With the Triple-A season getting underway a few days before the rest of the minors are set to start, the focus is solely on some of the more experienced alumni of the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series for this week.
Bo Naylor didn’t seem to mind. One of a handful of first-round draft picks to come out of the inaugural International Week event in 2017, the now-23-year-old became the first FSS alum to make his MLB debut, which he did late last year, and returned to Triple-A Columbus this year so he can get everyday playing time as he continues to develop.
Naylor homered twice in his first three games this season, recording at least one hit in each contest. After struggling to adjust to Double-A in 2021, the Canada native rebounded in a big way last year, smashing a career-high 21 homers across three levels, and re-establishing himself as one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball. At least early on this year, he’s done little to squash any of that momentum.
Bo Naylor blasts off again!
Second homer of Opening Weekend for the @CleGuardians‘ No. 4 prospect with the @CLBClippers. pic.twitter.com/JQOQDAoXuP
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 2, 2023
Grayson Rodriguez was a somewhat surprising last cut in Baltimore Orioles camp, with the organization deeming that their top pitching prospect could use a little more seasoning in the upper minors after an injury took him out of action for exactly three months last year. That also perhaps contributed to an up-and-down showing in big league spring training, where he finished with a 7.04 ERA in five starts.
Also an alum of the 2017 International Week event, the big righty struggled at times in his 2023 season debut for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides in Durham, touching 99.5 MPH with his fastball over a 75-pitch outing that took him through four innings of work; he allowed three runs (two earned) and limited damage in working around four walks, while striking out two batters.
The first inning from #Orioles RHP Grayson Rodriguez this evening. pic.twitter.com/2yDJv5LLKA
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) April 1, 2023
You can expect weekly updates on Future Stars Series alums currently in pro ball, with the list of players set to include, but not limited to, the following list. If you see someone who should be included, but isn’t at the moment, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
With some full-season team assignments not yet public — and, in the case of some recent draftees, many will end up in their Complex Leagues or overseas summer leagues — this list will look different once all four full-season levels of the minors are underway by the time we update you again next week.
Nathaniel Ochoa Leyva