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The Stash Week 5: 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 4

 

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 May 6.

 

Graduates and Notable Call Ups

Jose Miranda, 3B/1B, MIN

Miranda received the call this week and made his Major League debut on Monday. He’s expected to log time at first base, third base, and designated hitter, so he will likely have dual eligibility in short order. Miguel Sano is out for four to eight weeks following knee surgery, so Miranda should get an extended look. He’s been off to a slow start in 2022 but offers good fantasy appeal with hit and power upside.

MJ Melendez, C, KCR

Melendez joined the Royals this week when Cam Gallagher hit the injured list. He was off to a slow start at Triple-A but still showed enough to get the call. Expect Melendez to stick around for an extended look and split time between catcher and designated hitter. He was also getting some minor league reps in the outfield, so his versatility could keep him around, and he could potentially be a dual-eligible catcher. His upside at the catcher position is worth taking a shot on right now, though his playing time could be a bit irregular.

Royce Lewis, SS, MIN

For a brief moment this week, the Twins were expecting to be without Carlos Correa for an extended period of time due to a broken finger. They promptly called up Royce Lewis to take his place, only after to find out Correa just has a bruise and will not require a stint on the injured list.

Despite the status of Correa, Lewis was off to a stellar start at Triple-A, reasserting himself as a top prospect and earning a call-up to the big leagues. He’s athletic enough to pick up another position quickly; whether it’s third base or the outfield remains to be seen. But, as long as Lewis is hitting he will stick around with the Twins. Fast forward a month or two, and he could have dual eligibility and be a five-category contributor for your fantasy team.

Juan Yepez, 1B/OF/DH, STL

Yepez was one of the hottest hitters in Triple-A before being called up to the Cardinals. He is surprisingly versatile defensively, having spent time at both corner infield positions and in the outfield this season. The versatility will help him stick in the majors, possibly for good. He has plenty of power upside with the bat and won’t hurt your average either, having a 75.6% contact rate and just a 22.6% strikeout rate in the minors this season. Yepez should be slot in the middle of the Cardinals order and is a strong bet for regular at-bats.

Top 10 Hitter Prospects to Stash

 

1. Adley Rutschman, C, BAL – ETA June 

Rutschman joined Triple-A Norfolk this week, the last stop on his minor league tour before an inevitable call-up to Baltimore. All he’s done since returning from his injury is log a hit in seven of eight games played while walking more than striking out. He’ll get some run in Triple-A, but once he’s up to speed, he could receive a promotion at any time. He’s expected to spend time at catcher, first base, and designated hitter this season.

Rutschman should be rostered in all formats at this point. His proximity, upside, and health make him the highest priority stash in fantasy leagues.

2. Nolan Gorman, 2B, STL – ETA June

Gorman has been one of the hottest stash list hitters this season, making headlines with his near-nightly home runs. He continues to swing a hot bat as we get into May, though the strikeouts continue to pile up. On the year, Gorman now has a 35.0% strikeout rate. Read that again: thirty-five percent strikeout rate!

Strikeouts will always be part of his game, but he needs to make a giant leap forward in plate discipline before he gets promoted. Gorman is not on the 40-man roster, and there’s no clear opening at the big league level right now, especially since Juan Yepez was promoted.

Gorman turns just 22-years-old this week, so the Cardinals may not be in a hurry to promote him. Still, he’s a strong stash now, considering his substantial experience and recent success in the upper minors; plus, there are some MLB regulars struggling to produce. When he is eventually called up, he will be a premium source of power for your fantasy team. Let’s just hope he hits enough to warrant regular playing time.

3. Triston Casas, 1B, BOS – ETA June

Casas bounced back after a four-game hitless streak last week, hitting .364 with one home run and seven runs batted in over the last seven days. He’s also been on base in nine of his last ten games. On the year, he has a 23.1% strikeout rate, 14.5% walk rate, and 72.2% contact rate. Casas’ splits against lefties are something to keep an eye on; over 25 at-bats, he has only four hits and a 37.9% strikeout rate.

The Red Sox first base platoon is a bit of a mess right now; Bobby Dalbec continues to struggle at the major league level with only one hit since April 26, and Franchy Cordero is hitting a measly .200 with zero home runs and only one walk since being recalled from Triple-A. It’s only a matter of time before the Red Sox’s patience runs out, and they give Casas an opportunity. He’s worth a stash right now in anticipation of a call-up in the near future.

4. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT – ETA May

Well, this stinks. Coming into Saturday, Cruz had just one hit in his last six games, a 30.3% strikeout rate, and a 64% contact rate. His contact rate is up compared to last week, and he did grab a few more extra walks even though the hits aren’t dropping yet. His playing time is still mostly coming at shortstop, with 19 starts compared to two in the outfield.

He had a big night on Saturday, finally logging two hits, including a double and his second home run of the year, both with exit velocities over 113 mph! Cruz is a notoriously streaky hitter, and nights like Saturday trigger the fear of missing out on him.

Let’s exercise some additional patience as we get into May. Hopefully, the bat warms up with the temperatures, but for now, a promotion doesn’t seem to be in the cards. He’s still a hold, but it’s understandably becoming difficult to see him occupy a redraft roster spot.

5. Gabriel Moreno, C, TOR – ETA July

Moreno is as hot as any minor league hitter right now. Since last week, he has eight hits over 17 at-bats, with seven runs batted in and only two strikeouts. For the year, he’s now hitting .313 with a 19.1% strikeout rate and 5.9% walk rate, though he has yet to hit a home run.

Moreno is worth a stash in deeper redraft leagues only right now. He has limited experience at the Triple-A level, so it’s best he still receives regular at-bats. On paper, catcher is a bit crowded in Toronto, though he could certainly force an opportunity while Danny Jansen is on the injured list with an oblique strain.

6. 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.

Greene has not yet been cleared for baseball activities but is no longer in a walking boot. The best-case scenario right now is a return to baseball activities in June. Stay tuned.

7. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, KCR – ETA June

Pasquantino is really forcing the Royals’ hand right now. Coming into the year, he was behind Nick Pratto in terms of proximity to a promotion. But that may have already changed, as Pratto has struggled in the early going and Pasquantino is impressing while hitting .270/.391/.528 with a 15.5% walk rate and only 11.8% strikeout rate. Yes, the walk rate is higher than the strikeout rate.

Last week, Pasquantino added three homers to his 2022 resume and hit .304 with ten runs scored. Royals fans have to be eager to see him in the majors. With the recent injury to Carlos Santana (and his struggles at the plate), there aren’t many roadblocks for Pasquantino before getting the call should he continue to produce. He’s not on the 40-man roster, and this is his first year in Triple-A, but he’s already 24-years-old and quickly showing he’s ready for new competition.

Pasquantino is a stash in the deepest redraft leagues only due to his proximity. There is no indication that he’s on the cusp of a call-up, just speculation based on his performance. His hit tool will carry him, but whether his power shows in-game at the highest level will ultimately determine his fantasy impact.

8. Miguel Vargas, 3B, LAD – ETA July

Vargas burst onto the fantasy scene in 2021 after hitting .319 with 23 home runs and a 16.4% strikeout rate over two levels. Now considered a top prospect, his encore is currently in progress, and now he’s knocking on the big league door.

Through 27 games, Vargas is hitting .298 with three home runs, a 16.9% strikeout rate, and a 13.7% walk rate; impressive for anyone, let alone a 22-year-old getting his first taste of Triple-A. The problem for Vargas is the lack of opportunity at the big league level, which should be considered a major hurdle.

If your league is deep enough, Vargas is worth a stash based on his upside. Vargas has an above-average hit tool that will get him to the majors, but right now, there are too many mouths to feed in Los Angeles, so he’s ticketed for regular at-bats in Oklahoma City.

9. Alek Thomas, OF, ARI – ETA June

Thomas is off to a nice start in Triple-A and is on the verge of getting a call to Arizona. He’s known for a balance of hit and power tools, neither of which are elite, but both will play at the next level.

He’s in the midst of a hot streak; over the last week, he’s hit .320 with one home run, five runs batted in, and a 3:6 K:BB ratio. On the year, Thomas has a superb 13.8% strikeout rate, 11.2% walk rate, and 84.2% contact rate. Wow.

Thomas has made starts in centerfield and rightfield this season, but he’s really pegged as the future centerfielder in Arizona. He’s a top prospect but is more of a high-floor type player than he is upside. Either way, he’s only 22-years-old, but it’s only a matter of time before he gets the call. He’s probably not worth a stash in 12-team leagues; rather, a wait-and-see approach is probably best.

10. Vidal Bruján, 2B, TBR – ETA May

Bruján should be a familiar name as he started the year on The Stash List and has already been called up by the Rays for a brief cup of coffee. He’s known for his speed and hit tool, and after missing a few games earlier in the season due to injury, he’s starting to heat up. On the year, he has as many walks as strikeouts with an 84% contact rate. He’s been successful on six stolen base attempts already but has also been caught five times, which is worth monitoring.

Bruján will likely be shuffled back-and-forth between Triple-A and the Majors this year and is worth a stash only in the deepest of redraft leagues based on his proximity. If an opportunity arises where Bruján can get an extended look with the Rays, he’ll be worth an add based on his difference-making stolen base upside.

Bonus name to know: Luis Garcia, 2B/SS, WAS – ETA  ¯_(ツ)_/¯: Though he’s not technically a prospect, Garcia is crushing Triple-A this year, hitting .353 with six home runs and an 18:12 K:BB ratio and 82.3% contact rate. The Nationals continue to play Alcides Escobar and Caesar Hernandez up the middle instead of allowing Garcia an opportunity, potentially due to his poor defense (four errors already), but this is a bit of speculation. He’ll likely be up at some point and could be a significant contributor down the stretch, but his ETA is a bit uncertain.

Dropped out of the top 10: Mason Martin (Week 4, #10): Martin is still hot at Triple-A, but there are other names who make a better stash. Outside of the deepest leagues, Martin can probably be added once he is called up.

Others considered (in no particular order): Mason Martin, Josh Lowe, Brennen Davis, Heliot Ramos, Nick Pratto, Pedro Leon, Oswald Peraza, Francisco Álvarez, Ryan Fitzgerald, Estevan Florial, Travis Swaggerty, Jarren Duran, Tyler Freeman, Cal Mitchell, Oscar Gonzalez

 

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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