Baseball’s best prospects are making their way to the big leagues.
Sunday, the Cleveland Indians called up shortstop Francisco Lindor from Triple-A Columbus and, considering recent promotions, it’s become a veritable bonanza for prospects getting called up to the Majors.
12 of the top 20 players from Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects have appeared in the major leagues this season. Remember these names, you're going to hear a lot about them over the next decade or so. Here’s a look at each of them:
Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs – The only reason that Bryant started the season in the minor leagues was to delay future arbitration and free agency; entirely valid concerns for the Cubs, but Bryant has been major-league ready from the get-go. In 53 games, he’s hitting .294 with seven homers, 35 RBI, 37 runs, five steals and an .885 OPS. (BA Prospect Rank: 1st)
Byron Buxton, CF, Minnesota – The second overall pick in the 2012 Draft, Buxton has made steady progress through the minor leagues and was hitting .283 with an .840 OPS at Double-A, but his wheels are exceptional – he was 20 for 22 in stolen base attempts and had 12 triples in 59 games. Buxton has played one game for the Twins, but with Aaron Hicks going to the DL, Buxton gets a chance and, since Hicks has a .594 OPS this year, it’s a low bar that needs to be cleared to be considered an improvement. (BA Prospect Rank: 2nd)
Addison Russell, 2B, Chicago Cubs – The 11th pick in the 2012 Draft who was acquired from Oakland in the Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija trade last summer, Russell started the year at Triple-A, but hit .318 with an .803 OPS in 11 games before getting called up. He played shortstop on the way up, and is likely going to end up there, but he’s currently blocked by Starlin Castro in Chicago, so Russell is playing second base for the Cubs, and is hitting .247 with a .709 OPS in 46 games. (BA Prospect Rank: 3rd)
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston – The first overall pick in 2012, Correa had impressive credentials coming into the season, then mashed at Double-A, hitting .385 with seven homers, 32 RBI and a 1.185 OPS in 29 games to earn a promotion to Triple-A, where he hit .276 with a .794 OPS in 24 games. With Astros starter Jed Lowrie hurt, they gave Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Villar some time at short, but Correa has always been the one, and he’s been up for a week, hitting .240 with a .789 OPS in his first six major-league games. (BA Prospect Rank: 4th)
Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas – The 39th pick in 2012, Gallo is a 6-foot-5, power-hitting third baseman. On his climb through the minors, he struck out too much, but had outrageous home run totals, including 82 in 237 games in 2013 and 2014, before slugging nine home runs, while hitting .314 with a 1.061 OPS in 34 games at Double-A this season. Then, Adrian Beltre got hurt and the Rangers had a short-term opening at third, so they decided to give Gallo a look, and he’s crushed four home runs, hitting .300 with a 1.016 OPS in his first 11 games with the Rangers. Since Beltre is an elite third baseman, something will have to give for Gallo to remain in the lineup. Gallo has played a little first base and left field this season, so he may have to find room there if he’s going to stay. (BA Prospect Rank: 6th)
Joc Pederson, CF, Los Angeles – An 11th-round pick in 2010, Pederson stormed his way through the minor leagues, hitting .302 with a .929 OPS in 441 games, busting out with 33 home runs at Triple-A last season. All of that led to Pederson getting a late-2014 audition with the Dodgers and starting this season as their everyday centre fielder. He’s prone to strikeouts, whiffing 76 times in 62 games, but has slugged 17 home runs and has a .929 OPS, enough to lead all rookies in WAR. (BA Prospect Rank: 8th)
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland – The eighth pick in the 2011 Draft, Lindor is a switch-hitter, though not nearly as dangerous at the plate as some of the sluggers above. He was hitting .281 with a .747 OPS in 58 games at Triple-A this season when the Indians called. To this point in the season, the Tribe have had Jose Ramirez and Mike Aviles handling shortstop, so there is ample opportunity for 21-year-old Lindor to stick full-time. (BA Prospect Rank: 9th)
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, N.Y. Mets – A first-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2010, who was acquired by the Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade, Syndergaard is a fireballer (96.8 MPH average fastball) who dominated in five starts (1.82 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 34 K in 29 2/3 IP) at Triple-A this season, and got off to a great start with the Mets before getting hit hard in his last two starts. Even so, he has a 4.15 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, with 34 strikeouts in 34 2/3 IP with the Mets. (BA Prospect Rank: 11th)
Jorge Soler, RF, Chicago Cubs – The 23-year-old Cuban outfielder was signed in 2012 and stampeded through the minor leagues before joining the Cubs last season, driving in 20 runs and hitting .292 with a .903 OPS in 24 games, and being slotted in as the opening day right fielder. This season has been a little more challenging, as Soler has hit .265 with a .724 OPS. Too many strikeouts, not enough walks, the song of many young power hitters. He’s currently on the DL with an ankle injury. (BA Prospect Rank: 12th)
Carlos Rodon, LHP, Chicago White Sox – The third overall pick in 2014, Rodon pitched a grand total of 34 1/3 innings in the minors, posting a 3.15 ERA and 1.31 WHIP, while striking out 51. Control remains an issue, as he has walked 24 in 40 2/3 innings with the White Sox, on his way to a 1.55 WHIP, but he’s also struck out 40 and has a 2.66 ERA. (BA Prospect Rank: 15th)
Blake Swihart, C, Boston – A first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2011, Swihart wasn’t supposed to be catching in the bigs this year, but injuries to Christian Vazquez and Ryan Hanigan created a need and since Swihart was hitting .338 with a .774 OPS at Triple-A, he got the nod. He’s struggled at the plate, hitting .221 with a .562 OPS, but such is the peril of being rushed to the big leagues. (BA Prospect Rank: 17th)
Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto – Taken in the second round of the 2011 Draft, the southpaw caught a lot of attention for his offseason travel routine, but when Marcus Stroman was injured in spring training, Norris opened the year in the Blue Jays rotation. He struggled through five starts, posting a 3.86 ERA, but walking 12 in 23 1/3 innings, and has been in Triple-A Buffalo ever since. Norris still has command issues, walking 24 in 44 1/3 innings for the Bisons, but he’s struck out 44, allowed only two home runs and has a 3.45 ERA. (BA Prospect Rank: 18th)
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org