In your week off from the Stash List, I hope you caught up on things around the house. After all, that bathroom isn’t going to clean itself—unless, of course, it does.
It’s a heavy dose of graduations at the Stash List—but then again, this is what tends to happen when we skip a week. We anoint a new number one this week, as Rodon finally gets the shot in the White Sox rotation that he deserves. This also means that it will be the last week in a long time (hopefully ever) that I take a pot shot at Hector Noesi—who, bless his heart, just did not belong in a major league rotation. Rodon’s slider is already approaching one of the best in baseball, and should lead to impressive strikeout totals the rest of the way. Syndergaard was really impressive for the first five innings of his major-league debut on Tuesday, but ran into a wall in the sixth inning before being chased. The stuff looked as good as advertised, and with a pretty tame schedule over the rest of the month, he should stand a good chance of establishing himself in the rotation for good.
The Crisp/Hardy combination finally returned from the disabled list, and while neither of them is anywhere near the fantasy option as they used to be, they can both be starters in 12-14 team leagues for as long as they can stay healthy. Ramos falls off because he’s looking more and more like the man in Miami, after Steve Cishek was unceremoniously dumped from the closer’s role by a strong-armed combination of Mike Redmond and Scott Van Slyke. Ramos has been excellent and middle relief, and could take this job and run with it—settling in as a mid-range closer. Both Taylor and Swihart offer very little ceiling for fantasy, but both should get their share of playing time for their respective teams. Taylor is an average play, with some steals sprinkled in, while Swihart won’t offer much of anything (but he’s a catcher, so you take what you can get).
It’s been a precipitous fall for Alcantara so far in 2015. After being terrible with the Cubs, he’s only been not-so-great at Triple-A. With a certain other high-end prospect sharing the infield with him in Iowa, he’s going to have to do better than a 70 percent contact rate to be anything more than a utility player in the majors this year. Long-term, he still carries plenty of potential though. It was a brutal week for Parker, who viciously and abruptly ended his comeback from a second Tommy John surgery by fracturing his elbow while delivering a pitch. There’s video out there of it, but I won’t link to it here—and it’s absolutely not for the weak stomached.
In the slowest pending promotion of all time, the Phillies demoted Cody Asche to Triple-A in order to work on his left field defense and make room for Franco, who’s done nothing but hit thus far in Triple-A. He won’t walk, and he won’t run, but he’s Franco can provide some power with a reasonable average at a position that’s been a tough one to fill in 2015. Plus, it’s never bad being a right-handed hitter in Philadelphia.
At some point, either Castillo is either full of bad luck, or he’s just going to be the kind of guy who gets dinged up and frustrates fantasy owners. Of course, we’re not there yet, but with another new injury sidelining Castillo at Triple-A (an ankle sprain this time), it’s worth wondering how much he’s going to make of the opportunity potentially in front of him.
In what will likely be his last appearance on the list, Alvarez makes a run towards the top—less because he can be an impact starter when he returns, but more because of his high floor. He looked like his usual self in his rehab assignment this week, casually tossing six scoreless innings, and it looks (as of right now) like his next start will come for the Marlins. He may not have enough strikeouts to top SP4 status, but if he did, he wouldn’t be available in so many leagues.
There’s nothing more encouraging for a pitcher recovering from Tommy John to regain his peak pre-surgery velocity early on. Obviously, the command comes with time, but too often we take the radar gun readings for granted. Corbin touched 95 MPH in his first rehab start at extended spring, while sitting comfortably in the 90s—exactly what his velocity looked like when he was an strong SP3. With a target date of June 4th rapidly approaching, don’t let him linger on the wire for much longer.
Slowly, Heaney bides his time in Triple-A. He’s not forcing the Angels’ hand with his performance, but he’s ready when that call comes. Unfortunately, with Hector Santiago pitching well and Jered Weaver never leaving that rotation ever, Heaney’s best chance is for Matt Shoemaker to turn into a pumpkin, and with two starts in a row where he’s given up three homers, that’s not an unlikely outcome.
We finally have some news on the Olivera front this week, as his visa has reportedly been acquired and he’s on his way to the United States to finalize his contract. It will be at least a month before we even think about seeing him in Los Angeles though, and even then, there’s no guarantee of playing time. That said, Olivera can hit, and that often ends up working itself out.
After Pompey got off to a rough start in 2015, he was optioned to Triple-A in order to get a little more “seasoning”. Of course, he wasn’t actually playing that poorly before going down, and he’s the best defensive option in center field. Combine that with the rumors flying around about Jose Bautista not being able to play the outfield anymore, and it’s recipe for a return to Toronto shortly.
When the best thing that could happen to you is an injury, maybe your organization isn’t quite getting the most out of your talents. Gausman will return from the disabled list later this month as a starting pitcher, and will wait out the carcass of Bud Norris from a place with a better view.
The hard-throwing Cuban right-hander gets to remain on the list because, as I write this, he is certain to be sent down prior to Thursday’s game. Of course, he also just threw eight fantastic innings against the Braves, so he’s positioned himself quite well for another call up shortly. The key for Iglesias is holding his stuff and command deep into games, so this was a good start.
One thing that Hamilton’s performance and off-field transgressions have lacked recently has been middle ground, and that middle ground is unlikely to start to show up now. If you’re stashing Hamilton, it’s because you think there’s a chance that he could be the above average hitter he was last year (114 OPS+) in a better place to put up shiny numbers. This ranking confirms that I also think there’s a chance of that happening.
11) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Last week: 17)
There may not be a hotter hitter in the minors right now than Singleton, who has seven homers and 25 RBI in his last 10 games (including two and 10, respectively, on Wednesday night). With the Astros sliding a scuffling Chris Carter down to the eighth spot in the lineup recently, don’t be surprised if they turn once again to their first baseman of the future.
With Franklin now nearing the completion of his first week of rehab games, it’s likely that we see him in the majors at some point next week. However, Logan Forsythe hasn’t stopped hitting—and is looking to turn this into a tougher battle for at bats than previously anticipated. Of course, with as bad as Asdrubal Cabrera has been, there’s another road here, but if it were a serious consideration, he’d likely have gotten more than just one start at shortstop so far.
13) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 13)
There’s so much standing in the way of Seager getting both a promotion and reasonable playing time, but betting against one of the best hitters in the minor leagues isn’t something I’m in the business of doing. Realistically, there’s only about a ten percent chance that Seager gets more than about 100 plate appearances this year; however, some players are worth holding onto for small percentages.
14) Jake Lamb, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: NR)
A late May return may be getting less likely by the day for Lamb, but the bigger issue is that he is coming back to a more crowded situation than he left. With Yasmany Tomas coming alive (at least on offense) and Aaron Hill hitting .464/.516/.857 in May, he’ll have to fight for that job against right-handed pitching, barring a trade.
15) Jaime Garcia, LHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: NR)
Every time I think I’m done, he just draws me back in. With the inside track on a rotation spot, if he can just stay up right long enough to make it there, Garcia is valuable when he does get the ball. It’s just never enough. His first rehab start at Triple-A wasn’t good, but performance isn’t the issue here.
16) Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros (Last week: HM)
The higher Correa shoots on this list, the more I believe in the Astros as contenders for the full 2015 season. From a pure talent perspective, Correa could be in the majors next month—but if the Astros aren’t competing, we’re not having this conversation. Well, we probably are, but it’s similar to the 2013 George Springer conversation. The longer they hang around, the more likely we are to put our eyes on one of the elite prospects in the game today—and now Correa gets to wait in Triple-A.
17) Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Last week: NR)
It’s easy to forget that Norris only had about 70 innings of upper minors experience before showing up in the Blue Jays’ rotation on Opening Day. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise that he’d struggle, but talent like Norris’ is too good to not win out in time. Unfortunately for redrafters, that time may not necessarily be in 2016, but the poor rotation in Toronto all but guarantees that he gets another shot.
After the awful tragedy of losing his sister around a month ago, Baez finally returned to baseball two weeks ago and has been hitting reasonably well in the early going. In fact, with the struggles of Alcantara, Baez may be next in line for a promotion if an injury strikes (or if Addison Russell begins to ride the struggle bus).
19) Marco Gonzales, LHP, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: NR)
A healthier version of Gonzales might have been where Tyler Lyons is now, helping fill the void left by Adam Wainwright. However, since Lyons isn’t particularly good and Jaime Garcia can’t seem to stay healthy, Gonzales stands a good chance to make 10 starts this year. The upside isn’t high, especially in strikeouts, but his ratios cold be strong.
20) Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Last week: NR)
A rehab assignment nears, and Moore is supremely more talented than many of the pitchers in front of him. However, a below-average command guy like Moore scares me upon returning from Tommy John—and my expectations would be pretty low for the remainder of the season, even with good health.
It’s no surprise that Syndergaard got the call first among high-end Mets pitching prospects, but that rotation in Queens is not a strong bet to stay healthy over a full season, and Matz should get his time to show that his Las Vegas dominance is a sign of things to come.
22) Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Boston Red Sox (Last week: NR)
With Justin Masterson going on the disabled list with whatever Ben Cherington drew out of a hat, the opening is there for Rodriguez to edge himself into a role he’s certainly deserved with his performance in the Red Sox system to date. In his first 29 2/3 innings at Triple-A, Rodriguez has struck out 29 and walked four, while holding the velocity that makes Orioles’ fans want to forget all about Andrew Miller.
Setbacks for A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker mean that Nolin has less competition in the medium-term than originally thought. He’s been unscored upon in his first three innings of the season in Nashville, and will toe the rubber again on Thursday, as the Athletics stretch him out. He could be an option for the rotation as soon as early-to-mid June.
There’s potential in his bat, but when Lindor gets the call later this year, it will be for his glove first and foremost. The Indians sorely need his defense. In the near-term, Lindor could potentially hit .250 with 10-15 steals, were he to get the call post-Super Two.
25) Rougned Odor, 2B, Texas Rangers (Last week: NR)
This placement says all you need to know about what I think of Odor’s chances of returning the type of fantasy value that his enthusiasts clamored for in the pre-season. The hit tool isn’t developed enough yet to carry him in roto leagues, and it’s going to need to in time, as he’s unlikely to ever be a big power or speed guy.