We are back! Over the course of the last few seasons, this series has aimed to detail every prospect promotion across each week of the entire regular season. After reviewing feedback from our readers, we have decided to mix things up a little bit for 2023. Instead of outlining every prospect that gets the call, the series will highlight some of the bigger names that receive a promotion. These players will be discussed in more detail. Some other notable prospects who head to the bigs will also be discussed, but this time around there will be more focus on detailing these top prospects and less focus on players who are being brought up as a depth piece for a double header.
Of course, this means there will be some variance on what this article looks like week to week. Some weeks there will be several notable young players who are joining their major league club while other weeks there will be hardly any. Either way, there should be more than enough players to breakdown.
Additionally, each week, I’ll do a quick note on the featured players from the week prior. This will mostly focus on recent performance and whether or not it appears that the player will stay with the big league club moving forward.
Last week we featured Francisco Álvarez, Taj Bradley and Edouard Julien. Álvarez has been essentially splitting time at catcher since getting the call, but is still trying to find his footing. Omar Narváez is not due back for another two months or so, but it’s not looking like Álvarez is going to carve out a prominent role unless that bat really heats up. Bradley is already experiencing the MLB ping pong; He got sent down following his MLB debut and then got the call again this past Tuesday, and tossed 5.1 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts against the Reds. With Jeffrey Springs set to undergo Tommy John surgery, Bradley is slated to stick in the rotation. Julien has been getting consistent time at second base and leading off about half the time. The bat is starting to heat up, with a 3-for-5 performance on Wednesday, and with Jorge Polanco due back soon there is a good chance he could be sent back down.
Zach Neto, SS, LAA (Preseason PL Top 100/Team Rank: 88/2): By the time this article publishes, Neto will have already been in the bigs for a week, so you might already know the deal. Unlike a lot of early season prospect promotions, Neto’s callup isn’t an opportunity being granted due to an injury. Instead, the Angels are looking to win now and are giving Neto a chance to run away with an everyday job. If he keeps it will solely be up to how well he performs.
The Angels took Neto with the 13th overall pick in the 2022 draft. Despite being drafted less than 12 months ago, it’s not super surprising to see Neto already with the MLB club. Many thought he was the most MLB-ready position player in the draft, and the Angels have been aggressive with prospects like Reid Detmers and Chase Silseth in recent years. As a result, we don’t have a lot of professional statistics to look at for Neto, but the ones that we do have impress. In 2022, the shortstop triple slashed .299 /.377 /.476 with five home runs and five steals in 147 ABs across High-A and Double-A. He followed that up with a silly .444/.559/.815 triple slash in the first seven games of Double-A this year before getting the call.
So far, the Angels have not been afraid to throw Neto into the deep end, batting him leadoff on a few occasions, and toward the bottom of the lineup on others. He started a bit slow out of the gate, going 1-for-17 to start his MLB career, but he hit two doubles on Wednesday – one that was scorched with 109.9 MPH EV – so good things appear to be on the horizon.
Brett Baty, 3B, NYM (Preseason PL Top 100/Team Rank: 31/2): Baty was one of the top breakout prospects in all of baseball in 2022. He wasn’t off anybody’s radar, of course, as he is a former first-round pick and also performed well in previous seasons. But last year Baty took it to another level. As a 22-year-old, he spent most of the year at Double-A, where he triple slashed .312/.406/.544 and hit 19 homers in 89 games. He also played six games at Triple-A and 12 for the Major League club. In the bigs, he hit just .184, but did hit two home runs, but it was such a small sample that it shouldn’t be something to read into either way.
In 2023, Baty has picked up right where he left off in 2022. In just nine games in Triple-A, the 23-year-old hit .400 with five home runs. With Eduardo Escobar struggling out of the gate for the Mets, Baty appears to have an opportunity to grab hold of the third base job for the Mets. New York is expected to be in a heated division race all year long, so Buck Showalter is likely to go with whomever is performing. Baty certainly offers a much higher ceiling than what Escobar has shown over the course of his career. Theoretically, Escobar’s track history would indicate a much safer floor for the Mets, but it’s difficult to imagine Baty’s floor being any lower than what Escobar has shown in his first 14 games this season (.125/.173/.229).
Oswald Peraza, SS, NYY (Preseason PL Top 100/Team Rank: 51): Peraza is a shortstop and a speedster. In 2022 during his age-22 season, Peraza swiped 35 bags while only getting caught five times. That’s likely to transition extremely well at the big league level, especially given how much of an increase we’ve seen in swipes to begin 2023.
Offensively, Peraza held his own in Triple-A last year, posting a .259/.329/.448 triple slash in 99 games, good enough for a 105 wRC+. He also hit 19 home runs. That was a slight dip from his 2021 Double-A numbers when he hit .294/.348/.466, but there is no denying that Peraza’s bat has played well enough at every level he’s been in. His walk and strikeout rates are something to monitor against big league pitching. Historically his walk rate has been around 6-7% in the upper minors and his strikeout rate in the lower-mid 20s. Those are certainly acceptable, but there’s a chance that they each go a bit in the wrong direction against big-league pitching, especially as a 23-year-old.
It was rumored that Peraza may have gotten the call earlier this year, but he was dealing with a hamstring injury of his own. He did get a brief cup of coffee in 2022, so this promotion didn’t lead to his MLB debut, but the current roster now gives Yankees fans some hope of an exciting infield future between Peraza and Anthony Volpe. Peraza is the superior defender between the two, but at least early indications are that the Yankees are going to keep Volpe at shortstop and bounce Peraza around the infield. Volpe’s ability to draw a walk and steal bases has made up for some otherwise offensive struggles so far, so there is a decent chance Peraza returns to Triple-A, at least temporarily, when some of the Yankee regulars return to to the field in the coming weeks.
Mason Miller, SP, OAK (Preseason PL Top 100/Team Rank: N/A/12): Obviously, Miller is a bit of a different story than the other names we are focusing on today. You can see he didn’t crack our preseason Top 100, and was the 12th ranked prospect in our Oakland preview. Most of that is due to the fact that we hadn’t seen him all that much.
Coming into this season, Miller only had 20 professional innings to his name. And while he posted ridiculous strikeout numbers in those innings, it’s still not a ton to go off of. Miller was taken in the third round of the 2021 draft out of Gardner-Webb University. But that, too, was only one year of data as Miller pitched for four seasons at Waynesburg University, a Division-III school that was probably not crawling with scouts.
But Miller has had a massive rise this spring. He was showing off his gigantic stuff in Spring Training, consistently hitting triple digits with the heater, before striking out 19 in 8.1 innings in the minors. Now, with such a limited to track record, he has an opportunity to show off his stuff against big leaguers.
Following his callup, we got what we expected from Miller in his MLB debut. He threw 81 pitches, showcasing his high-end fastball, as well as a cutter and a slider, allowing two earned runs across 4.1 frames while striking out five. I watched every pitch of this one and came away impressed. He had a few pitches that were nowhere near the zone, but that could be a result of first-time nerves, and on other occasions made some hitters look silly. He appears set to be in the rotation going forward and while he may not ever go super deep in games in 2023, he’s one of the more fun players to roster. Be sure to check out Jake Crumpler’s GIF breakdown of Miller’s debut.
Brayan Rocchio, SS, CLE (Preseason PL Top 100/Team Rank: 56/5): It feels like Rocchio has been a prospect forever, but he’s somehow still just 22-years-old. Unfortunately, this promotion likely isn’t a long-term one, so we will save a more in-depth look at the shortstop when he gets a call that feels less temporary. Rocchio was brought up to the big-league club with pitcher Enyel De Los Santos heading to the paternity list, and a few of the team’s middle infielders dealing with minor injuries. He might see action in a game or two, but he’s probably heading back to Triple-A soon.
Rocchio is a middle infielder that played across Double-A and Triple-A a season ago, triple slashing .257/.336/.420 while hitting 18 home runs and swiping 14 bags in 132 games. He wasn’t an efficient base stealer, though, getting caught nine times. With the new rules in place, he might flirt with some 20-20 seasons in the bigs while hitting for a decent average.
Photo courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)