March 26, 2020, marks the first day of the MLB season that all 30 MLB teams will suit up and play baseball that counts towards their final record, a sign that everyone made it through the winter. While each and every year seems to be starting sooner and sooner, the sport of baseball truly does not need to have a set date that never changes to open up its season.
While Spring Training is set up to help fringe roster players earn enough playing time in front of the coaching staff to justify them making the active roster, rookies that are looking to make their MLB debuts are fighting just as hard to make a solid impression.
2019 saw the likes of Pete Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and others make their MLB debuts, shooting to the top of the league and jersey sales, showing that the future of the sport of baseball is in safe hands. The 2020 season looks to be boasting the same type of potential, which should excite baseball fans everywhere.
This article lists out five current minor leaguers that are likely to make their MLB debuts at some point in the 2020 MLB season. Each prospect includes a brief description of them, how they will fit at the big leagues, and what should be expected of each player in their first taste of professional baseball.
RHP, Detroit Tigers
Projected Stats: 15 G, 5-8, 3.48 ERA, 73 SO
Marking the (hopeful) return of the Detroit Tigers to relevancy in the American League Central division, pitcher Casey Mize has all of the developed tools to make it to the big leagues on an expedited timeframe.
While injury concerns have been following him ever since he was drafted in 2018, one selection before the next player on this list, the Tigers have been taking a very cautious approach with Mize, making sure not to push their next generational pitcher to come through the system.
Even though he has not pitched above the Double-A level in the minors, Mize will most likely break Spring Training at the Triple-A level, and if he continues his dominance of minor-league hitting, his stay at the highest level of the minors should be very brief.
C, San Francisco Giants
Projected Stats: 113 G, .248 AVG, 11 HRs, 43 RBIs
With Buster Posey having spoiled the San Francisco Giants ever since he was called up in 2009, the role of being the backup catcher for the Giants has not been a coveted role. With playing time a bit sparse and hard to come by, that may be the perfect recipe to bring Joey Bart up to the majors.
For Bart, being the second-best catcher in all of baseball (behind 2019 #1 overall draft pick Adley Rutschman) comes with its lumps, as the high expectations that Posey set before him in San Francisco can take a bit of a toll on the second-overall selection in the 2018 draft. As his pitch-calling skills and his defensive abilities have caught up to his bat, Bart has elite backstop written all over him, something that the Giants are in desperate need of reaching the big-league level.
Look for Bart to become the backup behind Posey for the majority of the season, eventually taking over the starting role right after the All-Star Break, which will be the beginning of the end of yet another struggling season for the Giants.
1B / OF, Baltimore Orioles
Projected Stats: 126 G, .284 AVG, 16 HRs, 72 RBIs
Defensively fluid but offensively stout, Ryan Mountcastle may need to assume the role of savior for the Baltimore Orioles once he arrives at the big-league level, or at least until Rutschman climbs through the ranks. A huge source of power (25 HRs in AAA in ‘19), Mountcastle could be the first piece of the puzzle to find its spot for the Orioles in their quest to get out from the basement of the AL East.
The 36th overall selection back in 2015, Mountcastle’s climb through the minor leagues has been a bit slow, but he finally seems to have put it all together, as can be seen by his 2019 Triple-A International League MVP Award. For the Orioles, any sort of life that any player can inject into their team is valuable at this point, and that is something that Mountcastle should be able to do right away.
The money trough that is Chris Davis is holed up at first base, but with a bit of moving bodies around (mostly Davis to designated hitter), the playing time for Mountcastle to prove himself is going to hit him right in the face once he gets called up. Defensively, he is quite limited, and while he has playing experience at both first base and in left field, Baltimore would be smart to keep him at first while he develops his offensive stroke at the highest level.
2B, Chicago White Sox
Projected Stats: 108 G, .301 AVG, 8 HRs, 49 RBIs
On an even more expedited track through the minors than the next prospect on this list, second baseman Nick Madrigal has made his way up to Triple-A in only his second season playing ball out of college. The Oregon State draftee has set himself up to be on pace with how the Chicago White Sox have been conducting business this offseason, and he looks primed to become a regular contributor for this team as they use their expensive offseason to try and make it back to the postseason.
Incumbent second baseman Leury Garcia, who was acquired for outfielder Alex Rios all the way back in 2013, put up his best offensive season on many accounts, but that still should not be enough to stop Madrigal from joining this club sometime in the early summer. Garcia’s utility abilities make his playing time a bit expendable, paving the way for Madrigal to assume the everyday role at second after the All-Star Break.
His bat is a 70 grade in the minors, and while he is more of a hitter for average and less for power, Madrigal seems to be the prototypical guy who can put it all together and surprise a few people with his home run totals in the league. A 60-rated fielding ability helps give Madrigal future looks for a Gold Glove award, so the White Sox should have no qualms about giving him the keys to the car very early after his call-up.
3B, Philadelphia Phillies
Projected Stats: 95 G, .258 AVG, 13 HRs, 64 RBIs
Scott Kingery is currently listed as the starting third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, something that will most likely not last all that long if this team wants to erase how poor of a 2019 season they had. Positional flexibility helps give Kingery playing time elsewhere, which should open up the need to call up Alec Bohm.
The best hot-corner specialist in all of the minors, Bohm’s bat has moved him up through the Phils’ system at an expedited rate, and having already played 63 games at the Double-A level even with having being drafted in 2018, the former Wichita State Shocker looks to be the solution for Philadelphia.
While the future of this team remains up in the air a bit, Bohm can become the second fiddle to Bryce Harper as soon as the end of this year, and his defensive abilities at third base have the stuff to eventually make him above average over there. If given regular playing time in his rookie campaign, 20 long balls is not out of the question for Bohm.
Bohm was selected one pick before Madrigal in the same draft, and those two seem to very much be on a collision course for making their MLB debuts in 2020, early on in the season.