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 doubleheader.
Of course, this means there will be some variance in 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 break down.
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 took a look at Sal Frelick and Marco Luciano. Frelick started off on fire in his first handful of games after getting the call but has hit his first rough patch. At the time of this writing, he is in the midst of an 0-for-17 skid. Despite the recent struggles, he still has a .241/.400/.371 triple slash in his first 10 games. Oh, and he’s walking more than 20% of the time. He has the look of an OBP-driven leadoff man, though I wouldn’t feel great about counting on him for fantasy purposes for 2023. Luciano held his own in his first four MLB contests, going 3-for-12. He did strike out more than 40% of the time, though it was a very small sample. He has since been optioned back to Triple-A, which isn’t surprising, seeing as he essentially skipped that level on his way to the show.
AJ Smith-Shawver, P, ATL – Smith-Shawver got the call in early June, absolutely skyrocketing through the minors as a 20-year-old arm. The Braves first used him as a multi-inning reliever before giving him a few opportunities to start. The results were fine. Smith-Shawver tossed 16.2 innings in total, allowing eight earned runs while striking out 15 and walking six. That’s certainly not bad, especially for someone who can’t legally purchase alcohol and had hardly pitched above Single-A.
Still, the Braves sent him back to Triple-A from there, where he made three starts. He totaled 12.1 innings, allowing eight earned runs while striking out 13 and walking 11. That’s far too many walks, but again, he’s extremely young for the level and was torching the lower minors to kick off the year.
The Braves called up Smith-Shawver here for a spot start against Milwaukee. He logged five frames, allowing three runs while striking out three and walking four. He’s been optioned back to Triple-A, and with Max Fried set to return, it’s unclear when we will see the rookie again. His ultimate fantasy ceiling is high, but he’s not likely to help your fantasy teams in 2023.
Minor League Promotions
We were blessed with a high volume of prospect promotions in the first few months of the season but, somewhat in part to that, we have hit a bit of a slow period with call-ups in recent weeks. As a result, this series will continue to highlight some promotions within the minor leagues in addition to the normal MLB call-ups. Most of these players aren’t likely to debut in 2023, outside of maybe a cup of coffee in September, but they could be important names to keep an eye on for dynasty leagues.
Wyatt Langford, OF, TEX (CPX to High-A) – That didn’t take long! Langford played all of three games in rookie ball before being bumped to High-A. It’s not surprising as the fourth pick in this year’s draft is way too advanced to be playing in the complex league. He triple-slashed .385/.429/.846 in those three games. The righty slugger was drafted out of Florida where he put up silly numbers, clubbing 28 home runs in 64 games en route to a .373/.498/784 triple slash. Langford has a terrific blend of power and speed and it’s my guess that he will become the consensus first-overall pick in first-year player drafts. Beyond that, he’s also likely to be a fast riser and if 2023 is any evidence of what the Texas Rangers organization gets out of its hitters then we have a potential superstar on our hands. It’s very possible we see him in Double-A to close the year, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him in the majors as soon as next year.
Blade Tidwell, P, NYM (High-A to Double-A) – The Mets took Tidwell in the second round of the 2022 draft. He didn’t throw many professional innings following the draft last year and has spent the entire 2023 campaign at High-A, until now. At that level, though, the righty threw 81.2 innings to the tune of a 3.09 ERA. He posted an impressive 33% strikeout rate, though it did come with a 13% walk rate. Tidwell had improved his control in recent outings though, registering a walk rate of 7.8% in his last seven starts while keeping that strikeout rate at 33%. If Tidwell can keep those walks in check, he’s a breakout candidate.
Jett Williams, SS, NYM (Single-A to High-A) – Heyy another Met. This time it’s Williams, a 2022 first-round pick. Williams’ speed has been on full display at Single-A this year, swiping 32 bags in 38 attempts in 79 games. Most impressively for a teenager, Williams walked at a nearly 20% clip, helping him to a .249/.422/.410 triple slash. He has the makings of a high-OBP leadoff hitter and from a fantasy perspective is maybe New York’s best prospect
Termarr Johnson, 2B/SS, PIT (Single-A to High-A) – Johnson was likely one of the first players off the board in last season’s first-year player draft. The teenager has played well to this point, putting up a .244/.419/.448 triple slash with 13 home runs and seven steals in 75 games. Like Williams above, his triple slash is boosted by a walk rate north of 20%. He will now be tested against High-A pitching despite turning just 19 in June.
Jacob Gonzalez, SS, CHW (CPX to Single-A) – Gonzalez was the 15th pick in the 2023 MLB draft, a shortstop out of Ole Miss. He signed for $3.9 million. He got four games of rookie ball under his belt before the White Sox moved him up to Single-A. Gonzalez projects to be pretty good at everything, but not a game-changer at anything. Despite going 15th overall, it will not be surprising to see him go a decent bit later than that in first-year player drafts unless he really dominates in the next few months.
Dylan Beavers, OF, BAL (High-A to Double-A) – The Orioles’ farm system has become so deep that it’s easy to forget about someone like Beavers. The outfielder was selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2022 draft and has enjoyed a nice season at High-A, triple slashing .273/.369/.463 with nine home runs and 22 steals in 85 games. In most other systems Beavers would be a top-five prospect, but in Baltimore, he’s maybe in the top 10. And that’s not a slight on Beavers in any sense. Ultimately that may mean he is moved in a trade before ever reaching the bigs and that might be what is best for his fantasy stock.
Jack Hurley, OF, ARI (CPX to Single-A) – The Diamondbacks took Hurley in the third round of the 2023 draft. He’s a 21-year-old outfielder out of Virginia Tech who hit .320 with 17 home runs in 45 games. He only played a handful of games in rookie ball before getting the call up to Single-A. He has an intriguing power/speed combination and could shoot up some first-year player draft rankings if he performs at Single-A this year.
Luke Keaschall, 2B/SS, MIN (CPX to Single-A) – Like a number of other names mentioned here, Keaschall is a recent draftee that is getting a jump from rookie ball to Single-A. The Twins took the shortstop. It’s obviously an extremely small sample, but Keaschall is 5-for-9 with two steals to begin his stint at Single-A. In his final season with Arizona State, he had 18 home runs and 18 steals in 55 games. The belief is he may not be able to play shortstop by the time he reaches the majors, but there his dual threat capabilities make him an intriguing option in future first-year player drafts. It’s also worth noting that Keaschall is a few months younger than most draftees coming from their junior year of college.
Yohandy Morales, 3B, WSN (CPX to Single-A) – Morales is a second-round draft pick from the University of Miami. He has massive power, clubbing 20 home runs in 61 games while hitting .408 for the Hurricanes. He should put up good power numbers in the lower minors, too, but his stock will really skyrocket if he produces when he eventually makes it to the upper levels.
Photo courtesy of Hickory Crawdads | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)