Welcome to the second edition of The Stash List for pitchers! We had our first in-season graduation this week, and a few new names have entered the chat. As always, we’re here to help you be proactive and beat your fellow managers to the punch when it comes to picking the young talent off the waiver wire this season.
- 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
- Players who have already made their MLB debuts can not have thrown more than 50 IP in MLB
- 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
This section of the column is going to highlight the pitchers that were on the previous week’s list, but who have since made their MLB debuts and are no longer considered stashes.
Grayson Rodriguez, BAL
Top 10 Pitcher Prospects to Stash
1. Brandon Pfaadt, ARI – ETA May
It seems that Brandon Pfaadt finally felt the effects of the Pacific Coast League’s extremely hitter-friendly run environment. He was able to overcome the altitude last season, but his fortune quickly dried up in 2023. This outing doesn’t do much to quell any high expectations for him, as he still struck plenty of hitters out and limited the free passes.
Pfaadt dazzled in his three Spring Training starts this year. He passed Drey Jameson in the pecking order after Jameson’s command failed him in the spring and he was given a role in the D-Backs bullpen. It seems absolutely possible that the team could move on from one of Zach Davies or Madison Bumgarner if they aren’t looking viable after about a month.
2. Gavin Stone, LAD – ETA May
Gavin Stone righted the ship in his second start in AAA after a rough Opening Day. The changeup was as lethal as ever, and he’s working towards quickly becoming a viable replacement if the major league rotation needs innings.
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.
3. DL Hall, BAL – ETA May
Even though DL Hall’s first start of the season was rocky, the silver lining is that it was a start and not a relief appearance. The Orioles used him out of the bullpen in the regular season last year and in Spring Training this year. But if he keeps starting games and stretching out in AAA, we can assume they’ll want him to occupy a starting spot for the O’s. However, a long relief role wouldn’t necessarily be out of the question.
Hall possesses some of the best strikeout stuff in the minor leagues (he managed to strike out seven batters in his four ST innings), but his pitching repertoire needs some refinement to withstand longer appearances. I still wouldn’t count on Hall making double-digit starts for the O’s yet, but he could be a real weapon out of the pen and might be good for a few key spot starts.
4. Tanner Bibee, CLE – ETA June
Recent Game Logs
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. It’s extremely impressive for Bibee considering he was drafted 133 picks after Williams in the 2021 Amateur Draft. The key to Bibee’s success last year was his minuscule walk rates paired with above-average strikeout rates, and that continued in his first start of the 2023 campaign. 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.
5. Kyle Harrison, SFG – ETA June
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.
His first start in AAA exemplified some of these concerns, as Harrison walked four of the 11 batters he faced. He will be a high-variance streamer once he’s promoted, so be prepared for a few short outings with ugly ratios.
6. Taj Bradley, TBR – ETA July
Taj Bradley had a rough first start of the season where he was wilder than usual, but he also managed to strike out a good handful of batters. His second start this week was much more normal for him, and he still maintained a better strikeout rate than we saw in his AAA starts last year while not allowing a walk. The MLB rotation will be tough to crack when healthy, so that might be the biggest limiting factor here if he continues on an upward trajectory.
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.
7. Matthew Liberatore, STL – ETA April
Ah, man. Here we go again. After a lackluster MLB debut in the 2022 season, I was all but ready to move on from Matthew Liberatore. But after 10 strong innings in Major League Spring Training and two stellar regular season starts in AAA, we’re back to thinking he could throw impactful innings for the Cardinals this season. It really helps that the Cardinals are hurting for pitching depth, as their MLB rotation features guys with long injury histories and one of the spots is loosely held by Jake Woodford, who has spent most of his MLB career in the bullpen.
Most Triple-A single-outing swings-and-misses from the weekend:
1T. Matthew Liberatore, 17
1T. Bruce Zimmermann, 17
3T. Kenny Rosenberg, 14
3T. Nate Fisher, 14
3T. Daniel Castano, 14
— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) April 3, 2023
8. Luis Ortiz, PIT – ETA May
Luis Ortiz made a brief major league 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. Jhony Brito, NYY – ETA April
Recent Game Logs
Jhony Brito was signed as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic way back in 2015 and he was called up to make his MLB debut on Opening Weekend after injuries to members of the Yankee rotation. He proceeded to blow everyone away. He spent the 2022 season in AA and AAA and has found success in the minors mostly by limiting walks and home runs. He hasn’t ever been known as a strikeout pitcher (He had a 20% strikeout rate in 112.2 IP) but he flashed some impressive swing-and-miss skills in his debut last week.
10. Gavin Williams, CLE – ETA July
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. And considering how packed the AAA rotation is and how nasty Williams was in his season debut, it isn’t out of the question that he makes the jump from AA to MLB at some point in the first half.
One prospect fell off of the list this week – Bobby Miller. This is simply because he’s the only one on the list who has yet to throw because of an injury. Especially with two new arms on the list competing for starts in the immediate future, it makes sense to wait and see how Miller’s workload progresses this month before stashing him.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Painter. According to the original rest timeline of four weeks, Painter should have started throwing this week. He did not, but the team insists that there hasn’t been a setback and they’re just being extremely cautious with him. 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)
Where would Soroka fit on this list?
Chase Silseth just living his best life in the PCL but getting no love :(