The season is a few weeks old and now that the prospects can be controlled for an extra year, we’re seeing some top prospects come up for teams trying to make a playoff push in this shortened season and enlarged playoff field. Let’s take a look at some of the latest call ups for their teams and a few who could be coming up sooner rather than later.
Jo Adell OF LAA - It’s not every day that a top-five prospect in baseball gets called up but that’s just what we’ve got with Adell getting called up. It’s an interesting time to call up Adell as Trout also played on Tuesday coming back from the Paternity List and how much work could he have really done on his defense at the satellite site? It’s like the same excuse the Cubs gave for keeping Kris Bryant down for a handful of games to extend control. No matter the reason, Adell has been given the right field role and pushed Justin Upton and Brian Goodwin into a platoon of left field for the rest of the way according to Joe Maddon. Adell played 234 career games in the minors and hit 36 home runs with 30 steals in that time while putting up a respectable average. He’s a major prospect and at his peak could be a .280, 25-25 guy if not a touch more as a kind of sidekick to Mike Trout . That’s not to say he is Trout or in his neighborhood yet but he could be a Trout light in a year or two. One thing to watch is that he played 27 games in Triple-A last year and hit just one homer and struck out 43 times meaning he may take a bit to reduce the strikeouts in his game at the highest level, but still a stud no matter how you slice it.
Jesús Luzardo LHP OAK - The 13th-ranked prospect in baseball made his first, highly-awaited, start this week. He’s been getting work in the A’s bullpen since last September but his first turn in the rotation was spectacular as he held the Rangers scoreless over five innings giving up just two hits while striking out five. Luzardo is a southpaw with velocity as he brings the heater in at 98 with frequency and the two-seamer has nice sink on it and both work well to both sides of the plate and are both plus pitches. There’s also some debate as to the true nature of his breaking stuff and whether they are two separate pitches or if they are more of a power-slurve that he adds and subtracts from instead of a distinct curve and slider, but either way they are both at least above-average if not plus. He has the stuff to be an ace and probably slots him second in the rotation behind A.J. Puk, a fellow lefty. Luzardo should remain in the rotation from here on out and given that the A’s pitched him in the Wild Card game last year, they have a ton of faith in the young flamethrower.
Luis Patiño RHP SD - Patino is the next big name Padres arm to come up to the majors after Chris Paddack came up last year and we got a taste of some others. There was a lot of talk about Patino following last year’s All-Star Future’s Game when he came in and was electric in a high-leverage spot and his entire season added to his stock as well. He pitched 94.2 innings between High-A and Double-A and posted a 2.57 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 123 strikeouts. While he’s a bit smaller than you typically see with this caliber of starter, 6’1” and 192 pounds, the delivery is smooth and there is no max effort in the arm motion which means he should be able stay fairly durable. The fastball is the main pitch and it should be sitting in the upper-90s while touching 99 with life and natural cut. The slider is an upper-80s offering with sharp biting action and two-plane movement that makes it not only a plus pitch but a true-swing-and-miss part of the arsenal. A changeup and curveball which are both average offerings but do enough to keep both lefty and righty hitters off-balance and they should get a tad better with more work at the highest level. Patino will be in the pen to start and likely stays there for a while this year but that might get him some cheap wins this season given how games and pitching usage is working out.
Nick Madrigal 2B CWS - Madrigal, like was assumed prior to the season starting, has come up early this year to lock down the second base role on the South side. Madrigal was a top-40 prospect heading into the season and it was a simply a matter of time before the former fourth-overall pick was going to be up given that he put up a .311/.377/.414 in 120 games with four homers, 76 runs, 55 RBI, and 35 steals. Madrigal is a contact-speed middle infielder. He’s already started showing his contact ability with a four-game hitting streak coming into Wednesday. Ultimately he profiles as a middle infielder who will hit .300 and draw quite a few walks and then use his plus speed to steal 30 or more bags while hitting likely at the top of what is a very good White Sox lineup.
Justin Dunn RHP SEA - Dunn was a key piece in the Mets-Mariners trade prior to and he’s now getting his shot in the Mariners rotation as they are going with a six-man rotation in the shortened year. The 24-year-old righty made a bit of an appearance in the majors last year with a few innings pitched late in the year but now he’s up for another shot in the rotation. Dunn pitched 131.2 innings in 25 starts posting a 3.55 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and a 158:39 K:BB ratio. The 6’2” and 185 pound righty has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and backs it up with a wipeout slider. The changeup and curveball are coming around and he’s got some feel for both but they’re not MLB-average yet. Ultimately he is a mid-rotation starter but will really need the changeup or curveball to improve to stay in that role otherwise he’ll become a high-leverage reliever.
Monte Harrison OF MIA - Harrison was a key piece in the Christian Yelich trade in 2018 but has struggled since getting to the Marlins organization. He led the minors in strikeouts in his first season with the Marlins in 2018 but turned it around in 2019 before a fractured hand ended his year early. He does possess an intriguing power-speed combo if he can sort out the swing well enough to utilize it. Prior to the 2019 season, he’d posted a 21-27 season and a 19-28 season in terms of HR-SB while playing 122 and 136 games respectively. Harrison will get a fairly long leash in the outfield at this point to see if his power and speed combo pops but the strikeouts and average are things that need work to really add to his value.
Kris Bubic LHP KC - Bubic was a part of the 2018 draft class that saw the Royals take five college pitchers and Bubic was taken at 40th overall out of Stanford. He’s the second pitcher from that class to come up for the Royals this year following Brady Singer however, Bubic hasn’t gotten as high in the minors as Singer did as the lefty pitched as high as High-A last year. He was quite effective in that spot though pitching 149.1 innings with a 2.23 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a 185:42 K:BB ratio. He uses a fastball-changeup combo to really do a lot of his damage with a fastball that sits 91-93 mph and a changeup at 84-85 mph and using the arm action as the key deception difference. The changeup adds fading action makes it more of a swing-and-miss pitch and he adds in the curveball to keep hitters off-balance though it’s not a consistent pitch. Bubic has a workhorse mentality that makes him the inning-eating southpaw type that fits in the back end of a rotation ultimately.
James Kaprielian RHP OAK - The righty was a part of the Sonny Gray trade between the As and Yankees a couple of years ago and since then he’s been battling back from injuries. The Tommy John surgeries have taken a toll on his velocity as he’s now down to the low-90s on his fastball and he’s more skeptical about throwing his slider and curveball given his injury history. He does have the stuff still to be a mid-rotation starter as the bite on the breaking pitches is sharp and tight and the fastball has nice life and the changeup is coming around and could be the difference maker for him if he gets it consistent. He will be used by the As mainly in the bullpen to start.