Every now and again, a young player arrives in the majors relatively late in the season and immediately functions as a key cog for a contender. Think Corey Seager in 2015. It takes a combination of talent, readiness, and opportunity all coming together. We’ll be focused in no small part on that last prong here; it’s always possible that injuries will create new openings, but our attention will fall on already foreseeable chances at playing time.
Here are a few top prospects who have yet to make their MLB debuts but could be positioned to make a splash for possible contenders in the second half:
Jo Adell, OF, Angels: If the Halos are to make a charge — into the Wild Card picture, if not that of the division — they’ll need everything they can get. While Brian Goodwinhas been a nice surprise, he’s best suited to functioning as a fourth outfielder. Overcoming adversity for a surprise run may require a bold bet on Adell’s talent; after a late start to the year, he has shattered Double-A pitching.
MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres: Ditto the Friars, who have shown zero hesitation to promote top young hurlers but still haven’t settled on a sustainable rotation mix. There isn’t much reason for the San Diego org to go wild with rental additions at the deadline, but it could remain in the Wild Card hunt and would have less to lose by rolling the dice on its own prospect assets. Gore is the most talented of all the team’s pre-MLB hurlers. He only just earned a promotion to the Double-A level after mowing down High-A batters, so bringing the 20-year-old to the show would be rather aggressive, but it could be intriguing to consider the possibility depending upon how things shake out (for both Gore and the team) over the next month or so.
Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves: The Atlanta organization has likewise cycled through a whole host of young arms of late, with the sort of mixed results you’d expect. Anderson has yet to get the call but has made a compelling case. He’s now through 86 2/3 innings of 2.91 ERA ball at Double-A — the same level he finished the ’18 season — with 11.7 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9. Having reached 119 1/3 total frames last year, Anderson ought to have some availability left in the tank. The Braves could conceivably call upon him as a rotation piece, late-inning reliever, or multi-inning flex hurler.
Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies: It’s a parade of former third overall picks! Bohm, who followed Gore (’17) and Anderson (’16) in that draft slot, only recently made it to the Double-A level. \