by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Yesterday the news broke that the Mets would finally recall Ahmed Rosario for his MLB debut. While that excitement lingers, you know people will start to wonder if other top prospects will soon be joining him. Let’s take a look at a few of the hotter names in the minors right now and try to determine how likely it is that they arrive in ’17:
Ronald Acuna – Outfielder – Atlanta Braves
The 19-year old has had a special season, spanning three levels of the minor leagues and surprisingly reaching Triple-A. Despite reaching the highest level of the minors, he appears to have not missed a beat:
He’s actually improved his strikeout rate with each stop, though his Triple-A mark is too small of a sample size to draw conclusions from. With a 23.0% mark at Double-A you’d think there would be concern, but given his age and level it’s easy to envision improvements. The key is that he’s been hitting the ball hard (25.2% line drive rate at Double-A), showing off his speed and growing into his power.
It would be easy to want Atlanta to bring him all the way to the Majors, especially now that Matt Kemp has hit the DL. At the same time there’s little reason for the rebuilding Braves to force the issue. Between the always present service time question and the fact that Acuna does not have to be added to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft this winter (meaning calling him up now would cost the team a valuable roster spot, which for a deep farm system is important).
We’ve learned to never say never, and it’s clear that Acuna could blossom into a Top 5 prospect this offseason (he was #14 in our midseason Top 50, which you can view by clicking here). That said, expect him in 2018 and not 2017.
Chance of a 2017 callup – 5%
Francisco Mejia – Catcher – Cleveland Indians
After missing about a week Mejia was back on the field on Saturday. There is little question about his bat, though he’s still developing defensively behind the plate. MLB.com described his defense by saying:
“Mejia’s well above-average arm strength is his best tool and helped him throw out a career-best 44 percent of would-be basestealers in 2016. His receiving skills and game calling also have progressed, and with improved blocking and footwork, scouts believe he’ll be an average defender behind the plate.”
Cleveland could use an upgrade behind the plate, as their catchers’ .332 SLG is third worst in the league. Of course the team is surging right now, but with Kansas City trying to catch them would the Indians call up a rookie catcher from Double-A and infuse him directly into a pennant race? It would be unconventional, especially with the demands on the position, but the team also proved last season that they were willing to make a midseason replacement (though the trade for Jonathan Lucroy ultimately fell through).
With Mejia already on the 40-man roster and Cleveland looking to push for another playoff run, this one could be more likely than you’d think.
Chance of a 2017 callup – 60%
Sources -MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs
Make sure to check out our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by clicking here!