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The Stash List Week 1: Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash in 2024

The top 10 hitting prospects to stash in redraft leagues.

The Hitter Edition of the Stash List is back for the 2024 season.

This Stash List highlights the ten best-hitting prospects likely to make an impact during the 2024 season.

Prospects are often thought of as only holding value in dynasty formats. However, knowing which prospects hold value for the current season can help set you apart in redraft leagues. Several have a 2024 ETA, and getting ahead of the curve on rostering these prospects is a key part of roster management. Last year we saw more prospects make their debut than ever before, and there is no reason we should expect to see anything change in 2024. Keep reading to find out the top ten hitters you should stash in your redraft leagues.

 

Ground Rules

 

  • The Stash List is for your redraft leagues and does not consider impact beyond 2024.
  • Only current minor league players who are expected to make an impact this season are included.
  • Upside, proximity, health, and opportunity are all weighed for each player.
  • The focus is on 12-team leagues with standard categories.
  • Rankings will be updated weekly
  • Starting next week, stats will be updated weekly for all players through Thursday’s games.

 

The Stash List

 

Graduates/Call-Ups

 

The last few weeks of spring training made picking this list much harder. Wyatt Langford was a lock for the number one spot before the Rangers added him to their big league roster. Colt Keith, Colton Cowser, and Jackson Chourio would have all landed in the top ten, but their spring performance landed them an MLB job. Inevitably, more players on this list will join them in the show.

 

Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash

 

1. Junior Caminero, 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

 

Caminero is more than talented enough to start the year in the Major Leagues. The Rays just have the luxury of being able to keep him in AAA until the time is right. Caminero made the jump straight from AA to the Majors in September last season and wasn’t his dominant self (.631 OPS, 77 wRC+). The Rays have Isaac Paredes coming off a stellar season and added Amed Rosario and José Caballero for infield depth. While these players may not have the ceiling of Caminero, they provide a solid floor until the slugger is ready to step into the spotlight. The Rays also added Austin Shenton to their big league roster. Shenton torched the minors last year, posting 150+ wRC’s in AA and AAA in 2023. Tampa is spoiled for choice in the infield right now, and Caminero will only add to that when he inevitably gets the call.
When he does reach the show, Caminero could be a league-winner. Coming off a 31-homer season, the 20-year-old has demonstrated power potential that puts him among the league’s elite. Depending on when he’s called up, 35-40 homers are attainable. The main concern with Caminero right now is his patience. He managed a measly 5.6% walk rate during his big league audition last year and walked less than 4% of the time this spring. If he’s able to improve his rates by a couple of percent, the offensive upside he offers should land him in the show soon.

Caminero and Holliday could have been listed as 1A and 1B, but for the sake of continuity, Holliday will have to settle for number two. Many baseball fans were surprised and disappointed to see baseball’s consensus top prospect miss out on the Opening Day roster. Holliday was excellent during the spring, putting up a .954 OPS and 148 wRC+. Despite the flashes of brilliance, there are some things that he needs to straighten out before his first big-league action. He hit just .143 against left-handed pitching in the spring, and the Orioles face the lefty-heavy Angels rotation to start 2024 (Sandoval & Detmers). He also struck out 31% of the time during camp, a far cry from his sub-20% rate in AAA last season.

The Orioles are flush with talent in the infield, so they can afford to be patient with their top prospect. Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg will hold down the middle of the field just fine until Holliday is ready. We’ve seen prospects start the year in a slump and have been forced back to the minors. Starting Holliday in AAA gives him a chance to get some momentum going before being thrust into the spotlight. Make no mistake though, Holliday will have a fantasy impact in 2024.

 

3. Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B/OF – Detroit Tigers

 

It feels like I’m writing about Malloy every week right now. The 24-year-old put together a solid spring but wasn’t rewarded with a major league roster spot. Instead, he lost out to Gio Urshela, Matt Vierling, and Zack McKinstry. None of these options has the ceiling that Malloy has, but they provide MLB experience for a team that is looking to take a step forward this year. Should any of these bats go cold, Malloy should get the first call to replace them.

Malloy projects as a middle-of-the-order hitter with plus power potential and the ability to get on base. He posted an impressive 18% walk rate in AAA last season, which ranked fifth among qualified hitters at that level. That patience, along with a 130 wRC+ (14th in AAA) is evidence enough that Malloy is ready for a run at the big leagues. When he gets the call, he should slot in nicely behind Colt Keith, Riley Greene, and Kerry Carpenter in the heart of Detroit’s order.

 

4. Heston Kjerstad, OF – Baltimore Orioles

 

Kjerstad has perenially been on the fringes of the Orioles big league roster for the past year or so. The organizational depth that Baltimore has built is an asset for the team, but a detriment to guys like Kjerstad. Anthony Santander and Austin Hays have locked down the corner outfield spots, and Colton Cowser put together an awesome spring to lock in his spot. As a result, Kjerstad is once again on the outside looking in. That said, I’m still bullish on the 24-year-old and still think he can be a legitimate fantasy option this season.

The former Arkansas Razorback had 21 home runs last season in the minors and added two more in the Majors. In just 33 big league at-bats, he registered a 104 wRC+ and a .748 OPS. While these numbers aren’t jaw-dropping, they show that Kjerstad can hit at the MLB level, and will likely continue to do so. His walk rates are questionable (6.1% in MLB in ’23, 2% in spring training) but a return to his usual rate of around 8% should be enough for him to stick in the big leagues. Keep an eye on Kjerstad’s start to the season, as a strong one should land him on the MLB team.

 

5. Matt Mervis, 1B – Chicago Cubs

 

Mervis is another player I can’t seem to stop talking about. We know what we have in the former Duke standout. He’s a first baseman with a strong power stroke that hasn’t been able to figure it out at the Major League level. He looked like a different player in spring training though, registering a strong 120 wRC+ and walking at a 16.7% clip. If these numbers are even close to sustainable, and he keeps up his 2023 AAA form (22 HR, .251 ISO), the Cubs could have their first true everyday first baseman since Anthony Rizzo.

Jed Hoyer & co. made major moves to try and upgrade from their squad that narrowly missed out on the playoffs. Former top Dodgers prospect Michael Busch has been given the starting first base role. Garrett Cooper was given a spring training invite and now finds himself as the backup to Busch to start the season. These adds should give the Cubs some stability at the plate, but the offensive upside isn’t super exciting. Should one or two bats go cold, the Cubs could give Mervis another chance to become a legitimate power bat in the MLB.

 

6. James Wood, OF – Washington Nationals

 

Wood is my first long-shot pick of the season. the 21-year-old didn’t enter spring training with any indication that he’d start on the Major League roster. By the end of March, that had completely changed. It seemed for a couple of days that you couldn’t scroll on social media without seeing another highlight from Wood. His 219 wRC+ ranked tenth among all qualified hitters this spring and was level with Shohei Ohtani. Any time a prospect puts up numbers similar to Shohei, I take notice, and man … Wood caught my eye this spring.

At 6’6″, he is a physical monster and has the power to go along with it. Between 2023 and spring training, he has 30 homers and has put up a .240+ ISO at every stop since A ball in 2022. The Nationals are an improved team, adding Eddie Rosario and Joey Gallo to the roster, but a team can never have too much power. Jesse Winker is a major question mark in the outfield to start the year, and he may start to feel some pressure if Wood starts the year hot.

 

7. Tyler Black, 3B – Milwaukee Brewers

 

Black made a case to be called up last season after a stellar performance in the minors in 2023. The Wright State product hit 18 homers and stole 55 bases over two levels last season. His strikeout-to-walk rates are good, and his ability to hit the ball with power makes him an interesting fantasy asset. He may not have the ceiling that some of the players ranked below him have, but his proximity to the show makes him one to watch.

The problem may be that his glove will hold him back. He made 13 errors in 97 games in the minors in 2023, which isn’t horrendous, but it warrants asking some questions. Milwaukee added Joey Ortiz in the offseason, who made just five errors while playing three different positions in the O’s minor league system. Add Brice Turang and Willy Adames into the picture and the Brewers infield looks crowded. If Black is to make an impact in the show, it’ll likely be at third. Black will have to rely on his bat to get the call to the big leagues.

 

8. Coby Mayo, 3B – Baltimore Orioles

 

Mayo’s talent is undeniable, and the reasons he’s not higher on this list are out of his control. Similar to Kjerstad, he just can’t find a spot to play on this Orioles roster. Should Holliday get called up, he will join an infield alongside an All-Star (Henderson) and a former top prospect (Westburg), so where does that leave Mayo? Likely, it leaves him on the outside looking in, hoping for an opportunity to arise.

Any prospect who hits 29 home runs with solid averages should be one to keep an eye on, and Mayo is no different. In 62 games at AAA last year he put up a .905 OPS and a 127 wRC+, which would be bonkers for the average 21-year-old prospect, but Mayo is far from average. He was even better in spring ball, registering a 1.008 OPS and eight extra-base hits in just 23 games. If Baltimore was any less stacked in the infield, Mayo would likely have been called up already.

 

9. Kyle Teel, C – Boston Red Sox

 

Teel has quietly become one of the top prospects that came out of the loaded 2023 Draft. While Wyatt Langford, Paul Skenes, and Dylan Crews have been dominating the headlines, Teel has been rapidly rising through the Red Sox system and now finds himself on the fringes of the big leagues. Teel has hit and hit well at every level so far. His lowest wRC+ at a minor league stop so far is 167, which would rank him tenth among all qualified minor league hitters last season. Granted, the former Virginia Cavalier has only played 26 minor-league games, and the Red Sox don’t need to rush him, but I think that they should.

The Red Sox desperately need help behind the plate. A catching tandem of Connor Wong and Reese McGuire is simply not that exciting, and Red Sox fans will be looking for a new backstop before long. Teel is by far the most pro-ready catching prospect the Sox have. Despite stashing Tyler Heineman and Roberto Pérez in their minor league system, I still think the Red Sox make Teel their everyday backstop sometime in 2024. His offensive upside in comparison to the rest of the organization’s catchers is just too good to ignore. Teel is an underrated stash, especially in two-catcher leagues.

 

10. Chase DeLauter, OF – Cleveland Guardians

 

Several different Guardians prospects could have made this list. Kyle Manzardo and George Valera are both interesting prospects who will likely see playing time in 2024, but neither has the superstar potential that I see in DeLauter. Just look at his spring numbers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 1.640 OPS or a 320 wRC+ in a stat line, and DeLauter maintained it over a 30-at-bat sample size. He also hit four home runs that were far from cheap shots. His homer on February 27th traveled an estimated 468 feet and was hit 112 miles an hour. Pitchers everywhere should be having nightmares about this man stepping into a batter’s box.

The Guardians are sorely lacking power in their lineup. Outside of Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor, there isn’t much pop. DeLauter provides an instant fix to this problem. The only problem is that he isn’t the only solution. Jonathan Rodriguez and Jhonkensy Noel combined for 56 homers in the minors last season, and that’s not even taking into account Valera. I still think DeLauter sees MLB playing time this year, but he will have plenty of competition. Keep an eye on his start to the season. If he starts red-hot and the Guardians are struggling, DeLauter may be in the show sooner than we think.

 

On The Bubble

 

Here are the next five hitters that were in consideration for inclusion on this week’s list in no particular order:

Kyle Manzardo

Connor Norby

Jace Jung

George Valera

Addison Barger

 

Stash List

 

Jack Mueller

Jack Mueller is a senior undergraduate student at Miami University studying Journalism and Sport Management. Before joining PitcherList, Jack worked for the Orleans Firebirds (Cape Cod Baseball League) and the Chicago Dogs (American Association) as an advance scout and data analyst.

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