Image credit: Gunnar Henderson (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
September has arrived, which means rosters are expanding and top prospects are getting promoted to the major leagues en masse.
Here is a look at the top prospects who have been promoted to the majors for the stretch run.
This list will be updated throughout the day as more callups are announced.
1. Gunnar Henderson, SS, Orioles
Henderson was technically called up Aug. 31, so we’re cheating a bit. Either way, the No. 1 prospect in baseball wasted no time making an impact by going 2-for-4 with a homer in his big league debut to help the Orioles pick up a 4-0 win over the Guardians and move just two games back of a wild card spot. Henderson is a polished, well-rounded player who has the ability to hit for average and power, play above-average defense on the left side of the infield and make things happen on the basepaths with his above-average speed, high motor and exceptionally advanced baserunning instincts. He has the ability to make an immediate impact in a variety of ways and aid the Orioles’ surprising push for the postseason.
2. Corbin Carroll, OF, D-Backs
Like Henderson, Carroll actually got called up in the final days of August but will be included here for practical purposes. The small but mighty outfielder puts together consistently good at-bats, drives the ball hard to all fields, has sneaky home run power, is a menace on the bases with his plus-plus speed and can play all three outfield positions at an above-average or better level. His presence should help electrify a D-backs team that has quietly been playing well of late—they are 21-16 since the All-Star break, the sixth-best record in the NL in that time—and provide a promising glimpse of better days ahead for the franchise.
3. Miguel Vargas, 3B, Dodgers
Vargas made his brief major league debut with two games in early August, got sent back down to Triple-A and was recalled on Thursday with the September roster expansion. The 22-year-old Cuban is one of the best pure hitting prospects in baseball with a quick, inside-out swing that yields tons of contact to go with an exceptional feel for the strike zone, a natural ability to drive the ball hard the other way and growing pull-side power. He rarely strikes out, draws walks with a discerning eye, hits all types of pitches and covers the entire plate, leaving pitchers little recourse to avoid contact. Vargas’ defense still needs work at third base, but he’s improving and playable. If nothing else, his bat alone gives the Dodgers yet another dangerous lineup option.
4. Hunter Brown, RHP, Astros
The Astros added Brown to the taxi squad on Tuesday and will officially activate him today in advance of his big league debut. The 6-foot-2 righthander went 9-4, 2.55 with 134 strikeouts in 106 innings in a dominant showing for Triple-A Sugar Land this year and was unanimously voted the Pacific Coast League’s best pitching prospect by league managers. Brown’s explosive, 95-100 mph fastball, devastating low-80s curveball, swing-and-miss power slider and an improving changeup give him the arsenal to help the Astros in whatever role they need, whether it’s a starter, piggyback option or late-game reliever.
5. D.L. Hall, LHP, Orioles
Hall debuted Aug. 13 against the Rays, but was sent back to the minors and recalled on Thursday with the September roster expansion. The lefthander gave the full experience in his debut at Tropicana Field, flashing a powerful four-pitch arsenal and showing the below-average command that has plagued him throughout his professional career. While his strike-throwing is still in question, few lefthanded pitchers possess Hall’s quality of stuff. With a mid-to-high-90s fastball from the left side and a trio of secondaries that generate whiffs, he could be a weapon for the Orioles down the stretch.
6. Jonathan Aranda, 2B/1B, Rays
The infielder debuted against the Pirates on June 24 and has had two short stints this season with the Rays. Aranda has a bat-driven profile with an advanced approach at the plate and rarely strikes out. Few players pair advanced contact skills, power and on-base ability as well as Aranda, who’s hit .318/.394/.521 with 18 home runs this season in 104 games with Durham. While Aranda is a standout at the plate, he’s limited as a defender, seeing time at first base, second base, third base and left field this season. This is less a matter of versatility and more that Aranda lacks a true defensive home. Despite this, his ability to impact the game offensively mitigates any defensive questions. Aranda could provide a valuable boost to the Rays lineup in a heated battle for an American League wild card berth.
7. Oswald Peraza, SS, Yankees
9. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Brewers
The Brewers technically recalled Mitchell on Aug. 27, but we’ll include him here anyway. The UCLA product has long wowed with his Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field, plus-plus speed and overall elite athleticism that stands out on a baseball field. How much he’ll hit has long been a question, but he has the plus raw power to drive the ball over the fence when he squares one up and can quickly turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples with his speed. Even if he doesn’t make enough quality contact to be a consistent offensive threat, his defense in center field should help the Brewers down the stretch as they push for a wild card spot.
10. Yainer Diaz, C, Astros
Triple-A Sugar Land boasted the best prospect catching tandem in the minors this year with Diaz and Korey Lee. Diaz, who was acquired from Cleveland for Myles Straw last year, hit .306 with 25 home runs and 96 RBIs across Double-A and Triple-A and is set to be added to the major league roster today. The 23-year-old Dominican has long had a knack for contact and has progressively added power as he’s gotten older. He’s a bat-first catcher who will make a greater impact in the lineup than on defense, but his receiving has improved enough to give him a chance to stick behind the plate long term. For now, he gives the Astros another offensive weapon and a third catcher behind Christian Vasquez and Martin Maldonado.
11. Ken Waldichuk, LHP, Athletics
The Athletics acquired Waldichuk in the trade deadline deal that sent Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino to the Yankees and officially called him up to Oakland on Thursday. Waldichuk primarily works with a fastball that sits 93-95 mph and touches 97 and an 80-83 mph slider that features more than a foot of sweep. He also has a changeup that is a swing-and-miss pitch against righthanded hitters at its best and a mid-70s curveball with two-plane break that acts as a change-of-pace pitch. Waldichuk’s control can be inconsistent and he has long faced relief questions, but he holds his stuff and has shown the ability to complete five innings somewhat consistently. He should get the opportunity to start for the A’s down the stretch and prove he belongs in their 2023 rotation plans.
12. Michael Toglia, 1B, Rockies
Another player who was technically called up at the end of August, Toglia struggled with consistency his first two pro seasons but hit 30 home runs across Double-A and Triple-A this year to earn his first callup. He is the rare switch-hitting power hitter and is a legitimate threat from both sides of the plate. He had some of the hardest hit balls in the minors over the last two seasons and possesses true plus power with the natural strength and leverage he generates from his 6-foot-5 frame. Toglia is mostly a three true outcomes hitter and has never hit for high averages, but his on-base skills, power and above-average defense at first base gives him a chance to make a positive contribution to the Rockies on both sides of the ball. He is a good athlete for his size and can handle the outfield corners, as well.