7/19 Edition: Top 10 Minor League Pitchers to Stash

This time of year is always challenging when projecting pitcher’s major-league timetables, because it’s far more common for pitchers to get promoted after only a few starts at a level...

This time of year is always challenging when projecting pitcher’s major-league timetables, because it’s far more common for pitchers to get promoted after only a few starts at a level or promoted from Triple-A. But at the same time, enough of the season has passed to separate the fantasy golden wheat from the waiver wire chaff.

These players are ranked in order of most likely to make an impact for your fantasy team in 2015. It does not include pitchers who have already hit in the majors this year.

– In Nola’s most recent start, he punched out 6 in 6 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 ER and 2 walks. He’s notched 6 strikeouts or more in 4 out of his 5 Triple-A starts, bringing the fervor for his call-up to a fever pitch. He’s getting called up this week and you’d be wise to stash him now and start him immediately.

– The good news is that in Severino’s most recent start, he pitched a 5-inning, 1 hit, 1 walk shutout. The bad news is that he still only went 5 innings in spite of this, and only notched 4 Ks. I think that despite his great surface numbers in Triple-A, that his stamina is wearing down… He’s averaged less than 5 innings over his last 3 starts, and only striking out 4 in each one. He’s still 21 and he’d probably be better served finishing the year in Triple-A with a September call-up to the bullpen, but I’m not saying that’s what will happen… That 5-0 record and 1.79 Triple-A ERA looks awfully purdy.

– In Johnson’s most recent start, he pitched 4 one-hit innings, with zero walks allowed, and 3 strikeouts. And then, he was pulled. Why? Now this start was nearly a full week ago, but I think it’s because they intend on promoting him, like, now. I could be wrong, but I’d stash him everywhere I could with how dominant he’s been lately.

– Lamb played the lion YET AGAIN! In this one he allowed 4 hits, 3 ER and a walk while striking out 10, the second time in 4 starts that he hit the 10K mark. Over that span, he’s 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA and a 31/4 K/BB ratio over 23 innings, and he’s 9-1 with a 2.68 ERA on the season. I think at this point you must assume that he’s gotten his elite stuff and mojo back and I’d stash him before the lamb is let out of the bag.

– Gray’s last start wasn’t pretty, giving up 6 hits, 4 earned runs, and 2 walks in just 3 innings. But it was beautiful on the inside, as he got 6 of his 9 outs via the punchout. Over his past 6 starts, he’s notched 45 Strikeouts in 31.1 Innings, good for a 12.92 K/9, which is fantastic and elite. Of course, it’s come with a 4.88 ERA, at least in part due to the 4.02 BB/9 over that span. I’m still encouraged by this development and think he’ll be an asset in fantasy leagues, especially if streamed when his starts are away.

Berrios has continued to have sour early returns in Triple-A, with a mid-7s ERA. But it seems like more bad luck than anything, since it’s just 2 starts and he hasn’t had any issues striking people out. I’d use this as an opportunity to buy low on him if he’s owned by another team, but if not, you might be able to wait a bit before stashing him.

– Glasnow had a timid return after his DL stint, with a few outings that did not exceed 4 innings, but now he’s found his groove and pitched two strong starts in a row. His most recent one was a true gem, a one-hitter, no-walker with 7 Ks in 6 innings. In terms of talent, he’s unrivaled on this list, but I have to hold his ranking back since the odds of him reaching the majors this year, while entirely possible, are not all that high.

– De Leon once again righted the course by notching 10 Ks in his latest start, and against a talented Corpus Christi squad, which may be why he allowed 2 round-trippers. His 4.21 ERA is solid and his K rate is still excellent, but his Double-A walk rate is still more than double his High-A rate, so he may require more refinement. Should he get the call, he’s likely the most valuable guy on this list, but it’s not looking highly likely to happen.

Cotton got soiled in his most recent outing, allowing 6 earned runs with 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 homers. He did strike out 5 but after a minor league campaign in which he had not given up more than 2 Earned Runs in any start, it ballooned his Double-A ERA to a hideous 2.93! Okay, maybe that’s still pretty good.

Voth has posted a low walk rate but coupled it with a strong K rate of 8.56 in Double-A. He’s been on fire lately, striking out 20 and allowing only 1 ER over his past 3 starts. He’s earned a promotion to Triple-Aby now, but seeing as he’s already quite polished, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get the call directly to the majors. While some write him off as a back-end starter, the 23-year old has the potential to make a big impact over the next few months.

– Lee is the boring yet safe counterpart to the excitement and volatility of De Leon. Lee may have a boring profile and a boring name, but he’s close to the majors, limits walks, and his 6.57 K/9, while not good, is also not bad. I’m yawning while even writing this. But if you need a major-league ready innings eater on a winning squad, here’s your man.

FINALLY allowed a home run. It only took him 111 innings. I don’t know if it broke some sort of minor league record. His HR/9 now stands at 0.08. is back from eye surgery and pitched a pair of scoreless innings in rookie ball. It’s a good sign as he struck out 3 and walked none, but the odds of him reaching the majors are slim-to-none. used his impeccable control and poise for a infinitesmal 1.08 Double-A ERA and earned a Triple-A call-up. Over 2 starts, Rea has displayed none of those things, with a 10.13 BB/9 to match his 10.13 ERA. He’ll be fine, though, probably. Fireballer has shown his old velocity post-surgery, but hasn’t been striking out many guys. But he’s gotten 5 or more Ks in 3 of his past 4 starts, so he’s gaining momentum, although he’s still in High-A. didn’t earn the promotion to Triple-A, with a 4.26 ERA, 6.96 K/9 and 3.27 BB/9, but he got it anyway… maybe he paid someone under the table, or the Double-A manager got sick of him. He’s continued to be totally blah over 3 starts in Triple-A with a 5.87 ERA and 5.41 FIP. Man, I don’t like that guy at all.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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