the Midwest)

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