This will be a weekly series that will outline the prospect promotions from the previous week throughout the year. With rosters expanding at the beginning of the month, promotions have continued toward the end of the month. Stats are of Sep. 22. September 23 will be covered in next week’s article.
Clarke Schmidt, P, NYY (preseason PL team rank: 3): The Yankees have used Schmidt as both a reliever and starter this season, even though he’s only made two appearances. He’s battled injuries in 2021, so he only threw 27.1 innings in the minors. He’s still a big-league starter profile and should have a shot to be in the rotation come spring 2022.
Thomas Szapucki, P, NYM (preseason PL team rank: 9): Szapucki was once a highly-regarded prospect but injuries have delayed his timeline to the majors. He’s finally made it to the bigs and is still only 25-years-old. He had a decent season in Triple-A, posting a 4.10 ERA in 41.2 innings. The injury history makes it likely that his role as a major-leaguer will likely stabilize as a reliever.
Damon Jones, P, PHI (preseason PL team rank: 9): Jones transitioned fully into a relief role at Triple-A in 2021 and didn’t have much success, recording an ERA north of five. He’s a lefty that throws gas and has the potential to be a high-leverage reliever down the line.
Dusten Knight, P, BAL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Knight is a 30-year-old relief-only arm. He’s been excellent in the upper minors across the past few seasons, so there is a chance he could be more than just a feel-good story.
Johnathan Diaz, P, LAA (preseason PL team rank: UR): Diaz has a nice minor league season across Double and Triple-A, striking out 92 in 76.1 innings and posting a 4.01 ERA. He’s split time as a starter and a reliever in the minors.
Nick Cortes, C, MIA (preseason PL team rank: UR): Cortes has a career .651 OPS in the minors. He’s a backup backstop.
Payton Henry, C, MIA (preseason PL team rank: UR): Similar to Cortes, Henry is a backup backstop profile.
Jon Heasley, P, KC (preseason PL team rank: UR): Heasley could be a name to watch heading into 2022. The righty skipped Triple-A to make his MLB debut after posting a 3.33 ERA in 105.1 innings at Double-A. He has a knack for racking up strikeouts so he should be able to carve out a big-league role in some capacity.
Ryan Vilade, 3B/OF, COL (preseason PL team rank: 6): The prospect stock on Vilade has seemingly cooled in recent years but he’s still only 22 years old and held his own in Triple-A, triple slashing .286/.339/.420. The hope here is that he develops more power as he reaches his mid-20s but at the very least he’s a high-average bat that will be playing at Coors. His aggressive approach is a potential red flag to monitor against big-league pitching.
Luis Fries, P, ARI (preseason PL team rank: 13): Frias throws upper-90s gas and it helps him rack up strikeouts. He let up more runs than you would like this season but punched out 126 in 111.1 innings. The Diamondbacks have continued to use him as a starter in the minors but it’s likely his stuff plays up out of the bullpen and he becomes a relief weapon.
TJ Friedl, OF, CIN (preseason PL team rank: 16): Friedl has average pop and speed and posted a .779 OPS in Triple-A this season. It’s an interesting fantasy profile for 2022 if he can compete for a starting role, but it’s also important to note that he was caught stealing seven times in 20 attempts.
Peter Solomon, P, HOU (preseason PL team rank: 20): All things considered, 2021 was a success for Solomon. Yes, the 4.70 ERA in Triple-A is higher than you’d like to see but he struck out 112, and more importantly, he threw 97.1 innings. Solomon required Tommy John surgery in 2019 so it is encouraging to see him pile up the innings in 2021.
Drew Maggi, INF, MIN (preseason PL team rank: UR): Maggi is a 30-year-old career minor leaguer with a .709 OPS in the minors.
Joey Krehbiel, P, TB (preseason PL team rank: UR): Krehbiel is a 28-year-old relief-only arm that adds depth for the Rays down the stretch.
Cooper Criswell, P, LAA (preseason PL team rank: UR): Criswell racked up 120 strikeouts in 106.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, but he struggled to keep runs off the board at times. The Angels will continue to develop him as a starter for the time being.
Sam Moll, P, OAK (preseason PL team rank: UR): Moll is a relief-only lefty with a 4.58 ERA in the minors in 2021.
Estevan Florial, OF, NYY (preseason PL team rank: 5): Florial is an interesting case. He has intriguing power and speed but has hit for a low average at virtually every minor league level. He’s a patient hitter, which allows him to utilize his speed, but also leads to a strikeout rate that could become dangerous against big-league pitching.
Max Kranick, P, PIT (preseason PL team rank: 27): Kranick has been hit around to the tune of a 7.28 ERA in his first seven major league starts. He’s still only 23-years-old so there is plenty of time to right the ship in 2022, but he’s a back-end starter or reliever.
Brooks Kriske, P, BAL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Kriske started the year with the Yankees and is now in Baltimore. He’s a relief-only arm with a 3.68 ERA in the minors in 2021.
Shane Baz, P, TB (preseason PL team rank: 5): Baz has cemented himself as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. In the minors in 2021 he’s posted a 2.06 ERA between Double and Triple-A to go with 113 strikeouts in 78.2 innings. He followed that up with a solid MLB debut, allowing two runs in five innings while striking out five against the Blue Jays. He’s not likely to pitch deep into games at this point in his career but he will be a valuable arm for the Rays come October and heading into 2022.
Branden Waddell, P, STL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Waddell has bounced between a few organizations this season and is now with the Cardinals. He’s a relief-only arm.
Humberto Mejia, P, ARI (preseason PL team rank: UR): The Diamondbacks have given Mejia a few opportunities down the stretch, but he’s recorded a 7.20 ERA in 15 innings. He is a potential back-of-the-rotation profile and his FIP is vastly better than his ERA.
Dylan Coleman, P, KCR (preseason PL team rank: UR): Coleman is a relief-only prospect at this point but was a dominant arm across Double and Triple-A, striking out 93 in 57.2 innings. At just 24, he could work his way into a stable bullpen role in 2022.
Seth Martinez, P, HOU (preseason PL team rank: UR): Martinez is a relief-only arm but has had a career season in 2021, punching out 76 in 56.2 innings at Triple-A while recording a 2.86 ERA.
Mark Kolozsvary, C, CIN (preseason PL team rank: UR): Kolozsvary has had a bit of breakout season in 2021 with a .780 OPS at Double-A before struggling in 15 contests at Triple-A. For now, he’s a depth piece for the Reds.
Taylor Davis, C, PIT (preseason PL team rank: UR): Davis is a 31-year-old backup backstop profile.
Luke Raley, OF, LAD (preseason PL team rank: UR): Raley has gotten the call several times throughout the season, but he’s posted just a .538 OPS across 72 plate appearances. He’s a depth option for the Dodgers.
Jahmai Jones, 2B/OF, BAL (preseason PL team rank: 12): Jones is a former top-100 prospect. He struggled once he started facing better pitching in the upper minors, but he’s had a bit of a bounce-back season with a .788 OPS in the minors in 2021. He’s a utility profile.
Kevin Smith, INF, TOR (preseason PL team rank: 20): Smith’s prospect stock has been up and down over the years but 2021 has been his true breakout campaign. There have been reports of a swing change entering this season and it has clearly paid dividends with Smith compiling a .916 OPS in Triple-A. Unfortunately, the Blue Kays roster is loaded so it will be difficult for Smith to carve out a consistent role in 2021.
Luis Madero, P, MIA (preseason PL team rank: UR): Madero had struggled in the minors for much of his career but righted the ship in 2021 with a 2.84 ERA in Triple-A. He split time as a starter and a reliever but he’s most likely a low-leverage relief arm in the majors.
Dylan Lee, P, ATL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Lee is a relief-only arm and posted a sub-two ERA in Triple-A this season. He could be a factor for Atlanta down the stretch.
Konner Wade, P, BAL (preseason PL team rank: UR): Wade made his debut this year as a 29-year-old relief arm. He’s allowed 11 runs in 8.2 innings.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)