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August 13, 2013

The Stash List

Checking Back in on the Graduated Perch Dwellers

by Bret Sayre

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First, let’s start with the sad news. There will only be one more Stash List left for 2013 after today, and it will run as scheduled next Tuesday. We’re getting to the point in the season where a lot of the skill in putting together this list is becoming overshadowed by short-term randomness, and the overall usefulness is coming close to running its natural course. But, we’re not there yet. So let’s party like this column will never end.

Since this idea was birthed back in April, the list has seen seven different players occupy the top spot. And now that we’re just about three-quarters of the way through the season, it seems like a good time to check back in on how those players are doing.

Weeks 1-4: Jurickson Profar

It’s rare that you actually feel somewhat confident that a player will rise up from the minor leagues and hit immediately, and I certainly felt that way about Profar. But 213 plate appearances of a 77 OPS+ was far different than I expected as even a floor for this season. I still believe that he’ll improve on it as the season winds down, but it turns out this future star was subject to the same rookie treatment as the mortals before him. However, it does serve to slightly lower his price tag going into 2014, which can be a beautiful thing.

Weeks 5, 7-8: Wil Myers

On the other end of the spectrum, Myers had to wait a little longer than conventional wisdom suggested (no one as talented as him should see 163 Triple-A games), but he surely was worth waiting for. Sporting a cool .325/.376/.509 line with eight homers and five steals in just 44 games, Myers is setting the bar high for the remainder of his career. If you picked him up prior to his ascent, you’ve reaped some serious benefits regardless of league size or format.

Week 6: Brandon Beachy

It was a simpler time before Beachy started having setbacks. Twelve weeks later and he’s still only made three starts with a 5.00 ERA—though that ERA is misleading given his 1.11 WHIP and 15-4 K:BB ratio. And sadly his is the uplifting story, at least when compared to some of the other Tommy John surgery recoverees who were considered sleepers during draft season (like Cory Luebke, Ryan Madson, and Scott Baker—none of which have even thrown a major-league pitch this year).

Week 9: Zack Wheeler

The 23-year-old Mets hurler has shown flashes of why he was once considered by some to be a better prospect than Matt Harvey. Of course, that was before Matt Harvey became MATT HARVEY, but I digress. At first glance, a 3.63 ERA, 7.1 K/9, and 50 percent win rate are impressive, but he’s walking too many batters to keep up that level of success. With that said, he’s still a special arm and I’d feel confident about investing in him in keeper/dynasty leagues.

Weeks 10-13: Erasmo Ramirez

Oh, how you tease us, Eraser. In five major-league starts, he’s given up 19 earned runs in just 24 innings, but still managed to earn three wins for a team nearly 10 wins under .500. There’s more talent here than he’s shown, but even if he improves, it still won’t have been worthy of sitting in the top spot for four weeks here.

Week 14: Marc Melancon

Since Jason Grilli left his outing on July 21 with elbow pain, Melancon has a 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, five strikeouts, and five saves in eight innings. In other words, he’s been one of the best closers in fantasy. Melancon may not spend the rest of the season in the role, as Grilli is starting a throwing program, but he’s been valuable enough thus far that it doesn’t really matter.

Weeks 15-16: Xander Bogaerts

To be continued…

Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 17.0:

The Graduates: Danny Farquhar (2), Danny Salazar (15), Ryan Ludwick (18), Sonny Gray (20)

1) Pedro Strop, RHP, Chicago Cubs (Last week: 3)

Another three scoreless outings this past week have solidified Strop as the go-to guy for saves once Kevin Gregg steps out of the role, whether it’s by trade or a potential demotion. He’s held the line in 16 of his 17 outings since coming over to the Cubs while striking out 20 batters in 17 innings. If he does indeed step into the role, he should become a middle-of-the-road closer immediately with the upside for more value before the season ends.

2) Trevor Cahill, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: NR)

I won’t lie, this ranking is the result of a battle of attrition rather than a hearty endorsement, but Cahill has looked solid enough in his rehab assignment. All signs point to him being ready to return to the big club on Saturday in Pittsburgh. I’m actually a big fan of Cahill’s talent in the long-term, as his ability to get outs on the ground is elite, but whether he’ll be able to turn his season around in the short-term is more of a guessing game.

3) Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B, Boston Red Sox (Last week: 1)

In a somewhat surprising move, the Red Sox recalled Will Middlebrooks this past week, leaving Bogaerts without a clear path to major-league playing time. Although, it may very well be that they want to give Middlebrooks one last shot before deciding to use a 40-man spot on the 20-year old. The fantasy upside is still there if given the opportunity, but unfortunately his arrow is pointing down right now.

4) Miguel Montero, C, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: NR)

There’s a big flashing red danger sign when it comes to catchers and back injuries, but by all accounts, Montero appears healthy enough to start a rehab assignment later this week, with the goal of being back with the Diamondbacks by the middle of next week. He’s certainly worth it on upside alone, but don’t cut your current catcher when he gets healthy, as back injuries can pop back up at any time.

5) Matt Adams, 1B, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 7)

The big guy is still just one injury away from playing time in a potent lineup, since Oscar Taveras remains out of the short-term picture. If he were forced into action, he’d immediately be worth owning in all mixed leagues of 12 teams or more.

6) Brett Anderson, LHP, Oakland Athletics (Last week: 8)

With Anderson, it’s all about hope. Hope that he can get through his simulated games to get to a rehab assignment. Hope that he can get through his rehab assignment in one piece to get back to Oakland. And hope that he doesn’t just injure himself again once he gets back to Oakland.

7) Billy Hamilton, SS/OF, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 6)

Just bring him up as a pinch runner already, Cincinnati. He could steal 15 bases the rest of the way without even getting a plate appearance.

8) Roy Halladay, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Last week: NR)

As a baseball fan, the thought of seeing Halladay suit up in a major-league game again in 2013 makes me happy. I’m not terribly optimistic about it, but given the makeup of this list, this feels like an appropriate place to put him. We’ll see how he looks once he starts his rehab assignment on Thursday.

9) Travis d’Arnaud, C, New York Mets (Last week: 17)

Since moving back up to Triple-A, d’Arnaud has six hits in four games, including a homer, along with four walks against only one strikeout. All signs point to the Mets giving him a chance down the stretch, and I like his chances of being productive enough to own when that happens.

10) Cameron Maybin, OF, San Diego Padres (Last week: 4)

Maybin had a setback with his knee this past week, as Jaff Decker got the call over him when the Padres needed another outfielder. He hopes to be back on the field again shortly, but another bad medical report will essentially knock him off this list.

11) Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers (Last week: 5)

The Tigers continue to give playing time to a combination of Andy Dirks and Don Kelly in left field, yet they also continue to win games, including eight of their last ten. Maybe they’re taking direction from the Giants, who won the World Series in 2012 with Gregor Blanco contributing mostly on defense at the position. Maybe he’ll eventually at least take the spot of Matt Tuiasosopo, who has completely come crashing back down to Earth, hitting .129 and one extra-base hit since the All-Star break.

12) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 9)

Still the least likely name to appear in a major-league box score on this list, Bradley just continues to dominate at Double-A. In his last two starts, he’s allowed two runs, 12 base runners, and struck out 17 batters in 16 innings. If he’s not ready right now, he’s super close.

13) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 10)

If you’re into baseball pornography, just check out Carlos Martinez’ Brooks Baseball page. Seriously, here’s the link.

14) Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals (Last week: NR)

If it’s really just a minor oblique strain, maybe he makes it back before the end of August and you get a solid month-plus out of him. If it’s a regular old oblique strain, you’re looking at the second week of September, and then it’s tough to rank him even this high.

15) George Springer, OF, Houston Astros (Last week: 13)

He finally joins the 30-30 club, and drops on this list. I would love to see him join the Astros at some point in 2013, but it just looks less and less likely that it’s going to happen.

16) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 11)

The wheels have just about come off the Taveras-in-2013 bandwagon. Fortunately, the Taveras-in-2014 bandwagon is the size of the Titanic and is boarding customers by the bushel as we speak.

17) Danny Duffy, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Last week: 12)

Duffy finally made his 2013 debut last Wednesday, but it wasn’t a great showing. He only lasted 3 2/3 innings against the Twins, who struggle against left-handed starters, and allowed eight base runners (although he did strike out seven). Now back in the minors, it will take either an injury or the Royals falling completely out of the playoff race to see him back in the rotation. And given that they’ve now won 19 out of 24 games, the former is more likely.

18) Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 14)

19) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Last week: NR)

20) Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Los Angeles Angels (Last week: NR)

The Pioneer League MVP in 2011, Lindsey struggled to follow it up as a 20-year-old in full-season ball. But after a slow start to the season, he hasn’t stopped hitting at Double-A—as evidenced by his .319/381/.519 line in 373 plate appearances since May 11. It’s not particularly likely that he’ll get a shot with the Angels this season, as he’s not on the 40-man roster and it would require him to jump over Triple-A, but with Howie Kendrick on the shelf and Grant Green’s experience playing all over the diamond, he makes for an interesting enough stash if the rest of the names on this list are taken.

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Singleton, Michael Wac

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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