This will be a weekly series that will outline the prospect promotions from the previous week throughout the year. The minor league season has begun and we have seen more prospects starting to get the call. All stats are of July 1.
Travis Blankenhorn, INF/OF, NYM (preseason PL team rank: 16): Blankenhorn has bounced between four different organizations this year and is now with the Mets. He can play all over the diamond, is only 24 years old, and put up a 125 wRC+ at Double-A in 2019, so it’s a bit of a headscratcher as to why he can’t find a more permanent home. He has a .909 OPS in 17 Triple-A games in 2021 and while he doesn’t walk much and maybe more of a versatile utility type, it feels like he should be getting more of a look than he’s getting.
Nick Maton, INF, (preseason PL team rank: 18): Maton is close to exceeding his prospect eligibility as he’s appeared in 44 games this season alone. His OPS continued to hover around .700 and it will likely be difficult for him to find playing time once Jean Segura and Didi Gregorious are both back from the IL in the next few days.
Alexander Wells, P, BAL (preseason PL team rank: 34): Wells’ carrying card is his ability to limit walks. He’s worked both as a starter and a reliever in the minors, but will likely be given a shot to start down the line. For now, he appears to be a temporary relief option for the Orioles.
Kean Wong, 2B, LAA (preseason PL team rank: UR): Wong is yet to find his footing at the plate at the MLB level, hitting just .179 in his first 25 games. In the minors, Wong has been a high-average, low-power bat with some speed.
Enyel De Los Santos, P, PHI (preseason PL team rank: UR): De Los Santos has been making appearances for the Phillies dating back to 2018. He has a career ERA north of six and a career ERA over five, so it seems his MLB future is that of a low-leverage reliever.
Konner Wade, P, BAL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Wade’s debut went about as poorly as one can. The 29-year-old allowed six runs in 1.2 innings of work, striking out one. He’s a relief-only arm.
Albert Abreu, P, NYY (preseason PL team rank: 25): It feels like Abreu has been in the majors a few times, but he only has 14 career big league innings. He’s looked more and more like a reliever in recent years but there’s still a chance he gets an opportunity to start, it just probably won’t be in 2021.
Zack Short, SS, DET (preseason PL team rank: 33): Short knows how to take a walk and has developed into some pop in recent seasons. The Tigers have been giving extended looks to younger players in recent years so he’s someone worth keeping tabs on.
Brooks Kriske, P, NYY (preseason PL team rank: UR): Kriske has been a relief-only prospect for the majority of his minor league career, but he’s kept runs off the board with a 2.39 ERA across four seasons.
Louis Head, P, TBR (preseason PL team rank: UR): Head is a 31-year-old rookie, so there probably isn’t a ton of upside here. He has performed for the big league club when given the opportunity, though, allowing just three runs in 11 relief innings.
Kyle Muller, P, ATL (preseason PL team rank: 7): Muller is starting to turn some heads. Through his first 10 MLB innings, the 23-year-old has struck out 13 while allowing just three runs. He’s not going super deep into games, but he’s getting swings and misses and keeping runs off the board. Braves manager Brian Snitker has confirmed that Muller will remain in the rotation going forward.
Jimmy Lambert, P, CHW (preseason PL team rank: 22): Lambert has had a decent season at Triple with a 4.08 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 25.1 innings. He’s allowed seven runs in five MLB innings, though. He’ll move up our midseason list given all of Chicago’s graduations.
James Norwood, P, SDP (preseason PL team rank: 25): Norwood can touch the triple digits but has control issues. He could settle into a relief role given his strikeout ability but the walks put a cap on his upside.
Max Kranick, P, PIT (preseason PL team rank: 27): Kranick has worked as exclusively as a starter in the minors but only as a reliever in the majors. So far he’s been effective out of the bullpen for the Pirates, tossing five shutout innings with three strikeouts. His stuff appears to play up in a relief capacity and he may have a future in high-leverage work.
Ryan McKenna, OF, BAL (preseason PL team rank: 28): McKenna has been up a few times this year but hasn’t been able to figure it out at the plate. He has great speed but his sub-.600 OPS hasn’t allowed him to put it to use. He still profiles as a fourth outfielder.
Domingo Leyba, INF, BAL (preseason PL team rank: 33): Leyba has hit at every level of the minors. Baltimore claimed him off waivers from Arizona and between the two clubs he’s hit .344 at Triple-A this season. He hasn’t figured it out in the bigs yet but his track record should earn him an extended look.
Antonio Santos, P, COL (preseason PL team rank: 37): Santos has a career minor league ERA of 4.75. He seems to be transitioning more to a relief role in recent years, but he doesn’t offer big strikeout potential at this point.
Matt Marsili, P, KCR (preseason PL team rank: UR): Marsili is only 24-years-old and has spent most of his career in Independent ball. He’s likely a relief-only arm that will be used in low-leverage situations.
Rámon Urias, 2B, BAL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Urias has a .815 OPS through 28 MLB games in 2021, which is right around the mark he was putting up in Triple-A. He’s fairly under-the-radar right now but Urias has shown at all levels that he can produce with the bat. He’s worth a look.
Miguel Del Pozo, P, DET (preseason PL team rank: UR): Del Pozo has bounced around a few organizations in his young career and has been beat up to the tune of a 13.17 ERA in 13.2 career innings.
Ben Bowden, P, COL (preseason PL team rank: 23): Bowden is a former second-round pick out of Vanderbilt. He was a closer in college so he has been a relief-only prospect for his entire career. He’s struggled at the Major League level allowing close to a earned run per inning, but it’s a small sample and he has to work against Coors.
Emmanuel Rivera, 3B, KC (preseason PL team rank: 27): A big breakout in Triple-A this year has earned Rivera a look for the Royals. In the minors, Rivera slugged 14 home runs with a .930 OPS. The question coming into this season was whether or not Rivera could hit for enough power and it’s looking like he might be able to and then some.
Alejo López, INF, CIN (preseason PL team rank: 44): López has been one of the hottest hitters in all of minor league baseball. The infielder hit .362 at Double-A before earning a promotion to Triple-A and hitting .358 there. He’s now with the Reds and while it’s unclear how much he will play and how much power he will hit for, it’s becoming more and more clear that López’s bat will hit for a high average,
Trevor Megill, P, CHC (preseason PL team rank: 50): Megill is a tall relief-only arm. He has a big strikeout ability and at 27-years-old projects as a middle-relief arm. He’s struggled both in the majors and the minors so far in 2021.
Cody Ponce, P, PIT (preseason PL team rank: UR): Ponce has allowed seven runs in eight innings for the Pirates this season. He’s worked as both a starter and a reliever in the minors and could still grab the occasional spot start.
Humberto Castellanos, P, ARI (preseason PL team rank: UR): Castellanos is a relief-only prospect with a 3.10 ERA and about a strikeout per inning.
Roel Ramirez, P, STL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Ramirez made his MLB debut in 2020 and it went as poorly as an outing could go allowing six runs in 0.2 innings. His ERA is in the mid-4s in Triple-A so he should be able to find some temporary relief work to bring his career MLB ERA down.
Brandon Waddell, P, STL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Waddell has bounced between a few organizations this year and is now with the Cardinals. He’s a low-leverage relief arm for the time being.
Thomas Szapucki, P, NYM (preseason PL team rank: 9): Szapucki had a breakout in 2019 where he posted a 2.50 ERA across three minor league levels. He has battled injuries throughout his career but had mid-rotation potential if all things come together. The Mets look to be using him in a relief role for 2021 and given his injury history there is a good chance that is where he ends up for most of his career.
Andy Young, INF/OF, ARI (preseason PL team rank: 15): Young hits the ball hard. His 115.9 Max EV is one of the best in baseball and his .556 slugging in his first 28 MLB games in 2021 shows just what kind of power he has. Despite their struggles, the Diamondbacks have some offensive depth, but Young could work his way into a lineup regular if Arizona begins to sell off some of its pieces.
Gavin Sheets, 1B/OF, CHW (preseason PL team rank: 20): It would not be surprising to see Sheets carve out a permanent role with the White Sox. He’s been productive at Triple-A this season (.824 OPS) and the White Sox lack a consistent lefty bat in the lineup.
Jordan Holloway, P, MIA (preseason PL team rank: 31): Holloway has worked out of the rotation and out of the bullpen for Miami. He has a fastball that can touch the upper-90s and a slider that is registering a 31% Whiff rate. Miami has been one of the best organizations at developing pitchers the last few years so Holloway is worth monitoring.
Tommy Nance, P, CHC (preseason PL team rank: UR): Nance was a starter in college but is a relief-only arm now. The 30-year-old has already logged more than 20 innings for the Cubs in 2021 so while he isn’t a high-leverage option, he does appear to have a consistent role in the majors.
Frank Schwindel, C/1B, OAK (preseason PL team rank: UR): Schwindel is a 29-year-old with some pop in his bat. He doesn’t take a ton of walks but he has a career .803 OPS in the minors. He’s a depth piece for Oakland.
Edward Olivares, OF, KC (preseason PL team rank: 6): Olivares has gotten the call a few times now but is still yet to see an extended look. He has an intriguing power and speed combination and it’s likely he will finally see more playing time as the Royals continue to fall out of the playoff race.
Aaron Ashby, P, MIL (preseason PL team rank: 10): Ashby’s MLB debut was one to forget as he allowed seven runs – four earned – in 0.2 innings. He’s notched 56 strikeouts in 38 Triple-A innings though so the future is still bright for the 23-year-old lefty.
Owen Miller, 2B/SS, CLE (preseason PL team 20): Miller has been dominating Triple-A to a .905 but hasn’t been able to find his footing in the majors. He’s only 24-years-old so there is still plenty of time to piece together in the bigs.
Derek Hill, OF, DET (preseason PL team: 25): Hill is a burner on the basepaths but the question is whether or not he will be able to get on base enough to put his speed to work. He’s been tearing up Triple-A pitching (.946 OPS) but he has not been able to handle big-league pitching in the past.
Isaac Mattson, P, BAL (preseason PL team rank: 44): Mattson is a relief-only arm. He has a career 3.13 ERA in the minors with a 10.9 K/9. He’s struggled in Triple-A this season but it’s only an 8.2 inning sample.
Ryan Hartman, P, HOU (preseason PL team rank: UR): Hartman’s had some success at Triple-A this season, posting a 3.98 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 40.2 innings. He could see the occasional spot start but looks to be a long-relief option.
Spenser Watkins, P, BAL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Watkins is another low-leverage relief arm. This will be his MLB debut.
Taylor Gushue, C/1B, CHC (preseason PL team rank: UR): Gushue is a career .709 OPS hitter in the minors, but he’s been hitting well in Triple-A to start the year. He’s a temporary depth piece for Chicago.
Ashton Goudeau, P, CIN (preseason PL team rank: UR): The Reds use Goudeau to pitch in long relief low-leverage situations and as a result, he has finished a handful of games. He has a 4.00 ERA in nine innings. The Reds bullpen has been a weak point this season so Goudeau could eventually see some higher leverage work.
Jared Oliva, OF, PIT (preseason PL team rank: 7): Olivia had a breakout in 2019 but hasn’t been able to replicate those results. He’s a burner and has had success at the plate in the past, but his 2021 struggles in Triple-A make it seem like he may be a fourth outfielder type.
Peter Solomon, P, HOU (preseason PL team rank: 20): Solomon has a 6.11 ERA in Triple-A this year. This is his first professional action since Tommy John surgery, so he may still be knocking off the rust.
Alec Bettinger, P, MIL, (preseason PL team rank: 28): Bettinger has struggled in the majors this season, allowing 15 runs in 10 innings. He profiles as a back-end rotation or long relief type.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)