Some talented rookies make their appearances in the big leagues this week with the potential to alter a team’s fortunes this season. These late spring call-ups are significant because they are normally impact players left to marinate in the minors at the start of the season in order to delay their service clock.
Here are the top minor league players called up in order of their impact potential:
Carlos Ordaz, LF Milwaukee Brewers
Blessed with a smooth swing, it’s almost unfair that Ordaz also has an excellent understanding of the strike zone. Unfortunately for opposing pitchers, he will drive the ball well, hitting for both average and power. Ordaz is clearly in the majors for his bat, because his defense is nothing to get excited about. While his durability likely won’t permit him to play every game, expect to see 22-year-old in left field every game they need him for years to come.
Shayne Everett, COF, Oakland Athletics
Everett has an elite understanding of the strike zone, forcing pitchers to throw the ball above the knees and below the letters in order to get his bat in motion. When they do, he will rarely strike out. He stands to drive the ball equally well against lefties and righties with a bit of power. Everett’s defensive skills are nothing to write home about, and he is better suited to hold down left field.
Sawyer Cross, SP, Montreal Expos
The Expos add a weapon to the starting rotation in Cross, a pitcher who throws hard and has decent control. His five-pitch repertoire includes four quality pitches that will keep opponents off-balanced and guessing, and he has the stamina to pitch deep into games. Cross will be relied upon heavily in the Expos push to take the division.
Elmer Kozlowski, RP, Baltimore Orioles
Kozlowski stands to play a very big role in the Orioles bullpen, either as a set-up man or a closer. The young righthander throws a fastball with excellent movement on it while keeping batters off-balanced with a decent curveball. He is tougher on righties than lefties and is durable enough to make regular appearances and shorten the game by an inning or two for the starters.
Ariel Mateo, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals top prospect gets his chance at the majors starting at first base. Blessed with good speed, Mateo’s outstanding quality is his ability to hit for nearly pure power. He will drive the ball decently against both lefties and righties but has average contact and can be fooled into swinging at pitches outside the zone at the plate.
Andy Montague, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
The Massachusetts-native has a good understanding of the strike zone and decent pop in his bat, but not the normal power you might expect to see at the hot corner. His defense leads you to believe he’s better suited in a corner outfield position, but the Cardinals pencil him in at third given they are reluctant to remove the streaking Quinton Austin from the line-up.
David Macias, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
You could quibble about Macias not having the best glove to play short, but there’s not much else not to like about this player. He will get to a lot of grounders that might normally find a hole on the left side of the infield, and he has the strength to gun the runner down. Macias will make contact a lot and drive the ball decently against right-handed pitching. He has average power and will occasionally swing at pitches he shouldn’t.