The major league season is in full swing and it seems like injuries keep popping up! Every week I highlight more prospects making their major league debuts due to production but also the opportunity presented by injury. In this weekly series of prospects to stash now you will get a leg up on some of the best prospect options that could be available on your waiver wire or players to target in your deeper dynasty leagues. Stashing these players now could have an impact during the injury-heavy dog days of summer! In this article, I am highlighting my three hitting prospects to stash right now.
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Triple A Watch
Joey Ortiz, 2B/SS BAL
There is no doubt that most prospect-savvy dynasty managers have all eyes on Baltimore this season. With some of the game’s top prospects poised to make their major league debut in Camden Yards, the question is who will be first? Now the quick and easy answer is Joey Ortiz. Why you might ask? They have Colten Cowser, Hudson Haskin, Jordan Westburg, and Connor Norby. Why Joey Ortiz over all the rest? Currently, Joey Ortiz is at AAA Norfolk slashing .361/.373/.492 with four doubles, two triples, eight RBIs, and one stolen base in 15 games. Ortiz has been solid with the bat the last two seasons, lowering his strikeout rate from 20.9% in 2021 down to a 17.9% this season.
👀 Watch out for BAL SS/2B Joey Ortiz currently slashing .361/.373/.492 with a 17.9% K%. He’s on the 40 man roster and a breath away from Baltimore. #Birdland @NorfolkTides @Orioles @BSLOnTheVerge @Fantrax https://t.co/r54mto2pHs
— Richard Haake (@Mustbethehawk) April 25, 2023
The defense for Ortiz has continued to impress on a weekly basis, I’m constantly seeing stunning defensive plays at short to save a run come up from the Norfolk Tides Twitter account. There is no doubt in my mind that Ortiz is a plus major league defender at shortstop right now, the bat should hit for average and get on base with a solid career walk rate in the minors.
The power and speed might be my only concern as I don’t see him hitting above 15 HRs in the majors long term and 5-10 steals would be my ceiling in stolen bases. Regardless, the main reason as to why I feel Ortiz will be the first call-up is the sole fact that he is already on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. With an injury to the infield, I believe he will be the first to get the call, making him a high-floor stash for me in 15-team leagues and up.
David Hamilton, SS/2B BOS
There is no doubt that David Hamilton is fast. How fast? Hamilton led the Big 12 conference with 31 steals white at the University of Texas, In his first professional season in the Brewers organization Hamilton stole 52 bags in 2021 in A+ and AA. Then following the Hunter Renfroe trade that brought Hamilton to Boston, he goes off and sets a Red Sox stolen base record at a crisp 70 bags! In fact, he has only been caught 20 times in 153 attempts.
This season Hamilton has been efficient at the plate slashing .338/.397/.600 with four home runs, 13 runs, 10 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases in 17 games at AAA Worcester. Hamilton’s walk rate is slightly below his career rate but still solid at 9.5% and the strikeout rate currently is well below his career rate at 14.9%. Now at 25 years old, Hamilton is poised to make his major league debut this season and frankly with his performance so far at AAA Worcester, and the fact that he is already on the team’s 40-man roster, a call-up could be days away for the speedy Hamilton.
The Wild Card
Matt McLain, SS CIN
Alright, this one might be the least likely of the three though all eyes should be on the Reds and Matt McLain in the coming weeks. Matt McLain is having a fantastic start to his season in AAA Louisville, slashing .284/.429/.567 with five home runs, 14 RBIs, and six stolen bases in 20 games. The 23-year-old McLain has a stellar 17.9% walk rate and a solid 22.6% strikeout rate in 84 plate appearances.
With such solid production at the minors’ highest level, why is a call-up less likely? Well, two reasons. McLain has ascended quickly through the Reds minor league system only playing 154 games since being drafted in 2021 so the Reds might want to see him work through struggles before getting that final push. Secondly, the Reds have not had to put McLain on the 40-man roster as of yet. But the Reds are struggling and with Jose Barrero and Jake Fraley not really getting it done with the bat, McLain could be poised to step in if one of the major league guys is DFA’d to clear a roster spot.
🚀CIN SS Matt McLain needs to be on your watch list. Currently slashing .284/.429/.567 with 5 HR, 14 RBIs and 6 SB in 20 GP. 💪 17.9% BB and solid 22.6% K. McLain is a 40 man spot away from the Launching Pad. #ATOBTTR @LouisvilleBats @Reds @mattmclain_ @Fantrax https://t.co/ZRbfH9zKHL
— Richard Haake (@Mustbethehawk) April 25, 2023