Five Exciting Prospects to Watch in 2023
01/31/2023 5:00 AM
Article By: Michael Lane
MLB.com recently released their rankings for the Top 100 Prospects entering the 2023 season. With Spring Training quickly approaching, we’re going to highlight five Cape League alumni who could make an impact at the Major League level this year.
Hunter Brown - Houston Astros, Cotuit ‘18
Hunter Brown established himself as an important piece of the Astros future last fall, after being called up to the majors in early September. Brown finished with a 0.89 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 20.1 innings, primarily out of the bullpen. He also had three scoreless relief appearances throughout the Astros World Series run. Entering 2023, Brown is the 43rd ranked prospect in MLB’s Top 100. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding Brown across the industry, as he currently has the third-best odds to win the AL Rookie of the Year. Given the Astros pitching depth, despite the departure of Justin Verlander, it remains to be seen whether Brown will begin the season in the bullpen or at the back end of the rotation.
Cade Cavalli - Washington Nationals, Wareham ‘18
Cade Cavalli has moved quickly through the Nationals farm system after being selected 22nd overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. Cavalli began the 2021 season with the Nationals High-A affiliate. By the end of the 2021 season he reached the Triple-A level, where he also spent the bulk of the 2022 season. Cavalli made his MLB debut last August, before being shut down for the remainder of the season due to shoulder inflammation. He enters 2023 as the 58th ranked prospect in MLB’s Top 100. Cavalli is expected to begin the year in the Nationals rotation and currently has the fourth-best odds to win the NL Rookie of the Year. Considering the Nationals are in the middle of a deep rebuild, Cavalli should have plenty of opportunities to continue his development at the major league level.
Bobby Miller - Los Angeles Dodgers, Brewster ‘18
Bobby Miller is currently the highest-ranked Cape League alumni in MLB’s Top 100 Prospects list, coming in at 24th overall. Miller had some struggles last year in the minor leagues, spending time at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels. He finished with a combined 4.25 ERA and 3.0 BB/9 over 112.1 innings. Despite the struggles, Miller showed flashes of high potential. Miller finished the minor league season with 11.6 K/9 and struck out three batters during the 2022 Futures Game. Miller will begin 2023 in Triple-A, but given the significant question marks surrounding multiple of the Dodgers starting pitchers (Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, and Dustin May), an opportunity at the major league level is likely to arise at some point in the season. Another possibility is that Miller headlines a trade package for the Dodgers to acquire Bryan Reynolds from the Pittsburgh Pirates. If Miller ended up on the Pirates in 2023, he’d have significantly more opportunities to develop at the major league level this year.
Ryan Pepiot - Los Angeles Dodgers, Hyannis ‘18
Ryan Pepiot is another one of the Dodgers seven prospects within MLB’s Top 100 rankings, coming in at 70th overall. Despite being ranked lower than Miller, Pepiot is more developed and should contribute earlier in the season. Pepiot has already made his MLB debut, making nine appearances throughout the 2022 season with a 3.47 ERA. Pepiot currently projects to be sixth on the Dodgers rotational depth chart, so there is a possibility that he could make the Opening Day roster. To avoid being moved to the bullpen, Pepiot will need to continue improving his command after walking 27 batters in 36.1 innings last year in the majors. Considering the Dodgers track record with player development though, it would not be surprising if Pepiot made that significant improvement in 2023.
Jordan Westburg - Baltimore Orioles, Hyannis ‘19
Jordan Westburg was named the 2022 Minor League Player of the Year by the Orioles, an impressive honor considering the quality of the Orioles farm system. Westburg spent time in both Double-A and Triple-A last season, where he combined to hit .265 with a .851 OPS, 27 HRs, and 106 RBI. Now entering 2023, Westburg is the 74th ranked prospect in MLB’s Top 100. He’ll likely begin the season at the Triple-A level, but you can expect to see his MLB debut at some point this year. When he eventually arrives in Baltimore, he’ll join a core group of talented young players that includes Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Ryan Mountcastle, and Kyle Stowers.
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