Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Five NL West prospects worth watching

@mi_guardado
April 11, 2019

The Minor League season kicked off last week, offering the first glimpse at some of the brightest prospects around baseball. Many of them reside within National League West organizations, as the Padres and Dodgers have each built top-10 farm systems, according to MLB Pipeline. Here’s a look at five NL

The Minor League season kicked off last week, offering the first glimpse at some of the brightest prospects around baseball. Many of them reside within National League West organizations, as the Padres and Dodgers have each built top-10 farm systems, according to MLB Pipeline.

Here’s a look at five NL West prospects to keep an eye on.

D-backs: RHP Jon Duplantier

Duplantier made his Major League debut earlier this month as a reliever and worked four scoreless innings over two appearances before being optioned to Triple-A Reno on Tuesday. The plan is for Duplantier to be stretched out as a starter, bolstering the club’s pitching depth in the upper Minors. Duplantier has dealt with injuries in the past, but when he’s healthy, he has been dominant, posting a 1.79 ERA over three Minor League seasons.

Dodgers: RHP Josh Sborz

Although he was drafted in the Competitive Balance Round, Sborz has been an under-the-radar prospect in a deep Dodgers system. But the inconsistency of the big league bullpen, combined with injuries to starting pitchers and Sborz’s ability to pitch multiple innings as a former starter, could earn him a promotion sooner, rather than later. And while he lacks some of the buzz of others in the organization, he was added to the 40-man roster in November, so his recall would be a simpler exercise than adding a veteran on a Minor League contract.

Giants: C Joey Bart

Bart, the second overall pick in last June’s Draft, exceeded expectations in his first big league camp with the Giants this spring, and he’s followed that up with a strong start with Class A Advanced San Jose. Bart crushed a towering three-run home run, his first of the year, in his third game of the season and entered Wednesday batting .300 (6-for-20) with a 1.067 OPS.

Viewed as the heir apparent to Buster Posey behind the plate, Bart could make a quick climb through the Giants’ farm system, though he is unlikely to reach the Majors until September, at the earliest.

Padres: OF/1B Josh Naylor

The Padres already have a big league roster loaded with prospects. Next to arrive could be Naylor. The slugging outfielder had an excellent spring at the plate, and he’s one of the most advanced hitters in the organization.

“He's a big league bat right now,” manager Andy Green said last month. “The whole organization feels that way.”

The biggest question mark is Naylor’s shaky defense. But with Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski on the injured list, the Padres could use a lefty-hitting outfielder on their bench. Naylor will be an option.

Rockies: INF Brendan Rodgers

Rockies fans are dying to know: When is the 22-year-old Rodgers -- the team's No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and the overall No. 10 prospect -- going to be ready? This spring, his second big league camp, he showed improved ability to make contact -- something the Rockies want to see.

Through the first six games at Triple-A Albuquerque, Rodgers is hitting .240 with a home run and two RBIs. The four strikeouts to no walks will have to improve.

After some early injuries, the Rockies called on middle infielder Pat Valaika and corner infielder Josh Fuentes -- a clear sign that the Rockies want Rodgers to be called up when he is truly ready, and not because of need at the Major League level.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.