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May 6, 2013

The Stash List

Pitchers Versus Position Players

by Bret Sayre

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You might have noticed that, since this list has started, there have consistently been more pitchers than position players on it. This week is no different, as there are 15 pitchers and only 10 hitters. The reason for that is pretty simple—while pitching is more plentiful on the waiver wire than position players are, the stars need to align a little more for a bat stashed away on your bench to actively contribute value to any given fantasy team. If you had Anthony Rendon on your bench prior to his initial call-up, and you also had Adrian Beltre entrenched as your third baseman, you’re going to need to pull off a trade to capitalize on Rendon’s value. Of course, the owner with Beltre at the hot corner is less likely to be stashing a fellow third baseman anyway, which only furthers the point.

It’s rare to find an owner who couldn’t use more pitching on his/her roster (or at least an upgrade over the worst active member of their staff). When you’re dealing with individual positions, the barriers to entry for value make deciding whom to stash a different proposition. So while I’m saying that in a vacuum, Mike Zunino has more value than Anthony Rendon for the rest of this season, roster makeup can play a large role in determining who is more valuable to your specific team. And since the liquidity of these rookies can vary widely from league to league and owner to owner, points are docked for the lack of flexibility that may come with housing a hitter.

However, another factor worth paying attention to is the current eligibility of these players on your respective host sites. For example, and this is most important with minor-leaguers, Billy Hamilton and Nick Franklin are both playing positions different from their current league eligibility (both at shortstop). So when Hamilton gets the call, his eventual dual eligibility between shortstop and outfield only adds slightly to the overall package that you get by burning a roster spot on him. Additionally, Jurickson Profar right now has only DH eligibility in Yahoo! leagues; this could inhibit him from getting into your lineup immediately after his promotion. So if you’re unsure, just check. You may find something that you were not expecting (either good or bad).

Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 3.0:

The Graduates: Brian McCann (5), Dan Straily (8), Michael Saunders (12), Jhoulys Chacin (21)

1) Jurickson Profar, SS/2B, Texas Rangers (Last week: 1)

With Lance Berkman remaining healthy and Mitch Moreland continuing to be en fuego (hitting .417/.462/.604 since April 21), it hasn’t much mattered that Profar has an eight-game hitting streak and has only struck out three times in his last 39 at bats at Triple-A. He barely sticks in the number-one spot because I’m not confident in either of those things continuing. And it’s not like anyone else is stepping up to claim it from him.

2) Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Last week: 2)

Again, with Super Two status hanging over Myers’ head, he’s not forcing the Rays’ hand with his performance. This past week, he collected only three hits and racked up nine strikeouts. It’s possible that some of it may be frustration with being at Triple-A for so long, but while his 490 at-bats at the level are high, it’s nothing compared to the 863 at-bats that his future outfield partner Desmond Jennings accumulated.

3) Francisco Liriano, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: 6)

Saturday is the day that Liriano will make his 2013 debut, so barring something going wrong between now and then, this will be his last appearance on this list. His 23 strikeouts in 16 Triple-A innings, versus only one walk, are very nice, but let’s not get too worked up over the ratio. This is still Francisco Liriano, and Triple-A hitters will chase a lot more than major-league hitters. That said, Pittsburgh will be a great place for him to pitch, and you’re not going to find many guys on the waiver wire who have struck out more than a batter an inning twice in the last three years.

4) Matt Garza, RHP, Chicago Cubs (Last week: NR)

I’m just having a hard time getting excited for Garza’s return, and it seems that I’m not the only one. Even as Garza gets closer and closer to returning from injury, his ownership keeps dropping—hence his qualification for this list. In the past, you’d never think about Garza being owned this sparingly even while on the disabled list, but with the prolonged injury absence and the rather terrible Cubs team he’ll be returning to, it’s not an incredibly attractive proposition. He should be back in the second half of May, and could be a nice trade chip for the Cubs at the deadline.

5) Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: 10)

Two great starts from Wheeler this past week have once again put him front and center in talks of a promotion. However, what is likely to have the biggest impact on a possible promotion is the 6.16 ERA that Dillon Gee is sporting. Now, the Mets aren’t deluded enough to think that they need Wheeler up soon to contend, but he is the next guy in line for a rotation spot—and with more starts like the ones this week, he’s making a statement that the next step in his development will need to come at the major-league level.

6) Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 4)

7) Billy Hamilton, SS/OF, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 3)

Right now in Cincinnati, there’s certainly a need for outfield help, but Hamilton is just not putting himself in a position to take advantage of it. His 545 OPS through Sunday’s games is just not going to get him a one-way ticket out of Louisville any faster. The incredible thing about Hamilton is that even if he doesn’t get the call until September, he could still out-earn a number of players on this list from a fantasy perspective, even if they might have four full months of playing time.

8) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 7)

No news on Taveras is good news for the Cardinals, as the longer they don’t need him, the longer everyone else they are relying on has stayed healthy.

9) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Last week: 17)

Gausman gets a nice jump in the rankings this week for two reasons. First of all, he continues to be impressive in Double-A, now sitting at 32 strikeouts to one walk on the season. Secondly, the Orioles are off to another good start, and they now have Freddy Garcia in the fifth-starter spot. Even with Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton sitting in Triple-A, the Orioles know that Gausman is the future. And they could tap into that future within the next few weeks if things break right for him.

10) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: 9)

It certainly doesn’t tell the whole story, but Cole’s 21-to-17 K:BB in 29 1/3 innings so far this season isn’t exactly inspiring confidence in his fantasy owners.

11) Brandon Beachy, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Last week: 11)

12) Colby Lewis, RHP, Texas Rangers (Last week: 19)

Lewis takes another step in his return to the Rangers’ rotation this week, as he’ll start a minor-league rehab assignment on Thursday with Triple-A Round Rock. At this point, he’s expected to get four our five starts at that level to build up his pitch count and be ready to join the Rangers at the end of May or beginning of June.

13) Allen Webster, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Last week: 13)

Webster had his best start of the minor-league season on Friday against Durham, going six innings and allowing only two hits and a run (along with nine strikeouts). He showed that he’s ready from a performance standpoint to be in the majors when he turned in a quality start against the Royals two weeks ago, but with John Lackey looking good enough to stick, he’s going to need to wait it out in Triple-A a little longer.

14) Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 14)

15) Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins (Last week: NR)

Yelich storms up this list because he’s fully healthy, is performing well at Double-A, and the Marlins have become increasingly unpredictable with their roster moves. Originally, I figured that August would be a good guess for when Yelich would get the call, but I can’t say I’d be terribly surprised if it happened at some point this month.

16) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians (Last week: 18)

With five shutout innings last week, Bauer both impressed with his stuff (no runs and one hit allowed in five innings) and punched his ticket back to the minors with his control (six walks in five innings). Despite that, he won’t be long for the minor leagues with the likes of Corey Kluber and Scott Kazmir at the back of the rotation in Cleveland.

17) Drew Smyly, LHP, Detroit Tigers (Last week: 15)


18) Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals (Last week: NR)

Ryan Zimmerman returned, and Rendon ended up right back where he started, in Harrisburg. I know there’s a lot of talk about putting Rendon at second base and letting him take over Danny Espinosa’s job, but it’s just unwarranted at this point. If the Nationals are thinking about doing that, they’ll need to get Rendon some serious time at the keystone in the minors, and so far this year, he’s only played there twice (and zero times since April 13).

19) Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 16)

While there is still no imminent return for Ramirez, the imminent need for the Mariners remains. Somewhere, the two shall meet.

20) Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Last week: 20)

21) Cory Luebke, LHP, San Diego Padres (Last week: 23)

22) Cameron Maybin, OF, San Diego Padres (Last week: 24)

23) Chris Capuano, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: NR)

This week, it’s Capuano’s turn at the back end of this list. He will come off the DL to start against the Diamondbacks and, with all of the injuries piling up for the Dodgers, he should still have a job until at least both Ted Lilly and Zack Greinke come back. He’ll have a few turns to prove that he should nab the fifth-starter slot for the rest of the season, which would displace Lilly.

24) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 25)

It’s tough to see a direct path to playing time for Skaggs with the way Patrick Corbin has been pitching and with Daniel Hudson still scheduled for a mid-season return. However, an injury could change that in short order.

25) Nick Franklin, 2B/SS, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 21)

Despite receiving a cumulative .133/.218/.133 slash line from their shortstop position this year, the Mariners have still not given Nick Franklin a look. And you’d think if they were planning on it in the short term, they’d be giving Franklin more time at short in Triple-A. But with two games in his last eight there, it doesn’t look like he’s part of the solution to their problem. At least not right now.

Honorable Mention: Alex Rodriguez, Dayan Viciedo, Ted Lilly, Michael Wacha, Yasiel Puig 

Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

Related Content:  Anthony Rendon,  The Who,  Triple-A,  Promotion,  The Call-up

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