By: Mike Patt
Original Date: 6/19/23
Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio Blog. The 2023 MLB regular season is about 45% complete. There have been more than enough surprise performances so far, both in the positive and negative lights. We do have some expected success to balance, but overall baseball has just been fun to watch. One of the themes of the season has been a significant youth movement, with guys like Wander Franco, Luis Arraez, and Bo Bichette firmly in yearly award conversations. Another group that is making significant waves is the 2019 draft class.
For those of you who may not be aware of the standard minor league baseball track, let me break it down for you. The MLB amateur draft is held some time during the summer of any given year. Yes, this is during the regular season, but it is also right after the high school and college baseball seasons end, making it logical timing for prospects. Once players agree to their contracts, they get some time in the minors the rest of the summer to get their feet wet at the professional level. Then the following year is their first full season of pro ball; a critical year of development.
The 2019 draft was held in the beginning of June. Following the normal path, the newly selected prospects got some time in low level minors through July and into August (most minor league seasons end August or early September). Then, the world was flipped upside down by the COVID pandemic. This caused the 2020 minor league season to be canceled, and a critical year of development was pushed back to 2021. One would think that this delay could have significant effects on the class. So far, that does not appear to be the case.
Eleven of the top twelve selections have made it to the big leagues within four years, which is the amount of time it takes most prospects to make it under normal circumstances based on varying factors (injuries, age etc.). Top pick Adley Rutschman finished 2nd in AL rookie of the year voting last year, and is already among the top catchers in baseball. 2nd pick Bobby Witt has progressed well for a high school selection, and is well on his way to becoming a five tool shortstop. Pitcher Alex Manoah (11th overall pick) has been to an All-star game, and outfielder Corbin Caroll (16th overall pick) looks poised to run away with the NL rookie of the year award.
Many more players, both already in the big leagues or in high levels of the minors, are poised to make an impact for their team. Another name I will shout out to Gunnar Henderson (homer pick), who is ready to form a nasty duo with Rutschman for the near future. All of this early success speaks to the quality and resiliency of the class. To be able to fight through such a significant early obstacle shows that this group is not going to be stopped. They will be among those running the league soon, and you will hear some of these names for a long time.
Tune in to Let’s Wine About DMV Sports, hosted by Mike Patt, on Fridays at 9PM EST/6PM PST. Be sure to check out all of the other great shows we have to offer on IESR, as well as the live calls on our partner network USRN. Shout-out to our Patreon supporters and all you loyal listeners that continue to help our network grow. Thank you all for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.