The Stash Week 6: 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 5

 

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 13.

 

Graduates and Notable Call Ups

Alek Thomas, OF, ARI

Thomas was called up this week and made his Major League debut on Sunday. He was off to a nice start in Triple-A, with four home runs, three stolen bases, a 13.8% strikeout rate, an 11.2% walk rate, and an 84.2% contact rate.

Thomas is one of the Diamondbacks’ top prospects and possesses a good combination of power and speed. He figures to be taking over centerfield and will be in line for regular at-bats. His hit-tool will carry him, and he’ll add an occasional home run and stolen base.

Vidal Bruján, 2B, TBR

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 was starting to heat up before being recalled. In Triple-A, he has as many walks as strikeouts with an 84% contact rate.

Bruján will likely be shuffled back-and-forth between Triple-A and the Majors this year, which may limit his upside in redraft formats. If an opportunity arises where Bruján can get regular playing time, he’ll be worth an add based on his difference-making stolen base upside.

Top 10 Hitter Prospects to Stash

 

1. Adley Rutschman, C, BAL – ETA June 

Rutschman joined Triple-A Norfolk last week, the last stop on his minor league tour before an inevitable call-up to Baltimore. He hit his first home run of the season this week, and once he gets hot, he could receive a promotion at any time. Notably, he’s started games at catcher (8), first base (2), and designated hitter (4) this season, which is how the Orioles are expected to use him as well.

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 was named the International League player of the month for April after hitting .338 with 11 home runs, including a 16-game hit streak. As we get into May, he is still atop many minor league leaderboards, though he has cooled over the last couple of weeks. He hit his thirteenth home run of the year but is now at a 35.9% strikeout rate. Sigh.

Strikeouts will always be part of his game, but this is looking like a significant hurdle to his promotion. There was an opening this past week when Paul DeJong was demoted, but ultimately the team decided to give regular playing time to Brendan Donovan in lieu of promoting Gorman.

Gorman just turned 22-years-old and is not on the 40-man roster, and considering his strikeout issues, there’s plenty of reason for the Cardinals to keep him in Triple-A right now. 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 has cooled recently, hitting only .174 with one home run and six strikeouts over the last week. On the year, he has a 23.1% strikeout rate, 13.3% walk rate, and 72.5% contact rate.

Casas’ splits against lefties were noted last week here and made Red Sox news when Chaim Bloom called out these struggles as one of the reasons he’s still in Triple-A; over 29 at-bats, he has only four hits and a 36.4% strikeout rate.

In light of these comments, a call-up does not appear imminent, but Casas is still worth a stash in anticipation of a call-up in the near future.

4. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT – ETA May

Well, the hits still haven’t started to drop for Cruz, hitting just .171 with one home run over his last two weeks. Though, it appears his plate discipline has taken a step forward as he’s near a 1:1 K:BB ratio during this time and a .379 on-base percentage over his last seven games.

On the year, he’s reduced his strikeout rate to 25.6%, increased his walk rate up to 13.2%, and improved his contact rate to 70.0%. All signs that may be pointing to a long-awaited breakout.

Keeping tabs on him defensively, he’s started 23 games at shortstop and just three games in leftfield. Regardless of his position, every time the ball heads his way, you just have to hold your breath. Keep holding; hopefully, it’s worth it.

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

The calls for Pasquantino’s promotion are getting loud. Over the last week, he’s hit three home runs, been on-base at a .346 clip, and has a 4:4 K:BB ratio. On the year, Pasquantino is hitting .261/.382/.559 with a 15.4% walk rate and only a 12.5% strikeout rate. Yes, the walk rate is still higher than the strikeout rate.

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 redraft leagues due to his proximity, but he’s showing he has some growing power upside as well. His hit tool will carry him, but whether his power shows in-game at the highest level will ultimately determine his fantasy impact.

6. Gabriel Moreno, C, TOR – ETA July

Moreno continues to swing a hot bat, hitting .316 over the last week with four walks and only five strikeouts. For the year, he’s now hitting .313 with a stellar 19.8% strikeout rate and 8.8% 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. Danny Jansen returned from injury this week, so between him and Alejandro Kirk, they have catcher covered in Toronto.

7. 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 was cleared this week to begin running and baseball activities, though there is no official timeline yet for his return. Expect him to progress through a few levels of the minors before being considered for a Major League promotion, probably similar to the path that Adley Rutschman has taken this year.

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.

Vargas has been on fire in May, having been on-base in all eleven games, and has a hit in 14 of his last 16 games, including two home runs and a 7:10 K:BB ratio during this time. Quite impressive.

The problem for Vargas is the lack of opportunity at the big league level, which should be considered a major hurdle. Vargas is worth a stash based on his upside, but right now, there are too many mouths to feed in Los Angeles, so he’s ticketed for regular at-bats in Oklahoma City. He’s an injury away from being a significant contributor for your fantasy team.

9. Josh Lowe, OF, TBR – (New) ETA June

Lowe broke camp with the Rays and was a regular in the Major League outfield for the first month of the season, but he really struggled with the bat, and strikeouts became a significant issue (38% strikeout rate) so he was demoted to Triple-A last week. Lowe has a nice blend of power and speed, and he’ll get regular at-bats in Durham until he heats up.

Expect Lowe back in the Majors this summer, but like any Rays prospect, you’re only really confident that he’s playing on a given night when you can actually see him standing on the field. Irregular playing time is a hurdle to fantasy relevance in Tampa, but Lowe has the upside to be a significant contributor upon his return. Lowe could be back with the Rays at any time and is worth a stash due to the proximity.

10. CJ Abrams, MI/OF, SDP – ETA July

Abrams is a top prospect in baseball and broke camp with the Padres despite being only 21-years-old and still pretty raw in terms of his development. He spent most of his time at shortstop but also received some playing time in the outfield. He ultimately struggled at the plate and started to get irregular at-bats, so he was demoted to Triple-A El Paso.

In his brief time in the minors, he’s already hit three home runs and seems to be finding his groove. He’ll most likely be back with the Padres at some point this summer, but any ETA is largely speculative. Expect Abrams to get an extended run in the minors, but his upside is immense, so with sustained success, he could be a big fantasy contributor down the stretch.

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 .358 with seven home runs and a 20:13 K:BB ratio and 83.3% 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.

Others considered (in no particular order): Mason Martin, 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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