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June 11, 2013

The Stash List

Wilpocalypse Now?

by Bret Sayre

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The Rays and Wil Myers have become baseball's 2013 version of Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley. Will they or won't they? When will it happen? Why hasn't it happened yet? There are plenty of questions that we can't answer about the impending (or maybe less impeding than we thought) call-up of the next great Rays' prospect. However, what we can say with some reasonable certainty is what's been happening at the major-league level, purely from a baseball perspective, that is keeping Wil Myers in Triple-A. The Rays are six games over .500 at the moment, and four games out of first place in the AL East, so it isn't simply about the money, it's also about performance.

Heading into the season, it was widely assumed that Myers would hang down in Durham until the Rays deemed it financially appropriate for their long-term future to bring him up. And to make room for him, Kelly Johnson would head to a utility role with Ben Zobrist taking over full-time again at second base. But with an 802 OPS and 10 homers in 53 games, Johnson has made his statement to stay in the lineup—which moves the conversation over to the first-base position. Unfortunately for Myers, that's where James Loney is hitting .325 with seven homers this season. Instead of wondering what kind of sorcery is leading to his resurgence in Tampa, we'll just move on. This brings us to the final player who is getting in the way of the Wilpocalypse.

You'd think that posting a sub-700 OPS as a designated hitter would be poor enough to warrant losing playing time; however, Luke Scott is still in the lineup and batting seventh against the vast majority of right-handed pitchers. "Well, maybe he's playing well recently," is a thing you might say after a statement like that. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite hold wah-tah. Scott hasn't hit a home run since May 19, and in that stretch, he's hitting a robust .170/.250/.226 in 60 plate appearances. So there you have it: The Super Two deadline is about to have comfortably passed, and the Rays (a contending team) are still getting minimal production from their DH spot. It's certainly possible that Myers would not perform better than Scott has in 2013, but at some point they're going to have to find out for themselves.

Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 8.0:

The Graduates: Anthony Rendon (4), Oswaldo Arcia (13), Cameron Maybin (16)

1) Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Last week: 1)

Wil he or won’t he? Does Tampa have the Wil to win without him? Wil we run out of awful puns based on his name before he even reaches the major leagues?

2) Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: 3)

First it was June 14, and now it’s June 18—but regardless of the specific date, Wheeler is coming soon to a major-league park near you. The 23-year-old will have some big expectations when he arrives, as the Mets’ fan base is still basking in the glow of Harvey-mania, but Wheeler is a special player in his own right. They should make a formidable one-two punch for many years to come.

3) Brandon Beachy, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Last week: 2)

Beachy drops a spot this week because there’s still radio silence from the Braves as to how they are going to handle his return. And as long as there’s a chance that he’s either in a six-man rotation or the bullpen for a brief time, I just can’t recommend him over the likes of Myers and Wheeler. Right now, he’s still on track to pitch one half of the doubleheader against the Mets on June 18—which ironically could be against the man directly ahead of him on this list.

4) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: 12)

Today is the big day for Gerrit Cole, but since he hasn’t actually been called up as of this writing, he still qualifies. It’s all been said about the big right-hander. He looks the part of a number-one starter, but his performance hasn’t lined up with those lofty expectations at the minor-league level. He’s going to be must-watch TV from the minute he arrives on the major-league scene (later today), as he has the raw tools to shove against major-league hitters. Whether it happens or not is an entirely different story. If he sticks the rest of the way, I’d expect an ERA around 4.00, a WHIP around 1.25, and 80 strikeouts in just over 100 innings.

5) Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 8)

He’s baaaack. Cingrani will be filling in for Johnny Cueto again as he makes his second appearance on the disabled list in 2013. This should be a similar visit, as it’s a similar injury—and Cingrani is looking to once again take advantage of the opportunity. The big question with Cingrani is whether he’ll be able to continue his success the second and third time that the league sees him, and he’ll kick off his major-league comeback tour with two teams who have seen him already: the Cubs and the Brewers.

6) Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 10)

It can’t be long at this point. Ramirez threw seven shutout innings against Las Vegas on Saturday, striking out seven and walking only one. If Jeremy Bonderman and Aaron Harang aren’t looking over their shoulders, they should start right about now.

7) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 7)

Taveras returned to action on Saturday after missing nearly a month with a high ankle sprain, and he’s still in a similar holding pattern. I believe that he would hit right away if given a shot in the majors, but it’s going to take an injury. With that said, look how quickly it happened for Yasiel Puig.

8) Corey Hart, 1B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers (Last week: 6)

Remember when Corey Hart said that he’d be ready by the end of April? As my colleague Jason Collette constantly points out, whenever you hear a timetable from a player, ignore it. And whenever you hear a timetable from a team, take it with a grain of salt. At this point, with Hart still not having gone out on a rehab assignment, he’ll be lucky to be back in a Brewers uniform before July 1.

9) Billy Hamilton, SS/OF, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 5)

It doesn’t matter if you’re the fastest player on the planet (which Hamilton is), you need to get on base at better than a .311 clip in Triple-A if you want to get promoted. I mean, even Dee Gordon had a .373 on-base percentage in Triple-A in 112 games.

10) Dustin Ackley, 2B, Seattle Mariners (Last week: NR)

To say that Ackley is tearing it up in Triple-A would be an understatement, as he’s hitting .408/.508/.592 through 11 games with more walks than strikeouts. But what he needs is both a combination of great performance and the opportunity that comes from Nick Franklin struggling. Unfortunately, Franklin isn’t quite obliging so far, as he has an 807 OPS through his first 51 major-league plate appearances, and has been worth a half a win in just two weeks.

11) Kyle Gibson, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 14)

Another week, another two solid starts for Gibson in Triple-A. It’s anyone’s guess as to when he’ll arrive in Minnesota, but he’s certainly done his part in showing that he’s up for the challenge.

12) Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins (Last week: 9)

The Marlins will have to wait a little longer for their next young outfielder, as Yelich will be sidelined for the next couple of weeks with an abdominal strain. He was struggling quite a bit before the injury, so maybe the time off will help him turn things around. I still think we’ll see the Marlins go with a Yelich, Ozuna, Stanton outfield—which would have an average age of 22—before the end of the season.

13) George Springer, OF, Houston Astros (Last week: 18)

Springer is now up to 18 homers and 18 steals on the season, but the most impressive thing he’s done this season is keep his strikeout rate reasonable as he makes one of the toughest jumps in the minor leagues. In his brief exposure to Double-A in 2012, Springer struck out 31 percent of the time with one walk for every four strikeouts. This year, he’s striking out less than 28 percent of the time with one walk for every two strikeouts. The tools are there for him to be a fantasy stud, but he needs to continue this development as he moves up the chain.

14) Josh Rutledge, 2B/SS, Colorado Rockies (Last week: NR)

I am not a believer in Josh Rutledge, but I do think he’ll be back in Colorado this summer—and he doesn’t really need to do much in order to have fantasy value. It is encouraging that he has nine strikeouts versus seven walks so far in Triple-A, and if he can bring a step forward in plate discipline back up to the majors, he could be a lot closer to the sleeper that many thought he could be coming into the season. After all, it’s not like D.J. LeMahieu is much of an obstacle for him.

15) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 11)

Skaggs was surprisingly sent down to Triple-A after his second poor start in a row filling in for Brandon McCarthy. There has been no announcement on who is likely to take that spot going forward, but giving it to Randall Delgado would likely be a big mistake; he has a 6.44 ERA thus far in 2013 for Triple-A Reno. With McCarthy not nearing a return and Daniel Hudson done for the season after reinjuring his elbow, the opportunity is there. Skaggs just needs to do a better job of seizing it.

16) Justin Maxwell, OF, Houston Astros (Last week: 17)

Maxwell hasn’t exactly had a rehab stint to write home about with Double-A Corpus Christi, as he is 0-for-17 with eight strikeouts in his five games there so far. And while this may push back his timetable slightly, it shouldn’t change his outlook unless there’s a setback with his hand. Maxwell is who he is, and a small sample while rehabbing from an injury shouldn’t change that. I still like his chances of reaching double-digit homers and steals on the season (he has one homer and two steals as of right now).

17) Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 15)

18) Allen Webster, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Last week: 22)

Four straight quality starts for Felix Doubront isn’t doing wonders for Webster’s chances of getting back to Boston in short order, but he’s more or less doing his part in the matter. Webster has a 3.38 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 50 strikeouts in just 45 1/3 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket.

19) Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 23)

Eaton still carries as much upside as anyone on this list from a fantasy perspective upon his return, but the risk of him missing the entire season hasn’t really gone away. Yes, he’s resumed his throwing program, but even in the best-case scenario, it’s unlikely he’ll be back before a month from now. And the Diamondbacks can’t hide him at DH if he can’t throw without pain.

20) Danny Duffy, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Last week: 24)

21) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 25)

The impending return of Jake Westbrook has left Martinez with a slightly smaller window through which to climb to get to St Louis; however, outside of Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, and Lance Lynn, there are no guarantees in that rotation from either a health or performance perspective. He’s only given up one run in 11 2/3 innings since being sent down to Triple-A to stretch out.

22) Sonny Gray, RHP, Oakland Athletics (Last week: 21)

23) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Last week: NR)

Singleton is still getting his feet wet in the upper minors after returning from a 50-game suspension, but don’t get too hung up on his stat page during June. Once he starts heating up, he’ll be on the fast track to Houston.

24) Colby Lewis, RHP, Texas Rangers (Last week: 19)

25) Michael Pineda, RHP, New York Yankees (Last week: NR)

It finally happened this week—Michael Pineda got into a regular season game for the first time since September 21, 2011. And while his stat line looked impressive (no earned runs and two hits over 4 1/3 innings), his velocity was in the low 90s, not touching higher than 93 mph. As I say over and over again, shoulder injuries are scary. And if Pineda can’t get his pre-surgery velocity back, we could be looking at a much different player than we saw in his Seattle days.

Honorable Mention: Yonder Alonso, Brett Anderson, Alex Rodriguez, Matt Adams, 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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

pobothecat

Rafael Montero is a new one for me. I see the nice stat line in AAA --- anything else you'd want to add?

Jun 11, 2013 06:17 AM
rating: 0
 
pobothecat

(AA, I mean)

Jun 11, 2013 06:23 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

He's not flashy and he's probably not as exciting as his numbers--but I could see a scenario where he gets 8-10 starts later on this year given any injuries on the Mets' staff.

Jun 11, 2013 11:14 AM
 
rodg12

Really surprised there's no mention of Nick Castellanos. Lots of buzz in Detroit about him getting called up in the next couple weeks and he's been raking at AAA.

Jun 11, 2013 06:56 AM
rating: 0
 
BPKevin

I agree with you, he's been on fire...only question is, who sits? I imagine they'll let him get lots of AB in AAA until an opportunity presents itself.

Jun 11, 2013 08:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Castellanos was a late cut this week, and there are a few reasons for that:

1) I think Andy Dirks is good enough to hold him off.
2) I don't trust Jim Leyland to deploy him properly even if he gets the call.
3) He just might not be all that fantasy relevant at first, even if he comes up. He'll be very AVG dependent, as the power may not be there right away and he doesn't steal bases. Players like that have less margin for error in fantasy.

Jun 11, 2013 11:17 AM
 
fbraconi

Can we get an update on Danny Hultzen?

Jun 11, 2013 06:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BPKevin

Yes, I'm curious as well. Back on May 15th, Mariners manager Eric Wedge sounded like he's anticipating Hultzen's arrival this season. "Sooner rather than later," Wedge said during an interview with MLB Network Radio. Even though Hultzen wasn't pitching. However with Erasmo Ramirez building strength and Taijuan Walker looking like the best of the three, I'm having a hard time figuring out which Mariner to stash.

Jun 11, 2013 08:32 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Hultzen is throwing, but still has yet to appear in a game since being sidelined with his rotator cuff strain. I'll need to see him back in action before thinking about including him on the list because (repeat after me) shoulder injuries are scary. The absolute best case scenario for Hultzen would seem to be a major league debut in the second half of July, but even that is not a likely outcome.

Jun 11, 2013 11:21 AM
 
Behemoth

I'd be surprised if Walker pitches at all this year. He's clearly the best prospect of the three, but he is still relatively raw, and there's no reason to rush him.

Jun 12, 2013 02:18 AM
rating: 0
 
timber

Considering the Rays have said that they haven't even had any discussions about bringing Myers up, I doubt that it happens any time soon.

Jun 11, 2013 11:03 AM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

What else would you expect them to say? From their perspective, it's the perfect answer to that question since it prevents any follow ups they don't want to answer.

Jun 11, 2013 11:26 AM
 
timber

Same thing they've said all along...that his baserunning and fielding still need work. And that they would like for him to cut down the strikeouts before coming up.

Jun 11, 2013 12:00 PM
rating: -2
 
Behemoth

Baseball teams tell lies, you know.

Jun 12, 2013 02:20 AM
rating: 3
 
conjoinedtwins

I'm surprised that there's no Rubby De La Rosa mentioned?

Jun 11, 2013 13:23 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Too much competition in Boston for a rotation opening. And I still think Webster has the inside track for now.

Jun 12, 2013 10:20 AM
 
jaked2782

Are Sonny Grays only chances of getting called up either a colon suspension or another injury? is there any chance he get called up if milone or straily go into a rough stretch? thanks

Jun 11, 2013 22:04 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

It could be either, but an injury is the more likely scenario. Unless one of them goes completely in the tank, I don't think Oakland will rush to move one of their current guys out.

Jun 12, 2013 10:19 AM
 
Hoppy

What's the latest on Cory Luebke and Felipe Paulino? Worth a stash in a 16 team mixed league?

Jun 12, 2013 02:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Bret Sayre
BP staff

Paulino just started his rehab assignment and should be back in just under a month, barring any setbacks. Whether he gets a rotation spot is yet to be seen. As far as Luebke, there are reports circulating that he may not pitch at all in 2013--which is very discouraging considering he should have been on track to return around the same time as Brandon Beachy. Just goes to show (with him and Ryan Madson) that Tommy John surgery, while mostly predictable, is still not an exact science.

Jun 12, 2013 10:21 AM
 
Hoppy

Awesome, thanks for the info Bret. I have Luebke rostered and on my DL -- sounds like I may need to move on Paulino.

Jun 12, 2013 13:48 PM
rating: 0
 
AWBenkert

Who are Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley?

Dec 21, 2013 01:10 AM
rating: 0
 
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