The Year Of The Call-Up

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It’s a helluva time to be a prospect buff.

Every year a wave of top prospects arrive in the majors, but this season’s crop was particularly strong and has been arriving in the majors at a particularly rapid pace recently. It’s been very exciting.

Nine of the top dozen prospects on Baseball America’s preseason list have already been called up and it’s only mid-June.

No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant of the Cubs and No. 8 prospect Joc Pederson of the Dodgers are fighting each other for the NL Rookie of the Year award. No. 3 prospect Addison Russell and No. 12 prospect Jorge Soler have also been everyday players for the Cubs, playing big roles in Chicago’s turnaround, and No. 11 prospect Noah Syndergaard is entrenched in the Mets’ starting rotation.

And within the past two weeks No. 2 prospect Byron Buxton of the Twins, No. 4 prospect Carlos Correa of the Astros, No. 6 prospect Joey Gallo of the Rangers, and No. 9 prospect Francisco Lindor of the Indians have all been promoted to the big leagues for the first time. Buxton and Lindor both made their MLB debuts Sunday (and Buxton did so in a game that featured Gallo’s fourth homer in 11 games).

That leaves the Dodgers’ duo of No. 5 prospect Corey Seager and No. 10 prospect Julio Urias, plus No. 7 prospect Lucas Giolito of the Nationals as the only members of Baseball America’s top-12 prospects coming into the season who’ve not yet been called up to the big leagues. And based on Seager’s strong performance in the minors and Jimmy Rollins’ weak performance for the Dodgers his call-up could be right around the corner.

Not all of these guys will go on to become stars and some will probably become flat-out busts, just because that’s how top prospects tend to work, but the wave of young, high-upside talent arriving in the majors already this season is pretty spectacular.

Yankees keep ALCS hopes alive with 4-1 win over Astros

Gio Urshela
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The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.

In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.

Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).

Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.

With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.