Top AL Prospects That Could be Called Up to the MLB Soon

Among the top prospects in the American League, there is a list of guys who have shown they are ready to make a big league impact very soon.

BRADENTON, FLORIDA - MARCH 14, 2024: Cade Povich #81 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch during the first inning of a spring training Spring Breakout game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park on March 14, 2024 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

The decision to elevate a top prospect to the MLB club is one that is not made easily for a vast range of reasons. Teams have to consider their 40-man, service time, lineup changes, and much more when considering whether or not to call up prospects.

While the decision is not made easily, there are perennially prospects who simply deserve a promotion due to a combination of their personal performance and team need. Our prospect-centric podcast, The Call Up, recently ran through a variety of players who, for one reason or another, deserve to be called up in the near future.

This piece is focused on the players in the American League that we believe should be getting serious consideration for a call up. Funny enough, two players discussed on the podcast were called up within two days of the episode being released.

Heston Kjerstad and Addison Barger both were due to be featured on this list by have since joined their respective MLB teams.

Ad – content continues below

As everyone is well aware of by now, finding playing time in a loaded Orioles lineup will be struggle to an extent for Kjerstad, but he has simply been too good to be playing in Triple-A still. Barger, meanwhile, should get regular innings in Toronto thanks for his defensive versatility.

Those two have already received the call, but we have 11 other prospects that should be reaching MLB in the very near future.


Cade Povich (Orioles)

Season Stats: 5 GS, 26.1 IP, 1.03 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 40 SO

The team with a wealth of hitting prospects that they don’t even know what to do with also happens to have one of the best pitchers in the Minor Leagues. Cade Povich has been lights out to start the season and is clearly to be the next arm up in Baltimore.

He was our second-ranked pitching prospect in the Orioles system this offseason, but has clearly leapfrogged Chayce McDermott in the early going with his advanced arsenal and consistency. Povich utilizes five offerings and keeps hitters off balance well with his ability to mix and match pitches in different counts.

His command was shaky when he reached Double-A last season, but he has reduced his walk rate by over 3% this season while seeing his strikeout rate soar up by nearly 15% this year. Povich has been dominant in every start this season as evidenced by a total of 10 hits allowed across five starts.

Ad – content continues below

Walks continue to be the only potential concern for him, but he’s done a good job limiting the damage from his 10 walks allowed.

A team with lofty expectations this season, Povich could slot perfectly into the five spot of a rotation later in the season that could be one of the best in baseball once healthy. Corbin Burnes, Grayson Rodriguez, Kyle Bradish, John Means, and Povich could be the group that Baltimore heads into October ready to compete for a World Series.

Drew Thorpe (White Sox)

Season Stats: 4 GS, 24.0 IP, 0.75 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 21 SO

While the Major League team in Chicago is off to one of the worst starts in MLB history, the Double-A Birmingham Barons have been great this season led by one of the best rotations in MiLB. Drew Thorpe, our 58th-ranked prospect in baseball, is the leader of that group after being acquired as the headliner of the Dylan Cease trade.

His polish and command is well beyond his experience level as Thrope is a master of inducing soft contact and ground balls. Featuring possibly the best changeup among prospects, Thrope has a deep arsenal that also includes two slider variations.

While his fastball may not be elite, he’s able to command it effectively and keep it on the corners.

Ad – content continues below

Thrope hasn’t been overpowering this season, but he hardly even allows hard contact and continues to produce quality starts every week. He’s efficient with his pitches as well, as shown clearly by a recent seven inning, 85 pitch start.

The reality for the White Sox is that they aren’t going to win many games this season, so it may not matter whether or not Thrope is called up this season. But he could instantly become one of the more consistent pitchers on the roster and has proven everything he needs to in Double-A between the end of last season with New York and the start of this year.

He’s due for either a promotion to Triple-A or a MLB call up in the near future. With Triple-A Charlotte being possibly the most hitter-friendly park in baseball, why not just call him up?

Doug Nikhazy (Guardians)

Season Stats: 2 GS, 10.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 13 SO

The pitching factory in Cleveland may need reinforcements in the near future with Shane Bieber out for the season and Gavin Williams still working his way back from injury. Insert Doug Nikhazy, a name you may have never heard.

Nikhazy has always had excellent stuff, but has found his command this season in his first two Double-A starts of the year. He spent all of 2023 in Double-A where he recorded 11.29 K/9 but also 6.44 BB/9, which highlighted his general lack of command.

Ad – content continues below

This season, however, Nikhazy has reduced his BB/9 to 3.60, while not allowing a run in his first two starts of the year. He also allowed just one hit across his 10 innings pitched. While a promotion may feel aggressive, Cleveland does not hesitate to promote pitchers who are on a roll and he’s definitely feeling it.

The former second round pick has the stuff to immediately slot into the Guardians rotation and if he’s able to command it, he could become a legit starter. He’s currently on the IL, but should have a shot to reach Cleveland later this season.

Caden Dana (Angels)

Season Stats: 3 GS, 18.1 IP, 0.75 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 21 SO

Unlike many prospects in their farm system, the Angels have been fairly patient to this point with Caden Dana, but he could force his way up in the near future. In his first three Double-A starts after finishing last year in High-A, Dana has taken a big step forward.

Dana has allowed just three runs and eight hits across those three starts and at just 20 years old, he has ample room for growth. His command has improved from last season as he has allowed just three walks as well so far this season.

He’s probably the youngest and least ready among the arms on this list, but the Angels have continued to prove everyone wrong in terms of timeline on prospects. He has been possibly their best Minor League pitcher this season, which could prompt a promotion later this season.

Ad – content continues below

Dana’s breaking balls are advanced at his age and the Angels need more pitchers to help soon. He’s not quite ready, but it would not be surprising to see Dana reach MLB this season.

Will Warren (Yankees)

Season Stats: 5 GS, 21.1 IP, 4.22 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 26 SO

The next older pitching prospect in line in New York is blocked by a surprisingly excellent start from the current Yankees rotation. Warren appears to be the next pitching prospect up despite Chase Hampton having more upside but may have a tough time cracking the rotation as of right now.

After making 21 appearances in Triple-A last season, it feels like a bit of a waste for Warren to still be there right now. However, Warren hasn’t been great to start the season compared to some of these other pitchers. The long ball has been an issue as five of the 14 hits he has allowed have been home runs.

On the other side of things, Warren is striking out batters at a clip just below 30% and he has maintained a similar walk rate as last season. At 25 years old, he would be in a variety of rotations across the league already. The Yankees just don’t have a need for him yet.

If someone in the Yankees rotation gets hurt in the near future, expect to see Warren. However, he could also end up being traded at the deadline as the Yankees often do with older prospects close to reaching the league.

Ad – content continues below

David Festa (Twins)

Season Stats: 5 GS, 15.2 IP, 1.72 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 20 SO

The Twins have a fairly crowded rotation right now, but the fifth spot in the rotation could be up for grabs and David Festa is someone that has a shot to take control of it if given the opportunity to do so.

Festa’s innings have been fairly limited in part due to his rather high walk rate in Triple-A, but he has still limited runs and hits at a high level this season. He finished the season strong last year at the same level and he’s now on track to debut at some point this season.

With a strikeout rate of nearly 30%, Festa is missing plenty of bats as he done throughout the past few seasons after settling in at each new level. It will just come down to command likely when he makes the jump to MLB.

With eight Triple-A starts under his belt now, Festa has the experience at 24 years old to make the jump. It well ultimately come down to whether or not the Twins feel they have the need for him yet. Louie Varland could shift to the bullpen if he were to make his debut and thrive.


Orelvis Martinez (Blue Jays)

Season Stats: .316/.373/.645, 6 HR, 18 RBI, .329 ISO, 155 wRC+

Ad – content continues below

Orelvis Martinez is fresh off being named to the MiLB Prospect Team of the Week after an onslaught of power being displayed last week.

Ranked as the No. 2 Prospect in the Blue Jays system on, Orelvis is living up to the expectations many had for him before a “disappointing” 2023 season.

The right-handed slugger has made improvements in almost every metric at the plate.

As of April 25th, he has an average exit velocity of 92.3 MPH, a HardHit% at 52.7%, and a barrel rate of 14.5%. The most impressive thing about all of this is that he is doing it while playing a new position for the first time.

Now, while he has had his struggles with the adjustment on the field, his learning to play the second base position is only going to benefit him as he works his way to debut for the Blue Jays. The position has been a rotating door for the team for quite some time so Orelvis could be the answer that they have been looking for.

Joey Loperfido (Astros)

Season Stats: .279/.373/.733, 12 HR, 26 RBI, .453 ISO, 150 wRC+

Ad – content continues below

As of today, Jose Abreu is currently slashing .065/.132/.081 with a -1.2 fWAR. That alone is pure justification for Joey Loperfido to be called up to Houston and start his Major League career for the Astros.

The left-handed slugger has done nothing but succeed in Triple-A right now and looks to be on the brink of a call-up for a team that is in desperate need of a shot in the arm.

Even dating back to Spring Training, Loperfido was competing for the final spot on the 26-man roster, which was inevitably given to Jon Singleton to start the year.

With both Abreu and Singleton struggling, and if Loperfido continues this torrid stretch for Sugar Land, he will likely force the hand of the Astros’ Front Office.

Coby Mayo (Orioles)

Season Stats: .327/.374/.622, 7 HR, 20 RBI, .296 ISO, 149 wRC+

Believe it or not, the Orioles are not done in terms of promoting high-end talent from their Norfolk roster.

Ad – content continues below

Coby Mayo looks to be next in line to make his Major League debut for a team that looks to be at the inception of their long window for contention. The “issue” now would be that he doesn’t have a clear spot for everyday at-bats because of the positions he plays.

With infield corner flexibility, it puts him up against current performers like Jordan Westburg (3B), Ryan Mountcastle (1B/DH), Ryan O’Hearn (1B/DH), and recently called-up Heston Kjerstad (1B/OF/OF).

Now, with Jackson Holliday having been demoted, Westburg can shift over to second base, which would open up a spot for Mayo to get into the everyday lineup for the Orioles.

Either way, Mayo looks to be putting the Baltimore Front Office in a tough spot if he continues to show that he has nothing left to prove at the Triple-A level.

Kyle Manzardo (Guardians)

Season Stats: .292/.379/.583, 5 HR, 12 RBI, .292 ISO, 139 wRC+

The Guardians took advantage of a situation that the Tampa Bay Rays found themselves in last trade deadline when they were searching for a starting pitcher after a plethora of injuries to their rotation.

Ad – content continues below

In a move that shipped Aaron Civale to Tampa, Cleveland was able to snag lefty slugger Kyle Manzardo, who ranks as the No. 52 prospect on Just Baseball’s Top-100.

Manzardo’s success shouldn’t come to a surprise of anyone, even if you have only been following since his performance in the Arizona Fall League this past season where he hit six home runs and had a .905 OPS that led to him being named to the All-AFL Team.

Although Josh Naylor currently mans first base for the Guardians and continues to fly under the radar as one of the better hitters in the league, Kyle Manzardo does have a chance at everyday ABs for Cleveland as they continue to be one of the hottest teams in baseball right now.

Although Manzardo’s bat would translate well into the lineup, the Guardians currently have six of their nine in the everyday lineup being left-handed. The addition of Manzardo to that might be what currently has him in Columbus for the time being.

Aside from all of that, if he continues to produce the way he is right now, get ready to receive an alert on your phone that the Guardians are promoting their first baseman of the future.

Connor Norby (Orioles)

Season Stats: .296/.364/.510, 5 HR, 18 RBI, .214 ISO, 123 wRC+

Ad – content continues below

*Insert Jesse from Breaking Bad “He can’t keep getting away with it!” meme here*

That is exactly how it feels right now as we continue to reference the talent that Baltimore continues to consistently pump out. Connor Norby, much like his teammate in Norfolk Coby Mayo, is a victim of not having a clear path to everyday at-bats in Baltimore right now.

A second baseman by trait, Norby has been working more in the outfield this season to develop the versatility to make his way up to Baltimore as quickly as possible. With Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Colton Cowser, and Heston Kjerstad all having OF experience, even with Austin Hays currently on the IL, there isn’t room for Norby right now on the 26-man roster.

The Jackson Holliday decision would also play a factor in this situation as to how the Orioles would be able to open up a spot in their lineup consistently. Until then, Norby will continue to showcase his talent at Norfolk until he forces the hand of the Orioles brass.


The league has provided us with so much youthful talent in the recent years.

The incredible thing is that, even though a lot of long-time successful Major League talent is slowly nearing the end of their career, we are about to enter a new era of talent that will keep us locked in every night. If you have not had the chance to yet, investing your time in watching Minor League Baseball now will truly amaze you. The way teams are continuing to prioritize proper development will surprise you.

Ad – content continues below

These players on the brink of their Major League debuts are going to build up excitement about what’s to come for their team’s future. Find a comfy seat, strap in, and enjoy the future of the game we all love so much.