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:
Bobby Miller was HYPED after putting the finishing touches on his best start of 2023.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 18, 2023
The second-ranked @Dodgers prospect dialed it up as high as 101.2 mph and got punchouts on four different offerings for the @okc_dodgers: pic.twitter.com/VLmArg8LfA
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.
In just his second Triple-A start, #Cubs No. 6 prospect Ben Brown fanned a season-high 10 batters to reach double digits in strikeouts for the sixth time in his career.@ANG_Recruiting #ServeYourWay pic.twitter.com/bF9Hkfocpu— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) May 16, 2023
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
|Elly de la Cruz