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. This week’s edition of this series is shorter due to the All-Star Break. All stats are of July 15.
Taylor Jones, 1B/OF, HOU (preseason PL team rank: 2): Jones has been up a few times this year for the Astros and he’s looking more and more like a Quad-A bat. Through 21 MLB games in 2021, the 27-year-old has a .454 OPS. Of course, this is a small sample and Jones has raked at the Triple-A level, so it would be foolish to write him off completely, but given the Astros’ depth, it would likely take a change of scenery.
Vidal Bruján, INF/OF, TB (preseason PL team rank: 3): Brujan was our featured player last week and nothing has changed. He was temporarily optioned as a strategic move by the Rays and he should be up for the long haul now unless he struggles. He can play all over the diamond and from a fantasy perspective is one of the best all-around prospects in the game.
Alex Vesia, P, LAD (preseason PL team rank: UR): The Dodgers traded for Vesia this offseason, but the lefty relief arm is still finding his footing at the MLB level. Through 12.2 innings in 2021, the 25-year-old has allowed seven earned runs and struck out 18.
Kean Wong, INF/OF, LAA (preseason PL team rank: UR): Wong is a high-average, low-power bat with some speed on the basepaths. He’s a career .288 hitter in the minors and while he will never have big power, he has flashed more power the last two seasons.
Reiss Kneher, P, SD (preseason PL team rank: UR): Kneher was selected in the 20th round of the 2018 draft, so making the bigs is impressive on its own. The Padres used him as a spot starter and he allowed two earned runs while striking out three in 3.2 innings. He skipped Triple-A to make the start and has a 3.90 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 55.1 Double-A innings. Expect him to make our midseason Top-50 list.
Joey Bart, C, SF (preseason PL team rank: 2): Bart is one of the top prospects in baseball but struggled mightily at the plate when given a big-league opportunity in 2020. As a result, his career OPS is .612. That will come up over time, but it looks like Buster Posey will be back in the lineup very shortly. Regardless, Posey has been raking at Triple-A (.981), helping to ease any concerns following his 2020 campaign.
Andrew Young, INF/OF, ARI (preseason PL team rank: 15): Young has been up a few times for the Diamondbacks. He hits the ball hard and has an intriguing batting ball profile if he were to ever have a full-time role. The Diamondbacks should be sellers in the next few weeks which could open up the door for Young to become a lineup regular.
Albert Abreu, P, NYY (preseason PL team rank: 25): Abreu is a former top prospect. He’s looked more like a reliever as of late and the Yankees have used him as a multi-inning arm this season. Through 12.2 innings, he has a 2.83 ERA and two strikeouts.
Zach Reks, OF, LAD (preseason PL team rank: 27): Reks’ age is what has kept him off of most radars. He’s 27-years-old and has a career .875 OPS in the minors. He hasn’t slowed down at all in 2021 and has a .325/.419/.581 triple slash at Triple-A. On most teams, Reks will have forced his way into an extended opportunity by now but given the Dodgers’ depth, it will be difficult for Reks to find a full-time role.
Max Kranick, P, PIT (preseason PL team rank: 27): Kranick has made a handful of spot starts for the Pirates, allowing three earned runs in eight innings. He is a back-of-the-rotation arm with some relief risk.
Jakson Reetz, C, WAS (preseason PL team rank: 42): Reetz has the look of a backup backstop. He can provide some pop at the plate but he won’t hit for a high average and doesn’t have a ton of experience in the upper minors.
J.D. Hammer, P, PHI (preseason PL team rank: UR): Hammer is a relief-only arm but he performed well for the Phillies in 2019, posting a 3.79 ERA in 19 innings. The 26-year-old has been lights out at Triple-A in 2021, striking out 33 hitters in 20.2 innings while allowing just four earned runs. Hammer could carve himself out a role in the big-league pen for the second half of the season.
Brian O’Grady, 1B/OF, SD (preseason PL team rank: UR): O’Grady has bounced around the last few seasons and is now with San Diego. He’s a .188 career hitter at the MLB level and is a depth option for the Padres.
Cal Raleigh, C, SEA (preseason PL team rank: 9): Raleigh’s stock has skyrocketed this season as the 24-year-old backstop has absolutely mashed Triple-A pitching. Through 44 games, Raleigh has an OPS of .985 with nine home runs. Seattle hasn’t gotten much production out of the catcher spot this season and with the Mariners hanging around the playoff picture, Raleigh has an opportunity to prove he belongs in the bigs.
Damon Jones, P, PHI (preseason PL team rank: 9): Jones dominated the lower levels of the minors in 2019 before a stop at Triple-A brought him back down to Earth. He’s struggled at Triple-A in 2021 (an ERA close the seven) so this was likely a temporary call-up to give the Phillies an extra arm.
Monte Harrison, OF, MIA (preseason PL team rank: 14): Harrison is a former top prospect who has looked completely overmatched by big-league pitching. He’s been ok at Triple-A in 2021 and still has an intriguing power and speed combination, but the concerns outweigh the hopes at this point.
Cristopher Sanchez, P, PHI (preseason PL team rank: 26): Sanchez’s heater touches the upper-90s. He’s worked mostly as a starter in the minors but his brief work in the majors has been as a reliever. He profiles as a multi-inning reliever with the potential to see some starts.
Donovan Walton, 2B/SS, SEA (preseason PL team rank: 27): Walton is close to exceeding prospect eligibility and is a .196 hitter. He offers some defensive versatility and at 27-years-old profiles as a utility option.
Mauricio Llovera, P, PHI (preseason PL team rank: 36): Llovera had been tried as a starter for his first few seasons in the minors but is a relief-only arm now. He’s struggled at Triple-A in 2021 so he’s likely just a depth piece for the Phillies for this season.
Andres Machado, P, WAS (preseason PL team rank: UR): Machado made his debut in 2017 but didn’t make another MLB appearance until this year. He’s a relief-only arm but has performed well in limited MLB action.
Jarren Duran, OF, BOS (preseason PL team rank: 4): Duran’s value has risen more than maybe any prospect in baseball. A reported swing change has helped him tap into power that many didn’t seem to believe was possible for the lefty-hitting outfielder. At Triple-A this season, Duran has mashed 15 home runs in 46 games while also adding 12 steals. For fantasy leagues, Duran has the potential to be an all-categories contributor. With Boston in the middle of a playoff race, expect Duran to fill a near-everyday role as long as he performs.
Trey Amburgey, OF, NYY (preseason PL team rank: UR): Amburgey isn’t a well-known name but the outfielder has held his own at the plate in his minor league career. Moreso, though, is that he is having a breakout in 2021 with a .960 OPS in 38 games. He’ll get his first shot at MLB pitching with this callup.
Photo by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)