Hey look, another top prospect headed to Milwaukee.
The Situation: Though they entered the year with inscrutable expectations, the Brewers find themselves on top of the heap that is the NL Central. Recently, however, they’ve had several of their key hitters go down with injury (Ryan Braun, Jonathan Villar) leading to the promotion of one of their top prospects, Lewis Brinson. Luckily for the Brewers, Villar’s injury came right after the projected Super 2 deadline, meaning they’ll get to pay Brinson less when it comes to arbitration.
The Background: The Brewers acquired Brinson in 2016 from the Rangers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade, alongside pitcher Luis Ortiz and, later, outfielder Ryan Cordell. The Rangers drafted Brinson in their loaded 2012 class out of Coral Springs high school in Florida, taking the lanky outfielder with their first-round pick, 29th overall.
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The hard-throwing lefty takes his fastball/slider combo to the Brewers' bullpen, for now.
The Situation: The pipeline of prospects keeps coming in Milwaukee. Shortly after calling up Brett Phillips, the Brewers have added their top pitching prospect Josh Hader to the bullpen mix.
The Background: Hader was the Orioles' 19th-round draft pick in 2012. A local prep arm, he burst onto prospect radars with a dominant professional debut in short-season ball that summer. His full-season debut went swimmingly as well. Hader struck out nearly a batter per inning as a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League before he was dealt to the Astros at the deadline as part of the Bud Norris package. The lefty wasn’t done wandering yet, though (he even looks the part of a well-traveled roadie).
Wil Myers, Zack Wheeler, and other top prospects might soon graduate from the list, as the projected Super Two cutoff could pass before the end of the week.
For all of the talk about Super Two status, as it relates to calling up prospects, there is still a ton of uncertainty about what this means in a tangible manner. Putting it simply, when a player finishes a season between two and three years of service time, he can qualify for an extra year of arbitration if he is within the top 22 percent of players in that range. This means that whether a player called up this season will qualify for Super Two status will not be known until after the 2015 season. Essentially, teams are just guessing (in an educated manner) what that deadline will be three years down the road.
Since this is going to be the second year of the new CBA, which moved the cut off from 17 percent to 22 percent, we only have one year of data to go off of in order to get an idea of the timing mechanism. On June 8, 2010, Stephen Strasburg and Giancarlo Stanton both made their major-league debuts and have accumulated service time every day since. Both superstars missed the Super Two cut-off by about a week of service time (they each had 2.118 years and the cutoff was 2.139 years). Which means that if the 2015 cutoff is the same as the one from 2012, guys like Wil Myers and Zack Wheeler could come up tomorrow without their teams having to worry about that pesky extra year of arbitration eligibility.
Some bunts are followed by big innings, believe it or not.
When nerds (your humble narrator included!) argue about bunting, they often rely on a metaphor that's barely a metaphor but is really a way of comparing baseball to other sports. In basketball and football and hockey and rugby and lacrosse and sometimes ultimate frisbee, there is a clock, an explicit timekeeping device used to mark the end of the match (or segment of the match) and how near it draws. If the score on the pitch is 13 to 2 and the hard time cap of 40 minutes is just 90 seconds away, well, it's physically impossible to score that many points in that little time, even for Reggie Miller. Baseball, by contrast, has no clock, only outs. If you have fewer runs than the other team once you use up your 27 outs, you lose. Outs are thus analogized to time, with the idea being that intentionally taking precious units off the clock is not a winning gambit.
The metaphor alludes to the infinitude of baseball, the idea that there's nothing in the rules preventing a game from happening to the end of time in a different way than in timed sports. In basketball, a game could have infinite overtimes, but there's something about the clock starting over every five minutes that feels distinct from the infinite baseball game—I think it's the visual image of an endlessly tied basketball game, where the clock loops back to five minutes again at the completion of each overtime, that makes it feel finite, just a circle that we can hold in our hands and our minds, not a line (score) extending out past our contemplation the way a baseball game does.
The Dodgers skipper may be excited about the minor-league production of his organization's top prospects, but neither ranks among Bret's top 25.
I would be remiss not to talk about this past week’s strangest story, at least as far as potential call-ups from the minor leagues are concerned. On Wednesday, Don Mattingly said that the Dodgers had “internal conversations” about calling up top prospects Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson from Double-A Chattanooga.
The way I see it, there are a few different plausible ways this could have gone down. The first is that Mattingly forgot that these two prospects were outfielders and thought they could shore up the Dodgers’ tenuous (that’s being kind) infield situation. The second is that Mattingly brought their names up as a joke to lighten the mood after another Dodgers loss, and then poked a few holes in his Andre Ethier voodoo doll before muttering something under his breath about grit. The final option is that after watching Juan Uribe, Nick Punto, Luis Cruz, and Dee Gordon play for the last eight weeks, he’s just given up on the idea of a traditional infield and instead wanted to go with a five-man outfield.
With the Rangers' top prospect moving up to the big leagues, Wil Myers takes over his spot atop the list.
"Fellow prospects, rehabbers, suspension servers and major leaguers awaiting the roles you were meant to fill,
The Stash List has not only been a place for all of us to be highlighted for our potential, but a community for the nearly famous. As we toil the baseball earth searching for a path to glory, we are subject to its whims. The injuries we played through, the bus rides we shared, the per diems we blew through at fast food joints, the dizzy bat races (ALL THE DIZZY BAT RACES)—it all leads to this.
The Astros, Marlins, and Mets are all prospect hotbeds, but each team has taken a different approach with its young players, several of whom highlight this week's list.
It’s getting to be that time of year where you can start weeding out the non-contenders from the eventual non-contenders. And for those franchises, it means decisions about when to call up their prospects. Through Monday, there were five teams with a winning percentage at .400 or below—but for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to throw out the Blue Jays and the Angels. Both of those teams were expected to be division contenders, and they both have too much talent to be this bad the whole year and nothing coming on the farm (at least in the near future).
But those three remaining teams (the Astros, Marlins, and Mets) are not going to be contending at any point this season, and have strong prospects in the upper minors. However, each organization has treated their top guys differently. The Marlins are apparently just throwing caution to the wind, as they have both Jose Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna on their active roster—both of whom ended the 2012 season in High-A. The Astros, on the other hand, appear to be letting their prospects marinate until they are closer to a contention window. They have Jarred Cosart throwing well in Triple-A and George Springer absolutely killing it at Double-A, but I don’t expect to see either any time soon. Finally, the Mets have been burdened recently by financial constraints, so it was no shock to see the reports break that Zack Wheeler would be kept down in the minors until the Super Two deadline passes. The same would have been true for Travis d’Arnaud if he had stayed healthy enough for it to matter.
The Dodgers, and their fan base, are likely crying uncle at this point. They are hurting. Less than one week after being activated from the disabled list, Hanley Ramirez suffered another injury that required a return to the DL. His injury prompted the team to promote Gordon from Triple-A, where he hit .314 with 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts through 25 games.
Bret explains why the list has featured more pitchers than hitters in its early weeks, and then reveals this week's top 25.
You might have noticed that, since this list has started, there have consistently been more pitchers than position players on it. This week is no different, as there are 15 pitchers and only 10 hitters. The reason for that is pretty simple—while pitching is more plentiful on the waiver wire than position players are, the stars need to align a little more for a bat stashed away on your bench to actively contribute value to any given fantasy team. If you had Anthony Rendon on your bench prior to his initial call-up, and you also had Adrian Beltre entrenched as your third baseman, you’re going to need to pull off a trade to capitalize on Rendon’s value. Of course, the owner with Beltre at the hot corner is less likely to be stashing a fellow third baseman anyway, which only furthers the point.
It’s rare to find an owner who couldn’t use more pitching on his/her roster (or at least an upgrade over the worst active member of their staff). When you’re dealing with individual positions, the barriers to entry for value make deciding whom to stash a different proposition. So while I’m saying that in a vacuum, Mike Zunino has more value than Anthony Rendon for the rest of this season, roster makeup can play a large role in determining who is more valuable to your specific team. And since the liquidity of these rookies can vary widely from league to league and owner to owner, points are docked for the lack of flexibility that may come with housing a hitter.