The Stash Week 19: Top 10 Pitching Prospects to Stash in 2021

These guys can bring the heat down the stretch, if you can be patient.

Every Saturday during the 2021 season, I will be posting a list of 10 pitching prospects to stash in redraft leagues. This is important, as I am solely evaluating prospects for their ability to impact fantasy teams in 2021—and not beyond.

The 2021 trade deadline saw a ton, I mean a ton, of talented big leaguers and prospects change hands – which has significantly impacted the list for both hitters and pitchers this week. While Josiah Gray is already reaping the benefits on his new squad in Washington (pick him up if he’s still available) the deadline also gave opportunities to guys like Daulton Jefferies and Reid Detmersand could soon clear a path for some of the newcomers on this list, including a pair of Twins right-handers in Joe Ryan and Jordan Balazovic.

Additionally, we are nearing the point of the season where most of the impact call-ups have already happened (like Alek Manoah, Shane McClanahan, and Logan Gilbert) while other high-profile pitching prospects are either on innings limits, hurt, or unlikely to get the call this year. So that leaves us with a less-than-inspiring group of arms going forward, although there are still a few names those in redraft leagues should keep a close eye on for the rest of the campaign.

(Note: Tanner Houck is technically in the minor leagues as of this writing, but it is expected he will throw for Boston in Saturday’s doubleheader, so I am not counting him here)

Without further ado, here is the first look at the top 10 pitching prospects to stash in 2021 redraft formats.


1. Hunter Greene, RHP, CIN – ETA Late August


Hunter Greene, the electric right-hander with a fastball that gets up over 100 miles per hour, was absolutely dominant in seven Double-A starts to begin the season. The 21-year-old posted a 1.98 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and a remarkable 37% strikeout rate before he was promoted to Triple-A, ahead of fellow pitching prospect Nick Lodolo.

After a rough start at Triple-A, Greene has turned things around in a hurry – capping this week off with an incredibly dominant performance on Thursday, where he struck out 10 with just one walk and one hit allowed over 6.1 scoreless innings, lowering his Triple-A ERA to 3.63 while improving his strikeout rate to a remarkable 32.3%.

The recent dominance at Triple-A and Cincinnati’s lack of depth in the big leagues helps vaunt Greene to the top spot on this list, although he is by no means a surefire pickup in shallower redraft leagues. Greene is very young, very volatile, and has dealt with injury issues throughout his career, so I’m hesitant to believe the Reds will fast-track him to the bigs unless they are very confident he is ready to go.

Greene is a lot of fun and while his command issues might make him a risky pick up down the stretch, the talent is there for him to be a big fantasy asset in deeper redraft leagues as well – making him worth an add in those formats where he is still available.


2. Shane Baz, RHP, TB – ETA Late August


Perhaps the pitcher I’ve had the hardest time ranking on this list is Baz, the electric right-hander for Tampa Bay. Baz’s numbers this year are outstanding, but an assignment with Team USA in the Olympics and a crowded group of young pitchers in Tampa make him a tough one to pin down for this season.

He makes his way back near the top this week thanks to the Rays’ decision to not only trade veteran Rich Hill, but also to deal fellow pitching prospects Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, giving Baz a more clear path to a big-league- rotation spot before the year is up.

Baz was successful in adding a changeup to his arsenal over the offseason, and he hit the ground running with his assignment at Double-A, posting a 2.48 ERA and a 49:2 K:BB ratio in seven absolutely dominating starts. He was recently promoted to Triple-A, and through his first five starts at that level, the 22-year-old flame-thrower has posted a 33:8 K:BB ratio with a 1.96 ERA.

However, Baz probably isn’t a realistic option for Tampa Bay until late August because of the Olympics – which makes him a much riskier player to stash in redraft formats.

While I still believe there is a good chance he will get a look with the big league club this year, it is anyone’s guess not only when that will happen, but how he will get utilized. Baz has yet to throw more than five innings in a single start this season, so the expectation is that, when he does get called up, he’ll likely be used similarly to Shane McClanahan if he ends up in the rotation – but he could also find himself in a multi-inning relief role. Neither of those are great for fantasy purposes, unfortunately, but his bat missing ability, extraordinary command, and the team around him should give him plenty of chances to help your fantasy team out, depending on your format.

Quality start leagues can probably afford to wait on Baz, but in deeper leagues that count wins or that have an extra reward for strikeouts, Baz is definitely worth stashing as his performance this season should merit a call to the big club before the summer is up.


3. Connor Seabold, RHP, BOS – ETA September


The other pitcher acquired in the ill-fated Nick Pivetta for Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman trade, Connor Seabold didn’t make it to Triple-A Worcester until late July thanks to an elbow issue. His first two outings for the WooSox were nothing to write home about, but his latest was a six-inning masterpiece on Thursday, where he struck out 10 with just one walk and one hit allowed.

Seabold has never been a super highly rated prospect, but he has plus command of a very nice fastball/changeup mix with two decent breaking balls in there as well. If one of those two offerings can step into the plus category, he easily has the makings of a back end of the rotation starter.

In Boston, where pitching is a huge need, Seabold should get a look at the big league level sooner rather than later – and while I don’t think he’ll change anybody’s season in the last month, he could provide a handful of quality starts down the stretch – which is worth rostering in many deeper redraft leagues.


4. Edward Cabrera, RHP, MIA – ETA August


After missing the first few months of the season with an injury, Edward Cabrera is back and better than ever for Miami. He made two appearances in Single-A before earning a promotion to Double-A, where he threw 26 innings and posted a ridiculous 33:6 K:BB ratio, along with a 2.77 ERA and a 0.96 FIP.

That earned him a recent call to join the Triple-A squad, and he has looked pretty darn good at that level as well, posting a 12 strikeout outing on July 30 across just 4.2 innings.

I thought the Marlins were going to give the right-hander a look last year, but he ended up getting shut down with a mysterious infection while at the team’s alternate site. Nevertheless, the data before his shut down indicated his changeup was taking big strides forward, which paired with his 97 mph fastball and 55-grade slider make him a potentially very solid No. 2/3 starter type.

In fact, many scouts liked Cabrera’s overall arsenal even more than fellow Marlin Sixto Sanchezwith Cabrera’s slider showing more sweep. Both pitchers are afflicted with fastballs that, while very impressive from a velocity standpoint, struggle to miss bats and could impact their overall strikeout ability at the next level – something we’ve already seen with Sanchez.

Still, Cabrera has excellent stuff, solid command, and a developing out pitch with his changeup – and while Miami doesn’t have a clear opening in their rotation, especially after acquiring Jesus Luzardo at the deadline, they did lose Sanchez and Elieser Hernandez, so it would not be surprising to see Cabrera fill in at some point as the season goes on, especially now that he is up in Triple-A. The Marlins have had plenty of success developing pitching over the last few years, and Cabrera (along with stud lefty Jake Eder) could be next in line.

Those in deeper redraft leagues might want to find a spot for him if he is still available, as the end-of-season results could be well worth it.


5. Joe Ryan, RHP, MIN – ETA September


Joe Ryan and Shane Baz left for the Olympics together as teammates but will come back on different squads after the Rays sent Ryan to Minnesota as part of the Nelson Cruz deal. Ryan’s path to a big-league rotation spot in 2021 is more clear in Minnesota than it was in Tampa Bay, although he’ll almost certainly make at least a few starts in the Twins system before getting the call, likely limiting him to a September call-up at best.

Ryan was cruising in Triple-A Durham prior to his trip to Tokyo, posting a 3.63 ERA and 0.79 WHIP along with an excellent 34.9% strikeout rate and 4.7% walk rate across 12 appearances. He then stepped up as the ace of Team USA’s squad, which can only help his prospect pedigree and should make Minnesota fans even more excited to see him in the system in short order.

Armed with a deceptive fastball that he locates up in the zone, Ryan has the tools to be a mid-rotation starter and at age 25 with a decorated minor league track record, there is little else he needs to prove on the farm before he is helping the Twins, and fantasy players, potentially within the month.


6. Aaron Ashby, LHP, MIL – ETA Late August


Much ado was made about the, shall we say, poor performance of Brewers left-hander Aaron Ashby in his big league debut. After surrendering seven runs (four earned) in just 0.2 innings on June 30, Ashby went back down to Triple-A and gave up seven earned runs in his next two outings – which really started to worry fans and prospect analysts alike.

Since then, somewhat quietly, however, Ashby has been very very good. He’s made five starts over 21.2 innings and posted a 2.08 ERA with an outstanding 38/6 K/BB ratio – punctuated by his most recent outing on Thursday, a six-inning shutout with one hit and one walk allowed and 11 strikeouts.

Milwaukee may not have any obvious openings in their rotation, but it’s hard not to imagine Ashby getting another look if indeed something opens up – as he has the tools (namely his wicked slider) to make an impact for one of the best teams in baseball down the stretch.

Those in deeper redraft leagues should keep an eye on him, even if he got scorched his last time out it doesn’t seem likely to happen again. Look at Daniel Lynch for the Royals as an example.


7. Nick Lodolo, LHP, CIN – ETA September


This season, so far at least, has seen a ton of pitching prospects who were on the fringe of top 100 lists have a lot of success (like Shane McClanahan, Alek Manoah, Hunter Greene, and Ethan Small) while many of the more highly rated pitching prospects (like Matt Manning, MacKenzie Gore, Deivi Garcia, and Nate Pearson) have struggled.

File Reds left-hander Nick Lodolo into that first category. Ranked outside the top-75 on most media outlets, including No. 77 on my top 100 rankings, Lodolo has exploded onto the scene at Double-A Chattanooga so far this season. Across eight starts, spanning 36 innings, Lodolo has posted a staggering 1.00 ERA with a 1.49 FIP, 0.81 WHIP, and a ridiculous 53:7 K:BB ratio.

In fact, outside of a 3.1 inning, four walk outing in his second start, Lodolo has posted six or more strikeouts with one or less walk in every appearance this year, while only surrendering four total runs. This level of dominance has held all year long, finally resulting in the Reds giving him a promotion to Triple-A alongside Greene.

While Lodolo’s first outing at that level didn’t go all that great, the fact he is there is a good sign he could be in line for a September call-up, although a blister from mid-June slowed him down and the presence of Greene could be a factor as well.

Lodolo, 23, was the seventh overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft and was thought at the time to be a quick-to-the-bigs type of arm. The lost 2020 season obviously tempered those expectations, but had he participated in a full minor league season in 2020 it would not seem weird at all to have him debut this summer – much like we are seeing from fellow 2019 first-rounder Alek Manoah.

Lodolo is a sinker/slider pitcher with elite command and a burgeoning changeup, which should allow him to stick comfortably in the middle of Cincinnati’s rotation for years to come – although there are some questions about how much his strikeout ability will translate against big league hitters.

Still, Lodolo is a pitcher I could see coming up toward the of the season – especially now that he’s at Triple-A – and in deeper redraft leagues I’d consider tossing him into a N/A slot or a deep bench role if you can.


8. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, STL – ETA September


Acquired in what is now known as the Randy Arozarena trade, Cardinals left-hander Matthew Liberatore spent the first year with his new club unable to pitch professionally due to the pandemic. That made it somewhat of a surprise when he was given an assignment at Triple-A to begin the 2021 campaign, a rather aggressive way to start his Cardinals career for the 21-year-old.

And indeed things have been pretty tough for the top prospect out of the gate, as he struggled to a 5.48 ERA and 1.31 WHIP through his first four starts with a 21.2% strikeout rate and a solid 5.6% walk rate. He has been slightly more consistent since then, still occasionally struggling but generally putting together quality outings – including a six shutout inning performance with four hits allowed, zero walks, and nine strikeouts in mid-July which were followed by two clunkers – such is the story of Liberatore’s season. The hard-throwing left-hander is now rocking an ugly 5.15 ERA on the year, although his 70:19 K:BB ratio is at least palatable.

The fact that Liberatore was left off the Olympic roster was obviously not an indication he will be called up before the end of the Olympics (which is today) but it does mean St. Louis was prepared to add him to the 40-man before then if they had needed to. More starts like the six-inning shutout may have earned him that spot, but he struggled enough that St. Louis went ahead and added starting pitching reinforcements at the deadline – part of the reason he has fallen down on this list.

Liberatore has a big breaking ball and a ton of velocity on his heater, but still has some refinement to do with both pitches, and his fringier secondary’s, before he reaches his potential as a mid or even top-end starter. At just 21, it wouldn’t be crazy for the Cardinals to keep him down all year, or just give him a call in September, but you could do much worse than stashing him in deeper redraft leagues to see if they test him a little earlier than that. It is not something they are too afraid to do.


9. Jordan Balazovic, RHP, MIN – ETA September


The Twins did a great job of revamping their pitching depth on the farm at the trade deadline, acquiring Joe Ryan and Simeon Woods-Richardson in trades involving Nelson Cruz and Jose Berrios, respectively. While Ryan is probably first in line for a promotion, I have the incumbent Jordan Balazovic ahead of Woods-Richardson, at least for this year.

The 2016 fifth-round pick has shown flashes of excellence at Double-A this season, posting a 27% strikeout rate and a palatable 4.24 ERA, which has come up quite a bit thanks to back-to-back starts of six earned runs. Prior to that, he had a streak of four straight scoreless outings from June 30 through July 20, however, a great sign of what could be to come for the hard-throwing right-hander from Canada.

Balazovic is 22, two years older than Woods-Richardson, and didn’t put extra innings on his arm at the Olympics as SWR did. While I think Woods-Richardson is the better long-term pitcher, if I was trying to find a dart throw for the final month of the 2021 season, Balazovic would be my guy.


10. Sean Hjelle, RHP, SFG – ETA September


Back-to-back masterful outings from Sean Hjelle, the six-foot-eleven right-hander for San Francisco, have him sneaking onto the final spot on this list, replacing MacKenzie Gore

Hjelle reportedly earned a recent promotion to Triple-A, and could factor into San Francisco’s equation before the year is up should they need his services. Hjelle, who would be the tallest player in MLB if called up, was a second-round pick back in 2018 who rocketed up to Double-A in 2019. He started 2021 at the same level and has posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP and a 25.2% strikeout rate.

San Francisco just lost Anthony DeSclafani to the injured list and Kevin Gausman is on paternity leave, and while neither are long-term absences the team will certainly want some added depth as they continue their excellent run this season.

Hjelle may not be a highly regarded prospect, but he has the potential to be a decent contributor if and when he gets the call, and in very deep redraft leagues I’d have him on my radar for the final month of the year.


Added: Connor Seabold, Joe Ryan, Aaron Ashby, Jordan Balazovic, Sean Hjelle 

Removed: Roansy Contreras, Grayson Rodriguez, Mackenzie Gore

Graduated: Daulton Jefferies, Reid Detmers


Others given consideration: Grayson Rodriguez, Clarke Schmidt, Ethan Small, Jackson Kowar, Deivi Garcia, Simeon Woods-Richardson, Jake Eder, Roansy Contreras, MacKenzie Gore


Photo from Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Andy Patton

Andy is the Dynasty Content Manager here at PitcherList. He manages all of the prospect content on the site, while also contributing a weekly article on dynasty deep sleepers, and the weekly hitter and pitcher stash lists. Andy also co-hosts the Never Sunny in Seattle podcast on the PitcherList Podcast Network, and separately hosts the Score Zags Score Podcast.

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