10 prospects to watch during 2016 spring training
MLB's next stars
Part of the intrigue of spring training is watching top prospects compete for a spot on Opening Day rosters. As the 2016 Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues get underway, here are 10 players yet to make their major league debut that you should keep an eye on this month…
Tim Anderson -- SS -- White Sox:
Hailed as the White Sox’s shortstop of the future, Anderson now may have to wait a little longer with Jimmy Rollins in the fold. After playing the entire 2015 season at Double-A, Anderson will begin this season in Triple-A and could be in Chicago soon if Rollins and Tyler Saladino struggle.
Orlando Arcia -- SS -- Brewers:
The 21-year-old racked up 37 doubles at Double-A in 2015 and was likely ticketed for Triple-A in 2016 with Jean Segura manning shortstop in Milwaukee. But the Brewers dealt Segura to Arizona, so Arcia’s path to the majors is clear.
Josh Bell -- 1B -- Pirates:
The Pirates are coming off three straight postseason appearances, but they head into 2016 without a definitive starter at first base. That’s where Bell comes in. The 23-year-old hit .347 over 35 games at Triple-A at the end of the 2015 season. His main competition in Pirates camp will be John Jaso, Michael Morse and Jason Rogers.
J.P. Crawford -- SS -- Phillies:
Jimmy Rollins is no longer in the 21-year-old’s way and Freddy Galvis doesn’t pose much of a roadblock. It’s only a matter of time before Crawford joins Maikel Franco in Philly to anchor the left side of the infield presumably for years to come.
Lucas Giolito -- SP -- Nationals:
With Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister gone, the top pitching prospect in baseball should get an opportunity to compete with Tanner Roark and Joe Ross for one of the last spots in the Nationals’ rotation.
Aaron Judge -- OF -- Yankees:
Built like Giancarlo Stanton, the 6-foot-7, 275-pound Judge doesn’t have a spot in the current Yankees outfield, but an injury could open the door for the 23-year-old. He finished the 2015 season at Triple-A and will likely get a long look in spring training.
A.J. Reed -- 1B -- Astros:
Runner up for Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2015, Reed hit 34 home runs between two levels. He will compete with Jonathan Singleton and Marwin Gonzalez for the Astros’ first base job.
Blake Snell -- SP -- Rays:
The reigning Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year burst on to the scene in 2015. Over 134 innings at three levels last season, Snell posted a microscopic 1.41 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 134 innings. The Rays think so highly of him, they reportedly tried signing him to a multi-year contract this spring ... before he’s even made his major league debut.
Robert Stephenson -- SP -- Reds:
Cincinnati's rotation is far from complete. Nine pitchers are competing in big league camp for the five spots, with Martinez-native and Reds' No. 1 prospect Robert Stephenson among them. Bryan Price and his coaching staff plan to give the 2011 first-round pick a long look this spring. The 23-year-old has 488 strikeouts in 450 career minor league innings and finished the 2015 season at Triple-A.
Dansby Swanson -- SS -- Braves:
Picked No. 1 overall by the D’backs this past summer, Swanson was surprisingly traded to Atlanta in a deal that brought Shelby Miller back to Arizona. With Andrelton Simmons shipped to Anaheim, shortstop at Turner Field is Swanson’s for the taking.