Summoned from Double-A Frisco on Saturday, 19-year-old Jurickson Profar launched a home run in his first Major League at-bat Sunday afternoon for the Texas Rangers, which have the best record in the American League at 79-54 and sit atop the American League West.
Manny Machado, a 20-year-old infielder who was called up to Baltimore from Double-A Bowie last month, was 6-for-12 this weekend against the Yankees to help the Orioles climb within two games of New York in the American League East.
Shelby Miller, a 21-year-old right-hander who was a first round pick (19th overall) by St. Louis in 2009, will be called up from Triple-A Memphis to join the Cardinals bullpen this week, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Three of the top five prospects in Major League Baseball, as ranked by MLB.com, are being counted upon to contribute in pressure-packed games leading to the postseason in October.
Along with Profar, Machado and Miller, another name who is part of MLB.com’s top 10 list and has also joined the show is Marlins right-hander Jacob Turner.
One of the most sought after prospects at the trade deadline, Profar was No. 2 on Baseball America’s 2012 mid-season top 50 list and is rated the fourth best prospect in the game by MLB.com. Profar is projected for the long term as a shortstop in the majors, but he started at second base on Sunday when Ian Kinsler was scratched from the lineup because of lower back stiffness.
Profar, who became the youngest player to homer in the majors since Adrian Beltre in 1998, was 2-for-4 with the home run and a double in his Major League debut. At Frisco, he had a .281 average with 14 home runs, 62 RBI, 26 doubles, seven triples and 16 stolen bases in 480 at-bats.
Like Profar, Machado is considered a shortstop, but he was called up to the Orioles to play third base since Mark Reynolds is more comfortable at first base.
Rated No. 9 on Baseball America’s 2012 Mid-Season Top 100 Prospects List and regarded the third best prospect in the majors by MLB.com, Machado is versatile. Over three minor league seasons, has seen action at shortstop in 203 games while playing third base twice and filling the DH role three times.
Machado made his presence known swiftly in the majors when he belted two home runs in his second career game. Overall, he is batting .269 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 78 at-bats. At Bowie, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed hitter had five triples, 26 doubles and a .352 on-base percentage to accompany his .266 average.
Like Trevor Rosenthal, a 22-year-old righty who whose long-term Major League future is in the rotation but was called up to bolster the Cardinals bullpen, Miller is a potential frontline starter who will give St. Louis another live-armed reliever for the wild card chase.
In his last 10 starts beginning July 14, Miller amassed a 7-2 record and 2.88 ERA while limiting opposing hitters to a .217 average. Once viewed as resistant to coaching, Miller helped his standing by embracing changes to his mechanics and exhibiting greater willingness to feature off-speed pitches.
Miller’s overall numbers at Memphis – which include a 11-10 record and a 4.74 ERA in 27 starts – but the current NO. 2 overall prospect in baseball according to MLB.com and the eighth-best prospect in the game in Baseball America’s pre-season rankings is 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA and a .217 opponent’s batting average in his last 10 starts. He also has 160 strikeouts in 136.2 innings.
Miller has adjusted his mechanics during the season, and he is showing better command. Over his last nine outings, he has 66 strikeouts and six walks compared to 100 strikeouts and 44 walks during his first 18 appearances.
The centerpiece, for the Miami Marlins at least, in the trade deadline deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers in July, the 21-year-old Turner is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA in two starts since joining the Marlins. He allowed three runs and four hits over six innings in his Miami debut against Arizona on August 22 but followed that by serving up five runs and six hits in five innings against Washington on August 29.
Overall, between the Tigers and Marlins, Turner is 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA in five starts.
Turner opened the year at advanced Single-A Lakeland, where he logged a 1.66 ERA in four starts. He was 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts for Triple-A New Orleans after posting a 4-2 record and a 3.16 ERA at Triple-A Toledo in the Tigers system.
Turner is currently the No. 10 overall prospect on MLB.com’s top 100 list.