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The Road to The Show™: Who’s up next?

Reds' De La Cruz, Mets' Mauricio knocking on door to Majors
Elly De La Cruz and Ronny Mauricio are both learning a new position while dominating International League pitching. (Paul R. Gierhart/, Syracuse Mets)
May 30, 2023

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here. For top prospects throughout the Minors, two months of play can go a long way toward revealing which

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here.

For top prospects throughout the Minors, two months of play can go a long way toward revealing which candidates are ready for a jump to the next level.

Top Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer, who ranks No. 5 overall by MLB Pipeline, and Rays fifth-ranked prospect Junior Caminero (No. 57) appear to be the first big names who will start at a new level after Memorial Day as reports surfaced Sunday that both High-A sluggers were promoted to Double-A Portland and Montgomery, respectively.

Top Nationals prospect James Wood (No. 7) made the jump to Double-A Harrisburg a day prior and got into his first Eastern League game Sunday. Dodgers second-ranked prospect Bobby Miller (No. 19) stifled the National League’s best offense in his MLB debut last week.

All of this recent movement raises the question: who’s next? Here's a look at several Top 100 prospects, listed alongside their current club, who have not yet received a promotion this season but could climb a level soon.

Elly De La Cruz, Triple-A Louisville (Reds)

If a hamstring strain hadn’t pushed his season debut to April 20, the Minors’ most electric player would probably be in Cincinnati by now. The No. 4 overall prospect is batting .304 with a 1.039 OPS and 10 homers in his first 32 International League games. Between his sky-scraping long balls and rocket arm, the 21-year-old shortstop is a Statcast darling who provides jaw-dropping highlights on what seems like a nightly basis. On defense, he’s mostly stayed at his primary position at short but has played some third base. The Reds might have a crowded infield situation with the recently promoted Matt McLain (No. 91), but that shouldn’t hold back a player that’s as talented as De La Cruz.

Ronny Mauricio, Triple-A Syracuse (Mets)

At the big-league level, the Mets have already benefited from an infusion of rookie talent, with Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez seizing everyday roles. Mauricio seems ready to become a part of the group Francisco Lindor affectionately named the “Baby Mets.” The 22-year-old has not stopped hitting since his MVP season in the Dominican Winter League -- where he shared an infield with De La Cruz -- and is currently the Minor League leader in hits (72), doubles (22), extra-base hits (31) and total bases (119). Overall, Mauricio is batting .341 with a .947 OPS, seven homers and 33 RBIs. He’s blocked by Lindor at his natural position of shortstop but has played second base in every game for the past month at Syracuse.

Henry Davis, Double-A Altoona (Pirates)

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 Draft might just be ready to bypass Triple-A Indianapolis entirely to join the roster in Pittsburgh. Davis is batting .302 with a 1.048 OPS, 10 homers and 27 RBIs for the Curve, where he played 31 games in his first full season last year. In a similar number of games, the No. 45 overall prospect has reduced his strikeout rate by about five percent from his first tour of the Eastern League. Like De La Cruz and Mauricio, Davis is also seeing time at a new position. The natural catcher has gotten into six games at right field this year. While the catcher-outfielder combination isn't common, the Pirates have two players with that skill set in the organization with Endy Rodriguez already in Indianapolis.

Colt Keith, Double-A Erie (Tigers)

The No. 84 overall prospect made history earlier this month with a two-homer, six-hit cycle, which has never been done at the Major League level. But there’s been more to his season than just one big night. Keith enters the week batting .321 with a .964 OPS for the SeaWolves. He’s also collected nine homers, 10 doubles and 35 RBIs in 40 games. Keith made a mechanical adjustment at the start of May and has taken off in the past month. Over his past 20 games, he’s hitting .358 with six homers and 23 RBIs. The 21-year-old bounced from second to third over his first two seasons but has played exclusively at the hot corner for Erie.

Honorable mentions: Kyle Harrison, Triple-A Sacramento (Giants); Brock Porter, Single-A Down East (Rangers); Jack Leiter, Double-A Frisco (Rangers)

Pitchers move at a unique pace, which has been especially true this season. Out of the 27 pitchers in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 – which doesn’t count the three who began the year on the list but have graduated from prospect status – 13 have received a promotion already this year and six have not pitched in 2023. Among the eight remaining, Harrison, Porter and Leiter have been the most impressive, though there’s reasons to be skeptical about any imminent promotions.

Harrison and Porter have both been dominant as they’re being eased into a new level this season. Neither has thrown a pitch in the fifth inning of a game this year. In his second tour of the Texas League, Leiter has shown flashes of brilliance, especially with his strikeout totals. But his walk rate is moving in the wrong direction, and he has a 4.17 ERA in nine starts. May was probably the best month of Leiter’s professional career so far, as he allowed four earned runs in 21 innings (1.71 ERA) with 29 strikeouts.

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for