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Graduated From Stash List Volume 3: Ben Rice Is Boiling: Ben Rice, Orelvis Martinez

Jackson Holliday is not on this list. One of the few rules I’ve implemented here is that once you’re a big leaguer in the current season, you’re off the list. Holliday cashed those major league game checks, so he won’t be represented here. Neither will Tyler Black even though I’m writing this part on a Friday and thinking about his namesake Rebecca. 

 

1. Nationals OF James Wood | 21 | AAA 

Washington is 0.5 games out of the wild card race. Wood returned from his hamstring injury and went 0-for-2 with a walk on Tuesday. Once he’s in rhythm, I think he’s coming up.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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See all of today’s starting lineups

# MLB Starting Lineups For Sat 6/22
ARI | ATL | BAL | BOS | CHC | CHW | CIN | CLE | COL | DET | HOU | KC | LAA | LAD | MIA | MIL | MIN | NYM | NYY | OAK | PHI | PIT | SD | SEA | SF | STL | TB | TEX | TOR | WSH

Houston has finally cut bait on Jose Abreu, who will collect another $30 million from the club over the next season and a half. Jonathan Singleton has been tabbed by manager Joe Espada to be the everyday first baseman moving forward, but that’s just, like, his opinion, man. Singleton is a free agent at season’s end, and Joey Loperfido is right there in Triple-A. He has struck out at a 39.5 percent clip in 43 major league plate appearances, but he’s also slashing .333/.381/.436 with a 138 wRC+ over that stretch. Singleton’s wRC+ in 174 plate appearances is 92, which drops to 79 if we look at just the last month. I’m all for the revitalization of a man’s career, but I’m skeptical that’s what we’re seeing here. Abreu has been bad enough that even Singleton is an upgrade, but it doesn’t make much sense to eat $30 million just to play Jon Singleton everyday while Joey Loperfido waits in the wings during what might be a lost season. As of Saturday morning, Houston is 32-and-38, eight games behind Seattle in the division and six games out of the wild card race. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After coming over from San Diego as part of the return for Dylan Cease, White Sox RHP Drew Thorpe has posted a tremendous season for Double-A Birmingham and was rewarded for his efforts with a promotion straight past Triple-A and into the majors for Tuesday’s game. He threw five innings against Seattle and allowed one earned run. In 60 Double-A innings, Thorpe’s double-plus command and changeup helped him produce a 0.87 WHIP and 1.35 ERA along with 56 strikeouts and 17 walks. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With 2B Jorge Mateo on the concussion list, Orioles 2B Connor Norby is the latest among Baltimore’s bevy of prospects to get his opportunity. It’s interesting to see him up instead of Jackson Holliday considering Norby is striking out 30.7 percent of the time in Triple-A, but he’s also slashing .286/.374/.510 through 238 plate appearances and struck out 21.6 percent of the time across 633 Triple-A plate appearances last year. Even with the increased strikeouts, his wRC+ has jumped from 109 last year to 127 this season. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Been a downbeat week around the fantasy game. Nobody likes to see a star like Ronald Acuña Jr. lose another season to injury. Baseball is just a tick less interesting today. For our game, there’s not much one can do to replace an Acuña. In a 15-teamer where I’ve gotten off to a fast start and am in first place, I traded Kodai Senga, Landon Knack and Abimelec Ortiz for Brandon Nimmo. He’s not going to approximate Acuña, but he should fill an outfield spot and help me hold down the Runs category. He’s batting third this season and is on pace for his best RBI season by a long ways, even as his batting average has tumbled. He’s painting the statcast bars red, and his career outcomes suggest he’s got upside in the batting average category. Now I just need to replace a few dozen stolen bases. No big deal, right? 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

1. Pirates RHP Paul Skenes | 21 | MLB | 2024

2. Nationals OF James Wood | 21 | AAA | 2024

3. Orioles SS Jackson Holliday | 20 | MLB | 2024

4. Rangers OF Wyatt Langford | 22 | MLB | 2024

5. Rays 3B Junior Caminero | 20 | MLB | 2023

These guys are untouchable like Sean Connery swearing at Kevin Costner. Despite rocky starts for Holliday and Langford, few questions remain about their long-term viability as core dynasty assets.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Phillies RHP George Klassen (22, A) was not particularly effective as a college pitcher, posting ERAs of 5.72 and 14.09 in his two seasons as a Golden Gopher in Minnesota. Nonetheless, he showed enough plus stuff for the Phillies to select him in the sixth round of the 2023 draft. When he started generating hype this spring as a pitch-lab find for Philadelphia, I was skeptical because it’s hard to just hand-wave those kinds of outcomes. Plus, 22-year-old college pitchers should fare well against Low-A hitters. Even so, Klassen’s gone full Pickle Rick this year. His 0.33 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 34.3 percent strikeout-minus-walk rate are eye-popping numbers that suggest he’s already graduated from that level, skills wise. He might be in High-A right now if not for a short trip to the injured list. His three-pix mix now includes a four-seam fastball at about 98, a cutter at ~90 and a curveball at ~86; all three play as plus. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m working on a Top 100 update right now, and I’m struggling to make a case for anyone above Pirates RHP Paul Skenes. Sure, Jackson Holliday is a safer bet given the reality of every pitcher who’s ever thrown this hard getting hurt, but Skenes is such a unicorn, I’m inclined to stop treating him like a regular human baseball player. Part of it is the struggle to keep my brain functioning exclusively in the fantasy baseball realm, where of course it makes sense to pick the hitters over the pitchers 99.9 percent of the time. I just think this feels like that 0.1 percent of the time, and it’s hard to imagine any real baseball teams would prefer another prospect to Skenes. A guy like him can carry you through the playoffs, if you happen to make the playoffs, especially if he’s paired with another dynamite young arm like Jared Jones. I ranked Skenes 12th in my Top 25 Fantasy Prospects: Opening Day 2024, and I feel pretty foolish about that today. I had some worries about his health given how long it had been since we’d seen him pitch and how he finished 2023, but that’s a distant memory now. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dodgers SS Austin Gauthier (25, AAA) is off to a hot start at a new level, slashing .360/.467/.600 with one homer and a steal alongside five walks and five strikeouts in seven games. A four-year starter at Hofstra, Gauthier (pronounced Goth-e-er as in vampires are gothier than puppies) has never been a named guy but has found little resistance among minor league pitchers, posting big on base percentages and solid plate skills every step of the way. In the box, he features a high leg kick a La Justin Turner and delivers functional all-fields power. He’s probably available in all your leagues as an unheralded dude from nowhere, but I watch him and feel like it’s going to work against major league arms.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Graduated from Stash List Volume 1: Skenes The Mountain: Paul Skenes (1), Christian Scott (6), Joey Loperfido (7), Kyle Manzardo (8)  

Jackson Holliday is not on this list. One of the few rules I’ve implemented here is that once you’re a big leaguer in the current season, you’re off the list. Holliday cashed those major league game checks, so he won’t be represented here. Neither will Tyler Black even though I’m writing this part on a Friday and thinking about his namesake Rebecca. 

1. Nationals OF James Wood | 21 | AAA

This is fun, huh? In Washington’s defense, Wood does seem to be making little leaps in his approach, and he is still young in the baseball sense. But the growth he’s made in a short time makes me feel like he’s going to be good right away, especially because he’ll bring the impact whenever he connects, even if he’s struggling to connect from time to time. By the way, this man is slashing .344/.443/.552 with five homers and nine steals.

Please, blog, may I have some more?