August 19, 2014
The Stash List
18th Edition: The Final Quest
It’s been another very fun season of writing the Stash List, but all such things must come to an end. This will be the final installment of the 2014 season, so I hope it’s been helpful to you guys, and let’s do it again in 2015, shall we?
The Graduates: Dexter Fowler (2), Mookie Betts (3), Michael Pineda (4), Rafael Montero (6)
Fowler has returned with a vengeance from his intercostal strain, hitting .389/.522/.556 in his first five games back. I like him to close the season strong in an improving offense. The news was relatively sour on Betts until Monday, when Jackie Bradley Jr. was sent back down to Triple-A because his ineptitude at the plate finally overshadowed his delightfulness in the field. Betts should be playing pretty close to every day for the foreseeable future, and should be improved over his first stint, but don’t expect the light bulb to just turn on brightly. Off days for the Yankees have given Pineda some extra rest after his first start back—which was a positive sign—and he won’t toe the rubber for the second time since returning until Wednesday. The upside is still high, especially if you’re chasing strikeouts. Meanwhile, elsewhere in New York City, Montero is trying his hardest to satisfy the Mets faithful who really wanted to see Noah Syndergaard instead. He followed a weak start against the Nationals with a strong one against the Cubs, and fortunately for Montero, the Mets have a reasonably tame schedule the rest of the way.
The Departed: Matt Lindstrom (8), Kris Bryant (20), Noah Syndergaard (HM), Stephen Piscotty (HM)
I know saves are saves, but Lindstrom is becoming a worse and worse bet to reclaim the job before the year is out, and he’s a terrible pitcher to boot. Bryant and Syndergaard are still two of the best prospects to own in dynasty formats, but I’m done waiting around for them not to show up in 2014—even though we pretty much knew this already, hence their ranks. Piscotty could always surface in the case of a Matt Holliday or Oscar Taveras injury, but with both Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos playing better of late, the Cardinals could just roll with both of them in that case anyway and call up Randal Grichuk to play a reserve role. After all, he’s not on the 40-man roster yet.
And the ones who are still left waiting:
1) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Previous Rank: 1)
In Walker’s last two starts at Triple-A, he’s now allowed two earned runs in 13 innings, while striking out 22 batters (and walking four). In other words, yes. The Mariners are currently running Roenis Elias back in the rotation, despite the fact that he seems to be wearing down, but subbing him out for Walker could make them a more dangerous team as they approach the post-season. Elias’ turn comes up next in Boston on Sunday—but after walking six in his latest start, he’ll need to pitch better to hold off the charging rookie.
2) Jacob deGrom, RHP, New York Mets (Previous Rank: NR)
It’s pretty incredible that deGrom has dropped in ownership this much, but there are two things working against him here. First of all, as minor as it sounds like it is at the moment, it is still a shoulder injury. Secondly, even if he does return soon, he’s likely still facing an innings limit that will shut him down before the season ends. As of now, he could come back this weekend, but it makes no sense for the Mets to push him in another lost season. Then again, Jenrry Mejia.
3) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins (Previous Rank: 12)
He’s ba-ack. Heaney had his best start of the season on Sunday, striking out nine over eight scoreless innings and allowing just three base runners. This marks the third straight quality start Heaney has had, and he’s heating back up just at the right time. The Marlins are likely to recall him in September, and while the Marlins’ standing in the wild card race will have an impact on his role, Heaney is a potentially dynamite September stash.
4) Jeurys Familia, RHP, New York Mets (Previous Rank: NR)
Death, taxes and the Mets doing something we can all have a good laugh about. Well, unless you’re a Mets fan. For some reason, Jenrry Mejia continues to get drudged out there in the closer’s role despite being pretty banged up with a back injury, a calf injury and a sports hernia. Yes, this a team that is currently 7 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot (a half-game behind the Padres, no less). It’s only a matter of time before he’s shut down and Familia is inserted into the role, though how effective he’ll be is yet to be seen.
5) A.J. Pollock, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 7)
The only thing better than not hitting well while you rehab from surgery on your right hand is not hitting well and then getting plunked on said hand. Fortunately, Pollock should be back in game action within the next few days, and he is still on track to be activated prior to the end of the month.
6) Chris Owings, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 10)
September looks like the most likely return date for Owings at this point, who is slated to move his rehab assignment up to Triple-A later this week. Manager Kirk Gibson already came out and said that Owings would need a lot of at bats before resurfacing in Arizona, so he may take the full 20 days (which would put him back around September 6th).
7) Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers (Previous Rank: 5)
So now Holland is going to be continuing his rehab assignment until September, as the Rangers try their best not to screw anything up for 2015 before the season ends. Even if Holland only gets 3-4 starts the rest of the season, they could still make him a very attractive target given his talent level.
8) Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs (Previous Rank: 9)
At this point, it seems like an inevitability that Soler will be up with the Cubs in September. And based on the way he’s been hitting in the minors this year (.329/.422/.676 in 210 at-bats across three levels), plenty feel it’s inevitable that he’ll be worth playing in all leagues when he’s up. Let’s all take a collective deep breath first. He’s likely the most exciting call up coming this year that we haven’t seen, but
9) Nick Franklin, 2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Previous Rank: 11)
Franklin has been waiting for a regular opportunity for so long now, that baseball has completely ruined Tom Petty for him. His numbers may not be screaming for a call up, but with the Rays more or less out of the playoff picture, I still expect to see him in the majors in September so they can get a glimpse of what 2015 might look like.
10) Pat Neshek, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Previous Rank: NR)
With the concerns lingering over Trevor Rosenthal’s recent performance, the time is right to snatch up Neshek if you have the roster space. The 33-year old reliever has been one of the best stories in baseball this year, pitching his way back from injuries, obscurity and personal heartbreak—and his 0.86 ERA and 0.57 WHIP have been otherworldly.
11) Miguel Gonzalez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Previous Rank: NR)
That thing called Ubaldo Jimenez (and his 5.4 BB/9) is still being run out there every fifth day for a first place team. Meanwhile, Gonzalez has been relegated to the minors, despite an ERA nearly a run lower. However, it sounds like that is finally about to be dealt with in the next turn or two, with Gonzalez rumored to be returning to the team this coming weekend. He won’t be any sort of savior, but he should be usable as a streamer in 14-plus team mixed leagues.
12) Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians (Previous Rank: 13)
13) Ken Giles, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Previous Rank: 14)
There’s no questioning that Jonathan Papelbon has been quietly excellent this season, but the dynamic young right-hander could see a huge value spike if Papelbon is dealt prior to the 8/31 waiver deadline, or manages to get hurt. The fire baller has a 1.32 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and 38 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings—so yeah, he’d make a pretty good closer.
14) Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Previous Rank: HM)
Meyer was on a great run up until his last two starts, which have been a step back. Fortunately for him, Trevor May is doing unspeakable things on the mound in Minnesota—you’d be perfectly pleased with a 13-to-3 K:BB ratio, but the opposite is very bad. It doesn’t seem like the Twins have their sights on calling Meyer up yet, but a September call up is possible. Just don’t grab him if you’re in a tight race in WHIP.
15) Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Oakland Athletics (Previous Rank: NR)
Jason Hammel seemed to have been righting the ship a bit over his past couple of starts, before running into some long ball issues against the Braves this weekend. Enter the one who broke his hand with a punch. Pomeranz has been very sharp since returning to Trkple-A in mid-July, with a 2.88 ERA and 49-to-14 K:BB in 40 2/3 innings. After acquiring every pitcher on the planet over the last month, the Athletics may end up needing Pomeranz before the end yet.
16) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: NR)
There’s always the chance that a prospect with Bradley’s talent just rises to the level of the competition in his call up and shows very well his first time through the league. Unfortunately, the odds of that are low given his performance at Double-A since returning from injury. In 10 starts, he has 40 strikeouts and 28 walks in just 49 1/3 innings. Even if he does see the desert in September, that’s just not going to cut it in mixed leagues.
17) Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres (Previous Rank: 16)
18) Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals (Previous Rank: 17)
Right now there is no spot for Taylor in the crowded Nats’ outfield scenario, though all three of their outfielders carry elevated injury risks. Were he to get playing time in September, regardless of reason, he could surprise with his tools against September pitching. Just remember that despite his lofty batting average in the minors this year, he has severe contact issues.
19) Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies (Previous Rank: 19)
Will he or won’t he in September?
20) Dan Straily, RHP, Chicago Cubs (Previous Rank: 18)
I’m sure Straily will like to have a do-over against likely the worst current offense in the major leagues in their pitcher-friendly home park. Unfortunately, he’ll likely have to wait until rosters expand to show that he’s capable of more in the final weeks.
Honorable Mention: Brad Boxberger, Marcus Semien, Nick Kingham, Erasmo Ramirez, Brad Miller
Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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