The Stash Week 4: Top 10 Pitcher Prospects to Stash in 2022

Top-10 Starting Pitcher Prospects to Stash in your Redraft League

Welcome to The Stash List, Pitcher Edition!

The Stash List will highlight the top-10 starting pitcher 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, Pitcher Edition: Week 3

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 29 (generally, the most recent three appearances and season total)

 

GRADUATES AND NOTABLE CALL-UPS

 

Kyle Bradish, RHP, BAL

 

Bradish made his MLB debut with the Orioles on Friday, working six strong innings, allowing just two hits, and striking out two. He showcased his entire arsenal, working in the mid-90’s with his fastball most of the game and topping at 97 mph.

He kicked his major league career off in style with a strikeout of Trevor Story, though he reached first when the third strike went to the backstop and was promptly erased with a double-play ball the next batter. He ran into a bit of trouble in the second, allowing a leadoff bloop single and two-run homer to Christian Arroyo on a mistake 94-mph fastball that leaked over the heart of the plate. Bradish then settled in, allowing just one hit over his final four innings, facing only one above the minimum the rest of the way.

Bradish was composed and efficient in his big league debut, working 64% strike rate and a decent 27% CSW over 81 pitches. He was around the plate all night, though he allowed a bit of hard contact, it is clear Bradish has the ability to generate whiffs at the big league level. It would appear Bradish did enough to warrant another turn through the rotation and with further success could stick throughout the summer.

 

TOP-10 SP PROSPECTS TO STASH

 

 

1. Roansy Contreras, RHP, PIT – (New) ETA May

 

Contreras made his first start for Triple-A Indianapolis since being optioned on April 21. He worked into the fourth inning and reached a season-high 57 pitches, though he didn’t have his best command (61% strike rate and worked around a couple of walks). His fastball sat in the upper-90s, with the only run coming on a 3-0 fastball to Luke Maile that he deposited over the centerfield wall.

Contreras will continue to get stretched out in the minors before returning to Pittsburgh as a member of the starting rotation. Current fantasy managers, please hold Contreras during this time. Once he is called up, he’ll immediately be their best starter and will be a significant contributor to your fantasy team down the stretch.

 

2. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, BAL – ETA June

 

Rodriguez made his fourth start of this season this week in a rain-delayed outing against Gwinnett. He wasn’t the sharpest out of the gate, surrendering a few first-inning runs before settling in, only allowing two base runners the rest of the way and working up to a season-high 77 pitches.

Kyle Bradish received a promotion to Baltimore this week, making his MLB debut on Friday, and Rodriguez may not be far behind. He is not on the 40-man roster, so a call-up is not imminent, but he is the kind of talent that you make room for once he’s ready. For fantasy, consider Rodriguez on the cusp of making a significant impact for your team, and is a must-stash in all leagues.

 

3. Max Meyer, RHP, MIA – ETA June

 

Meyer fired his second stellar outing against Gwinnett in as many starts, including two strikeouts against rehabbing Ronald Acuña Jr. Meyer’s lights-out season continues and he sits firmly in the top-10 of most significant categories in all of minor league baseball.

There’s currently no opportunity at the big league level for Meyer, so barring an injury he’ll continue to get more experience in Triple-A. After yet another dominant outing it’s time to add him across all redraft leagues. You’ll probably need to hold him for a few weeks but he’s shown enough to warrant the stash.

If you’re reading this on Saturday afternoon, Meyer is pitching right now, go check it out.

 

4. George Kirby, RHP, SEA – ETA May

 

Kirby earned his second win of the season this week after working five strong innings for the third consecutive outing, allowing just one run, and striking out five while reaching 76 pitches. On the season, Kirby sports a 1.37 ERA, 65% strike rate, and only faced 16 batters over the minimum through his four April starts.

Kirby continues to impress as he gets stretched out and is starting to push for a promotion. The Mariners’ immediate intentions with Kirby are unclear, though it’s very possible that he makes the jump from Double-A to the majors. An injury to Marco Gonzalez and inconsistency from Matt Brash might create an opportunity sooner than later for Kirby. If you have the space to stash Kirby, he’s worth the speculative add now.

 

5. Cole Winn, RHP, TEX – ETA July 

 

Winn was in the midst of his best statistical start of the season this week before leaving the game after a comebacker hit him in the ankle. He walked off under his own power and x-rays were negative so it’s expected he just needs to rest before making his next start.

The Rangers recalled Glenn Otto this week, who impressed in his most recent start. For the time being, the Ranger rotation appears full, though nothing is set in stone. Winn’s time is coming, likely whenever the next extended big league opportunity arises. Winn offers a mid-rotation upside and is worth stashing due to his proximity.

 

6. Edward Cabrera, RHP, MIA – ETA July

 

Cabrera made his first start of the season for Low-A Jupiter in what could largely be considered a rehab assignment in his return from a bicep injury. He spun four innings while sitting in the upper-90s with his fastball, and working up to 58 pitches. The important take-away from this start is not his stats, as he was clearly overwhelming younger hitters, but that he appears healthy and his velocity is right in line with career norms.

Cabrera is expected to join Triple-A Jacksonville in the near future, it’s uncertain as to whether he’ll make any other starts before rejoining their rotation. With health, Cabrera is someone who is expected to receive a call-up at some point in 2022 and certainly has the upside to be a difference-maker on your fantasy team. As with his colleague Max Meyer, the blocks at the major league level will require extended stints in Triple-A but once they have an opportunity they need to be rostered in all formats.

 

7. Caleb Kilian, RHP, CHC – ETA July

 

Kilian’s fourth start of the season this week was a bit underwhelming considering the momentum he’s been building to start the season. Known for his polished command, he’s yet to find his groove yet this season and higher pitch counts are leading to early exits. In 2021, over stops with two organizations, Kilian had a 69.4% strike rate and a 3.3% walk rate. Compared to 2022, he’s at a 57.4% strike rate and a 9.8% walk rate.

Look for Kilian to continue logging innings in Triple-A, but once he finds his stride he could get a shot in Chicago. Scouts peg Kilian with a mid-rotation upside right now but he does have the potential for more if he can take a step forward with his secondaries. With an ETA likely in the second half he’s someone to keep an eye on.

 

8. Jack Leiter, RHP, TEX – ETA August

 

Leiter worked his shortest outing of the year this past week, managing to get only eight outs over 70 pitches. He allowed four runs (zero earned) while working around a costly third inning error en route to his first loss. He continues to struggle with his command in the early going with a 55% strike rate and 18.3% walk rate. He has plenty of work to do before being considered for a promotion.

The Rangers starting rotation is far from a finished product, so there is no shortage of opportunity; you’ll just need to be patient. If you’re stashing Leiter, it’s purely speculative and based solely on his upside.

Leiter’s next scheduled start is tonight (Saturday 4/30).

 

9. Ethan Small, LHP, MIL – ETA July

 

Small has been dominant in his Triple-A outings so far and nearly unhittable. The lefty has a 0.49 ERA, 32.0% strikeout rate, and a .098 batting average against, tops in all of minor league baseball. The problem is, he’s also walking the world (16% walk rate) and there isn’t any room in Milwaukee for another starter at the moment.

With a step forward with his command he could very well force the Brewers’ hand, though, they do have a track record of promoting starting pitchers and using them in a bullpen role as they get their first taste of the majors. Barring injury or a trade, he’s more of a watch lister right now with a second-half ETA and likely an uncertain role.

 

10. Ryne Nelson, RHP, ARI – ETA July

 

Nelson is getting his first taste of Triple-A ball this year and is off to a bit of a slow start, though he is showing he has the ability to strike out advanced hitters. Through his first five starts, Nelson has been inconsistent and logged a 7.17 ERA while allowing five home runs already. Despite his struggles, he’s limiting walks (5.3%) and has a solid 21.3% K-BB%.

Arizona is perhaps the path of least resistance when it comes to pitching promotions, and Nelson is expected to get a chance at some point this summer. He needs some additional seasoning but a second-half call-up is very much in play. He’s a stash due to his proximity but he does offer some strikeout upside if he can continue to refine his secondaries.

 

11. Drey Jameson, RHP, ARI – ETA July

 

Back-to-back outstanding starts earned Jameson a promotion this week to Triple-A Reno. His last three starts have been masterful, with a 20:1 K: BB ratio over 17.0 innings and only allowing one run during this time.

Like Nelson, Jamson is not on the 40-man roster and will be vying for an opportunity with Arizona, likely in the second half. Expect Jameson to get a number of Triple-A starts under his belt before he’s considered for a promotion. Keep him on your watch list for now, but as we get deeper into summer he may be an arm to stash.

Dropped out of the top 10: Cade Cavalli, RHP, WAS (#7, Week 3): Cavalli drops out of the top-10 for the time being. He’s struggling with his command but has also been a product of some bad luck (.389 BABIP and 45.9% LOB). He’ll be back in consideration to stash but for now, he can be dropped or left on the waiver wire.

Others considered (in no particular order): Bobby Miller, DL Hall, Zack Thompson, Brandon Williamson, Cody Morris, Jordan Balazovic, Matthew Liberatore, Jay Groome, Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, Cole Sands, Hunter Brown, Alex Faedo

 

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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