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 Emerson Hancock, Curtis Mead and Lawrence Butler. Since then, Hancock had made his second career start, which didn’t go as smoothly as the first. The righty tossed five frames against the Royals and allowed five runs on nine hits while striking out one. Through two starts, Hancock carries a 5.40 ERA and a 2.4% K-BB rate. He’s slated to face Houston this weekend, which is an obvious avoid from a fantasy point of view. Mead’s playing time has remained inconsistent with Tampa. He’s appeared in seven games since his big league debut on August 4. He’s 5 for 23 at the plate so far, with all five hits being singles. Mead is still a dynasty buy for the long term, but it’s difficult to imagine him playing enough to provide consistent fantasy projection for the remainder of 2023. On the flip side, Butler has seemingly become the everyday centerfielder for Oakland and is consistently hitting in the bottom third of the order. He’s 4 for 19 with two doubles and a home run to start his young career.
Now, onto this week’s call ups.
Wade Meckler, OF, SFG – Meckler was selected by the Giants in the eighth round of the 2022 draft and has quickly moved all the way up to the big leagues, despite also missing some time due to injury. Meckler only played in a handful of professional games in 2022 and started 2023 in High-A.
There, he hit an incredible .456 in 20 games, adding two steals and two home runs. That was good for a 204 wRC+, and Meckler quickly earned a promotion to Double-A. While he obviously couldn’t maintain his otherworldly production from High-A, Meckler was still one of the better hitters following that promotion, triple slashing .336/.431/.450 with two home runs and four steals in 39 games. That earned him yet another promotion, with Meckler moving to Triple-A and, surprise surprise, the 23-year-old was again an absolute force at the plate. In 10 games, Meckler triple slashed .400/.545/.600 and walked 24.2% of the time.
Overall, Meckler doesn’t possess elite power or speed, but he’s not a zero there either, and his hit tool is one of the best among all prospects. The Giants have been struggling to get offensive production for much of the 2023 season, so it’s not surprising that Meckler has immediately slotted in toward the top of the Giants lineup. He’s 3 for 11, with all hits being singles, through his first three games in the big leagues.
Osleivis Basabe, SS, TBR – Basabe can become quickly overlooked in a deep Tampa Bay farm. The Texas Rangers originally signed Basabe during the 2017-18 international signing period and he was traded to Tampa Bay as part of the Nathaniel Lowe trade following the 2022 season.
In 2021, Basabe kicked off the year in Single-A, triple slashing .284/.347/.385 with two home runs and 18 steals in 66 games. He earned a very brief promotion to High-A to close the season, and opened up 2022 at that level. There, he put up a 128 wRC+ while hitting .315 in 55 games, earning him a promotion to Double-A midway through the season. He put up similar numbers in at that level, triple slashing .333/.399/.446 in 57 games.
Basabe hasn’t been quite as productive in 2023, but his .296/.351/.426 triple slash with four home runs and 16 steals in 94 games is still notable. The 22-year-old shortstop is a hit-over-power prospect, and from a fantasy perspective his value will come in the form of a high batting average coupled with some steals on the basepaths. He stole bases at a roughly 75% clip in the minors, though, so he’s not efficient enough where I think he will ever become one of the league’s better base stealers, but he should still run enough to have value when he is seeing consistent playing time. For 2023, he might get a shot at a near-everyday role with Wander Franco out an indefinite amount of time. If Basabe struggles at the plate, though, he could find himself back in the minors quickly.
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.
Paul Skenes, P, PIT (CPX to Single-A) – The top overall pick in this year’s draft made his professional debut in rookie ball on August 10, He tossed one perfect inning there, striking out one, before getting the bump to Single-A. Skenes tossed one inning there on August 15, striking out two while allowing one hit. Clearly, the Pirates are taking it easy with Skenes following the collegiate season and we probably will not see him pitch more than one inning at a time until 2024. Skenes is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball (maybe the best) and likely someone to go in the top three in most first year player drafts this winter.
Luis Lara, OF, MIL (Single-A to High-A) – The Brewers have been aggressive with their young prospects in recent years and this is no exception. Lara doesn’t turn 19 until November, so him starting the season in Single-A was already an ambitious assignment. Lara more than held his own in Single-A though, triple slashing .285/.379/.354 with two home runs and 22 steals in 70 games. Most encouragingly for such a young hitter, Lara walked nearly as much as he struck out (12.3% BB rate, 14.5% strikeout rate). As of now, Lara doesn’t have much power but he should grow into some as he physically matures. The 22 steals are nice, but Lara was also caught nine times and his steal efficiency was actually worse in 2022. Lara will have to become a more efficient base stealer as he climbs the minor league ladder.
Justin Crawford, OF, PHI (Single-A to High-A) – Philadelphia took Crawford with the 17th overall pick in the 2022 draft. Crawford opened up the season at Single-A, triple slashing .344/.399/.478 with three home runs and 40(!) steals. Crawford has an intriguing fantasy ceiling has a potential high-batting average bat with wheels to be one of the league’s best base stealers. If he performs well at High-A to close out the season, his dynasty stock will skyrocket this offseason.
Carlos Jorge, 2B/SS, CIN (Single-A to High-A) – Jorge is one of the biggest prospect risers this season and a promotion to High-A should only help his stock even further. Jorge clocked in 86 games at Single-A in 2023, triple slashing .295/.400/.483 with nine home runs and 31 steals. Jorge’s only been caught seven times on the basepaths. His potential power/speed combo is one of the best in the minors and it doesn’t hurt that he’s walked at a double digit rate at each stop in the minors thus far. The stock arrow is firmly pointing up for Jorge.
Mikey Romero, 2B/SS, BOS (Single-A to High) – Keeping with the theme here, Romero is another teenage prospect making the leap from Single-A to High-A. Romero has missed a good chunk of time this season due to a back injury, but he logged 23 games at Single prior to this promotion. He didn’t exactly perform there, hitting just .217, so it is a little surprising to see him to get the bump to High-A. In general, he’s a hit-over-power prospect, though his fantasy ceiling isn’t particularly high.
Santiago Suarez, P, TBR (CPX to Single-A) – Looking for a teenage arm that could shoot up some lists? Suarez could be your guy. The 18-year-old righty heads to Single-A after 39.2 efficient innings in the Florida Complex League. Suarez posted a 20.0% K-BB rate in those frames and was starting to pitch a bit deeper into games as the season went on. Oh, and he had 1.13 ERA. We all know that the Rays tend to get the most out of their pitchers, so Suarez is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Pirates | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)