Rookie David Hale has some big shoes to fill, stepping in to stop the bleeding in Atlanta's April rotation.

Early Promise, Early Delivery?

NL Rookies Poised to Make an Impact Right Away

On the weekend, we took a look at those lucky rookies who broke Spring Training already a part of their AL club's Opening Day roster. Today we look at the NL's early bloomers, some of whom are already contributing in a big way.

In the National League this April, most of the rookie action is in the Central Division, where the rosters are bursting with more Opening Day rookies than those in any other bracket.

The Cubs, who have quickly built up the best farm system in the game* are positively overflowing with premium young talent. That means some of them simply must graduate to the big leagues this season, whether the club is ready to compete or not. Slugger Mike Olt is first out of the gate, with pitcher Brian Schlitter also schneaking onto the Opening Day roster, but all eyes are on two Cubbie phenoms: infielder Javier Baez and outfielder Albert Almoro. They'll be ready this year, but with the Cubs still a couple of years (and at least three arms) short of contention, we probably won't see them until it's fiscally sane.

The Cardinal roster, too, is stacked in prospects, as the defending NL champs continue to show no fear in trusting their future to youngsters. While infielder Kolton Wong will try to play up to some pretty high expectations, it's the pitching side in St. Louis that's more interesting overall. Pitchers Kevin Siegist, Keith Butler and Carlos Martinez all broke camp with the big boys this April, with the flame-throwing Martinez the most likely to take on starting duty soon. Martinez will join what has to be the best young rotation in baseball.

In Cincinnati, meanwhile, all eyes will be on fleet outfielder Billy Hamilton, who will be the most prolific base-stealer since Ricky, just as soon as he can get on first often enough to make the attempts.

Milwaukee, in one of the spring's more eye-raising moves, has handed an MLB spot to young lefty Wei-Chung Wang, a Rule 5 acquisition from the Pirates. While Wang hasn't pitched at any level above rookie ball, he looked overpowering enough in the spring to be worth the gamble, which makes him one of the young season's most interesting dark horse stories.

In Pittsburgh, the bulk of the Pirate farm is still a short trip away from the Bigs, but Dominican righthander Stolmy Pimentel should get a chance to shine a little sooner than the rest: he certainly looked capable in short use last season. Pimentel is likely to see early use in the Pirate bullpen, but he could be called upon to start at any time.

While the NL Central is stacked in prospects, there are some fast-risers on other rosters around the league, as well. In Colorado, for example, righthander Chad Bettis should remain in the bullpen early on, but his reputation as a minor league starter portends a greater role in the future. (That is, if he isn't bumped right off the roster by Jonathan Gray, the fast-rising 2013 draftee who most expect to toe the rubber in Denver this season.)

Elsewhere in the NL West, the Dodgers' Chris Withrow should beguile his share of hitters, as will the Padres' Donn Roach, a strong rotation candidate. Giants' infielder Ehire Adrianza, on the other hand, is being given every opportunity to win San Francisco's second base job right out of the gate this month, and Diamondback shortstop Chris Owings looks to have locked down his starting gig already.

Out East, the Mets expect rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud to suck up most of the tabloid headlines, pitcher Jeurys Familia should also be a factor right away. The righthander has been hovering near MLB for two seasons now, but with a depleted Mets roster providing only a paper-thin obstacle, it's time for him to break through.

In Atlanta, meanwhile, many fans are wondering how the team will even hold itself together. Since losing both of their 1-2 starters to TJ surgery this spring, all eyes have been on the team to scrape together any sort of 2014 rotation at all. The signing of veteran Erwin Santana certainly helped, but it'll be the performances of rookies like David Hale and sophomore Alex Wood that will determine the fate of the defending pennant-winner.

For AL rookies already on MLB rosters, see our earlier story. Or for a complete and up-to-date list of every rookie currently on any MLB team's 40 or 25-man roster, see our sister sites or, respectively.

* For proof, see our Farm Strength Index rankings.



Follow @scoutingbook by DataBoy on 8 Apr 2014 14:14:04 PDT  by DataBoy on 4/8/2014

Camp-Breaking Rookies Earn MLB Spots

Hey Kid, You're Up!

Lost among all the Opening Day hubbub, a number of promising MLB rookies have been given their first real chances to shine in the Show this week. As the month of April lengthens, these prospects will need to embrace their opportunities, or risk being relegated to the minors in baseball's ultimate walk of shame.   Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by DataBoy on 5 Apr 2014 19:14:04 PDT  by DataBoy on 4/5/2014

Spring Updates (Finally) Begin

2014 Prospects, Other Data Now Updating

Our new servers are (finally) online and a whole tractor trailer full of bats, balls and updates is on the way. Stay tuned for the biggest and brawniest ever.   Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by DataBoy on 9 Mar 2014 12:11:05 PDT  by DataBoy on 3/11/2014

Winter 2014 Construction Underway

New Data, Tools and Toys Coming Soon

With the World Series finished and post-season errata tied up, we've begun our annual large-scale overhauls and updates here at   Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by KDaddy on 3 Nov 2013 16:11:13 PST  by KDaddy on 11/3/2013

International Influx Runs Deep [Updated]

Deep on the Farm, IFAs Can Remake Futures

July is an active month in Major League Baseball, especially if you're a general manager or anyone else deeply interested in a team's roster makeup and competitive future.    Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by KDaddy on 29 Jul 2013 16:21:51 PDT  by KDaddy on 7/29/2013

MLB Draft Second Round Results

The Coin Tosses Continue

Historically, second-round Draft selections have a near 50-50 chance of leading productive careers in Major League Baseball, with college players more likely to succeed. That doesn't mean high-schoolers are worthless, of course. Billy Hamilton (2009) is one of the top prospects in baseball today, after all, and super-slugger Mike Stanton back was plucked from Notre Dame High School back in 2007.   Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by KDaddy on 11 Jun 2013 22:20:00 PDT  by KDaddy on 6/11/2013

MLB Draft First Round Results

Where All The Top Prospects Landed

The 2013 First Year Player Draft (as it's officially called) provided few first-round surprises, with most of the top 10 falling pretty much as-expected.   Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by PeeWee on 6 Jun 2013 19:20:00 PDT  by PeeWee on 6/6/2013

Draft Alert: Top High School Prospects

Another Sampling of This Year's New Talent Pool

The 2013 First Year Player Draft begins tomorrow, June 6th. Since we've already covered college prospects, today we'll provide a quick introduction to the year's most interesting high school candidates. In the draft's first day, baseball's weakest franchises will be especially interested in high-school players.   Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by PeeWee on 5 Jun 2013 12:30:00 PDT  by PeeWee on 6/5/2013

Draft Alert: Top College Prospects

A Sampling of Next Week's Talent Pool

With MLB's First Year Player Draft just around the corner, it's time to open our vault a little to share some of what we know about the best up-and-coming college players, those most likely to be selected by MLB teams next week. Many baseball brains believe that college players are safer picks than high-school talents, and the numbers show the classic Moneyball wisdom of that belief: almost seventy-five percent of college players chosen in the first fifty picks end up in MLB, while only about forty-five percent of high schoolers chosen that high ever reach the Show.   Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by PeeWee on 28 May 2013 19:29:33 PDT  by PeeWee on 5/28/2013

A Closer Look at Closers

Closer Watch 2.0 is Now Live

No matter whether you're a fantasy player or just a hardcore baseball fan, relief pitching is probably one of your biggest frustrations. Relievers are notoriously flaky, and their grip on the job is usually a weak one: some teams will replace their setup men and closers not just once, but many times per season. Meanwhile, fans and fantasy players lose hair over each blown save or meltdown, and hope that some new pitcher in the minor leagues will be their team's late-inning salvation... someday.   Complete Article

Follow @scoutingbook by KDaddy on 30 Apr 2013 13:30:00 PDT  by KDaddy on 4/30/2013

Older Articles