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The Stash List Week 25: Top 10 Hitter Prospects to Stash in 2023

The top 10 hitting prospects to stash in redraft leagues.

The Hitter Edition of the Stash List is back and updated for the final time in 2023.

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.

Ground Rules

  • The Stash List 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

Graduates/Call-Ups

The promotions keep on coming. First up, the Rays promoted Curtis Mead, who was featured on this list last week. Mead appears likely to work on the short side of a platoon for now, although he could see starts in a utility role against righties. I am not adding him until he starts seeing consistent starts.

The most notable is the promotion of Pete Crow-Armstrong. The Cubs decided to call up PCA this week, and he appears to have a grip on the starting center field job right from the start. There is a ton of power and a ton of speed in his profile, which could make him an instant fantasy star. The issue is whether or not he can keep his strikeout rate in check. If you are shooting for upside, add PCA to your team.

The third promotion came from Baltimore when they called up Heston Kjerstad. In my opinion, Kjerstad is one of the most underrated players in the Minor Leagues. He is not going to steal 20 bases, but he has excellent power and an extremely underrated hit tool. Playing time is the biggest concern with picking him up but if he starts, he should be added.

Top 10 Hitting Prospects to Stash

1. Colt Keith, 2B/3B Detroit Tigers

No changes to the top of this list as Colt Keith will end the 2023 stash list series as the top player to stash on your redraft leagues. Keith has been phenomenal down in Triple-A recently hitting for power, average, and displaying defensive versatility. His stats have really picked up recently as Keith is batting over .350 since August 23rd. This late-season push could be enough to get him up to the Major Leagues this season. There is nothing left for him to prove in the Minor Leagues. He is now up to 26 games started at second base, which is enough to get him additional eligibility in fantasy leagues, and means he can help at both corner and middle infield.

The Tigers have nothing to play for, but that doesn’t mean they will not consider calling Keith up. Late-season promotions on non-competing teams provide a less stressful atmosphere for prospects to get their feet wet. The Tigers already know what they have in Javier Báez, Zach McKinstry, and Andy Ibáñez (although Ibanez is playing well recently). They are better suited to get a close look at Keith and maybe draw more fans out to the stadium. Stash Keith now if you are looking for a late-season boost.

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

The Tigers continue to dominate the top of this list as Justyn-Henry Malloy remains one of the best stash options available. Malloy has been on this list for the entirety of the 2023 season and it is a bit puzzling as to why Detroit has not rewarded his strong performance with a promotion. He has done nothing but hit all season, which should be no surprise at this point. Throughout his brief professional career, Malloy has never posted a wRC+ below 125 at any level. His 134 wRC+ this season is just two points behind the 136 number he posted last year. His 23 home runs this year already marks a career high with time for him to still add to it.

Similarly to Keith’s situation, there is really no reason for Malloy to still be in the Minor Leagues. There are plenty of holes in Detroit’s lineup that Malloy could easily fill. One of the best parts of stashing Malloy is how smooth his transition to the Major Leagues profiles to be. He has some of the best plate discipline in all of Minor League baseball. His OBP skills are elite, and he profiles as an even more valuable stash in those formats.

3. Darell Hernaiz, SS Oakland A’s

Darell Hernaiz just keeps getting on base. Hernaiz is batting .319 since the start of September having hit safely in nine of his last eleven games. Hernaiz has tremendous contact skills. His swinging strike rate since arriving at Triple-A sits at just 7.4%. His zone-contact rate is just below 90% which would rank amongst the best in the Major Leagues. Batting average is never the flashiest fantasy category, but it is important nonetheless.

Hernaiz’s proximity to the Major Leagues continues to make him an excellent stash option. He has done nothing but hit all season and the best part is that there is a clear opening at shortstop in Oakland. Nick Allen has a 49 wRC+ on the season and Kevin Smith, who has been getting more playing time recently, has a wRC+ of 61. Neither is an important part of Oakland’s future and Hernaiz has a strong chance to make his Major League debut this season. Keep him in mind when considering stashing prospects.

4. Jackson Chourio, OF Milwaukee Brewers

The youngest player on this list is also the fourth-best stash in all of baseball. Brewers’ star Christian Yelich is currently battling a back injury. He did return to the lineup on Friday, but it remains to be seen if this injury will linger. With the Brewers trying to fend off the Cubs for the NL Central, they might have no choice but to call up Jackson Chourio to make his Major League debut.

The odds of this happening are low, but Chourio’s talent is rare. He is a potential five-category contributor with excellent power and speed. He is a 30/30 threat even as a 19-year-old and has put his skills on full display this season. There is nothing left for Chourio to prove at Double-A and the team could allow him to skip Triple-A entirely. If you are stashing for upside at this point in the season, there is no better option than Chourio.

5. Junior Caminero, SS/3B Tampa Bay Rays

The odds of a Junior Caminero promotion are low. He is just 20 years old and started this season in High-A. That being said, there is not a hotter hitter in all of Minor League baseball. Caminero’s tremendous raw power is quickly turning into elite game power. He is now up to 31 home runs on the season including this one below:

Caminero’s incredible run puts him into consideration for a late-season promotion. The Rays are attempting to chase down the Orioles and could use all the help they can get. He could come in and slot in at shortstop, third base, or even play DH over Harold Ramírez. There are plenty of opportunities to get his bat into the lineup. From a fantasy perspective, the only prospect with more upside is Chourio who ranks right above him. If you are chasing upside, you should be considering stashing Caminero.

6. Addison Barger, SS/3B/OF Toronto Blue Jays

Addison Barger’s defensive versatility and proximity to the Major Leagues keep him sixth on this week’s list despite a recent slump at the plate. Overall, Barger’s second half has been a success and you can even make the argument he has been unlucky in the power department.  Recently, things have not been as great as Barger is batting under .200 since the start of September. A low BABIP plays a major role in those struggles and his strikeout-to-walk ratio still looks much better than it did early on this season.

At the Major League level, the team has welcomed back both Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman. This makes the odds of a Barger promotion slightly less likely. However, there is still room for him to take over for the combination of Cavan Biggio and Whit Merrifield. Barger can play a variety of positions which would make him a useful Major League asset. He remains a strong stash option.

7. Kyle Manzardo, 1B Cleveland Guardians

I am not sure there are many people who are more ready to flip the page to 2024 than Kyle Manzardo. After all that Manzardo has gone through this season, it is hard to blame him for the lack of production. Most of his struggles are really related to poor luck and we have seen this start to change since joining Cleveland. His Triple-A BABIP since joining the Guardians is .273 and his slash line (.250/.353/.482), is much more in line with what we expected to see entering the season.

The Guardians traded for Manzardo with every intention of making him their first baseman of the future. What is to stop them from seeing how this looks to end 2023? Since the start of September, Kole Calhoun has a 25 wRC+ and has not been the player he once was for a few years now. Manzardo is the future and I would not be surprised to see Cleveland make him the present as well. Stash him if you are looking for a boost at first base.

8. George Valera, OF Cleveland Guardians

George Valera feels like the prospect that everybody is tired of hearing about. Valera has been on prospect radars since making his professional debut back in 2018. The results have been inconsistent, although he has shown flashes of serious power with strong on-base skills. After the early parts of this season with an injury, Valera took some time to settle in. Through his first 99 at-bats this season, he was batting just .222 with one home run. Things started to turn around after that, but Valera has really caught fire recently. Since August 16th, Valera is slashing .264/.337/.560 with eight home runs.

The Guardians are in desperate need of some power to add to their current lineup and Valera could be the answer. With the team currently giving regular at-bats to both Myles Straw and Will Brennan, they could be inclined to give Valera a shot this season. There is plenty of risk that is carried in Valera’s profile, but he also has the power to be an instant asset for fantasy teams. He should be considered if you are looking for stash options.

9. Colton Cowser, OF Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles did promote a prospect this past week, but unfortunately for Colton Cowser owners, it was not him. The team instead opted to add Heston Kjerstad who can play first base while Cowser remains in Triple-A. Since returning to Triple-A on September 5th, Cowser has been swinging it extremely well. He has a .262 batting average, four home runs, and has even added in a stolen base. Being shuttled multiple times between the Major and Minor Leagues is hard for any player, but it is nice to see Cowser settling back in.

The upside is still there despite his lack of quick success at the Major League level. He packs plenty of power and has a strong chance of coming back up at some point before the end of the season. If any of the outfielders on the Orioles roster were to suffer an injury, the team would not hesitate to call Cowser back up. He remains a strong stash option as the season winds down.

10. Jackson Merrill, SS San Diego Padres

Thanks to a couple of graduations, Jackson Merrill hangs onto the last spot on this week’s stash list. There was a point this season when it seemed inevitable that Merrill would make his Major League debut in 2023. However, with the way the Padres’ season has taken a turn for the worse, those odds are now unlikely. That being said, Merrill has plenty of fantasy upside that keeps him in consideration when stashing prospects.

Overall on the season, Merrill is up to 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases. His batting average has come down quite a bit recently, but much of that is due to a poor BABIP. His average since August 20th is just .211 but that is supported by a .222 BABIP. Merrill is hitting line drives over 25% of the time in Double-A, and should see some positive regression on his batted-ball luck. There is still a chance we see him in San Diego this season, which keeps him in the stash conversation.

On The Bubble

In no particular order, the top five hitters that were in consideration for inclusion to this list were: Tyler Black, Justin Foscue, Matt MervisTyler Gentry, and Connor Norby.

Stash List
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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