5 Scorching MLB Prospects Who Deserve Midseason Promotions
This season already has featured promotions for some of baseball’s top prospects, as we’ve seen George Springer, Gregory Polanco, Marcus Stroman and Andrew Heaney receive call-ups to the major leagues, while big names such as Kris Bryant, Mookie Betts and Joey Gallo have moved up to higher minor league levels.
However, while the aforementioned players already have received promotions, there are even more prospects putting up impressive numbers who are long overdue for the challenge of a new level.
Here are five scorching prospects who deserve midseason promotions.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals
Lucas Giolito, 19, possesses arguably the highest ceiling among all pitching prospects, with a legitimate chance to be a No. 1 starter at maturity. Simply put, he could be the real deal once fully developed.
The Nationals have managed Giolito’s workload this season as he continues to work back from Tommy John surgery in late 2012, but it hasn’t prevented the right-hander from absolutely dominating hitters in the South Atlantic League.
Giolito has posted a 1.89 ERA and 37-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in seven starts since the beginning of May while also holding opposing batters to a .175 average and .538 OPS in 33.1 innings during that span. Giolito turned in his best outing of the season Thursday, allowing three hits in six scoreless innings while striking out nine batters against Low-A Lexington.
The Nationals are due to promote the right-hander to High-A Potomac, and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a taste of Double-A before the season is over.
Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Corey Seager has nothing left to prove this season at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, as the 20-year-old has shown mastery of the California League by leading the circuit with a 1.010 OPS, 29 doubles and 173 total bases. He also has 14 home runs and 54 RBI.
In 48 games since the beginning of May, Seager owns a robust .372/.429/.673 batting line to go along with 12 home runs, 23 doubles and 41 RBI. Furthermore, the left-handed batter has excelled against same-side pitching this season with a 1.166 OPS and 15 extra-base hits in 66 at-bats.
If the Dodgers stick to their usual developmental timeline for top position prospects, Seager may not receive his overdue promotion to Double-A Chattanooga until the season’s final months—similar to how he was moved from Low- to High-A last year in early August.
Mookie Betts, 2B/CF, Boston Red Sox
Mookie Betts was one of the top breakout prospects in the minor leagues last year, as the then-20-year-old posted a .923 OPS with 55 extra-base hits, 38 stolen bases and more walks (81) than strikeouts (57) in 127 games between both Class-A levels. That said, I don’t think anyone expected him to go out and do what he’s done this season.
Beginning the year at Double-A Portland, Betts, now 21, batted .355/.443/.551 with 27 extra-base hits, 56 runs, 22 steals and a 35-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54 games before receiving a well-deserved promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket—his fourth full-season level in the last two years.
Since arriving at the more advanced level, Betts has reached base safely in all 22 games while batting .330/.422/.455 with six extra-base hits and a 13-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
More significantly, Betts now has played center field in 26 of his 38 games between both levels, 15 of which have come since his promotion to Pawtucket.
Betts’ increased playing time in the outfield suggests the Red Sox could be considering the 21-year-old as an option at the position this season, especially after Shane Victorino recently suffered a setback in his rehab. Either way, the kid has little left to prove in the minor leagues, and I think he’ll debut sooner than expected this season.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Tyler Glasnow shot up the prospect rankings last year in his full-season debut with Low-A West Virginia, as the 6’7” right-hander led the South Atlantic League in ERA (2.18), opponents’ batting average (.142), strikeouts (164) and K/9 (13.26) while logging 111.1 innings.
After a relatively slow start to his season at High-A Bradenton, Glasnow has been virtually untouchable over his last six starts with a 4-0 record, 0.28 ERA, .096 opponents’ batting average (10 total hits) and 43-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 32.2 innings.
His secondary arsenal and overall control require work, and he needs to start working deeper into games, but repeatedly dominating Florida State League hitters using primarily his upper-90s fastball is not making him any better.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Jose Berrios has nothing left to prove in the Florida State League, as the 20-year-old has posted an 8-2 record, 2.05 ERA and 98-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 83.1 innings for High-A Fort Myers. He’s allowed only three home runs during that span while holding opposing hitters to a .215 average.
The Twins likely have their reasons for keeping Berrios at the level for as long as they have; the organization is known for slowly developing its better pitching prospects, tending to make sure the player receives the right amount of experience before offering a promotion.
However, Berrios potentially is a special talent who could jump on the fast track to the major leagues in 2015, especially if he enjoys success at Double-A New Britain this season.