A Prospect’s Journey to the MLB

ByAustin Coelho

Jun 26, 2020 ,
Sun-Times/John Antonoff

The MLB is one of, if not the hardest sport to succeed in. Prospects must first excel in their schools, then be lucky enough to be drafted. Once drafted, they must work their way up from rookie ball, to single A, AA, and AAA before they reach the big leagues. Some of the most talented young stars in the game have grinded for years in the minor leagues. New York Yankee Aaron Judge for example, was a 2013 first round draftee. He spent the next three years in the minor league system until getting his first taste of the MLB in 2016, only playing 27 games being an August call-up. Since his arrival, he has won the Rookie of the Year, been named a 2x All-Star, a Silver Slugger, and a Home-Run Derby champion. Judge is just one example of how a minor leaguer can come into the league and have an instant impact.

The MLB Top 100 prospect list for 2020 is looking as talented as ever, complete with future faces of the league. Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert stands out, being ranked 3rd amongst his counterparts. His 6’3 185 frame with improved speed made him a standout for Rookie of the Year coming into the season. Robert is signed to a 6-year $50 million deal with Chicago before even stepping on the field. The Cuban outfielder hit an impressive .328 with 32 home runs throughout the minor leagues last year and is destined for an immediate impact to help the young White Sox make a playoff push for the first time since 2008.

The player deemed number one on the Top-100 list is none other than Wander Franco. The 19 year old Dominican shortstop is a scout’s dream. It is fitting that the number one prospect has been ranked an 80 hitting rating (on the 20-80 attribute prospect rating scale).  He produces from both sides of the plate while taking more walks than strikeouts. The Tampa Bay Rays struck gold landing Franco for $3,825,000 in the 2017-’18 international class. Tampa could definitely use Franco when he is ready, as they are part of arguably the most intimidating division in the MLB, the AL East.

It will be interesting to see what clubs decide to do this season, being only 60-games with limited rosters. Most prospects see time later in the season when rosters expand, but the 2020 season will be the first time where rosters get smaller from Opening Day. Will clubs risk rushing their prospects to help make a push for the post-season or let them develop thoroughly in the minor leagues? Regardless, the future is bright and fans can do their own scouting and follow their favorite young players’ road to the show.

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports