2012 MLB Prospects: When Will Each Team's Top Prospect Arrive in the Majors?
As the 2012 MLB season marches on, we are seeing some of the top farm talent show up in the majors. Bryce Harper has made his debut, as have many others with varying success.
While some top prospects may be in the majors already, others are honing their craft, and it will be at least a year or two before those teams see them in a major league uniform.
Here are each team's top prospects who remain in the minors, as well as a look at when they could debut based on their progress.
Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy
The No. 10 prospect for the 2012 season had looked every bit as dominant as that number says. In eight games at Class A-Delmarva, he allowed no runs and two walks to go with 40 strikeouts in 30 innings.
He's now at Class A-Advanced Frederick, and is doing well there. I could see him sniffing some AA time too, and with the question marks surrounding pitching depth, the Orioles may have to bring him in the majors next year, particularly if Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz don't improve.
ETA: June 2013
Boston Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts
Now that Will Middlebrooks has made his debut and looked every bit as good as he was projected, the next prospect in line is shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is currently in Class A-Advanced Salem.
He's showing a nice amount of power so far, but he's only 19 and the Sox are in no rush with him, even if shortstop is a weak link. Until he's ready, Mike Aviles seems to be holding down the fort well enough.
New York Yankees: Manny Banuelos
I wasn't sure who to put here between Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos, but since Betances pitched two games last year, Banuelos is here by default.
He should be major-league ready after spending time at Triple-A last year, but he's not pitching that well in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this year. While it's possible he could be a September call-up, I think they'll be ready on Opening Day 2013 to use either him or Betances.
ETA: April 2013
Tampa Bay Rays: Hak-Ju Lee
The Tampa Bay Rays always have a slew of great minor league pitchers rising through the ranks, but the top prospect now is instead shortstop Hak-Ju Lee.
Lee is playing well at Double-A Montgomery, though his batting average isn't where it was at the lower minor leagues. Due to this he'll likely remain there this season, perhaps being promoted to Triple-A next year. He may be a September call-up, but he's 21 and the Rays don't need to rush him.
ETA: September 2013
Toronto Blue Jays: Travis D'Arnaud
While many of the prospects on this list are a ways away from promotion, catcher Travis D'Arnaud is one that I'm surprised has not been promoted yet.
In Triple-A Las Vegas, he's hitting .327 with 13 home runs in 52 games, and was a force alongside Yan Gomes in the minors. Gomes has already been promoted, and D'Arnaud has to be next in line.
ETA: September 2012 at the latest
Chicago White Sox: Nestor Molina
The Chicago White Sox put me in a tough spot; the only player in the top 100 prospects they have is Addison Reed, who is now in the majors.
Who is the best of a very weak farm system, possibly the weakest in the majors?
Perhaps the best is Nestor Molina, who was dominant for Toronto's farm system in 2011. Chicago got him in a trade this past offseason, and so far he's been just okay at Double-A Birmingham. His strikeout/walk ratio is still top-notch, and that will help propel him, even if he is over a year away.
Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor
Like the White Sox, the Indians have a weak farm system, especially after the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. Unlike the White Sox, they have a clear top guy in Francisco Lindor.
The shortstop is putting up nice numbers so far in Class A-Lake County, but while he is the shortstop of the future, he is only 18, and the Indians are set there with Asdrubal Cabrera.
As a result, Lindor's debut is one of the latest of any current top prospect, though it could be moved up depending how he does next year.
Detroit Tigers: Nick Castellanos
Top pitching prospect Jacob Turner got so much buzz this past offseason that the Tigers' top position prospect, third baseman Nick Castellanos, is perhaps under the radar.
He just got promoted to Double-A after hitting .405 in Class A-Advanced Lakeland, and if he hits that well there, then he could be on track for a debut sooner rather than later. He could also become a valuable trade piece since they already have Miguel Cabrera at third.
ETA: May 2013
Kansas City Royals: Wil Myers
While Baseball America has Mike Montgomery as the Royals' top prospect, he seems to have plateaued, and Bubba Starling has yet to play a minor league game. Next in line is outfielder Wil Myers.
Myers hit .343 in Double-A this year and got promoted to Triple-A Omaha, where he's hitting .325 in 22 games. There's no rush to promote him since the Royals are decent at outfielder, but he does have the ability to potentially steal a lineup spot come Opening Day.
ETA: April 2013
Minnesota Twins: Miguel Sano
The Minnesota Twins need a lot of help both in their lineup and pitching staff right now, but if they want their top prospect in third baseman Miguel Sano, they will be waiting a while.
Sano is doing well with Class A-Beloit, hitting .249 with 14 HR in 60 games, but at 19 he's a guy who will improve gradually. While I could see the Twins rushing him (Danny Valencia is just getting worse), he's likely going to be a late arrival.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jean Segura
The Angels already have their top prospect in the majors in Mike Trout, and so far he's been great. Next in line is second baseman/shortstop Jean Segura.
Segura is showing off his speed in Double-A Arkansas with 22 stolen bases, and he's keeping his average up as well. Some seasoning in Triple-A in 2013 and he'll be ready to go, especially if Erick Aybar can't bounce back to 2011 form.
ETA: July 2013
Oakland Athletics: A.J. Cole
Of the top three pitching prospects the Oakland Athletics have, which of course have come through trades, two have debuted and the third is a rarity on the list, as he was actually demoted.
A.J. Cole played well in Class A in 2011, and started at Class A-Advanced Stockton. He was flat-out bad, going 0-7 in eight starts, but is pitching much better a level down in Burlington. He clearly needs some seasoning and wont be ready as fast as the A's might like.
Seattle Mariners: Taijuan Walker
The Seattle Mariners have a nice batch of pitching prospects on top of what they already have in the majors, and the best of the bunch is Taijuan Walker.
Walker is in Double-A Jackson, pitching well despite only being 19. In 2013 he'll likely be in Triple-A, and he should have little trouble being a September call-up and ready to be a part of the rotation in 2014.
ETA: September 2013
Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar
Jurickson Profar has quickly elevated himself into being not only the Rangers' top prospect, but one of the top in baseball period. He has been great everywhere he's gone so far.
The 19-year-old is hitting well at Double-A Frisco, and with one more year of conditioning under his belt, he could easily be an Opening Day debut player.
ETA: April 2014
Atlanta Braves: Sean Gilmartin
The Braves have a lot of top pitching prospects, but Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino all have some major league experience already.
This leaves 2011 first-round pick Sean Gilmartin. He's holding his own in Double-A Mississippi, and should be able to face Triple-A hitters soon enough. Given the logjam with pitchers already, I see Gilmartin waiting until 2014 unless the Braves want to give him a cup of coffee mid-2013.
Miami Marlins: Christian Yelich
The Miami Marlins bet it all on their major league talent, so they don't have much in the farm system. They do, however, have outfielder Christian Yelich.
Currently at Class A-Advanced Jupiter, Yelich is showcasing well-rounded talent, and since the Marlins don't need outfielders just yet, he has time to grow. It'll be a couple years of seasoning, but as long as he continues putting up the numbers he'll be promoted.
New York Mets: Zack Wheeler
I bounced back and forth between Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey, with the latter poised to make his debut this year (if he doesn't I'll be floored). Wheeler, however, seems to be the top guy by just a bit.
Wheeler has been dominant in Double-A Binghamton, going 6-2 with a 1.66 ERA in 10 starts. He should move to Triple-A sooner rather than later. Once an opening pops up in 2013, he'll be ready, though Matt Harvey will likely get first crack.
ETA: May 2013
Philadelphia Phillies: Trevor May
The Philadelphia Phillies need hitters rather than pitchers, but when it comes to the top prospect, that player is yet another pitcher, Trevor May.
May was insane last year, throwing 208 strikeouts in 151 innings. This year in Double-A Reading, he's just been okay, but he's at least kept his strikeouts up. Given how they are on starters they won't rush him, and they don't need to.
Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon
The Nationals have an interesting prospect line. Obviously Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg were top MLB prospects, and now that Harper has debuted, the next prospect has played two games so far.
Yes, third baseman Anthony Rendon has two games under his belt in Class A-Advanced Potomac. That's due to a broken ankle, and that unfortunately turns him into someone who won't see the majors all that quickly.
ETA: Late 2014
Chicago Cubs: Brett Jackson
The Chicago Cubs have a couple top-tier prospects that I'm surprised have not gotten playing time with them yet. The top one who has yet to make his debut is center fielder Brett Jackson.
Jackson is playing well at Triple-A Iowa, though maybe not quite as well as last year. His stats aren't mind-numbing, but until Tony Campana starts to struggle he probably won't see the majors, even though the Cubs traded Marlon Byrd to open up center field.
ETA: September 2012
Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton
The Reds' best prospect, Billy Hamilton, will be one of the most exciting players baseball has seen when he finally makes his debut.
The 21-year-old shortstop had 103 stolen bases in 2011 for Class A-Dayton, and this year in Class A-Advanced Bakersfield, he has 69 in 58 games. His speed is insane, and he's hitting very well on top of that. I just hope that when he is promoted Dusty Baker actually lets him play.
ETA: April 2014
Houston Astros: Jonathan Singleton
Jonathan Singleton has been consistent each time he's promoted in the minors, and that consistency has earned hm the spot of being the Astros' top prospect.
The first baseman has shown nice hitting and decent power in Double-A Corpus Christi, hitting around .290 each year. If Carlos Lee is gone after this year, then there's an opening at first that he can fit into next year.
ETA: July 2013
Milwaukee Brewers: Taylor Jungmann
As much as I like Tyler Thornburg as the Brewers' top pitching prospect, consensus on that point is instead on 2011 first-round pick Taylor Jungmann.
Jungmann has so far pitched in Class A-Advanced Brevard County in 12 games, and has been good but not great. Once he gets through this year, his 2013 season should show off exactly what type of pitcher he'll be. Until then, he still needs grooming.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole
The A-Advanced Bradenton Marauders have a scary one-two punch. Second overall pick Jameson Taillon has been great with them so far, and first overall pick Gerrit Cole has been even better.
In 11 games at Bradenton, he's 4-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 56 strikeouts. If he keeps it up, he and Taillon both should be able to make the 2014 rotation. If the Pirates' farm system actually churns out major league talent, then their rotation in 2015 is going to be scary.
ETA: Early 2014
St. Louis Cardinals: Shelby Miller
The St. Louis Cardinals already have a nice rotation, but on top of that they have one of the best pitching prospects in the minors in Shelby Miller.
Miller seemed like an obvious promotion heading into 2012, but he's struggled at Triple-A Memphis. The 5.18 ERA in 12 starts isn't a big deal to me, he just needs to shrug it off. As long as he's good next year he'll make his debut soon enough.
ETA: May 2013
Arizona Diamondbacks: Trevor Bauer
Of all the prospects on this list, the one that I think is the most major league ready, aside from possibly Travis D'Arnaud of the Blue Jays, is pitcher Trevor Bauer.
Bauer was dominant in Double-A and has been in Triple-A so far, keeping his strikeouts well over one an inning and his ERA under 2.00. If he's not a September call-up or an earlier call-up, I'll be stunned, since he's ready to go.
ETA: August 2012
Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado
It's practically expected to have a top Rockies prospect be a guy who can hit for a high average and power, and third baseman Nolan Arenado can do exactly that.
In AA Tulsa, he's hitting .291, but his power wasn't where it was last year, when he had 122 RBI. His fielding is much improved though, which helps him look that much better as someone to promote.
ETA: July 2013
Los Angeles Dodgers: Zach Lee
While many of the Dodgers' top prospects are now in the majors, they still have some good ones developing, the best of which is pitcher Zach Lee.
Lee is now in Class A-Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, where he's pitching decently; his ERA is a bit high, but his walk and strikeout numbers are great. He's only 20, so he has time to develop, and I don't see the Dodgers rushing him.
ETA: Late 2014
San Diego Padres: Rymer Liriano
Yasmani Grandal made this choice tougher by debuting last week, meaning he's not on here even if he barely saw the field at all before being re-demoted.
After him and Yonder Alonso, the next best prospect is one who has been on the Padres since he began playing professionally, Rymer Liriano.
Liriano is currently in Class A-Advanced Lake Elsinore, and is hitting .303. Last year he had 69 stolen bases, so the outfielder has speed to go with his hitting. As much as the Padres would like someone like him on the roster now, it will be a little while before that's the case.
San Francisco Giants: Gary Brown
The San Francisco Giants didn't seem to have much after trading Zack Wheeler to the Mets, but after the 2011 season Gary Brown had, suddenly the Giants had a new top prospect.
The center fielder had 13 triples, 53 stolen bases, 14 home runs, and hit .336 last year. This year in Double-A Richmond, he seems to have plateaued. Ideally he was not a one-season wonder, but it looks like he will need a push, and will be a late-2013 promotion at best now.
ETA: September 2013