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May 6, 2014

The Stash List

Fourth Edition

by Bret Sayre

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The worst thing for a player who is performing at a high level in the minor leagues is to have a player (or players) ahead of him who is also getting the job done. This goes triple for position players, as a starting pitching prospect will force his way in there if his performance dictates that he deserves a job. If you look at the top names on this list (specifically the first five prospects), part of the reason why they are so prominently ranked is that they are significantly better from a talent perspective than what is ahead of them on the depth chart. Those five players, who are potentially going to be phased out, are (roughly) Travis Snider, Jon Jay, Luis Valbuena, Marc Krauss, and Cody Asche. Those are not impediments, they are placeholders.

The waters get much more murky when you have a player like Alexander Guerrero, who from a talent and performance standpoint should probably get a shot at major league playing time, but is behind Dee Gordon on the depth chart. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge obstacle, but Gordon (and his .385 on-base percentage) has been one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball this season. So while Guerrero ends up in the Honorable Mention section again because he would likely get the call in the event of a Gordon injury, that’s a much less likely outcome than a near replacement player playing like a near replacement level player.

Adding to the potential drama, Los Angeles also has Joc Pederson, who would be getting a ton of hype (and possibly a top-five spot on this list) if he weren’t behind a full outfield in Los Angeles. Of course, that didn’t stop Yasiel Puig in 2013, but with the money owed that collective bunch, the likely outcome of this scenario is Pederson getting a September cup of coffee before the Dodgers are forced to fix their glut of outfielders in the off-season. Sure, an Andre Ethier trade would help, but it would have to happen in congress with a Carl Crawford injury for it to even matter to Pederson—making it a two-step process. And the odds of a player just getting to the majors in that situation, let alone performing at a level worth owning in mixed leagues, is just not attractive enough yet.

So without any further ado, here is The Stash List 4.0:

The Graduates: Jacob Turner (19), Robbie Ray (20)

1) Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (Previous Rank: 1)
Nothing much has changed here, Polanco is still raking in Triple-A and he still is extremely likely to have to wait until June to start showing what he can do at the major league level. On a nice note, Polanco is now 5-for-6 in his last half-dozen stolen-base attempts after starting the season successful just 1-for-4.

2) Jurickson Profar, 2B, Texas Rangers (Previous Rank: NR)
Finally Profar’s ownership level has dropped to the point where I get to talk about him again in this space. As of right now, he’s ahead of schedule in his return to the Rangers—and this could happen as soon as the first week of June. Between the poor performance in 2013 and the current injury, Profar represents a great buying opportunity for the second half if you have a weak middle infield.

3) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Previous Rank: 3)
The best thing possible for Taveras’ fantasy value in 2014, besides his own health, is that the Cardinals have seemed to almost completely move on from playing Peter Bourjos in center field. Bourjos’ defense was a real hurdle to clear for the stud prospect, but with that out of the way, he just has to hit better than Jon Jay and Randal Grichuk (which he can do in his sleep). Taveras can hold his own in center in the near term, and after not playing there at all in the first three weeks of the Triple-A season, he’s now manned the position four times in his last 10 games.

4) Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (Previous Rank: 2)
The story of Baez’s strengths and biggest challenges has been told over and over again as his star has grown. Yes, the bat speed is incredible, but being able to pull a 95-plus-MPH fastball is going to make Baez see a lot of junk. You know where there’s a ton of junk (and not much velocity to take advantage of)? Yes, Triple-A. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Baez is struggling to start the season, but it will be more of a surprise to see these struggles continue much longer.

5) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets (Previous Rank: 4)
6) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Previous Rank: 5)

Singleton’s bat has cooled down a little as of late, but his 10 homers are proof that even a “cooled down” version of Singleton is still awfully dangerous. At a first glance, his strikeout numbers may be troubling, but it’s skewed by whiffing 11 times in his first six games. In the 23 games since then, he has 21 strikeouts—not a great rate by any means, but a 20 percent strikeout clip is certainly not the end of the world.

7) Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Previous Rank: 7)
He may already be in the majors, but because he’s starting in a bullpen role, he doesn’t lose his eligibility for the list. The plan is actually a clever one by the Blue Jays (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming it is their plan), as having Stroman adjust to the majors in the ‘pen while keeping his innings down is actually a smart move. That said, keeping him in the bullpen for an extended period of time behind J.A. Happ and Dustin McGowan is just all kinds of wrong.

8) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins (Previous Rank: 6)
9) Kole Calhoun, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Previous Rank: 8)
10) Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies (Previous Rank: 10)

For the first three weeks of the minor league season, it was a good thing the Phillies’ third base situation was an abomination, as Franco was scuffling to say the least. However, in his last five games, he’s nearly matched the number of extra-base hits from his first 22, and appears to be in lockstep with the temperature. The job should be his at some point in the next 4-6 weeks.

11) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians (Previous Rank: 17)
If Trevor Bauer’s fantasy value were a video game, it would not only be an underground classic, but the shocking twist to consumers would reveal a new final boss after it appeared the game had ended. With Carlos Carrasco now relegated to the bullpen, Bauer was (not surprisingly) passed over for a spot in the Indians’ rotation by Josh Tomlin. “Josh (expletive) Tomlin!” shouted the angry mob from behind their worn keyboards.

12) James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners (Previous Rank: 9)
First it was the elbow injuries in San Diego, and recently it’s been the shoulder injuries in Seattle. It’s like someone out there doesn’t want fantasy owners to be able to take advantage of pitchers’ parks the way we should. With Paxton’s rehab moving slowly, an early June return seems likely at this point.

13) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Previous Rank: 12)
It’s rarely a good thing when you get pneumonia, but when the alternative is an intercostal strain (and potentially a month of playing time lost), it’s okay to exhale a bit. This likely doesn’t depress Gausman’s value at all, as he would have been shut down early had he forced his way into the Orioles’ rotation in May. With a few turns off here, the Orioles can now keep him going through September once they give him the opportunity.

14) Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics (Previous Rank: 18)
It almost feels cheap to keep including Norris on this list when he’s been so good this season, but the reality is that he’s still not the full-time catcher for the A’s. If he plays himself into that designation, which you could argue he should have already with a TKTKTKTKTK line, he’ll become a top-12 catcher overnight and worth starting in almost all formats.

15) Nick Franklin, SS/2B, Seattle Mariners (Previous Rank: NR)
Back to the minors and back to the waiting game. With Brad Miller really struggling this year, Franklin has another path to fantasy value, but his most likely outcome is still a trade. There’s still time for him to move on and reach double-digits in homers and steals.

16) Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers (Previous Rank: 14)
17) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Previous Rank: 13)

One naturally has to wonder whether the Cardinals would be more comfortable moving Martinez to the rotation with a healthy Jason Motte in a set up role—conveniently, he started his rehab stint on Sunday and struck out the side in his inning of work. There’s the whole pesky issue of room, but he is a better option than either Joe Kelly or Tyler Lyons right now.

18) Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Previous Rank: NR)
Meyer finally makes his long awaited debut on this list, but he certainly doesn’t come without caveats. First, the control. Even on Meyer’s impressive run of late (with 11 strikeouts twice in a row to close out April), he’s walked at least three batters per game. Finally, coming off a season in which he threw fewer than 80 innings, Meyer’s impact is going to have to come from mid-June to mid-August, as the Twins are likely to be very cautious with his innings. That also means pitch counts (and fewer wins/strikeouts as a by-product). So keep your 2014 expectations in check and you won’t be disappointed.

19) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Previous Rank: 15)
20) Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres (Previous Rank: 23)

With Wisler being promoted to Triple-A this past week, his path the majors just got a little clearer. Fortunately for him, the Padres are still throwing Eric Stults and Robbie Erlin out there every five days. The former won’t stand in the way of a top prospect ready for major league action and the latter can be optioned down to hone his craft. Early June seems more and more realistic now.

21) Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Chicago Cubs (Previous Rank: 22)
The worse things look for Javier Baez, the better things look for Alcantara. Mostly because there’s a better chance the Cubs have a coconut crab with Darwin Barney’s glove playing second base than Darwin Barney himself in August.

22) Jesse Crain, RHP, Houston Astros (Previous Rank: 14)
Oh, the desperation in the Astros’ pen. Any human form of Jesse Crain would easily be the best option Bo Porter has.

23) Jaime Garcia, LHP, St Louis Cardinals (Previous Rank: HM)
As if Garcia hasn’t had enough to overcome in the last two years, he was hit by a pitch on the elbow in his first rehab start of the year. It looks like this will only set him back a couple of days, but then again, who knows.

24) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 11)
Please don’t take him away too, baseball gods.

25) Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins (Previous Rank: NR)
Arcia is due back this week, but the wrist injury combined with his already low-ish expectations, makes him a tough sell in anything but deep mixed leagues. Still love the bat long-term though.

Honorable Mention: Jesus Montero, Alexander Guerrero, Casey Kelly, Joc Pederson, Rafael Montero

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

jaked2782

it may be just me but im not really excited about any of these guys this year..i doubt anybody on this list contributes significantly to our fantasy teams until august at the earliest.. i guess its just a down year of sorts but thanks for putting this together always a fun read!

May 06, 2014 05:01 AM
rating: -2
 
BPKevin

I think a lot of people have been spoiled with Trout, Jose Fernandes and a few others. Prospects don't usually contribute highly right away, so I think expectations have been set too high.
Personally, I 've been hoping Alex Meyer gained a little more control because I think he and Kevin Gausman can contribute as soon as they are up.
I'm in two rather deep leagues, so this information is extremely helpful.
In the one AL only league, I've already stashed Jesus Montero and wondered if you think Jesus Aguilar or Johann Santana is worth an "outside of honorable mention" stash?
Thank you

May 06, 2014 06:38 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Jesus Aguilar? Is this RotoLando?

I wouldn't bother with either guy, as their odds of making the roster (and then making an impact) is very small. I'd have to be in either a very deep mixed or AL-only format to do that.

May 06, 2014 06:57 AM
 
Gumby

Don't sleep on Cody Allen, people. The time is coming.

May 06, 2014 06:51 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

My love for Cody Allen is known far and wide across this kingdom. Unfortunately, he's too widely owned to make this list. :(

May 06, 2014 06:58 AM
 
Gumby

If he's even more widely known than Polanco and Baez, then you're to blame, Bret! :)

May 06, 2014 08:04 AM
rating: 0
 
Gumby

er, "owned"

May 06, 2014 08:04 AM
rating: 0
 
Gumby

And just as an additional data point: I realize one size does not fit all league-to-league, but in CBS it looks like Polanco is 70% owned while Allen is at 26%.

May 06, 2014 08:06 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

CBS, Yahoo, and ESPN draw from different pools of owners. CBS seems to have more only and dynasty leagues which skews ownership percentages up. ESPN has a lot of standard mixed, which by their definition is a 10-team league.

May 06, 2014 09:27 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

How do you feel about Matt Lindstrom?

May 06, 2014 07:13 AM
 
AJ

Coconut Crab for the All-Star Game!

May 06, 2014 08:00 AM
rating: 1
 
spundin

Josh Willingham considered?

May 06, 2014 08:16 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Was on the list last week, but dropped off due to setbacks with his recovery. He'll be back one he gets a little closer, as the age and nature of the injury (wrist--which is never good for a power hitter) provide a few question marks.

May 06, 2014 09:44 AM
 
Schere

No chance that Kris Bryant gets a call before September, huh?

May 06, 2014 08:28 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Maybe August if you are super optimistic, but I'd be very surprised if he makes any sort of fantasy impact in 2014. The Cubs are still in the evaluation stage with some of their major league roster, including Olt--plus he's behind Baez and Alcantara for a promotion. On top of that, he needs more reps at 3B to see whether he can play the position at the major league level. The guy hasn't even played 100 pro games yet (including the AFL), let's all just take a breath.

May 06, 2014 09:41 AM
 
cnote66

Awesome article -- part of my "must read" from this site. Keep up the excellent work!

May 06, 2014 08:39 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Thanks!

May 06, 2014 09:42 AM
 
JPinPhilly

I don't buy the 4-6 week range for Franco. Sandberg & Co. seem to be giving Asche every opportunity to prove himself and Franco is still only 21 years-old and not really in need of a push. I think he's gonna spend a bit more time in AAA this year.

May 06, 2014 08:56 AM
rating: 0
 
frqtflyr

Seconding the Bryant question. Yes, he strikes out at an alarming (albeit not Gallo-esque) rate, but wouldn't he be an instant upgrade over Olt and company? He wouldn't be the first player to jump from AA. Yet he hasn't made this list, even as a honorable mention, since you started, despite his light-tower power.

May 06, 2014 09:35 AM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

The point is that it doesn't matter. The Cubs want to see what they have in Olt. They can't do that if he's in Triple-A or on the bench. What's the rush to get Bryant up anyway? It's not like he doesn't have things he needs to work on in the minors.

May 06, 2014 09:47 AM
 
aswnylaw

Brett, this is the most entertaining and informative fantasy baseball article out there. I look forward to it every week. Thanks for the insights!

May 06, 2014 09:39 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Thanks!

May 06, 2014 10:03 AM
 
LynchMob

Did you consider Kyle Blanks for this list?

May 06, 2014 15:43 PM
rating: 0
 
bpars3

What happened to Matt Davidson? Is he continuing his rough start? Thanks.

May 06, 2014 16:12 PM
rating: 0
 
Robbber

Lambo? He's hitting a ton just now.

May 06, 2014 18:22 PM
rating: 0
 
Gregantell1

Did you consider Bundy for this list as his rehab progresses?

Thank you.

May 06, 2014 18:27 PM
rating: 0
 
JustinRKlein

I'm curious to know where you feel Miguel Sano fits in. I am holding him in dynasty, but I'm competing this year (currently in first) and every roster spot counts. I've already been forced to drop Nova and Taillon because of DL issues as well (Kipnis, Eaton, Taijuan).

I have Arenado at 3B along with Castellanos and Bogaerts in the mix as well, so my future at 3B isn't as bleak as it once was (Headley).

Currently stashing Heaney and Gausman along with the recently called up Stroman FWIW.

May 07, 2014 15:28 PM
rating: 0
 
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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: AL E... (05/06)
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