As Major League clubs begin to narrow down their rosters for Opening Day on Thursday, each organization has identified a top prospect that missed the entire season or may have had a brief look in “The Show”, but could make an impact this season.
Here are the potential breakout players for teams in the American League East:
New York Yankees
The Bronx Bombers were forced to accelerate their top pitching prospect to the Majors after injuries to starters Luis Severino and James Paxton. The 21-year-old did not seem intimidated by his surroundings down the stretch and served as an opener in Game 2 of the playoffs against the Rays, but the additions of Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, and the return of Domingo German allowed GM Brian Cashman to be patient with the young righty. Kluber and Taillon’s questionable health and the uncertain return date of Severino may see Garcia back in pinstripes sometime in the spring.
Toronto Blue Jays
The only thing that may prevent the Jays from competing with New York for top spot in the East is the strength of their rotation. Pearson made four starts last season and was expected to be a big part of Toronto’s starting five, but the 24-year-old righty injured his groin in his first spring training outing and re-aggravated it in mid-March, which means that it will take at least a month to stretch out his arm.
Boston Red Sox
The hulking righty hit eight home runs in 80 at-bats as a rookie and maintained his power numbers with seven taters in spring training. The 25-year-old is penciled in at the bottom of the Red Sox lineup and starting first baseman for Opening Day.
Tampa Bay Rays
Widely regarded as MLB’s top prospect, the 20-year-old phenom has 700 at-bats in Rookie and A-ball. Tampa will be patient in advancing Franco through the system, but the shortstop was impressive in spring training and has enough talent to possibly debut with the Rays later in the season.
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One of the few bright spots for the horrible Orioles, Mountcastle followed up hitting over .300 with 25 HR’s in AAA with a .333 rookie campaign in Baltimore. The 24-year-old split time between the outfield and first base in 2020, but played exclusively in left in spring training and is expected to be a fixture in the middle of the O’s batting order this season.