Four outfielders graduate this week, led by Piscotty, who was recalled just in time Sunday for the excellent Little League Classic. In Piscotty, Fowler, Pham and Grichuk, the Cardinals have four outfielders worthy of everyday time. It’s not clear how playing time will shake out, but it looks like all four will stay on the big league club following Luke Voit’s demotion to Triple-A Memphis.
Schebler and Haniger are back too, pushing Jesse Winker and Leonys Martin, respectively, into bench roles. Schebler’s power output slowed considerably in the summer months and Haniger has been pretty dreadful since his torrid April, so I don’t expect much more than OF5 production the rest of the way.
Tapia came up Tuesday to take Gerardo Parra’s place in the lineup after the veteran was scratched with an ouchy thigh. Tapia will be on the bus to Albuquerque before long, and if the rest of the season is any indication, back to Denver before he can unpack his bag.
Meadows and Kingery get bumped into the Honorable Mention group because I don’t think either gets the call in September. Neither is on his club’s 40-man roster.
1. Ronald Acuña (OF)—Braves (Previous Rank: 1)
Among players with at least as many plate appearances as his 174, Acuña’s 184 wRC+ is the highest in Triple-A. He’s 19.
2. Tyler Glasnow (RHP)—Pirates (Previous Rank: 2)
Glasnow is up to four consecutive starts with just one free pass issued. He’s struck out 40 Triple-A batters in 26 innings over that stretch.
3. Jarrod Dyson (OF)—Mariners (Previous Rank: Unranked)
On the strength of 28 steals, Dyson is a top-50 outfielder according to ESPN’s player rater. Dyson ranks one spot behind J.D. Martinez, who is hitting .281 with 26 homers. I get that Dyson isn’t an exciting own and that your interest at this point in the season is entirely dependent on your standing in a single category, but in the vacuum where I create this list, it’s hard to ignore Dyson’s one-category impact.
4. Lonnie Chisenhall (OF)—Indians (Previous Rank: 5)
Chisenhall is ready to come off the disabled list just as soon as his child arrives. No truth to rumor that Austin Jackson is paying off a Cleveland-area OB-GYN to withhold Pitocin.
5. Jeurys Familia (RHP)—Mets (Previous Rank: 3)
Familia has allowed three baserunners and no runs in three rehab appearances. Word is that he could be ready to rejoin the Mets before this weekend, though it’s not clear whether he will immediately reclaim the closing job. A.J. Ramos has been perfect in his past four appearances after a brutal start to his Mets tenure.
6. J.P. Crawford (SS)—Phillies (Previous Rank: 7)
Crawford made news this week by getting a start at third base for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Apparently Pete Mackanin thinks it would be neat if Freddy Galvis started all 162 games at shortstop. That’s a horrendous reason to push a long-term franchise cornerstone off his natural position, even if only for a few games. Galvis is decidedly not a part of the Phillies’ future and Maikel Franco, though he’s been horrible this season, might be. In any case, Crawford is still hitting, though it has been nearly a fortnight since his last homer.
7. Brent Honeywell (RHP)—Rays (Previous Rank: 8)
Honeywell is not on the Rays’ 40-man and I still don’t believe he’s coming up. The Rays have slipped out of realistic playoff contention and there’s just not much incentive for them to add Honeywell for a few September starts. I could be wrong though, and Honeywell offers more immediate upside than any other pitching prospect in the minors.
8. Jayson Werth (OF)—Nationals (Previous Rank: Honorable Mention)
Werth played Tuesday in a game for the first time since June 3, manning left field for Triple-A Syracuse. Werth has been gone so long that it’s easy to forget he posted a .262/.367/.446 line before the toe injury. He also occupied a spot in the top third of the Nationals order, and assuming he gets back there and Trea Turner—also rehabbing in Triple-A—is in front of him, Werth should be in line for solid counting stat production going forward.
9. Aaron Altherr (OF)—Phillies (Previous Rank: 9)
10. Clint Frazier (OF)—Yankees (Previous Rank: 11)
Not much to report on either of these two injured outfielders. Still crossing fingers for an early/mid-September return for each.
11. Jorge Soler (OF)—Royals (Previous Rank: 10)
12. Joc Pederson (OF)—Dodgers (Previous Rank: Unranked)
Pederson was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Curtis Granderson. Pederson had been in a deep slump, notching just two hits over his past 41 at-bats. He’d also been tinkering with his stance and mechanics, and I suspect the Dodgers will leave him in Triple-A until the conclusion of Oklahoma City’s season so he can grab as many reps as possible. At-bats just aren’t there for Pederson at the MLB level. Same goes for Soler in Kansas City, even though he continues to mash at Triple-A Omaha.
13. Kyle Barraclough (RHP)—Marlins (Previous Rank: 4)
14. Trevor Hildenberger (RHP)—Twins (Previous Rank: 13)
Nothing says save speculation like sticking to a hunch in the face of evidence that suggests you’re an idiot. Brad Ziegler has still yet to allow a run since he inherited the job, and after a hot stretch that has their record at .500, the Marlins have double-digit chance at a wild card spot. They’re not making a change quite yet. The Twins are suddenly back in solid position in the junior circuit, and I can’t see Matt Belisle losing his grip unless he blows a couple in short succession. Taylor Rogers has been the subject of some speculation too, which makes sense given that he’s pitched in the eighth inning more often than Hildenberger of late. The Twins obviously don’t seem to care about prototypical high leverage stuff, given their use of Kintzler for most of the season, and now Belisle. Still, Hildenberger looks more the part than Belisle or Rogers, and I can’t shake the memory of the latter giving up one or more runs in six consecutive outings not that long ago.
15. Reynaldo Lopez (RHP)—White Sox (Previous Rank: Unranked)
Lopez finds himself back on the Stash List just as soon as he’d graduated, on account of a back injury sustained during his last start. He hit the disabled list immediately, though it’s not the kind of injury that should keep him out long.
16. Ryan McMahon (1B/3B)—Rockies (Previous Rank: 12)
McMahon was sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque last week. He figures to back in Denver as soon as rosters expand, albeit still without a path to regular playing time.
17. Chris Shaw (OF/1B)—Giants (Previous Rank: 16)
18. Brian Anderson (3B)—Marlins (Previous Rank: 17)
19. Teoscar Hernandez (OF)—Blue Jays (Previous Rank: Unranked)
These guys get the nod before the higher upside group below because I think they have a better chance of finding meaningful playing time in September.
20. Raul Mondesi (SS)—Royals (Previous Rank: 18)
21. Mallex Smith (OF)—Rays (Previous Rank: Unranked)
22. Willie Calhoun (2B/OF/DH)—Rangers (Previous Rank: 19)
23. Willy Adames (SS)—Rays (Previous Rank: 21)
24. Harrison Bader (OF)—Cardinals (Previous Rank: 22)
25. Franklin Barreto (SS)—Athletics (Previous Rank: 24)
The last group demonstrates my preference for speculating on hitters instead of pitchers at this juncture. If your need is on the rubber, grab one of the honorable mention hurlers below.