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The Stash Week 9: 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 8

 

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 June 3 (generally, the most recent three appearances and season total)

 

GRADUATES AND NOTABLE CALL UPS

Ethan Small, LHP, MIL

Small was called up this week and made his MLB debut against the Cubs. The southpaw worked into the third inning, allowing two runs, while striking out four. He primarily relied on his low-90’s fastball (52%) and changeup (43%) and mixed in an occasional slider. Overall he generated 11 whiffs over 69 pitches for a nice 29% CSW. As expected, his pitch count ran high and command issues led to four walks as well, and an early exit.

Small was sent back to Triple-A after this start, but in light of injuries to the other Brewers starters, he could be back the next time there is an opportunity, possibly next weekend in Washington. For your fantasy league, the uncertainty as to Small’s role and next start make him a shaky stash right now.

Edward Cabrera, RHP, MIA

Cabrera made his 2022 debut in outstanding fashion this week, logging a quality start in Colorado, surrendering just one hit while striking out nine. As per usual, walks were an issue as he allowed four free passes on the night. Even with this command problems, he registered a 43% CSW over 94 pitches, while routinely sitting in the upper-90s with his four seamer and drawing attention for a 96 mph changeup. It’s no wonder why his change up registered ten of his 17 whiffs.

Cabrera could be around for good and if he is still available you need to add him now. While his next start has not been announced, it seems clear he’s earned another trip through the rotation. Five days from his recent outing puts his next start possibly on Sunday against the Giants. A step forward with his command and Cabrera offers substantial upside.

Zack Thompson, LHP, STL

Thompson was called up on Friday by the Cardinals and made his MLB debut in a blowout win against the Cubs. He actually earned the save, though it was in an untraditional fashion, as he worked the last four innings of the game. Thompson showed off a five-pitch arsenal, including a mid-90s fastball (t-96.7 mph), curveball, and changeup. Though he only generated a 23% CSW, there might be room for more as his fastball garnered some attention for big velocity and spin gains.

In light of the Cardinals’ recent injuries (Steven Matz and Jordan Hicks), the Cardinals are in need of help on the mound. It’s unclear what role Thompson might ultimately take, but he’s primarily been a starter for his professional career so it seems likely he’ll get a chance to start at some point. He’s taken major strides forward and he’s one to keep an eye on as he settles into a big league role.

TOP-10 SP PROSPECTS TO STASH

1. Shane Baz, RHP, TBR – ETA June

Baz is a name you should be familiar with. The Rays top prospect made stops at three levels in 2021, including making his MLB debut in September. Over 2021, Baz compiled a 2.07 ERA with a 37.7% strikeout rate and 6.5% walk rate. In the process, his 2022 draft stock and dynasty ranking skyrocketed. That was until he needed arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in late March, thus delaying his season debut.

Baz is still a prospect and is currently on rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham. He is eligible to return from the injured list on June 6, and if all goes well, it’s expected that he will return to the Rays rotation shortly thereafter. He will likely be on a very strict pitch count during his first few appearances but could be turned loose by July. If Baz is available in your league, his immense upside is worth stashing now.

 

2. Caleb Kilian, RHP, CHC – ETA June

Kilian has been announced as the Cubs’ Saturday night starter against the Cardinals and will be making his MLB debut. He earned the call-up after a stellar nine starts, where he posted a 2.06 ERA, 24.8% strikeout rate, 9.1% walk rate, and 58.9% groundball rate.

It’s unclear if he will stick in the big league rotation right away or get another stint in Triple-A. However, his upside is worth stashing now and he certainly has a future in the big league rotation.

 

3. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, BAL – ETA July

Sigh. In what should have been Rodriguez’s last tune-up before making his MLB debut, the righty suffered a lat strain and is expected to be out indefinitely. He should have already been called up, but the Orioles are going to Oriole.

For fantasy, it’s worth holding Grayson if he’s in an NA spot or you have deep benches, and hopefully, we can learn more in the coming weeks and get a timeline. In shallower leagues, the uncertainty alone might be worth dropping him to the waiver wire. At best we’re looking at a second-half call-up but even that might be optimistic.

 

4. Max Meyer, RHP, MIA – ETA July

Meyer is currently on the minor league injured list with ulnar nerve (elbow) irritation. There’s currently no timeline for his return; we’ll just need to have patience.

If Meyer can indeed return to form, you’ll look wise for stashing him during this time. Any setbacks and Meyer will be worth dropping in all redraft formats. His upside is worth the risk right now, but even if everything goes right for Meyer, a debut is most likely in the second half.

 

5. Brayan Bello, RHP, BOS – ETA August

Bello has vaulted himself into fantasy relevance with an outstanding start to the season; registering a 1.60 ERA at Double-A over 33.2 innings, with a 32.6% strikeout rate, 9.3% walk rate, and 62.5% groundball rate. His successes earned him an early season promotion to Triple-A and now he’s on the doorstep of the big leagues.

The fun hasn’t stopped there, as he has dominated over his first three Triple-A starts, picking up three wins in as many games, including two double-digit strikeout performances, and a 36.1% strikeout rate thus far. Bello is looking like a future stud and considering the unsettled nature of the Red Sox starting rotation, he could force an opportunity should his hot streak continue.

To his favor, Bello is already on the 40-man roster but he doesn’t have a ton of experience in the upper minors so realistically he’s only worth a stash in the deepest of redraft leagues right now due to his upside. Should an immediate opportunity arise in the MLB rotation, there are other in-house options that will likely get a chance first. Either way, keep tabs on Bello he could be a game changer down the stretch.

6. Ethan Small, LHP, MIL – (New) ETA June

7. Hunter Brown, RHP, HOU – ETA July

Coming off his best start of the season and being named Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May, Brown had an unspectacular outing this week. He worked into the fourth inning, picking up four strikeouts, but allowing three earned runs and four walks. On the year, he has a 2.45 ERA, with a 33.3% strikeout rate, and a 51.5% groundball rate.

Brown might be knocking on the big league door, but when he arrives, his role is highly uncertain. His command is still a work-in-progress (11.7% walk rate), and the starting rotation in Houston is awfully crowded, even considering their injuries (McCullers and Odorizzi).

For these reasons, Brown might be destined for a multi-inning reliever role with the occasional spot start when he does receive a promotion. He’s a name to know right now, but he’s not on the 40-man roster, and there is no clear path to an opportunity with the Astros, so a call-up is not imminent.

 

8. Hayden Wesneski, RHP, NYY – ETA July

Cover your eyes. Wesneski’s most recent outing will probably send some redraft fantasy managers running for the hills. Easily his worst outing on the year, Wesneski has now had back-t0-back shaky outings, racking up more walks than strikeouts and ballooning his ERA by nearly a run during this time. On the year the righty now sits at 3.45 ERA with a 23.9% strikeout rate and 8.0% walk rate.

This cold stretch isn’t doing Wesneski any favors, especially when his counterpart JP Sears continues to log decent outings a both Triple-A and MLB levels. If there was any question before, Wesneski is now clearly behind Sears for big league opportunities in the near term. He may have the higher upside, but Wesneski needs to get back on track and hot before the Yankees consider him for a promotion. He’s only worth a stash in the deepest of leagues right now due to his proximity.

 

9. DL Hall, LHP, BAL – ETA July

Hall is a classic high-risk, high-reward arm who’s now progressed to Triple-A and getting some attention as a potential call-up sometime this summer. Hall has a long injury history and persistent command issues, but when it all comes together, he is lights out.

The Orioles are starting to make room for their top prospects, and one of those names will likely be Hall. Though he continues to hold a spot in the Triple-A rotation, he’s yet to work more than four innings in a game and has a sky-high walk rate of 14.9%. His stuff is as good as anyone, and he’s already proven he can strike out advanced hitters (35.1% strikeout rate), but this profile is begging to be a reliever.

Hall’s upside is enticing, but outside of the deepest of redraft formats, he can be left on the waiver wire. If everything goes right for Hall, a second-half call-up is in the cards, most likely in a multi-inning relief role.

 

10. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, LAD – ETA June

Pepiot continues to get shuffled between Oklahoma City and Los Angeles. This week the righty started in Triple-A and posted a solid outing, working into the fifth while adding seven strikeouts to three walks. On the year, he’s started 11 games between the two levels and posted a 2.09 ERA with a 62:27 K:BB ratio. Pepiot is worth stashing in the deepest leagues only due to his proximity.

 

Others considered (in no particular order): Cole Winn, Ryne Nelson, Drey Jameson, Cade Cavalli, Jack Leiter, Bobby Miller, Brandon Williamson, Jay Groome,

 

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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