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The Stash Week 2: 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 2022 season is here, and we finally get to see our fantasy teams in action! As managers, we are looking forward to reaping the rewards of our offseason research and draft strategies, but the fun is only just beginning for most of us.

Effective in-season management will propel your team into contention. Understanding the outlook and ETA for some of baseball’s top prospects will give you an advantage over your league mates.

The Stash List will highlight the top-10 hitter prospects who are most likely to make an impact this season and, depending on your roster make-up and league rules, may deserve a spot on your squad sooner than later.

Previous Week’s Stash List: The Stash List, Hitter Edition: Week 1

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 April 16

 

GRADUATES AND NOTABLE CALL UPS

Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN

Larnach struggled during his first opportunity with the Twins in 2021 and was assigned to Triple-A St. Paul to begin the 2022 season. He was recalled on April 13 to fill a void on the Twins roster when they lost Alex Kirilloff to a wrist injury. Larnach is a former top prospect but is firmly off redraft radars until he can improve on his unsightly strikeout rates (34.6% with MIN in 2021) and splits vs. LHP (career .181 avg over 83 at-bats).

TOP 10 HITTER PROSPECTS TO STASH

1. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT – ETA May

Cruz retains the #1 overall spot on The Stash List due to his extreme upside and proximity. If he’s available in your league, stash now. The Pirates assigned Cruz to Triple-A Indianapolis for developmental reasons, with an emphasis on getting him some additional experience in the outfield.

Cruz crushed in 2021, hitting .310 with 17 home runs, 19 stolen bases, and a .375 on-base percentage and continued during Spring Training, where he hit .333 with 2 home runs over 15 at-bats. If there’s any concern, it’s his swing-and-miss tendencies, which were exposed in his brief stint with the Pirates in 2021.

Over eight regular-season games, Cruz has started six games at shortstop and one game in left field. He’s yet to hit his first dinger, but the .344 on-base percentage and 25% strikeout rate are both encouraging. The Pirate’s plan for Cruz is unclear, but he’s a lock for regular playing time once he is called, and his upside will be worth the wait.

2. Adley Rutschman, C, BAL – ETA June 

One of the top prospects in baseball, Adley, would be debuting with the Orioles if it weren’t for a triceps strain that sidelined him to begin the 2022 season. Reports indicate he’s already started a throwing program and taking batting practice, so he could return to minor league action in the next couple of weeks.

Rutschman is coming off an impressive 2021 campaign that spanned two levels and saw him post 23 home runs, 75 RBI, and a near 1:1 BB to K ratio. The 23-year-old is ready for the next level, and that should come this summer.

Catcher is one of the thinnest positions in all of baseball, so stashing Adley should be a top priority. The only reason he’s not #1 overall is the uncertainty around his health, but he should be rostered in all formats as that becomes clear.

3. Riley Greene, OF, DET – ETA July

Greene was primed to start the season on the Tigers’ Opening Day roster before fouling a ball off his foot during Spring Training that resulted in a fracture and a minimum six to eight-week recovery. Even with the setback, Greene’s enormous upside and a possible mid-to-late season promotion still make him worthy of a stash.

Over two levels in 2021, Greene hit .301 with 24 home runs, 84 runs batted in, and 16 stolen bases. He’s the complete package and was a near-unanimous top-3 prospect across the industry.

The Tigers have recently made some aggressive roster moves and have the pieces to contend in the AL Central. Depending on how the season is going, when Greene gets healthy will likely determine how quickly they promote him to the majors. The uncertainty around his health is really the last hurdle. Stash Greene for his upside – just keep an eye on his injury updates.

4. Nolan Gorman, 2B, STL – ETA June

Gorman is off to a scorching hot start at the plate, tied for the most minor league home runs with five and tied for fifth with 12 total hits. He’s started seven of his nine games at second base and is this week’s biggest mover up the ranks.

Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman are both off to strong starts at the major league level, so the last hurdle for Gorman is finding an opportunity. He’s not yet on the 40-man roster, so until then, he’ll continue to get regular at-bats at Triple-A Memphis.

Gorman is a strong stash considering his substantial experience and success in the upper minors and will provide your team a power jolt once he is called up and, importantly, may have dual eligibility depending on your league’s rules.

5. MJ Melendez, C, KC – ETA August

Melendez is coming off a monstrous 2021 season, where he lead the minors with 41 home runs while hitting .286/.386/.625 and driving in 102 runs. His success carried into Spring Training as well, where he hit .412 over 17 at-bats with one home run.

Melendez is off to a very slow start with the bat for Triple-A Omaha, though he already has hit a couple of homers. His primary position is catcher, but as we know, he’s blocked in Kansas City by Salvador Perez. The Royals have slowly been testing his defensive prowess at other positions, receiving a taste of the hot corner in 2021 and, notably, receiving his first start in the outfield (RF) of his professional career on Saturday night.

It’s quite possible that Melendez forces the Royals hand with his bat alone, but as many have speculated, he may be forced to move off catcher temporarily to accelerate his promotion to the majors. With his cold start at the dish and the Royals experimenting with his defensive flexibility, his ETA might be further out than originally thought. He makes for a fine upside stash across redraft leagues but barring an injury, it looks more like a second-half call-up.

6. Brennen Davis, OF, CHC – ETA July

Davis is also off to a very slow start, perhaps hindered by the cold weather, but a 34% strikeout rate isn’t what you want to see from a top prospect. Despite the struggles, he has immense upside, so let’s allow him some time to heat up before doing anything rash.

Across three levels in 2021, Davis hit .260 with 19 home runs, 8 stolen bases, and a .375 on-base percentage while being tagged by scouts as having 30/30 (HR/SB) type upside if it all comes together.

The Chicago outfield is fairly crowded at the moment, so Davis is an upside stash only right now who is likely to debut in 2022, but it won’t be until mid-season at the earliest. The strikeout rate and lack of stolen bases are becoming concerning, though.

 

7. Jose Miranda, 3B, MIN – ETA May

Miranda vaulted himself onto fantasy radars with a stellar 2021 season, where he hit .344/.401/.572 across two levels with 30 home runs and 92 runs batted in. There was a moment this offseason when the Twins were doing some roster reshuffling where many thought Miranda might get the Opening Day nod at third base. However, scouts don’t think highly of Miranda’s defense, so he has some refining to do while at Triple-A St. Paul.

Miranda’s minor league career has been a bit of a roller coaster, but he’s profiling now as a bat-first prospect which could lead to a call-up at any time. His proximity makes him an interesting stash, but uncertainty on his defensive profile may lead to irregular playing time and limited at-bats. Considering the importance of a 3B/CI bat in your fantasy roster, it’s worth stashing Miranda now as he could be one of the first to receive a call-up.

8. Triston Casas, 1B, BOS – ETA August

Casas has the look of a future middle-of-the-order bat, possessing plus-power and an extremely good eye at the plate. In 2021 across two levels, he hit .279 with 14 home runs and a .394 on-base percentage (15.3% walk rate!). The lefty received a taste of Spring Training ball this year, but he only managed a few at-bats before being relegated to Triple-A Worcester.

Casas displayed his power upside and superb eye this week, launching three home runs, including the 477 ft bomb you see below, and managed an impressive 8:8 K:BB ratio. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of an opportunity at the big league level, with 1B being occupied by Bobby Dalbec and regular DH at-bats going to J.D. Martinez. In most leagues, it’s not quite time to stash Casas yet, but he does have a nice combination of upside and proximity, but any opportunity he receives will likely be later in the season.

9. Gabriel Moreno, C, TOR – ETA July

Moreno is very similar to Miranda, profiling as a bat-first prospect with questions about his long-term defensive home. After missing some time early in 2021, Moreno came out firing in Double-A, hitting .373/.441/.651 with 8 home runs and 46 runs batted in over 32 games before earning a late-season promotion to Triple-A.

Moreno started the year at Triple-A Buffalo, where it’s expected he’s going to continue to refine his catching skills (which grade below average currently) but also get some additional experience elsewhere on the diamond, some speculate at third base. However, the Blue Jays are absolutely loaded at the big league level, and specifically, Moreno is blocked at catcher by Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen. With the signing of Matt Chapman to an extension, third base is occupied for the next couple of seasons as well.

Moreno’s bat upside makes him worthy of a stash in redraft leagues, but barring injury, there isn’t much of an opportunity for him right now, so he’ll keep getting regular at-bats in the minors.

10. Isaac Paredes, 3B, TB – ETA May

The Rays have worked magic in the trade market in recent seasons, and Paredes might be the next gem they’ve uncovered. Recently acquired from Detroit for Austin Meadows, Paredes is off to a blazing hot start at Triple-A Durham. He doesn’t have the prospect pedigree of some of the others on this list and actually made his Major League debut with the Tigers in 2020 as a 21-year-0ld.

For the Bulls, Paredes has split time between second and third base while normally hitting in the top of the order. He has an excellent eye at the plate (17.8% walk rate at Triple-A during 2021), is an extremely good contact hitter (14.9% strikeout rate in 2021), and though power has never been a big part of his game, Paredes ranks third in all of minor league baseball with 1.238 OPS (entering Sunday).

The Rays are currently platooning Yandy Diaz and Taylor Walls at third base, with the former being someone who could easily be designated for assignment or relegated to a utility role in favor of Paredes in the near future. Keep Paredes on your watch list right now in standard redraft leagues, but if he continues his hot hitting into May, he’ll be worth stashing in anticipation of a call-up.

Others considered (in no particular order): Heliot Ramos (optioned to Triple-A on 4/14), Royce Lewis, Juan Yepez, Vinnie Pasquantino, Nick Pratto, Pedro Leon, Alek Thomas, Oswald Peraza, Francisco Alvarez, Ryan Fitzgerald, Miguel Vargas, Estevan Florial, Gabriel Arias, Travis Swaggerty, Jarren Duran, Vidal Brujan (Week 1, #10)

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)

  • Bobby D says:

    Any chance Grayson gets pushed up sooner with Means hitting the 60 day?

    • Greg Gibbons says:

      Thanks for reading, Bobby! I really think Grayson is on his own timetable and whenever he’s ready there won’t be anyone blocking him. The Orioles have other options who might receive an opportunity in light of the Means injury (also covered Kyle Bradish in the SP article). Grayson ETA of late-May/early-June seems to be the popular opinion right now.

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