It’s never been easier to watch Minor League Baseball. MiLB.TV already streams all Triple-A and Double-A games as well as several from the High-A and Low-A levels. Whether it’s the affiliates of your favorite Major League team or your Minor League clubs on nights you can’t make it to the ballpark, chances are there’s something for you on the Minors’ streaming service.
And this weekend, it’s free.
That’s right, MiLB.TV will be free on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as part of Minor League Baseball’s MiLB Major Fun Weekend initiative. To prepare fans for the streaming-filled days ahead, here are 10 of the best matchups to watch for free on MiLB.TV over the next three days.
Norfolk Tides (Orioles) @ Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals)
St. Louis fans will want to keep a close eye on the proceedings in Memphis this weekend as both of their organization’s top two prospects will be on display. No. 27 overall prospect Matthew Liberatore is scheduled to get the ball Saturday, fresh off his appearance as the National League starting pitcher in Sunday’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. The 21-year-old left-hander sports two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball and typically throws plenty of strikes. Every start for him is a potential Major League audition. Nolan Gorman’s calling card is his impressive raw power. The left-handed slugger has shown that off with 12 homers in 54 games between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and he’s always capable of sending more over the fence. No. 15 O’s prospect Kevin Smith, slated to start opposite Liberatore on Friday, should also give Baltimore fans something to see on MiLB.TV.
Louisville Bats (Reds) @ Nashville Sounds (Brewers)
Like watching elite velocity? There’s an MiLB.TV game for that. No. 2 Reds prospect Hunter Greene is scheduled to pitch for Louisville, and that will allow fans -- Cincinnati or otherwise -- to watch the radar gun light up with multiple pitches of 100 mph and above. After missing all of 2019 (Tommy John surgery) and 2020 (pandemic), the 21-year-old right-hander looks like he hasn’t missed a step. His slider and changeup, in particular, have developed nicely to the point where Greene isn’t just a hard-throwing fireballer anymore. He has 85 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Top Brewers pitching prospect Ethan Small could also make an appearance over the weekend after closing out the Futures Game last Sunday in Denver.
Bowie Baysox (Orioles) @ Erie SeaWolves (Tigers)
This might be the premier matchup of the entire weekend. The Baysox-SeaWolves showdown puts two No. 1 overall picks on the same diamond in Adley Rutschman (2019) and Spencer Torkelson (2020). Both are exceptional hitters capable of taking over entire games by themselves. That would be worth tuning into alone. But the rosters are deeper than that. Much deeper. By way of being the only AL player with multiple Futures Game hits this year, Erie left-handed slugger Riley Greene shows why he would be the headliner of pretty much any other Double-A series. Fellow SeaWolf Dillon Dingler is in the midst of a breakout season one year after going in the second round of the 2020 Draft. On Saturday, the Torkelson-Greene-Dingler trio face arguably their toughest test yet in slated Bowie starter Grayson Rodriguez. The right-hander is capable of touching triple-digits and shows two more plus pitches in his slider and changeup. His work with Rutschman behind the plate is a delight in itself. Match him up against three of the best hitting prospects in baseball, and that’s must-see MiLB.TV.
Arkansas Travelers (Mariners) @ Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals)
If there is a series to rival Erie-Bowie in terms of top prospects, it’s this one in the Natural State. Three Top-100 prospects will share the diamond in No. 5 Julio Rodríguez, No. 7 Bobby Witt Jr. and No. 100 Nick Pratto. Rodríguez and Witt have come as advertised in 2021. The former has slugged his way from High-A to Double-A already this season and has helped his native Dominican Republic clinch a spot in the Olympics. (He’s headed to Tokyo later this month.) Witt jumped straight to Double-A in technically his first full season, and the 2019 No. 2 overall pick hasn’t had an issue with the level, having hit 15 homers with a .954 OPS through 56 games. Pratto is worth checking out for his comeback story. The 2017 first-rounder fell massively after hitting just .191 over a full season at Class A Advanced Wilmington. Some impressive changes to his swing and approach in 2020 have made him one of Double-A’s best hitters this season. Pratto is hitting .288/.412/.606 with 15 homers through 56 games and will put those improvements on full display at home this weekend.
Mississippi Braves (Braves) @ Tennessee Smokies (Cubs)
Fans of all stripes got a good look at what No. 45 overall prospect Brennen Davis can do last weekend when he homered twice to take home Futures Game MVP honors. Cubs fans already had a good idea that the right-handed-hitting outfielder has above-average potential offensively, considering he’s hitting .284/.392/.504 between Double-A and High-A this season. On the Braves' side, 2019 first-rounder Shea Langeliers entered pro ball with a strong defensive reputation behind the plate, but he’s shown plenty of power himself with 14 homers and a .525 slugging percentage so far for Mississippi. A Smoky Mountain slugfest isn’t out of the question this weekend.
Somerset Patriots (Yankees) @ Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)
No. 7 Yankees prospect Luis Medina had the hardest-thrown pitch in Sunday’s Futures Game at 100.7 mph. In fact, 20 of his 28 pitches were clocked at 98 mph or above by Statcast. So when he takes the mound Friday in Richmond, expect the right-hander to bring a ton of velocity to MiLB.TV. He’ll be backed by No. 97 overall prospect Oswald Peraza, a strong defensive shortstop who has really taken a jump in his slugging ability during his age-21 season. The hosts have a Top 100 prospect of their own in No. 63 Heliot Ramos. The 21-year-old outfielder had a terrific spring for the Giants, and, though he’s had a bumpier time in Richmond, he still has the potential to impact any game with above-average power and a plus throwing arm.
Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds) @ Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Marlins)
Scheduled starters haven’t been released yet for this series by the Gulf of Mexico, but fans will want to keep a close eye on when three Futures Game participants could take the mound in Pensacola. Nick Lodolo (Chattanooga) and Max Meyer/Jake Eder (Pensacola) have each not pitched since their appearances in Denver. All three have been dominant at the Double-A level with Lodolo and Meyer already ranking as Top 100 prospects and Eder ready to climb the ranks himself. The Blue Wahoos have the more prominent hitting prospects here, led by 2019 fourth overall pick JJ Bleday. No. 11 Marlins prospect Peyton Burdick, who ranks fifth in Double-A South with 13 homers, is capable of highlight-worthy moonshots viewers will want to see live as well.
Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies) @ Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets)
Sure, Brett Baty was promoted to Double-A Binghamton earlier this week, but there are still plenty of ways to catch the remaining two members of Brooklyn’s Big Three during their time at Coney Island. Top Mets prospect Francisco Álvarez has a whiplike swing from the right side that he showed off in Sunday’s Futures Game, where he homered in his only at-bat. He has nine homers in 52 games on the season between High-A and Low-A and is hitting .285/.420/.527 at just 19 years old. Ronny Mauricio checks in as New York’s No. 2 prospect as a switch-hitter with his own plus power potential. On the Jersey Shore side, No. 6 Phillies prospect Casey Martin is a toolsy infielder with 75-grade speed and above-average pop all his own.
Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates) @ Rome Braves (Braves)
As last week’s Draft highlighted, the focus of the Pirates organization right now is very much on its younger talent. It just so happens that Pittsburgh’s top two prospects will both be on MiLB.TV this weekend in the same series. Nick Gonzales, the club’s first-round pick last year, entered pro ball with a reputation as a plus right-handed hitter with above-average speed, and while it’s taking him some time to warm up to High-A, he can still put on an offensive show at any time. Quinn Priester returns from the Futures Game to start Friday’s contest in Rome as he attempts to build on a 3.35 ERA over his first 10 starts. Rome boasts its own Futures Game participant in Michael Harris II, a left-handed-hitting outfielder with plus speed and a strong arm from the grass.
San Jose Giants (Giants) @ Modesto Nuts (Mariners)
The shortstop revolution will be televised. Marco Luciano (San Jose) and Noelvi Marte (Modesto) are two Top 100 prospects with lots of right-handed pop that have had little issue making the transition to full-season ball in 2021. Both rank in the top seven in Low-A West for OPS -- .909 for Luciano, .872 for Marte -- and while the Giants' youngster is the only Top 20 prospect of the pair now, don’t be surprised if both carve out prominent ranking spots in the months and years to come. Seeing the pair on the same diamond is very much something you’ll want to tell friends about in seasons ahead.