Yes, there was no Stash List for the past two weeks, but that was all part of the plan. Any changes would be extremely minimal, as no one wants more overreaction to small sample sizes and there was never going to be much roster movement. Of course, then the Astros go and call up George Springer, and now everyone is eyeing the prospects on their benches and asking “why not me?”
Well, realistically, not for a while. The most impactful area of this column for the first two months of the season deals with prospects, and if you haven’t read Zachary Levine’s analysis on service time, it’s extremely important for stashers like you and me. We all know about Super Two, approximately when the deadline is and why teams do it. But it’s often forgotten that there are some big prospects who come up in the second half of April, once their teams have ensured that they don’t lose a full year of control.
But predicting these things is such a fool’s errand. Generally, common sense would say that a team that would call up a top prospect in the second half of April if they were in contention and either a team in a large market or with a strong history of signing pre-arb players. Houston certainly had a hole at the major league level, but they don’t really fit the bill here. In the end, if you’re taking a chance on stashing a top prospect who did not make the major league team out of Spring Training, operate under the assumption that you’ll see them on June 15 at the earliest. Anything before that is just gravy.
So without any further ado, let’s dive into The Stash List 2.0:
1) Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (Previous Rank: 1)
The ankle injury left him temporarily sidelined, but even that and his poor early season performance doesn’t do anything to remove him from the top spot here. There is no one on this list who could have more impact in fantasy leagues during the last four months of the season. It’s still extremely unlikely we’ll see him until mid-June.
2) Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (Previous Rank: 3)
The problem with projecting Polanco on this list, who is absolutely destroying Triple-A pitching, is that if he were to get called up in the next week or two, he’d be in the top spot. However, I’m assuming he’ll get the call post-Super Two deadline with Travis Snider actually looking decent in the outfield for Pittsburgh. Polanco is hitting .406/.449/.625 through 16 games.
3) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets (Previous Rank: 4)
The last thing anyone should be doing is looking at Thor’s stats in Las Vegas, where he’s made three of his first four starts. He’s just about major-league ready, and the path for him should be very similar to the one Zack Wheeler took in 2013—except Syndergaard is capable of better immediate big-league results.
4) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Previous Rank: 5)
Well look at that, Taveras is playing. And he’s hitting a bit too. There remains no clear path for him at the major-league level, but that doesn’t stop a prospect like Taveras when the team deems him ready. Just don’t expect him to come up and play center field (it would still be surprising if he got consistent playing time there in St Louis).
5) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Previous Rank: 24)
The last-round darling of Mike Gianella and my LABR draft, Singleton has been absolutely punishing the ball, with seven homers and a .343 average in just 17 games. With virtually nothing ahead of him at the major league level, Singleton is deserving of playing time soon. Whether the Astros give him the Springer treatment is yet to be determined (and if so, we could see him this week).
6) James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners (Previous Rank: NR)
Just barely sneaking onto the list with 24.5 percent ownership, Paxton is aiming for a mid-May return from a lat strain. The large and in charge Canadian still owns a career 1.75 ERA, but in the long-term, his numbers will likely be more inconsistent. That said, the strikeouts are real, and are worth the potential ratio headache.
7) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins (Previous Rank: 12)
With two straight six-inning performances in which he’s allowed no earned runs, Heaney is doing all he can to shout that he’s ready to help fix what’s wrong with the Marlins’ rotation. Right now that thing is Brad Hand, and Kevin Slowey is unlikely to be the solution. However, with Jacob Turner returning shortly, he’ll likely have to wait another month or two.
8) Kole Calhoun, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Previous Rank: NR)
Realistically expected back around Memorial Day, Calhoun was settling in as a pretty good fantasy option in Los Angeles prior to his ankle sprain. There’s no reason to expect that won’t continue when he’s back, and Calhoun can still play at a 15-homer, 15-steal pace.
9) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 10)
Bradley owners are disappointed that his time isn’t now, but for a team that’s in last place and is rolling out both Josh Collmenter and Mike Bolsinger (not to mention the rotting carcass of Bronson Arroyo), the talented young right-hander won’t have to wait too long.
10) Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies (Previous Rank: 11)
11) Jesse Crain, RHP, Houston Astros (Previous Rank: 14)
If you think his fantasy owners are anxious for Crain to come back, just imagine how Bo Porter feels.
12) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Previous Rank: 15)
After giving it a good effort to make the rotation out of spring training, Gausman has been a bit wild in the minors to start the season, walking eight batters in 11 2/3 innings. With Bud Norris carrying the second lowest ERA on the Orioles thus far, with a 4.42 mark, an opportunity is likely to arise—he’ll just have to take advantage.
13) A.J. Griffin, RHP, Oakland Athletics (Previous Rank: 19)
14) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (Previous Rank: 20)
The Joe Kelly injury re-opens the door ever so slightly for Martinez to return to the rotation. While the Cardinals will roll with Tyler Lyons (who doesn’t excite anyone), a long-term absence for Kelly could relieve Martinez of his current bullpen duties. And yes, I said that on purpose.
15) Josh Willingham, OF, Minnesota Twins (Previous Rank: NR)
It’s never a great thing when a power hitter has a wrist injury, but Willingham’s hairline fracture is relatively mild and the Twins still expect him back within the next two weeks or so. If it’s not a lingering issue, he should continue as an underrated power source lost on a poor team.
16) Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Previous Rank: 22)
With Dustin McGowan standing between Stroman and a rotation spot, he could see the majors before any other prospect on this list. And despite the rough spring, he’s shown he’s ready for the challenge by allowing only two earned runs and striking out 21 batters in his first three Triple-A starts (15 1/3 innings total).
17) Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers (Previous Rank: 16)
18) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Previous Rank: 9)
The shoulder soreness popping back up is a concern, but there’s still plenty of time for Walker to reclaim his spot in Seattle. If my concern level was a four out of 10 the last time this column ran, it’s up to a 5.5 right now.
19) Matt Harrison, LHP, Texas Rangers (Previous Rank: HM)
With Harrison firing eight scoreless innings in his last rehab start, the lefty looks like he’ll be back in the majors this week—and likely pitching in Seattle, which is always a nice place to get your feet wet again after an extended period off. He won’t help much in strikeouts, but with solid ratios and good win potential, he is a sneaky value at this point.
20) Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics (Previous Rank: 18)
If we’re having fun with small sample sizes, Norris has a robust 1.010 OPS against right-handed pitching and an anemic .343 OPS against southpaws. Just let him play every day please.
21) Jacob Turner, RHP, Miami Marlins (Previous Rank: NR)
On Wednesday, Turner will start a rehab assignment and he should be back in the Marlins’ rotation in the first week or two of May. Once a top prospect, Turner still possesses some upside and should get some attention as a post-hype post-prospect.
22) Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox (Previous Rank: 23)
23) Jaime Garcia, LHP, St Louis Cardinals (Previous Rank: NR)
Garcia threw in his first professional game in nearly a year, when he threw two scoreless innings in an extended spring game. He’s got a ways to go, and potentially a full rotation ahead of him, but if he can prove that he’s healthy, he should have a spot over Joe Kelly. This is a rehab worth monitoring in all leagues.
24) Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres (Previous Rank: NR)
One of the last cuts from the first installment, Wisler probably isn’t ready to be thrust into the Padres’ rotation, but he’s been throwing very well in Double-A thus far. Even with Josh Johnson already on the shelf, the injury risks in San Diego are still plentiful and they’re going through UCLs like they’re going out of style.
25) Josh Johnson, RHP, San Diego Padres (Previous Rank: 8)
It certainly doesn’t look good at this point, but if he doesn’t need Tommy John surgery, he can return at some point in June. And with Johnson, it’s not the performance I’m concerned about—just the ability to find the mound.