5:13 PM UTC
You didn’t think the roster additions were finished at the Trade Deadline, did you?
There are still several internal improvements clubs could make down the stretch, many of which could have big impacts on the 2022 playoff rush. Some of them could be household prospect names, like Francisco ?lvarez or Corbin Carroll. Others could be lesser prospects called up to play smaller, but almost equally important, roles as contending clubs try to improve in the margins before the postseason arrives.
Here are 30 prospects we could see in the Majors before the season is over, one for each club:
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Gabriel Moreno, C (No. 1/MLB No. 5)Toronto has gone with Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk as its catching options when the two have been healthy this season, making it difficult for Moreno to stick despite his MLB readiness. The 22-year-old backstop did play 18 games for the big club this summer, hitting .276/.300/.293 in that short span, before the Jays decided it would be better for him to get everyday at-bats. Even if his power is a bit lacking in 2022, Moreno’s contact rate and impressive athleticism behind the plate would be helpful for a final playoff push should Jansen or Kirk get hurt or if the Jays want to carry three catchers at any point.
Orioles: Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B (No. 2/MLB No. 4)A fully healthy Grayson Rodriguez might have been the choice (and might still be), though a fully healthy Rodriguez might have been in the big leagues already and not up for consideration here. Henderson has adjusted to Triple-A quite nicely, with a .925 OPS over 48 games at age 21. He could be an offensive upgrade at either spot on the left side of the infield.
Rays: Taj Bradley, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 30)Bradley only has three uneven Triple-A starts under his belt, you might say, but if there’s a club that could find a way to take advantage of his plus fastball and cutter without leaving him vulnerable, it’s Tampa Bay. The Rays have become masters at playing matchups with their best arms come crunch time, and the 21-year-old right-hander certainly fits the bill on a stuff level. A Bradley promotion could be a shot in the arm for a Tampa Bay team trying to hold onto an AL Wild Card spot.
Red Sox: Triston Casas, 1B (No. 2/MLB No. 13)Though the Red Sox just grabbed Eric Hosmer in a salary dump by the Padres, Casas is their future at first base. The 2018 first-rounder from a Florida high school isn’t having a monster year (.255/.361/.475, nine homers in 56 games) but he’s also a 22-year-old in Triple-A and combines prodigious power potential with a disciplined approach.
Yankees: Anthony Volpe, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 7)While Isiah Kiner-Falefa has shored up the Yankees’ defense at shortstop, Volpe would provide a significant offensive upgrade after recovering from a slow start. A 2019 first-rounder out of a New Jersey high school, he’s batting .249/.350/.462 with 16 homers and 38 steals in 93 Double-A games at age 21.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Guardians: Bo Naylor, C (No. 9/MLB No. 99)After hitting just .188 with a 31 percent strikeout rate in 2021, Naylor has recaptured the offensive form that made him a first-rounder as a Canadian prepster in 2018. He’s batting .269/.416/.497 with 13 homers in 86 games between Double-A and Triple-A, has a much more dangerous bat than Guardians catcher Austin Hedges does and also provides solid defense behind the plate.
Royals: Drew Waters, OF (No. 7)Kansas City thinks it may have figured something out with Waters following his acquisition in a trade with the Braves last month. The switch-hitting outfielder has plugged himself well into the Royals’ hitting system and owns a .315/.411/.565 line at Triple-A Omaha. He’s already matched his Gwinnett home run total of five in 99 fewer at-bats. A plus runner and solid defender in center, Waters already has some Major League-ready tools, and the Royals might want to give his bat another test with a chance to join the youth movement in KC.
Tigers: Ryan Kreidler, SS (No. 5)Kreidler has dealt with repercussions from a broken hand suffered back in April for much of the season, but he’s been back with Triple-A Toledo since July 29. Notably, the Tigers have started giving the shortstop more time at second base and third base in preparation for a potential move to Motor City, and that’s saying something because they consider him their best Minor League defensive infielder. It may just take more proving that Kreidler is fully healed this time from the hand issues to punch his ticket to Detroit.
Twins: Ronny Henriquez, RHP (No. 10)While his overall numbers aren’t great (5.60 ERA, 1.45 WHIP), Henriquez does have some weapons, namely a fastball that has touched triple digits and a slider he relies on heavily that has elicited a 37 percent whiff rate in Triple-A. He’s been getting work out of the bullpen this month, perhaps a sign the Twins might ask him to help bolster the big league relief corps down the stretch.
White Sox: Davis Martin, RHP (No. 15)One of the biggest breakout performers in the White Sox system, Martin already has made seven trips to Chicago this year and acquitted himself well with a 4.25 ERA and 26/10 K/BB ratio in 36 innings. The 2018 14th-rounder from Texas Tech pitches primarily with a 92-95 mph fastball that reaches 97 with a flat approach angle and a solid mid-80s slider with depth.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Chase Silseth, RHP (No. 18)The first member of the 2021 Draft class to reach the big leagues, Silseth’s time in the big leagues has been uneven since his stunning debut. That hasn’t kept him from absolutely dominating in Double-A, with a 1.91 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .193 BAA and a K/9 rate over 12. With the Angels looking to the future, why not let him finish out the year in the rotation?
Astros: Hunter Brown, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 79)The Astros have an abundance of quality starters right now, so Brown will have to wait for an opening in the rotation, but his power arsenal would also play nicely in a multi-inning relief role. Armed with a mid-90s fastball that touches 99 and a power curveball with quality depth, the 2019 fifth-rounder from Wayne State (Mich.) leads the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with a 2.52 ERA, 115 strikeouts, 12.1 whiffs per nine innings and a .194 opponent average.
A’s: Ken Waldichuk, LHP (No. 3/MLB No. 68)Waldichuk didn’t make a great first impression in his first start since coming over from the Yankees in the Frankie Montas deal, but the left-hander’s stuff is ready for a big league test. And as the A’s rebuild, it could be a very good look to let their fans see what the best prospect in that trade has to offer for 2023.
Mariners: Emerson Hancock, RHP (No. 2)While injuries haven’t let the 2020 first-round pick live up to advanced billing, Hancock has been looking more and more like himself in 2022. While the M’s have monitored his workload closely, he’s been impressive in Double-A, with a 2.43 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and .205 BAA. Anyone who saw him strike out the side in a perfect Futures Game inning with mid-90s sinkers couldn’t help but think he could come in handy coming out of the big league ‘pen in the final month or so of the season.
Rangers: Josh Jung, 3B (No. 2/MLB No. 27)The eighth overall pick in the 2019 Draft out of Texas Tech, Jung was on course to make his big league debut in early 2021 but still has yet to do so thanks to a stress fracture in his left foot and coronavirus protocols last year and a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder this February. He’s back now and showing off his all-around offensive ability in Triple-A with a double, home run, two walks and six RBI in two games since arriving there Tuesday.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Kyle Muller, LHP (No. 2)The Braves are already getting a contribution from Vaughn Grissom, who was called up from Double-A and homered in his first game on Wednesday, but they’re never afraid to look to the farm for young pitching help. Muller’s previous stints in the big leagues have been uneven, at best, but the big left-hander has been outstanding in Triple-A, leading the International League in strikeouts (122 in just 99 IP). And he’s missed all those bats while starting to answer the one big question about his game, his command, by walking just 2.45 per nine.
Marlins: Eury P?rez, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 14)The Marlins are playing out the string and already have promoted several of their best prospects. While they aren’t going to do this, it sure would be fun to see the electric P?rez make his big league debut at age 19 after he has logged a 4.19 ERA, .228 opponent average and 102/21 K/BB ratio in 73 Double-A innings. Signed for $200,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, he’s equipped to survive in the Majors now with a lively mid-90s fastball, solid upper-70s curveball and dancing mid-80s changeup.
Mets: Francisco ?lvarez, C (No. 1/MLB No. 1)We can dream, right? The Mets did not make a move at catcher before the Trade Deadline, and while the 20-year-old remains young and with defensive issues, he’s getting closer and closer to being ready for Queens with the bat. Ignore ?lvarez’s BABIP-deflated average at Syracuse, and pay attention to the fact that nine of his 15 Triple-A hits have gone for extra bases, including five homers. The Mets may be running away with the NL East, but if they want to give their best shot at winning a pennant in the fall, they might want to give one of their best catching options a look before the season is out.
Nationals: Cade Cavalli, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 43)At the beginning of the year, we felt like Cavalli was a likely first-half debutant for the Nats. Command issues have delayed that, but the 23-year-old right-hander has been rounding into form lately, posting a 2.20 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 10 walks in his last seven starts (32 2/3 innings). A spot in the Washington rotation is there for Cavalli’s taking whenever the organization deems him ready, and that time appears to be getting closer by the start.
Phillies: Francisco Morales, RHP (No. 8)Morales definitely needs to refine his command (7.4 BB/9 in the Minors this year), and he hasn’t fared well in his brief stints in the big leagues, but the hard-throwing right-hander was righting the ship in Double-A and threw a scoreless frame in Triple-A after a quick trip to Atlanta to help the parent club against the Braves. There are no questions about Morales’ ability to miss bats (14.4 K/9).
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Esteury Ruiz, OF (No. 9)Milwaukee has an embarrassment of riches in the Triple-A Nashville outfield with Ruiz, Sal Frelick (MIL No. 2), Joey Wiemer (No. 3) and Garrett Mitchell (No. 4) all suiting up for the Sounds. Only one has Major League experience though, and that’s the newest Brewer in Ruiz. The 23-year-old showed a much-improved approach in the San Diego system before his move in the Josh Hader deal, and his 80-grade speed would certainly be an asset for his new big league club immediately, even in a clutch pinch-running role.
Cardinals: Alec Burleson, OF (No. 8)The 2020 70th overall pick has been one of Triple-A’s most productive hitters this season and enters Thursday with a .329/.371/.541 line and 19 home runs through 91 games with Memphis. He’s hitting for damage as well while only striking out 14.7 percent of the time. Burleson would probably already be up with the Cardinals, if not for a logjam in the outfield, but he keeps forcing the issue with his bat. Should the St. Louis depth be challenged at any point down the stretch, you can bet Burleson will be an easy plug-and-play option.
Cubs: Hayden Wesneski, RHP (No. 8)Though he got shelled in his first Triple-A start after coming over from the Yankees in the Scott Effross trade, Wesneski has little left to prove at that level after recording a 4.24 ERA and 85/30 K/BB ratio in 91 1/3 innings. He throws strikes with a four-pitch mix highlighted by a 92-94 mph sinker, a four-seam fastball that peaks at 98 and a sweeping low-80s slider.
Reds: Spencer Steer, 2B/3B (No. 6)Steer’s power hasn’t shown up quite as much as it did in his first full season of pro ball in 2021 (24 homers), but there has still been plenty of extra-base thump as he played his way from Double- to Triple-A and to the Futures Game before heading to the Reds in the Tyler Mahle deal. The Reds do like guys with positional flexibility who can hit, and Steer has shown he can play second and third and even fill in at short if needed.
Pirates: Ji-hwan Bae, 2B/OF (No. 15)The Pirates have been giving long auditions in Pittsburgh to a number of young players, both in the middle infield and in the outfield. Why not give a shot to Bae, who can play both spots? He’s continued to show off excellent contact and on-base skills while impacting the ball more (.450 SLG) and has something few other Pirates prospects have: easily plus speed.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Corbin Carroll, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 2)Does Arizona need to call up its top prospect for the final weeks of the season? Probably not. Do they historically like challenging Carroll? You bet, including his assignments to Double-A and Triple-A this season. Carroll has handled Reno well already, hitting .325/.444/.563 with four homers and a near-even 18/15 K/BB ratio through 20 games, and he could certainly play a quality center field in the Majors right now. Calling up Carroll could give the 21-year-old a taste of The Show before another offseason of preparation and help him take the league by storm for a full campaign in 2023.
Dodgers: Bobby Miller, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 24)Ryan Pepiot got the call to replace the injured Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers rotation, but Miller also could provide rotation depth or be a multi-inning bullpen weapon. The 2020 first-rounder from Louisville has some of the best power stuff in the Minors: an upper-90s four-seamer fastball, a heavy mid-90s two-seamer, a two-plane slider and a lively changeup both in the mid-80s and a low-80s curveball. His 4.84 ERA in Double-A belies his 108/29 K/BB ratio and .228 opponent average in 83 2/3 innings.
Giants: Kyle Harrison, LHP (No. 2/MLB No. 23)The rotation is an area of strength for the Giants, but Harrison is one of the most unhittable pitchers in the Minors with a 2.43 ERA, a .181 opponent average and 137 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings between High-A and Double-A at age 20. The 2020 third-rounder from a California high school carves batters up with a riding mid-90s fastball and sharp 82-85 mph slider.
Rockies: Michael Toglia, 1B (No. 9)It might be hard for Toglia to break in with Elehuris Montero getting a lot of time at first in the big leagues currently, but it looks like Toglia’s power is definitely going to play (24 homers this year while just getting bumped up from pitching-friendly Hartford). Now, it comes with a lot of swing-and-miss, so you know what you’re getting, but he could put some balls in the seats while offering Gold Glove caliber defense.
Padres: Luis Campusano, C (No. 1/MLB No. 51)San Diego has kept rotating between Austin Nola and Jorge Alfaro behind the plate this season. In fact, they’re the only two players to start a game at catcher for the Padres in 2022. Campusano isn’t likely to break up the pair on his own. Should an injury occur to either, it should help the NL Wild Card contenders that they have a right-handed slugger with above-average hit and power tools waiting in El Paso. Campusano is hitting .308/.373/.491 with 11 homers in 70 games during his second Triple-A season.