Over the past several seasons, teams around Major League Baseball have been looking more and more towards their top prospects to make it to the big leagues as quickly as possible and make an immediate impact on their club. The most recent examples of that being Michael Conforto, Kyle Schwarer and Carlos Rodon, who all made big league contributions in 2015 after being drafted in 2014 (no players from the 2015 draft have made it to the majors yet). With that in mind, there are several players ranked in the top 100 prospects right now who could be making impacts but have yet to play a single game in the majors for one reason or another.
Keep in mind, none of the players listed below may be ready for the big leagues in your mind. This is all merely my opinion, and is by no means any indication of the prospects who will be up within the next few weeks, or this year for that matter. It’s simply the five prospects who would be the most valuable players, were they to be playing in the bigs right now.
The first guy that pops into my head is Tyler Glasnow. Over his previous four seasons in the minors, Glasnow has never posted an ERA above 2.39 for any one year, and is off to another great start in 2016. Following eight Triple-A starts last year, in which Glasnow recorded a 2.20 ERA and struck out more batters than innings pitched, he’s now thrown 61 innings at Triple-A this season and has a 2.07 ERA. While Glasnow hasn’t even made 100 career professional starts, he’s more than proven himself ready to make an impact at the major league level. He might not be able to help the Pirates chase down the dominant Cubs, but he can certainly make sure they maintain a Wild Card spot.
Another player who I feel is extremely close to being ready to make an impact is Orlando Arcia. When the Brewers traded away Jean Segura early this year, many were lead to speculate that the move was done solely to bring up Arcia on Opening Day to be their starting shortstop. However, Arcia was sent to Triple-A, where he still remains. Regardless, I believe that Arcia is ready to step up and be a key piece to the Brewers, despite their poor record. Arcia isn’t a power hitter by any means, but he hits for average, has good speed and strikes out very few times over the course of any given season. He deserves a shot to make what I feel would be an immediate impact in the majors.
Those are the top two MLB-ready players on my list, but I still have three other players I feel would be impact players now. The first is Hunter Renfroe, who has a great combination of tools. With an ability to hit for average and power, and with a knack to drive in runs, I think he’ll be a big-time player for the Padres. Renfroe’s previous career high for homers is 21 back in 2014, but already having 12 not even half way through the year, he’s likely to surpass that number before all is said and done in 2016. The only downside to Renfroe is the fact that he’s only played in just over 70 games at Triple-A, but he has a great approach at the plate and seems ready.
If not for injuries that resulted in Tommy John surgery, it’s likely that Jameson Taillon would be dominating big league lineups right now. However, due to those setbacks, Taillon is in Triple-A. But he’s making a case for that time to be a short-lived one, as he’s blowing away the competition. Taillon has recorded a 2.04 ERA in his first season back since last having pitched in 2013. However, because of the injuries, Taillon likely won’t make his big league debut until later on in this season, despite the success. Even so, the former first-round draft pick is getting close to joining a Pirates’ rotation that could use a bit of help.
The final player on my list is the least likely to make it to the majors in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not even at all this season. But despite that, I think that Jeff Hoffman has the raw talent to have an impact for the Rockies now, even if he’s only seen time in eleven Triple-A games. But in that short time, Hoffman has posted a 2.67 ERA, and has been really impressive. Colorado undoubtedly could use the pitching help, and they would received a lot of help from Hoffman. Despite being drafted in the first round back in 2014 by the Blue Jays, he will ultimately make his impact as a Rockies starter. Hopefully, that time won’t come too far from now, as I think Hoffman is almost ready.
With so much talent to pick from of all the players on the top 100 major league baseball prospects list, it makes it difficult to choose just five that would appear to be ready to make contributions to their major league club. However, while it’s tough to select the best and most ready, it’s easy to see why they are all so highly thought of, and why they will be looked to for help in the very near future.