As MLB continues to go back and forth with labor negotiations and flimsy deadlines, it is important to remember that Minor League Baseball will be full throttle starting April 5 no matter what happens between MLB owners and the MLBPA.
If I listed out all of the names that I am excited to watch, this article would turn into a J.K. Rowling novel. Instead, I handpicked a few of the players I am most eager to see play day in and day out very soon.
Corbin Carroll – OF – Arizona Diamondbacks
Carroll was at the top of my list of minor leaguers I could not wait to watch last season and after a ridiculous first week of his campaign, a shoulder injury put an end to 2021 for the young outfielder. Not only is Carroll our top prospect in the Diamondbacks organization, but the 21-year-old speedster is set to slot into the top 20 in our soon to release 2022 Top 100 Prospect List.
Typically, I would be extremely concerned in the development–or lack thereof–of a prospect who has only played seven games in the last two years, but Carroll is such an advanced hitter with elite instincts and makeup that he should adjust to advanced competition quickly.
Carroll is a plus plus runner who out punches his frame and will likely surprise people with his ability to impact the baseball. Despite hardly playing above Low-A, I expect Carroll to start next season in Double-A and I don’t think he’ll miss a beat. Carroll is an annual .300 threat in the batting average department with sneaky power and elite speed/defense.
Eury Perez – RHP – Miami Marlins
Eury Perez is a unicorn. Another prospect who will be near the top of our Top 100 Update, Perez stands at a towering 6-foot-8 at just 18 years old. Most tall, lanky teenage pitchers struggle with their mechanics, but Perez floored the Marlins with his polish last season.
Perez has been reported to be sitting 97-98 mph at Marlins camp and has already demonstrated a great feel for his secondaries. The velocity for Perez is as easy as they come and his spin rates are off the charts, helping him produce impressive riding action on the heater. Perez could have probably dominated Low-A with his fastball alone, but the tall right-hander mixed in his plus changeup plenty. We saw more of Perez’s secondaries once he was promoted to High-A Beloit where he did not miss a beat either.
Despite being years younger than his competition, Perez pitched to a 1.96 ERA between the two levels along with a ridiculous 0.88 WHIP and 35.4 K%. The Marlins understandably moved things slow with Perez, limiting his pitch count in his outings. I assume it will still be a gradual ramp up to full throttle for the young power pitcher, but I cannot wait to see Perez fully unleashed.
Blaze Jordan – 3B/1B – Boston Red Sox
I’ll be honest, when the Red Sox drafted Blaze Jordan in the third round of the 2020 draft for a well over slot deal, I was skeptical. A bat first prospect with potential defensive limitations who has enjoyed a ton of Youtube hype since he was 12 years old seemed like a risky proposition. What Jordan soon proved was that he is not only a more advanced hitter than I expected, but more athletic as well.
I’m not saying Jordan is a burner, but the idea of him sticking at third seemed like a long shot before last season; now, there is a chance he can stick there. Nobody ever doubted the power and Jordan more than put that on display by putting up exit velocities over 110 mph in his short Low-A stint last year.
Our 7th ranked prospect in the Red Sox system, Jordan is still a bat first prospect, however he is a bit more advanced at the plate than initially expected and he provided a nice glimpse into his potential in the short 28 games Jordan played between the Complex League and Low-A Salem. Jordan still has a bit of an aggressive approach, but his offensive ceiling is so high that I admittedly cannot wait to see what he does in a full season.
Endy Rodriguez – C – Pittsburgh Pirates
Acquired from the Mets in the three team Joe Musgrove trade, Rodriguez is quickly turning heads as a legitimate prospect. Rodriguez’s defensive abilities behind the dish have been viewed as his leading tool, but the switch hitter proved that he can really swing it last season.
On top of strong bat to ball skills, Rodriguez displayed developed power by launching 15 home runs in 98 Low-A games. The body control and easy lift both stand out big time with Rodriguez and his hit tool is easily plus. High contact rates, palatable chase rates and burgeoning power is always a strong mix. Look out for Rodriguez to be one of the names flying onto radars this season.