For a refresher on the four types of players that are eligible for inclusion on this list, please see the first edition of the year to find out why players like Carlos Carrasco, A.J. Pollock, Devon Travis, Jung-ho Kang, Andrew Heaney, and Ender Inciarte are not listed below. Last week’s Stash List can be found here.
The Graduates: None
After starting the year with eight scoreless outings, Cotham has been scored upon in four of his last six outings. The Reds bullpen remains an absolute mess, and I agree with Matt Collins’ thoughts regarding the Cincinnati ‘pen in his latest Closer Report—namely that Ross Ohlendorf (somehow) appears to be next in line for saves. I wouldn’t rule out Blake Wood at this point either, but your guess is as good as mine in determining who can actually string together a few scoreless appearances in the Reds bullpen.
Chris Crawford talked about Tim Anderson’s struggles on Wednesday, and while it’s far too early to write him off as far as being a contributor for 2016, it’s pretty clear that he has a lot of work to do with his approach before supplanting Jimmy Rollins (or Tyler Saladino) for a starting job on the team with the best record in the American League.
As for Roman Quinn, who has also struggled to begin the year, it looks increasingly like he’ll need more time in Double-A—and most likely a similar amount of time at the Triple-A level—before he’s ready to make a fantasy impact.
Despite of lack of graduates from The Stash this week, we have a new man atop the fifth edition:
Turner just keeps smashing the ball at Triple-A Syracuse, hitting for a .309 AVG and .393 OBP in his first 25 games of the year. Perhaps more impressively, Turner has walked 14 times against just 17 strikeouts in 111 plate appearances, and after swiping 29 bases in 35 attempts (in 116 games) in the minors last year, the former NC State product has stolen 10 stolen bases without being caught this year.
Current Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa’s OBP sits at .292 on the year after an 0-for-4 performance (with an RBI) Wednesday against Kansas City. Espinosa—currently slugging .272—has three extra-base hits in Washington’s first 27 games. Espinosa has a total of eight walks, three of the intentional variety, while hitting ahead of the pitcher out of the eighth spot in the Washington order in 15 games, and a grand total of two walks in 12 games hitting from any other spot in the order.
As of Tuesday, Washington shortstops have combined to hit a sparkling .170/.270/.270 on the year.
DeSclafani encountered a setback with his troublesome oblique during his rehab start at Low-A Dayton on April 29th, and while he doesn’t feel that he’s “back to square one,” he has yet to be cleared to resume throwing. He felt the discomfort during his five-inning start, which was scheduled to be his final tune-up before jumping into the Reds rotation. Desclafani made 77 pitches in the start, with his fastball mainly in the 93 MPH range, and Reds skipper Brian Price didn’t classify the setback as a “re-injury,” giving hope that he can rejoin the Cincinnati rotation within the next few weeks.
On Monday, Skaggs was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis, which will keep him from throwing for a week. Skaggs will be re-evaluated at that point, and Mike Scioscia was “relieved” that the MRI did not show any shoulder damage, as initially feared. With Garrett Richards feeling fatigued and perhaps needing to skip his next start on Friday, C.J. Wilson in the initial stages of his rehab, and Andrew Heaney receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow that will likely keep him out of action for the next two months, the Angels will be understandably be cautious with Skaggs prior to welcoming him back to the rotation with open arms.
Buxton has enjoyed his time at Triple-A Rochester, clubbing his first home run of the year on Tuesday and is hitting .302/.362/.512 in his first 10 minor-league games of the year, striking out in 12 of 47 plate appearances.
Snell has been touched up a bit in his last two starts (10.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 BB, 10 K) at Triple-A Durham, which has caused his ERA to climb to 4.01 in five starts. With Erasmo Ramirez taking to the bullpen nicely and May 10th’s starter yet to be announced, the Rays could be holding a rotation spot open for Snell to make another spot start.
After walking seven hitters in his first four outings of the year at Triple-A Indianapolis, Glasnow struggled to find the zone on Sunday against Norfolk, walking five hitters in five scoreless innings while giving up only two hits. Glasnow has struck out 37 in 26 innings while holding hitters to a .187 average and his ERA (2.08) is right in line with his lifetime ERA of 2.07.
After being swept at home by the Cubs on Wednesday, the Pirates find themselves six games behind Chicago and Pittsburgh’s starters have compiled a 4.34 ERA, 15th in baseball. Jon Niese (5.94 ERA) and Jeff Locke (4.73 ERA) look like the main candidates to be replaced by Glasnow and Jameson Taillon—hopefully for Pirates fans before the division gap reaches double digits.
7) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: 10)
As dominant as his teammate Tyler Glasnow has been at Triple-A Indianapolis, Taillon’s start to the year has arguably been more impressive. Taillon has punched out 26 hitters—while walking just three—in 30 1/3 innings over five starts. He has allowed just 20 hits, has yet to be taken deep on the year, and is striking out batters at essentially the same rate (23 percent) as he did in the upper minors in 2013.
Although Reed hasn’t yet hit for average (.241 AVG in 98 PA) in his first tour of the Pacific Coast League, he has held his own (.751 OPS) against lefties despite not hitting for much power (one home run in 27 PA) against them.
With just about everybody (Tyler White, Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez, Luis Valbuena) ahead of him on the depth chart struggling in Houston, Reed may be able to avoid a platoon and see a full slate of at-bats when the Astros call upon him if he can show that he can handle Triple-A lefties.
Urias continues to dominate Triple-A hitters, striking out six in his latest scoreless outing on Wednesday against New Orleans. He’s up to 29 strikeouts in 24 innings on the year, and batters are hitting for an absurd .163 average against the 19-year-old lefty. For me, there’s little doubt that Urias could help the Dodgers right now out of their bullpen in a multi-inning role—or as part of a tandem-type fifth-starter arrangement—but with the Dodgers understandably being cautious with their prized prospect, he’ll likely spend at least the next month or so in Oklahoma City. The picture should be much clearer about their plan to best deploy his limited bullets this season over the next few weeks, but any innings limit will undoubtedly hamper Urias’ ability to make a strong fantasy impact in mixed leagues this season.
Bradley matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts at Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday, running his total to 34 on the year in 25 2/3 innings (a 33 percent rate) and lowering his ERA to 2.45 in five starts. Current Diamondbacks rotation member Rubby de la Rosa has pitched better than his 4.60 ERA indicates, but both he and Robbie Ray (4.97 ERA) could be in danger of losing their places in the Arizona rotation if Bradley and Braden Shipley (3.26 ERA, 2.96 FIP) continue to impress at Reno.
Giolito has yet to reach the fifth in any of his starts at Double-A Harrisburg this season and looked human (3 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) in his most recent outing on Wednesday against Hartford. He’s now walked 14 (with 17 strikeouts) in 18 2/3 innings and his ERA is now up to 5.30 on the year with his WHIP also climbing to a hideous 2.04.
13) Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 15)
It hasn’t been a great past week or so for rehabbing Reds pitchers, as Bailey also suffered a “slight setback” during his most recent start at Double-A Pensacola and will likely be shut down for a week, pushing back his return, which was originally slated for mid-May.
15) Cody Reed, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 17)
While it hasn’t been a great time to be a Reds pitcher of any kind of the past few weeks, Reed continues to impress in the International League. On Sunday against Durham, Reed pitched seven innings of one-hit ball, striking out five and walking one. His ERA now sits at 1.62 after three starts—he’s missed starts due to both a finger injury and for weather-related reasons—and his strikeout rate sits at 26 percent in 16 2/3 innings.
18) Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: HM)
De Leon was very impressive (5 IP, 2H, 0 ER, 1BB, 9 K) in his first outing of the year for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. It was the 23-year-old De Leon’s first career start at the level and after he threw the most innings of his professional career last season (114 1/3), the Dodgers will also be cautious in monitoring his innings this season.
21) Hyun-jin Ryu, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 20)
Ryu (and Brandon McCarthy) will reportedly throw a bullpen session today and the Dodger lefty’s last 40-pitch bullpen session was completed with no issues. However, his return timetable is still unclear.
23) Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 21)
Not all that surprisingly, Kepler has struggled (.616 OPS) in his first 11 games at Triple-A Rochester after getting all of 14 plate appearances while wasting away on the Twins bench during his nine-game cameo.
24) Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers (Last week: 22)
While I rather disappointingly didn’t get to see Nomar Mazara or Joey Gallo play for Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday—as I had hoped at the beginning of the year—I did get to see Profar for the first time, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Facing Colorado Springs starter Taylor Jungmann to begin the evening, Profar went 2-for-5 on the night with an RBI, made all of the plays at short smoothly, and displayed his wheels while scoring from first on a play that hit the glove of Orlando Arcia (the only defender on the left side of the infield at the time) and bounced down the left-field line. Profar remains blocked at the major-league level for the time being, but the great news is that he appears healthy and he certainly looked ready to contribute right now in the majors to me. His strikeout rate of just under 13 percent is his best mark since 2011 while in Low-A ball. He has yet to fully display his power stroke (.388 SLG) this season, but that’s just about the only nit to pick with Profar in the early going this year.
Williams has begun to heat up, hitting .366 over his last ten games, and hitting his second homer of the year on Tuesday against Pawtucket.
Nick Williams 2016 Walk Watch: Zero walks (in four games) since last week’s list, keeping his total at four on the season in 83 plate appearances, a 4.8 percent rate (with 17 strikeouts) that’s yielded a .313 OBP as the 22-year-old adjusts to Triple-A pitching.
Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):
Ozzie Albies, SS, Atlanta Braves (Last week: NR)
Mark Appel, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Orlando Arcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Mike Minor, LHP, Kansas City Royals
Tom Murphy, C, Colorado Rockies
Jose Peraza, UT, Cincinnati Reds
Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Michael Reed, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
Richie Shaffer, 1B/3B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: NR)
Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves (Last week: NR)
Jake Thompson, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds