One potential impact callup for each team

April 20th, 2023

The season isn't quite three weeks old and already nine Top 100 Prospects have been called up to the big leagues: Francisco Álvarez (No. 1 on the list), Grayson Rodriguez (No. 5), Taj Bradley (No. 18), Brett Baty (No. 19), Oswald Peraza (No. 46), Brayan Rocchio (No. 69), Zach Neto (No. 82), Joey Wiemer (No. 83) and Edouard Julien (No. 94). That total doesn't even include the 14 who made Opening Day rosters.

Who's next? We present a potential impact callup for each of the 30 organizations below.


Blue Jays: Yosver Zulueta, RHP (No. 3)
You could make a case for Addison Barger here, but until he gets more outfield reps under his belt, there isn’t a natural fit for him on Toronto’s Major League roster. Instead, Zulueta could help the Jays’ pitching staff as either a starter or reliever, depending on need. The latter still seems most likely, even though he’s getting starts at Triple-A Buffalo, with a pair of 94-97 mph fastballs and a low-80s sweeping slider that could play up in shorter stints.

Orioles: Connor Norby, 2B/OF (No. 8/MLB No. 97)
As if Gunnar Henderson and Grayson Rodriguez weren’t enough, there’s more talent pooling at the upper levels. Norby can hit, and with power, and has shown he’s a capable defender at second and in an outfield corner. Adam Frazier’s just been OK and outfielders not named Austin Hays haven’t been setting the world on fire, either.

Rays: Curtis Mead, 3B/2B (No. 2/MLB No. 30)
Mead is off to a slow start with a .606 OPS in 14 games with Triple-A Durham, but a career-low .262 BABIP is playing a role. His strikeout and walk rates are in line with last year’s International League stint, and he has a 45.2 percent hard-hit rate (balls in play above a 95 mph exit velocity), which would rank around the 72nd percentile in the Majors. The Rays proved they were willing to turn to young talent with Taj Bradley, and if an infield opening should arise, Mead could get a similar call.

Red Sox: Ceddane Rafaela, OF/SS (No. 2/MLB No. 79)
Though he's not off to a great start in Double-A (.216/.275/.243), Rafaela's combination of instincts, quickness and arm strength makes him the most versatile defender in the Minors and he could upgrade Boston's glovework at multiple positions. Signed for a mere $10,000 out of Curacao in 2017, he's a high-energy guy who produced 63 extra-base hits and 28 steals last season.

Yankees: Will Warren, RHP (No. 9)
If the Yankees need some pitching help, a 2021 eighth-rounder from Southeastern Louisiana could be their best option. Warren's mid-80s slider with high spin and severe sweep is an out pitch, and he sets it up with a 91-95 two-seam fastball. He owns a 4.82 ERA with 13 whiffs in 9 1/3 innings in Double-A.


Guardians: Tanner Bibee, RHP (No. 5/MLB No. 59)
Bibee's stuff has jumped significantly since the Guardians made him a fifth-round pick out of Cal State Fullerton in 2021, and he now operates with a plus fastball and slider, not to mention a solid changeup. He also has retained his impressive strike-throwing ability and didn't allow a run in his first two Triple-A starts while allowing eight baserunners and fanning 15 in 11 innings.

Royals: Maikel Garcia, SS (No. 3)
Garcia had one of the most memorable winter-league runs by a prospect in 2022-23 when he slashed .323/.444/.498 over 58 games in his native Venezuela, and he’s kept on producing during the regular season with a .281/.391/.421 line in 14 games for Triple-A Omaha. Considered a gifted defender at short, the 23-year-old is blocked by Bobby Witt Jr. there and has folded in a little more third base. Should trends continue, the Royals will find a spot for Garcia’s bat, glove and above-average speed.

Tigers: Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B/OF (No. 7)
Acquired from the Braves this offseason in the Joe Jiménez trade, Malloy has always had a knack for reaching base in the Minors. That hasn’t stopped at Triple-A Toledo. The 23-year-old right-handed hitter leads the International League with a .536 OBP and 16 walks through 16 games. Though he could show a little more pop to press the issue, it’s notable he’s been third-base only at a time when the Tigers have used five different starting players at the hot corner.

Twins: Brooks Lee, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 28)
There isn’t an obvious spot for him to slide into in Minnesota with Carlos Correa at short, but if there’s another bat from the 2022 Draft class who could make a Zach Neto-like jump, it’s this guy. He had a .940 OPS in his first nine games with Double-A Wichita this year and he just barrels up the ball all the time, with a 14.5 percent strikeout rate thus far in his young career.

White Sox: Cristian Mena, RHP (No. 7)
Mena turned pro for $250,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, led the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League in strikeout rate (11.5 per nine innings) in his pro debut two years later and reached Double-A at age 19 last season. He owns a plus curveball with power and depth, reaches 96 mph with his fastball and flashes an interesting slider and changeup. He has struck out 15 in seven innings while posting a 6.43 ERA in two Double-A starts.


Angels: Jo Adell, OF (graduated)
Just because you’re no longer officially a prospect doesn’t mean you can’t be an impact callup. While Adell has had opportunities to stick in Los Angeles before and might seem like a Quadruple-A type of guy now, he’s still only 24 years old. He definitely made people sit up and take note when he homered in six straight games earlier this month and is building a case for another shot in the big leagues with his .307/.429/.774 line in 16 games.

A’s: Tyler Soderstrom, C/1B (No. 1/MLB No. 34)
He’s in Triple-A and he’s doing what he usually does: rake. The 21-year-old left-handed hitter has a .300/.368/.620 line through 12 games with Las Vegas and while he’s getting a lot of reps behind the plate, his place in Oakland right now would be at first, where he’d be an upgrade over Ryan Noda or Jesús Aguilar.

Astros: Justin Dirden, OF (No. 7)
An undrafted free agent who signed out of Southeast Missouri State in 2020, Dirden led Astros farmhands in slugging percentage (.558), OPS (.942), doubles (40), extra-base hits (69) and RBIs (101) while advancing to Triple-A in 2022. Off to a .208/.288/.340 start at that level this season, he offers plus raw power and deceptive athleticism for a 6-foot-3, 209-pounder.

Mariners: Zack DeLoach, OF (No. 26)
Longer-term, one or more of the pitchers in Double-A -- Bryce Miller, Emerson Hancock, Bryan Woo -- are likely to have more of an impact, perhaps even later this year. But while DeLoach isn’t likely to break into the daily lineup in Seattle, he could still provide a lift for an offense that’s been struggling to get going thus far while playing all three outfield spots. At the very least he’ll get on base (.375 career OBP) and has put up a .339/.431/.482 line over his first 14 games in his first taste of Triple-A.

Rangers: Evan Carter, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 36)
Carter has gone from a surprise second-round pick as a Tennessee high schooler in 2020 to one of the top prospects in the game. A potential five-tool center fielder with perhaps the best batting eye in the Minors, he's slashing .378/.531/.649 with three homers and 12 walks in 10 games as the second-youngest regular (age 20) in the Double-A Texas League.


Braves: Dylan Dodd, LHP (No. 10)
Dodd was a bit of a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster and he made two starts -- one good and one bad -- before being sent down to Triple-A when Kyle Wright came off the injured list. He got right back to work by tossing 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball in his first start with Gwinnett this year. He and fellow lefty Jared Shuster might battle it out for first guy called back when a starter is needed.

Marlins: Eury Pérez, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 11)
Pérez is repeating Double-A and he's still the youngest pitcher at that level, having turned 20 last Saturday. His command hasn't been at his finest, while he has allowed eight runs (five earned) in nine innings, albeit with 12 strikeouts, but his combination of size (6-foot-8), stuff and polish will play in the big leagues -- and he should get there soon. One of the Marlins' best moves in recent memory was signing him for $200,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2019.

Mets: Mark Vientos, 1B/3B (No. 8)
Having already brought up Francisco Álvarez and Brett Baty, the Mets still have two big boppers at Triple-A Syracuse in Vientos and Ronny Mauricio. Considering Mauricio has yet to play a position besides shortstop, it seems like Vientos might have the clearer path to Queens as a right-handed power bat in the mode of who New York hoped Darin Ruf would be. The 23-year-old is hitting .364/.446/.764 with six homers in 15 Triple-A games, and he’s responsible for the International League’s fourth-longest homer (450 feet, April 1) so far.

Nationals: Matt Cronin, LHP (No. 21)
Washington’s Major League bullpen only contains one lefty in Anthony Banda, and the system just so happens to have a near-ready southpaw at Triple-A Rochester. Cronin has allowed only one earned run while striking out nine over seven innings in the International League, all while throwing a low-90s fastball and mid-70s curveball that can both get whiffs at opposite ends of the zone. Control will be a point of emphasis (5 BB in 7 IP) before the 25-year-old truly bangs down the door to the capital.

Phillies: Carlos De La Cruz, OF/1B (No. 9)
Maybe it sounds improbable for a guy to get called up from Double-A when he’s played just 10 days at that level to date, but who would’ve thought De La Cruz, a non-drafted free agent signed out of the New York high school ranks, would have made it this far in the first place? He’s swinging the bat well (.308/.372/.590) over his first 10 games and has been focusing on his first base play, which could come in handy if the Alec Bohm and Kody Clemens combination at first isn’t working.


Brewers: Sal Frelick, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 27)
Frelick missed Wednesday’s game with a thumb injury, which caused him to be passed over as a Garrett Mitchell (shoulder) replacement, but has avoided an injured-list stint to this point. Milwaukee hasn’t shied away from using rookie outfielders this spring in Mitchell and Joey Wiemer, and Frelick has higher ceilings than both with his exceptional hit tool and blazing speed. Even with his current injury and a slow start (.638 OPS in 15 games), the former Boston College star’s bat-to-ball skills can translate quickly when the call eventually comes.

Cardinals: Matthew Liberatore, LHP (No. 5)
This feels like the old Liberatore again. The 23-year-old southpaw has held his velocity jump from Spring Training and has sat around 95-96 mph with his four-seamer and sinker over his first four starts with Triple-A Memphis, resulting in a 2.38 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings. His mid-70s curveball remains a plus pitch and got seven whiffs alone on 14 swings Tuesday. His 19 whiffs in total led Triple-A for the day; no one else had more than 13.

Cubs: Matt Mervis, 1B (No. 6)
The Cubs are getting little production out of Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini, so it's time to give the slugging Mervis a look. The 2020 undrafted free agent from Duke led the Minors with 78 extra-base hits, 310 total bases and 119 RBIs and tied for the Arizona Fall League lead with six homers last year, and he's at it again in Triple-A. He's slashing .293/.456/.585 with three homers and 13 walks through 12 games.

Pirates: Endy Rodriguez, C/2B/OF/1B (No. 2/MLB No. 49)
He’s not even locked in and he’s still slashing .280/.345/.440 at age 22 in Triple-A. He’s been getting nearly all of his defensive reps behind the plate, and if the Pirates feel he can handle a big league staff, he’s a huge offensive upgrade over the current options in Pittsburgh. Plus, they could get his bat into the lineup at first base (and he’s played significant time at second and the outfield in the past).

Reds: Andrew Abbott, LHP (No. 10)
The Reds’ big league rotation has the worst ERA in the National League so far at 6.59. Meanwhile, Abbott has been ridiculous over his first two starts in Double-A, giving up just two hits and one walk over 10 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out 25. His newer slider is very effective and he has a legitimate four-pitch mix that could look very nice in the back end of Cincy’s rotation soon.


D-backs: Brandon Pfaadt, RHP (No. 3, MLB No. 53)
Arizona went with Ryne Nelson and Drey Jameson on the Major League staff out of the gate after both impressed in the Majors late last season, but there’s always been the feeling that Pfaadt won’t be far behind. Last year’s Minor League strikeout leader has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the farm system, thanks to his 92-94 mph fastball, mid-80s slider and upper-80s changeup, all of which can get whiffs. He’s fanned 17 batters and walked only three in 13 1/3 innings so far for Triple-A Reno.

Dodgers: Gavin Stone, RHP (No. 4/MLB No. 50)
Stone may have a 7.20 ERA through four Triple-A starts, but he led the Minors with a 1.48 mark last season and dominated in big league camp this spring. Armed with a devastating changeup, a mid-90s fastball and a solid slider, the 2020 fifth-rounder from Central Arkansas is equipped to plug one of the holes at the back of Los Angeles' rotation.

Giants: Casey Schmitt, 3B/SS (No. 4)
If J.D. Davis cools off, the Giants could hand the hot corner to Schmitt, the best third-base defender in the Minors. A two-way star at San Diego State before becoming a 2020 second-round pick, he slammed 21 homers last season and is slashing .307/.325/.373 through 17 Triple-A games.

Padres: Jay Groome, LHP (No. 9)
Groome was kept long in Spring Training as a potential rotation option before opening with Triple-A El Paso. He’s continued to wield a four-pitch mix, leaning most heavily on his 91-93 mph four-seamer and 85-87 mph slider. Pitching in a hitter’s haven like El Paso can lead to some funky numbers, but it was notable that Groome most recently threw his first quality start of the season (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) last time out against Albuquerque last Thursday.

Rockies: Brenton Doyle, OF (No. 16)
He’s already the best center fielder defensively in the system, at any level, so that could help the big league team out. There was talk during Spring Training that Doyle had started to make some adjustments and figure things out. He really turned it on late last year to finish with a 20-20 season and after missing a week, he’s back destroying Triple-A pitching, hitting .303/.378/.576 over eight games.