It qualifies as a “quiet” week at The Stash List when only one-fifth of the list changes these days, so let’s hop right in and take a closer look at some potential September call-ups, and examine few NL Central teams whose rotations could undergo a change over the next couple of weeks.
Gonzalez will reportedly receive the call and make a start in place of the injured Cole Hamels today. He struggled overall in his return to the minors after his demotion in early July, but has looked sharp in his last two outings, pitching 12 innings and allowing three earned runs. Hamels’ injury doesn’t appear serious, so this is likely a one-start engagement for Gonzalez, but he’s clearly next in line should another injury to a Texas starter crop up over the rest of the season.
Rea made his way from Little Rock (via Triple-A El Paso) to San Diego to make his major-league debut on Tuesday against the Reds and was immediately staked to an 11-run lead over his first three innings. Rea went five innings, giving up seven hits and three runs, striking out four and walking one while earning the win. Check out Rea’s Call-Up feature for more information on his short-term and long-term outlooks, brought to you by Chris Crawford and me (mainly Chris of course).
Alcantara’s OPS by month at Triple-A Iowa: .838 in May, .734 in June, .572 in July, and all the way down to .416 to this point in August. Yikes, to say the least.
I refuse to give up on Alcantara long term and think he’s a prime buy-low candidate in dynasty and keeper leagues right now with the strong likelihood that he gets a much-needed change of scenery this winter, but it’s hard to see how he gets any type of duty outside of pinch-running this season. Injuries could change that of course, but such a scenario is looking like the only chance that ‘Mendy has to make an impact this season.
Johnson was placed on the minor-league disabled list with elbow inflammation, but no structural damage to the elbow was found and no timetable was given for when he’ll resume throwing.
Wieland drops off the list this week, not because he has pitched badly season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where his 3.68 FIP ranks fourth among Pacific Coast League qualifiers, but because it’s hard to envision him jumping ahead of the other options (Beachy, Bolsinger, Frias, or potential waiver claims) ahead of him on the depth chart. Wieland’s 4.90 ERA has masked the fact that peripherals haven’t been bad either this season, with his strikeout rate of 18.1 percent and his K-BB% of 12.5 percent both putting him in the top 15 among qualified PCL starters. The 25-year-old Wieland could emerge as a quality back-end starter in time for the Dodgers, but that time is not now.
Visual evidence of Olivera as a part of the Braves organization was produced on Tuesday night, as he was in Tampa to watch the Braves take batting practice. Olivera will start a rehab assignment on Thursday that isn’t expected to be lengthy and should have him on track to join Atlanta in a few weeks, sadly putting an end to the prolific Adonis Garcia era at third for the Braves. Olivera should hit in the middle of the order for the Braves and play regularly, giving him the best opportunity to make a fantasy impact of any hitter not in the majors over the rest of the season. It just continues to be a matter of when he’ll get on the field.
Smyly, who is owned in only 16.4 percent of ESPN leagues, is “ready to roll” in his quest to rejoin the Rays rotation, which could come as soon as Sunday at Texas. In his latest rehab start at Triple-A Durham on Tuesday, Smyly ramped up to 94 pitches, but he only lasted four innings. Smyly struck out 26 hitters over his 22 1/3 innings during his rehab stint, and said that he’s in no pain as he works his way back from a tear in his shoulder that was thought to have ended his season when he suffered the injury on May 5th. Mike Gianella ranked Smyly as a three-star option in his preseason rankings, so a return to health could be very beneficial for owners in virtually every format down the stretch.
The Cubs pulled the plug on Starlin Castro and installed a new starter at shortstop, but they chose to shift Addison Russell from second base to short and give Chris Coghlan time at second base instead of dipping into the minors for Baez, who has cooled off after his hot start in his return from a broken finger. After hitting three home runs and knocking in 14 runs in his first eight games back, Baez has hit .233/.324/.483 in total over his 14 games back with Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs have not given Baez action at any other position besides shortstop, aside from one start at second base on July 24th, so it doesn’t appear that they’re preparing Baez for a utility role with the big-league club at this point.
Injuries that have resulted in trips to the disabled list for Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick have opened up holes in the Los Angeles infield of late. The Dodgers brain trust has opted to promote 2B/OF Jose Peraza from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make his major-league debut in place of Kendrick and have chosen to give extended playing time to Alberto Callaspo at third base while Turner is out. Turner should be back within days from his skin infection, leaving Seager stuck in Oklahoma City for the time being.
Buxton was activated from the disabled list on Monday and was optioned to Triple-A Rochester, marking the second time this season that a Twins starting outfielder has been injured and then not gotten his job back when healthy, which henceforth shall be known in Minnesota as “getting Arcia’d.” Buxton was experiencing Triple-A for the first time during his rehab stint and has hit .368 and knocked in four runs in his five games there, stealing one base. The Twins have the AL’s worst record since June 1st and it’s likely that they keep Buxton down until September. If Buxton is given a chance to showcase his immense talent on a regular basis over the last month, he quite obviously can make a fantasy impact.
Stephenson, the Reds top pitching prospect, has been dynamite in his first seven starts at Triple-A Louisville, holding opponents to a .214 batting average and striking out 41 in 40 innings of work, good for a 3.15 ERA. The Reds could choose to hold Stephenson (who is not on the 40-man roster) down this season (and the start of next year as well for that matter) for service-time reasons and could turn to Lamb (currently on the 40-man), who came to the Reds as a part of their haul for Johnny Cueto. Lamb (who turned 25 in July) also been very effective this season at the Triple-A level, making 17 Pacific Coast League starts while with the Royals organization and putting up a 2.67 ERA (second in the league) and 3.59 FIP, which was the top mark among qualified starters. Lamb hasn’t missed a beat in his three starts since joining the Reds organization, striking out 21 in 17 innings.
Both pitchers figure to be a part of the 2016 Cincinnati rotation, but it is unclear at this time which (if either) will receive the call this season.
After Danny Duffy failed to get out of the fourth inning on Sunday, Ned Yost summoned Medlen from the bullpen and he dazzled in relief, pitching 3 2/3 hitless innings, striking out three White Sox hitters, throwing 50 pitches, and touching 93 mph on his fastball in his longest outing of the year. After the game, Yost mentioned that he’d like to see Medlen in the rotation before the end of the year—presumably in preparation to fulfill Rany Jazayerli’s dream of seeing Medlen as a part of the Kansas City postseason rotation.
Fantasy owners have been enthusiastic for some time about what Story can provide while playing half of his games at Coors—and for good reason—but expectations perhaps need to be tempered a bit for what he can provide this season. His eight home runs (and two steals) over his first 34 games at Triple-A Albuquerque look enticing, but he’s only walked five times in 156 plate appearances, keeping his on-base percentage below the .300 mark.
Story may be able to provide help this season with some pop and a few steals, but expecting numbers close to the .281 AVG and .373 OBP that he showed at Double-A New Britain earlier in the year probably isn’t prudent.
Pittsburgh’s top pitching prospect has impressed in his first three Triple-A starts, striking out 18 over 16 innings and allowing a total of three earned runs. However, Glasnow has also walked 10, with six coming in his August 6th start, where he failed to work into the sixth inning but only allowed one earned run.
Current fifth starter J.A. Happ has an ERA of 5.98 away from Safeco Field this season, and is coming off of a July in which his ERA checked in at 7.43. On August 4th (his first as a Pirate), he worked 4 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on eight hits. If Happ continues to struggle in A.J. Burnett’s absence, Glasnow should be next in line.
The Brewers demoted the struggling Kyle Lohse to the bullpen and opted to keep Davies at Triple-A Colorado Springs in favor of K.D. Lang’s favorite Brewer, Tyler “Constant” Cravy, who has looked progressively worse in each of his four starts this season. It remains to be seen how much longer the Brewers will go with the 26-year-old Cravy (a nice story as a former 17th-round pick), should he continue to struggle, instead of taking a look at Davies, who was their return for Gerardo Parra and who could figure into the 2016 or 2017 Brewers rotation, at least more so than Cravy.
The Phillies have kept Altherr at Triple-A, despite not getting much in the way of production from outfielders Cody Asche (84 wRC+) and Domonic Brown (81 wRC+), both of whom have failed to hit for power and get on base at higher than a 30 percent clip. There was some thought that Altherr, who already has a spot on the 40-man roster, would be summoned when Ben Revere was sent packing to Toronto, but he was not.
Altherr, 24, owns a .295/.369/.493 line this season between Double-A Reading, where he hit six home runs and stole eight bases in 60 contests, and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he has added eight homers and eight steals in 45 games.
The Phillies seem unlikely to tender DBrown a contract for next season over the winter, meaning that Altherr could be given a long look in September, if not sooner.
15) Adam Duvall, OF, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 16)
Duvall has cracked three home runs in his first nine games as a member of the Reds organization, giving him a total of 29 in 109 games this season, all at the Triple-A level. Duvall is a low-OBP slugger who could do damage if given playing time down the stretch should a Marlon Byrd trade occur, but he’ll likely fail to contribute in any categories other than HR and RBI.
16) Jose Berrios, P, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 9)
18) Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 5)
After showing signs of life over the first half of July with the bat (seven home runs in the first twelve games of the month) before the Triple-A All-Star break, the time off during the festivities appears to have killed the momentum that Arcia was building toward a promotion back to Minnesota. Oswaldo, who will be referred to as Orlando’s older brother from now on, has come crashing down over this last 22 games, hitting .125/.202/.225 with two home runs—not exactly forcing the Twins to recall him from his banishment to Rochester.
19) Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers (Last week: 19)
20) Kennys Vargas, DH, Minnesota Twins (Last week: 20)
The Twins promoted Vargas (back) to Triple-A after he hit .287/.417/.516 in 35 games. Vargas joins Buxton, Arcia, Josmil Pinto and the immensely talented Max Kepler in Rochester, arguably giving them more offensive firepower than the big league squad.
21) Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Last week: 21)
22) Fernando Rodriguez, RHP, Oakland A’s (Last week: 22)
23) Blaine Hardy, LHP, Detroit Tigers (Last week: 23)
24) Bruce Rondon, RHP, Detroit Tigers (Last week: 24)
25) Rafael Betancourt, RHP, Colorado Rockies (Last week: 25)
This is your weekly reminder to check out Matt Collins’ Closer Report, because he likes relievers more than I do.