It seems like it was just yesterday that we were all talking about Super Two status and when we'd see the likes of Wil Myers and Zack Wheeler at the major-league level. Oh wait, it was yesterday (they're both making their major-league debuts today). So as far as speculation, here at The Stash List, we move on from one very important group of players to another less attractive one. At this point, we've seen almost all of the top prospects that were waiting for the call due to service-time reasons—guys like Billy Hamiton and Oscar Taveras are not included here since there are other reasons why they have not been called up yet. So what is the wave coming in the horizon? Players who will see their values increase due to trade deadline activity.
Now, this next phase has its concentration in a few different areas, but the biggest focus is pitching—both starters and closers. There are already rumors of current closers Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Gregg, Bobby Parnell, and Casey Janssen being moved over the next month or so, and there are sure to be more as we get closer to July 31. Same with Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco, and Bud Norris in the rotation. The trading deadline presents playing time opportunities that weren't there before, and while it's still a little early to start acting on some of these impulses, it's never too early to start thinking about them. So while not all of these players who move on to contenders will have successors worthy of owning, there are definitely guys to keep tabs on as rumors begin to fly. This applies tenfold in AL- and NL-only formats, where playing time is king.
Right now, we still have more than six weeks left to go until the trade deadline, and as the trade market becomes clearer, the value of grabbing players who stand to benefit increases. And while this week doesn’t boast any players who are on here strictly for those considerations, they will start to creep in over the next few iterations.
Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 9.0:
1) Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: 2)
Wheeler stays on the list for another week on a technicality. Everyone knows that he’s getting called up to start today (Tuesday) for his major-league debut, but since he hasn’t been added to the active roster yet, he will retire off the list from the top spot. See the Call-Up article I co-wrote with Jason Parks for more on Wheeler’s promotion.
Who knew that facing the Astros could make Jeremy Bonderman and Aaron Harang look like Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Fortunately for the Eraser, it will be a relatively short period of time before they start looking like Jeremy Bonderman and Aaron Harang again. Plus, he continues to help his cause by dominating at Triple-A—including eight shutout innings in Las Vegas on Thursday.
There continue to be small positives to take away from Hamilton’s performance, but the negatives still outweigh them. Hamilton is hitting .286 with 13 stolen bases (in 13 attempts) over the past two weeks, which sounds great until you also see that he’s struck out 16 times and walked only twice in that same span. He’s going to get up at some point, and he’s going to steal bases, but he remains in control of his own destiny at Triple-A.
4) Michael Wacha, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: NR)
The best things for Wacha’s rest-of-season value are Tyler Lyons being bad and Chris Carpenter having setbacks, and fortunately both of those things have been happening of late. With the Cardinals in the thick of the playoff hunt, another performance or two like the one Lyons had against the Marlins last week (or the two before that), and he could be back in St Louis. But he does have competition from another member of this list.
5) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 7)
6) Dustin Ackley, 2B, Seattle Mariners (Last week: 10)
In 18 games in Tacoma, heading into Monday’s action, Ackley was hitting .390/.495/.532. And for those of you concerned with the specter of Nick Franklin ahead of him, he’s also played his last six games in the outfield—which just happens to be where Michael Saunders and his 608 OPS reside.
Gibson is the last of the Super Two holdouts at this point, as there’s just no reason for him to still be in the minor leagues. I fully expect to see him before the end of June, and would be pretty shocked if it didn’t happen. The only thing to keep in mind with him is that the Twins are likely to have him on a pretty strict innings count for his first season post-Tommy John surgery.
8) Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 5)
It’s a good sign for his real-life value that the Reds have decided to keep Cingrani in the bullpen now that Johnny Cueto is healthy, but the longer he sticks in Cincinnati, the tougher it will be to stretch him out (just ask Drew Smyly about that).
Yes, Gausman got knocked around to the tune of a 7.66 ERA during his four major league starts, but he also had a 3.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 3.78 xFIP. He will be back and he will be better from a fantasy perspective, it’s just a matter of when and how much. Don’t lose sight of him.
First it was late April, then it was May, then it was early June, then it was late June, and now it’s likely not until after the All-Star break. One day Corey Hart will return to the Brewers’ lineup, but if he’s only good for around 50-60 games this year, there’s only so much help he can offer to fantasy rosters. When healthy, he can provide as much pop as anyone on this list.
The longer Eaton goes without a setback, the higher he’s going to rise on this list. If there wasn’t a pretty real chance of Eaton not making it back at all this season, and needing surgery, he’d easily be in the top five. As is, there’s a good amount of risk built into this ranking.
This jump for Castellanos is less about the fact that I think we’ll see him in Detroit over the next couple of weeks, and more about the fact that I think we’ll see him in another city toward the end of July. The rumors of his name appearing in trade talks are growing louder, and the Tigers need an answer at the back of their bullpen as much as any team in baseball. So, could we be looking at the new third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies?
It hasn’t been all wine and roses for Webster since he was sent back down to Pawtucket, but his last time out, he threw six shutout innings and allowed only two base runners while striking out six.
It was bound to happen at some point, but Springer is not on fire any more. And when Springer is not on fire, he does things like hit .194 with 16 strikeouts in 10 games. His ranking is all about the potential if he gets the call, not a likelihood of it happening—and I will reinforce that by saying that I only think there’s about a 25 percent chance that we see him before September 1. However, if we do see him, there’s a chance for a great burst of fantasy value that could top anyone else on this list.
Talk about improving your standing in one week. Perez threw 12 innings at Triple-A Round Rock without allowing an earned run, while Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch combined to allow 18 earned runs in just three starts. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next start Perez makes is for Texas, but even if that doesn’t happen, it can’t be that long before he’s given another shot. For more on Perez, Jason Cole wrote him up in yesterday’s Ten Pack.
The 2013 Stash List debut of the Captain comes this week, as he started his road back to New York by doing baseball activities in Tampa. It’s probably going to be around the beginning of August when he’s ready to come back, but the overall dreariness of the shortstop position causes him to still rank this high. Of course, I also expect Jeter to hit upon his return, since that’s just what the man does.
Things haven’t gone quite as well for Duffy in the Triple-A portion of his rehab assignment as they did in the Double-A portion—he’s allowed nine runs in 5 1/3 innings with Omaha. He’s still likely to be an improvement over Wade Davis, especially given the success that Davis could potentially have in the bullpen, but I’m just not that confident in Duffy’s ability to help fantasy rosters as much as people expect in the second half.
20) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Last week: 23)
This week, Singleton made the final jump in his ramp up from suspension, joining the Triple-A squad on Sunday. There’s not a whole lot left for him to prove at the minor league level, so don’t be surprised to see him up after the All-Star break.
21) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 21)
22) Michael Pineda, RHP, New York Yankees (Last week: 25)
23) Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets (Last week: NR)
With one staple of the Mets’ future rotation already on the way in Zack Wheeler, it will be interesting to see what Sandy Alderson and company do about another strong right-handed pitching prospect in Rafael Montero. He may not have the stuff of a Harvey or a Wheeler, but he has above average stuff, and knows how to pitch—as evidenced by his 84-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 78 2/3 innings (not to mention his 2.40 ERA or 0.93 WHIP). If Shaun Marcum continues to struggle, or Dillon Gee gets sidelined, don’t be surprised to see Montero in Queens sooner rather than later.
24) Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees (Last week: NR)
Count me in the camp that thinks Alex Rodriguez is not done being a productive fantasy player, especially given the lack of depth at third base this year. And it’s not like he’s so far removed from being a viable option at the hot corner—he was hitting .276/.358/.449 with 15 homers and 11 steals in just 94 games before having his pinkie finger broken by Felix Hernandez last season. The injury makes him risky, but he could only be a month or so away at this point.
Because, hey, you never know (when Ryan Madson will pitch again).