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Minor League Prospect Report, Week 9

We’ve got everything you need to know about the week that was in the Minor Leagues, featuring Bobby Miller and Oscar Colas.

Eury Perez of the Miami Marlins looks on against the Washington Nationals during the second inning at loanDepot park on May 18, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

This season has been defined by rookies making a splash, and the prospect train just kept right on rolling last week. Matt McLain made his long-awaited debut for the Cincinnati Reds (the first of many youngsters set to come up from Triple-A Louisville over the next couple of months), while Eduoard Julien and Taj Bradley returned to the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively, and Mark Vientos started his second stint with the New York Mets with a bang. Oh, and we already have our next much-ballyhooed debut on tap: top Los Angeles Dodgers pitching prospect Bobby Miller is set to make his first MLB start against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Of course, you wouldn’t have been shocked by any of this if you’d been keeping up with our weekly prospect reports, in which every single one of those guys was highlighted before reaching the Majors. (All those graduations have opened up a few new spots on our list of prospects to stash for fantasy baseball, too.) Want to know who’s next? Here’s everything that’s happened on the farm last week.

Prospect report for Monday, May 22nd

Bobby Miller, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Gavin Stone’s MLB debut didn’t go so well a couple weeks ago, and now it’s time for the Dodgers’ other elite pitching prospect to get his turn. Miller’s command leaves plenty to be desired, but the stuff is beyond question: The righty has four legit pitches at his disposal, including a mid-90s heater, a nasty slider and curve and a usable changeup. He got a late start this year coming back from shoulder soreness, but his last start at Triple-A was his best:

A matchup with the Atlanta Braves is a tough way to start any career, but if he hones his command a bit, the sky is the absolute limit.

Oscar Colas, OF, Chicago White Sox

Much was expected of Colas, who came to the South Side after starring in Japan and then promptly tore it up during his first Spring Training. The outfielder won the starting right field job but struggled in his first taste of the Majors, hitting just .211/.265/.276 with a homer and two steals in 25 games — and earning a demotion to Triple-A Charlotte.

Colas appears to have figured something out in the Minors, because he’s got an OPS of .892 since May 1. Chicago’s outfield situation remains as muddled as ever, and Colas still has immense athletic gifts — if he refines his free-swinging approach at the plate, the power/speed upside is immense.

Ben Brown, SP, Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have already gotten plenty of help from Triple-A Iowa this year, and Brown could be the next reinforcement to arrive. Just a 33rd-round pick back in 2017, the righty has never been regarded as much of a prospect, but a 2022 breakout — which made him the return from the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade for David Robertson at last year’s deadline — has continued right on into 2023.

Brown had his worst start of the year last time out, allowing seven runs and three homers which have skewed his season-long numbers, but he still boasts a 2.34 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 25.2 K-BB% in 34.2 innings across two levels. There are question marks here — he doesn’t have much of a changeup to attack lefties, and his command comes and goes — but if you pair a plus fastball with two legit breaking balls, you’ve got a shot to stick as an MLB starter.

Cade Marlowe, OF, Seattle Mariners

Speaking of lightly-regarded guys, Marlowe was a 20th-round pick as a senior sign back in 2019, but all he’s done is rake at every stop on his path to the Majors. He was a man possessed down the stretch in 2022, hitting .390/.472/.764 with 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases over his final 32 games between Double-A and Triple-A. A recent cold stretch has dampened his numbers a bit this season, but if he can keep making solid contact, the power/speed upside is immense. Seattle is in desperate need of some offensive punch in the midst of a disappointing start — they’ve been running Taylor Trammell out as their regular DH, which is less than ideal — and Marlowe could be getting the call soon.

Aaron Zavala, OF, Texas Rangers

The Rangers also have some room in the outfield — the Robbie Grossman/Bubba Thompson platoon in left field is just about this lineup’s only weakness right now — and that spot could be Zavala’s in just a month or two. The former 38th overall pick had his path to the Majors slowed by an injury to start the season, but he recently returned to the lineup at Double-A and has hit just like he always has. The approach is elite, with OBPs above .400 at every stop of the Minors, and while there isn’t huge power, he hits enough line drives that some of them will sneak over the wall. He could be just what Texas needs for its postseason push.

Top 25 prospects to stash for fantasy baseball

As of 5/22

Rank Name Position Team ETA
Rank Name Position Team ETA
1 Jordan Walker OF Cardinals April
2 Colton Cowser OF Orioles June
3 Jordan Westburg 2B/3B/SS Orioles June
4 Christian Encarnacion-Strand 1B Reds May
5 Kyle Manzardo 1B Rays June
6 Elly de la Cruz SS Reds July
7 Gavin Williams SP Guardians July
8 Royce Lewis SS Twins June
9 David Hamilton SS Red Sox May
10 Ronny Mauricio SS Mets June
11 Curtis Mead 2B/3B Rays June
12 Oscar Colas OF White Sox June
13 Andres Chaparro 3B Yankees June
14 Bo Naylor C Guardians June
15 Endy Rodriguez C/OF Pirates May
16 Ben Brown SP Cubs June
17 Sal Frelick OF Brewers June
18 Andrew Abbott SP Reds July
19 Justin-Henry Malloy OF Tigers May
20 Connor Norby 2B Orioles June
21 Kyle Harrison SP Giants June
22 Nolan Jones OF Rockies June
23 Henry Davis C Pirates July
24 Cade Marlowe OF Mariners June
25 Aaron Zavala OF Rangers August