Hey y’ all! Can you believe there as already been one month of minor league baseball? We’ve had some great stories so far. Luis Robert killing A+ and then getting the promotion to AA. Casey Mize throwing a no-hitter in his first start in AA. What has been your favorite story so far?
This week’s Stash List has two hitters in killing it in AAA who may get a promotion to the majors this year, one pitcher recently promoted to AA throwing absolute fireballs while limiting walks, and a college bat performing well in A+.
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL 3B) ETA 2019
Ryan Mountcastle’s 2019 season started slowly, hitting .250/.300/.333 in his first 10 games in AAA Norfolk. Since then, he has been absolutely crushing the ball. As of this post, Mountcastle has is hitting .345/.370/.546 and crushed 5 home runs. Very encouraging to see coming from one of the youngest hitters in AAA. Mountcastle was Baltimore’s first overall pick in 2015 and put together an excellent season in AA which started late due to a hand injury.
He was drafted as a shortstop and moved to third, but I see him moving to a corner outfield spot in the near future. Mountcastle has great 5 o’clock power and with this more recent power surge (or juiced ball) should contribute 25-30 home runs, especially hitting in Camden Yards, aka Coors East. The Orioles currently have Renato Nunez and Rio Ruiz manning the hot corner, so there is no one stopping Mountcastle from being called up to Baltimore in the second half of the year. Going forward, Mountcastle needs to continue to hit as he is not known for his plate discipline, with last year BB% of 6% being his career high.
Keston Hiura (MIL 2B) ETA 2019
Keston Hiura is the Brewers number 1 prospect and it is easy to see why. Drafted the first round in 2017, Hiura made it to AA in his first pro season. He was limited to DH duties that year due to an elbow injury he sustained in his final season in UC Irvine. In 2018, he kept on hitting and more importantly was able to move back to second base with ease.
When I saw him in the AFL, where he won MVP, I loved his smooth swing, super quick bat speed, and sneaky power. In 2019, Hiura has kept hitting and is starting to look ready for his first taste of the big leagues, especially with Travis Shaw struggling in Milwaukee. At first glance, one can see Hiura’s strikeout rate has increased to a career-high 26% but take a closer look. In his first 15 games, he had 26 punchouts in 60 at-bats or 43%. Since then, he has lowered his strikeout rate to 14% as he only has 9 in his last 61 at-bats.
Also during that time he has given 9 souvenirs to the cheap seats and walked 8 times. I believe Hiura will get his chance to play for the Brew Crew soon. Travis Shaw looks absolutely lost at the plate right now. When Hiura comes up, he should hit around fifth, which puts him in a prime spot to pick you up some RBIs. Going forward, I see Hiura, with his excellent bat to ball skills and power as an All-Star level second baseman. If you are able to trade for him in your dynasty league, you need to jump at the chance.
Nate Pearson (TOR RHP) ETA 2020
Pearson was drafted in the first round by the Blue Jays out of a junior college in Florida. He flew up draft boards that year by consistently hitting 100 mph on the radar gun. He suffered an intercostal strain in the spring of 2018 that delayed his start to the season. After returning from the IL, he was hit by a comebacker which broke his forearm.
He wasn’t able to get back onto a competitive mound until the AFL. While there, scouts loved his stuff. While at the Fall Stars Game, I saw him hit 100+ with the fastball and 95 with the slide piece. I also saw Pete Alonso turn on one of those heaters for a majestic home run. The Blue Jays started Pearson at A+, which was the level he was at the year prior before the forearm injury. Pearson was straight up dealing in A+. In 21 innings, he racked up 35 strikeouts and only 3 walks. The Jays quickly promoted him to AA this past week and in his first start, he went 5 innings with 8 strikeouts and no walks.
If everything goes to plan, we will see Pearson start next year in AAA and maybe get the call later in the year. In dynasty leagues, Pearson might be a prospect to target. Even if he is unable to stick as a starter and moves to the bullpen, we are looking at a lights out, flame thrower closer type. If he is able to harness his arsenal, he has been known to lose his control at times, we are looking at a #1 – #2 starter type. I usually shy away from pitching prospects (TINSTAPP) but Pearson has the arsenal and stuff that can be a game changer and I’m buying wherever I can.
Kyle Isbel (KC OF) ETA 2021
The Royals picked Kyle Isbel in the third round of last year’s draft. In my opinion, the Royals had a great draft. They picked up a bunch of college arms, including Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, and Daniel Lynch. All four of them were assigned to A+ Lexington, joining other Royals prospects, M.J. Melendez, Suely Matias, and Nick Pratto.
Known from his college days for his contact ability, he started to show glimpses of power in the final year in school. So far this year, he has been impressive. As of this post, he is hitting .348/.423/.630 with 2 home runs and 5 stolen bases. He is currently playing center but may have to move to a corner.
If Isbel is available in your deeper dynasty league, I would take a flyer on him. He does not have any of those sexy, loud tools but Isbel is the type of player that will contribute across all categories and the type of player that will make it to the majors at some point in his career.