This week, the Stash List turns 18, and to celebrate, I’m kicking it out the house and telling it to get a job. Like I mentioned a week ago, the closer we get to the end of the season, the more luck-based and less skill-based stashing becomes. It also becomes less helpful to actually use a roster spot on a stash once the beginning of September rolls around. Those roster spots are generally better used by grabbing pitchers who will have attractive upcoming match-ups and hitters who have pronounced platoon splits that you can sneak into your lineup once or twice a week when the situation permits.
This goes double for those of you in head-to-head leagues, where you may have been stashing a player or two on the off chance that they carried real fantasy value for the playoffs. Since we’re now less than two weeks from the likely start of your playoffs, that potential value needs to be shifted to real value. Once the bell rings in that first playoff match-up, it’s all hands on deck every week. And that goes for anyone who is not currently on an active roster. The worst thing you can do is become too confident in your team and look ahead to the semi-finals or finals.
But do not fear, the column will return for a full season again in 2014 (and, in fact, I have a fun exercise I’ll be doing with it in September—stay tuned for that). So with that said, I want to thank everyone for all of the positive feedback that I’ve gotten throughout the year while putting together these weekly lists. Seriously. There’s a reason why everyone knows that Baseball Prospectus has the most passionate and knowledgeable readers out there, and the questions and comments I’ve gotten along the way have shaped this into a better column.
It’s also fitting that I temporarily put aside what has turned into my baby for another baby. A human baby, in fact. At some point in the next week, I am going to have my second child and much life-based craziness will ensue. So my appearances in this long-form space may be a little more sporadic than usual over the next couple of weeks. But on the plus side, I won’t be sleeping again for a while, so that means more time to write in the long run*. In the meantime, I’ll be answering more questions on Twitter, so take advantage of that as we move into the home stretch.
*DISCLAIMER: Neither Bret nor Baseball Prospectus will be held liable for any bad fantasy recommendations or incoherent analogies made during this period of sleep deprivation.
Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 18.0:
It’s now 18 out of 19 appearances since coming over from Baltimore that Strop has held his opponents scoreless. Of course, there also have been no save opportunities for the Cubs over the last week. The Kevin Gregg train isn’t exactly flying off the tracks like many expected, but there’s zero reason for him to still be with the club after August 31. And once that happens (assuming that happens), Strop should be a mid-range closer.
Having two rehab games under his belt, Montero looks poised to return to Arizona by the end of next week if he’s able to avoid any further issues with his back. And while his overall stat line for the season certainly doesn’t look impressive, his OPS has increased each month of the season (from .552 in April to .780 in July). As have his homers, culminating in four in just 64 July at-bats before he injured himself. On top of that, he’s had more career success in the second half (.821 OPS) than the first (.747 OPS).
The injury to Bartolo Colon, while coming as a complete and utter shock to everyone in baseball, gives additional confidence that Anderson will return to the starting rotation upon recovery. Of course, that recovery is no sure thing given his history of setbacks. He made his first rehab start in Sacramento (Triple-A) on Saturday and will be on the mound in Stockton (High-A) on Thursday—and don’t read anything into the “demotion”; their other affiliates were on the road. There are whispers that Thursday could be his last rehab start before rejoining the rotation, but that feels optimistic. I’d still pencil him in for that first day of September against Tampa Bay.
4) Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 18)
The words “arm fatigue” and “Edward Mujica” are all I need to hear to boost Rosenthal substantially up this list. Like I’ve said for months now, if Rosenthal were to become the closer in St. Louis, he’d immediately be a top-10 option overall with lots of value in the strikeout department. Of course, you’d never know that Mujica was fatigued, as he hasn’t allowed a run since the post-game fireworks on July 4.
With Halladay, it’s all a matter of trust. His velocity wasn’t great (generally in the 85-87 range) in his first rehab start, but he’s still building up the strength. The real question is how comfortable you’ll be sticking him in your lineup even when he’s activated. If it’s in the first week of the playoffs, do you chance it, even if it’s a good match-up on paper? He’s going to need to show more in subsequent rehab outings, but the potential is certainly there for a solid September—especially with the easy schedule the Phillies have after next week.
6) Matt Adams, 1B, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 5)
The sporadic playing time over the past few months certainly hasn’t helped Adams stay sharp, but with Oscar Taveras now officially done for the season, he is the go to guy in case of an injury to at least three players (Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, and Carlos Beltran). And if that were to happen, he’d likely slot into the sixth spot in that strong lineup, which would put him in a great position to drive in runs during the home stretch.
It really doesn’t matter that there’s no place for Hamilton to play anymore. All that matters is if he makes it to the major league roster. If he were to get the call-up tomorrow and got zero starts the rest of the season, he could still steal 15 bases the rest of the way. That’s how catalytic his speed tool is. He’d be like Dave Roberts with a jet pack.
With Springer, we’re looking at nearly the same situation that Wil Myers faced last year with Kansas City. Coming off possibly the most impressive season in the minor leagues in 2012, Myers was not given a call-up (and a 40-man roster spot) with the Royals after Omaha’s season had ended. Of course, Myers also participated in their playoff run that lasted until September 15. And unfortunately for Springer speculators, Oklahoma City is in first place in the American Southern Division of the PCL by six games and is close to wrapping up a playoff berth.
9) Chia-Jen Lo, RHP, Houston Astros (Last week: NR)
There is a timeshare happening in Houston at the closer role, which is bad enough when it’s on a team that actually accrues save opportunities with any frequency. But with Josh Fields as his lone competition, Lo is the preferred choice heading down the stretch. He still hasn’t given up a run this season (in only seven innings), and he has much better control than Fields—having logged a 20-to-2 K:BB ratio in the minors prior to his promotion.
If only I had Brian Fantana to yell “Dirks Watch!” at the beginning of each of these write-ups. Since August started, Dirks is now hitting a not-so-robust .235/.381/.324, though with more walks than strikeouts. On the other hand, Castellanos’ bat has finally woken up a little bit, as he’s gone 8-for-22 with two homers over the past five games. I wouldn’t be surprised by any chose Detroit makes here for the rest of the year.
11) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: NR)
He’s been up and down all season, but don’t lose sight of Skaggs’ talent. In fact, new BP writer Craig Goldstein wrote about him yesterday in great detail in his Five to Watch piece. But one thing to keep in mind down the stretch is that the Diamondbacks may not let Patrick Corbin finish the season.
12) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 12)
There remains a much better chance that Skaggs sees another turn in the rotation than Bradley does, but the big righty is the best fantasy pitching prospect in the minors for good reason. If for some reason he were to get a couple of starts, he would be worth grabbing in all formats and must-watch TV. Don’t be surprised if he ranks right near the top of the first 2014 installment of The Stash List.
The combination of Jennry Mejia’s injury and the innings limit the Mets have openly discussed for Matt Harvey means that the chances of Montero getting a few cracks at major league lineups before the season is out keeps going up. And he’s been on fire recently, having only given up two runs in his last three starts and collected 21 strikeouts to only two walks.
Let’s be honest, De La Rosa is not a great pitcher. What he’s presented with, however, is opportunity, as Mike Scioscia has announced that he’ll split save chances with embattled former closer Ernesto Frieri. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old with 12 1/3 total major-league innings prior to 2013, Frieri is a far better pitcher and has looked more like himself in his last three outings.
Two words: Wade Davis.
16) Josh Fields, RHP, Houston Astros (Last week: NR)
I’d rather grab Lo given the choice of arms in the Astros bullpen, but depending on your league size, you may not have that choice. Of course, his 8.59 ERA since the beginning of July is a bit of a downer if you’re chasing what’s left of the saves in Houston.
17) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 13)
Moving Martinez further and further down this list makes me sad, but it just seems like it’s not in the Cards for the electric right-hander. And yes, I’m fully aware of that terrible pun.
Maybin was just pulled off his rehab assignment due to another setback in his knee, but until we know the severity of it, he sticks at the end of the list. That should be a good clue into the likely fantasy relevance of the names at the bottom of this list.
19) Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Los Angeles Angels (Last week: 20)
Lindsey has cooled down a bit over the last week or so, but then again, so has Grant Green. There’s room for him to get some at bats in September if the Angels choose to go that route—and almost any middle infielder getting at bats is worth looking at in deeper leagues.
The ERAs may not be terribly different, especially considering difficulty of league, but Nelson has clearly slowed down after his promotion to the Pacific Coast League. He’s gone from a 4.8 K:BB in Double-A to 1.7 in Triple-A and he’s currently sporting a WHIP of 1.49 at the level. With that said, he does keep the ball on the ground well and could be in line for a couple of September starts if he finishes the minor-league season strongly.