Image credit: Ty France (Photo courtesy of El Paso)
Most of the top prospects have been called up. The focus in dynasty leagues shifts now to finding young players, often on losing teams, who are receiving playing time down the stretch. It’s also the right time of year to think about stashing injured players, particularly pitchers, for 2021.
Ty France, 2B/3B, Mariners
Part of the great Padres trade-off at the deadline, France landed in a good spot in Seattle, a place where he doesn’t have to worry about platooning or scooping up at-bats when other players need a rest. France has started regularly for the Mariners at second base, third base and DH since the trade and got off to a good start. Through eight games with Seattle, the 26-year-old hit .379/.455/.690 with two home runs, six RBIs and had a nice ratio of walks (four) to strikeouts (five). This sort of offensive production is not unprecedented. France had a season for the ages last year at Triple-A El Paso in the Padres system, hitting .399 and recording a 196 wRC+ that, according to FanGraphs, is one of just four performances (min. 300 PA) since 2006 to approach 200.
Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Marlins
A number of players who were selected as Rule 5 draft picks have been proving they shouldn’t have been viewed as afterthoughts. Hernandez is one example. The Tigers’ Victor Reyes, the Orioles’ Anthony Santander and possibly the Mariners’ Luis Torrens are a few others of recent vintage. Hernandez may be out for the season with a strained lat, but you should still be interested in him for stashing purposes. Not only did he contribute a 3.16 ERA and 1.01 WHIP—not to mention 11.9 SO/9 and 1.8 BB/9—to the Marlins this season, but opponents have a hard time squaring him up in the zone. Hernandez’s 80% zone contact rate ranked 13th best among starters with 20 innings this season. This is a pitcher worth speculating on for 2021, especially if he develops a chase pitch.
Jared Walsh, 1B, Angels
The Angels have been giving Walsh regular play at first base since late August, and he has run with the opportunity. In 12 games since Aug. 28 he has hit .353/.368/.912 with five homers and 12 RBIs. His Statcast barrel rate ranks top 50 in baseball, at least at the low threshold of 25 batted balls. The 27-year-old Walsh turned in a huge season at Triple-A Salt Lake in 2019, leading the Pacific Coast League with a 1.109 OPS, so hitting for power is not completely out of character.
Jose Marmolejos, 1B/OF, Mariners
Signed as a minor league free agent last offseason, Marmolejos has received steady playing time for Seattle after being recalled from the alternate training site. Like Walsh, he appears to be a late blooming power hitter. In 13 games since coming back up in late August, the 27-year-old Marmolejos has hit .341/.396/.682 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. Marmolejos has been playing more left field and DH for Seattle, rather than first base, because of Evan White. He also has been hitting lower in the order, but that can change if he keeps it up. There is some evidence to suggest he can: Marmolejos was the Nationals’ minor league player of the year in 2015 and 2016 and has a track record of hitting for average with gap power. He appears to be turning some of those doubles into homers.
Corbin Martin, RHP, D-backs
Martin suffered an oblique strain in late August, thus setting him back on his road to recovery from Tommy John surgery. Still, he is a promising four-pitch pitcher with velocity, feel to spin and good action on his changeup. Martin was charging hard for a regular rotation spot at the time of his injury, having reached the majors less than two years after being drafted in the second round by the Astros. The D-backs acquired him as part of the return for Zack Greinke at the 2019 trade deadline—after he had TJ, which just speaks to the type of potential he is perceived to have. Take this opportunity to stash Martin away for 2021 if he is available in your league.
— If you have the roster space to stash pitchers for next season, there are a number of dinged up starters—in addition to Elieser Hernandez and Corbin Martin above—who might be freely available in your league or obtainable at a low cost in trades.
Some targets to stash away for 2021 include Stephen Strasburg, Chris Sale, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino, David Price, Noah Syndergaard, Chris Archer, Eduardo Rodriguez and Tyler Beede. Some younger starters who finished this season on the shelf, and thus could be at their lowest value, are Mike Soroka, Nate Pearson, A.J. Puk and Trent Thornton.