All the cats want to dance with sweet little Stash List 16…
The Graduates: (3) Arodys Vizcaino, (9) Henry Owens, (14) Richie Shaffer, (15) Luis Severino, (16) Daniel Norris, (18) Jon Gray
Vizcaino was the beneficiary of Atlanta’s decision to deal Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan before the trade deadline and has been given the closer job—should there actually be any games to save for the Braves over the last two months.
Owens made his major-league debut Tuesday against the Yankees, going five innings, allowing three earned runs, and striking out five in Yankee Stadium. He will likely have a spot in the Red Sox rotation for the remainder of the season.
Shaffer received the call to the majors on Monday and started each of his first three games, (one time each at first base, third base, and designated hitter) facing left-handed pitching in each contest. The former first-rounder hit his first home run on Tuesday after hitting 23 in 94 games across the top two levels of the minors. It remains to been seen how much time Shaffer will see against righties, but if he hits, the power-starved Rays will find a place in their lineup for him.
The best Yankees pitching prospect in nearly a decade made his major-league debut at home on Wednesday against the Red Sox, striking out seven in five innings, allowing only two hits, and not walking anybody while allowing two earned runs. Severino was outdueled by Steven Wright in his first effort, but almost certainly will stick in the Yankees rotation for the foreseeable future.
Norris was the prize of Detroit’s return for David Price and they immediately chose to slot him into their big-league rotation. Norris pitched a career-high 7 1/3 innings in his first start as a Tiger on Sunday and struck out five Orioles. More importantly for Norris, he only issued one free pass and his ability to limit the walks will play a key role in determining the fantasy impact he’ll have over the course of his career.
Gray made his first appearance in pitchers’ hell on Tuesday against the Mariners and the former third-overall pick’s debut was a mixed bag: four strikeouts in four innings pitched, five hits allowed, two walks, and two earned runs. Expect similar results the rest of the way.
The Dropouts: (17) Rafael Soriano, (22) Brandon Morrow, (24) J.J. Hoover
Soriano was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday with shoulder inflammation, likely ending any chance that he had to secure ninth-inning duties for the Cubs this season. His sparkling 6.35 ERA over his first six games wasn’t exactly giving him an inside track to the job and gave Cubs fans Carlos Marmol flashbacks, certainly not something anybody needs in their life.
Morrow—stop me if you’ve heard this before—suffered an injury that will likely require surgery; this time it’s a shoulder issue that threatens to keep him out the rest of the year. I’m sure Padres fans will forever cherish the memories of his five starts.
The Reds chose to hang onto Aroldis Chapman at the deadline, thus ending Hoover’s chance to become fantasy-relevant this season. It’s doubtful he’s a closing option next year if they move Chapman over the winter.
1) Hector Olivera, 2B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 1)
Olivera moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta in a monster 13-player deal that now gives him a clear path to playing time at third base—provided he can get back on the field. Olivera should appear in rehab games over the next week and is targeted for a promotion to the majors towards the middle of August. Unlike in Los Angeles, where he was potentially blocked by Justin Turner, Howie Kendrick, and a glut of outfielders, Olivera should hit in the middle of the Braves order and play every day, assuming his hamstring cooperates.
2) Javier Baez, INF, Chicago Cubs (Last week: 2)
Baez was not moved by the Cubs at the deadline and has been on fire at Triple-A Iowa, hitting three home runs and driving in 14 over eight games since returning from a broken finger. If Baez keeps mashing, the Cubs may not be able to wait until September to summon him.
3) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 4)
Jimmy Rollins had his best month of the year in July, posting season highs in batting average (.234), on-base percentage (.298), and home runs with four. It’s hard to see the Dodgers giving Seager an opportunity before rosters expand at this point.
4) Joey Gallo, 3B/OF, Texas Rangers (Last week: 5)
Texas sent Leonys Martin down to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday and called upon an outfield option, but it was right-handed-hitting Ryan Strausborger who joined the Rangers and not the struggling Gallo. Outside of seven home runs, Gallo didn’t contribute much with the bat in July, hitting .194/.312/.462 and striking out in 36 percent of his plate appearances. The Rangers have had Gallo split time between third base and left field over the last month, so if another need in the outfield arises, he could get the call.
5) Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 6)
6) Kris Medlen, RHP, Kansas City Royals (Last week: 7)
7) Trevor Story, INF, Colorado Rockies (Last week: 10)
Story enjoyed his first month of Pacific Coast League action, hitting eight home runs and putting up a nifty .924 OPS. He’ll likely remain in the Land of Enchantment until rosters expand—or until the next Jose Reyes hamstring injury occurs.
8) Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs (Last week: 11)
9) Jose Berrios, P, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 12)
After Tommy Milone’s trip to the disabled list, Minnesota chose to throw Tyler Duffey to the wolves—or the Blue Jays lineup—instead of turning to Berrios for a start on Wednesday. The results weren’t pretty as Duffey lasted only two innings while giving up six runs, which could lead to the Twins turning to Berrios next time.
10) Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (Last week: 13)
The Jays trade for Ben Revere effectively ended Pompey’s chance to make a fantasy impact before September. Pompey has seen his power evaporate at the Triple-A level, where he’s hit zero home runs in 188 plate appearances after hitting six in 148 trips to the plate at Double-A New Hampshire.
11) Zach Davies, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Last week: NR)
Davies joined the Brewers from the Orioles in exchange for Gerardo Parra and could find himself in their rotation should Milwaukee deal one of its veteran starters in August. Davies pitched six innings and struck out seven in his first start in the Brewers organization on Wednesday.
12) Nick Tropeano, RHP, Los Angeles Angels (Last week: NR)
Tropeano will reportedly get the call on Sunday to face the Dodgers, filling in for C.J. Wilson. Jered Weaver is slated to return over the weekend from his hip injury, but if he doesn’t look up to the task, Tropeano could stick in the rotation. Tropeano has struck out 76 batters in 71 2/3 innings this season at Triple-A Salt Lake City, posting a 4.25 FIP in the Pacific Coast League.
13) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: NR)
Glasnow made his first start at the Triple-A level on Saturday, striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings of work and allowing four runs. The Pirates traded for J.A. Happ at the deadline to provide rotation depth, which immediately looked prudent with A.J. Burnett landing on the disabled list shortly thereafter. Glasnow’s earlier injuries now look like a blessing in disguise as he’s only at 73 1/3 innings on the year and should have plenty of bullets left if the Pirates turn to him at some point over the last couple of months. He only pitched 124 1/3 innings last season.
14) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: HM)
There were rumors swirling after the Reds traded Mike Leake to the Giants that Stephenson could be in line for a promotion, but they instead chose to bypass him for 24-year-old Keyvius Sampson. Stephenson has a 2.25 ERA in his first six Triple-A starts, striking out a batter per inning in the process.
15) Brian Johnson, LHP, Boston Red Sox (Last week: 8)
Johnson, who appeared on the verge of a promotion to join Henry Owens in the Red Sox rotation, landed on the minor-league disabled list with a sore elbow. The injury doesn’t appear serious, but Boston will likely be conservative with Johnson over the last two months.
16) Adam Duvall, OF, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: NR)
Duvall needs a Marlon Byrd trade to occur for playing time with his new organization to happen this season, but he could be a nice source of power down the stretch if it does. Duvall stumbled in the 77 plate appearances the Giants gave him last season, but should get a lot longer leash with the Reds in his next big-league trial.
17) Aaron Altherr, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (Last week: NR)
18) Alex Gonzalez, RHP, Texas Rangers (Last week: NR)
Martin Perez was sharp his last time out, but if he isn’t able to string together multiple solid performances together, the Rangers could turn back to Gonzalez, who owns a 4.41 ERA in 12 Pacific Coast League outings.
18) Joe Wieland, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 19)
19) Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers (Last week: 20)
20) Kennys Vargas, DH, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 21)
21) Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Last week: 23)
22) Fernando Rodriguez, RHP, Oakland A’s (Last week: NR)
23) Blaine Hardy, LHP, Detroit Tigers (Last week: NR)
24) Bruce Rondon, RHP, Detroit Tigers (Last week: 25)
25) Rafael Betancourt, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Last week: NR)
This largely uninspiring group features Jeffress and Rodriguez, who could step into closing roles should K-Rod and Edward Mujica be dealt in August, and a pair of Tigers relievers that Brad Ausmus could turn to if Alex Wilson struggles down the stretch. Betancourt has the Proven Closer ™ tag and Walt Weiss could find comfort in turning to a familiar closing face should Tommy Kahnle fail to take the ninth-inning job and run with it while John Axford sorts out his various issues.
For more closer talk, check out Matt Collins’ work; it’s good.
Honorable Mention: Jose De Leon, Sean Nolin, Aaron Blair, Mark Appel, Colin Rea, Rafael Montero, John Lamb
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Drew Smyly was a notable omission, as I hadn't realized that he's now slipped below the 25 percent ownership threshold, checking in at 16.3 percent in ESPN leagues. He'd slot in as a top-five option on this list as he's targeting a return to the Rays rotation in two weeks that now has an opening with Matt Moore's demotion.
I expected he'd be at Round Rock until the September call up, and then hit like Odor has...But is there no place for him unless Hamilton gets hurt, and even then Gallo gets the call?
Wieland? Wieland's #'s in MiLB are not good (more Hits then IP, and other peripherals don't seem to strong). More importantly, where would be pitch for LAD? I have been holding him all year and ready to cut him.