We have seen prospects such as our very own Julio Rodriguez make the Opening Day roster out of Spring Training. We have also seen Bobby Witt Jr., Hunter Greene, Spencer Torkleson, C.J. Abrams, Bryson Stott, and our very own Matt Brash. This is a big development, especially with the biggest prospects because we have not seen teams call up their top prospects in recent years. This is a new development, and it is great to see teams doing this, but why are they?
I believe that there are a few reasons but one of the chief reasons may be a new rule from the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. That rule gives teams an incentive to have their top prospects on their rosters because if they finish in the top 3 of Rookie of the Year or top 5 in MVP or Cy Young voting, then the teams get a bonus draft pick. Teams certainly want to do anything possible to get more draft picks, and it is benefits the players as well.
Julio Rodriguez is one of many that seem to be benefitting from this recent change
While that is the biggest reason that teams are calling up their prospects, there are other smaller ones. Another one is the idea that teams want to pay the least amount for their players, and rookie players are the cheapest. Additionally, if teams want to spend less on players, then they should want to use their best and cheapest players. Instead of paying someone like Billy Hamilton the minimum salary, Julio Rodriguez has significantly more upside for the same price.
Another reason I believe is the growing awareness of prospects from baseball fans. Many Mariners fans know who Julio Rodriguez is, and have for a few years now. This is due to the growing number of prospect writers and websites like MLB Pipeline and Baseball America, as well as independent writers like Keith Law and Kiley McDaniel. These outside influencers are bringing awareness to top prospects, and are showcasing these players to fans.
All in all, these are some of the reasons that MLB teams are putting their top prospects on their rosters sooner rather than later. According to MLB Pipeline, 3 of the top 5 prospects are in the big leagues, and 4 of the top 10. This shows that teams are promoting prospects sooner, and they are performing. Bobby Witt Jr. had a big hit on Opening Day for the Royals, and our very own Julio Rodriguez had a big hit against the Twins in his second game.