Opening Day Update:
Volpe is batting 9th on Thursday against the San Francisco Giants.
Walker is batting 8th against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Turang is batting 9th against the Chicago Cubs.
Henderson is batting 5th against the Boston Red Sox.
Casas is batting 6th against the Baltimore Orioles.
One of the best things in baseball is when a top prospect gets called up to the big leagues for the first time. The emotion that overcomes them, the reward from a lifelong journey, it all comes to a head as they look to make their presence known in the majors as one of the game’s stars of the future.
MLB keeps a list of the Top 100 prospects throughout the season, and some of the names at the top cracked an Opening Day roster for the first time in their careers. New York Yankees infielder Anthony Volpe, St. Louis Cardinals third baseman, Milwaukee Brewers infielder Brice Turang and pitcher Gus Varland all got the news they would be starting 2023 with their major league club.
Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees
What a moment for Anthony Volpe, who just found out that he made the Yankees Opening Day roster— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 26, 2023
Volpe is the lastest in Yankees' prospects to crack the big league roster. Despite the New York lineup being one of the best in baseball, Volpe projects to be the team’s starter at shortstop. The soon-to-be 22-year-old has yet to play in a major league regular season game. Between AA and AAA last season, he hit .249 with 127 hits, including 35 doubles, five triples, 21 home runs and 65 RBI. Volpe also swiped 50 bags with the bigger bases that the MLB is now implementing. He is ranked as the No. 5 overall prospect at MLB.com.
Jordan Walker, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
That moment when your dream becomes a reality. pic.twitter.com/lHU7tiZBn3— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 26, 2023
Walker was thought to be deserving of a big league spot but unlikely to get one being 20 years old. While primarily a third baseman, Walker is likely going to be starting in right field for the Cardinals. This moves switch hitting outfielder Dylan Carlson to the bench, but Walker could play third when Nolan Arenado gets a day off. Walker hit .306 with 31 doubles, 19 home runs and 68 RBI and is ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect.
Brice Turang, INF, Milwaukee Brewers
“Do you want to play Opening Day?”— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 27, 2023
The moment Brice Turang found out he’s heading to the Big Leagues #ThisIsMyCrew | @BRiCEcTuRANG pic.twitter.com/8AZrNVTYtR
While not listed among the top 100 prospects, Turang is ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the Brewers organization. He has long been in the conversation of making the major league roster, but hasn’t taken the necessary step forward until this spring. Milwaukee DFA’d Keston Hiura paving the way for Turang to be the starting shortstop to open the season. Turang plays the middle infield and center field and hit .286 this spring with a double, a home run, four RBI and three stolen bases.
Gus Varland, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
Soak it all in, Gus. You’re heading to the Big Leagues.#ThisIsMyCrew | @GusBusVarland pic.twitter.com/UIh2uxjzXO— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 27, 2023
Varland is a reliever for Milwaukee ranked as the team’s 27th-best prospect. He gets the call-up to bolster the team’s bullpen. The Brew Crew will already have to adjust to a full season of Devin Williams as the team’s closer with Josh Hader in San Diego. Varland has the stuff to become a setup man but will likely be used in the middle innings starting the season.
Other rookies to keep an eye on
Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles
Henderson is the top prospect in baseball and got the call-up by the Baltimore Orioles towards the end of the 2022 season. He played in 34 games and hit .259 with four home runs and 18 RBI. Henderson will likely be the team’s everyday third baseman and could find himself toward the top of the lineup. He has the best odds at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the 2023 AL Rookie of the Year Award installed at +265.
Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks
Caroll is the top prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the No. 2 overall prospect in the MLB. The 22-year-old outfielder has impressed enough already to earn an eight-year contract extension with Arizona. The move kind of came as a shock since he has only played 32 games in the bigs, but that just shows how high expectations are for him. Last year in limited action, he hit .260 with nine doubles, three triples, four home runs and 14 RBI. Carroll has the second-best odds to win the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year Award at +400, behind only Walker.
Kodai Senga, New York Mets
Senga isn’t considered a prospect since he was signed from the NPB in Japan by the New York Mets last offseason. Even so, he still is in contention for the Rookie of the Year Award and has the fourth-best odds of winning the NL Award. Senga is projected to be the third rotational piece for New York behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. If his ghost pitch came to the Mets with him, he could run away with Rookie of the Year early.
Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox
Casas is ranked as the No. 23 prospect in the majors and second in the Boston Red Sox organization. The 23-year-old played in 27 games last year for the Red Sox. He got off to a rough start hitting only .197, but showed off his power with a double and five home runs among his 15 hits. Casas has +800 odds of winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award this season, which ranks as the fourth-best.
Jared Shuster, Atlanta Braves
The southpaw Shuster was battling it out in Atlanta Braves camp with Dylan Dodd for the team’s No. 5 rotation spot. Kyle Wright is starting the season on the IL, likely making it possible for both pitchers to be featured early. Shuster is projected to start the team’s third game of the season against the Washington Nationals, with Dodd getting the call early next in the second week of the season. Shuster is Atlanta’s top prospect but is a longshot with +6000 odds of winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Ezequiel Tovar, Colorado Rockies
Tovar should be the starting shortstop for the rebuilding Rockies. They are in a tough NL West, but that doesn’t mean they can't have some success this season. Tovar should slot in towards the top of the lineup and could find himself batting leadoff if he can adjust quickly to major league pitching. He only has nine games of MLB experience but has the sixth-best odds to win the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year Award installed at +1200.