April 23, 2015
The Stash List
Third Edition, 2015
If you’re here for the introduction, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re here for the Stash List, welcome friend, have a seat.
This was a fun week, huh? Bryant was the most overrated prospect ever on Friday, before being the greatest prospect ever the rest of the week. He’s going to play every day and hit in the middle of that lineup, and I like his chances at being a top-10 third baseman the rest of the way. Of course, some people will value him as a top-two option and those people may provide you with an interesting opportunity. Salazar finally claimed his rotation spot after getting passed over in spring training, and with Zach McAllister headed to the bullpen for the foreseeable future and T.J. House being generally terrible, his job security is surprisingly high at the moment. Of course, he’s still not a great bet to hold up over the course of a full season, either from a health or performance standpoint, but enjoy it while it lasts. Russell was someone I had planned to give a huge bump to this week, given the playing time he started getting at second base. But instead the Cubs didn’t even give me the chance to look smart and promoted him before I could do it. I blame Jason Parks, obviously. Russell will have eyes in the back of his head with two members of the Stash List as possibilities to take over for him if he stumbles, but he’s an elite prospect for good reason.
With a few higher-profile demotions and eligible injured players, these three get the bump. Appel has looked strong to start the season, and he’s deserving of a spot on this list once the backlog has cleared. Garcia is likely four-to-six weeks away from a return, and the Cardinals don’t know whether he’ll even be able to hold down a rotation spot at that point, given his latest bout with fatigue. Finally, Gray just doesn’t look like the impact prospect that he hinted at around the time he was drafted in 2013. If he’s an inconsistent no. 3/4 starter staring down the barrel of being a rookie in Coors, I don’t want any part of that this year.
Rodon still qualifies for this list because he’s not in his permanent role yet (the rotation) and he’s not above the ownership limit for relievers (25 percent). He got into his first game on Tuesday, and things didn’t go so well—as he allowed six base runners and two runs in 2 1/3 innings. However, the most promising thing was that he threw 60 pitches, meaning the White Sox are keeping him stretched out. It’s only a matter of time before he ends up in the rotation.
As of now, Friday looks like it could be the day Saunders returns to the Blue Jays—and it’s just in time, as Jose Bautista is sidelined with a shoulder injury. With all of the playing time against right-handed pitchers ahead of him that he can handle, Saunders makes for a strong last outfielder in mixed leagues.
The high-velocity, low-strikeout starter is crashing the party this week after going on the disabled list last week with shoulder soreness. With a return anticipated during the first half of May, Alvarez will set out to prove that he can improve his peripherals to match his ERA, rather than see the regression that many assume is coming.
We’re only three weeks into the season and there are already issues with C.J. Wilson’s elbow and Matt Shoemaker’s performance. Even with Hector Santiago pitching well and Garrett Richards healthy, Heaney should have a shot to get into the rotation before Memorial Day and should make for a strong starter at home immediately.
In just one start this season, Iglesias showed both the positives and negatives of his game. He cruised through the first couple of innings, getting swings and misses with his fastball and crisp slider. But by the fifth inning, he was losing command and velocity, only adding fuel to the fire that he’s a reliever in the end. Regardless of what his long-term role is, the Reds are continuing to treat him as a starter, and there’s just no way Jason Marquis holds him off for that long. The strikeout potential is strong here, and having a month or so to stretch out in Triple-A can only help his future fantasy value.
Bud Norris has a 17.42 ERA through three starts this season. I’m just going to leave that here.
9) J.J. Hardy, SS, Baltimore Orioles (Last week: 8)
Another week and still no rehab assignment for Hardy. A return before the end of April looks pretty unlikely at this point, but there’s no reason to believe it will be much longer than that.
The good news for Addison Russell was bad news for “the new Ben Zobrist”. Unfortunately, no one told Alcantara that he was supposed to hit like Zobrist after the swing change, not before it. There’s no guarantee that Russell takes the second base job and runs with it—and even if he does, opportunity abounds in the outfield, whether it’s over Chris Coghlan or due to a potential Dexter Fowler injury. He’ll be back and will again be a power/speed threat with a low batting average.
Franco has been on fire to start the season at Lehigh Valley, hitting .352/.407/.593 with nine extra-base hits in 12 games. There’s no shortage of opportunity in Philadelphia this year, but with Cody Asche pleasing the BABIP gods and Ryan Howard still a Phillie, it’s hard to see a quick promotion coming here.
13) Pat Corbin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 17)
Slowly but surely, Corbin is trickling up this list. He was highly underrated when he broke out in 2013, and he’s trending in that direction again. The left-handed threw to live hitters for the first time in his recovery this week, and should have throw a simulated game by the next time I write this column. Exciting times in the desert.
14) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 20)
It’s very noteworthy that Seager played third base twice this past week, for the first time since 2013. It’s a mantra that bears repeating, even after the Russell write-up above: players in the upper minors who play out of position are always doing it to prepare for a major league role. Since he’s still playing mostly shortstop, it looks like Seager is just getting comfortable in case an opportunity presents itself, but the fact that he hits everywhere he goes will certainly help his chances.
15) Alex Guerrero, Hitter, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 13)
Good news for Seager is bad news for Guerrero, although he still has more routes to playing time—including injuries at second base, third base, right field and left field.
The second baseman was supposed to have started a rehab assignment by now, but he still has not recovered from his oblique injury enough to get there yet. And while I don’t like his chances to keep it up, Tim Beckham is doing his best to give the Rays something to think about even when he does come back.
It’s no secret at this point that Mark Melancon has really struggled to find his velocity this season, causing him to stumble through two terrible outings thus far en route to an early 8.53 ERA. While Watson is left-handed, he’s also the best reliever the Pirates have—and their right-handed options all have flaws. Plus, Watson’s platoon split isn’t scary enough to make this an issue, as right-handed batters have hit .215/.284/.357 against him in his career.
18) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Last week: 21)
The Astros’ first baseman of the future continues to push to get another shot to be the first baseman of the present in Triple-A. With his slash line up to .313/.400/.646, and the big, bad Evan Gattis/Chris Carter duo now combining for a .667 OPS, he is certainly presenting the organization with options. And yes, that .667 OPS is derived from the sum of Gattis’ .382 mark and Carter’s .285.
19) Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: 23)
The Mets have already announced that Montero will start for the club on April 28th against the Marlins, so there are two questions in play here. First, can he make the case to stick in the rotation over Dillon Gee? And how fantasy relevant will he be even if he does get that opportunity?
21) Javier Baez, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs (Last week: 14)
23) Bobby Parnell, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: 12)
24) Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Last week: NR)
The Angels handling of Hamilton over the last few weeks has been nothing short of a public relations disaster for the club, and since they’re unlikely to get the retribution they’ve been lobbying for, Hamilton stands a good chance to be back in Los Angeles at some point in June. If this sounds familiar, just ask Alex Rodriguez, who everyone thought was done before he wasn’t.
25) Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox (Last week: 22)