(GAME DATE — Jan. 1, 2021) — Many of the top baseball prospects could still be years away from their first Bull League appearances, but a handful of the best are due for their big league debuts in 2021.
Among them could be championship winning Chicago’s Jeremy Wright, a 24-year-old left-handed pitcher, and 22-year-old Minneapolis shortstop Viriato Quintal.
Wright rocketed from rookie ball in 2019 all the way up to AAA-level Cow League the same year, but only appeared in five games. His 2020 campaign was more successful, though the bulk of it was back down at AA-level. His Cow League stats, though, revealed the potential of his big league knuckle-curve and 95 mph fastball. In 27.2 innings at the AAA-level Milwaukee Pugs, he allowed just 7 earned runs, struck out 30 batters, and had a split record of 2-2. His ERA was 2.28 and his WHIP was 1.27.
Despite the small sample size, observers believe he could be ready for a back of the rotation role, or at least a crack at the bullpen, for the Chicago Pit Bulls. The 2020 Bull Cup champions won it all despite a weak pitching staff, and a more solid rotation and bullpen would go a long way to solidify the team’s status as a perennial winner.
In the case of Quintal, who is regarded as one of the top shortstop prospects in baseball, the timeline depends on whether he impresses at spring training. Blessed with great gap power and speed, which could result in some great extra base hit stats, he is already a proven defensive asset. But the young Venezuelan lacks plate discipline, and is still developing his swing.
At AA-level Spokane, where he helped the team win a Heifer League championship, Quintal hit .275 and raked 10 homers, but his blazing speed saw him steal 31 bases. His atrocious 139 strikeouts in 502 at bats needs to come down, and once his figures out his plate discipline, he will be a prime asset for the Ravens.
Minneapolis still has all star shortstop Roberto Castro under contract for four seasons, and will not be in a hurry to dump him, but Quintal could see time in 2021 as a utility man.
Quintal is currently ranked #6 by OSA, while Wright is ranked #7.