The Hitter Edition of The StashList is back and updated for Week 12.
This stash list highlights the 10 best-hitting prospects likely to make an impact during the 2023 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 2023 ETA and getting ahead of the curve on rostering these prospects is a key part of roster management. You can check out last week’s edition of the list here and keep reading to find out the latest updates.
- The StashList is for your redraft leagues and does not consider impact beyond 2023.
- 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 and rostership percentages will be updated weekly.
- Stats will be updated weekly for all players through Friday’s games.
The Stash List
Not one, not two, but three players from last week’s StashList were promoted to the major leagues last week. The most notable call-up was Bo Naylor. Naylor was called up by the Guardians and figures to be the everyday catcher for Cleveland moving forward. A team looking for an offensive spark, the Guardians will be sure to give Naylor plenty of run. He should be rostered in all two-catcher leagues.
The other two promotions are a little bit more difficult to decipher. Michael Busch was called up Saturday by the Dodgers, but this figures to be a short-term stay while Max Muncy is on the IL. Busch has plenty of raw power to be fantasy relevant, but it is uncertain whether or not the Dodgers will commit to him moving forward.
Coco Montes was also promoted by Colorado and although he has performed well at Triple-A, he is going to have to prove that he deserves everyday playing time at the major league level.
Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash
The Orioles continue to win and Jordan Westburg continues to mash home runs in Triple-A. Below is a video of his 17th on the season making his 600 plate appearance pace a whopping 39 home runs.
There goes No. 17 for Jordan Westburg, 54 games into the season.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 10, 2023
Westburg has nothing left to prove at Triple-A. He remains atop The StashList and should be expected to join the Orioles any day now. He has excellent game power, a solid hit tool, and plus speed while adding versatility to play all over the infield. His slugging percentage this year is the highest it has been in his professional career making the point he is only getting better.
Westburg offers a clear offensive upgrade to Jorge Mateo who continues to receive everyday playing time at the major league level. Stash Westburg now and reap the rewards once he is called up. He will have an instant fantasy impact upon his promotion.
2. Colton Cowser, OF Baltimore Orioles
The top-two prospects in Baltimore’s system remain stacked at one and two on this list. Colton Cowser has continued having a tremendous season at Triple-A. Baltimore took Cowser fifth overall to remain under slot and find additional value later in the draft. Now, two years later, Cowser is looking every bit the part of a Top Five selection. Cowser holds value in every league type, but he has a case for the top prospect in baseball for OBP and points leagues. So far in Triple-A, Cowser is walking over 20% of the time and that rate is even higher since returning from the IL. He has excellent plate discipline which should help ease his eventual transition to the major leagues.
Surprisingly, Aaron Hicks continues to play extremely well since joining Baltimore. Hicks’ recent production is likely the only thing holding the Orioles back from promoting Cowser to the major leagues today. That being said, we know who Hicks is at this point in his career. He is not somebody who is talented enough to keep a prospect like Cowser in the minors. Now might be your last chance to stash Cowser before he is up making an impact with the major league team. Go grab him before it is too late.
The Mets continue to be one of the most disappointing teams in baseball this season. A team built around veteran leadership, they are struggling to find consistent production from several of their starters. One of the biggest bright spots has been Ronny Mauricio’s play in Triple-A. Mauricio has been around for so long that he was experiencing prospect fatigue in the fantasy community before Spring Training. An excellent spring combined with his stellar performance so far in Triple-A has put him back on the radar of fantasy managers. Redraft fantasy players need to take notice as well as his success in Triple-A is likely to earn him a promotion to the major leagues sooner rather than later.
The injury to Pete Alonso could move up the timeline of Mauricio’s promotion. Mark Canha has shifted from left field to first base for the time being while Tommy Pham resumes outfield duties. Pham has been excellent since stepping into an everyday role, but with Daniel Vogelbach moving out of the lineup, the Mets have plenty of room to fit Mauricio, Pham, and Canha into the everyday lineup. Mauricio would be an instant offensive upgrade over the combination of Mark Vientos and Luis Guillorme. The Mets need to start winning ASAP and Mauricio offers them the best chance to do this. Stash him on your redraft teams now.
You take one look at Christian Encarnacion-Strand’s stat line and you wonder how he is in Triple-A. He has 17 home runs, despite missing the beginning of the season injured, all while having a batting average over .340. There is no doubt he is the best hitter in Triple-A, but the best part is the recent strides he has taken in his approach. His biggest flaw is a high chase rate, but recently CES is walking more than he is striking out while lowering his swing and chase rate. These approach changes make me more confident in CES having success at the major league level.
The issue we have to start worrying about is where the Reds can fit him into their lineup. With Matt McLain and Elly De La Cruz already up and Joey Votto plus Wil Myers nearing returns from the IL, the Reds are stuck with too many players for the number of roster spots. That being said, it is always important to bet on talent rather than playing time. CES is incredibly talented and is one trade or injury away from a lineup spot opening up in Cincinnati. He needs to be stashed now before he makes his major league debut.
Encouragingly, Kyle Manzardo has two home runs since June 8th and appears to be turning the corner on his recent slump. Overall on the season, Manzardo is up to 10 home runs with a pedestrian average. The early season performance has been a bit disappointing from a stat line perspective, but Manzardo is continuing to demonstrate all the skills that make him one of the top prospects in baseball. His average exit velocity sits above 91 mph with a swinging strike rate below nine percent. He is one of only seven hitters with 10 home runs, a swinging strike rate below nine, and is the only one under the age of 23. Manzardo is going to be a special player and is ready for his chance in the major leagues.
Manzardo’s stash continues to be about his upside. The Rays’ lineup is loaded and there is really nowhere for them to fit Manzardo in. If you are using a roster spot for a player in the minor leagues, you want to look for upside. Manzardo has plenty of that and is one injury away from joining one of the best lineups in baseball. There is even a possibility the Rays go all in at the deadline and Manzardo ends up starting for another team this year. Regardless, Manzardo remains one of the best stash options in baseball.
Despite a bit of a cold stretch, Oswald Peraza moves up one spot in this week’s version of The StashList. Peraza has been a bit cold since the start of June but is walking more, striking out less, and is really only being impacted by a low BABIP. Peraza is showing that he is the same player who hit over .300 in his major league debut last season. Yes, he was struggling at the major league level this season, but dealing with injuries and inconsistent playing time is never helpful for a player’s development. Peraza continues to put up strong minor-league numbers and should get another opportunity with the Yankees soon.
The biggest question continues to be whether or not the Yankees are willing to entertain the idea of sending Anthony Volpe back to Triple-A. He has looked a little bit better at the plate this week (a slight change has been discussed after he met with old minor-league teammates) but is still struggling overall. He is the primary player holding Peraza back in the minor leagues. The team could also opt to stop giving Josh Donaldson regular playing time and call up Peraza to play third base. Regardless, Peraza has the skills to be an important fantasy asset and should be stashed if you have room on your roster.
At this point, it has been over a month since Endy Rodriguez hit a home run. Last week, Rodriguez appeared to be showing signs of life at the plate with a 10-game hit streak, but those days are over. Rodriguez has just one hit since that streak ended and is continuing to make it difficult for the Pirates to justify giving him a chance at the major league level. Whether Rodriguez is still injured or just struggling, he is going to need to figure things out fast if he wants to remain ahead of Henry Davis in the pecking order. The fact he has been at Triple-A all year and hit .323 last season should help give him an edge and result in the Pirates giving him a chance sooner than later.
One thing is for certain and that is that Rodriguez cannot be any worse offensively than Austin Hedges. Hedges continues to be one of the worst offensive players in baseball and the Pirates continue to utilize him as their primary catcher. The longer the team is competing, the more obvious it will become that they need to upgrade this position. Rodriguez offers an instant upgrade and remains a solid stash option despite his struggles.
Last week, Coco Montes was included in the 10th spot on this list. He was a relatively older prospect not many people had on their radars. He was called up, so I am going with the same kind of criteria again to see if it works. Samad Taylor is the newest member of The StashList and is tearing up the base paths in Triple-A. Taylor was acquired by Kansas City in the trade that sent Whit Merrifield to Toronto and has always been known for his blazing speed. He stole 44 bases in 2018, 26 in 2019, 30 in 2021, 23 in 2022, and has already stolen 34 this year. Along with the 34 steals, Taylor is also posting his lowest strikeout since 2018 with the highest batting average of his career.
The Royals are not looking to compete this year, but they are looking to find players they can count on for the future. This means giving as many players as possible a chance to earn playing time. Surely, they are going to get their eyes on the return for Whit Merrifield and Drew Waters is doing nothing to earn the everyday job at the major league level. Taylor should be up this year and has the kind of speed that could win a category. Stashing him now before everybody has heard of him is the perfect idea.
Sal Frelick makes his return to The StashList in Week 12. Frelick started the season on the list and even went into Spring Training with a chance of making the major league roster. The team decided to send him back to Triple-A where he struggled to start the year and then ended up with a major injury that cost him a few months. Well, Frelick has completed his rehab assignment at the Complex level and is back with the Triple-A team. Last season, Frelick hit over .300 with 11 home runs and 24 stolen bases across three levels. He possesses a natural feel for hitting that should help him see quick success at the major league level.
Although Joey Wiemer has solidified himself as an everyday player at the major league level, there are still ways for Frelick to break through. Right now, Brian Anderson is playing right field and Jon Singleton is receiving the majority of at-bats at DH. Shifting Anderson to DH and allowing Frelick to come up and play the outfield would result in both an offensive and defensive upgrade for the team. Frelick is back from his injury and now is the time you should be stashing him.
Thanks to the three promotions mentioned above, Justyn-Henry Malloy sneaks his way back onto The StashList. After a hot start, Malloy has gone ice cold at the plate seeing his average drop all the way down to .259. That being said, Malloy does have hits in four consecutive games including this home run:
Justyn-Henry Malloy follows Parker with a home run of his own! ✌️
— Toledo Mud Hens (@MudHens) June 13, 2023
Offensively, Malloy is as talented as they come. He has plenty of raw power which he can tap into consistently along with an excellent feel for the strike zone. At times, he can be too patient at the plate which can get him in trouble and lead to cold streaks. Overall, he remains a strong stash option and somebody who should make his major league debut soon. Nick Maton is not swinging the bat well enough at the major league level to warrant everyday playing time and the Tigers will start looking toward the future soon. Stash Malloy, especially in OBP leagues.
On The Bubble