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 2
- 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 21.
Graduates and notable call-ups
Gabriel Arias, SS, CLE
Arias was called up by the Guardians on Wednesday to be the 29th man for their doubleheader against Chicago. He spent all of 2021 with Triple-A Columbus, hitting .284 with 13 home runs, 55 runs batted in, and five stolen bases, and is firmly within Cleveland’s top 10 prospects. Though Arias lacks any standout offensive tools (hit, power, speed all grade average), he just turned 22 in February so he has some development time remaining and was returned to the minors on Friday. There are better alternatives to stash in your redraft leagues and even if he is recalled later in the season, it’s best to take a wait-and-see approach.
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.
With the bat, Cruz is off to a slower start than we’d like to see. Notably, his strikeout rate is sitting at 28.6% (23.4% in 2021) with a contact rate of only 67.5% (76.2% in 2021) and he hasn’t hit a home run yet.
Interestingly, over 11 games so far, Cruz has started 10 games at shortstop and just one game in left field. 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, Rutschman 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 him 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. Nolan Gorman, 2B, STL – ETA June
Gorman is off to a scorching hot start at Triple-A. He’s in the midst of a ten-game hitting streak and leads the league in home runs. The highlights are a nightly routine, including a stretch of five straight games with a big fly.
We dig the long ball of course, but his strikeout tendencies (33.3%) and modest contact rate (63.3%) to go along with a .375 BABIP are a recipe for regression. Strikeouts will always be part of his game, but a step forward in plate discipline would help his case for promotion.
Gorman is not on the 40-man roster and there’s no clear opening at the big league level right now, but he is doing everything he can to force the Cardinals’ hand. He’s a strong stash now considering his substantial experience and recent success in the upper minors and will provide your team a power jolt once he is called up.
4. Triston Casas, 1B, BOS – ETA June
Casas’ time is coming, perhaps sooner than originally thought. He climbs The Stash List ranks as he continues to mash at Triple-A, while also showcasing stellar plate discipline, including a 17.5% walk rate, 19% strikeout rate, and a 76% contact rate.
To date, in his professional career, he only has 105 Triple-A at-bats, so there is certainly a case to allow him to continue to get regular at-bats in the minors. However, the door is slowly opening for him to find an opportunity with the Red Sox.
Bobby Dalbec is hitting just .175 over 11 games with a 12:3 K:BB ratio, and JD Martinez left the game early Wednesday with a groin injury, missed Thursday and Friday’s games, and is considered day-to-day while allowing him to rest and evaluate him further. His early success, along with a benching or injury to a regular in the majors, could result in an extended opportunity for Casas, so it’s time to stash him in all redraft leagues.
Second-ranked @RedSox prospect Triston Casas caps a 5-run @WooSox comeback with a solo shot to dead center. pic.twitter.com/qmhgPAjJId
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 22, 2022
5. 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.
6. 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 has primarily been batting leadoff and starting at third base. It’s worth noting he started receiving looks at first base in 2021 and has started two games there so far this year. The Twins regular first baseman Miguel Sano is currently hitting just .083 with one home run, and a 28.9% strikeout rate.
Although he’s off to a slower start, Miranda profiles as a bat-first prospect and could be called up at any time once he gets hot. His proximity makes him an interesting stash, but uncertainty about his defensive profile may lead to irregular playing time and limited at-bats. Considering the importance of a 1B/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.
7. Gabriel Moreno, C, TOR – ETA July
Moreno is off to a hot start at Triple-A Buffalo, recording a hit in every game he’s started so far while carrying an 86% contact rate and an impressive 14.8% strikeout rate. His bat is his carrying tool and will dictate when he’s ready for a promotion.
Though his catching skills grade is below average, each start he’s received so far has been at catcher and there have been no reports about him working elsewhere defensively for the time being. Danny Jansen is currently on the injured list with an oblique strain and expected to miss a number of weeks at a minimum, with Alejandro Kirk and Zack Collins splitting the catching duties in the interim.
Moreno is worth a stash in deeper redraft leagues only right now. Even with a hot start, he has limited experience at the Triple-A level, so it’s best he still receives regular at-bats, and on paper, the catcher position is a bit crowded in Toronto. If he continues to rake, he could certainly force an opportunity during Jansen’s absence.
Gabriel Moreno, the @bluejays' No. 1 prospect, doubles in his third straight game for the @BuffaloBisons. pic.twitter.com/MSlbzyDiNv
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 20, 2022
8. Isaac Paredes, 3B, TB – ETA May
Recently acquired from Detroit for Austin Meadows, Paredes is off to a blazing hot start at Triple-A Durham. Though he’s not technically a prospect anymore and doesn’t have the pedigree of some of the others on this list, he’s certainly playing like he does.
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 (13.6% walk rate), is an extremely good contact hitter (77.5% contact rate), and has added some in-game power, which makes him an interesting stash for fantasy.
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.
9. Brennen Davis, OF, CHC – ETA July
Davis is also off to a very slow start, perhaps hindered by the cold weather, but there have been signs of life over the last few days. Davis is currently riding a five-game hit streak, including his second homer of the year, and two runs batted in. He’s still sporting a 31.0% strikeout rate and 63.3% contact rate, but it’s certainly a welcome improvement. Davis obviously hasn’t exactly been on base much, but he’s only attempted one steal so far this year, something to monitor.
The Chicago outfield is fairly crowded with Suzuki, Happ, and Heyward, so Davis is an upside stash in deeper leagues only until his bat heats up. He’s still expected to debut in 2022, but considering his cold start, it might not be until mid-season.
No. 15 overall prospect Brennen Davis celebrates taco Tuesday with an oppo 🌮 for the @IowaCubs. pic.twitter.com/45g3jcG8B1
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 19, 2022
10. MJ Melendez, C, KC – ETA August
Melendez is doing just about everything possible to fall out of the top 10, managing only two singles and striking out 11 times since April 13. For the year, he has posted a 71.1% contact rate, 25.0% strikeout rate, and 13.3% walk rate.
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 last Saturday night.
Melendez will need to heat up at the plate and quickly if he wants to force the Royals hand with his bat alone. If not, he may continue to get experience at other positions and push his ETA 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.
Other Notable Prospects (Through 4/21)
Others considered (in no particular order): Heliot Ramos, Royce Lewis, Juan Yepez, Vinnie Pasquantino, Nick Pratto, Pedro Leon, Alek Thomas, Oswald Peraza, Francisco Alvarez, Ryan Fitzgerald, Miguel Vargas, Estevan Florial, Travis Swaggerty, Jarren Duran, Vidal Bruján (Week 1, #10), Mason Martin
Photos by Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels, Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Drew Wheeler (@drewisokay on Twitter)