NL Central

Chicago Cubs: RP Dillon Maples

Most of the Cubs’ top prospects are still in the lower levels of the minors. However, two that could make an impact this season are Jen-Ho Tseng and Dillon Maples.

Tseng would likely be the first minor league pitcher called upon to fill a spot in the rotation, but reliever Mike Montgomery is the true next man up, so it would take more than one injury for his opportunity to present itself.

So we’ll go with Maples, who was signed to a $2.5 million bonus as a 14th-round pick in 2011—still a record for a player taken after the third round. The 25-year-old has an electric fastball/slider/curveball mix and his swing-and-miss ability was abundantly clear last season when he struck out 111 batters across 68.2 innings in the minors and majors.

His command still needs work, but he’s ready to make an impact now.

Cincinnati Reds: 3B Nick Senzel

Here’s what Reds GM Dick Williams told reporters recently on the topic of Senzel:

“The most important thing is to make sure we’re all convinced that he is ready to be here and playing productively. A lot goes into that. It’s just making sure his confidence is in the right place and the approach we’re seeing is right and he is doing it consistently. Bringing a guy like that up, you want him to come and stay. You want it to be more dictated by his performance and confidence as opposed to being dictated by the situation here.”

With Eugenio Suarez sidelined with a fractured thumb, there’s a clear path to playing time at third base.

It might simply be a matter of stringing together a few good games before he gets the call.

Milwaukee Brewers: SP Freddy Peralta

The Brewers failed to land an impact starter during the offseason, settling on signing Jhoulys Chacin and Wade Miley to supplement the team’s in-house options.

To this point, the team’s starters have gone 4-6 with a 4.07 ERA and 10 quality starts in 19 games, and only Opening Day starter Chase Anderson (4 GS, 1-1, 2.82 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) is off to a strong start.

Brandon Woodruff will get another look at some point, but we’ll focus on fellow right-hander Peralta.

The 21-year-old posted a 2.63 ERA and racked up 169 strikeouts in 120 innings between High-A and Double-A last season, where to find cheap nfl jerseys and he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in 16 innings in his first three Triple-A starts this year.

Pittsburgh Pirates: SP Nick Kingham

Tommy John surgery limited Kingham to a combined 77.1 innings between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and he largely fell off the prospect radar as a result.authentic nfl cheap jerseys

The 26-year-old re-established himself last season, though, going 10-6 with a 3.95 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 118.1 innings between High-A and Triple-A.

The 6’5″, 225-pound right-hander has an advanced three-pitch mix and plus command, giving him legitimate middle-of-the-rotation upside which he could realize this season for a Pirates team that is off to a surprisingly hot start.

He’s allowed just nine hits in his first 17 innings in Triple-A, walking four and striking out 21.cheap nfl jerseys from usa

St. Louis Cardinals: SP/RP Ryan Helsley

With the bullpen still in flux, the Cardinals could look to call on another young pitching prospect in Helsley to bolster the bullpen, a la Jordan Hicks.

MLB.com wrote: “Because of his size, arm strength and command, some have thought Helsley was destined to purchase nfl jerseys land in a bullpen. He’ll continue to start for now, with the Cardinals knowing that his fastball-curve combination would play up nicely in shorter stints as needed.”

The 23-year-old went 11-3 with a 2.72 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 137 strikeouts in 132.1 innings over three minor league levels last season.