Carpe season: Each team's impact prospect for 2017
By William Boor
Since no team goes through an entire season using just 25 players, teams need to have a farm system stocked and ready with players able to contribute at a moment's notice.
Of course, not all farm systems are equal, but every team will be forced to dip into the well at some point in 2017, and when it does, it will be hoping a prospect can step up and seize the opportunity.
So who will those prospects be? MLB Pipeline takes a look at one prospect from each club that could make an impact this season.
American League East
Blue Jays: Rowdy Tellez had his best offensive season as a professional in 2016 (.297, 23 homers and 81 RBIs), then followed that up by hitting .281 in Spring Training before homering twice in his Triple-A debut on Opening Day. Tellez is certainly close to big league ready and he's likely to be in Toronto at some point in 2017.
Orioles: Trey Mancini didn't begin the season as an everyday player, but he is certainly capable of becoming one. Baltimore's No. 5 prospect hit .333 with 10 extra-base hits in Spring Training to force his way onto his first Opening Day roster.
Rays: Jose De Leon, whom the Rays acquired in an offseason trade with the Dodgers, has good control and the ability to get big league hitters out. Durability may be a bit of a concern though, as he missed time in 2016 with an ankle injury and shoulder inflammation, and he began the '17 season on the disabled list at Triple-A Durham.
Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi is the No. 1 prospect in baseball, and he immediately made an impact this season, hitting a three-run homer on Opening Day for the Red Sox. Benintendi is the favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award, and he looks to be a player capable of contributing for years to come.
Yankees: Aaron Judge's massive frame generates plenty of power, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him trotting around the bases 20 or so times this season. Judge does have some holes in his swing and is prone to strikeouts, but he has hit 43 homers over the past two seasons, and he will likely hit some big ones in the Bronx.
Indians: Yandy Diaz hit .318 in the Minors last season, was impressive in Spring Training and earned a spot on the Opening Day roster. Jason Kipnis' injury helped clear the path for Diaz, who has played third base and all three outfield positions. That versatility should help keep Diaz on the roster and help the Indians as they seek another trip to the World Series.
Royals: Matt Strahm came up through the ranks as a starter, but he finished the season in Kansas City's bullpen, which is where he began 2017. The lefty posted a 1.23 ERA in 21 games a season ago, and the hope is that he can be just as effective in relief again this season.
Tigers: JaCoby Jones hit his first career homer in his first at-bat of the season. A former shortstop, Jones has the athleticism necessary to play center field. The tools and upside have always been there, so if Jones is able to tap into that potential, Detroit could receive big contributions from the 24-year-old.
Twins: Adalberto Mejia pitched to a 1.88 ERA in Spring Training, which earned him the job as Minnesota's fifth starter. The left-hander made just one appearance in 2016, so this is his first extended taste of the Major Leagues.
White Sox: Yoan Moncada struggled in the 19 at-bats he received last season, but it's impossible to draw any conclusions from such a small sample size. Moncada was a huge part in the Chris Sale trade and began the season in Charlotte, but he will likely be in Chicago at some point.
A's: Frankie Montas has struggled to stay healthy during his career, but he has the stuff, including a 100-mph fastball, to make an impact out of Oakland's bullpen. Montas pitched just 16 innings during the regular season in 2016, but he fared well in the Arizona Fall League and again in Spring Training, and he posted a pair of scoreless outings to start the season for the A's.
Angels: Alex Meyer has been inconsistent throughout his professional career. The hard-throwing right-hander has the arsenal of pitches to succeed, but he needs to throw them for strikes. Meyer began the season in Triple-A, but he could finish it in Anaheim if he demonstrates an ability to throw strikes.
Astros: Francis Martes is just 21 years old and began the season in Triple-A. He has progressed rapidly through Houston's system and threw well in Spring Training, firing three scoreless frames in his final outing. The right-hander appears ready. Now it's just a matter of when.
Mariners: Andrew Moore started the season in Double-A Arkansas, as Seattle has plenty of rotation depth in both the Majors and in Triple-A. However, Moore, the Mariners' Minor League Pitcher of the Year a season ago, is coming off a season in which he went 9-3 with a 3.16 ERA. Seattle used 13 starting pitchers in 2016, and Moore will likely be on the radar when the club has to make some moves in 2017.
Rangers: Yohander Mendez began the season with Double-A Frisco, but it shouldn't be a huge surprise if he works his way up to Triple-A and the Majors at some point this season. Mendez pitched 31 1/3 innings with Triple-A Round Rock in 2016, and he was dominant, posting a 0.57 ERA. The 22-year-old struggled in a brief stint with Texas, but should be more prepared in his second go-around.
National League East
Braves:Sean Newcomb improved his command in his first season with Atlanta and led the Double-A Southern League in strikeouts with 152 in 140 innings. The left-hander made the jump to Triple-A Gwinnett to begin 2017, and he could make another jump -- to the Majors -- before the season ends.
Marlins: Brian Anderson hit .385 in Spring Training and is on the verge of a Major League callup. Miami's No. 3 prospect started the season in Double-A as the club sees no reason to rush him to the Majors.
Mets: T.J. Rivera fared well in limited action in 2016 and began '17 on an Opening Day roster for the first time in his career. Rivera isn't an everyday player, but his positional flexibility should keep him on the Mets' roster and allow him to contribute in a variety of ways. It's also important not to discount any lessons he may have learned during the World Baseball Classic, surrounded by All-Stars on a loaded Puerto Rico team.
Nationals: Koda Glover wasn't named Washington's closer right out of camp, but it's easy to see him taking over that role at some point. Glover is the Nats' closer of the future, and he looked the part in Spring Training, racking up 13 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.
Phillies: J.P. Crawford has been a top prospect for a few years now, but it's important to remember he's still just 22 years old. Crawford has been one of the younger players at each level in his career, including in Triple-A, where he finished the 2016 season. Crawford began '17 in Triple-A, but he will more than likely make his Major League debut at some point this summer.
Brewers: Lewis Brinson made a strong first impression on the Brewers, posting a .382/.387/.618 slash line in 93 plate appearances with Triple-A Colorado Springs after he was acquired in a trade from the Rangers. Brinson has only played in 32 Triple-A games in his career, so a little more time in the Minors is certainly understandable. Brinson dislocated a finger in his first game of the season, but if he gets hot when he returns and there's an opening in Milwaukee, he could be getting the call.
Cardinals: Alex Reyes would have been the easy selection here, but his season ended before it really began as the Cards' top prospect wound up having Tommy John surgery. Instead, look for Harrison Bader to make some noise at some point this season. The outfielder certainly opened eyes in Spring Training, as he hit .346 during his stint in Major League camp.
Cubs: Jeimer Candelario certainly has the ability to play, but when will he get the opportunity? Kris Bryant is blocking Candelario's path at third base, and Anthony Rizzo is in the way at first. Candelario also increases his value with his ability to switch-hit and his patience at the plate. The 23-year-old racked up a pair of five-RBI efforts in his first three games at Triple-A Iowa.
Pirates:Tyler Glasnow won the battle for the fifth spot in the Bucs' rotation, but he obviously has upside well beyond that. The big right-hander might hit some bumps along the way, especially in terms of his sometimes spotty command, but he has the kind of premium stuff that one day could place him atop Pittsburgh's' rotation.
Reds: Amir Garrett entered Spring Training trying to win a spot in Cincinnati's rotation, and that's exactly what he did after going 4-1 with a 3.70 ERA. He then became the first player in Reds history -- and 22nd in MLB history -- to win his MLB debut while allowing two or fewer hits and striking out four or more batters in six or more shutout innings. Garrett has improved each season since he was selected in the 22nd round of the 2011 Draft, and after posting a 2.55 ERA in the Minors last season, he appears ready to establish himself as a Major Leaguer.
D-backs: Jared Miller really established himself in the Arizona Fall League, and although he didn't crack the D-backs' Opening Day bullpen, Miller may find himself pitching at Chase Field before the end of the season. A 6-foot-7 lefty, Miller uses his body to hide the ball and is able to generate a ton of ground balls with his sinking fastball.
Dodgers: Cody Bellinger is blocked at first base by Adrian Gonzalez, but the Dodgers' top prospect has also played all three outfield positions in his career. Versatility will likely help Bellinger crack the roster at some point. The 21-year-old slugger has 10 hits in his first 21 at-bats at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Giants: Tyler Beede is coming off a strong 2016 season and is likely to debut at some point in 2017. The right-hander fared well in Spring Training, posting a 2.03 ERA in 13 1/3 innings. Beede is a starter, but San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy has said the team would be comfortable using him out of the bullpen, which could both expedite his path to the Majors and also limit his workload.
Padres: Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot made up two-thirds of San Diego's Opening Day outfield. With a pair of Top 100 prospects in the lineup, the Padres are giving their fans a glimpse of the future. Both Margot and Renfroe made their Major League debuts in 2016, but the extended looks in '17 should give San Diego and its fans something to be excited about as the team continues its rebuild.
Rockies: Raimel Tapia can hit. The speedy outfielder has hit over .300 in each of the past five Minor League seasons. Tapia doesn't generate a ton of power, but could use his speed to generate a good number of extra-base hits in a spacious Coors Field.
William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.