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, Yu Darvish, and Zack Greinke are not listed below.
Last week’s Stash List can be found here.
Brandon McCarthy looked fantastic in his return from Tommy John surgery on Sunday at home against the Rockies, pitching five scoreless innings and striking out eight while allowing only two hits and walking one. McCarthy’s fastball averaged 93.9 MPH in his first outing back per Brooks Baseball, which is just a smidge down from his velocity in his last/only healthy season of 2014.
Nick Tropeano was recalled to make an Independence Day road start against Tampa Bay, and struck out four in five innings of work, allowing two home runs that accounted for his only runs allowed on the day. Tropeano (3.28 ERA, 22 percent strikeout rate) needs to trim his career-worst 11 percent walk rate that he’s displayed in 11 big-league starts this season, and if he can, I like his chances to help in deeper leagues over the season’s second-half, despite his below league-average cFIP of 104 that suggests trouble is ahead.
Now, onto the 14th Edition of The Stash:
After smashing this way through the Texas League (.297/.415/.559 with 14 home runs and five steals in 62 games), Bregman hasn’t found the Pacific Coast League any more difficult since his promotion, as he’s clubbed four home runs in his first six Triple-A games, putting his slugging percentage at a cool 1.000. Seven of his first 11 hits have gone for extra bases, and he’s knocked in 11 runs in those six contests. If you live in the greater Fresno area and want to go and see Bregman, I’d do it very soon, as I don’t think he’ll be there much longer.
Conforto’s Vegas vacation is at nine games, and he’s hitting for average (.289), but not much power (.395 SLG with one home run) since his demotion. Brandon Nimmo has held his own with the bat (.281/.343/.375 with one homer in nine games) in Conforto’s absence.
Rumored trade candidate Michael Taylor was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse earlier this week, and although Dusty Baker says he’ll be back soon, the team could choose to continue to give the 25-year-old Taylor everyday at-bats in Syracuse and bring up Turner to platoon with Ben Revere in center field, and spot the scorching-hot Danny Espinosa and Daniel Murphy in the middle infield occasionally.
Turner has split his last 10 games in the field evenly between shortstop and center field, and his moving around the diamond hasn’t slowed his bat, as he’s hitting for a .293 AVG with two steals since his first appearance in center field.
4) Yulieski Gourriel, 2B/3B, Free Agent (Last week: 4)
Since last week’s Gourriel update, it appears he’s added the Yankees and Giants to the list of teams that he’s worked out for, and a recent report indicates that the Marlins are also in the mix for the 32-year-old’s services. “Not a partier,” was a phrase used to describe Gourriel within one of Jon Heyman’s recent columns, and the infielder is currently seeking a four- or five-year pact in the $40-$50 million range. A team making that type of commitment would likely be very motivated to get him into their lineup quickly over the season’s second half.
Glasnow will reportedly get the call to make his major-league debut today in a road start against the Cardinals.
BP Prospect Team member Grant Jones and Lootcrate’s top pitchman (Ben Carsley) have more on Glasnow in his Call-Up feature from yesterday. I agree with Carsley’s assessment that Glasnow’s walk rate (13.7 percent this season in 17 Triple-A starts) will do WHIP-related damage to your fantasy squad this season, much like Blake Snell (1.71 WHIP) has done in his first five big-league starts, and I’ll add that the walks will likely keep him from helping much this year in wins or quality starts. However, Glasnow’s ability to help this season in strikeouts and ERA should not be downplayed, as outside of Alex Reyes being called up and joining the Cardinals rotation, the Pirates righty likely is the best minor-league option to help in both categories over the rest of this season. Glasnow’s 29.8 percent strikeout rate was the best of any qualified Triple-A starter prior to his callup, and his 1.78 ERA was good for third overall, with his 2.94 FIP placing him fourth at the level.
Gallo smacked five home runs in 22 June contests, but his .221/.341/.506 line for the month also included 32 strikeouts in 91 plate appearances, which has moved his strikeout rate back over 30 percent for the season at Triple-A Round Rock.
Ryu is scheduled to make his first big league start since Game Three of the 2014 NLDS today at home against Drew Pomeranz and the Padres. Ryu has totaled eight rehab outings this season, with five coming in his second stint after being shut down in May with shoulder soreness. In those last five outings, he struck out 17 in 18.2 innings of work, with three appearances coming at the High-A level and two at Triple-A Oklahoma City. In his most recent start at High-A Rancho Cucamonga on July 1st, Ryu tossed six innings, making 84 pitches and striking out three while issuing no walks. Ryu’s velocity was in the mid-80s for most of his rehab appearances, but his fastball reportedly touched 91 MPH in his last start.
Within the comments portion of his updated starting pitching rankings that were released in late May, Mike Gianella mentioned Ryu as capable of making a three-star impact if healthy, which would place him in the 32-61 range for starting pitchers over the rest of the season.
In non-”Car Matchmaker” news, Skaggs struck out six in five innings of work at Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday, throwing 73 pitches (51 for strikes), and walking none against Fresno. Skaggs reportedly touched 95 MPH in his third rehab start back after missing two months of game action, and Mike Scioscia said the former Diamondbacks lefty is “getting close” to returning to the tattered Angels rotation.
The combination of the Red Sox not making a move for a veteran left fielder to this point in the season, and that Benintendi has found his stride after a slow start at Double-A Portland, shoots him into the top-10 of this week’s Stash. Benintendi had a monster month of June in Portland, hitting for a .305/.362/.524 clip that included four home runs and three steals in 27 games. He’s continued his quality work with the bat so far in July, hitting two home runs and booking a .353 AVG in his first six games of the month. As the trade deadline inches closer, Benintendi looks like he’s forcing his way into the left field picture in Fenway over the season’s second half.
Berrios totaled a 2.02 ERA in five June starts, striking out 38 in 35.2 innings and walking ten. Berrios walked 17 in his first 33 innings of the year at Triple-A Rochester, but his WHIP was a sparkling 0.73 in June, leaving me to scratch my head as to why he’s not continuing his development as a part of the big-league rotation in Minnesota. It looks as though Berrios needs an Ervin Santana or Ricky Nolasco trade to earn another chance, even with Phil Hughes done for the season.
Severino has pitched very well in his seven starts since being demoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, holding opponents to a .222 average against and striking out 38 in 44 innings. After allowing eight home runs in his 35 innings at the major-league level this season, Severino has done a much better job keeping the ball in the yard in Scranton, allowing just one long ball in 44 innings.
12) Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Last week: 9)
Reyes struck out nine (while walking two and allowing just three hits) in 6 2/3 innings against Triple-A Nashville in his most recent outing on July 4th. With the team’s bullpen struggles at the major-league level, Cards GM John Mozeliak was asked about the possibility of the powerful righty joining the bullpen in St. Louis and said: “Obviously where he slots in he could absolutely be the most dynamic thing that we could add to this club with the least acquisition cost, for sure.” With Trevor Rosenthal losing his closing job and Kevin Siegrest dealing with mono, Reyes could soon find himself inserted into a high-leverage role in the Cardinals ‘pen if the team can’t find help via the trade market prior to the trade deadline.
13) Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees (Last week: 10)
Judge hit more home runs in July (nine) at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre than he did in April and May combined (seven), but what was also nice to see for fantasy purposes in addition to the power was that he stole more bases (four) in June than he did in April and May (one) as well.
Ottavino, who served as the Rockies closer prior to last May’s TJS, returned to action on Tuesday night, retiring Buster Posey and promptly being removed for lefty Boone Logan in the eighth inning at San Francisco. Rockies skipper Walt Weiss indicated that LHP Jake McGee, who struggled mightily (4.88 ERA, 4.22 FIP, 4.68 DRA) prior to being placed on the disabled list in early-June, will be deployed in the seventh and eighth-innings in the future, leaving Not Charlie Sheen (Carlos Estevez) as the team’s closer—for now. Weiss said of Ottavino: “It won’t be long before he’s pitching in very high-leverage situations.”
Another former NL West closer returned to the mound this week after missing almost three months of action with a forearm injury, as Romo made a two-batter appearance on Monday against the Rockies. Bruce Bochy has stated that he intends to ease Romo back into high-leverage situations, but with Cory Gearrin being placed on the disabled list on Wednesday and the team’s bullpen struggling mightily (their 17 blown saves are the most in baseball) to hold leads in Romo’s absence, the former Mesa State (Colo.) star could find himself back into his familiar closing role quicker than Bochy may intend.
Cobb, owner of a sharp new glove, pitched in his first rehab game since last May’s Tommy John surgery on Wednesday at High-A Port Charlotte, making 21 pitches in two-thirds of an inning of work. Cobb will likely make five additional rehab starts and appears on target for a mid-August return to the Tampa rotation.
With Albies being moved back down to Double-A Mississippi on June 30, the dynamic duo of Dansby and Ozzie are playing together for the first time in the minors, with Swanson handling shortstop duties and Albies playing second base. Both have thrived with the bat at Mississippi since being paired, with Albies going 13-for-29 (.448 AVG) and Swanson getting hits in 11 of his last 24 at-bats (.458 AVG).
The Braves haven’t said that the move to second for Albies is permanent, but it sure looks that way, as he hasn’t played shortstop since June 6th. Braves GM John Coppolella said of the duo: "I think if you're seeing where Dansby is at shortstop and we've got Ozzie at second right now, and we're going to go that way for the time being, that probably [portends] it going that way. But there isn't anything set in stone." Coppolella also said that the organization is “going to let them play and we can obviously move them up at any point [to Triple-A]. We could call them up here [to Atlanta] at any point, too."
Wheeler, who was targeting a mid-July return from Tommy John surgery at the beginning of the season, has been throwing from 120 feet, but the team has not announced when a rehab stint will commence, and a return to the Mets rotation before mid-August looks highly unlikely at this point.
At least the internet was graced with Wheeler’s in-depth thoughts on Kevin Durant leaving for the Warriors this week.
20) Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros (Last week: 19)
Nick Williams 2016 Walk Watch: Zero walks (in seven games) since last week’s list, and just two walks since his three-walk explosion on June 14th, keeping his total at 17 on the season in 319 plate appearances, and inching his walk rate back to just above five percent on the year (against 79 strikeouts). But hey, at least he’s running hard to first base.
Renfroe, 24, has been generating quite a bit of helium this season among the prospect community, but I don’t feel much of it is actually deserved. He plays in one of the friendliest hitting environments in the Pacific Coast League, calling Southwest University Park in lovely El Paso home, and despite playing 39 games in other bandboxes throughout the PCL, he’s mustered just a .252/.272/.479 line that includes eight home runs (and 39 punchouts against just five walks) in 163 at-bats anywhere other than El Paso this season. He certainly is capable of providing some pop in San Diego if he is called upon after the trade deadline, but I just don’t see him helping with much else. I don’t view Renfroe as much different than the player that hit 19 home runs in 172 Double-A games in 2014 and 2015, other than a (very) slightly improved strikeout rate since reaching El Paso, and I see a walk rate that’s almost half what it was in the Texas League and a overall slash line that’s been propped up by a bandbox for a home park and the addition of about 40 points of BABIP since his time in San Antonio.
23) Mike Clevinger, RHP, Cleveland Indians (Last week: 23)
Minor, who hasn’t pitched since a six-inning outing at Triple-A Omaha on May 30th, is still working with team doctors in Kansas City, and a rehab assignment—his second this season—has yet to be announced.
The Next 10 (in alphabetical order):
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/OF, Oakland Athletics
Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ben Gamel, OF, New York Yankees
Ryon Healy, 1B/3B, Oakland Athletics
Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres (Last week: NR)
Trey Mancini, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees (Last week: NR)
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Austin Voth, RHP, Washington Nationals
Stash List Spotlight On: Post-Trade Deadline Future Closers
As you may or may not already know, I hate relief pitchers. What I don’t hate about relievers as it relates to fantasy, however, is scooping them up for free (or very cheaply) rather than trading assets for them. With that in mind, this week’s Stash Light Spotlight will focus on three relief pitchers who could soon find themselves closing out games over the season’s second-half.
Edubray Ramos, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Ramos was summoned from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 25th, and manager Pete Mackanin has already seen enough from the hard-throwing Venezuelan to envision him as the team’s closer in the near-future. Ramos has struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings since his promotion, and has averaged 95.4 MPH on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball, also utilizing a curveball and slider that are sometimes hard to differentiate. Ramos struck out 29 percent of the hitters he faced at Lehigh Valley this season, while walking only just over three percent, which certainly contributed to his sparkling 0.38 ERA (and 1.43 FIP) in his 23.2 innings of work. Current closer Jeanmar Gomez is a prime trade candidate as the Phillies continue their rebuild, and Ramos is who I’m betting on to take his place after Gomez leaves town later this month.
Mauricio Cabrera, RHP, Atlanta Braves
The 22-year-old Cabrera is a former starter who was converted to relief full-time by the Braves in 2014, and to say that he’s battled control problems in the minors would be a huge understatement. Cabrera has had a walk rate north of 12 percent at every level since becoming a reliever, and while that may keep him from ultimately securing the role on a long-term basis, his monster velocity gives him a chance to take the job in the short-term and run with it. Cabrera has made five appearances since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett last month, and his fastball has averaged over 100 MPH. Atlanta pitching coach/second spitter Roger McDowell has sculpted quality relievers out of much worse arms than Cabrera’s over his time with the Braves, and if Arodys Vizcaino is moved prior to the deadline, eighth-inning man Jim Johnson will likely join him out the door as well, leaving Cabrera to fight it out among less inspiring closing options such as RHP Chris Withrow or LHP Hunter Cervenka on the team’s depth chart.
Ryne Stanek, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Stanek, who was converted to relief last month, was named to the US Futures Game roster, after punching out 18 batters in 18 innings over seven appearances at Double-A Montgomery and striking out four (in 2 1/3 innings) during his first outing at Triple-A Durham on Tuesday. Stanek’s fastball also reaches triple-digits, and after walking 29 batters in 60 1/3 innings as a starter this season at Montgomery, he’s flashed better command as a reliever, “only” walking seven in 20 1/3 innings in the bullpen. I don’t anticipate Stanek being in Durham for long, and with Alex Colome and Brad Boxberger struggling to stay on the mound, the former 2013 first-round pick could soon emerge as a high-leverage option in the Tampa bullpen.
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