Prospect Promotions: 3/31-4/6

A look at the prospects that got the call Opening Week.

We are back! Over the course of the last few seasons, this series has aimed to detail every prospect promotion across each week of the entire regular season. After reviewing feedback from our readers, we have decided to mix things up a little bit for 2023. Instead of outlining every prospect that gets the call, the series will highlight some of the bigger names that receive a promotion. These players will be discussed in more detail. Some other notable prospects who head to the bigs will also be discussed, but this time around there will be more focus on detailing these top prospects and less focus on players who are being brought up as a depth piece for a double header.

Of course, this means there will be some variance on what this article looks like week to week. Some weeks there will be several notable young players who are joining their major league club while other weeks there will be hardly any. Either way, there should be more than enough players to breakdown.

For the purposes of this week’s edition, we are going to ignore the Opening Day promotions. At this point, you already know about Corbin CarrollGunnar Henderson (who have both also now exhausted their rookie status) and the likes making their MLB rosters. Instead, we are going to focus on the players who have received their promotion after Opening Day.


Featured Promotions


Joey Wiemer, OF, MIL (Preseason PL/Team rank: 63/3): I actually did the Brewers preseason list, so here is my blurb from a few months ago:

“Wiemer has one of the best power/speed combinations in the minors, as showcased by his 21-homer, 31-steal campaign across Double-A and Triple-A in 2022. Perhaps most impressively, Wiemer was only caught stealing three times. How much Wiemer can keep his strikeouts in check at the big-league level is his biggest question mark, but there is a considerable fantasy ceiling here.”

Obviously, not much has changed since then. It’s not super common that we see one of club’s top prospects not make the Opening Day roster but get the call one day into the regular season, but here we are. The hamstring injury to Luis Urías opened up the opportunity for Wiemer, and seeing as the former is slated to miss close to two months, Wiemer should have an extended look here with the Brewers.

It’s early, but so far the Brewers have been hitting Wiemer ninth and he has seen time in both center and right field. On Wednesday, he belted his first career home run. He might get the occasional day off but for now it appears that Milwaukee is going to utilize him in a near-everyday role. His performance across the next two months will determine if that role remains once Urías returns to action. Long term, Wiemer looks to be part of a young potential outfield core that could include other top prospects Sal Frelick and Jackson Chourio.


Grayson Rodriguez, P, BAL (Preseason PL/Team rank:9/2): Rodriguez would be the top prospect for most clubs but the aforementioned Henderson claimed that spot for the Orioles heading into the 2023 season. Bob Phelan went into great detail about Rodriguez in our Baltimore preseason rankings.

Rodriguez has been one of the best pitching prospects in the games seemingly since he was drafted 11th overall back in 2018. The righty has dominated at every level and that didn’t stop in 2022, when he posted a 2.62 ERA and struck out 109 in 75.2 innings across three levels, with almost all of those outings coming at Triple-A. A lat strain in June more or less derailed Rodriguez’s season, though, or else he may have made his MLB debut a season ago.

Despite the injury, Rodriguez made a handful of starts to close 2022, and he came in to 2023 healthy, which led to many, myself included, assuming he would make the Opening Day roster. He had a rough 15.1 innings this spring, though, allowing 12 earned runs while walking seven and striking out 19. As a result, he was sent to Triple-A to start the year and his lone start there wasn’t the most encouraging either. In four frames, Rodriguez allowed two earned runs and walked four while striking out two. Despite the struggles this spring and in his 2023 minor league debut, the Orioles are deciding to roll Rodriguez following Kyle Bradish’s trip to the IL with a right foot contusion following a comebacker. Having Rodriguez on the MLB roster has always made sense – the Orioles are trying to make a playoff push this season and while the offense could flirt with being one of the better units in the league, the pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired.

Following his promotion, Rodriguez had a solid debut against the Rangers, allowing two runs and four hits across five innings, while striking out five. Be sure to check out Ben Palmer’s excellent breakdown of his entire first outing for a more in depth summary of what Rodriguez showcased.

As with all pitching prospects, how successful Rodriguez will be will likely come down to his ability to stay healthy and his ability to limit walks. Although he’s struggled a bit with walks thus far in 2023, his track record in the minors isn’t a red flag. At Triple-A in 2022, he had a 7.7% walk rate. That puts him right in the neighborhood of someone like Joe Ryan. It’s realistic to imagine it’ll tick up slightly in the majors, especially in his rookie season, but historically his walk rates aren’t alarming enough to be concerned, even if they aren’t at an elite level you’d want from a top pitching prospect.

Overall, if Rodriguez is up for the long haul, it’s reasonable to hope for a rookie campaign where he logs 120 frames, posts an ERA in the mid-to-upper 3s, and strikes out more than a batter per inning. He hasn’t been sent back down yet, and with Bradish’s timeline uncertain, Rodriguez should have a few chances to earn a permanent rotation spot. Let’s hope he does.


Dylan Dodd, P, ATL (Preseason PL/Team Rank: N/A/13): Dodd’s stock has risen seemingly more than any other prospect this spring. The 24-year-old battled neck-and-neck with Jared Shuster for the fifth spot in Atlanta’s rotation. Shuster ultimately got the first crack at the bigs, but stumbled in his debut and was optioned to Triple-A. Max Fried then hit the IL, and Kyle Wright is still ramping up and rehabbing following shoulder inflammation, so there are enough moving parts here for Dodd to receive an extended look.

By now, you probably already know that Dodd had a strong debut, tossing five shutout frames while striking out three and walking none. Be sure to check out Jake Crumpler’s in-depth GIF breakdown of Dodd’s first outing with the Braves.

Dodd’s ability to limit walks comes as no surprise, as the lefty posted a 5.3% walk rate in minors a year ago, good for 21st best among pitchers that logged at least 100 innings.

The left-hander was a third round pick back in 2021, selected 96th overall by Atlanta. He only tossed 14 innings in the lower minors in 2021, but his 2022 stats are impressive. To go along with the aforementioned walk rate, Dodd logged 142 innings, posted a 3.36 ERA and struck out 153. His ability to strike hitters out and limit walks led to an even better FIP – 3.11. His control and command have become his calling card and while he may not have the best stuff, his ability to locate gives him a high floor, despite only having a handful of innings of experience above Double-A.


Other Notables


Sean Hjelle, P, SF – Hjelle has worked exclusively as a starter in the minors, but as a reliever in his brief opportunities in the majors. The 25-year-old righty is a former second round pick and although the ERA was ugly (5.76) in 25 frames at the MLB level in 2022, he also posted a 17.4% K-BB rate. That’s not elite for a reliever by any means, but the 6-foot-11 (not a typo!) reliever is showing some increased velocity in the early going in 2023. If he can maintain it, he could carve out a permanent role in the Giants bullpen.

Bryce Johnson, OF, SF – Johnson has been more or less an average hitter in the minors and doesn’t posses much power, but the fact that he’s a switch hitter and efficient base stealer could mean that he’s an interesting steals candidate for deeper leagues. Across the last two minor league campaigns, the 27-year old swiped 61 bags in 70 attempts. With the increase in stolen bases so far in 2023, a player like Johnson could provide some extra value to big league club this season.

Jeff Lindgren, P, MIA – Lindgren is a former 24th round pick so the fact that he got some MLB action following this promotion is a minor miracle in itself. The line wasn’t pretty – he allowed four runs on four hits while walking three and striking out zero – and Lindgren was sent back to Triple-A right after. He’s not a high-ceiling arm, but he’s someone who will likely be making multiple spot starts for a team that has shown to be great at developing pitchers in recent years.

Image courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare @bearydoesgfx on Twiier)

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