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April 1, 2014

The Stash List

Week One

by Bret Sayre

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Welcome back to my focal column here at Baseball Prospectus, The Stash List. I know, you’ve missed it. But for the 2014 season, we’re starting right from Week 1 with a first look at who you should be spending valuable reserve slots on in your league. For those of you not familiar with this column and the types of players who are included/excluded from it, I will now throw it out to past Bret to explain from April of 2013:

The purpose of it is to rank the top 25 players who are not active contributors to fantasy teams for 2013 only. Again, it does not take into account future value, which would result in a very different order. This list will include four different types of players, with specific restrictions attached:

Minor Leaguers: anyone currently in the minors. There is no ownership restriction for this category.

Major Leaguers on the DL: anyone current on the disabled list that is owned in fewer than 25 percent of leagues. The restriction is there to exclude obvious players like Hanley Ramirez or Zack Greinke, as I find it hard to believe they’d be on the wire in any leagues.

Closers-in-waiting: any reliever who is not actively getting saves and is owned in fewer than 25 percent of leagues. This excludes pitchers who are in “committees” and setup men who are widely owned for their own values, like Aroldis Chapman during April and May of 2012.

Others-in-waiting: any other player who is not currently active in the role that would net him the most fantasy value. This includes pitchers who are in line for a rotation spot but are not currently there, and position players who are not receiving regular playing time. These are players who would see a huge uptick in value from a change in role, like Kris Medlen in 2012.

Now that Opening Day is behind us and all non-active players are securely locked into either a disabled-list spot or a minor-league team assignment, it’s time to rank them because ranking things is the best. And when it comes to the particular ordering there are three things that needs to be properly taken into account: timeframe, impact and probability.

Timeframe itself is pretty self-explanatory. If Jon Niese is going to be back on Sunday and A.J. Griffin is going to be back in mid-May, Niese is going to be substantially higher—even though I do think their performances will be similar upon their respective returns. This comes into play with prospects too, as the free agency (late April) and Super Two (mid June) deadlines needs to be respected.

Impact needs as little of an explanation as timeframe does. George Springer may not be up until June, but he has the potential to do enough damage, just in those four months or so, to make him a top option here. On the other hand, a guy like Matt Harrison should be back far sooner, but his value in mixed leagues is spotty at best and an extra month and a half of him doesn’t move the needle.

Finally, probability is a tricky mistress. Will Nick Franklin get traded sometime this season? When will someone get injured to make room for Oscar Taveras in St. Louis? When will the White Sox realize that their no. 3 hitter is Conor Gillaspie? All questions toward which we may think we have an inkling, but we really don’t. It’s educated guesswork and we know it—thinking it’s otherwise will just give you unnecessary confidence in something you can’t control.

So anyway, with all that under our belts, let’s dive into The Stash List 1.0:

1) Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
A loud bang. A flash of lightning. He looks up and sees the sky opening to reveal the stars aligning themselves in a singular image. It looks blurry at first, but then the picture becomes as clear as can be. The face of Javier Baez sparkles and speaks: “Do not fear. I shall shepherd you out of the darkness and back towards the light. Just foll—damnit Junior, I’m not 20 feet tall!”

2) George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
Oh, what could have been if Springer had just signed the seven-year contract the Astros reportedly offered him during the winter. Of course, then he wouldn’t have qualified for this list. Springer has a legitimate chance to go 15/15 even if he comes up in June—though he’s much more attractive in OBP leagues than ones that use AVG.

3) Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Yesterday, the Pirates not only started Travis Snider in right field against a right-handed pitcher, but they hit him second. You tell me how quickly you expect to see Polanco up once it starts to make economic sense for the Pirates. And once he does get to Pittsburgh, between him, Andrew McCutchen, and Starling Marte, they’ll have the best defensive outfield in the game.

4) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
It seems inevitable that the Mets will do the exact same thing with Syndergaard as they did with Zack Wheeler last year—wait until after the Super Two deadline for him to reach the big league team. Though the difference is that Syndergaard is more major league ready, hence the high ranking here. He could be a high performer immediately.

5) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals
The talent is unquestioned, but Taveras’ durability is now the subject of growing whispers. If he can get a month or so of Triple-A time under his belt, the performance should speak for itself and the Cardinals’ roster will part like the Red Sea for him. His natural hitting ability could allow him to hit near .300 right off the bat—even if his power takes more time to show up in the box scores.

6) Jon Niese, LHP, New York Mets
This one is a little bit of a cheat, but he’s currently on the disabled list, and he’s under 25 percent owned. By all accounts, Niese will make his start on April 6, so this appears to be a one-and-done situation—if he can stay healthy the remainder of the year (and elbow inflammation is never something to take for granted with a pitcher), he can be a solid back-end option in nearly all leagues.

7) Jurickson Profar, 2B, Texas Rangers
Last year, Profar was the first player to occupy the no. 1 spot on this list. This year, he’s back, but in a much lower spot and for a much different reason. With his torn shoulder muscle, Profar is expected to be back in the first half of June and when he returns, he should be an immediate option in all leagues with average and some power and speed.

8) Josh Johnson, RHP, San Diego Padres
Who knows whether Johnson is going to come back when he’s supposed to, or stay healthy even after he comes back. It’s a fool’s errand trying to predict how much he will pitch. However, I do believe that for whatever time he is on the mound in San Diego, he’s going to be very good, so I’m not jumping ship here yet.

9) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners
10) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

The top two pitching prospects on my Fantasy 101 list this year, Walker and Bradley both face different challenges in their quest to make their major-league debuts. For Walker, there’s a rotation spot with his name on it as soon as he’s over his shoulder inflammation—and he’s on the right path there, already making his minor league debut last week. But then again, shoulder injuries are nothing to take for granted. For Bradley, it’s about waiting his turn and taking the final step forward in his command. The stuff is unquestioned, but there’s as much potential for him to be a WHIP-destroyer at the major league level as a high-impact strikeout pitcher.

11) Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
The rotund third/first baseman is above all else a hitter. And with a declining, injury prone Ryan Howard and unproved Cody Asche at the corners ahead of him, it’s only a matter of time before Franco gets an opportunity. He could hit .270 with close to 15 homers if he were to get 400 plate appearances, and gets a nice bump as a right-handed bat in Citizens Bank Park.

12) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins
13) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Consider these two the poor man’s Walker and Bradley. Both are great prospects in their own right, they just don’t project as frontline starters. Heaney is likely to get the call before Taillon because the Marlins have no regard for service time issues and require little upper minors experience from many of their prospects. Taillon will likely take until after the Super Two deadline, but he carries better immediate strikeout potential. Fortunately, both will be pitching in very advantageous pitchers’ parks, so they get nice bumps in value for that.

14) Jesse Crain, RHP, Houston Astros
With the dreaded “committee” happening right now in Houston, there’s really not an attractive name to own in the bunch, but there is help on the way. Crain had a sub-1.00 ERA and made the All-Star team in 2013—and though they are feats that he’s unlikely to repeat in 2014, even a regressed Crain could scoop up 20 saves on a bad Astros team.

15) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
How many homers does Bud Norris have to give up to left-handed batters in order for Gausman to get a chance? Ten? Twenty? Eighty-five?

16) Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers
It’s going to take longer for Holland to come back than most of these other names, but what he has going for him is that his injury is not to his throwing arm. Of course, it’s not like knees are important to pitchers, but it is more benign. If he can make it back before the All-Star break, he could still earn near double-digits.

17) Nick Franklin, 2B/SS, Seattle Mariners
The problem with Franklin is that we don’t know when he’s going to have value. If he had a starting job tomorrow, he’d immediately become a MI option in all leagues because of his all-around production potential. However, like Craig Goldstein and the Google alert he’s set up for his own name, we’re just left sitting around waiting.

18) Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics
I’m not going to dwell on Norris, as I put the reasons I expect him to win out as the starter in my Favorite Endgame Sleepers post from last week, but I do want to point out that John Jaso is projected to be the second worst framer in baseball according to the projections put out here yesterday. Norris doesn’t deserve this platoon fate.

19) A.J. Griffin, RHP, Oakland Athletics
It’s never good when a pitcher is on the shelf with an elbow injury, but with no structural damage, Griffin is looking at a mid-May return to Oakland. Once back, he should be as solid as always—making him an option in all sized leagues.

20) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals
Martinez makes this list for a combination of reasons. First of all, he’s next in line for the closer role if anything happens to Trevor Rosenthal. Secondly, he’s also a rotation option if Joe Kelly is finally revealed to be a pumpkin. Regardless of which way you lean, Martinez has the potential to be very valuable for fantasy this year if things break right for him.

21) Josh Beckett, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
I guess you could consider me a Beckett apologist. If he can get past this thumb issue, I expect him to put up solid ratios with a good chance at wins (as long as Brian Wilson doesn’t get called on to relieve him) in that rotation. Though health hasn’t been a strength of Beckett’s for a while.

22) Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
After losing the battle in Spring Training to Dustin McGowan, Stroman finds himself in Triple-A to start the season. He has some developmental work ahead of him, but there is likely to be a need before he’s 100 percent ready—making him a slightly risky proposition for 2014.

23) Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox
The White Sox batted current third baseman Conor Gillaspie third in their lineup yesterday and they won the game. There are so many levels on which this makes no sense that I don’t even know when to start. Matt Lindstrom closed the game. This is baseball? Davidson will be needed and in short order, he’s just lower upside than most of the other names on this list.

24) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
It was a rough 2013 all around for Singleton both on and off the field, but he’s looking to put all of that behind him and earn the first base job in Houston he wasn’t able to last year. Jumping over Marc Krauss and Jesus Guzman should not be the most difficult task in the world.

25) Alex Guerrero, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
With the Dodgers rolling the fearsome platoon of Dee Gordon and Justin Turner out there for April, they have to hope that Guerrero both gets healthy and shows to be an adequate defender at second base in short order. He’s not an elite option, but middle infielders don’t need to be elite to be useful.

Honorable Mention: Rafael Montero, Eddie Butler, Danny Espinosa, Matt Harrison, Jesus Montero

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

46 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

DanDaMan

Ah, forgot about this column. Love it though. Very helpful.

Apr 01, 2014 04:33 AM
rating: 1
 
jaked2782

so im sure im not the only one wondering....why no Archie?

Apr 01, 2014 04:36 AM
rating: 0
 
jaked2782

nevermind i missed him.. i see him now my bad

Apr 01, 2014 04:37 AM
rating: 0
 
swarmee

Consideration for Kendrys Morales, Stephen Drew, or Juan Francisco?

Apr 01, 2014 04:42 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Morales and Drew aren't part of the universe for this list, though if you're allowed to pick them up, they certainly make for interesting fliers. Francisco isn't a guy I'd be worried about stashing at this point--even if he got the playing time, I doubt he'd be able to do enough with it.

Apr 01, 2014 07:13 AM
 
Eddie Bajek

Jonathan Gray comes to mind as a possible glaring omission.

Apr 01, 2014 04:53 AM
rating: 0
 
Matthew W

Maybe let him throw a pitch in double A, before we worry about when he will have an impact...

The purpose of this list isn't "long term keepers", it's a factor of "timeframe, impact and probability.".

Apr 01, 2014 05:22 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Couldn't have said it better myself. I like Gray a lot long term, but he doesn't belong here yet.

Apr 01, 2014 07:13 AM
 
Eddie Bajek

But if he goes out and shoves in his AA debut, which a lot of scouts expect him to do, will it not be too late at that point? Maybe I'm just used to a deeper league...

Also, I disagree with your Derek Norris notion, but may leave that for a podcast email.

Apr 01, 2014 13:26 PM
rating: 0
 
huztlers

That is the type of stash which can cost you your league. This is not the top 25 prospects, it is players which may make an impact sooner than later.

Apr 01, 2014 14:28 PM
rating: -1
 
Eddie Bajek

I think we disagree on how quickly Gray will be ready. I envision a Gerrit Cole 2013 type season.

Apr 02, 2014 04:37 AM
rating: 1
 
Behemoth

It's unlikely that the Rockies will be in contention for long enough to make it worth rushing him. Realistically, even if he destroys AA, he'll be there for a couple of months. Probably a month or so at AAA as well to take him past the super-2 deadline. So in that case, you get half a season. If he doesn't lay waste immediately and every time, you get less of him. Even if he does, he has to pitch very well in the bigs immediately to have value, given that he plays in Colorado.

Apr 02, 2014 06:38 AM
rating: 0
 
jaked2782

thanks again for doing this list..i very much looked forward to seeing this each week last year.. I havent heard many talk about Nationals pitcher AJ Cole..what do you think his chances are of getting the call and returning some value?

Apr 01, 2014 05:46 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

I'd be surprised if Cole saw major league time in 2014 for two reasons. First, the Nationals have at least seven starters ahead of him (Roark, Jordan, Detwiler). Second, he's not ready and needs to make real strides with his breaking ball to get major league hitters out on a consistent basis.

Apr 01, 2014 07:15 AM
 
jlowery

I would lobby for Matt Wisler making the list, with Josh Johnson now hurt, question marks at the back of the rotation, Casey Kelly not ready yet, etc. Taking park factor into account he at least deserves honorable mention above Butler, and I would argue he should make the list above Stroman as well.


Also, the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward would like a word about that whole best defensive outfield thing!

Apr 01, 2014 06:16 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Wisler was one of the last cuts from the list. And it stems from both the fact that I don't think Wisler is ready to contribute meaningfully yet and that I believe in both Robbie Erlin and Casey Kelly (when he returns). Wisler will see major league time this year, but I don't think it comes until the second half.

Apr 01, 2014 07:23 AM
 
Graz96

Hey Bret, where do you see Carlos Correa ending up this year on the list? Any chance for a call up in September?

Apr 01, 2014 07:43 AM
rating: 0
 
Nojsztat

You realize he hasn't even played in A Advanced yet, let alone AA, right?

Apr 01, 2014 08:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

I don't see him on the list at any point in 2014, as I don't think that call up is happening. However, he is advanced enough to feature prominently on the initial 2015 edition.

Apr 01, 2014 09:23 AM
 
SJLedet

What's the latest on Jaime Garcia being available?

Apr 01, 2014 07:53 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Garcia has two problems--uncertain health and a very deep Cardinals rotation. He's one of my personal favorites from a talent perspective, but I'm getting more and more concerned that he doesn't play much of a role with the Cardinals this year.

Apr 01, 2014 09:22 AM
 
t0mmyo

Carlos Martinez missing out on the last rotation spot is a crime.

Has the most upside of any pitcher in that rotation not named Shelby.

Apr 01, 2014 10:27 AM
rating: -1
 
PDXPatrick

Have been thinking about dropping Javier Baez and then saw this. Thanks for helping me trust my draft-day self.

Apr 01, 2014 10:46 AM
rating: 0
 
MaineSkin

How about LaStella? I know he's not as sexy as the players listed above, but like Villar and mini-Krush (who can't hit a CB), the non-elite are essential to deep leagues.
Who are similar to LaStella?
Honestly, I think this question is unfair to ask at this particular time. Looking at Villar's rise through the MiLs, he showed consistent progression his 2nd time throw the league (K% lowered), so even as the trend existed, we all had to wait and see if his progression sustained at the higher lvls. In a month or so, I believe the popup guys begin to surface and depending on the league size is how and when owners may acquire (I traded Aybar around ASB for Villar and 2nd rnd pick in 50 player per dynasty).

Apr 01, 2014 11:12 AM
rating: 0
 
swarmee

I like how he is known on CBS Sportsline as "Stella, Tommy La" in the player listing. So you might have to hunt around for him if you want to pick him up.

Apr 01, 2014 11:33 AM
rating: 1
 
andrewdeeble

Hey Bret, if you put the list together this morning would the Parnell injury put Vic Black on the list? We know Valverde can't get it done, right?

Apr 01, 2014 11:22 AM
rating: 0
 
Jquinton82

Why would you ever put Jesus Montero on this list, even in the form of an honorable mention? ...he's been nothing but awful since being traded to Seattle.

Apr 01, 2014 11:52 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Because I still have a little faith that he can still hit and he still has catcher eligibility for 2014. I'm aware that I'm one of the few remaining members of this bandwagon.

Apr 01, 2014 14:40 PM
 
BarryR

Colby Lewis is still on the DL and I think should be on this list, perhaps partnered with Niese, like the Walker/Bradley pairing.

Apr 01, 2014 13:17 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

I have zero faith in Colby Lewis both staying healthy and being productive.

Apr 01, 2014 14:38 PM
 
SC

Is Byron Buxton just too far away from the majors to merit mention? Seems like he could be up this summer if the Twins are terrible, though he may take a few years to get going the long-term value is tempting.

Apr 01, 2014 13:18 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

He's not only too far away, but he's also going to miss the beginning of the minor league season as well with a wrist injury. We won't see him in 2014.

Apr 01, 2014 14:39 PM
 
ironcurtin

Wishing roster sizes were larger in my league. Dropped Loney and replaced with Geroge Springer. Who the heck is Jesus Montero?!

- A Seattle Mariners Fan

Apr 01, 2014 13:32 PM
rating: 0
 
Hodiggity2001

Been waiting for this. Interesting that you have syndergaard higher than Bradley and walker. And Johnson for that matter. How did you come to that decision?

Apr 01, 2014 18:29 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Syndergaard is the best equipped of the group to return immediate value in fantasy leagues. He's fully healthy (unlike Walker) and he has a strong current command profile (unlike Bradley), plus he'll be in a favorable division/home park.

Apr 03, 2014 10:03 AM
 
Chad Supp

Thoughts on Kris Bryant making this list this season?

Apr 01, 2014 20:37 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

I'd be pretty surprised if we saw him before either August or September, and all of the other players on this list have a good chance to see major league time in the first half.

Apr 03, 2014 10:05 AM
 
tonygartner

As the date becomes closer,will be making an estimate of the "super 2" date. It would be helpful for planning when to try and pick up a minor leaguer who could get called up.
Thanks

Apr 02, 2014 10:35 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

It will definitely be something I talk about as June progresses, but even when we get there, it's still just an estimate.

Apr 03, 2014 10:07 AM
 
BPKevin

With SB a commodity usually sought after, would you think Billy Burns would be a decent stash in a deep league?

Apr 02, 2014 11:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Unless you're in an AL-only league, I don't think Burns will be worth picking up. He'd be very stretched as anything closer to an every day player and Oakland expects to contend.

Apr 03, 2014 10:04 AM
 
VinnyCora

If Kris Bryant gets called up, he's at least a top 10 on this list, if not top 5. Either Brett forgot him, or doesn't believe he will get called up until 2015.

Apr 02, 2014 16:13 PM
rating: 0
 
jaked2782

no stash list this week?

Apr 09, 2014 17:36 PM
rating: 3
 
bigtonystarks

no stash list this week either?

Apr 16, 2014 19:04 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

The list returns on Tuesday the 22nd and will go straight through the rest of the season.

Apr 16, 2014 19:40 PM
 
jaked2782

He speaks!!

Apr 18, 2014 06:40 AM
rating: 0
 
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Fantasy Article Closer Report: Week On... (04/01)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article The Stash List: A 2014... (09/24)
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