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. You’ll find out why players like Carlos Carrasco, A.J. Pollock, Michael Brantley, Shin-Soo Choo, Yu Darvish, and Raisel Iglesias are not listed below. Last week’s Stash List, can be found here.
The Graduates: (2) Evan Gattis
“El Oso Blanco” announced his return to the majors on Tuesday with a 2-for-4 showing that included two intentional walks and an absolute 11th-inning rocket off of Chicago’s Matt Albers, his second homer of the year, which was also his hardest-hit ball of the year. Gattis served as the club’s designated hitter in his first two games back, but will likely be behind the plate today as Houston finishes its three-game set with the White Sox. Gattis hit fourth in the Astros order upon his return, and if he can hit 15-plus homers the rest of the way (PECOTA projects him for 16 HR), that may be all he needs to finish inside the top 10 at the position—even if he doesn’t play every day. As was mentioned last week, Gattis finished second among catchers on ESPN’s Player Rater last season behind Buster Posey.
In a procedural move, Bailey was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday after experiencing a setback in his second rehab outing of the year. His timetable for a return remains “uncertain,” but it’s hard to see Bailey returning to the Cincinnati rotation before mid-to-late July this season, if he returns at all.
After starting the season on a 26-for-63 (.413 AVG) tear that included seven home runs, Zunino got hits in 12 of his next 64 at-bats, (.188 AVG) with two home runs. As Meg Rowley pointed out on Twitter, Zunino’s defense has been outstanding at Triple-A Tacoma, but the Mariners will likely give him plenty of time to smooth out his retooled swing this season in the minors, particularly with Chris Iannetta reaching base at a .339 clip, and the team in first place as of Wednesday night. Zunino remains a name to closely monitor in AL-only and two catcher formats.
Cobb has not experienced a setback in his rehab to this point, but his late-July to early-August return simply puts him behind pitchers on the list who are ahead of his timetable. Cobb’s progress is certainly worthy of monitoring as the season moves forward, and he’ll most likely jump back on the list as his return nears.
De Leon was placed on the seven-day disabled list with “shoulder inflammation” in a procedural move. The injury doesn’t sound serious as the Dodgers want to give De Leon extra rest as a precaution, but he hasn’t been back on the mound since his first start of the year on May 3rd.
Before we jump into this week’s edition of The Stash, I need to mention how the end of the list will be changing in this and future weeks, most notably the “Honorable Mention” section, which has grown in length to nearly the size of the 25-man regular portion—which was certainly not my intention.
This week, we’ll be debuting “The Next 10,” which will essentially take the place of the “Honorable Mention” section, but in addition, we’ll also be highlighting five (or more) names on a weekly basis that may not work themselves into standard mixed league relevance this season, but could be worthy of a stash in mono or deeper mixed formats, with the goal of touching on more players each week. As always, comments are welcomed below for players both on and off the list.
Now, on to the Seventh Edition of The Stash:
Turner went 1-for-4 against emerging starting-pitching prospect Zach Eflin and Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night, putting his seasonal line at .322/.383/.477 in 149 at-bats. Turner’s 14 steals in 38 games lead the International League, and he’s yet to be caught on the year.
Your weekly Danny Espinosa update finds that the current Nationals shortstop still isn’t hitting. Espinosa’s OBP now sits at .303 on the year after an 0-4 performance (with an RBI) Wednesday night against the Mets. Espinosa—currently slugging .298—has upped his extra-base total to six on the season in 38 games.
To my surprise, Travis has dipped under the 25 percent ESPN ownership threshold, just as he’s slated to move to Triple-A Buffalo today to commence his rehab from his troublesome shoulder that has kept him on the disabled list since July 28th of last season. Travis went 5-for-14 with two doubles and five RBI in his four rehab games at High-A Dunedin and is a candidate to hit atop the Blue Jays order upon his return. Such a placement in the powerful Toronto lineup would certainly be a boon to his fantasy value over the rest of the season, but regardless of where he hits in the order, Travis has the profile to make an impact in the power and speed categories, as he reached double-digit totals in home runs and steals in each of his full minor league seasons, and hit for an isolated power mark of .194 (sixth at the position, min. 200 PA) in 62 games with the Jays prior to his injury last season. Fantasy team member J.P. Breen looked more into Travis’ power in January, and it’s well worth a read as he nears his return to the majors. Toronto’s second basemen have combined to hit just .227/.259/.319 this season and their collective .578 OPS places them 29th in baseball.
Buxton has been out of action since Saturday night’s contest against Syracuse with a sore back. Buxton has three home runs and two stolen bases along with an .850 OPS in 20 games at Triple-A Rochester, and his strikeout rate is at a much more palatable 23.3 percent to this point.
Glasnow continues to impress at Triple-A Indianapolis, pitching six innings of one-run ball, while striking out five and walking two on Tuesday against Columbus. Glasnow has struck out 54 batters in 44 innings, good for a 30.7 percent rate.
Taillon punched out a season-high 11 in his most recent start on Saturday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in six innings, while walking only one. He’s now struck out 43 in 43 1/3 innings against just five walks on the year, and has allowed only 30 hits, limiting opponents to a .192 average against.
After walking 15 in his first five starts of the year at Triple-A Durham, Snell’s command has settled in his last two outings, as he’s walked just two to go with 16 strikeouts in 10.1 innings as he patiently awaits his return to Tampa.
After completing his latest bullpen session on Tuesday in Cleveland, DeSclafani said of his strained left oblique, "I think it's to the point now where it's healed and recovered more,” and, “it’s definitely the best I’ve felt.” DeSclafani has now thrown two bullpen sessions since being shut down after experiencing a setback in what was thought to be his final rehab start on April 29th. The Reds righty has been sidelined since spring training with his problematic oblique, and it sounds like the team is being especially cautious in hopes of avoiding another setback. It looks as though DeSclafani will need at least a couple of more bullpen sessions or live batting practice sessions before he’ll be back on the mound in a rehab start, making a return to the Cincinnati rotation likely in early June. More importantly, he received a nice pair of shoes since our last update.
Severino (20 percent ESPN ownership) was diagnosed with a mild right triceps strain on May 13th and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Severino certainly didn’t look right in his last start (2 2/3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 2 K) against the White Sox, but overall his work this season doesn’t look quite as horrific as his 7.46 ERA in seven starts would indicate, based upon his DRA (5.31) and FIP (5.40). Severino’s record (0-6) also hasn’t been helped by a lack of run support from the Yankees offense, which has scored a grand total of eight runs in his seven starts, and his BABIP (.357) should creep down upon his return as well.
Rodriguez’s ownership has also fallen below the 25 percent mark in recent weeks, and he experienced discomfort in his troublesome right knee on Tuesday, which will keep him sidelined for the next couple of weeks. John Farrell said Rodriguez’s setback will not put him “back at ground zero,” and surgery is not currently an option. Rodriguez will throw a bullpen session on Friday, and a timetable for his return will likely be established afterwards.
Bradley’s FIP of 2.92 is the best among Pacific Coast League starters (min. 30 IP), just ahead of teammate Braden Shipley’s 2.98 mark, which places him third, and Julio Urias’ 2.99 mark, which is fourth.
Skaggs was shut down with biceps tendonitis on May 2nd, as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, and on Monday, he was cleared to resume throwing. Skaggs has only made three rehab starts this season, and hasn’t worked more than 3 2/3 innings to this point. Based upon this report, it looks like Skaggs will need about another month before he’s a candidate to jump into the tattered Angels rotation.
Wheeler remains on target for a July 1st return, which would be just about 15 months removed from his Tommy John surgery.
Reed has yet to return to action since being placed on the seven-day disabled list on May 10th with a pulled hamstring.
St. Louis GM John Mozeliak announced on Wednesday that Reyes will return from suspension on Sunday and make his first start of the year with Triple-A Memphis. Reyes reportedly has been sitting at 96-98 MPH in extended spring training, and has been touching triple-digits. As was mentioned in the comments portion of last week’s Stash, I expected Reyes to be assigned to Double-A Springfield (a level at which he only has eight career starts) after his suspension, but injuries to Marco Gonzales (out for the year with Tommy John) and Tim Cooney (shoulder, yet to pitch this season) have further depleted the Cardinals pitching depth in the upper minors—depth that isn’t nearly as plentiful in quality this season in the top levels as per usual for St. Louis. Reyes simply doesn’t have nearly as many hoops to jump through on the Cardinal depth chart this season, and could be one Jaime Garcia injury away from finding himself in the big league rotation.
Reyes pitched 109 innings in his first full-season of duty in the Midwest League in 2014, and threw 101 1/3 innings (34 2/3 innings at Double-A) in the regular season last year, before completing 15 innings while on suspension in the Arizona Fall League. It’s hard for me to see the Cards pushing their 21-year old righty further than 130-140 innings this season in total, but that’s more than enough for Reyes to make an impact in mixed leagues of all sizes in 2016. This ranking could look far too low if Reyes impresses on Sunday.
Urias’ Pacific Coast League scoreless streak was extended to 22 innings after his latest outing Saturday against Las Vegas. The six inning effort lowered his ERA to an absurd 1.25 on the year, a number which checks in right around 24-year-old Diamondbacks prospect Braden Shipley’s WHIP of 1.24, which is good enough for a tie for 13th in the league among starting pitchers.
After Giolito’s most recent outing on Saturday against Double-A Northwest Arkansas, in which he walked five batters while striking out four in 5 2/3 innings, the 21-year-old has now struck out 25 and walked 20 in 30 1/3 innings, while allowing 31 hits and registering a 1.68 WHIP.
Bregman hit his second home run in three games for Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday, bringing his total to nine home runs on the year in 26 games, and upping his OPS to 1.126, which leads the Texas League. Bregman started at his familiar shortstop on Wednesday, but played the previous two games at third base for the Hooks—his first two games at the position since being drafted second overall last June. The Astros promoted third base prospect Colin Moran on Tuesday to help their struggling offense, but if he can’t help provide a spark over the next three or four weeks, Bregman could be next in line to see if he can.
Minor has looked fantastic in his two rehab starts at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, striking out 12 in 7 2/3 innings of work, and reaching 72 pitches in his most recent outing on Sunday, as the 28-year-old lefty works his way back from a torn labrum in his shoulder. Minor has been touching 96 MPH and sitting at 93 MPH in his outings, which would be a nice bump up from his pre-injury velocity, and the former Brave will make his next rehab outing at Triple-A Omaha on Friday against Reno.
Minor, who was signed to a two-year deal by the Royals this offseason, makes for a nice buy-low target in dynasty leagues, and with the back-end of Royal rotation being hit with injuries–both Chris Young and Kris Medlen were placed on the disabled list over the last week with arm injuries–he could have his chance to enter the Kansas City rotation within the next month.
19) Cody Reed, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (Last week: 15)
As I mentioned on Episode 90 of the Flags Fly Forever podcast, I believe both Swanson and Albies will be promoted to Atlanta much more quickly than most (including myself) anticipated at the beginning of the year, perhaps as soon as July.
Swanson, who reached base at a .441 clip at High-A Carolina in 21 games, has seen his OBP slip all the way down to a .380 mark in his first 18 games at Double-A Mississippi. Swanson (and his glorious hair) hit a go-ahead home run in the 10th inning of Monday’s contest, his third of the year, but has yet to run at the place in Double-A (two steals) that he did while in Carolina (seven steals).
Albies, who just turned 19 in January, clubbed his way to a .954 OPS in 22 games at Double-A Mississippi before being promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett (where he’s the youngest player in the league) on April 30th. After getting just four hits in his first 23 at-bats at the new level, Albies has gone 15-for-41 (.365 AVG) in 11 games since, including two home runs.
22) Jhonny Peralta, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (Last week: 21)
Peralta took batting practice with the team on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his thumb in spring training. Aledmys Diaz (.372/.400/.645 prior to play on Wednesday) has been killing it with the bat in his absence, but has also been killing the Cardinals defense, leading all shortstops in errors with nine, and Mike Matheny recently indicated that it will be Diaz who will be playing multiple positions upon the veteran’s return to the lineup. Matheny also mentioned that Jedd Gyorko could serve as outfield depth upon Peralta’s return, leaving second base as an option for Diaz to platoon with Kolten Wong.
23) Hyun-jin Ryu, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 23)
Ryu made his long-awaited first rehab start of the year on Sunday at High-A Rancho Cucamonga and made 22 pitches over his two innings of work. SB Nation’s True Blue LA has video of Ryu’s outing, in which his fastball reportedly sat in the 85-87 MPH range. Ryu’s outing served as the first of the four he’ll likely need before becoming a realistic candidate to join the Dodger rotation next month.
24) Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers (Last week: 24)
Profar made his first start of the year at second base on Tuesday, and GM Jon Daniels said that he would be “under consideration” to be promoted when Rougned Odor serves his eight-game suspension for his right cross to Jose Bautista’s face. Profar has hit three of his five home runs on the year in his last ten games, and has four steals and a .764 OPS on the year.
Nick Williams 2016 Walk Watch: Two walks (in seven games) since last week’s list, inching his total to seven on the season in 134 plate appearances, a 5.2 percent rate (with 30 strikeouts) and a .299 OBP as the 22-year-old adjusts to Triple-A pitching.
The Next 10 (in alphabetical order):
Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins
Brandon McCarthy, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Tom Murphy, C, Colorado Rockies
Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros
James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners
Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
Richie Shaffer, 1B/3B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Stash List Spotlight: NL-Only Hitters
This week, we’ll take a look at five hitters who could make an impact in NL-only and deeper (20 teams or more) mixed leagues this season:
Socrates Brito, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Peter O’Brien, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Brito struggled in 10 games in the majors with Arizona in April, and struggled mightily upon his demotion to Triple-A Reno, hitting for a .158 AVG in nine games the rest of the month. Brito has found his stroke in May, smacking three home runs (and stealing two bases) in 15 games, along with posting a .281 AVG. If the Diamondbacks move Nick Ahmed to the bench and Chris Owings back to shortstop, as has been discussed, Brito could soon re-emerge as an option in center field, despite Michael Bourn’s presence on the roster.
If the Diamondbacks choose to leave Owings in center field, and corner outfielder David Peralta’s wrist inflammation keeps him sidelined for an extended period of time, the team could summon O’Brien to play left field, with Yasmany Tomas moving to right and Brandon Drury continuing to move around the diamond. O’Brien can’t catch, can’t really play left field, and he strikes out far too often (28 percent rate this season)–but his power has never been in question. O’Brien is a far from perfect player for the reasons just outlined, but with the soon-to-be 26-year-old clubbing homers at a prolific pace (12 bombs in 35 games), he’s likely to get a chance at some point this season.
Jordan Patterson, OF, Colorado Rockies
Patterson has yet to find his power stroke in 2016, only hitting one home run at Triple-A Albuquerque through his first 34 games, but everything else has been there to this point, as his tasty .351/.479/.505 line indicates. Patterson is behind Ben Paulsen on the depth chart among Rockies outfielders currently in Albuquerque, but he’s a name to watch if injuries strike one of the many left-handed hitting outfielders in Colorado, or if the team finds a trade match for Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon as the trade deadline approaches. I took a more in-depth look at Patterson last September, and he’s done nothing to change my viewpoint with his solid work to this point.
Renfroe has carried over his good work from last season in the Pacific Coast League, hitting .313/.344/.587 with eight home runs in 36 games in 2016. That brings his total to 14 homers in 57 career games with El Paso, after hitting 19 home runs and putting together a .250/.311/.400 line in 172 games across two seasons with Double-A San Antonio. The 24-year old Renfroe should get a chance at some point this season to prove whether or not the power increase is just a PCL illusion, but he will likely need a trade of either Melvin Upton, Jr. or Jon Jay to do so.
This is admittedly a stretch for NL-only leagues, as I believe that Vogelbach will be moved in advance of the trade deadline, most likely to an American League team where he can serve as a team’s designated hitter. He’s still on a National League team for now, and he’s continued to crush the ball this season (.320/.420/.525 with six home runs in 35 games), just as he’s done at every level. Vogelbach is somebody who I’d be targeting in deep leagues, as his new team—likely a rebuilding one—could choose to insert him into the lineup at the big-league level immediately upon acquiring him.