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 to find out why players like A.J. Pollock, Michael Brantley, and Raisel Iglesias are not listed below.
Last week’s Stash List can be found here.
Kolten Wong was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on June 18th, and has appeared in center field in each of the team’s five games since, making four starts, all of which have come against right-handed pitching.
It looks like the Cardinals intend to play him somewhere–either in center field or at second base–every time a righty is on the mound, but what’s concerning from a fantasy standpoint along with his lack of power (one home run in 158 plate appearances) shown this season is that his stolen-base totals have plummeted from 26 between Triple-A and the majors in 2014, to 15 in 2015, to now just three steals (in three attempts) in 54 games this season.
Cincinnati called upon hard-throwing lefty Cody Reed to make his major-league debut on Saturday, in a road affair against the Astros. Reed impressed in striking out nine over his seven innings of work, allowing four earned runs, all of which came courtesy of long balls from Marwin Gonzalez and El Oso Blanco. Reed settled in nicely after Gonzalez’s homer put him down 2-0 after the first two batters he faced, and his fastball was averaging 94.3 MPH on the day, per Brooks Baseball. Reed allowed six home runs in 64 2/3 innings at Triple-A Louisville, and keeping the ball inside the yard, particularly at homer-friendly Great American Ball Park will determine just how fantasy relevant the former Royal is this year, as his ability to strike people out (24 percent at Louisville) isn’t in question.
Shelby Miller looked very good in my viewing of his first start back from his “right index finger injury” on Monday against Philadelphia, putting on display his best velocity of the year, and allowing a season-low one earned run on five hits while striking out five, and tied his season-low by walking only one Phillie. Granted, his performance came against an offense that now ranks behind the Braves for the worst in baseball in scoring at just 3.21 runs per game, but Miller threw 67 of his 102 pitches for strikes in the outing and looked very much like the player that BP Fantasy Czar Bret Sayre ranked 31st among starting pitchers in his dynasty rankings prior to the year and that I ranked 38th in my three-year projections for the position in February.
As I pointed out last week, Miller was unowned in 82 percent of ESPN leagues prior to his first start back, permitting an opportunity to pick up a 25-year old starter that is capable of providing top 50-60 value over the rest of the season at a steep discount.
Arismendy Alcantara, Oakland’s better-than-expected return for three-plus months of Chris Coghlan, was summoned to the majors on Tuesday. The versatile former Cub was hitting for a .716 OPS this season in the Pacific Coast League, with six home runs and 26 steals (in 26 attempts) in 64 games. Alcantara’s (once top-100 overall) prospect shine has faded with his below-league-average performances in each of the last two seasons in the PCL, but he’s already enrolled in the “School of Wash,” and the 24-year-old switch-hitter could see plenty of time at a number of different positions over the rest of the season. Alcantara is capable of playing every non-battery position in the field, and Oakland could move Jed Lowrie and Danny Valencia (among others) prior to the trade deadline, and it’s highly unlikely the team will want to give Coco Crisp the 550 plate appearances he needs to trigger his $13 million vesting option for next season.
After hitting .397/.423/.647 in 16 June games at Triple-A Reno, Socrates Brito returned to the majors on Monday, as OF David Peralta was placed on the 15-day disabled list and INF/OF Brandon Drury was demoted to Reno. With Chris Owings on the disabled list as well, Brito could see plenty of time in center and right field with Drury and Peralta out of the picture, but Arizona does seem enamored with Michael Bourn for some reason.
Willson Contreras’ placement outside of the top 25 on The Stash and in the ‘Next 10’ was not an indictment of his ability to make a fantasy impact at the major-league level, as I think he’s a top-10 overall fantasy prospect, but was a reflection of my belief that the Cubs would not bring him up to work as a third catcher. I was dead wrong. It looks very likely that he won’t be the third catcher at all, and that he could see 3-4 starts a week behind the plate. I was in attendance for what likely will serve as Contreras’ last game with Triple-A Iowa on June 15th, and he certainly looked like he wasn’t being challenged by PCL pitching in my viewing, and his production (two HR in 10 PA) since reaching Wrigley has certainly done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm upon his arrival. If Joe Maddon indeed does find a way to keep Contreras “solvent,” he could very well provide top-10 production at catcher over the rest of the season.
The Dropouts: (15) Henderson Alvarez
Henderson Alvarez left Saturday’s outing at Triple-A Nashville prior to the fourth inning with pain in his throwing shoulder, and will meet with Dr. Andrews next week. The outing was scheduled to be his last tune-up prior to joining the A’s rotation, but this now marks the second time this season that Alvarez has suffered a shoulder setback just as he was set to join the Oakland rotation, and now puts a return to a major-league mound this season in serious doubt. Dillon Overton, whose 3.15 FIP places him second among Pacific Coast League starters (min. 50 IP), makes this Stash List debut this week in the ‘Next 10’ portion below and could be a beneficiary of Alvarez’s latest setback.
The “Stash List Spotlight” is scheduled to return next week with a look at the five prospects likely to be on the move prior to the July 31st trade deadline.
Now, onto the 12th Edition of The Stash:
Turner continues to struggle at Triple-A Syracuse (.182 AVG over his last 10 games), just as Danny Espinosa’s bat is catching fire (1.027 OPS June OPS) in Washington. Turner has made his first four starts of the year at second base this month at Syracuse, perhaps an indication that the team could work Turner in as a utility option over the second-half of the season, but with Stephen Drew doing good work (.870 OPS) in part-time duty this season, it’s starting to look like Turner needs an injury to one of the fragile Nationals infielders to crack the lineup in Washington with regularity this season.
Glasnow wasn’t challenged by Triple-A hitters once again in his outing on Wednesday night, throwing seven hitless innings against Ozzie Albies and Gwinnett, striking out eight and walking five. The outing extended his hitless innings streak to 13 over his last two starts. Glasnow’s ERA fell to 1.61 on the year, just as the Pirates have slipped to five games back of the second NL Wild Card.
Your guess is as good as mine as to what the Pirates have planned for their rotation now that we’re past the Super Two cutoff and Glasnow and teammate Chad Kuhl are still in Indianapolis. The Pirates are 2-8 in their last 10 games, falling behind the Rockies in the wild card standings.
Reed’s powerful bat started to warm up over Triple-A Fresno’s recent eight-game road trip. He’s hit two home runs in his last four games, moving his total to 10 on the year in 57 games, and is hitting for a .333 AVG over his last 10 games coming into play on Wednesday.
The Astros haven’t gotten much more production (.735 OPS) from their first basemen this season than they have their third basemen (.694 OPS), and you just have to wonder how much longer the Astros can keep Reed (.844 PCL OPS) and Bregman (.978 OPS) in the minors, with the team creeping back over the .500 mark at the major-league level.
Gallo is sporting a nifty .406 OBP that includes 13 home runs (and an improved 26 percent strikeout rate) in 44 games at Triple-A Round Rock this season, but with Mitch Moreland hitting for a .286 AVG and five home runs in 17 games this month in Arlington, and Prince Fielder hitting for a season-high .671 OPS in June, it looks as though Gallo will wait patiently in Round Rock for the time being and look to keep raising his league-leading (min. 100 PA) 19 percent walk rate.
Houston third-sackers have hit for a combined .219/.303/.391 line this season, and with the team calling up 30-year-old Danny Worth from Triple-A Fresno last week, they’ve cycled through nearly all of their primary third-base options (Matt Duffy, Colin Moran, Luis Valbuena, Tyler White, etc.) on the depth chart ahead of Bregman this season. If Danny Worth continues to struggle–he’s hitting .190/.190/.286 in his first seven games since his recall–then Bregman should be up next.
Joe Girardi stated that Ivan Nova’s struggles (6.88 ERA in his last six starts) won’t lead to a recall for Severino. Commenting on the 22-year-old Tuesday, Girardi said, “the location of his fastball has not been great, his changeup has not been as effective as we need it to be, and his slider has been inconsistent.”
Severino has struck out 26 in 28 innings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and has held opponents to a .152 AVG over his five starts, posting a 2.25 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.
Reyes, who doesn’t turn 22 until August, has struck out an absurd 39 percent of the Triple-A hitters he’s faced this season, but has walked them at a rate north of 11 percent, as he’s done at every level in the minors. Reyes will face his biggest Triple-A test to date today, as he pitches at Colorado Springs.
Ryu is scheduled to make a rehab start today at Triple-A Oklahoma City, and is targeting a five-inning outing in the neighborhood of 65 pitches. Dave Roberts indicated the Ryu’s velocity was in the 86-MPH range in his last rehab outing at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, and made it clear that the lefty will have to demonstrate improved velocity (and an ability to string together a few healthy starts in a row) in his upcoming outings before becoming a candidate to join the Dodgers rotation after the All-Star break.
10) Brandon McCarthy, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Last week: 16)
McCarthy, in the second year of his four-year, $48 million pact, pitched 3 2/3 innings against Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday night, striking out four and walking two. McCarthy allowed one earned run in making 61 pitches on the night, 41 of which were strikes.
McCarthy is on a similar rehab schedule as Ryu, as both are targeting a return to the Dodgers rotation shortly after the All-Star break.
Skaggs pitched 2 2/3 innings at the team’s complex in Arizona on Wednesday. The outing was Skaggs’ first in-game action of any kind since experiencing shoulder soreness on June 8th, and the lefty hasn’t thrown in a rehab game since April.
Wheeler was the first Mets right-hander this week to receive less than ideal news about his right elbow, as his scheduled simulated start in the GCL earlier this week was skipped due to “a little bit of elbow soreness,” as GM Sandy Alderson termed it. Wheeler’s scheduled one-inning outing was to be his first since returning from Tommy John surgery as he was targeting a mid-July comeback, which now looks extremely unlikely.
Giolito has punched out 30 batters in 22 2/3 innings over his four starts this month at Double-A Harrisburg, while walking only seven. I think it’s safe to say the no. 1 pitching prospect currently in the minors is back on track.
Ottavino, who served as the Rockies closer prior to his Tommy John surgery last May, has reached Triple-A Albuquerque in his rehab this season, pitching a scoreless inning with one strikeout in his first outing as an Isotope. Not Charlie Sheen (Carlos Estevez) has pitched well in earning four saves after Jake McGee hit the disabled list, but I believe Walt Weiss will return to Ottavino, his former, albeit not long-time, Proven Closer (™), shortly upon his arrival back at Coors.
15) Nick Tropeano, RHP, Los Angeles Angels (Last week: NR)
Tropeano, owned in just five percent of ESPN leagues, was placed on the disabled list on June 4th with shoulder soreness, and is scheduled to make his first rehab start today at High-A Inland Empire. Tropeano’s cFIP of 102 indicates that regression is likely coming from the 3.25 ERA he posted in 10 starts this season upon his return, but his strikeout rate–23 percent in the majors as an Angel–makes him an interesting deeper league matchup play, and Tropeano owns a career 3.24 FIP at home.
16) Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros (Last week: 19)
Musgrove had his next start after a June 6th outing skipped, returning to the mound on June 17th against Tacoma, an outing which Prospect Team member Brendan Gawlowski was in attendance for. Musgrove is scheduled to make his seventh PCL start today at home against the Isotopes, and Triple-A hitters have teed off on him over his first six starts to the tune of a .292 AVG against, and his strikeout rate has dropped nearly 10 percent to 19.6 percent in Fresno, from his 29.4 percent mark in six earlier starts this season at Double-A Corpus Christi.
In 15 June games, Swanson is hitting for a .177/.271/.258 line with four extra-base hits, his worst stretch as a professional.
18) Ozhaino Albies, SS, Atlanta Braves (Last week: 21)
As Swanson’s June swoon continues, Albies’ second month (.351 OBP in 20 games) at Triple-A Gwinnett has gone better than his first (.283 OBP in 29 games), as the youngest hitter at the level continues to acclimate himself quite nicely to advanced pitching.
After not starting at any position other than shortstop this season prior to June 3rd, Albies has now started 17 of his last 19 games at second base, meaning that Albies and Swanson could soon be able to rekindle their “Chipotle dates.”
Nick Williams 2016 Walk Watch: Two walks (in seven games) since last week’s list, upping his total to 17 on the season in 263 plate appearances, and moving his walk rate to just over six percent on the year (against 68 strikeouts).
Williams is sporting a .941 OPS in 18 June contests, and his seven walks this month have contributed to a sparkling .373 OBP, nearly 30 points higher than his next-best monthly OBP of .347 (last August at Double-A Reading) since joining the Phillies organization.
Cobb threw his first live bullpen session on June 18th at Tropicana Field, and is scheduled to throw another live bullpen against the team’s GCL squad on Friday, as he targets an early-August return from Tommy John surgery.
Renfroe’s home/road splits in the Pacific Coast League continue to grow further apart this season–he’s hitting for a .220/.243/.432 line with six home runs away from Southwest University Park in lovely El Paso, as opposed to a .394/.410/.710 line with 10 home runs at home–but he still looks like he’s the next outfield option in San Diego once they likely move a veteran outfielder prior to the trade deadline.
22) Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees (Last week: Next 10)
Judge is starting to find his power stroke at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hitting five of his 12 bombs in his last 10 games, and more importantly for him, hitting for a .343 AVG that includes almost as many walks (eight) and strikeouts (nine) over the period. As the Yankees have drifted below .500, Judge could soon be in line for a promotion, as it stands to reason that Carlos Beltran would be one of the first out of town if the team enters seller mode.
23) Chad Kuhl, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Last week: NR)
Clevinger has been dominant in June, limiting opponents to a .169 AVG against in four starts. Clevinger has allowed four earned runs in 22.1 innings this month, while striking out 26. The quality work has lowered his seasonal ERA to 2.48 in 11 starts. Clevinger’s problem is that neither Josh Tomlin (3.32 ERA) or Trevor Bauer (3.20 ERA) are showing any signs of wanting to give back a rotation spot anytime soon in Cleveland, particularly the latter, who fired a complete game, three-hitter that included 10 strikeouts against the Rays on Wednesday night.
The Royals continue to be cautious with Minor, who has yet to return to a rehab assignment following his exit from an outing at Triple-A Omaha on May 30th with shoulder fatigue.
The Next 10 (in alphabetical order):
Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ben Gamel, OF, New York Yankees (Last week: NR)
Ryon Healy, 1B/3B, Oakland Athletics
Drew Hutchison, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Last week: NR)
Trey Mancini, 1B, Baltimore Orioles (Last week: NR)
Tom Murphy, C, Colorado Rockies
Dillon Overton, LHP, Oakland Athletics (Last week: NR)
Richie Shaffer, 1B/3B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds