Welcome to The Stash List, Hitter Edition!
The Stash List will highlight the top-10 hitter prospects who are most likely to make an impact this season.
Effective in-season management will propel your team into contention, and understanding the outlook and ETA for some of baseball’s top prospects will give you an advantage over your league mates. As managers, we are looking forward to reaping the rewards of our offseason research and draft strategies, but for most of us, the fun is only just beginning.
Previous Week’s Stash List: The Stash List, Hitter Edition: Week 6
- The Stash List is for your redraft leagues and does not consider impact beyond 2022.
- 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 ownership percentages will be updated weekly.
- Stats shown are through May 21.
GRADUATES AND NOTABLE CALL UPS
Adley Rutschman, C, BAL
Rutschman was called up by the Orioles and made his MLB debut on Saturday. He registered his first big league hit with a triple and also added a walk on the night. He’s been one of the more anticipated prospect call-ups in recent memory, with 2022 tabbed as his debut season when he was originally drafted first overall in 2019.
Adley is a must-own in fantasy leagues due to his immense upside at the catcher position. As a bonus, he’ll likely gain eligibility at first base sometime later this season. The Orioles wouldn’t have called him up for just a short stay, so expect him to stick with the club for good. If he’s a free agent in your league add him immediately.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW!!!
Adley Rutschman's first major league hit is a triple‼️
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 22, 2022
Nolan Gorman, 2B, STL
Gorman earned a call up to St. Louis this week after lighting the minor leagues on fire to start the season. He won the player of the month for April, and was atop most of the minor league leaderboards before getting promoted. His 34.0% strikeout rate is cause for concern and will be the biggest challenge to finding success at the next level.
Gorman should get an extended run as the Cardinals second baseman and probably get some time as designated hitter as well, with an occasional day off against left handed pitchers. Gorman has immense power upside and is worth adding across all leagues right now. His prestigious power will provide the fantasy value, but his plate discipline will ultimately determine whether he sticks in the majors the rest of the season.
Nolan Gorman's 1st extra-base hit in the bigs! pic.twitter.com/UCuISzSurr
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 22, 2022
1. Royce Lewis, SS, MIN – (New) ETA June
Lewis returned to the minors this week after a stellar start to his big league career. Primarily filling in at shortstop for an injured Carlos Correa, Lewis more than held his own against big league pitching, and many thought he proved himself enough to stay even when his predecessor returns from the injured list. The Twins had other ideas, and opted to return him to St. Paul so he can continue to get regular at bats, while also gaining some experience at other defensive positions.
Lewis’ bat remained hot when he returned to Triple-A, adding three more hits including a home run along with a stolen base. Defensively, he’s started games this week at shortstop, third base, and left field, while leading off in all three contests. Upon his inevitable call-up, expect a five-category masher who will gain dual eligibility. Strongly recommend holding him during this time.
2. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT – ETA May
Cruz is slowly turning a corner; over the last seven days he’s hit .263 with one home run, one stolen base, and a 3:5 K:BB ratio. Yes, more walks than strikeouts, finally. On the year, he’s reduced his strikeout rate to 24.8%, increased his walk rate up to 14.0%, and improved his contact rate to 70.7%. All signs that may be pointing to a long-awaited breakout.
Keeping tabs on him defensively, he’s started 26 games at shortstop and six games in left field. Notably, Pirates regular shortstop Kevin Newman spent some time at Triple-A this week on a rehab assignment and Cruz was in left field during this time. Regardless of his position, every time the ball heads his way, you just have to hold your breath.
For fantasy, continue holding Cruz. His breakout and call-up is coming, hopefully sooner than later.
Oneil Cruz is doing Oneil Cruz things, this double blistered 112 MPH off the wall.
Cruz today in 8⃣ plate appearances: 1B, 2B, 4 BB. ? pic.twitter.com/hILMKLmqYL
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) May 19, 2022
3. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, KCR – ETA June
Pasquantino continues to make a case for his promotion to Kansas City. Over the last week, he’s hit .304 and added another home run. His plate discipline remains elite; 15.0% strikeout rate, 13.8% walk rate, and 82% contact rate. While his splits vs. left handed pitching are respectable to0; .231 average, three home runs, and an 8:8 K:BB ratio.
He’s not on the 40-man roster, and this is his first year in Triple-A, but he’s already 24-years-old and quickly showing he’s ready for new competition. Pasquantino is a stash in redraft leagues due to his proximity, but he’s showing he has some growing power upside as well. His hit tool will carry him, but whether his power shows in-game at the highest level will ultimately determine his fantasy impact.
4. Triston Casas, 1B, BOS – ETA June
Casas’ cold stretch continues; he hasn’t had a multi-hit game or home run since May 1, and he is currently sidelined with an ankle injury that has prevented him from play the last few days and is considered day-to-day.
Casas’ splits against lefties were called out by Chaim Bloom recently as one of the reasons he’s still in Triple-A; over 36 at-bats, he has eight hits, zero home runs, and a 33.3% strikeout rate.
A call-up does not appear imminent, but Casas is still worth a stash in anticipation of a call-up in the near future.
5. Gabriel Moreno, C, TOR – ETA July
Moreno missed a couple games this week due to a minor elbow injury, but returned with a vengeance on Saturday, logging four hits, including his first home run on the season, three runs batted in and a walk. On the year, he’s now hitting .347 with an elite 17.6% strikeout rate and 8.3% walk rate.
Moreno is worth a stash in deeper redraft leagues only right now. He has limited experience at the Triple-A level, so it’s best he still receives regular at-bats. Between Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk, they have catcher covered in Toronto.
You knew it was coming sooner or later.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 21, 2022
6. Riley Greene, OF, DET – ETA July
Greene was primed to start the season on the Tigers’ Opening Day roster before fouling a ball off his foot during Spring Training that resulted in a fracture and a minimum six-to-eight-week recovery. Even with the setback, Greene’s enormous upside and a possible mid-to-late season promotion still make him worthy of a stash.
Over two levels in 2021, Greene hit .301 with 24 home runs, 84 runs batted in, and 16 stolen bases. He’s the complete package and was a near-unanimous top-3 prospect across the industry.
Greene was cleared this week to begin baseball activities, though there is no official timeline yet for his return. Expect him to progress through a few levels of the minors before being considered for a Major League promotion, probably similar to the path that Adley Rutschman has taken this year.
7. Miguel Vargas, 3B, LAD – ETA July
Vargas burst onto the fantasy scene in 2021 after hitting .319 with 23 home runs and a 16.4% strikeout rate over two levels. Now considered a top prospect, his encore is currently in progress, and now he’s knocking on the big league door.
Vargas’ fire May continues; this week he hit .280 with two home runs, one stolen base, and three more walks. On the year, he’s hitting .306 with a 15.0% strikeout rate, 14.4% walk rate, and 82.2% contact rate.
The problem for Vargas is the lack of opportunity at the big league level, which should be considered a major hurdle. Vargas is worth a stash based on his upside, but right now, there are too many mouths to feed in Los Angeles, so he’s ticketed for regular at-bats in Oklahoma City. He’s an injury away from being a significant contributor for your fantasy team.
Miguel Vargas ?
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 18, 2022
8. Josh Lowe, OF, TBR – (New) ETA June
Lowe broke camp with the Rays and was a regular in the Major League outfield for the first month of the season, but he really struggled with the bat, and strikeouts became a significant issue (38% strikeout rate) so he was demoted to Triple-A last week. Lowe has a nice blend of power and speed, and he’ll get regular at-bats in Durham until he heats up.
Strikeouts continue to pile up, but over the last two weeks Lowe has started to get hot; hitting .357 with three home runs, 15 runs batted in, and two steals. Though he still has a 36.9% strikeout rate over this same period.
Expect Lowe back in the Majors this summer, but like any Rays prospect, you’re only really confident that he’s playing on a given night when you can actually see him standing on the field. Irregular playing time is a hurdle to fantasy relevance in Tampa, but Lowe has the upside to be a significant contributor upon his return. Lowe could be back with the Rays at any time and is worth a stash due to the proximity.
9. CJ Abrams, MI/OF, SDP – ETA July
Abrams is a top prospect in baseball and broke camp with the Padres despite being only 21 years old and still pretty raw in terms of his development. He spent most of his time at shortstop but also received some playing time in the outfield. He ultimately struggled at the plate and started to get irregular at-bats, so he was demoted to Triple-A El Paso.
In his brief time in the minors, he’s already hit three home runs but overall is struggling to get going. He’ll most likely be back with the Padres at some point this summer, but any ETA is largely speculative. Expect Abrams to get an extended run in the minors, but his upside is immense, so with sustained success, he could be a big fantasy contributor down the stretch.
10. Cal Mitchell, OF, PIT – ETA July
If the Pirates ever get around to calling up their prospects, one of the names that should be on the list is Cal Mitchell. He’s quietly hitting .308 with five home runs, a 13.4% strikeout rate, and a 7.5% walk rate.
Mitchell doesn’t have the pedigree as some of the other names on this list, but he’s been holding his own against advanced pitching and will be carried by his ability to hit at the next level. He could slot in now a corner outfielder, so a call up is inevitable, but the timing is speculative.
Bonus name to know: Luis Garcia, 2B/SS, WAS – ETA June: Though he’s not technically a prospect, Garcia is crushing Triple-A this year, hitting .329 with eight home runs and a 26:15 K:BB ratio and 82.5% contact rate. The Nationals continue to play Alcides Escobar and Caesar Hernandez up the middle instead of allowing Garcia an opportunity, potentially due to his poor defense (five errors already), but this is a bit of speculation. He’ll likely be up at some point and could be a significant contributor down the stretch, but his ETA is a bit uncertain.
Others considered (in no particular order): Mason Martin, Brennen Davis, Heliot Ramos, Nick Pratto, Pedro Leon, Oswald Peraza, Francisco Álvarez, Ryan Fitzgerald, Estevan Florial, Travis Swaggerty, Jarren Duran, Tyler Freeman, Oscar Gonzalez, Kyle Stowers, Jonathan Aranda
Photos by Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels, Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Drew Wheeler (@drewisokay on Twitter)