MLB Predictions: The First 18 Draftees Who Will Be Promoted to the Majors
Baseball is very different from other sports, such as the NFL or NBA, where draft picks don't play for the club that drafted them right away. Most have to spend a few years in the minor leagues before playing for the big league club, while others don't make it at all.
Some players are much closer to the big leagues than others though, and that's what this list is all about. These are the 18 players that I think are on the fast track to the big leagues. The quick ascension could be from the player's on talent or more of the lack of talent in the minor leagues for the parent club.
These guys all have a ton of talent though, and could make the rise quickly simply because they are too good for the minor leagues.
So let's take a look at the 18 players that could be the fastest to make it to the majors.
18. Cory Spangenberg, 2B
The San Diego Padres took Spangenberg with the 10th pick as a second baseman, where he could make a very quick rise to the major league level.
Spangenberg has some very good tools with his speed, arm strength, with a chance to be a very good all around hitter.
If he can solidify himself as second base, he could make the big leagues at a faster pace than others that will be on the list.
17. Dylan Bundy, SP
The top high school arm in this class could make it to the big leagues much faster than the slot I am putting him in.
Bundy has a legitimate chance to be the best pitcher to come out of this draft, which is part of the reason that the Baltimore Orioles picked him with the fourth pick in the draft.
He has a plus-plus fastball that reaches 98 with relative ease. His potential has many thinking Cy Young candidate and All-Star for many years. I expect him to make it to the big leagues the fastest of every high school player not names Bubba Starling.
16. Mikie Mahtook, OF
Though many still like the potential in Desmond Jennings, Mahtook could be the person that overtakes B.J. Upton's spot eventually in center field for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Mahtook is already a polished bat that projects to be pretty good in every facet of the game, even if he's not elite in any of them.
His speed may be his biggest strength right now, though he does have a chance to be a very good power hitter. Star potential because of his all around game.
15. Sean Gilmartin
Gilmartin was taken by the Atlanta Braves with the 28th pick of the draft. Gilmartin doesn't appear to be a top-of-the-rotation type of pitcher, but he has been very good at the collegiate level and is already a pretty polished pitcher.
The one thing that may hold him back is exactly how deep the Braves' pitching is at the minor league level. One thing is for sure though, he does give them more depth, and should be a solid contributor.
14. Jackie Bradley Jr, CF
I may have him making it faster than others, but Bradley has the skill set that makes me think he will be a quick rise. He has a good eye that fits well with an approach that has him trying to spread the ball around to all fields.
He has a good feel for the game as well and enough speed to stick in center, though a corner outfield spot may be better. Good instincts help as well.
I think he makes it to the Red Sox club either at some point either late in 2013 or with a chance to start in 2014.
13. George Springer, CF
I would have Springer a lot higher, but the Houston Astors draft pick does have some mechanics in his swing that need to be fixed before he becomes the big time prospect that many think he can be.
Physically there isn't much that he can't do, as he could be a plus-guy in every tool and has a good feel for the game. He looks to be a very good every day player as soon as he gets that swing fixed. He could rise quickly up this list if he can get it fixed sooner rather than later.
12. Bubba Starling, of
If he does decide to make baseball his profession, then I think Starling will begin a meteoric rise to the big leagues. I could see him in the league as early as Septmeber 2013 with a chance to stick in 2014.
If I had to guess though, 2015 seems like a safe bet to be the year that he would become an every day player for the Kansas City Royals. If that happened he would be just 22.
Starling has it all. He has very good raw power and great speed, a strong arm, and natural baseball ability. He's a lot like Bryce Harper, just not with the attitude.
Starling could be scary good and is a good kid, something that baseball needs. He has a true chance to be a superstar.
11. Matt Barnes, SP/RP
Barnes is one of those pitchers that can start with the chance of being an elite player, or could rise quickly as a reliever and be elite there. He features a very live fastball and strong curve that would make him a very good candidate to get called up early out of the bullpen.
That, like it is for many pitchers, would be his quickest way to making it with the Boston Red Sox. Its up to them to make that decision though.
10. Levi Michael, SS
Michael features a good all around set of skills with the ability to stick at shortstop. That fact alone will make him a guy that should rise very quickly through the minor league ranks.
Michael doesn't have the upside of some other players in this draft, but because of the scarcity of his position and the Twins lack of another player at the position, you could see him up some time in 2013, though I think 2014 may be more of when to expect him.
Whenever he gets to the majors he should stick and become a guy that could be a perennial All-Star.
9. Jed Bradley, SP/RP
Bradley was selected with the 15th pick by the Milwaukee Brewers, and the lefty should be helping the team sooner rather than later.
His fastball has touched as high as 97, yet is usually more in the 91-94 range. His curveball needs work and his change up is average at best, so you may see him make a move to the bullpen. Doing so would speed his ascension to the majors for sure.
Even as a starter though, after two years of work Bradley should be able to help the team on a consistent basis.
8. Sonny Gray, SP/RP
I have Gray this high because I believe he will make it to the big leagues as a reliever, because it would be a longer grind for him as starter.
Not that Gray doesn't have the talent to make it as a starter because he certainly does, I just think that the Oakland Athletics take better advantage of his talents and put him in a place to succeed quickly.
Gray can throw in the mid-90s as a reliever with a good curve and change-up, but his stuff doesn't look as good as a starter.
7. Tyler Anderson, SP/RP
I think Anderson eventually becomes a full time reliever, but he could possibly be a fourth or fifth starter for the Colorado Rockies fairly soon.
Anderson has limited upside, but a quirky delivery along with solid stuff from a lefty make him a prime candidate to move to the bullpen. He throwing in the upper-80s to low-90s with breaking pitches that should become above average.
Anderson could be a late 2012 to early-2013 addition to the Rockies, its all up to him to make that rise though.
6. C.J. Cron, 1B/DH
Cron was one of the best pure bats in this class and was drafted by a team that badly needs some offense: the Los Angeles Angles of Anahiem.
Cron also has the benefit of being called up as a possible designated hitter, though he should be just fine defensively at first base.
Cron should have a solid average with good power. As long as he continues to hit as he has the past few years he will move very quickly.
5. Anthony Rendon, 3B
I have Rendon here because I feel like the experience he gained at the collegiate level is enough to move him up the ladder pretty quickly.
At the plate he is without question the most major league ready guy in this class, but he has to find a position to make it to the big league club quickly. Ryan Zimmerman is currently manning the third base position for the Washington Nationals, so Rendon will likely be stuck if he plays there.
He does have the athletic ability to move to second or even first if they want him to, where he could make the jump quicker.
How long it takes him to adjust to his new position will tell how long it will be before he reaches the majors.
4. Trevor Bauer, SP
While he's not as well-known as his teammate Gerrit Cole, I think Bauer has the potential to be even better. Bauer went third to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they really got a special talent.
Bauer features two elite pitches in an upper-90s fastball and soft curveball, as well as a solid change-up. All of them should be very good major league pitches.
Bauer still has some room to grow into at 6'2", 185 pounds but he should undoubtedly be one of the quick risers in this class.
3. Taylor Jungmann, SP
Jungmann wasn't selected until the 12th pick in the first round by the Miwaulkee Brewers, but I think he'll make it to the big leagues quicker than the majority of players ahead of him.
Jungmann featured a low-to-mid 90s fastball, and a very good curveball, both of which look to be plus pitches at the big league level.
The reason I think Jungmann can go really quickly through the system is because the Brewers don't have much there and because he was very consistent for Texas during his three years there. Consistency with experience goes a long way, and I expect him to rise quickly.
2. Danny Hultzen, SP
It was a pretty big surprise when the Seattle Mariners picked Hultzen with the second pick in the draft. Its not that he is a bad player, its just that he doesn't have the upside that is often overvalued by organizations.
Hultzen, however, may have been the safest pick this high. He has a low-90s fastball that can touch 95, an above-average change up, and a slider that could become an average pitch in the future. He does have a curve, but its not a pitch that will be used much at the next level.
Hultzen could make the Mariners rotation in two years, if not a little sooner. He's close to a finished product, and a pretty good one at that.
1. Gerrit Cole, SP
The first overall pick in the draft may also be the first of the litter to make the big leagues. Cole has two plus pitches in his fastball and change-up, while his slider also has the chance to be a plus pitch.
Cole is also physically well built at 6'4", 200 pounds and could hold up to pitching in the big leagues right now.
Cole was also selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he automatically becomes the top pitching prospect that they have. He should be on the fast track to the big leagues.