Orioles RHP Grayson Rodriguez was the number one name on this list, but he’s in the majors today with Kyle Bradish on the injured list. Rodriguez didn’t have much success this spring but still feels like a solid bet to hit the ground running.
1. Mets 3B Brett Baty
With some other guys on this list, we can build a semi-reasonable case for keeping them in the minors. Until he left Monday’s game with a sore thumb, this was not the case for Baty, who played well in spring and already has a two-homer game in Triple-A this year. Eduardo Escobar is a veteran making a lot of money. That’s the entire case against Baty. It’s so odd that they’d spend so much on the team and then lose runs and development time because of a sunk-cost fallacy.
2. Brewers OF Sal Frelick
Milwaukee doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a free lick and is therefore playing service time games with Sal. Or maybe they’d just rather see Joey’s Wiemer first.
3. Reds SS Elly De La Cruz
If anyone from this list is going to alter the landscape of even shallow redraft leagues, it’s Elly De La Cruz. The Reds are all runway, but he’ll have to dominate Triple-A to such an extent that they become embarrassed to keep him down there. That will be tough to do from the injured list, where De La Cruz is today.
4. Dodgers RHP Gavin Stone
Nothing we can do here but bide our time until the Dodgers find the perfect moment to throw Stone. He surrendered six runs and three walks in 2.2 innings in his Triple-A opener, so here’s hoping he’s smoother next time.
5. Diamondbacks RHP Brandon Pfaadt
Pfaadt also got cooked in his first start of the year at Triple-A Reno, but that’s life when you’re pitching in a desert on the moon. He was probably disappointed after “losing” the fifth starter battle to Ryne Nelson despite out-pitching him in spring, and last year, and the year before. Artificial walls built by bureaucracy and capitalism can shadow even the stoutest soul.
6. Guardians RHP Tanner Bibee
Will open the season in Triple-A, giving him an inside lane on the next opportunity. The team has given Zach Plesac an awfully long time to improve at the major league level, and for the most part, he hasn’t.
7. Mets C Francisco Alvarez
Has a 1.420 OPS with a home run and a steal in three Triple-A games. Will be 21 years old until November.
8. Marlins RHP Eury Perez
Perez was sent to Double-A, an indication that the team might hope to slow-roll him. The Cueto signing is likely an indication of the same. If the ball is juiced again, however, guys like Cueto will pay the price for it, and he just got sent to the injured list with an elbow issue.
9. Pirates C Endy Rodriguez
Homered in the Triple-A opener, but this team is going all out to Delay Endy’s arrival, hedging their bets for the long term in perpetuity.
10. Cubs 1B Matt Mervis
Mervis has a .467 on base percentage and a home run. I remain hopeful he can create his own opportunity if he mashes.
11. Rays 1B Kyle Manzardo
The eternal issue with any Tampa prospect is the high bar to crack the lineup in any significant ways, particularly with the organization’s aptitude for targeting the Siris and Paredi and Yandys of the baseball world. Oh, Arozarena, Margot and Bethancourt, too. Point is, you’re not even just competing with all the talented players inside the org. You’re competing with every Raley and Ramirez they can find along the way. I still think we’ll see Manzardo this year, but they traded with the Dodgers to get Luke Raley, so they won’t just set him aside to clear a spot at DH for Manzardo. Yandy could slide over to first base, but that moves Paredes. Anyway, even as Mervis found a complicated path after the Cubs’ offseason, it’s still clearer than Manzardo’s in my opinion.
Joyce was sent to Double-A to buy the team some time. He’s almost certainly among the top group of relievers in the organization right now, if not the best one they’ve got.
13. Reds 1B Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Jason Vosler is kind of a problem for Encarnacion-Strand. When Joey Votto comes back, Vosler could stick if he keeps hitting, something he’s shown the ability to do in the past. Encarnacion-Strand is easily the best option this team has at either corner and at designated hitter, but he’s only played 48 games above High-A and is on the injured list at the moment.
14. Orioles 2B Connor Norby
Picking up where he left off in 2022, Norby has hit two home runs in three games after hitting four home runs in nine games at the level last year. So, six home runs in 12 Triple-A games. Baltimore is racing toward a Tampa-shaped problem of having more good infielders than places to play them. Great problem for them. Tough one for us to navigate.
15. Guardians RHP Gavin Williams
The team sent him to Double-A to start the season. It’s not ideal but should be a non-issue for his timeline if he pitches well there Probably puts him behind Bibee on the opportunity ladder.
Thanks for reading!