Let’s do the non-throwaway line introduction this week. As some readers (and almost all Effectively Wild listeners) know, our fearless leader, Sam Miller, is spending the summer running an independent league team—the Sonoma Stompers—with our former fearless leader, Ben Lindbergh, and writing a book about it. So for the next couple of months, I’m doing to be stepping into a portion of his large footprints and taking over as interim fearless leader at Baseball Prospectus. This means that today’s Stash List is likely going to be my last for the season.
However, do not fear Stash List enthusiasts! Just because I will likely have written my last of the season does not mean that the column is going away. I have handpicked my replacement here, and starting next week, Mr. J.J. Jansons will be giving you all of the information you need to know about the most stashable players in our fantasy universe. He is going to do a wonderful job and you are going to love him for it. And with that, we still have one last list to get to.
Are you ready for the Stash List? Is the Stash List ready for you? Don’t know you know you have to choose. The Stash List is here for you to use.
Well, I guess Rodriguez is here to stay. In his first two starts, he’s given up a grand total of one run, while striking out 14 and walking four in just 14 2/3 innings. He’s also averaging 94.5 mph on his fastball. There’s a real chance that he could be their best fantasy starter the rest of the way—even though Clay Buchholz has looked much improved this season. If he’s unowned in any leagues out there, that should be remedied. Iglesias looks like he’s temporarily here to stay, but while the strikeouts are there, the overall numbers have been wholly unimpressive recently. There’s likely going to be a natural cap on his value due to the ratio weakness and innings cap he’s certain to be on (especially on a non-contending Reds team), but strikeouts are strikeouts in the near term.
The Dropouts: Marco Gonzales (21)
The door was open for Gonzales to claim the rotation spot vacated by Adam Wainwright, but he has not been able to stay healthy enough to take advantage. Now, with Jaime Garcia chugging along (at least until he inevitably breaks), he remains sidelined due to a shoulder impingement. He should jump back onto the list later this season, but it doesn’t look like his contributions will be coming any time soon—and the upside isn’t substantial enough to wait him out right now.
Olivera will be assigned to the Dodgers’ Double-A team on Thursday after playing in nearly a week’s worth of extended spring games. The reports out of Arizona were that he looked strong and without too much rust at the plate, while handling both second and third base well defensively. He should be the Dodgers’ best internal option at the hot corner as soon as 2-3 weeks from now, even with all of Alex Guerrero’s dingers.
It’s great to see Baez hitting well again. The strikeouts are down five percentage points from his last stint in Triple-A, and he’s making much stronger contact when putting the ball into play (.325 average) without sacrificing power (.225 isolated power). Unfortunately for him, Addison Russell has been very strong at second base so far, putting up a .277 TAv and adding 4.2 FRAA in the field. In other words, he’s not going anywhere—which means Baez will need an alternative route to Wrig—wait, Baez played third base for Iowa last night? [cue light from heaven and angels singing] It's happening!
Monday was Corbin’s return to extended spring, after a little over a week off, and he was back to touching the mid-90’s on the radar gun. After striking out eight batters in 3 2/3 innings, Corbin is readying himself for a rehab assignment, which should hopefully get him back into the Arizona rotation by the first week of July.
It’s uncommon to have a closer-in-waiting this high on the list, but this is what happens when a reliever is getting into games, dominating, and then watching his manager turn the ball over to Fernando Rodney. After another blown save on Tuesday, Rodney may have finally run out of arrows in his arrow sack (any archers want to confirm whether that’s the correct name for it?) and it would not be surprising to see Smith get the next opportunity.
I don’t care that he gave up seven runs in an outing this past week, even though he did rebound for a strong start Wednesday night against Nashville. His last start was his 26th at the Triple-A level—which is overkill. He’s ready, even though there’s no place for him right now.
That the second-best fantasy prospect still in the minors is holding his own at Triple-A as a 20-year-old is impressive enough. And while his first 10 games at the level went much better than his most recent 10 games (.154/.195/.282 in 41 PA), he remains likely to be the Astros’ shortstop later on this season. And even in those last 10 games, he’s not being wholly overmatched, as he has just seven strikeouts in that span.
7) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Last week: 5)
While the Astros’ first baseman of the future continues to hit just as well at Triple-A as he did last year, the man in front of him is finally starting to show some signs of life. Since the calendar flipped to May, Chris Carter is hitting .224/.333/.439 with six homers. If he keeps hitting like that, rather than his .521 OPS in April, Singleton is going to need an injury to prove that he’s better than he showed in his rookie season.
The Rangers surprised many by pulling Joey Gallo up from Double-A this week to replace the injured Adrian Beltre—rather than summoning Odor and shifting Adam Rosales over to third base. That said, the latter is likely to happen pretty soon anyway (sans the Rosales shift). In his first taste of Triple-A, Odor is hitting .310/.395/.634 with five homers, nine walks and seven strikeouts in just 83 PA. I still don’t expect him to be a huge fantasy contributor this season, but he’ll be worth owning in most leagues.
It’s now been three starts since John Gibbons said that Norris could join the rotation again shortly. Fortunately, yesterday’s start was the first of his six Triple-A starts with fewer than three walks. With Aaron Sanchez a bullpen candidate and Marco Estrada always a candidate to be sent into orbit, don’t be surprised if we actually do see him soon.
11) Jake Lamb, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks (Last week: 11)
The Mark Trumbo trade makes Lamb a little more likely to secure playing time once he returns. Unfortunately, the trade doesn’t make him closer to returning.
The oft-injured right-hander fired four scoreless innings in his first rehab start at Double-A San Antonio on Tuesday. If he can make it through one more with his arm attached, he’ll likely jump back into the rotation for the Padres at that point.
13) Arismendy Alcantara, OF/2B, Chicago Cubs (Last week: NR)
Slowly, but surely, Alcantara has begun to hit at Triple-A. In his last 15 games, the do-everything switch-hitter is batting .371/.435/.645 with four homers, five steals. and just 13 strikeouts in 70 plate appearances. There’s a very good chance he’s a better option for the Cubs in left field than Chris Coghlan right now, and a promotion for him makes much more sense than one for Kyle Schwarber (as much as I adore him).
Duffy would rank a touch higher if he were certain to get a rotation spot back when he’s healthy. However, with Chris Young doing superhuman things, he may be bullpen bound when he does return. Duffy will throw a simulated game on Thursday, and looks to be about three weeks away from returning.
16) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 14)
On Wednesday, Moore made his first official rehab start with High-A Charlotte. The risks with Moore have always been apparent, but they’re likely to be exacerbated during the immediate aftermath of Tommy John surgery. Regaining command is the final frontier of recovery, and Moore’s was pretty poor to start—making him a candidate to be a true WHIP killer once he gets back to Tampa in late June.
18) Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (Last week: 16)
20) Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins (Last week: NR)
There’s no reason the Twins should be in first place right now, but here we are. The top fantasy prospect in baseball spent May getting his sea legs back, hitting .277/.326/.571 with four homers and nine steals in 132 plate appearances. He’s not ready yet, but the Twins may find him to be their best option in center field by July regardless—and nothing should be ruled out when talking about players with this much natural talent.
Right-hander Jose Urena got the call over Nicolino recently to fill a vacant spot in the Marlins’ rotation, but Nicolino has the greatest ability to stick for a good portion of the season. The ballpark and division (full of weak offenses) could turn him from a very bland fantasy option into one that is usable in deeper mixed leagues (likely as a home streamer).
Another starting pitcher kicking off his Tommy John rehab tour in High-A this week, Griffin has a little more competition in his path to returning to the Athletics’ rotation than Matt Moore does with the Rays. However, Griffin is the type of pitcher who could have more success immediately, given he’s more of a command guy than a stuff guy.
24) Stephen Piscotty, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Last week: 25)
Somebody started playing center field in minor league games this past week. This is an interesting development because Cameron Maybin has never been able to stay healthy particularly well.