With the summer fast approaching, many MLB teams are looking forward to bringing up the reinforcements that they have cultivated in the Minor Leagues. Some are called up out of necessity, while others are called up because there is simply nothing left for them to accomplish at a lower level. And then there are the players that are held back because of the Super Two rule.
Players are Super Two eligible if they have more than two years of MLB service time, but less than three, or if they are in the top 22% of two-year MLB players in terms of service time. When a player is considered Super Two, they become arbitration eligible, so the idea behind holding certain prospects back until a certain date is so that they don’t accrue enough service time to gain an extra year of arbitration eligibility.
With that being said, Here is a list of five prospects to watch for this summer, that could end up having a significant impact on their respective teams.
1- Tommy La Stella- 2B, Atlanta Braves
2014 Stats (AAA):.306/.368/.333, 13 R, 3 XBH, 0 HR, 17 RBI, 1 SB, 125 PA
Tommy La Stella seems like a shoe-in in terms of players that are going to get called up this summer. The Braves have grown extremely tired of Dan Uggla’s continuous lack of production, made evident last season by his exclusion from their playoff roster. Also, Uggla is an all or nothing hitter, and will provide you with a tremendous amount of pop, but right now I don’t see how the Braves wouldn’t prefer La Stella. He is the antithesis of Uggla, known for his ability to get on base and hit for a high average. I think La Stella will prove to be a breath of fresh air for the Braves, and will be relocating to Atlanta n the very near future.
2- Jon Singleton- 1b, Houston Astros
2014 Stats (AAA): .277/.392/.605, 25 R, 18 XBH,10 HR, 28 RBI, 0 SB, 143 PA
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has said that Jon Singleton is not too far from being called up, and I must say, it’s pretty cool to see the Astros become full of promise again. George Springer was their last highly touted prospect to get the call, and if Singleton can come up and mash at a rate similar to his minor league career, then those two will make the middle of the Astros lineup dangerous for years to come. Like many home run hitters, Singleton will strike out quite a bit, but he has a high OBP and also walks a bunch,
3- Gregory Polanco- OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
2014 Stats (AAA): .395/.444/.613, 23 R, 16 XBH,4 HR, 28 RBI, 7 SB, 135 PA
What can’t you say about Gregory Polanco. He is absolutely raking in the International League, and is probably still there solely due to his potential to attain Super Two status. Polanco features a balanced attack, and is probably going to make an already exciting Pirate team that much better. Personally, I can’t wait to see him play at the Major League level, where I think he will produce immediately.
4- Taijuan Walker- SP, Seattle Mariners
2014 Stats: N/A (Shoulder injury)
Taijuan Walker is on the comeback trail from a shoulder injury, and when he finally plays, barring any setbacks, he should give the Mariners a pretty potent 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation. He made three starts for Seattle at the end of last season, notching one win, and striking out 12 batters in 15 innings. Prior to that, he struck out 160 batters in 141.1 IP in the minors. This was a guy who was involved in David Price trade rumors this past offseason, so the hype is there, and I think he will soon prove that it was warranted.
5- Noah Syndergaard- SP, New York Mets
2014 Stats (AAA): 4-2, 3.58 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 36 K, 37.2 IP
Syndergaard was a piece of the trade that saw the Mets send RA Dickey to the Jays, and the monstrous Texan has quickly become their top pitching prospect. His numbers so far this season may not jump off the page, but he has electric stuff, and a nice strikeout rate. Also, Noah will get to play half of his games at the cavernous Citi Field, where you can make mistakes and often times have them stay in the yard..Syndergaard’s number will probably be called once he is no longer eligible for Super Two status.