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 doubleheader.
Of course, this means there will be some variance in 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 break down.
Additionally, each week, I’ll do a quick note on the featured players from the week prior. This will mostly focus on recent performance and whether or not it appears that the player will stay with the big league club moving forward.
SERIES NOTE – This will be the last article of this year’s series! Now that the September 1 roster expansion date has come and gone, it is very likely that we have seen that last big wave for prospect promotions. This has been one of the more exciting years in recent memory for prospect call ups, and I am already looking forward to next year.
We didn’t have an article last week, but two weeks ago we took a look at Noelvi Marte, Kyle Harrison, Masyn Winn, and Everson Pereira. Marte has essentially been an everyday player since getting the call, though he has not done much with the opportunity, going 11 for his first 48 with four doubles. He has chipped in with five steals, but overall, he’s someone I’m much more interested in for 2024 than the rest of 2023. Harrison has been a mixed bag, which is more or less what we expected. Through three starts he sports a 4.70 ERA but his second start was an absolute gem – he struck out 11 in 6.1 innings. He’s going to strike out a ton of guys but it’s difficult to predict everything else. Winn hasn’t shown anything in his first 14 games, hitting just .170. He’ll adjust, but likely not until sometime next season. Pereira has also struggled, hitting just .130 while striking out more than 40% of the time in his first 13 contests. I’m less confident he will adjust given that he has notched high strikeout rates at every level of the minors.
Now, onto this week’s promotions.
Jasson Domínguez, OF, NYY – If you’re reading this article, you already know who Domínguez is. He was one of the most famous international signee prospects in recent memory, and signing with the Yankees only increased his popularity.
Due somewhat in part to lofty expectations, Domínguez’s minor league production has been seen by some as a disappointment, even though he has been successful at every stop. His wonky 2023 season has only fueled both the doubters and the believers.
Domínguez started the season in Double-A and has spent most of the campaign there, playing in 109 contests. Prior to the All-Star break, the 20-year-old was struggling, hitting just .206 with 10 home runs in his first 76 games. After the break? Domínguez became one of the best hitters in the minors, batting .366 with five home runs and 16 steals in 42 games while striking out just 17% of the time. The hot stretch earned the young outfielder a promotion to Triple-A, where he hit a laughable .419 in nine games before getting the call to big league club.
It hasn’t taken long for Domínguez to make a mark there, either. He homered off of Justin Verlander in his first at bat, and has since hit two more long balls. Surely, there will be an adjustment period for Domínguez as he plays in his first MLB month, but the home run power and ability to steal bases makes him an intriguing deep league flier this late in the season, and it’ll be interesting to see just how high he goes in drafts next spring.
Austin Wells, C/DH, NYY – Hey, look, the Yankees wanted to give their fans something to be excited about. The Yankees took Wells toward the back of the first round in the 2021 draft and his minor league career has gone more or less as expected as a power hitting catching prospect..
In 2022, Wells put up a .277/.385/.512 triple slash with 20 home runs and 17 doubles across three levels and 92 games. He also went a perfect 16 for 16 in stolen base attempts.
For the most part, Wells has kept up his production in 2023, though his batting average across three levels in the minors has taken a step back to .240. Predictably, the stolen bases have also come down, with Wells nabbing seven bags in eight attempts. Still, he’s clubbed 17 home runs and 24 doubles while walking at a high clip. This is more of what was expected of Wells though – a high-OBP, power hitting bat.
He should see close to full-time at bats down the stretch for a Yankees team that is out of contention, but it’s not likely he will be fantasy relevant to big-league pitching.
Jordan Lawlar, SS, ARI – Lawlar has been the No. 1 prospect for most of the season on Matt Heckman’s Top 100 Prospect List here at Pitcher List. While Jackson Holliday has become somewhat of a consensus No. 1 in the industry, Lawlar has established himself as a consensus top five prospect, and it’s easy to see why our Matt Heckman has him atop his list.
The Diamondbacks selected Lawlar with the sixth overall pick back in the 2021 draft, and while he got into a couple of Complex League games in 2021, it wasn’t really until 2022 that we got to see Lawlar play in professional games. And he had a busy 2022. The shortstop played in the Complex League, Single-A, High-A and Double-A. The bulk of his action came between Single-A and High-A, and in totality he played 100 games, triple slashing .303/.401/.503 with 16 home runs and 39 steals. He did struggle in his final stop of the year, at Double-A, hitting just .212 in 20 games, but he was in his age-19 season.
As a result, Lawlar started 2023 in Double-A and got off to a slow start. Through May, he was hitting just .199. But since then, Lawlar has been on fire. From June 3 through August 12, Lawlar triple slashed .309/.400/544. That hot stretch earned him a promotion to Triple-A in mid-August, and he hasn’t slowed down. In fact, he’s produced at an even higher level, hitting .359 with five home runs three steals in 16 games. On the year, Lawlar has totaled 20 home runs and 36 steals, showcasing his elite power/speed potential.
He gets the call here with the Diamondbacks in the middle of a playoff push. Historically, Lawlar has posted strikeout rates in the mid-to-upper 20s, so there is a chance that he may strikeout too much while adjusting to Major League pitching to have success out of the gate. That being said, there aren’t any options out on the fantasy wire.
Emmet Sheehan, P, LAD – Sheehan has made multiple appearances in this series throughout the season so we aren’t going to spend too much time on him here. He’s breezed through 53.1 Double-A innings with a strikeout rate north of 40%, but has run into some trouble at the Major League level as well as in a handful of frames at Triple-A.
The bottom line is that Sheehan remains one of the top pitching prospects in the game, though he comes with some risk due to his high walk rates at every stop of his minor league career.
Following this promotion he had one of his best big league outings – four innings of one run ball with six strikeouts. He’s now knocking on the door of exceeding his prospect eligibility, and it’s likely he loses it by season’s end.
Minor League Prospects
Jackson Holliday, SS, BAL (Double-A to Triple-A)- We briefly mentioned Holliday in the Lawlar writeup above. He’s been the best player in the minors this season, and it’s not much of a debate. As a 19-year-old, Holliday started the season in Single-A and is now knocking on the door of the bigs after dominating every level so far. At his latest stop, the star shortstop played 36 games at Double-A and triple slashed .338/.421/.507 with three home runs and three steals. At this rate, I’m not sure we can rule out seeing Holliday in Baltimore this fall.
Wyatt Langford, OF, TEX (High-A to Double-A) – The fourth overall pick in this year’s draft is on the move again. After playing a handful of games in the Complex League, Langford then moved onto High-A for 24 games, where he triple slashed a ridiculous .333/.453/.644 with five home runs and seven steals. He now makes the jump to Double-A, and there’s a decent chance we see Langford with the MLB club sometime in 2024.
Roman Anthony, SS, BOS (High-A to Double-A) – Anthony is one of 2023’s biggest breakout prospects. He started the year in Single-A and was slightly above league average for the level. At High-A, though, Anthony really took off, triple slashing .294./412/.569 with 12 home runs in 54 games. He did strikeout north of 30% of the time, so that’s something to monitor, but Anthony is just 19-years-old and now in Double-A.
Photo courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on Twitter)