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May 21, 2013

The Stash List

Jurickson Profar's Valedictorian Speech

by Bret Sayre

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"Fellow prospects, rehabbers, suspension servers and major leaguers awaiting the roles you were meant to fill,


The Stash List has not only been a place for all of us to be highlighted for our potential, but a community for the nearly famous. As we toil the baseball earth searching for a path to glory, we are subject to its whims. The injuries we played through, the bus rides we shared, the per diems we blew through at fast food joints, the dizzy bat races (ALL THE DIZZY BAT RACES)—it all leads to this.

When I put on that Rangers uniform now, I wear it for all of you. It has been a tumultuous three months for me, from the highs of competing for my country in the WBC [flashes the international symbol for honkbal] to the lows of missing out on the 25-man roster out of spring training. And while I may be youngest player to appear on the Stash List since its inception, there are words of wisdom I can leave with you as you get closer and closer to immortality. Wil, dear Wil, it's been a privilege to share the top portion of prospect lists with you. No one with your talent should ever have to suffer through 28 homers in Triple-A. I hope you've hit your last, and I mean that in the best way possible. Oscar/Billy, I will see both of you in future All-Star Games—I just wish it could be from the same dugout. Yasmani, stay out of trouble—100 games is a long, long time. Jonathan, remember what that union rep told you about the difference between the minor-league and major-league drug policies. And, when we play in Houston, the first three bags of Doritos are on me.

And when you get to the promised land, show them you belong with swagger and a smile that will give Jason Parks heatstroke. So that when the next generation of Stash List names are given sky high praise, it's you that they will be unfairly compared to. Stay thirsty, my friends. I'm now off to urinate all over the infield dirt at Rangers Ballpark so that Kinsler stays away from my space when he returns from the disabled list. I ain't going back to Round Rock."

Jurickson Profar, 5/19/13

Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 5.0:

The Graduates: Jurickson Profar (1), Ted Lilly (18)

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

After five weeks, we finally have a new number one—though if I had to guess, it won’t last for all that long. With the Super Two deadline approaching within a matter of weeks, it seems like a pretty safe bet to say that Wil Myers will be patrolling right field in Tampa before mid-June. I’m not even going to bother quoting his performance any more, since it just doesn’t matter. He’s ready and they know it.

2) Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 3)

Speaking of being nearly ready, Eaton finally took the last step in his rehab assignment by getting action in center field (he had spent the first 13 games of his rehab assignment at DH). He may not play every day once he gets to Arizona, but it shouldn’t take long before he reclaims the cult status he had at the point in spring training when he hurt his elbow. His legs are clearly fine, as he’s stolen six bases already on the rehab assignment.

3) Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins (Last week: 10)

He may not be the talent that the next player on the list is, but the opportunity for Yelich is just so much higher. Juan Pierre continues to be awful, hitting .130 with a .200 on-base percentage over his last six games—and that actually raised his OPS+ from 58 to 59.

4) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 6)

Yes, he’s still recovering from an ankle injury, but it’s not serious and he’ll be back in the lineup at Triple-A Memphis this week. And yes, there’s still no direct path to playing time right now, but there’s no denying the upside here. If all 25 players on this list were called up to the majors tomorrow (and all were 100 percent healthy), Taveras would be an easy number one.

5) Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: NR)

Sometimes a 3.27 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 11.2 K/9 just aren’t enough to stick in a major-league rotation. All jokes aside, we all knew this was a possibility when Cingrani-mania started—it just was sad to see it come to an end. But on a positive note, the Reds now will certainly have Mike Leake on a very short leash. Either way, this won’t be the last trip to Cincy for the enigmatic lefty, though fantasy owners have to hope that a return trip is not made to solidify the beleaguered bullpen.

6) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Last week: 7)

On Friday, Gausman had arguably the best professional start of his career, striking out 10 batters over six innings of work while allowing one run and five base runners. The Orioles also actually pitched Jair Jurrjens in a major-league game this past week. He’s getting closer.

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

Beachy was supposed to start on Sunday for Triple-A Gwinnett, but the game was rained out. Regardless, he’s getting closer, as well. Barring a setback, a return in the second half of June looks likely.

8) Billy Hamilton, SS/OF, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 5)

9) Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: 4)

Wheeler’s clavicle soreness is the perfect excuse for the Mets to keep him down on the farm until after the Super Two deadline passes. I expect him to be back in Las Vegas within the next week, and in New York within the next month.

10) Yasmani Grandal, C, San Diego Padres (Last week: NR)

May 28 is the day that Grandal is eligible to return, and he’s now begun the ramp-up process at Triple-A Tucson. He may split time with Nick Hundley at first, but, in time, Grandal could be worthwhile in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixed formats with one catcher spot.

11) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: 8)

After watching Cole over the weekend, the raw stuff is there to dominate at any level. His fastball and slider can miss major-league bats right now, and he is only going to get better as he gains consistency over his arsenal and overall approach. With his two plus-plus offerings (fastball and slider), Cole is a good bet to step into the big leagues and succeed as soon as he gets the call. However, the Pirates may be reluctant to give him that call until he has ironed out the finer points of his game and his performances level off in a more consistently dominant way.—Mark Anderson

12) Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 9)

13) Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals (Last week: 17)

Any combination of a Rendon start at second base and Danny Espinosa missing a game with injury is going to get me excited. If he starts another one tomorrow, I’ll be on high alert—as he hasn’t started two games in a row at the keystone all year.

14) David Hernandez, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 12)

Six straight scoreless outings for the right-hander have put him in position to capitalize if Heath Bell falters. Unfortunately, Bell is now 5-for-6 in save opportunities since taking over the role.

15) Kyle Gibson, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 24)

The hot rumor of the week is that Gibson will get the call on Friday against the Tigers, as the Twins have demoted Pedro Hernandez and called up a reliever in the interim. On top of that, Gibson’s next start at Triple-A is scheduled for (you guessed it) Friday. The reason he’s not higher on this list is that his upside for 2013 is somewhat limited. He likely won’t be a huge strikeout pitcher, and the Twins aren’t getting too many wins for their starters.

16) Josh Beckett, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: NR)

Not much has come out so far in terms of how his rehab is going, though it has only been a few days since he went on the DL. Beckett does not have chronic groin injuries, so the fear of a repeat injury is not as high as it is with others. Beckett has been known to pitch through ailments only to have them affect his performance quite significantly. Right now, purely from a health standpoint, I would recommend picking him up if you are able to do so on the cheap, as I do think he will come back and be able to make his starts.  From a performance standpoint, though, I would be hesitant to recommend him given his track record this year and his propensity to try to pitch through injuries. —Corey Dawkins

17) Nick Franklin, 2B/SS, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 19)

18) Colby Lewis, RHP, Texas Rangers (Last week: 15)

Lewis had a bad day yesterday, as his velocity frustrated him in his latest rehab start. In fact, after the game he proclaimed that he wasn’t ready to face major-league competition. Originally, it was thought that Lewis would be back in the Texas rotation by the end of May, but that doesn’t appear likely anymore. Keep an eye out for more injury news in the next day or two.

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

Given his inability to consistently repeat his delivery, it's no wonder Webster has struggled in his brief big-league trials this season. Webster has the hard sinking fastball and quality slider to get anybody out, but his inability to locate either pitch consistently dates back to his time in the Dodgers system. The early-season hype surrounding Webster is vanishing quickly as the fastball velocity has come back to a more typical level and the command has wavered, but that doesn't mean he is a lost cause. Webster will still be a quality major-league arm; he just might not be the monster he was billed as exiting spring training.—Mark Anderson

20) Drew Smyly, LHP, Detroit Tigers (Last week: 14)

21) Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP, Chicago Cubs (Last week: 16)

22) Peter Bourjos, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Last week: 21)

Last we heard, Bourjos is expecting to still need between one and three weeks before going on a short rehab assignment for his strained hamstring. Hamstring injuries can linger, especially for players whose game is built on their speed. I would cautiously recommend picking him up, if you can. —Corey Dawkins

23) Cameron Maybin, OF, San Diego Padres (Last week: 23)

Maybin took a nice step forward this week on his road back to San Diego, and is potentially looking at starting a rehab assignment on Friday. With the way he was struggling before his injury and the fact that it’s his wrist, I would not expect this to be a particularly short assignment. However, a return at some point during the first week of June seems reasonable at this point—and the best part about his wrist injury is that it won’t hamper his speed.

24) Michael Wacha, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: NR)

There was some disappointment in prospect land this week, as Tyler Lyons was given the nod for the Cardinals on Tuesday over Wacha. But I don’t expect Wacha to be very far behind. With Jaime Garcia staring down the chamber at shoulder surgery and Chris Carpenter anything but a certainty to return, Wacha should have a pretty clear-cut shot at a rotation spot that is currently employing John Gast and the aforementioned Lyons. Wacha’s issue right now is that he’s not on the 40-man roster—something that could be resolved by Jaime Garcia hitting the 60-day DL.

25) Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 25)

Ramirez doesn’t fall entirely off the list this week as news trickled out about his throwing program. Maybe we will see him in June after all.

Honorable Mention: Chris Archer, Tyler Skaggs, Alex Rodriguez, Anthony Gose, Cory Luebke

And finally, every other week or so, I’ll throw some potential AL-only and NL-only names at the bottom of the column (by popular demand). So, for you deep leaguers, here are a few extra names to keep an eye on:

AL-Only: Martin Perez, Jonathan Singleton, Chris Colabello
NL-Only: Chris Heisey, Nathan Karns, Scott Baker

Perez remains an interesting target, especially in light of any setbacks that Colby Lewis has. Singleton will make his 2013 debut this week, after missing the first 50 games of the season due to a drug suspension. He’s more likely to see major-league time this year than his future teammate George Springer. Colabello is a name you might remember from Team Italy in the WBC, but he’s also hitting .361/.419/.657 with 11 homers and 34 RBI in just 44 games at Triple-A Rochester. Heisey has been having setbacks in his return to the Reds, but he should get all the playing time he can handle when he returns. Karns is a very good prospect in the Nationals system, who could get the call should anything happen to Ross Detwiler or any other of their starters—but that’s more a reflection of their lack of depth than his readiness. Baker is still rehabbing and still targeting the All-Star break, but he’s the type of pitcher (strong command profile) who could have immediate success following a long layoff due to elbow surgery.

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

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