We can't wait to see these 7 rookies debut

July 21st, 2020

Luis Robert is going to do things that take your breath away. Trust us on this one. The 22-year-old White Sox center fielder will make his Major League debut this week after three Minor League seasons that left teammates, coaches and opponents almost universally predicting greatness for him.

Now, we get to see for ourselves. It's not just him either. Jo Adell will grace the Angels' lineup at some point this summer. Dylan Carlson will step on the field at Busch Stadium.

This is not new. Juan Soto debuted at 19 in 2018 and helped the Nationals win a World Series less than 18 months later. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Mike Soroka are Atlanta anchors at 22. At 26, Alex Bregman is a cornerstone for an Astros franchise that has won more regular-season games than any other team the past three seasons.

At last summer's All-Star Game, 19 of the participants were 25 or under. In the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player Award voting, four of the top seven vote-getters were also 25 or under, including the winner, 24-year-old Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers.

Here are seven rookies we can't wait to watch, and we're only including guys who have never graced a Major League field before. We've included their ranking on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 in parentheses.

1. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox (No. 3)
ETA: Opening Day
This is what Robert did in 122 Minor League games last season: 32 home runs, 31 doubles, 11 triples and a 1.001 OPS. He also smoothed out some of the rough edges of his game, improving as a baserunner and defender. While Robert's power and speed dominate the glowing reviews, his arm is an underrated strength.

2. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals (No. 17)
ETA: August
Carlson is going to be a star. That's essentially what the Cardinals think of him, especially after a 2019 season in which he solidified his standing as one of the game's best prospects (No. 17 overall on MLB Pipeline's Top 100). Now, the question is when Carlson will play. The Cards will open the season with veteran Dexter Fowler in right, Harrison Bader in center and Lane Thomas and Tyler O'Neill sharing left. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak is methodical about these things and says he wants to give Thomas and O'Neill a chance. But Carlson's time is coming.

3. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres (No. 5)
ETA: August
If Gore isn't baseball's top pitching prospect, he's on the very, very short list. Best of all, a 60-game season will allow the Padres an opportunity to pick and choose opportunities to use him. Gore has pitched just five games above Class A ball, but his stuff is so good that he's a guy who could potentially nudge San Diego right into the postseason.

4. Clarke Schmidt, RHP, Yankees (No. 88)
ETA: September
Schmidt's fastball touches 97 mph. His slider is nasty. Schmidt's poise and strike-throwing ability impressed the Yankees in a spring and summer that amounted to a coming-out party and solidified his standing as an arm the Yanks will not hesitate to use. His problem is waiting for an opportunity on arguably MLB's deepest pitching staff.

5. Jo Adell, OF, Angels (No. 6)
ETA: September
Adell has a dazzling skill set and is a virtual lock to join Mike Trout in the Angels' outfield at some point this summer. Adell showed flashes of greatness at times last spring. At other times, he looked like a 21-year-old who'd played only 27 games at Triple-A. For that reason, Adell may not start the season on the Major League roster, but his time is coming.

6. Spencer Howard, RHP, Phillies (No. 34)
ETA: August
This 23-year-old has future star written all over him. Howard has four above-average pitches, including a fastball that hit 99 mph last year in the Arizona Fall League. Bryce Harper is campaigning for Howard to be on the Phillies' Opening Day roster. While that may not happen, Howard seems a lock to contribute at some point.

7. Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays (No. 8)
ETA: August
Fastball? 101 mph. Slider? 90 mph. Any other questions? The Blue Jays have seen everything they could hope to see from their top pitching prospect these last few months, and all that remains to be seen is how quickly Pearson will join their rotation. It won't be long.