Prospects who could be impact callups -- 1 for each team

April 18th, 2024

We've already seen several noteworthy callups in this young season. The biggest came when the Orioles promoted the best prospect in baseball, Jackson Holliday, on April 10. The Dodgers summoned fellow Top 100 prospect Andy Pages on Tuesday to bolster their outfield.

When Justin Steele strained a hamstring on Opening Day, the Cubs quickly turned to former Top 100 prospect Ben Brown, who shook off a rough big league debut to allow just one run over his first two starts. Nick Nastrini joined the White Sox on Monday and already looks like their No. 2 starter after one outing.

Who's next? We identify impact callup candidates for each organization below, highlighted by 17 Top 100 prospects:


Blue Jays: Ricky Tiedemann, LHP (No. 1/MLB No. 27)
It’s been a rocky trio of Triple-A starts for Tiedemann, who was still being considered by Toronto as a Major League option late in the spring. He walked four over 1 2/3 innings during a cold April 5 outing in Worcester and has allowed five earned runs total through eight frames in his first three starts. But the talent is still undeniably there, particularly with his mid-90s fastball and low-80s sweeper. If he can iron out his command and stay healthy, Tiedemann could help a Jays pitching staff that ranks 23rd in the Majors with a collective 4.64 ERA.

Orioles: Coby Mayo, 3B/1B (No. 3/MLB No. 28)
Holliday is up, so who’s next? It could be Heston Kjerstad or it could be Mayo, they currently stand No. 1 and 2 among all Top 100 players in total bases this season. What Mayo is doing, at age 22, in Triple-A has been very impressive (.348/.403/.652), though it’s not so easy to figure out how the Orioles can get his bat into the big league lineup. But if he keeps hitting like this, they’re going to have to sort it out.

Rays: Junior Caminero, 3B/SS (No. 1/MLB No. 4)
Now that a brief quad strain is behind him, Caminero is back doing what he does best – crushing the ball. He hit a 425-foot homer in his return to the Triple-A Durham lineup on April 14, and he has at least one hit in each of his first five games with the Bulls for a .318/.400/.636 slash line. The right-handed slugger’s power would instantly translate if he returned to the bigs, but unfortunately for him, Isaac Paredes continues to mash at third base for Tampa Bay. Should the Rays’ infield depth be tested, Caminero should get the call to keep the team afloat in the AL East.

Red Sox: Marcelo Mayer, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 15)
With Trevor Story out for the season following shoulder surgery, the Red Sox's middle-infield situation is up in the air. Mayer, the No. 4 overall choice in the 2021 Draft (Boston's highest pick since 1967), would offer an immediate offensive and defensive upgrade over current shortstop starter David Hamilton. Besides his speed, all of Mayer's tools are solid or better and he's off to a .344/.371/.500 start at Double-A.

Yankees: Will Warren, RHP (No. 7)
The Yankees' starting pitching has held up remarkably well, even with reigning Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole on the shelf, but they're going to need reinforcements at some point. With a heavy 92-95 mph sinker and a wipeout slider, Warren is equipped to provide that help. The 2021 eighth-rounder from Southeastern Louisiana allowed just two runs in his final five Triple-A starts last year but has been roughed up for 10 runs (nine earned) in his first 9 1/3 innings in 2024.


Guardians: Kyle Manzardo, 1B (No. 2/MLB No. 54)
After finishing in last place in the Majors in homers a year ago, the Guardians sit in the middle of the pack early this season and could add even more power with Manzardo. Acquired from the Rays in exchange for Aaron Civale last July, the 23-year-old is a pure hitter who makes good swing decisions and continues to add more pop to his profile. He's slashing .265/.371/.408 at Triple-A.

Royals: Will Klein, RHP (No. 18)
Only one Triple-A pitcher has made more than five appearances without allowing an earned run so far in 2024, and that is Klein. The 6-foot-5 right-hander has struck out eight over eight innings but has battled control issues (seven walks) while keeping his ERA pristine. The stuff has played though with a fastball that averages 97.5 mph and has gotten 13 whiffs on 39 swings. His upper-80s slider and mid-80s curveball give him a pair of breaking looks to keep hitters further off balance. With Klein added to the 40-man in November, he could make for a fine callup when Kansas City needs bullpen help.

Tigers: Jace Jung, 3B/2B (No. 4/MLB No. 55)
Detroit moved Colt Keith to second base and then swapped Jung from second to third. Entering Wednesday, Tigers third basemen ranked 25th with a collective 72 wRC+ with the lion’s share of starts going to Gio Urshela, who is batting .300 but hasn’t shown much power or patience at the dish. Jung is the long-term solution at the hot corner, and his pop has played early for Triple-A Toledo with three homers and a .509 SLG through 15 games. His five barrels trail only Akil Baddoo’s six for most among Mud Hens. The Tigers could use some thunder, and that’s what Jung provides best.

Twins: David Festa, RHP (No. 5)
Top prospect Brooks Lee is still out with a back issue, so we’ll give him time to get going once healthy. Festa finished last year in Triple-A and is back there again. He’s being stretched out slowly, with just 8 1/3 IP over three starts, but he’s struck out 10 and has a 2.16 ERA so far this year. He’s going to have to refine the command (9 BB), but he should be ready whenever the big league rotation needs help.

White Sox: Colson Montgomery, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 9)
With the White Sox off to a dismal start, the focus is on the future -- and the brightest part of that future should be Montgomery. The 22nd overall pick in the 2021 Draft out of an Indiana high school, he elicits repeated Corey Seager comps because he's a large lefty-hitting shortstop with a high offensive ceiling and better defense than he gets credit for. He's slashing .234/.329/.375 and will probably arrive in the second half of the season.


Angels: Davis Daniel, RHP (No. 28)
Daniel made an impact late in 2023 after a 60-day IL stint (shoulder) in the Minors, throwing well in three relief outings with Los Angeles. It looked like he might be ready to help out the rotation soon when he tossed six shutout innings for Salt Lake in his first start of 2024, though his last two have been rougher. His ceiling is limited to the back of a rotation, but there are a couple of starters in the big leagues who aren’t off to great starts.

Astros: Joey Loperfido, OF/2B/1B (No. 6)
Loperfido hasn't generated much hype, but he was the Astros' 2023 Minor League Player of the Year (.278/.370/.510, 25 homers, 27 steals while advancing from High-A to Triple-A) and multiple club officials identified him as someone who could provide a boost to the big league lineup later this season. The 2021 seventh-rounder from Duke is pushing for a promotion by leading the Minors with 10 homers, 12 extra-base hits, 51 total bases and 21 runs through 15 games.

A’s: Joey Estes, RHP (No. 12)
Estes really stood out during Spring Training, tossing seven strong innings and putting him in position to be the first arm called up when there was a need. His first three starts haven’t built off his Cactus League performance, but look for him to get straightened out and potentially be an upgrade to a rotation trying to find its footing (his 4.55 ERA stands 11th in the AL West).

Mariners: Ryan Bliss, 2B/SS (No. 12)
Jonatan Clase just got the call, could Bliss be next? This is his first full season in the organization after coming over in the Paul Sewald deal last summer. He turned in a 20-50 combined year in 2023, and while he’s off to a more modest start (.250/.375/.429, albeit with 11 steals in 16 games) so far this season in Triple-A, his ability to handle more than one position up the middle on the dirt and his power-speed potential could really come in handy in Seattle this year.

Rangers: Antoine Kelly, LHP (No. 22)
The Rangers already have added former second (Jack Leiter) and fourth (Wyatt Langford) overall picks to a roster that delivered a World Series championship last October. They don't have any obvious openings in the lineup, but Kelly could provide bullpen assistance with a 95-99 mph fastball that features plenty of induced vertical break and a mid-80s slider with tremendous movement. Acquired from the Brewers in an August 2022 deal for Matt Bush, Kelly has struck out five of the 12 batters he has faced in Triple-A this season.


Braves: AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 63)
After pitching his way from High-A to the big leagues last year, Smith-Shawver made it clear he’d be ready to contribute on a grander scale at some point this season. His first two starts this year were clunkers, but he allowed just one run over 4 2/3 innings in start No. 3 on Wednesday, topping out at 99 mph. With Spencer Strider out for the year, the Braves are going to need some helping hands, and it’s only a matter of time before Smith-Shawver gets another crack at being a member of the big league staff.

Marlins: Max Meyer, RHP (No. 3)
Meyer has already made a triumphant return from 2022 Tommy John surgery, logging two wins and a 2.12 ERA in three big league starts this month while showing his usual mid-90s fastball and wipeout upper-80s slider. The Marlins optioned him to Triple-A on Monday in order to manage the workload of the No. 3 overall choice in the 2020 Draft out of Minnesota, who has topped 80 innings just once in three years of college ball and three as a pro.

Mets: Christian Scott, RHP (No. 5)
Scott continues to force the prospect world to take notice with a 46.4 percent K rate and 41.1 K/BB percentage that lead Triple-A qualifiers, and he’s one spot ahead of Rangers' Thursday starter Jack Leiter in both categories. The righty spots his 93-96 mph fastball incredibly well, leading to both called strikes and whiffs, and his harder slider, newfound sweeper and changeup do plenty to keep hitters off balance. The Mets wanted to see him dominate Triple-A before getting the call, and he’s checking that box with every passing start.

Nationals: James Wood, OF (No. 2/MLB No. 14)
How could Wood follow up his hot spring? By doing more of the same at Triple-A Rochester. The 21-year-old outfielder is slashing .340/.476/.580 with two homers and an even 13/13 K/BB ratio through 13 games with the Red Wings, and he has the loud contact data to back up the numbers. His 96.0 average exit velocity leads Triple-A hitters (minimum of 50 PA), and his 59.5 percent hard-hit rate is tied for third among the same group – all while being one of only four qualifiers aged 21 or younger at the Minors’ top level. It might not be long until the Nats create space for him in their outfield.

Phillies: Mick Abel, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 46)
While command continues to be a concern and the velo has been down (averaging 93 mph) over his first two starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, it’s early. And Abel is still just 22 years old. The Phillies may not feel the impact of his four-pitch mix until the second half, and the big league rotation has been solid out of the gate, but look for the former first-rounder to hit his stride and knock loudly on the door should there be an opening.


Brewers: Tyler Black, 3B/1B (No. 4/MLB No. 43)
Two of Milwaukee’s top three Triple-A prospects (Jeferson Quero, Robert Gasser) are out injured, leaving Black as the most prominent name in Nashville. The 23-year-old corner infielder is known for getting on base and showing speed, and he continues to do that in the International League with a .420 OBP, 10 walks and two steals through 15 games. Notably, he’s played mostly first base for the Sounds, and he could replace fellow lefty hitter Jake Bauers in the 1B/DH rotation when Milwaukee deems him ready.

Cardinals: Thomas Saggese, INF (No. 4/MLB No. 97)
Saggese hasn’t gotten off to a terrific start with a .279/.347/.395 slash line and 93 wRC+ through 12 games for Triple-A Memphis, but his history of production across the Minor Leagues (career .297 average, .504 slugging) indicates that he likely won’t be kept down for long. After opening with five straight starts at shortstop, the 22-year-old has started working in more time at second and third, opening up more avenues to St. Louis. Saggese was kept around Spring Training camp for a long time, an indication that St. Louis hopes to find a Major League place for him even as a utility infielder to start.

Cubs: Cade Horton, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 24)
The Cubs have no shortage of Top 100 prospect candidates for this exercise, including outfielders Pete Crow-Armstrong (No. 16) and Owen Caissie (No. 44) and third baseman Matt Shaw (No. 50). But they'll probably have a greater need for arms than bats, and Horton ranks among the very best pitching prospects in the game. The seventh overall selection in 2022 after starring at the College World Series for Oklahoma, he overmatches hitters with a mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s slider, while continuing to improve his curveball and changeup. He has allowed two total runs (one earned) in his first two Double-A starts this year, fanning nine in eight innings.

Pirates: Paul Skenes, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 3)
This may be the biggest layup all on this list. We all knew Skenes would impress in the Minors and that he’d reach Pittsburgh at some point this year. But 19 K’s in 9 1/3 IP? With a fastball that’s averaged a touch over 100 mph so far this year? He’s missed bats at a 43 percent rate thus far. All he needs is to get stretched out a little more while the Pirates monitor his workload and he’ll be ready. It shouldn’t be too much longer now.

Reds: Connor Phillips, RHP (No. 4/MLB No. 64)
Phillips made a very strong statement in his first Triple-A start of 2024 (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H), but has scuffled over his last two. He got a taste of the big leagues last year and showed he can miss bats at that level. Like with some others on this list, command is the biggest hurdle, but the Reds are always on the lookout for more pitching. Hot take: Maybe Phillips gets shortened up to help out of the 'pen if starting isn’t his path.


D-backs: Cristian Mena, RHP (No. 11)
Arizona flipped Dominic Fletcher to the White Sox for Mena in an attempt to add to its upper-level pitching depth, and Mena was quickly doing that with one earned run allowed in his first two starts (11 innings) for Triple-A Reno before a rough six-run outing on April 11. Even so, Mena is showing a diverse pitch mix, starting with a pair of low-90s fastballs and including two potential above-average offerings in his slider and curveball. Even his harder changeup is getting some whiffs early on. With a spot on the 40-man, Mena figures to be a factor in any rotation discussion despite being only 21.

Dodgers: Justin Wrobleski, LHP (No. 15)
The Dodgers thinned out our list of candidates by promoting Pages and right-handers Kyle Hurt and Landon Knack within the past week. They're constantly on the prowl for pitching, so let's go with Wrobleski, whom they drafted in the 11th round out of Oklahoma State in 2021 just two months after he had Tommy John surgery. He's one of their most polished mound prospects, mixing four pitches while providing plenty of strikes. He has a 1.88 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings at Double-A.

Giants: Marco Luciano, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 37)
Luciano made his big league debut at age 21 last July and should return to San Francisco this season despite losing the Opening Day shortstop job to veteran Nick Ahmed. Signed for $2.6 million as the top middle infielder in the 2018 international class, he has electric bat speed and huge raw power. He's slashing .328/.452/.397 at Triple-A.

Padres: Graham Pauley, 3B/2B/OF (No. 8)
Pauley cracked San Diego’s Opening Day roster but went only 2-for-15 (.133) in seven games and was sent down to Triple-A El Paso. He hit a grand slam in his second game with the Chihuahuas on April 11 and is 6-for-21 (.286) with as many homers (two) as strikeouts through his first six contests in the Pacific Coast League. Pauley needs to get everyday at-bats to develop offensively, and his pullside pop should keep coming through with more playing time. After regaining his confidence in El Paso, the former Duke star could elbow his way back into San Diego’s present-day plans.

Rockies: Jordan Beck, OF (No. 4/MLB No. 74)
The Rockies were aggressive in sending their 2022 Competitive Balance Round A pick to Triple-A to start this season, but it’s looking like it was a smart move. He’s in the Top 10 in the Pacific Coast League in both slugging (.643) and OPS (1.034). He has 10 extra-base hits while walking in nearly 16 percent of his plate appearances. The Rockies are scuffling and an infusion of pop from Beck certainly wouldn’t hurt.