Top MLB Prospect Call-Up Radar Report, Week 5
The 2015 season is only a month old, but already a number of notable prospects have received call-ups to the major leagues. Undoubtedly, there are more to come—and soon.
Highly regarded youngsters like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Roberto Osuna and Archie Bradley have been seeing regular action for their respective clubs for quite some time now. Others, like Carlos Rodon and Michael Lorenzen, are still getting their feet wet.
In the past week or so, the Boston Red Sox brought up Blake Swihart, and the same happened for Austin Hedges of the San Diego Padres. With those two up, along with Kevin Plawecki, Andrew Susac and J.T. Realmuto, there's now a handful of top young catchers in the majors.
Beyond that, the Atlanta Braves recalled right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who won his first two starts in the majors since the beginning of May, and the New York Mets called on second baseman Dilson Herrera to help cover the infield while David Wright is out.
Plus, a pair of prospects hit remarkable home runs for their first long balls as big leaguers: Catcher Carlos Perez of the Los Angeles Angels smacked a walk-off in his first-ever game, while Minnesota Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario hit one out in front of family and friends on the very first pitch he saw in The Show.
More young impact talent will join the mix too, particularly with MLB's Super Two date about a month away. Who will be the next to reach the major leagues? In order to predict estimated times of arrival this season, we've classified the prospects on this list using the following scale:
Red: September call-up at best
Orange: Second-half call-up
Yellow: Call-up within a month
Green: Call-up within a week/call-up is imminent
Others on the Cusp
Andrew Heaney, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Raisel Iglesias, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Carlos Sanchez, INF, Chicago White Sox
Matt Reynolds, SS, New York Mets
Jake Barrett, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Boston Red Sox
Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox
Nick Tropeano, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Matt Wisler, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Steven Matz, LHP, New York Mets
Jose Peraza, 2B, Atlanta Braves
Hunter Strickland, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Tim Cooney, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Kendall Graveman, RHP, Oakland Athletics
Jon Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies
Ketel Marte, SS, Seattle Mariners
Joey Wendle, 2B, Oakland Athletics
Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez, RHP, Texas Rangers
Sean Nolin, LHP, Oakland Athletics
Corey Knebel, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Luis Severnio, RHP, New York Yankees
Jacob Lindgren, LHP, New York Yankees
Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros
Peter O'Brien, C/1B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Jake Thompson, RHP, Texas Rangers
Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers
Aaron Nola, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
2015 Stats (Double-A): .286/.353/.527, 18 R, 11 XBH (3 HR), 14 RBI, 7 SB, 19:10 K:BB (102 PA)
When Byron Buxton got off to a sluggish start in April on the heels of a 2014 lost almost entirely to various injuries, including multiple wrist sprains and a concussion, a few whispers began that the consensus top-two prospect entering the year might be (gasp) overrated.
Well, the 21-year-old has quieted those right quick. Since going 9-for-50 (.180) through his first 12 games, the 2012 No. 2 overall pick has a hit in 17 of his past 41 at-bats—good for a .415 average—including eight extra-base knocks, five stolen bases and more walks (six) than whiffs (five) over 10 games.
All of the above said, Buxton did lose a lot of developmental time last year and still has just 24 games above A-ball. A second-half call-up is possible, but he also might not make it to Minnesota until September.
Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
2015 Stats (Double-/Triple-A): .354/.388/.604, 18 R, 13 XBH (5 HR), 19 RBI, 1 SB, 15:6 K:BB (103 PA)
Between veterans Jimmy Rollins and Juan Uribe at shortstop and third base, respectively, Corey Seager doesn't have the clearest of paths to get to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. And yet, he's trying to force the franchise's hand anyway.
The just-turned 21-year-old 2012 first-rounder completed his conquering of Double-A, triple-slashing .375/.407/.675 with seven doubles and five homers in 20 games to begin the season.
Promoted to Triple-A at the outset of May, Seager is now just a step away from making his big league debut, which could come sometime around the All-Star break if he keeps it up. The Dodgers don't need to rush him, but Seager is making it hard to keep him down much longer.
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
2015 Stats (Triple-A): 2-0, 1.66 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 26:8 K:BB (21.2 IP)
It's actually somewhat surprising that Noah Syndergaard, who many thought would play a part in the New York Mets' plans last year, is still on this list and has yet to make it to The Show.
The monstrous, hard-throwing 22-year-old right-hander known as Thor had a semi-disappointing 2014 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, due in no small part to pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and at a home park in Las Vegas that tends to act as a launching pad. Syndergaard did, however, continue to show his big stuff by leading the circuit with 145 strikeouts in 133 innings.
So far, he's showing that the second time around the PCL should be a lot smoother. After two shaky starts to begin the year, Syndergaard shoved it with seven scoreless frames each of the past two times out, allowing just eight baserunners against 19 strikeouts.
The Mets rotation is fully loaded at the moment, but at the first sign of trouble or injury, Syndergaard will be ready to step in.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
2015 Stats (Triple-A): .250/.337/.348, 11 R, 6 XBH (1 HR), 8 RBI, 6 SB, 17:12 K:BB ( PA)
Francisco Lindor's offensive numbers don't jump out at you, but he has been better over his past dozen games (12-for-40, .300 BA), and his stellar defense at a premium up-the-middle position is at least as important, especially to the Cleveland Indians.
Besides, the 21-year-old is on this list as one to watch because there's just not much in his way to Cleveland. Youngster Jose Ramirez has not played well (.498 OPS) while keeping the seat warm for Lindor, leaving shortstop very much in need of a fix—and soon.
Plus, the underachieving Indians need some sort of jump-start to get them out of their early season funk, especially on defense, where they once again rate as one of the sport's very worst. Look for Lindor to make it to the majors around the Super Two date, which usually falls in mid-June, but if things get much worse for Cleveland, we may see him sooner.
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
2015 Stats (Double-A): .398/.468/.735, 22 R, 20 XBH (6 HR), 28 RBI, 13 SB, 20:12 K:BB (111 PA)
At this point, Carlos Correa is merely toying with Double-A, which is why Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow just said the No. 1 overall selection from 2012 is headed to the minors' highest level within the next week or two, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Could a promotion to the majors be far behind? That's a fair question to ask given: A) Correa's ridiculous performance, B) the Astros' hot start putting them in first place in the AL West and C) shortstop being covered by the likes of Jonathan Villar and Marwin Gonzalez after Jed Lowrie tore a ligament in his right thumb, an injury that could keep him out until late July, as Chris Abshire reports for MLB.com.
"There's been some internal discussions about when and if this young man should move," Astros director of player development Quinton McCracken said Wednesday, per George Vondracek of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "Like I said, he's destroying Double-A pitching here and playing sound defensively and letting us know that he might be ready for the next challenge."
Provided Houston continues to remain in contention but needs an upgrade at short, Correa could put himself in position for a call-up at some point in June, as long as he transitions well to Triple-A.
Marco Gonzales, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals
2015 Stats (Triple-A): 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 13:3 K:BB (16.0 IP)
Marco Gonzales has been sidelined since mid-April with a shoulder injury that the St. Louis Cardinals have deemed relatively minor. In fact, the 23-year-old is due back on the rubber for Triple-A Memphis this weekend, according to Kevin Lytle of The Colorodoan.
In the aftermath of losing ace Adam Wainwright for the season to an Achilles tendon tear, the Cardinals are in need of another arm to provide some quality innings. Gonzales, a 2013 first-rounder, has the pedigree and pitchability to do just that—not to mention, he already has thrown more than 30 innings in the majors after making his debut late last June.
As soon as Gonzales shows he's healthy again, the young lefty should get his shot to show what he can do for a few turns in the Cardinals' five-man.
Maikel Franco, 1B/3B, Philadelphia Phillies
2015 Stats (Triple-A): .321/.351/.486, 12 R, 13 XBH (2 HR), 13 RBI, 2 SB, 23:5 K:BB (114 PA)
Having gotten a taste of the big leagues last September, Maikel Franco has earned another opportunity to show the Philadelphia Phillies what he can do.
Although his MLB introduction didn't go all that well—Franco batted just .179 (10-for-56) with a 13-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio—it's at least promising that the 22-year-old has hit much better at the start of 2015 than he did at the start of 2014. To wit, after his first 25 games a year ago, Franco was slashing just .206/.260/.330.
Still primarily a third baseman, Franco has seen some action at first base, which should make it easier for him not only to get to Philly but then make it into the Phillies lineup as a platoon partner with Cody Asche at the hot corner and/or Ryan Howard at first. Then again, Asche has been working out in left field, according to Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News, so a switch could be in the making to free up a spot for Franco.
As for the timing of a potential Franco call-up, here's how Lawrence put it: "If the Phillies were to promote Franco before May 15, he could become a free agent in 2020. From the perspective of a team not expected to contend this year (or next), it only makes sense for the Phillies to watch his service time. If he arrives later next month, the Phillies would have Franco for an extra year."
Preston Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
2015 Stats (Triple-A): .320/.378/.650, 19 R, 13 XBH (10 HR), 32 RBI, 1 SB, 18:9 K:BB (111 PA)
This is kind of cheating, since it's already been announced, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle notes, that the Houston Astros will be calling up Preston Tucker to help cover the outfield while George Springer recovers from a concussion that forced him to the seven-day disabled list specifically designed for that purpose.
Because of that, the stay is likely to be a short one for Tucker, a 24-year-old lefty swinger and thrower who was drafted in the seventh round of 2012.
While the Astros have other outfielders ready to step in (like Robbie Grossman) or step up (like Domingo Sntana or L.J. Hoes), Tucker is worth highlighting here because he is the current minor league leader in home runs with 10 and RBI with 32.
Rusney Castillo, OF, Boston Red Sox
2015 Stats (Triple-A): .259/.333/.296, 3 R, 3 XBH (0 HR), 3 RBI, 2 SB, 3:3 K:BB (30 PA)
At some point—likely very, very soon—Rusney Castillo will make his 2015 debut with the Boston Red Sox.
An oblique strain shut him down for a few weeks during spring training, costing him a shot at makng the club out of camp. Then after being assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket, Castillo promptly injured his shoulder while diving for a ball in the outfield, thus taking him out of commission for another two-and-a-half weeks.
He's been back for a week now, though, and health and timing finally may be working in his favor, as the Red Sox currently are without Shane Victorino, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, and Hanley Ramirez, who may need to join him after spraining his shoulder running into a wall this week.
Even in Boston's once-overcrowded outfield, opportunities will arise, especially for Castillo, who turns 28 in early July and is owed all of his record-setting $72.5 million contract regardless of which level he's playing. The Red Sox really have no reason to hold Castillo back as long as he's healthy. Which he is—finally.