June is a good time to check in on some of the game's top prospects — and not just because baseball recently wrapped up its annual amateur draft.
This is also the month when teams might become more aggressive in promoting top minor league talent. Stephen Strasburg made his debut for Washington in June 2010, and Wil Myers made his first appearance for Tampa Bay around this time last year.
By June, a player has had time to prove he's conquered the minor league level, and major league clubs may have a better sense of where they need help.
There's also the threat of arbitration, which adds financial risk if a team calls up a top prospect too early in the season and makes him eligible down the road as a "Super 2." The major league service time required for arbitration last offseason was 2 years, 122 days. The top 22 percent by service time of players with two years in the majors and fewer than three are eligible.
As the season progresses deeper into June, the chance of a promoted player earning Super 2 status drops considerably.
The Houston Astros didn't seem overly concerned with that when they called up George Springer in mid-April. The 24-year-old outfielder has rewarded them with 12 home runs.
Gregory Polanco is still in the minors, hitting .347 for Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis. Languishing below .500 but by no means out of the playoff race, the Pirates could use a boost, and it may be up to Polanco to provide it.
The Miami Marlins, meanwhile, are in a virtual tie for first in the NL East despite losing ace Jose Fernandez for the season with an elbow injury. Could another talented pitching prospect be on the way? Left-hander Andrew Heaney has 27 strikeouts with only two walks after four starts at Triple-A New Orleans.
Here are five things to watch around the majors this week:
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