Hey Y’all. This week’s Stash List should be a pretty interesting list. I wanted to bring to your attention some minor leagues that might not be rostered in your dynasty league. This week I profile a shortstop that should be making their debut in Detroit very soon, a slugger that has some interesting speed, a southpaw killing AA, and righty making mowing down competitors at every stop.
Willi Castro -DET SS ETA 2019
The Tigers picked up Willi Castro at the trade deadline last year from Cleveland for Leonys Martin. Castro really blasted on the scene in 2017 while in High A Lynchburg. In 123 games, he had a .290 AVG with a .337 OBP and 11 home runs and 19 stolen bases. I got to see Castro that year when I went to Lynchburg to catch Triston McKenzie pitch. In that one game, I liked what I saw. He was a pretty slick defender and had a hit out of three plate appearances that night. Ever since then, I’ve kept my eye on Castro.
I knew he would never supplant Francisco Lindor but I thought he had the chance to play second for the Indians in the future. The Indians started Castro in AA in 2018 and to say he struggled was an understatement. In 97 games, Castro was hitting .245/.303/.350 before moving over to the Tigers. While there, he started to perform like 2017 Willi Castro, hitting .324/.366/.562. The Tigers promoted Castro to AAA to begin the 2019 season, and the dude is killing it. Castro is hitting .349/.426/.527 while swatting 3 home runs and stealing 8 stolen bases. He is also walking a career-high 8.6% of the time, which is very encouraging as Castro has always been an aggressive hitter. With Ronny Rodriguez manning SS in Detroit, we might hear Willi Castro called up very soon.
Will Benson – CLE OF ETA 2022
Will Benson was drafted by the Indians in the first round of the 2016 draft right out of high school. Benson has always had strikeout issues, with a strikeout rate never below 30% during his professional career. Last year was a real test for Benson. It was his first taste of A ball and boy was he struggling. He had a .180 AVG but a .324 OBP which shows Benson still has a decent batting eye. Keep in mind Benson’s BABIP last year was .218. Benson was majorly struggling but in 123 games, Benson swatted 22 home runs while picking up 12 stolen bases. So there were still some things to like in the profile.
Cleveland assigned Benson back to A ball at the beginning of this year and things are going much better. In 45 games. Benson has a .274 AVG and .377 OBP. He has also hit 13 taters and more surprisingly has swiped 17 bags. I’m sure we will be hearing of his promotion to AA soon. As far as fantasy, Benson is definitely a boom or bust type. He could be a Joey Gallo or someone who doesn’t make it past AAA. In dynasty leagues, I’ve been hesitant to roster guys like Benson but he hits, you will have yourself a great dynasty league piece.
Conner Menez – SFG LHP Age 24 ETA 2020
The Giants picked Conner Menez in the 14th round of the 2016 draft from The Master’s College. The 6’3’ lefty moved quickly after being drafted; moving from Rookie ball to High A. He spent the entire 2017 season in High A, pitched 114.1 innings with a SwStk% of 10.2% but was unable to keep hitters off the basepaths, as his WHIP was ugly 1.55. The Giants were pretty aggressive with Menez last season and he again pitched in three levels. In all three levels he posted double-digit SwStk%, with the lowest being 13.3% in 74 innings at AA.
So far in AA this year, Menez has been amazing. In 48.2 innings, he has 55 punchouts, SwStk% of 14.8%, and more impressively a WHIP of 0.99. Menez’ fastball sits around 93-94 and mixes in a low eighties curveball and mid-eighties changeup. I’ve been impressed with the decrease in his walks. They are down to 2.77 BB/9. I expect Menez to be promoted to AAA pretty soon and that will be a pretty big test. Menez has the chance to be a 4th or 5th starter type, especially pitching in Oracle Park for most of his career.
Ryan Rolison – COL RHP Age 21 ETA 2021
Colorado Rockies first-round draft pick last year, Ryan Rolison out of the University of Mississippi, is having a great start to his professional career. I know you are probably not interested in a Rockies pitcher for your dynasty league but you might want to pay attention to what Rolison has done so far. After being drafted, the Rockies assigned him to the Rookie League, where he pitched another 29 innings. In those 29 innings, he racked up 34 strikeouts and a SwStk% of 14.6%. He also had an ERA of 1.86 with a WHIP of 0.79. The Rockies assigned him to A ball to begin the season where he straight up dominated. After posting an ERA of 0.61, WHIP of 0.68, with 14 strikeouts over 14 innings, he was promoted to High A.
The promotion has not stopped Rolison either. In 40.2 innings, the southpaw has an ERA of 1.99, WHIP of 1.11, and 41 strikeouts with an 11.8 SwStk%. Some scouts say his best pitch might be his curveball but his fastball and changeup are above average as well. He frequently uses all three of his pitches and really pounds the strike zone, throwing strikes about 60% of the time. He regularly sits mid-nineties with his fastball and mid-eighties with his secondary offerings. I would keep a close eye on Rolison over the next couple of months. Colorado, smartly, has most of its affiliates in high hitting environments so if Rolison keeps performing you might want to take a flyer on the young Rockie.