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Top 20 MLB Prospects Who'll Make Their Debuts in 2013

Joel ReuterFeatured Columnist IVOctober 15, 2016

Top 20 MLB Prospects Who'll Make Their Debuts in 2013

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    The 2012 MLB season has seen an abundance of impressive debuts, headlined by the surprisingly early promotion of 19-year-old Bryce Harper by the Nationals.

    Other top prospects like Manny Machado, Jurickson Profar, Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Shelby Miller and Matt Harvey among others have also made their big league debuts, as they've begun a promising future in the majors.

    However, there are still a number of top prospects who are on the cusp of the big leagues that have yet to make their big league debuts. So here's a look at the top 20 prospects poised to get their first taste of major league action in 2012.

3B Matt Davidson, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    2012 Stats

    .261/.367/.469, 127 H, 23 HR, 76 RBI, 81 R at Double-A

     

    Overview

    A first-round pick back in 2009, Davidson has moved slowly through the Diamondbacks farm system as he has flashed solid power and good on-base skills every step of the way.

    After a 20 HR, 106 RBI season at High Single-A last year, he responded with similar numbers in his first taste of Double-A action with a 23 HR, 76 RBI year.

    He took a big step back defensively this season (28 errors), and the team acquired Chris Johnson from the Astros. Johnson is under team control through 2016, so his future as the team's everyday third baseman is cloudy to say the least.

    However, he could be very well be traded or moved to another position as he has the bat to play every day in the majors and one way or another he'll likely debut in 2013.

     

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RHP Jarred Cosart, Houston Astros

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    2012 Stats

    20 GS, 6-7, 3.30 ERA, 92 Ks, 114.2 IP at Double-A and Triple-A

     

    Overview

    The key prospect the Astros acquired in their 2010 deadline deal with the Phillies for ace Roy Oswalt, Cosart was taken by the Phillies back in 2008 as a 38th-round pick out of high school.

    He's worked his way through the prospect ranks, and he had his best season as a pro this past year, splitting the season between Double-A and Triple-A as a 22-year-old.

    The rebuilding Astros rotation is chock full of openings, as only Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles figure to be sure things for 2013; Cosart will be given every opportunity to make his big league debut right out of camp this coming season.

     

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CF Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants

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    2012 Stats

    .279/.347/.385, 150 H, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 73 R, 33 SB at Double-A

     

    Overview

    A first-round pick in 2010 out of Cal State Fullerton, Brown turned in a great first pro season in 2011 as he hit .336/.407/.519, 14 HR, 80 RBI, 115 R, 53 SB in a full season at High Single-A.

    That vaulted him to No. 38 on the Baseball America preseason Top 100 this year, and while he failed to match his 2011 performance he still put up solid numbers in Double-A.

    The Giants considered bringing him up when Melky Cabrera was lost to suspension, but instead held off on having the 23-year-old make his debut. The team will no doubt go after a number of free agents to play left field, but they could also turn the position over to Brown.

     

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SS Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners

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    2012 Stats

    .278/.347/.453, 131 H, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 64 R, 12 SB at Double-A and Triple-A

     

    Overview

    Franklin announced himself as a top prospect with a monster 2010 season in Single-A, as he hit .283 BA, 23 HR, 65 RBI, 25 SB as a 19-year-old.

    That jumped up the expectations, but he failed to respond as injuries and ineffectiveness resulted in a disappointing 2011 season that dropped him out of Baseball America's Top 100 for the 2012 season.

    While his numbers did not return to their 2010 levels, he proved healthy this season and held his own as a 21-year-old in the high minors. Because Brendan Ryan is the team's current starting shortstop, Franklin should have a solid chance of locking down the starting job this coming spring, as the team hopes he can team with Dustin Ackley up the middle for years.

     

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3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

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    2012 Stats

    .285/.337/.428, 147 H, 12 HR, 56 RBI, 55 R at Double-A

     

    Overview

    Arenado entered the season as the third-ranked third base prospect according to Baseball America, behind just Miguel Sano (Twins) and Anthony Rendon (Nationals), and ranked No. 42 overall.

    That came after a fantastic season at High Single-A in 2011 when he hit .298 BA, 20 HR, 122 RBI as a 20-year-old.

    He struggled a bit with the move to Double-A, but he remains the Rockies' third baseman of the future. With no clear option at third base moving forward,the future could very well be 2013. If he gets off to a hot start in the minors next season, expect to see him called up quickly.

     

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SP James Paxton, Seattle Mariners

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    2012 Stats

    21 GS, 9-4, 3.05 ERA, 110 Ks, 106.1 IP at Double-A

     

    Overview

    He's taken a back seat to fellow Mariners pitching prospects Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker as far as hype is concerned, but Paxton is every bit a top prospect and should team with those two and Felix Hernandez to give the Mariners a formidable rotation for the next decade.

    At 23, and with 42 minor league starts under his belt, Paxton has the others bested in experience and as a result could be the first of the trio to reach the majors and secure himself a rotation spot.

    Once they all arrive, he'll likely wind up being the fourth starter, as he does not have the ceiling of the others, but he could very well be the best fourth starter in baseball and would likely be a No. 2 starter elsewhere.

     

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C Travis D'Arnaud, Toronto Blue Jays

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    2012 Stats

    .333/.380/.595, 93 H, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 45 R at Triple-A

     

    Overview

    The top catching prospect in the minors following the call-up of Devin Mesoraco by the Reds, D'Arnaud was well on his way to making his big league debut this season before he went down with a season-ending PCL injury.

    In 67 games at Triple-A prior to the injury, the 23-year-old racked up 16 HR and 52 RBI as he ranked among the best producers in all of minor league baseball.

    The Blue Jays already have a solid young catcher in J.P. Arencibia, but D'Arnaud has far greater upside and if he is deemed ready the Blue Jays won't hesitate to trade or re-position Arencibia to accommodate him.

     

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1B Jonathan Singleton, Houston Astros

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    2012 Stats

    .284/.396/.497, 131 H, 21 HR, 79 RBI, 94 R at Double-A

     

    Overview

    Acquired from the Phillies at the deadline last season in the deal that sent All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence out of Houston, Singleton ranks as one of the best power prospects in all of baseball.

    After spending time in the outfield with the Phillies, Singleton was able to move back to his natural first base position with Ryan Howard no longer blocking his path.

    Still just 20, he turned in the best season of his short pro career this year in a full season at Double-A, and since the Astros do not have a clear-cut starter at first base for 2013 (sorry Brett Wallace), he could get a crack this spring. Either way, expect him up for good at some point in 2013.

     

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2B Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals

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    2012 Stats

    .287/.348/.405, 150 H, 9 HR, 52 RBI, 79 R, 21 SB at Double-A

     

    Overview

    Wong signed quickly after being taken 22nd overall in the 2011 draft; he managed to play 47 games at Single-A for the Cardinals and hit ..335/.401/.510, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 39 RBI over 194 at-bats.

    He spent the entire season this year at Double-A, and while he did not maintain the torrid pace he was on in 2011 he still put up plus offensive numbers for the position and continued on the fast track to St. Louis.

    It won't take much this coming spring for Wong to win the job over incumbents Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso, and he could wind up as the team's leadoff hitter as they lack a true table-setter.

     

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CF Jackie Bradley, Boston Red Sox

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    2012 Stats

    .315/.430/.482, 146 H, 9 HR, 63 RBI, 90 R, 24 SB at High Single-A and Double-A

     

    Overview

    Perhaps the top college position player entering the 2011 season, Bradley missed most of his final season at South Carolina after breaking his wrist and as a result slipped to the Red Sox at 40th overall in that year's draft.

    After playing just 10 games after signing, he put to rest any concerns that his wrist was still an issue with a terrific first full pro season this year.

    With Jacoby Ellsbury set to hit free agency at the end of next season, Bradley could be the team's center fielder of the future, and if the Red Sox decide to shop Ellsbury this winter he could get a look this spring.

     

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SS Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds

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    2012 Stats

    .311/.410/.420, 159 H, 2 HR, 45 RBI, 112 R, 155 SB at High Single-A and Double-A

     

    Overview

    The most prolific base-stealer in minor league baseball history, Hamilton followed up a 103-steal season in 2011 by breaking the single-season record with a ridiculous 155 steals in an even more ridiculous 192 attempts.

    He's taken steps towards being more then just a speed threat this season as well, as he improved his slash line from .278/.340/.360 in 2011 to .311/.410/.420 this season. He also piled up 215 total bases on the strength of 22 doubles and 14 triples.

    It's unclear where he fits into the team's future plans, with Brandon Phillips locked in at second base and the team unlikely to give up on rookie Zack Cozart so quickly. They'll have to find a spot for him soon though, as he's exactly the table-setter their offense has been lacking.

     

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RHP Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

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    2012 Stats

    25 GS, 12-8, 3.26 ERA, 148 Ks, 149 IP at Double-A and Triple-A

     

    Overview

    Acquired from the Giants for Carlos Beltran at the deadline in 2011, the Giants have no doubt second-guessed that move at least a few times since as Beltran failed to lead them to the postseason and Wheeler is now among the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.

    Mets fans got a chance to see one of the team's two future aces this season in Matt Harvey, and Wheeler should join him next year.

    Expect those two to anchor the team's staff for the next decade; it will be interesting to see who winds up emerging as the staff ace among the two.

     

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C Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners

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    2012 Stats

    .360/.447/.689, 58 H, 13 HR, 43 RBI, 35 R at Low Single-A and Double-A

     

    Overview

    The third overall pick in this year's draft after a fantastic career at the University of Florida, Zunino signed quickly and managed to get 44 minor league games under his belt. That included 15 games at the Double-A level where he hit .333 BA, 3 HR, 8 RBI in 51 at-bats.

    Catcher is always a thin position, and there are not many true franchise catchers out there, but Zunino certainly fits the bill and should be there to help usher in the Mariners' impressive crop of young starting pitchers.

    John Jaso has been the Mariners' best hitter this season, but Zunino should be able to give him a serious run for his position this spring. Once he does reach the majors, Zunino could make a Buster Posey-like impact right off the bat.

     

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2B/3B Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres

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    2012 Stats

    .311/.373/.547, 155 H, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 80 R at Double-A and Triple-A

     

    Overview

    Gyorko has done nothing but hit since the Padres took him in the second round of the 2010 draft, as he has put together a .319/.385/.529, 62 HR, 255 RBI line in two-and-a-half minor league seasons.

    Last year, he led all of minor league baseball with 192 hits to go along with 25 HR and 114 RBI, and he posted similarly impressive numbers this season between Double-A and Triple-A.

    He was perhaps the biggest shock of any player not to get a September call-up, but he should have every chance to win the starting second base job next spring after shifting from the hot corner this past season to expedite his big league arrival.

     

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RHP Jake Odorizzi, Kansas City Royals

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    2012 Stats

    25 GS, 15-5, 3.03 ERA, 135 Ks, 145.1 IP at Double-A and Triple-A

     

    Overview

    Acquired in the Zack Greinke deal prior to the 2011 season, Odorizzi has quickly emerged as one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball with back-to-back impressive minor league seasons.

    The Royals have a wealth of young positional talent, but their rotation continues to be a problem area as they attempt to return to contention with a core of homegrown talent.

    The 22-year-old right-hander went 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 18 Triple-A starts, and he appears to have nothing left to gain from time in the minors. Expect him to win a rotation spot this coming spring and to quickly emerge as the best starter the team has.

     

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RF/3B Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers

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    2012 Stats

    .320/.365/.451, 172 H, 10 HR, 57 RBI, 72 R at High Single-A and Double-A

     

    Overview

    The MVP of this season's Futures Game, Castellanos opened the season at High Single-A and absolutely dominated the league to the tune of a .405 BA, 3 HR, 32 RBI, 37 R line through 55 games before being called up.

    He held his own as a 20-year-old in Double-A, hitting .264 BA, 7 HR, 25 RBI, and while he will likely need more seasoning in the minors before earning a call-up he could very well see that call-up prior to rosters expanding next September.

    The team moved him from third base to the outfield with Miguel Cabrera now blocking his natural position, and that shows the type of impact the team expects him to make with the bat.

     

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RHP Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    2012 Stats

    26 GS, 9-7, 2.80 ERA, 136 Ks, 132 IP at High Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A

     

    Overview

    The No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, Cole has perhaps the best raw stuff of any pitching prospect in baseball, and that was enough for the Pirates to select him over some potentially safer options in the draft.

    He opened his pro career at High Single-A and went 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 9.3 K/9 over 13 starts before earning a promotion to Double-A where he enjoyed similar success.

    After ending the season with a Triple-A start, Cole will no doubt get a shot at cracking the rotation this coming spring, and if he wins a spot he could emerge as the ace of the Pirates staff as early as next season.

     

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LHP Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners

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    2012 Stats

    25 GS, 9-7, 3.05 ERA, 136 Ks, 124 IP at Double-A and Triple-A

     

    Overview

    After a terrific career at the University of Virginia, Hultzen was taken with the second overall pick in the 2011 draft and was viewed by most to be the most polished and big league-ready pitcher of the draft class.

    He opened his pro career in Double-A, and proved to be every bit the polished prospect the Mariners hoped he was as he went 8-3 with a 1.19 ERA in 13 Double-A starts before being promoted.

    He may not have the same ceiling as prospects like Gerrit Cole and Dylan Bundy, but he should be a rock-solid No. 2 starter or perhaps No. 3 in a good Mariners rotation.

     

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RHP Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles

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    2012 Stats

    23 GS, 9-3, 2.08 ERA, 119 Ks, 103.2 IP at Single-A, High Single-A and Double-A

     

    Overview

    The fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bundy was phenomenal in his first pro season as he didn't allow a run in eight starts at Single-A before earning a pair of call-ups and ending the season at the Double-A level all before his 20th birthday.

    With a blazing fastball that reaches the high-90s, a big league-ready curveball and a solid cut fastball, he has the stuff to be a frontline starter for years to come and one of the best pitchers in the game.

    The Orioles will no doubt be careful with their young ace, but he has a great chance to pitch himself into a rotation spot at some point next season and if nothing else should earn a September call-up.

     

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RF Wil Myers, Kansas City Royals

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    2012 Stats

    .314/.387/.600, 164 H, 37 HR, 109 RBI, 98 R at Double-A and Triple-A

     

    Overview

    Myers, the 2012 Minor League Player of the Year according to Baseball America, turned in a phenomenal season playing in the high minors at the age of 21.

    All that kept from being promoted this season was a crowded Royals outfield and the fact that he was not on the team's 40-man roster. He has a real chance at winning a starting job out of spring training next season.

    If he does, expect him to be the AL Rookie of the Year front-runner, as he could quickly turn into a star at the big league level.

     

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