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, Lance McCullers. and Raisel Iglesias are not listed below. Last week’s Stash List can be found here.
The Graduates: (14) Daniel Norris
Norris was recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday and will serve in the Tigers bullpen for the “immediate future.” Norris struggled mightily (9.98 ERA, 10 BB in 15 1/3 innings) at Toledo and he’ll now have to jump ahead of Shane Greene and Michael Fulmer to rejoin the Tiger rotation.
The Yankees bypassed Judge for a call-up in favor of fellow Scranton/Wilkes Barre outfielder Ben Gamel, and it appears he needs more seasoning at Triple-A before earning a promotion. Judge owns a .316 OBP this season, and a .236 AVG and .311 OBP in 91 career games at the level, along with 15 home runs and seven stolen bases in 396 plate appearances. Judge, who turned 24 a few weeks ago, will have his time in the Bronx, but that doesn’t appear imminent.
Kepler has continued to struggle with the bat since being demoted to Triple-A Rochester, hitting for a .680 OPS with zero home runs in 17 games, but he hasn’t appeared overwhelmed either, walking ten times and striking out just seven times. With Danny Santana receiving regular playing time in Minnesota, and Oswaldo Arcia (finally) being given an opportunity to play in the outfield over the last couple of weeks, it looks likely that the Twins will keep Kepler in the minors for at least a few more months.
For more thoughts on this week’s Stash List, please check out the latest edition of the Flags Fly Forever podcast featuring George Bissell and Mike Gianella. A big thanks is in order to them both for putting up with me. Now, onto this week’s edition of The Stash:
Prior to Wednesday’s game, Turner had struck out in nine of his last 13 at-bats at Triple-A Syracuse, dropping his average from .333 to .308 in the process. His strikeout rate is still at an acceptable 20 percent on the season, and over his last 10 games he’s been just fine with the bat, hitting for a .289 AVG and stealing five of his 12 bases on the year.
Current Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa’s OBP is now up to a robust .320 on the year after a 1-for-4 performance (with an RBI) Tuesday night against Detroit. Espinosa—currently slugging .284—now has upped his extra-base total to four on the season in Washington’s first 33 games, which matches his intentional walk total on the year while hitting eighth in front of the pitcher. Espinosa, who owns a lifetime .688 OPS, is sputtering along to a .604 OPS this season in 124 plate appearances.
On May 6th, the Astros demoted Gattis to Double-A Corpus Christi after he hit just .203/.257/.313 with one home run in 70 plate appearances—all as Houston’s designated hitter. However, there is an enticing fantasy angle to El Oso Blanco’s demotion, and it’s that the team has put Gattis back behind the plate in an effort to boost their stagnant offense. Gattis will catch in back-to-back games starting today, and will be eligible to return to the majors on Tuesday, in time to face the three lefties in the White Sox rotation.
Such a move defensively would be huge for Gattis’ fantasy value, as he ranked second among catchers on ESPN’s Player Rater in 2015 (behind only Buster Posey) after catching 93 games with Atlanta in 2014. Gattis hit 27 home runs last season, and if he hits even half as many this year while attaining catcher eligibility, it might be enough to push him into the top 10 at the position. After all, A.J. Pierzynski was a top-10 finisher behind the plate last season.
Buxton has hit for a .299/.356/.522 line with three home runs in 16 games since his demotion to Triple-A Rochester on April 26th. Perhaps more importantly, Buxton has struck out in 17 of his 73 plate appearances, a 23.3 percent clip.
Glasnow continues to thoroughly dominate the International League, striking out 11 Louisville Bats over seven scoreless innings, while walking only one and allowing four hits in his latest outing on May 7th. The 22-year-old’s strikeout rate now sits at a shiny 37.5 percent in six starts this year, and his walk rate checks in at just above ten percent, with opponents hitting for a .184 AVG against the 6-foot-8 righty. His ERA of 1.64 isn’t far removed from his FIP of 1.77, and Glasnow’s numbers this season have improved pretty much across the board from his eight start stint at Indianapolis in 2015, as his ERA is now 1.95 in 14 starts at the level with 96 strikeouts in 74 innings pitched—an impressive 11.7 K/9 rate.
Heading into play on Wednesday, the Pirates find themselves 8.5 games behind the Cubs, and Pittsburgh’s starters have compiled a 4.16 ERA, good for 14th in baseball. Jon Niese (5.63 ERA, 6.34 FIP, 118 cFIP, 5.51 DRA) and Jeff Locke (4.68 ERA, 4.78 FIP, 122 cFIP, 6.05 DRA) look like the main candidates to be replaced by Glasnow and Jameson Taillon, with Juan Nicasio (4.02 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 100 cFIP, 3.99 DRA) also likely a candidate to head back the bullpen at some point after throwing just 58 1/3 innings in 2015.
5) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: 7)
Taillon had his “worst” statistical outing of the year on Monday against Syracuse, allowing three runs in seven innings. Taillon struck out six and walked one, putting his season K:BB ratio at a sparkling 32-to-4, and he has held opponents to just about the same average against (.187) as Glasnow, while allowing just 25 hits in 37.1 innings, good for a 0.78 WHIP. After missing the last two years, it’s hard to not be impressed with how sharp the former 2010 second overall pick has looked in his first six outings of the year.
Snell pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and one earned run—courtesy of a Dalton Pompey home run—while striking out seven in his most recent start Tuesday night against Triple-A Buffalo. Snell now has 38 strikeouts in 30 innings in his six outings, but he has also walked 16 hitters, putting his WHIP at 1.40, up from the 1.02 WHIP mark he posted across three levels in 2015. Snell has walked 15 of the 116 right-handed hitters (13.9 percent) that he’s faced this season while at Durham, which is going to make life very difficult for him at the next level if that number is not trimmed. For reference, Steven Matz has walked 4.8 percent of the righties he’s faced at the major-league level this season.
DeSclafani has started long tossing (from 100 feet) once again, but there is no timetable for his return, as he “hopes to build back up slowly” from his oblique injury that has kept him sidelined since the end of spring training. It looks as though he’ll need to complete a few bullpen sessions and then a few rehab starts before returning to the Cincinnati rotation. Based upon this report, a return before early-June seems unlikely.
Bradley made another spot start on Monday, his second such assignment of the year, this one coming at Coors Field. His fastball looked crisp—averaging 94 MPH according to Brooks Baseball—as he allowed four earned runs in six innings, striking out four and walking three before being sent back to Triple-A Reno after the game. It’s pretty clear that Bradley is the de facto no. 6 starter in Arizona. However, Robbie Ray (96 cFIP, 3.75 DRA) has pitched better than his numbers indicate (4.70 ERA), and with Rubby de la Rosa’s improved work against lefties (.197/.294/.317 against in 69 batters faced) in the early going, it looks like the 23-year-old will await his opportunity in Reno for the time being.
The Angels received horrible news regarding the injuries to their best defensive player and two of their best rotation pieces in Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney over the past week, and while the most recent news on Skaggs doesn’t fall into the catastrophic territory of Richards and Heaney, the much-needed lefty starter has yet to receive clearance to resume throwing after being shut down with biceps tendinitis on May 2nd.
Reed was placed on the seven-day disabled list Wednesday with a pulled hamstring that he suffered while legging out an infield single. That will hopefully teach him to just hit the ball out of the ballpark from now on and not mess around with running. Reed, who turned 23 on Tuesday, is hitting .229/.333/.457 overall at Triple-A Fresno of the Pacific Coast League, and just .167/.333/.333 (with one home run) against left-handed pitching in 24 at-bats. With Evan Gattis being sent down to Double-A to brush up on his catching skills, and Tyler White struggling mightily since his red-hot start, the door seemed open for Reed to earn a promotion, but a call-up now looks unlikely prior to the Super Two cutoff next month.
I was in attendance for Urias’ most recent start with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Colorado Springs on Monday, and it was hard not to feel that I was witnessing a generational talent. To put Urias’ impressive outing (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) on Monday in further context, Security Service Field is roughly 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Coors Field, and at 6,531 feet above sea level it’s at the highest elevation of any professional park in North America. Add to that a 16 MPH wind blowing out to right field, and that Urias (the youngest player in the PCL) was facing an all-right-handed-hitting lineup that featured Orlando Arcia (No. 12 overall prospect on the BP 101), as well as Michael Reed, Keon Broxton, and Josmil Pinto. Urias allowed only a handful of hard-hit balls all day, and Reed had the only extra-base hit of the day against him, an opposite-field double. After Urias left the game, Colorado Springs went on to score seven runs in the seventh inning. In other words, as soon as he was gone, it was back to “normal
PCL baseball at altitude. Urias’ six scoreless innings on Monday ran his scoreless streak to 16 innings, and lowered his ERA to 1.50 on the year in 30 innings. Urias has held opponents to a .176 average on the year with only two balls leaving the park in his first six appearances, and has struck out 38 (29.5 percent) of the hitters he’s faced. Those are outstanding numbers for any pitcher in the Pacific Coast League—let alone one who doesn’t turn 20 until August.
While seeing Urias in person gave me a further appreciation of just how talented the 19-year-old lefty is, it also put into perspective for me how much of an uphill battle he faces in making a large fantasy impact in standard mixed leagues this season. After throwing 80 1/3 innings in 2015, and 87 2/3 innings in 2014, Urias is already at 30 innings this season, and it’s hard for me to imagine that the Dodgers will push their prized lefty too much further than 110-120 innings this season. If he were to be called up tomorrow, that would leave him with a remainder of 80-90 innings, which at an average of just five innings per start would work out to 16-18 starts. Even as talented as Urias is, it’s just hard to make any type of impact in that amount of innings, and that’s assuming the Dodgers would insert him into the rotation now and not wait until after the Super Two cutoff. I feel it’s a far more realistic scenario that the Dodgers call upon Urias for a multi-inning bullpen role, which would likely be best for his long-term development, but such a role would make it very difficult for him to have an impact in most mixed leagues.
Urias will be a force to be reckoned with in standard mixed leagues—probably starting next season—and is somebody who I’d certainly be looking to buy en masse in dynasty leagues, but I have a hard time seeing the fantasy dominance starting this season.
Giolito pitched his longest outing of the year on Monday, working six innings, striking out four and issuing only one walk. The outing lowered his ERA to 4.74 and his WHIP to 1.74.
14) Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 13)
15) Cody Reed, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 15)
Reed had another impressive outing Saturday night against Triple-A Indianapolis, working eight strong innings, allowing one earned run, and striking out eight. Due to inclement weather and a minor finger injury, Reed’s only made four starts this season, but he’s held opponents to a .188 AVG against and struck out 25 in 24 2/3 innings. Reed owns all of 78 1/3 innings of experience at the Double-A level—all of which came in 2015—making it likely that the Reds will want to give their 23-year-old lefty more experience in the upper minors before putting him into their big-league rotation, particularly when they have a boatload of other rotation options including the soon-to-be returning Raisel Iglesias and Anthony DeSclafani, along with Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Robert Stephenson. That’s before accounting for other possibilities, including Michael Lorenzen, Jon Moscot, Alfredo Simon, and Dan Straily. As talented as Reed is, the Reds aren’t going anywhere this season, and have no real need to rush him with all of the other options on hand, making it hard for me to see how he enters the picture until later in the season.
I’ll have extended thoughts on Atlanta’s future double play combination in next week’s edition of The Stash, but I did briefly touch on their timeline to the majors in this week’s Flags Fly Forever.
20) Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 18)
De Leon had his second start of the year skipped due to “general arm soreness,” and the team is reportedly giving him a bit of extra rest as a precaution, rather than due to a potentially serious injury. De Leon has also been mentioned along with Julio Urias (and Jharel Cotton) as a possible bullpen addition with the Dodgers searching for help in their beleaguered ‘pen.
23) Hyun-jin Ryu, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 21)
Ryu will reportedly throw live batting practice early next week before starting a rehab assignment the following week as he looks to join the Dodgers rotation in mid-June. Brandon McCarthy is on a similar timeline in his rehab, which should give Los Angeles two rotation options to deploy at around the same time as the Super Two cutoff.
24) Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers (Last week: 24)
Nick Williams 2016 Walk Watch: One walk (in six games) since last week’s list, inching his total to five on the season in 108 plate appearances, a 4.6 percent rate (with 22 strikeouts) and a .308 OBP as the 22-year old adjusts to Triple-A pitching.
Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):
Mark Appel, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Orlando Arcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
Alex Bregman, INF, Houston Astros (Last week: NR)
J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees (Last week: 22)
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
Jake Thompson, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds