Category: Prospect Call Up

MLB Debuts on Opening Day

MLB Debuts on Opening Day

Taylor Trammell was given an early heads up he had made the Seattle Mariners Opening Day roster, but for a trio of top prospects they had to wait until the last few days before hand to learn their first big league experience would come on Opening Day.

For the Cincinnati Reds, they roll out an Opening Day lineup of three third basemen, with stud prospect Jonathan India hitting seventh and playing second base, a position he has all of five games of pro ball under his belt playing. The Florida Gator prospect has plenty of athleticism though and should be able to hold down the position just fine despite having significantly more arm strength than needed at the keystone position. He is a bat first guy with plenty of pop that will likely move up in an underrated lineup. He could be a guy that flirts with the ROY this season.

Also batting seventh in his MLB debut is Kyle Isbel in the regular season battle of Surprise Stadium, the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers spring complex. Isbel is debuting in right field despite having an average arm at best, but there is a shot he settles in as the center fielder given he has plus wheels and quality instincts that should be enough to stick up the middle. He was a third round pick in 2018 out of UNLV that saw the Royals add Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, and Daniel Lynch in the first round, but a scout with the Royals at the time told me there were people in the organization who felt it was Isbel who would turn out to be their best selection in that draft.

The Chicago White Sox get the late start on Opening Day, but the most anticipated debut will come in that game as Andrew Vaughn has made the roster and is expected to get the start at first base (although it could be DH with Jose Abreu at first). Vaughn was arguably the best player in the country in 2019 despite Adley Rutschman going first overall and Bobby Witt Jr. going second, but the White Sox were thrilled to get Vaughn with the third pick. There was no argument as to who was the best pure hitter that year, as Vaughn was far and away the top of that list, and he has incredible power to go with it. He is not the typical slugger of this generation that will be massive power and massive strikeouts, instead he is a guy that can hit over .300 and put the ball in play most his trips to the plate. Defensively he is not going to wow anyone, but the bat will more than make up for any defensive issues that arise.  

Prospect Call Up: Taylor Trammell, OF, Seattle Mariners

Prospect Call Up: Taylor Trammell, OF, Seattle Mariners

Jarred Kelenic may be stuck in the minors until after the Super Two deadline passes, but that doesn’t mean the Seattle Mariners won’t have a top outfield prospect making his MLB debut on Opening Day. Taylor Trammell was the 35th overall selection in 2016 by the Cincinnati Reds before being the piece that went to the San Diego Padres in the Trevor Bauer deadline deal in 2019. A year later Trammell found himself on the move at the deadline again, this time for Austin Nola and a pair of relievers.

Trammell has one season at Double-A and has yet to see Triple-A, but he has been informed he will be on the Opening day roster this season with Kyle Lewis unlikely to be ready to go. Despite having plus speed, 263 of his 394 games in the minor leagues have come in left field. His arm is well below average making right a non-option, but the speed will allow him to hold down center in a pinch, but left is the long-term solution for him. With that, the bat needs to improve from the .689 OPS he posted at Double-A.

When with the Padres, they made some minor tweaks to his swing that saw him selling out for pull side power too often and he really improved down the stretch. Based on raw talent, Trammell is a no brainer as an everyday guy, but he has not put it all together yet. He impressed enough in the alternate site a season ago and again this spring to get the nod, although I fully expect him to be sent down to Triple-A once Lewis is back and stay down there for long enough to keep him from being Super Two eligible.

Prospect Call Up: Ian Anderson, RHP, Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves are leading their division but have not nearly lived up to their potential this season, and the biggest issue has been their starting rotation. Insert Ian Anderson, the Braves top pitching prospect, who will make his debut on Tuesday.

Anderson was selected third overall out of high school just outside New York’s capital city, and he has faired well since. His fastball runs up to 96 with a good amount of run and even some sink to it. This combination of velocity and movement gives it plus potential while sitting just above-average currently.

The best offering for Anderson may be his big 12-6 curve that is a true swing and miss pitch. It sits high 70s and he is not afraid to double up on the pitch to help keep hitters off-balance. His change is much better than you often see from a 22-year old righty, and could flirt with plus in the future, but definitely be an above-average pitch.

All three are at least big league average offerings currently, although the command is a bit of a concern. The arm slot is very high, and the front leg can be stiff at times, causing him to miss up in the zone, which resulted in an uptick in long balls a season ago. If he can manage the north-south command and utilize his advanced off-speed offering well, he should stick in the rotation for the rest of the season and be a quality number three in future seasons.

Three Big Name Prospects Called Up

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Jo Adell at the 2019 AFL Fall Stars Game. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

Tuesday has turned into a rather significant day in terms of prospect promotions, as Jo Adell, James Kaprielian, and Luis Patino all learn they will be experiencing their first day of big league ball on this day.

The biggest hype of the three is easily Jo Adell with the Los Angeles Angels. The 10th overall pick in 2017 is as much fun to watch as any prospect in all of baseball. He is incredibly athletic with a strong yet agile frame. Truly a five-tool talent, he has plus power, plus speed, to go with above average glove and arm. He has struck out more than 25% in his minor league career, so the hit tool is easily his weakest, but has hit just two points under .300 in his three minor league seasons. When he made his pro debut in the AZL in 2017, he was on a very talented Angels club, but there was no doubt he was the best player on the field, and has continued to be nearly every game since. Adell is probably going to be a right fielder long term next to Mike Trout, making the outfield in Orange County one of the best in all of baseball regardless of who plays left.

Kapreilian is joining an incredibly talented and young staff with the Oakland Athletics. He impressed with his elite at UCLA, and has only improved since getting to pro ball, going from walking just 5.3 per nine his freshman year, to 3.0 his sophomore, and 2.8 in his junior season, and walking merely 2.1/9 since entering the minors. Originally selected by the New York Yankees, Kapreilian looked to be on the fast track to the bigs when he flashed high quality innings in the AFL in 2016 after missing a good chunk of the season. He wound up with injuries that saw him miss all of 2017 and 2018, traded away to Oakland in the Sonny Gray deal, and only logging 68 innings a season ago. Assuming health, which is far from a sure thing, he could be a very good fourth or fifth starter with the upside of a three, but that will all be determined by how long he can stay healthy.

Patino may be the biggest surprise call up of the three as he has less than eight innings logged in the upper minors and none at AAA. That said, he is widely considered the best pitching prospect in the San Diego Padres organization not named Mackenzie Gore. The 20-year old righty has an electric fastball that will surely be in full display this season as I expect him to be a reliever before being stretched out to join the rotation next season. He also has a plus slider that has been a major contributing factor in him striking out well better than a batter an inning. If he works out of the pen all season, I expect those to be the two pitches he throws the vast majority of the time, but he can snap off a solid curve to change the eye levels of a hitter and a changeup I have seen flash above-average at times.

Since two of these are pitchers, time will tell if all three debut on the same day, but if they do, Tuesday night could be a night of baseball to remember!