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July 2, 2013

The Stash List

Remembering the Medlen Effect

by Bret Sayre

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We’re halfway through the season now, and the Stash List has gone through a large transformation since it began two-and-a-half months ago. Gone are the elite prospects who were awaiting roster spots and/or the Super Two deadline to pass. Gone are most of the players who began the season on the disabled list—either because they have come back and been successful, like early Stash List favorite Francisco Liriano, or they are one of the seemingly many players unable to make it back onto the field, like Corey Hart or Ryan Madson.

But if you think that stashing has become a feeble exercise at this point in the season, it only takes a very short memory to see why there is plenty of incentive to do so. At this point in 2012, Kris Medlen was still lingering in the Braves’ bullpen awaiting a chance to move back into the starting rotation. In fact, he wouldn’t make his first start for Atlanta until the last day of July—and I don’t need to remind you how that story ends.

Of course, it is exceedingly rare for a player to make such a large impact in such a short period of time, like Medlen did. But there were others who were very helpful, just overshadowed by Medlen’s ridiculous performance. Hisashi Iwakuma made his first start of the season on July 2, 2012, and went on to post a 2.65 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 78 strikeouts the rest of the way. Salvador Perez had only 25 at-bats under his belt on July 2, 2012, and finished the season as a top-20 catcher. Pedro Ciriaco debuted on July 7 and hit .280 with 14 steals for the season.

Players will come up and make fantasy impacts in the second half, no matter what size league you’re in. And if I’ve done my job, those names should appear below. Maybe it’s the diminutive righty who continues to occupy the top spot on the list…

Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 11.0:

The Graduates: Dustin Ackley (3), Kyle Gibson (8)

1) Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 1)

The Eraser had his worst start of the season on Saturday, but when that’s giving up four runs while still striking out five and walking only one, that means he’s had a pretty good season thus far. In the opening watch, Jeremy Bonderman got smacked around by the Cubs while Aaron Harang looked pretty decent. I’d still be surprised if Ramirez doesn’t make his 2013 debut within the next two to three weeks.

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

So far, in Eaton’s four games since he’s returned to his rehab assignment, he has six walks and one strikeout. But his eyes were never the problem. This weekend, Eaton will resume playing games in the outfield, and if all goes well, he should be back in Arizona right around the All-Star break. The upside that got early draftees so excited this offseason is still there—and Eaton could be a top-50 outfielder in the second half with improved health.

3) Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 11)

It looks like Cingrani will get another extended chance in the rotation after all, because Johnny Cueto just cannot avoid the disabled list. As teams get more looks at him, I expect Cingrani’s level of performance to diminish, but that might not happen until 2014.

4) Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers (Last week: 12)

Speaking of players who may be able to ease some of the depth issues at third base, Castellanos is hitting like a man ready to take the next step. In June, he hit .361/.441/.583 with five homers and 16 walks to 13 strikeouts. Whether he comes up to Detroit to take over for Andy Dirks in left field or is used as bait to get a substantial piece at the deadline, Castellanos should make some sort of mark on fantasy leagues before the year is through.

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

As I write this, there is still no announced starter for the Orioles on July 4, so there is at least a chance that Gausman returns to the rotation in very short order. And after throwing 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of T.J. McFarland on Friday, he’s doing his part to make the statement that he’s ready. On a side note, despite his 6.52 ERA, Gausman now has a 3.63 xFIP and 3.79 SIERA. There’s underlying goodness just waiting to come out.

6) Brandon Beachy, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Last week: 5)

Back to playing catch, awaiting a rehab assignment. Beachy still has no obvious place in the Braves’ rotation, especially in light of Kris Medlen turning it on over the last month or so; he had a 2.14 ERA with 28 strikeouts and two walks in June. These things tend to work themselves out in time though.

7) Billy Hamilton, SS/OF, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 2)

8) Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets (Last week: 6)

The Davis Watch continues, as Ike is hitting .290/.436/.629 in Las Vegas with five homers and more walks than strikeouts. It’s only a matter of time before he’s back, and he’s shown in the past that he can put a very poor start to rest in the second half.

9) Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees (Last week: 14)

Tuesday begins A-Rod’s march back to New York, and though it seems like his is just as popular as Sherman’s march was to Georgians, he should be squarely on fantasy radars at this point. Third base has been a slightly better position than we thought in the preseason, but it’s also littered with players either on the DL or better fits at other positions. Betting against a motivated A-Rod isn’t something I’m likely to do.

10) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 9)

I cannot tell you how bummed I am that it’s unlikely I’ll be able to lay my own eyes on Taveras at the Futures Game this year, as his ankle injury continues to keep him out. He’s still this high on the list, however, because he could out-earn most of these other names with even six weeks of major-league time.

11) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 19)

With Trevor Cahill going on the disabled list with whatever injury they had to write down to get him out of the rotation, Skaggs looks like the easy choice to replace him on Friday against Colorado. Since Skaggs was returned to Triple-A in mid-June, he’s put up a 2.22 ERA with 33 strikeouts in just 24 1/3 innings. One of these times he’s going to stick for good.

12) George Springer, OF, Houston Astros (Last week: 10)

It took him less than a week in Triple-A to collect two homers and a steal. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s hitting .353. It also doesn’t mean anything that he’s hitting .353 in 17 at-bats. He’s exciting enough without the small sample sizes.

13) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 13)

Another week, another solid outing for Martinez at Triple-A. Yawn.

14) Grant Green, 2B/OF, Oakland Athletics (Last week: NR)

There are few players in the minors hotter than Grant Green right now. In the month of June, Green hit .372 with seven homers and 10 doubles—that’s good for a .645 slugging percentage. With the Eric Sogard show slowing down, Green may be given an opportunity sooner rather than later. Just don’t expect those types of PCL-driven power numbers to show up at the major-league level.

15) Danny Duffy, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Last week: 21)

Duffy was optioned to Triple-A at the end of his rehab assignment, but is inching closer to a return to the big leagues. He has not let up a run in each of his last two starts, which is good on its own, but is much better in concert with Wade Davis’ 5.55 ERA and ridiculous 1.82 WHIP. With the Royals on the verge of contention, that switch is a move that makes too much sense.

16) Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins (Last week: 16)

17) Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees (Last week: 17)

18) Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox (Last week: 23)

For now, it looks like Stephen Drew will not be going on the disabled list for his hamstring injury, but they are notoriously tricky ailments. Even the possibility of Drew being sidelined lent excitement to the notion that Bogaerts could have a role on this Red Sox team in the near future. He could have a similar impact for Boston down the stretch as Manny Machado had for Baltimore in 2012—if they can find room for him.

19) Michael Wacha, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 20)

20) Yonder Alonso, 1B, San Diego Padres (Last week: 22)

21) Sonny Gray, RHP, Oakland Athletics (Last week: 24)

22) Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: 25)

The shoulder injury Jonathon Niese suffered makes it only more likely that we see Montero before the end of the season in New York. If you’re into sexy strikeout-to-walk ratios, he is someone you want to watch closely—through 86 2/3 innings this season in Double-A and Triple-A, Montero has 92 strikeouts and has given out only 16 free passes. That’s Clayton Blackburn-esque.

23) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Last week: 18)

Singleton really needed a fast start at Triple-A to get the call before it’s too late to do some real fantasy damage. And a .345 slugging percentage is just not going to force the Astros’ hand.

24) Alex Colome, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Last week: NR)

Colome was optioned to make room for David Price, but he more than held his own in his three starts this year for Tampa. Although, if he wants to be taken more seriously as a starter going forward, he’s really going to have to cut into that walk rate (nine walks in 16 innings).

25) Chris Colabello, 1B/OF, Minnesota Twins (Last week: NR)

One of the stars of Team Italy during the WBC, Colabello saw a brief call-up earlier this year, but only received 16 at-bats. However, if the Twins trade one of their offensive starters, whether it’s Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit or even Josh Willingham, Colabello could get shot at extended playing time. He’s certainly opened some eyes at Triple-A this year, even as a 29-year old, hitting .359/.429/.659 with 20 homers and 65 runs batted in. In fact, he’s in the top three of all five hitting categories I mentioned in the previous sentence in the International League this season.

Honorable Mention: Jarrod Cosart, Travis d’Arnaud, Gary Brown, Aaron Hicks, Michael Pineda

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

7 comments have been left for this article.

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