Andrew Painter of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches during a spring training game against the Minnesota Twins on March 1, 2023 at the Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
While most of the average Major League Baseball fan’s attention gravitates towards their favorite teams’ big league ballclub, it never hurts to look ahead towards the future. There are dozens of current Minor League Baseball players that will one day live out their dream and make their MLB debut. Here is a look at five prospects that are working towards that dream, and their performances thus far.
1. Andrew Painter (RHP), Philadelphia Phillies, (Double-A)
Painter is the fourth ranked prospect in all of baseball at just 20-years-old. The right-handed pitcher was drafted 13th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft, and has advanced quickly through the Phillies system. In 2022 with the Double-A Reading Fightin’ Phils, Painter struck out 37 in 28.1 innings. The scouting grade on his fastball is a 70, with 80 being the best possible grade. The combination of his size (6-foot-7), and command should translate well to the MLB. Painter could make his debut as early as this year.
2. Jackson Chourio (OF), Milwaukee Brewers, (Double-A)
Chourio signed with Milwaukee back in January of 2021 for $1.8 million, but not as an outfielder. The 19-year-old has recently transitioned from shortstop, where he played during his time in the winter of 2021-22 with Aguilas del Zulia of Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional. Chourio started the 2022 season with Single-A Carolina and was promoted to Double-A Biloxi after hitting .324 and stealing 10 bases. So far in 15 games with Biloxi, he has three home runs and 14 runs batted in. His estimated call up time to the MLB is 2024.
3. Marcelo Mayer (SS), Boston Red Sox, (High-A)
Mayer was drafted fourth overall in 2021 by Boston and signed for a franchise record $6,664,000. The shortstop throws right-handed, and bats left-handed. The seventh-ranked prospect in all of baseball has gotten off to a solid start in 2023, batting .255 in his first 12 games with High-A Greenville. Scouts grade his power a 55 out of 80, and fielding a 60 out of 80. It is unclear whether or not he will stay at shortstop, as many in the Red Sox organization picture him at third base with his strong arm. Mayer’s estimated call up time to the MLB is 2024.
4. Elly De La Cruz (SS, 3B), Cincinnati Reds, (Triple-A)
De La Cruz has drawn comparisons to a slightly shorter Oneil Cruz. At 6-foot-5, the shortstop has been given a running grade of 70 and stole 28 bases in 2022 with High-A Dayton. He signed for just $65,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, but could earn millions more if he continues his outstanding play. De La Cruz has hit 37 home runs and stolen 60 bases on 78 attempts across all four of his Minor League Baseball seasons. He is currently with Triple-A Louisville, and could be called up later this season to the Cincinnati Reds.
5. Jackson Holliday (SS), Baltimore Orioles, (High-A)
Jackson Holliday is the son of former 15-year MLB veteran Matt Holliday, and was drafted first overall by Baltimore in the 2022 MLB Draft. At just 19-years-old, Holliday is not expected to make his Major League debut for a few more years, but was just called up to the Aberdeen IronBirds, the High-A affiliate of the Orioles. Holiday had a strong showing in Low-A before his call up. He hit .392 and walked 14 times, compared to 12 strikeouts. He set the national record for high school hits in 2022, and earned himself a signing bonus of $8.19 million, a record for a high schooler. He is estimated to be called up to the MLB in 2025.