Blue Jays hoping to call up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ‘soon’

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The San Diego Padres have a a tidal wave of young talent making their way to the big leagues, and Fernando Tatis Jr. is leading the charge. While he may not have the instant impact that Padres fans are craving for, the ability that Tatis Jr. has put on display during his time in the minors is encouraging enough that San Diego could very well have a budding superstar on its hands. 

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After the Nationals saw Juan Soto explode onto the scene as a rookie, the good times will continue in Washington’s outfield once Victor Robles gets a hold on things in the majors. He’s got everything needed to properly roam center field for the foreseeable future, and Nats fans should feel comfortable knowing that Robles will be patrolling the outfield.

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When you have five great pitches in your arsenal, including a fastball that can hit 100 and a curveball that can spin with the best of them, then the reason for excitement is legit. The Astros aren’t done pushing elite talent through their system, and Forrest Whitley is proof of that. 

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The No. 1 overall pick from the 2017 draft made his presence felt in 2018. While Royce Lewis still might be a long shot to make his major league debut in 2019, it won’t be too much longer before the Twins start seeing the crown jewel of their 2017 draft class tearing it up at Target Field. 

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You have to be really, really good if you’re turning heads in the baseball world at 18 years old, and that’s exactly what Wander Franco is doing. It would still take a miracle for Franco to make it to the majors this season, but when he does get there the rest of the baseball world will see that the Rays have an absolute gem of a prospect on their hands.

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Jo Adell is another prospect who has a long way to go, but he’s getting a lot of people excited as he progresses. The main attraction for the Angels prospect is his bat, which has scouts thinking that he could become a dangerous power hitter once he fully develops. He suffered a tough injury in 2019 spring training, so hopefully he’ll be able to overcome that adversity and continue moving on up.

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The only knock on Eloy Jimenez at the moment is that he’s been dealing with plenty of injury issues. Other than that, Jimenez is the most exciting prospect that the White Sox have and that’s due to his power. It’s one thing to simply pull the ball, but it’s another to pepper the ball all over the field and that’s what Jimenez can do.

Ron Vesely / Getty Images

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The Reds are in need of some help, and Nick Senzel could provide that pretty soon. He had a rough season in 2018 due to a strange string of injuries (including vertigo!), but when he did play he was exceptional. Once he comes up, he should provide a boost for Cincinnati and start bringing hope back on the riverfront. 

Ron Vesely / Getty Images

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If Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a potential-to-likely superstar, then Blue Jays fans can get even more excited knowing that Bo Bichette could be a potential All-Star. Bichette set the minor league world on fire in 2017 and while he didn’t repeat that performance in 2018, there are still high hopes for him to continue turning heads in 2019. 

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Prospects don’t always develop in a straight line, and Kyle Tucker is proof of that. He made it to the bigs in 2018 and didn’t do well in his debut stint. The good news is that there’s still time for Tucker to reach the level that the Astros are expecting him to reach and even though Houston will be in the midst of a serious attempt to return to the World Series, Tucker will still get every opportunity to develop at the big league level in 2019.

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If you’re a Brewers fan, then you’re probably already excited about what Keston Hiura can do with the bat. He established himself as a feared hitter in the minors, and it should translate to the bigs as well. If he can get a hold of playing second base (and it’s looking likely), then Milwaukee could have a good and fun player for the future in Hiura.

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While Nick Senzel could make an impact as soon as this season, we may have to wait a couple of seasons on Taylor Trammell. He’s already got the speed, and he has the potential to develop into a solid defensive outfielder as well. If he can hit with regularity, then he’ll have the potential to turn into something really exciting for Cincinnati. 

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

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Carter Kieboom’s brother is already playing for the big league Nationals, but it’s safe to say that Carter has a higher ceiling than Spencer does. He didn’t get to play much in 2018 after recovering from a serious hamstring injury in 2017, but he displayed a huge amount of talent when he did take the field last season. 

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

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Urias made his major league debut last season and even though he didn’t turn heads with his bat, he proved that he’s more than capable of holding down the fort defensively at second base. He’s another example of the solid talent that is coming through San Diego’s system, and there’s plenty more after Urias as well. 

Denis Poroy / Getty Images

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Nick Madrigal has been compared to Jose Altuve, with the main reason being that they’re both small men trying to survive in a big man’s world. Altuve was able to thrive, but will Madrigal be able to do the same? If he can overcome some injury bugs that have been nipping at him during his professional days, then it’s possible. The other thing that Madrigal has in common with Altuve is that they can both hit well. We’ll see if Madrigal can keep the comparisons relevant as he develops.

Ron Vesely / Getty Images

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When it comes to catching prospects, you don’t normally come across many who are as exciting as Keibert Ruiz. He’s not the type of player who will intimidate you just by walking on the field, but he’s really good at doing things once he actually takes the field to play. That’s especially exciting when you consider that he’s a catcher, so he can frame pitches and throw runners out in addition to being able to hit. 

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The Phillies are going to enjoy having J.T. Realmuto playing catcher for them. With that being said, if the Marlins have their way then we’ll all be talking in the future about how Miami fleeced Philadelphia. Sixto Sanchez turning into a star pitcher could be a big reason why the Marlins will feel really good about sending Realmuto off to Philadelphia and getting Sanchez in return. 

Cliff Welch / Getty IMages

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Jesus Luzardo has been on a rocky road that has seen plenty of twists and turns, including the recent news that he will be shut down for at least the first month of the 2019 season with a shoulder injury. However, the light at the end of the tunnel could be on the horizon for Luzardo, as it’s possible that he could potentially hit the big leagues at some point in 2019. He’s breezed through Oakland’s minor league system and if he keeps up that progress, we will be talking about him being a member of Oakland’s rotation soon. 

Jennifer Stewart / Getty Images

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Not all top pitching prospects need to project as potential aces, and Dustin May probably won’t end up being one. But he could become a reliable rotation starter, and that is always a valuable piece on any good team. He may not have anything elite going on, but he definitely has 80-grade hair.

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It feels like forever ago, but Brendan Rodgers went third overall in the 2015 draft and he still hasn’t made it to the big leagues. 2019 may be his year, and even then he’ll probably end up being a September call-up. Still, it looks like Rodgers is finally going to get a taste of the big leagues, and we’ll finally get to see exactly why he was taken so high when he got drafted a while back.

Ron Vesely / Getty Images

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The first thing that comes to mind about MacKenzie Gore is his delivery. To say that it’s unorthodox would be an understatement. Normally a delivery like his would raise a bunch of red flags, but Gore makes it work. All of his pitches are good, and he’s able to locate them with precision. If that continues, he’ll be a threat sooner rather than later. 

Denis Poroy / Getty Images

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The Braves may have made an impact signing at third base over this past offseason, but the future of the position in Atlanta is still in Austin Riley’s hands. He’s learned how to field the position adequately, which is important because that was the final piece of the puzzle since he proved early on that he could hit — and hit for power. If he can play outfield as well, then there’s a good chance he’ll be in the bigs for a decent part of the 2019 season.

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Speaking of players who are on the cusp of making it to the big leagues, Mitch Keller isn’t that far away from reaching the top level with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He didn’t have a spectacular 2018 season, but he’s still showing flashes of promise that indicate that he’s going to be wearing a big league uniform sooner rather than later. 

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If MacKenzie Gore’s delivery is wacky, then Brent Honeywell’s is just weird. He also has a curveball that would fall in the same category, but his weirdness shouldn’t detract from the fact that he’s absolutely talented and has some nasty stuff. Unfortunately, he missed all of 2018 due to recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but he should be back in 2019 with a vengeance.

Brace Hemmelgarn / Getty Images

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The most impressive part of Ian Anderson’s progression as a professional so far is the fact that he has yet to really struggle at any level. If that continues, then a September call-up in 2019 may not be out of the question. It’s still likely that he’ll arrive in 2020 as yet another cog in the machine that is Atlanta’s minor league system

Mark LoMoglio / Getty Images

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A while back the Marlins sent a somewhat unknown prospect to the Padres in exchange for Fernando Rodney. That ended up being Chris Paddack, who has turned into yet another highly rated prospect in what is a loaded system for San Diego. Rodney has long since left the Marlins, but Paddack may stick around in San Diego a bit once he reaches the bigs. 

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The Tigers are solidly in rebuilding mode at the moment, and they need something to get excited about. While Casey Mize may not be the savior of the franchise, he could become an important part of what the team hopes to be once it stops rebuilding and starts competing. His ceiling is high enough to where he could become an All-Star-level pitcher, but the Tigers could be satisfied with him being good enough to where they can depend on him every five days to keep them in a game. 

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There’s no question about Francisco Mejia’s bat, as evidenced by the fact that he’s already got a bit of major league experience under his belt. It’s his glove that’s in question, which is a special concern since he’s a catcher. If he can fix those issues then he’ll be fine and yet another example of San Diego’s incredibly talented farm system. If not, he could end up being another team’s project. 

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Alex Reyes is barely on the cusp of being a prospect since he’s got enough major league experience to where he’s barely considered a rookie. But he’s still young enough to where the book is nowhere near written on what he could become. He’s got the stuff to be one of the scariest pitchers out there, but injuries could turn him into a reliever in the short term. 

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The other teams in the NL East are all having fun developing and graduating their young talent, but don’t sleep on the Mets, and especially Peter Alonso in particular, who is the crown jewel of New York’s farm system. He was an elite power hitter in the minor leagues, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to see that translate to the majors as well. It’s good that he can mash like that to make up for his suspect defense at first base. 

Michael Reaves / Getty Images

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When it comes to the eye test, Jesus Sanchez passes it with flying colors just by taking one look at his swing. When it comes to other evaluations, let’s just say that his plate discipline currently leaves much to be desired. If he can continue to improve in that department, then he could be an important part of Tampa’s lineup when he makes it to the bigs in the future. 

Michael Reaves / Getty Images

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Ke’Bryan Hayes is a classic example of a player who seemingly has it all, except for the tool of putting the ball over the fence on a consistent basis. He’s still going to have plenty of time to develop in the minors and if he can indeed add some power to his bat, then the Bucs will have a lovely prospect on their hands here. 

Cliff Welch / Getty Images

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So far, Gimenez has experienced a bit of a rocket ship through the minor leagues. He’s handled it pretty well and could be one of the younger major leaguers around if he continues at the pace he’s going. He’s not expected to be the type of player who turns your franchise around, but he could bring some stability in New York’s infield once he arrives.

Joel Auerbach / Getty Images

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When FanGraphs rated its top 100 prospects for 2019, it said that Alex Kiriloff has a “15-20 percent chance” of turning into Joey Votto. Those are low odds, but you’ll take them when the comparison is a guy who is currently well on his way to the Hall of Fame. Hopefully for Twins fans, Kiriloff will at least reach a level that’s approaching that because even then, he would turn out to be a good major leaguer.

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Mike Soroka made it to the bigs, and it seemed like he was ready to stay there. Unfortunately, he suffered a shoulder injury that cut his rookie season short, and now he’s trying to bounce back and prove that the flashes of excellence that he showed last season weren’t a fluke. 

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If we’re judging players by their physical tools, then the sky is the limit for Luis Robert. If he can put it all together, then he has the potential to be a dynamic power hitter for the White Sox. It’s just a matter of getting plate discipline and contact in line with the rest of his skill set at the plate. 

Ron Vesely / Getty Images

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If you thought that Shohei Ohtani was the only pitching/hitting prodigy out there, then here’s your introduction to Brendan McKay. He could have been a first-round pick as either a pitcher or a batter, so the Rays are rolling with the idea of him being both. If he sticks to this path, he’ll be the latest example of pitchers who actually know how to rake and can DH in the American League.

Cliff Welch / Getty Images

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In the 2008 draft, the San Francisco Giants took a catcher who played his high school ball in Georgia before leaving for college. In the 2018 draft, the San Francisco Giants took a catcher who played all of his amateur ball in Georgia. The Giants are surely hoping that going to the well twice pays off and Joey Bart is absolutely being groomed as the heir apparent to Buster Posey in the Bay Area. 

Orlando Ramirez / USA Today

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Justus Sheffield has been “a minor league prospect” in two big trades in the majors: Andrew Miller’s trade to New York brought Sheffield to the Yankees and then he was shipped out when the Yankees took James Paxton off Seattle’s hands. While Cleveland and New York may have used him as a trade chip, he could end up sticking in Seattle. If he does, the Mariners could potentially have a good reliever in the form of Sheffield.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA TODAY Sports;

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A.J. Puk is getting a late start to spring training in 2019, and that’s because he’s coming off Tommy John surgery. Before he had to undergo the procedure, he was flying through Oakland’s minor league system, and in a universe where he avoids the injury, he could have been throwing for the A’s in 2018. Instead, he’ll have to wait a little longer.

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If the Phillies farm system will be feeling the impact of losing Sixto Sanchez to the Marlins, then it will be up to Adonis Medina to pick up the slack going forward. The two pitching prospects for Philadelphia were neck-and-neck, which means that it could have been either Sixto or Adonis heading to Miami in that trade. Either way, Medina is here and he could definitely develop into a solid starter for the Phillies if they keep him around.

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It didn’t take long for Kyle Wright’s fellow Vanderbilt Commodore Dansby Swanson to go from the minors to the bigs, and Wright was on the same path. He was drafted in 2017 and was in the majors by the end of 2018. He’ll be fighting for a rotation job in 2019, and it’ll be likely that he’ll be a solid part of Atlanta’s rotation by the next season. Either way, he appears to be here to stay.  

Mark LoMoglio / Getty Images

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The book on Cristian Pache appeared to be that he had the defense to make it at the major league level. He just needed to develop any type of bat skills to be considered an everyday player. It appears that he’s doing just that, and if he continues to develop into a good hitter then Atlanta probably won’t have any worries in the outfield for the foreseeable future.

Mark LoMoglio / Getty Images

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Alex Verdugo has already had a couple of quick stints at the major league level over the past two seasons. If he played for another team, he probably wouldn’t have spent as much time in Triple-A as he has during 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately he plays for the Dodgers and as a result of their absurdly deep outfield, he’s been forced to ply his trade in Oklahoma City. He’ll stick at the big leagues at some point though. 

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Dylan Cease was one of the prospects involved in the cross-town trade that sent Jose Quintana from the White Sox to the Cubs. Cease has settled in pretty nicely in the South Siders’ farm system, and he especially made his presence felt with a solid 2018 season. The majors are in sight, even if there are questions as to whether or not he’ll be a starter or reliever once he gets there.

Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports

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Jose Altuve really opened up the doors for guys like Luis Urias, Nick Madrigal and now Vidal Brujan. All of these players are of relatively small stature but are now being given the opportunity to prove that you don’t have to be a big man to do big things at the plate. Of all of these prospects mentioned, Brujan could have the highest ceiling, even if he currently has the most to prove.

Mark Cunningham / Getty Images

‘ } , { src: ‘,f_auto,q_auto,w_1000/v1/m/9/1/91cdedea1cb25a974613d33bdfd60021573ad232/Nolan_Gorman.jpg’, title: ‘Nolan Gorman (St. Louis Cardinals)’, description: ‘

Nolan Gorman definitely fits in the category of being boom or bust. He’s already physically imposing as a teenager, and that could easily translate into him becoming a major power threat at the plate as he develops as a hitter. The issue here is whether or not he will continue on that path. If he does, then watch out for this guy as he progresses through St. Louis’ system.

Brace Hemmelgarn / Getty Images

‘ } , { src: ‘,f_auto,q_auto,w_1000/v1/m/6/6/66de83be3e87ec11c155bb33fa786dc57c2d7f75/Jonathan_India.jpg’, title: ‘Jonathan India (Cincinnati Reds)’, description: ‘

Jonathan India was Cincy’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft after turning the SEC into his personal playground during his final year playing for Florida. That was where he honed his craft, and he continues to profile as a player who could be good at everything, even if he’s not particularly excellent at one good thing. That’ll translate into a solid everyday player, and the Reds will surely take that once he makes it to Cincinnati. 

Cliff Welch / Getty Images

‘ } , { src: ‘,f_auto,q_auto,w_1000/v1/m/4/6/469e97448fe66ad12d4102966a97ca0fd034825d/Yusniel_Diaz.jpg’, title: ‘Yusniel Diaz (Baltimore Orioles)’, description: ‘

If you’re going to trade Manny Machado, you had better receive some good prospects in the process. Fortunately for the Orioles, they got a jewel in the form of Yusniel Diaz. He’s not too far away from the big leagues, and once he arrives he should provide steady production for Baltimore. That’s really all you can ask from a prospect who is developing.

Mark LoMoglio / Getty Images

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Top 50 MLB prospects heading into 2019 and beyond

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