Prospect Primer: American League West
Some prospects are on the verge of stardom, others are entering a crucial phase of their development and others are getting their first tastes of full-season ball. As the 2023 season approaches, MiLB.com goes through each MLB division to take a look at the most intriguing prospects. Other Prospect Primers:
Some prospects are on the verge of stardom, others are entering a crucial phase of their development and others are getting their first tastes of full-season ball. As the 2023 season approaches, MiLB.com goes through each MLB division to take a look at the most intriguing prospects.
Other Prospect Primers:
AL East | AL Central | NL East | NL Central | NL West
2025 Shining star:
The club's top pick in 2021, Ford's stock feels like it's rising every single day. After an impressive first full season with Single-A Modesto where the recently turned 20-year-old posted a .274/.425/.438 slash line with 11 homers, 23 doubles, four triples, 89 runs, 65 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 104 games, Ford continued to open eyes at big league camp and the World Baseball Classic.
The Mariners' No. 1 prospect went 2-for-3 in camp before heading off to represent Great Britain in the Classic, but returned and wasn't reassigned until one of the final cuts on March 21.
"His composure has been great in his first Major League camp,” Seattle's farm director Justin Toole told MLB.com earlier this month. “If he's ever been sped up, you can't really tell, just the way he's been able to handle himself. We are definitely really excited about kind of the second half he had last year. Hopefully, he’ll continue to build on that.”
Did you know Harry Ford's full name is HARRISON FORD??— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) March 13, 2023
We had to ask the top #Mariners prospect about it! pic.twitter.com/oulsTrd08w
In four games for Great Britain, Ford shined the brightest on the global stage, collecting four hits -- including two memorable home runs and a double -- four RBIs, three runs scored and a pair of walks.
MLB's No. 49 overall prospect will open the season with High-A Everett and could reach Double-A Arkansas later in the year if he keeps up his pace.
Major League-ready: Tyler Soderstrom, 1B/C, Oakland Athletics
The A's first-round Draft selection (No. 26) in 2020, Soderstrom was limited to 57 games in 2021 because of an oblique injury, but the top A's prospect more than made up for lost time last season -- bashing his way through three levels of Oakland's system. After overcoming a slow start High-A Lansing, where he hit .185 over the first 30 games with the Lugnuts, the 21-year-old found his groove. Soderstrom batted .295 across his next 62 games before being promoted to Double-A Midland, where he posted a .278/.327/.496 slash line in 36 games with the RockHounds. He saved his best for last, hitting .297 over his final nine games of the year with Triple-A Las Vegas. In all, Soderstrom posted a .267/.324/.501 slash line with 29 home runs, 105 RBIs and 40 walks in 134 games. The No. 39 overall prospect brought that momentum with him into this spring, finishing 9-for-34 with a homer, a triple, three doubles, four runs scored and three RBIs over 17 Cactus League games.
Loudest tool: Ben Joyce, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
The flame-throwing right-hander sports the fabled 80-grade on his fastball, and if that seems like an exaggerated score, Joyce put his ability on full display this spring. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Tennessee product clocked 104 mph on the radar gun against the Royals on March 17. It was the fifth straight scoreless outing in the Cactus League for the 11th-ranked Angels prospect, who finished his run at big league camp with a 2.70 ERA and a .167 average-against in seven appearances. Only seven Major Leaguers have registered a pitch at 104 mph or greater since pitch-tracking data was introduced in 2008. In his first taste of professional baseball, the 89th pick in last year's Draft made 13 appearances for Double-A Rocket City and posted a 2.08 ERA with 20 strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings.
"Everyone wants to see Ben Joyce and that fastball."— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 17, 2023
The No. 11 @Angels prospect struck out a pair in his fifth straight scoreless outing, reportedly hitting 104 mph: pic.twitter.com/WBFMqxoMgz
Full-season debutant: Brock Porter, RHP, Texas Rangers
Porter had the best fastball and one of the best changeups in last year's prep Draft class, and it helped him earn Gatorade's national high school player of the year honors after posting a 9-0 mark with three no-hitters, a 0.41 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 58 innings. The sixth-ranked Rangers prospect slid to the 109th pick of the 2022 Draft and shattered the fourth-round bonus record ($3.7 million). Porter possesses a 65-grade fastball that consistently attacks hitters at 94-97 mph with the ability to flash triple digits. He can pitch off that with a low-80s changeup that sports a 60 grade, as well as an above-average slider and an upper-70s curveball. The Rangers opted to defer Porter's pro debut to this season, but the No. 94 overall prospect will open the year in Single-A Down East.
Colton Gordon had it working in the @MLBazFallLeague.— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) October 20, 2022
The No. 24 @astros prospect twirled four perfect frames, fanning four. pic.twitter.com/f0jv3xQ7Z5
Emergent star: Colton Gordon, LHP, Houston Astros
Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery before the 2021 Draft, the Astros still selected the left-hander in the eighth round that year. He made his professional debut last season and threw at three levels of Houston's system, compiling a 2.35 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and .182 average-against over 53 2/3 frames. The No. 10 Astros prospect ranked first in the Minors (minimum 50 innings) in strikeout-minus-walk rate (35 percent) and second in K/BB ratio (9.8). Gordon's four-seam fastball sits at 89-92 mph and can reach 94, and he has three average secondary pitches. The 24-year-old has arguably the best command in the system, enabling his stuff to play much better than its radar-gun readings. Gordon also pitched for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.