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7 Prospects to Stash in 2019 (Fantasy Baseball)

Feb 26, 2019

Jesus Luzardo has the talent to succeed once he arrives in the majors

Numerous prospects got their chance to shine in “The Show” during 2018 and ran with the opportunity. We saw top prospects like Gleyber Torres, Ozzie Albies, Jack Flaherty, and Walker Buehler show off their dazzling potential once they hit the bigs. Their stretches of dominance from yesteryear have placed them all inside the top 75 in our current expert consensus rankings (ECR) for standard 5×5 leagues.

Finding out which prospects you can stash on the cheap for big gains later in the season is one way you can further your championship hopes. However, deciphering who is primed to produce and receive significant playing time in 2019 is much easier said than done. We’ve always got your back though, so we brought in the big guns to help us tackle this topic. Our featured experts were asked to name which prospects owners would be wise to stash on draft day regardless of whether or not they start the season in the minors. Scroll down to see who they chose.

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Q1. What pitching prospect should owners target as a draft-day stash even though he may not begin the season in the big leagues?

Jesus Luzardo (SP – OAK) 
“While Forrest Whitley is widely considered the best pitching prospect in the minors, I love targeting Luzardo as my stash guy on draft day. The A’s aren’t stocked with pitching talent at the Major League level, and if they want to make another playoff run after winning 97 games last year, they’ll have to get their five best pitchers in the rotation as early as it makes sense. Now, one issue is that he only threw about 110 innings last year, so I wouldn’t expect him to sniff 200 or even 180 innings this season, but he should be well worth the investment for your fantasy team for however long he pitches this year.”
– R.J. White (CBS Sports)

“The hype is starting to pick up for Jesus Luzardo of the Oakland A’s and for good reason. He may not be the top pitching prospect in the minors, but he is more likely to post big numbers for fantasy owners this season than Forrest Whitley. There is nowhere near as much competition in Oakland’s rotation as there is in Houston, so Luzardo could be called up in May, or perhaps break camp with the A’s. From the moment he does, we are looking at a top-30 fantasy pitcher.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Brent Honeywell (SP – TB) 
“While I’d paint Jesus Luzardo as a clear target, I’ll avoid a popular pick and go with Honeywell as he returns from missing 2018 due to Tommy John surgery. The Rays are far from conventional with their rotation and only have three “true” long starters currently penciled in, with Ryan Yarbrough and Yonny Chirinos as decent openers, but nowhere near Honeywell’s caliber. This also works in Honeywell’s favor since he could find himself maximizing his innings during a post-TJS season in an aggressively-managed ‘pen where those who follow openers can quietly amass wins, like Yarbrough and Ryne Stanek did in ’18. Those (rightfully) needing stats will note Honeywell can touch 97-98 MPH with his heater and he legitimately has five pitches — including a screwball — to befuddle batters with. He’s shown a great knack for sequencing as a result and struck out 152 batters with a 2.84 FIP/2.77 xFIP over 123.2 Triple-A frames in ’17 before getting hurt, so I’d stash him and see how creative Tampa gets in utilizing him.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

Mike Soroka (SP – ATL) 
“Soroka had a taste of the majors in 2018 before being shut down with a shoulder issue. Had he been healthy all season, he may have had a spot in the Atlanta Braves’s rotation saved for 2019. He could start the season in the minors to prove he is healthy, but if someone at the back end of the rotation ends up hurt or ineffective, Soroka will be back up. With a 3.51 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 25.2 MLB innings for the Braves last season and terrific minor league numbers, Soroka has proven he belongs in the big leagues.”
– Kyle Richardson (The Fantasy Headliners)

Q2. What hitting prospect should owners target as a draft-day stash even though he may not begin the season in the big leagues?

Nick Senzel (3B – CIN)
“Senzel can be plucked a few rounds beyond the 200th pick on all sites but (notoriously youth-driven) CBS per FantasyPros’s ADP tool, and I’m fine reaching a bit to get him. He should have a chance to slot into the outfield, and as long as his vertigo doesn’t return, his bat and legs should produce stellar fantasy value in a much-improved lineup and hitter-friendly ballpark. He socked six homers and stole eight bases alongside a .310 average in just 193 plate appearances last season, which paints him as a true five-category producer should steady opportunity arise. There are many prospects to get excited about, but if I’m stashing someone then they better be able to help in all categories once they’re in.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

Alex Verdugo (OF – LAD)
“Along with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., another name you should be keeping an eye on is Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Verdugo, who will compete with incumbent Joc Pederson for playing time this spring. Verdugo has had a taste of the majors the last two seasons, hitting .240 with two home runs across 100 at-bats. Verdugo should be the starting left fielder on Opening Day, but Pederson will likely hold onto the spot for now. A slow start from Pederson or a trade will open the door for Verdugo to have regular at-bats. Power may be a bit of a concern right now, but his hitting ability would warrant a spot on your bench.”
– Kyle Richardson (The Fantasy Headliners)

Francisco Mejia (C – SD)
“Vlad Jr. and Eloy Jimenez are obvious calls since they are being drafted so high to begin with. My other favorite, however, is Mejia. The Padres already have a starting catcher, but Mejia can play multiple positions and his bat will find a way to at-bats. He is also a trade candidate, as the Padres need arms desperately if they want to compete. A .255 average with 15 homers and 55 RBIs doesn’t sound great, but that is a starting catcher in fantasy baseball.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (DH – TOR)
“Who else but Guerrero Jr.? The Jays will likely play the service time game with him, but he showed last year he has nothing left to prove at the minor-league level. As the best hitting prospect to come around in a long time, it’s worth drafting him as a top-10 third baseman even if you need to plug in a temporary fill-in to your starting lineup to begin the season.”
– R.J. White (CBS Sports)

Thank you to the experts for naming their prospects to stash. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for more advice all season long.

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