2013 Call-Up Odds for MLB's Top 25 Prospects

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterAugust 8, 2013

2013 Call-Up Odds for MLB's Top 25 Prospects

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    While there has already been a large influx of prospects promoted to the major leagues this season, there are even more set to arrive when the active rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on September 1.

    Last year’s wave of September call-ups marked the arrival of some of baseball’s top rookies, including Shelby Miller and Tony Cingrani.

    Although it’s still hard to say which prospects, if any, will be promoted to The Show this September, there’s certainly no shortage of intriguing candidates, with Xander Bogaerts, Nick Castellanos and Archie Bradley in the mix.

    Here’s a look at the call-up odds for Prospect Pipeline’s top 25 prospects.


    *Dylan Bundy (injury), Taylor Guerrieri (injury) and Christian Yelich (promotion) have been omitted from the rankings.

25. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros

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    2013 Stats (High-A/Double-A/Triple-A): .237/.348/.430, 23 XBH (10 HR), 85/41 K/BB (67 G)

    Coming off of a breakout campaign in which he posted an .893 OPS as a 20-year-old in Double-A, Jonathan Singleton began the 2013 season by serving a 50-game suspension following a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Upon his return to the field, the 21-year-old first baseman made a pair of stops at Low-A Quad Cities and Double-A Corpus Christi before a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

    Yet to find his groove at the plate, Singleton is batting only .225/.330/.361 with 13 extra-base hits (five home runs) and a 64/28 K/BB ratio through his first 50 games. If he can right the ship, so to speak, it’s a possibility that he’d be among the Astros' September call-ups.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 50%

24. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals

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    2013 Stats: 106.1 IP, 4.40 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .228 BAA, 140/36 K/BB (21 GS)

    Expected to move quickly in his first full professional season, Zimmer owned a 6.01 ERA at the end of June. Even though he figured things out shortly thereafter and is now thriving at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, it was still an unexpectedly rough start for the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 draft.

    However, the right-hander pitched better than his ugly ERA—which was also inflated due to the combination of a .323 BABIP, 1.08 HR/9 rate and 59.6 percent left on-base percentage—at High-A Wilmington suggests, posting a 3.12 FIP (5.02 ERA) with a 113/31 K/BB ratio in 89.2 innings.  

    Zimmer is one of the five best arms in the Royals’ system, no doubt, and I would hope they’d consider using him if the need arises. But after undergoing a procedure to have bone chips removed from his right elbow late last summer and logging 106.1 innings this season across two levels, a call-up in 2013 seems unlikely.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 20%

23. Travis D'Arnaud, C, New York Mets

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    2013 Stats (Rookie/Double-A/Triple-A): .265/.374/.482, 13 XBH, 19/15 K/BB (24 G)

    This one is kind of easy considering the Mets are already considering promoting Travis d'Arnaud before their double-header next Tuesday with John Buck expected to take a paternity leave.

    It’s been another year lost to injury for the 24-year-old catcher, who was acquired by the Mets in the offseason deal that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto. D’Arnaud suffered a foot fracture April 17 during a game with Triple-A Las Vegas and didn’t return to action until July 24. And after a six-game rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League, he’s started behind the plate in all five games with Double-A Binghamton.

    As long as he’s healthy, there’s no reason for the Mets not to get him experience in the major leagues this season. He’s already on the team’s 40-man roster, so creating a roster spot is at least manageable. More importantly, the Mets need him to be the everyday catcher in 2014.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 70%

22. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

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    2013 Stats (High-A): 71.2 IP, 3.64 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .193 BAA, 62/34 K/BB (19 G/17 GS)

    Over his first two professional seasons, Aaron Sanchez logged only 79.1 innings across numerous complex and rookie levels. You see, much like the Pirates and Rays, the Blue Jays are very protective of their pitching prospects and keep them on a short leash during their time in the low minors.

    Sanchez enjoyed a breakout full-season debut in 2012, registering a 2.49 ERA and 97/51 K/BB ratio in 90.1 innings for Low-A Lansing. Promoted to High-A Dunedin for the 2013 season, the 21-year-old has pitched well but has struggled with many of the same issues that plagued him last year.

    The right-hander endured a “dead arm” period that limited him to only 46 innings since the beginning of May. And it looks as though he may miss more time, as Sanchez left his start on Wednesday after facing only three batters due to blisters. I’ll bet my baseball card collection that he stays at Dunedin for the remainder of the season.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%

21. Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

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    2013 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 62.2 IP, 1.87 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .219 BAA, 54/23 K/BB (13 GS)

    2013 Stats (MLB): 11.1 IP, 5.56 ERA, 11/4 K/BB (10 G)

    It’s been a busy season for Carlos Martinez. After opening the year in the Double-A starting rotation, the 21-year-old was promoted to the major leagues to shore up a depleted Cardinals bullpen. However, by the end of May, he was back in the minors continuing his development as a starter in the Triple-A Memphis starting rotation.

    The right-hander made his second trip to The Show in mid-July, once again serving as a reliever. But after only three appearances over the next two weeks, Martinez was shipped back to Triple-A and inserted into the rotation.

    Well, the organization’s perseverance in developing him as a starter is about to pay off. The Cardinals will call up Martinez to start Thursday’s game after the scheduled starter, veteran Jake Westbrook, was used to eat innings on Wednesday night following Shelby Miller’s first-inning departure due to injury.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 100%

20. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros

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    2013 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): .305/.410/.596, 57 XBH (29 HR), 37 SB, 139/66 K/BB (111 G)

    Coming off of a monster full-season debut in which he posted a .910 OPS with 24 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 127 games across two levels, many expected George Springer to regress in 2013. However, that’s been anything but the case, as the 23-year-old has significantly improved his prospect stock with a strong at Double- and Triple-A.

    Currently one home run shy of a 30-30 season—he has 29 home runs and 37 stolen bases—Springer’s athleticism and tools allow him to impact a game in numerous ways. However, it’s the development of his secondary skills that has him on the verge of an everyday job in the Astros’ outfield. More specifically, Springer has improved his walk rate (10.7 percent in 2012, 13.7 percent in 2013) and isolated power while decreasing his fly-ball rate.

    I’ll be the first to admit I would love to see what he could do given a full September in the major leagues. But with the recent success of Brandon Barnes and Robbie Grossman and Springer playing in just his second full minor league season, the Astros have no reason to rush the outfielder. They have a good thing going with him at the forefront of their upcoming prospect wave, and, at this point, there’s no reason to mess it up.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 35%

19. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

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    2013 Stats (Low-A/High-A): 91.2 IP, 2.85 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .216 BAA, 109/21 K/BB (17 GS)

    Like the aforementioned Aaron Sanchez, Robert Stephenson is a young, high-ceiling right-hander who has been eased through the low minors. With a projectable 6’2”, 190-pound frame and a fastball that touches triple digits, the 20-year-old has the makings of a top-tier starting pitcher at the highest level.

    However, despite his overwhelming success to begin his full-season debut with Low-A Dayton, as well as his recent promotion to High-A Bakersfield, Stephenson is still roughly two years away from the major leagues. Plus, having already surpassed his innings total from the 2012 season (65 IP), the right-hander may be shut down before the end of the month.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%

18. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres

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    2013 Stats (High-A/Double-A): .262/.337/.407, 27 XBH (22 2B), 5 SB, 49/24 K/BB (71 G)

    Regarded as the top defensive catcher in the minor leagues—yes, he’s truly that gifted—Austin Hedges has the ability to do it all behind the plate. And after showing better-than-expected offensive potential last year during his full-season debut, the 20-year-old now ranks as baseball’s best catching prospect.

    While Hedges hasn’t shown the over-the-fence pop this season that many expected, he’s had a solid overall campaign in which he’s tightened his strike zone judgment and improved his walk rate. But considering he has only five games of Double-A experience following a recent promotion, there’s no chance that he’ll be promoted to the major leagues this season.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%

17. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

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    2013 Stats (High-A/Double-A): 104.2 IP, 2.67 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .240 BAA, 113/25 K/BB (20 GS)

    Acquired from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey deal, Noah Syndergaard has taken off during his first year in the Mets' system. This season, the 20-year-old has continued his evolution from a precocious thrower to future frontline starting pitcher. After a dominant first half with High-A St. Lucie, the right-hander has been, well, dominant following a midseason promotion to Double-A Binghamton.

    Syndergaard is currently on pace to join the Mets’ rotation at some point next season, and if all goes as planned, could debut around the same time Zach Wheeler did in mid-June.

    For what it’s worth, if the team was in the playoff hunt this season, we may be discussing Syndergaard’s future in a different context.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%

16. Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

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    2013 Stats (Triple-A): 85 IP, 2.65 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .210 BAA, 73/19 K/BB (15 GS)

    2013 Stats (MLB): 17.2 IP, 4.58 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .250 BAA, 14/4 K/BB (3 GS)

    After breezing through three minor league levels last summer and then nearly breaking camp as part of the Cardinals’ starting rotation, it was a foregone conclusion that Michael Wacha would contribute in the major leagues in 2013.

    The 22-year-old spent the first two months of the season at Triple-A Memphis before joining the team’s big league rotation in late May for three starts. But Wacha’s stay in The Show was short-lived, as he returned to the minors in June so as to control his workload. Considering that the organization took such a preventative measure, it’s safe to assume we’ll see the right-hander back in the major leagues in September, if not earlier.  


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 90%

15. Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros

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    2013 Stats (Short Season/Low-A): 24.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .221 BAA, 22/6 K/BB (7 GS)

    The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Appel has enjoyed a solid start to his professional career after signing faster than expected. Following a pair of starts for Short-Season Tri-City in the New York-Penn League, the 22-year-old was promoted to Low-A Quad Cities, where he joined last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, shortstop Carlos Correa.

    The Astros are going to carefully manage Appel’s workload over the rest of the season, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they give him a few starts at Double-A, where he would ideally open the 2014 season. As is the case with their other top prospects, the organization has no need to disrupt the development of its future stars.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%

14. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs

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    2013 Stats (Low-A): .239/.376/.466, 82 H, 24 XBH (17 2B), 30/17 K/BB (61 G)

    The start of Albert Almora's highly anticipated full-season debut at Low-A Kane County was delayed after he suffered a broken hamate bone that required surgery. However, since returning to the field in late May, the 19-year-old outfielder has been one of the top hitters in the Midwest League, posting an .842 OPS with 82 hits in 61 games.

    Even though Almora has the potential to reach the major leagues faster than most players prep players from the 2012 draft class, he’s still roughly two years away from assuming a spot in the Cubs outfield.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%

13. Nick Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers

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    2013 Stats (Triple-A): .280/.352/.444, 47 XBH (13 HR), 81/52 K/BB (115 G)

    Having survived the trade deadline for the second straight year, Nick Castellanos appears to be in a position for a late-season call-up.

    The 21-year-old outfielder has made all the necessary adjustments at the plate this year, as he’s improved his plate discipline (more walks, less strikeouts) and showcased more consistent power. While his defense—he moved from third base to the outfield a little over a year ago—is still pretty rough, the hope is that his production will outweigh those shortcomings.

    I think the Tigers will give Castellanos a look in September, even if only as a platoon option against left-handed pitching. Although, it is worth noting that he didn’t help his cause by posting a .557 OPS and 21/7 K/BB ratio in July.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 70%

12. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs

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    2013 Stats (High-A/DoubleA): .274/.337/.557, 59 XBH (28 HR), 84 RBI, 17 SB, 120/32 K/BB (105 G)

    Although I highly doubt it would happen, it sure would be fun to see Javier Baez in the major leagues in September.

    After a sluggish start to his season, the 20-year-old eventually found his rhythm at the plate in June and has been raking since. The Cubs subsequently challenged him with a midseason promotion to Double-A Tennessee—a challenge to which he’s responded to by posting a .945 OPS with 19 extra-base hits in 29 games.

    If he continues to destroy the Southern League, the organization may entertain the idea of a call-up, especially if it believes he’ll contribute in the major leagues next season. Don’t bet on it, though, as Baez’s plate discipline and defense are both raw and not ready for the major leagues.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 35%

11. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    2013 Stats (High-/Double-A): .288/.360/.429, 34 XBH (9 HR), 34 SB, 59/42 K/BB (101 G)

    After a breakout 2012 campaign at Low-A West Virginia, Gregory Polanco has solidified his stock as one of the game’s top position prospects this season with his success at two advanced levels. While he has always been known for his plus speed of defense in center field, the 21-year-old’s bat and secondary skills have emerged in a big way over the last two years.

    Polanco probably could hang in the major leagues if promoted later this season, but it’s extremely doubtful that the Pirates will thrust him into such a role without an injury to Starling Marte or Andrew McCutchen.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 20%

10. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

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    2013 Stats (Low-A): .334/.416/.483, 121 H, 38 XBH (7 HR), 9 SB, 68/45 K/BB (93 G)

    Like many of the other talented young players on this list, Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, is in the midst of his full-season debut. Even though the 18-year-old is having an insanely good year at Low-A Quad Cities, there’s absolutely no chance that he’ll receive a taste of the major leagues this year.

    But if we’re talking about potential September call-ups in 2015, then I definitely think Correa will be in the mix.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%

9. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    2013 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 115.1 IP, 3.75 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .254 BAA, 111/39 K/BB (21 G/20 GS)

    Since beginning his professional career in 2011, Taillon has moved at a level-per-year pace through the Pirates’ system. At this time last season, the 21-year-old received a promotion to Double-A; this year, he was recently promoted to Triple-A. And while he’s yet to truly put everything together on the mound, the right-hander has made enough progress in his development to continue moving up the organizational ladder.

    After logging 142 innings last year—and more including the Eastern League playoffs—he shouldn’t be affected by an innings limit, which also gives legs to the idea of Taillon serving as a September call-up. If the Pirates plan to rest some of their veteran starters down the stretch, he may be the best option.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 35%

8. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics

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    2013 Stats (High-A): .270/.355/.503, 49 XBH (12 HR), 13 SB, 100/42 K/BB (86 G)

    After an outstanding professional debut last summer in which he played at three different levels, Addison Russell has put together an impressive follow-up campaign at High-A Stockton despite a rough start. Like so many of the other teenage phenoms on this list, Russell seemingly is already on the fast track to the major leagues and could potentially receive his first exposure around this time next year.

    For now, the best-case scenario is that the 19-year-old finishes the season at Double-A Midland.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%

7. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    2013 Stats (High-A/Double-A): 124.2 IP, 1.88 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .222 BAA, 133/54 K/BB (21 GS)

    Promoted to Double-A Mobile after five dominant starts in the California League, Archie Bradley didn’t skip a beat despite the jump in competition. In fact, the 20-year-old right-hander has thrived this season in the Southern League, resulting in his ranking as the second-best pitching prospect in the game.

    After throwing 142 innings last year, Bradley is only at 115.1 so far this season and will likely need more work following the conclusion of the minor league season. Therefore, I think he’ll be called up in September, even if only to gain some experience out of the bullpen. If any pitching prospect is worthy of the promotion, it’s Bradley.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 60%

6. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins

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    2013 Stats (High-A/Double-A): .295/.395/.616, 64 XBH (27 HR), 83 RBI, 105/53 K/BB (99 G)

    Known for having the best power in the minor leagues, Miguel Sano took everyone by surprise with his consistency and success in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. The 20-year-old has managed to improve in all aspects of the game this season and is poised to set new career highs in several offensive categories.

    Sano would likely receive consideration as a September call-up if the Twins were battling for a postseason berth, but they’re not. However, I do think he’ll be in the mix for a promotion around this time next year.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 10%

5. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners

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    2013 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 119 IP, 2.80 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, .216 BAA, 131/43 K/BB (21 GS)

    After going through an up-and-down season in 2012 as a 19-year-old in Double-A, Taijuan Walker has taken a noticeable step forward this year in terms of his ability to execute and repeat pitches. The right-hander’s stuff has been as nasty as ever, though it’s a more consistent approach that’s led to his success at both Double-A Jackson and now Triple-A Tacoma.

    Considering that Walker doesn’t turn 21 until August and was recently promoted to Triple-A, the Seattle Mariners won’t benefit by calling him up this season. It’s certainly possible that they allow Walker to get his feet wet in September—after all, they haven’t shied away from tapping into their farm system at other times this year—but what’s the point? He’s young, with plenty of time left to develop, and could use more seasoning in Triple-A.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 40%

4. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

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    2013 Stats (High-A/Double-A): .304/.382/.409, 122 H, 31 XBH (22 2B), 25 SB, 46/49 K/BB (103 G)

    Widely regarded as a the best defensive shortstop in the minor leagues, Lindor was already on the fast track to the major leagues before the emergence of his bat this season. The 19-year-old switch-hitter has showcased advanced plate discipline and a more mature approach, recording more walks (49) than strikeouts (46).

    Even though Lindor’s defense is ready for the major leagues, he’d benefit from at least another three-quarters of a season in the minors.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 20%

3. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

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    2013 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): .294/.390/.484, 118 H, 42 XBH (14 HR), 86/60 K/BB (105 G)

    At this point, the promotion of Xander Bogaerts to the major leagues seems inevitable. After trading Jose Iglesias to the Tigers at the deadline as part of a three-team deal, a door has opened for the 20-year-old shortstop. However, the fact that he recently started multiple Triple-A games at third base suggests that could be his clearest route toward regular playing time.

    Bogaerts has the potential to make an immediate impact in the major leagues, so I’d be surprised if the Red Sox don’t promote him in September, if not sooner.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 85%

2. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

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    2013 Stats (Triple-A): .306/.341/.462, 17 XBH (5 HR), 32 RBI, 22/9 K/BB (24 G)

    It’s been a disappointing season for Oscar Taveras, the purest hitter in the minor leagues. However, it has nothing to do with his performance; rather, the outfielder has battled a nagging ankle injury for most of the year.

    When he suffered the initial injury on May 12, Taveras was batting .317/.346/.480 with four home runs and 20 RBI through 31 games. He remained on the disabled list until early June—probably too early in retrospect—and then looked uncomfortable upon his return. The 21-year-old aggravated his ankle during a game on June 23 and subsequently returned to the disabled list.

    Taveras appeared to be on the road to recovery in mid-July, but after experiencing lingering soreness in his ankle, the organization wisely decided to shut down its top prospect indefinitely.

    As long as he’s healthy and returns to the field over in the upcoming weeks, the Cardinals would benefit from his bat in the lineup in September.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 60%

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

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    2013 Stats (Low-A/High-A): .320/.405/.528, 88 R, 44 XBH (12 HR), 40 SB, 89/59 K/BB (99 G)

    Byron Buxton has taken baseball by storm this season, emerging as the game’s top prospect while posting Mike Trout-like numbers in the low minors. The 19-year-old is a legitimate five-tool talent with the ceiling of an MVP-caliber player—the type of player that reaches the major leagues before his 21st birthday. Sound familiar?

    The kid is a special talent and won’t need much time to develop, but a promotion to the major leagues this season is completely unrealistic.


    Odds of 2013 Call-Up: 0%