3 MLB-Ready Prospects That Should Get the Call By September
Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox
Move over, Big Cass – there’s a new giant in town. While he may eventually share the same nickname as the 6’10” former WWE superstar, baseball’s version hits moonshots much harder than chairshots.
Triston Casas crushes baseballs.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 14, 2022
At 6’5″ and 265 pounds, Triston Casas could probably go t0e-to-toe with anyone in the squared circle. And while his wrestling namesake has five inches on the future Red Sox slugger, Enzo Amore’s tag-team partner won’t be circling the pillows at Fenway anytime soon.
Coming into 2022, Casas was flying higher than a “Macho Man” elbow from the top ropes. The 26th pick of the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft put up a .877 OPS between Double and Triple-A last season and followed it up my stomping a mudhole in the Arizona Fall League by hitting .372 in 21 games.
An ankle injury in May stalled Casas’s season with Triple-A Worcester for nearly two months. MLB’s No. 13 ranked prospect coming into the year made his return two weeks ago and tore up the Florida Complex League. Sure, it was shorter than a Gillberg match but hitting .429, with a homer and three RBI in four games, is a helluva start.
The 22-year-old has gone just 2-for-19 since his return to the WooSox, which has to be Ric Flair’s favorite team. Despite some struggles at Triple-A this year (.235 avg, 6 HR, 23 RBI in 40 games), there is a lot to like about what Casas has been doing, Most notably his 28 walks and .343 OBP.
Coming back to the minors, right before August 2nd’s MLB trade deadline, coupled with the big league club falling out of the Wild Card race, could play into the native of Miami, Florida’s favor.
While Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kenned shot down rumors of Boston entertaining the idea of trading one or both of shortstop Xander Bogaerts (opt-out option at seasons’ end) and third baseman Rafael Devers (free agent in 2024), sometimes smoke means fire.
The Sox have looked like a smoldering tire blaze of late and find themselves dead last in the AL East. Even perennial division basement dweller Baltimore has leapfrogged Boston after they dropped eight of their past 10 and 16 of 22 games in July.
Injuries to Trevor Story, Chris Sale, and Devers all factored into the Sox now having a more crowded fight for the final playoff spot than the Royal Rumble.
If Boston continues the downward spiral and can’t get healthy quickly, you’ve got to believe they will sell harder than Shawn Michaels on Hollywood Hulk Hogan before next week ends. Their BetMGM odds have dropped to 67-to-1 to win the World Series and 41-to-1 to capture the AL Pennant.
A Red Sox team out of contention and needing bodies at the Major League level could pave Big Cas version 2.0’s Beantown bus ride before Fall.
Brett Baty, 3B/OF, New York Mets
This may be a tough sell since Brett Baty is still in Double-A, and the New York Mets are already stacked atop the NL East. But with a swing like this, the pipeline from Binghamton to the Big Apple becomes shorter than the Shea Bridge.
Brett Baty clears EVERYTHING.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 2, 2022
The Mets No. 2 prospect is certainly already deserving of at least a promotion to Triple A-Syracuse if the big club can’t find him a spot during their push for the Commissioner’s Trophy. Before they can cash in on their World Series odds (+750-MLB’s 4th shortest), they may want to focus on the division that looked close to a wrap not so long ago.
A once sturdy lead over the Atlanta Braves has melted to 2.5 games. Next week’s four-game series against the Bravos following Tuesday’s tradeline could result in New York being ousted from the top for basically the first time all year.
We’re not trying to sell Baty as the answer to saving the division or even pushing New York over the top, but as great as the Mets have been, they have some holes.
After a good few months to start the season, Jeff McNeil has reverted to the player that hit just .249 with seven homers and 35 RBI last year. The fifth-year Met has struggled mightily in July with just a .169 batting average, zero home runs, and three RBI. McNeil has value because he can play multiple positions, two of which Baty can handle.
Baseball’s No. 19 ranked prospect has played 60 games at third base and nine in left field this season. McNeil has been chiefly at second base (49 games) this year, but his secondary position, like Baty, has been left, with 29 starts in 2022. McNeil also has 47 career games at third, but free-swinging journeyman Eduardo Escobar has been the leading man there with 84 starts.
It’s fair to say, Escobar, four teams in four years, is not the long-term solution at the hot corner. Hitting .219 with 93 strikeouts and an OBP of .273 doesn’t make a lasting impression in his first season in New York.
Back to what Baty can bring. The 22-year-old is slashing .297/.390/.497 and leads the Rumble Ponies in hits (88), runs (60), and doubles (20). A 50-plus percent ground-ball rate has stalled his power numbers producing just 32 minor-league career home runs in 816 at-bats. That said, the Mets’ 12th overall pick of the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft has popped 13 this season.
Outside of superstars Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Starling Marte doing the heavy lifting, a young spark would help New York’s depth and Baty’s development. Watching winning and participating in a playoff push in real-time could breed a tested gamer for the future.
Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Rangers
Could a dog days of Summer minor league call-up round out an already dangerous hitting infield in Arlington? Third baseman Josh Jung will undoubtedly try to become a fellow first-year Ranger with Marcus Semien at second and Corey Seager at short.
The 25-year-old prospect would have probably already been with the big league team if not for a labral tear in his left shoulder back in February. Jung has excelled at every level in baseball, carrying a .322 career batting average over 122 minor league games to go along with a .348 mark in 907 NCAA plate appearances.
After getting the call to Triple-A Round Rock last season, MLB’s 29th-ranked prospect went well above a fantastic first half in Double-A. Jung hit .348 with the Express after hitting .308 in 48 games one level below with the Frisco RoughRiders. Between the two clubs, he knocked 19 home runs, including this blast below, to go along with 61 RBI and 54 runs in 304 at-bats.
Sweet Mary Moses. Josh Jung absolutely annihilates a baseball off the batters eye in CF for a home run. pic.twitter.com/7BkWBuei8R
— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) June 20, 2021
It remains to be seen if February’s shoulder surgery will have any lasting effects on the San Antonio native. The Rangers are now willing to find out, as their home state slugger heads out on a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday. After heading down to the Arizona Complex League for a tuneup, the eighth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft should be back in Round Rock or Frisco as early as next week. There is likely only one stop left on the Junger-Naut Express after that.
While they are probably out of the Wild Card race, the Rangers have a shot at 8.5 games back. They can use all the help they can get to hop over five other teams, and a bat like Jung could do just that. On the flip side, if they are calling it a season by next week’s trade deadline, why not get a good look at the kid up in Arlington.