Now that we’ve covered the top prospects across baseball for 2023, there’s one question you are probably asking — when will we get to see them in the big leagues?

Because of a new rule in the collective bargaining agreement known as the Prospect Promotion Incentive, clubs have even more reason to give their prospects an Opening Day roster spot in the majors. If a top-100 prospect opens the season on the big league roster (or is up within the first few days) and wins Rookie of the Year or finishes in the top three for Cy Young or MVP in his pre-arbitration seasons, the club gets draft pick compensation, essentially in return for not keeping the player in the minors for a few weeks to get an extra year of player control. This incentive is especially strong for top-of-the-class type prospects.

Last year, three of my top-10 prospects made Opening Day rosters in Julio Rodriguez, Bobby Witt Jr. and Spencer Torkelson. They were joined by Rookie of the Year finalists Jeremy Pena, Steven Kwan, Spencer Strider and Nick Lodolo. On the heels of the historic rookie class that took the majors by storm in 2022, let’s check in on when the top 20 players on my 2023 list might get their chance in The Show.

1. Gunnar Henderson, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
2023 MLB outlook: Opening Day
Highest level reached: MLB

2. Corbin Carroll, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
2023 MLB outlook: Opening Day
Highest level reached: MLB

I’ll group these two players together since they are alone on the 65 FV tier atop my rankings, both made their major league debuts late last season and both figure to open the season as regulars in the big league lineup. As such, both Henderson and Carroll are favorites to win their league’s Rookie of the Year honors. Henderson will offer more power and Carroll more speed, but their overall impact this season will be similar.

3. Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees
2023 MLB outlook: Around midseason
Highest level reached: Triple-A

Volpe is one of many top prospects who seem like locks to come up at some point in 2023, whether a blazing-hot March lands them on an Opening Day roster or they come up later in the season as needs arise.

The Yankees are exceptionally deep in the infield at the big league level — Josh Donaldson, Oswald Peraza, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, maybe Oswaldo Cabrera — so Volpe isn’t likely to be needed out of the gates. That said, after a month or so, there could easily be a confluence of Volpe’s performance at Triple-A and injuries or slumps to any of those players at the big league level that would create an opening for him to get his chance. Since Volpe isn’t on the 40-man roster yet and this might may solve itself by midseason, I’ll lean toward a summer big league debut for Volpe.

4. Gabriel Moreno, C, Arizona Diamondbacks
2023 MLB outlook: Opening Day
Highest level reached: Triple-A

Moreno might be able to win the starting job over Carson Kelly this spring, or he could start the season as a somewhat versatile backup catcher who finds ways into the lineup. Many teams now split time behind the plate to keep their catchers fresh, and Moreno’s offensive upside is such that Arizona will want to give him at-bats at designated hitter or first base. I think Moreno will get more plate appearances than Kelly this season, however it might happen.

5. Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets
2023 MLB outlook: Early-season debut, if a spot opens up
Highest level reached: Triple-A

Since Brett Baty (below, No. 20) seems like the Mets’ most likely first call-up, whenever a regular role at any corner spot is available, I think Alvarez will be the second prospect getting the call, when a catcher/first-base/designated hitter spot opens up. I also wouldn’t rule out either player making the Opening Day roster if things fall just right.

Alvarez is good enough defensively to play regularly behind the plate, but the stakes are high for this Mets team with a veteran pitching staff so it makes sense to work Alvarez in the lineup at a few positions with some time behind the plate. He is only 21, so it will help his development to get regular at-bats in Triple-A until that situation presents itself.

6. Eury Perez, RHP, Miami Marlins
2023 MLB outlook: Potential midseason call-up
Highest level reached: Double-A

The Marlins are still deep in young pitching even after trading away Pablo Lopez this offseason. Their projected Opening Day rotation features four starters who are in their mid-20s joined by the veteran presence of Johnny Cueto. Beyond that, Max Meyer and Sixto Sanchez were top-100 prospects, have pitched in the majors and are still on the 40-man while rehabbing injuries. Braxton Garrett is likely to start the season in Triple-A and would likely come up before Perez.

Perez should start the year in the upper minors and could be big league ready in short order, but all of that starting pitching depth means he’ll likely need something to happen in front of him — even if he’s the second-most-talented pitcher in the entire organization behind Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara.

7. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Boston Red Sox
2023 MLB outlook: Probably not in 2023, but 2024 is very possible
Highest level reached: High-A

8. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
2023 MLB outlook: Probably not in 2023, but 2024 is very possible
Highest level reached: Double-A

Taken two picks apart as the consensus top two prospects in the 2021 draft class, these shortstops could be compared to each other for their entire careers. Both players have done everything that anyone could have expected of them since signing and both should reach Double-A this season.

It’s probably too early for either player to make it to the majors in 2023, but they will both be in the mix to break camp in the big leagues next March if they keep performing. If either Mayer or Lawlar has a Minor League Player of the Year-type performance and the planets align at the big league level, there is a tiny chance either could debut late this season.

9. Elly De La Cruz, SS, Cincinnati Reds
2023 MLB outlook: Second half of 2023
Highest level reached: Double-A

The Reds have a deep group of infielders across levels right now, but I think the internal consensus is that De La Cruz and Jonathan India are the two best of the group. De La Cruz should start the season in the upper minors and if he continues performing at a level that looks like he can only be challenged by big league pitching, we could see him in the majors as soon as midseason.

10. Andrew Painter, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
2023 MLB outlook: 2023, probably in the first half
Highest level reached: Double-A

I’m not quite ready yet to say Painter will break camp with the team, but people in the know have been suggesting that distinct possibility for months. I think he’ll start 2023 in Double-A or Triple-A and be the Phillies’ sixth-best starting option, which means he could get the call as soon as the end of April. Painter, 19, could also become a spring training phenomenon and GM Dave Dombrowski is not scared to throw a teenager in the deep end if he looks like a potential frontline starter.

11. Jackson Chourio, CF, Milwaukee Brewers
2023 MLB outlook: Unlikely in 2023 — expect late 2024 or 2025
Highest level reached: Double-A

Giving Chourio a 2023 look in the majors would be a little too aggressive for my taste. Milwaukee’s 40-man roster is littered with viable big league position players and two other prospects who are ahead of Chuorio in the pecking order haven’t been added to the 40-man yet in Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer.

Chourio is still 18 years old, so it’s incredible to even be considering that he could make it to the majors this year, but he got to Double-A last year and is the rare player who is so talented that he sliced through A-ball in 93 games while his age peers were still in high school.

12. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
2023 MLB outlook: Opening Day
Highest level reached: Triple-A

Rodriguez would be a prime candidate to spend a few weeks in Triple-A to get an extra year of control without the new rules to incentivize prospects starting the season in the majors. It now seems like Rodriguez will join Henderson in opening with the big league club and then sticking for a very long time — but for Rodriguez that isn’t set in stone just yet because you never know how things will go with pitchers and he was hindered by a lat injury last season.

13. James Wood, RF, Washington Nationals
2023 MLB outlook: Unlikely this year — most likely later in 2024
Highest level reached: Single-A

Wood might have been the prospect most in need of a promotion to see what he can do against stiffer competition after he demolished Low-A in 71 games last season. I’d guess he spends 2023 in High-A and Double-A and, at this rate, he’s on track for a 2024 debut — possibly even as soon as Opening Day.

14. Jordan Walker, RF, St. Louis Cardinals
2023 MLB outlook: 2023, probably by midseason
Highest level reached: Double-A

Walker would be in the mix for an Opening Day roster spot on a lot of teams, but the Cardinals are so deep in position players that Walker will need to completely dominate during spring training to start the season in St. Louis. That possibility is still in play, but I think he’ll start 2023 in Triple-A and then be the first call-up for any corner/DH slot that opens.

St. Louis has two young players ahead of him in Nolan Gorman and Alec Burleson, both of whom are likely to start the season in the majors. All three players have the ability to move around the diamond defensively so the Cardinals could form a Dodgers-style multipositional platoon with the righty-hitting Walker and the lefty-hitting Gorman and Burleson.

15. Colson Montgomery, SS, Chicago White Sox
2023 MLB outlook: 2023 not completely out of question, but 2024 more likely
Highest level reached: Double-A

Montgomery got to Double-A last season so a 2023 big league look isn’t completely out of the question, but the first half of 2024 looks more likely to me. The big league team could use long-term upgrades at right field and second base, and Oscar Colas looks like he’ll get a shot at that right-field job sometime soon with a chance to stick long term, but the noncore infielders on the 40-man roster look like utility types to me. That puts Montgomery on the same timetable as fellow top-100 prospect Bryan Ramos with whichever one is best, ready first and most capable at second base getting the inside track at a regular spot in the lineup. I think that it will be Montgomery, who can play anywhere and is a superior prospect.

16. Jackson Merrill, SS, San Diego Padres
2023 MLB outlook: Not this season — 2024, maybe 2025
Highest level reached: Low-A

Merrill has played just 45 regular-season games of full-season baseball, with all of those coming at Low-A. That said, he has some “he could slice through the minors very fast” markers, so he could well get to Double-A in 2023. That would then set him up for a look whenever needed in 2024, though that leaves the question of when a spot will open since one of the best infields in baseball resides in San Diego.

17. Jackson Holliday, SS, Baltimore Orioles
2023 MLB outlook: Not 2023 — but can’t rule out 2024
Highest level reached: Single-A

Many teenaged first-round picks advance through roughly one minor league level per season, but Holliday was the No. 1 overall pick last summer and is so talented and advanced that some in the industry say he’s the rare hitting prospect who could sail through to the majors. That would mean around the second half of 2024 as the express option, but it’s never smart to count on that.

18. Daniel Espino, RHP, Cleveland Guardians
2023 MLB outlook: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Highest level reached: Double-A

Espino would’ve ranked lower on my top 100 had I known that he was going to be shut down at least until the end of April because of a shoulder strain. He also missed much of 2022 with knee and shoulder issues, so this is starting to become worrisome in a familiar way for pitching prospects ranked near the top of these lists. The hope is now that he can get on a mound in Double-A by the start of May, which would give him a fighting chance to be a major league bullpen option in September — but there are a lot of ifs here.

19. Kyle Harrison, LHP, San Francisco Giants
2023 MLB outlook: Probably debuts in the summer
Highest level reached: Double-A

The Giants tend to be very conservative with minor league assignments, but it looks like the 21-year-old Harrison will open the year in Triple-A. He is the type of prospect who needs to be challenged against competition that’s good enough to force him to make adjustments. The Giants have six or seven solid starting pitcher options ahead of him, but if Harrison can stay healthy, keep dealing — and that depth thins out a bit — he should get more than a few starts in the second half of 2023.

20. Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets
2023 MLB outlook: Early 2023 call-up
Highest level reached: MLB

As mentioned in Alvarez’s writeup above, Baty will likely be the first player the Mets call up this year since he can reasonably cover all four corner spots or designated hitter. If the first injury/slump is catcher Tomas Nido, then obviously Alvarez will slide ahead of Baty, but if it is a spot that either could fill, I think Alvarez would benefit more from regular playing time in Triple-A given the complexity of the catching position, while Baty, in part due to his position, is closer to being a finished product.

Other 50 FV prospects who could start the season in the majors

34. Oswald Peraza, SS, New York Yankees

35. Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Colorado Rockies

37. Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox

38. Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Rangers

41. Hunter Brown, RHP, Houston Astros

62. Logan O’Hoppe, C, Los Angeles Angels

63. Ken Waldichuk, LHP, Oakland Athletics

69. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Washington Nationals

72. Brice Turang, SS, Milwaukee Brewers

80. Miguel Vargas, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers

105. Esteury Ruiz, CF, Oakland Athletics

121. Ji-Hwan Bae, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates

122. Tyler Freeman, 2B, Cleveland Guardians

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