This is part-two of a ten-part series taking an in-depth look at when the top prospects in the game will reach the majors. For the rankings on this list, I used the Baseball Prospectus Top-101.
You can see prospects 90-101 here.
The Pirates have made a habit of moving their top pitching prospects along methodically, yet they also have started a trend of having them split levels during minor league seasons. The did this with Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, and Kingham has followed the same path, splitting 2013 between High-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona. He'll probably return to Altoona to start the 2014 season and move up to Triple-A Indianapolis at some point during the year, much like his predecessors did. The only thing that determines when will be his performance in Double-A. Getting a taste of Triple-A this year will set him up for a return there in 2015, and a post-super-two call-up to the majors like Cole received in 2013 and Taillon is expected to receive this year. This, of course, is contingent on the Pirates having room in their rotation for him.
ETA: June 2015
What Could Speed It Up: A rash of pitching injuries to Pirates' starting pitchers in the majors this season coupled with a strong performance by Kingham.
What Could Slow It Down: General struggles in Double or Triple-A, or a logjam at the major league level.
The former 48th round pick came on incredibly strong in 2013 to establish himself as a prospect, then got traded and joined a Cubs organization in desperate need of top pitching prospects. That alone would make you think he would be on the fast track, but his ridiculous 2013 season is not an indication of his major league readiness. Edwards was too good for Low-A ball and was probably too good for the Florida State League as well. Even if he returns there, he won't be there for long. He should spend most of the 2014 season in Double-A and could be in the majors by 2015.
ETA: June 2015
What Could Speed It Up: More ridiculous stats that leave the Cubs searching for the right level of competition.
What Could Slow It Down: Developmental setbacks like his inability to gain weight or if his off-speed pitches don't catch up with his fastball.
Schoop got a brief taste of the majors towards the end of 2013 but could use some more time in the minors. He looks like he's on the outside looking in for 2014 which is good. He can head back to Triple-A and continue the refinement of his game. He'll be up in Baltimore at some point this season.
ETA: Summer 2014
What Could Speed It Up: In injury in the majors or a tremendously hot start in the minors.
What Could Slow It Down: No opening for everyday play in the majors or significant struggles at the start of the season in Triple-A.
83. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Chicago Cubs
Alcantara is playing more and more second base each year in the minors, signaling that the Cubs see his future there. These types of changes typically take place as a player grows closer and closer to a team's major league plans. Having spent the entire 2013 season in Double-A, the Cubs can now see Alcantara as a part of their future. Darwin Barney isn't getting the job done, and 2014 will see the first wave of Cubs prospects joining the big league club. Alcantara will probably spent most of the season in the minors, but should be in line for a September call-up this season.
ETA: Late 2014
What Could Speed It Up: A hot start in Triple-A and another sub-.600 OPS from Barney.
What Could Slow It Down: Struggles in Triple-A.
Lee won't need a ton more time in the minors, but the way the Dodgers are spending money these days and hoarding veterans, it'll be hard to find a place for even a top prospect like Lee. He's slated for Triple-A, having spent all of 2013 in Double-A Chattanooga. He'll be just a phone call away when and if the Dodgers need another starter in 2014, but they have plenty of pitching depth and may turn to more veteran options ahead of Lee. Still, he should get a few starts at some point in 2014, especially if the Dodgers have a division title wrapped up early.
ETA: Late 2014
What Could Speed It Up: Injuries in the majors.
What Could Slow It Down: Meaningful games down the stretch and a healthy pitching staff.
Sanchez feels like he's been around forever, and in a way he has, but he's still just 21 and ended 2013 in Double-A. The Yankees have been very methodical with Sanchez and can continue to be now that Brian McCann is in tow. Ultimately they'd like Sanchez to split time with McCann at C/DH for a few years before taking over the role behind the plate, but that's still down the road. For now, they can continue to wait for the breakout year scouts have been saying Sanchez has in his bat. He'll return to Double-A to start the 2014 season.
ETA: Late 2015
What Could Speed It Up: The breakout year everyone's been waiting for.
What Could Slow It Down: There have been questions about his makeup and his defense behind the plate. Now with McCann in the picture, the Yankees can take their time with Sanchez if either issue remains too strong.
Goodwin has played 164 games at Double-A, so there's not much left for him there. Unfortunately, there's not much room for him in Washington either. The Nationals have shown no problem replacing an established veteran who struggles with a prospect (like they did to Danny Espinosa with Anthony Rendon), so if Denard Span disappoints again it could open a door for Goodwin. If Span bounces back, however, Goodwin will have to get comfortable in Syracuse. With the ability to play center field, he could be a valuable bench player until there are at-bats for him.
ETA: Late 2014
What Could Speed It Up: Struggles by Denard Span or an injury to one of their injury-prone outfielders.
What Could Slow It Down: Healthy and productive veterans in Washington.
One plate appearance in the majors certainly doesn't earn Bethancourt a job for this season, and the Braves have plenty of other options in-house despite the departure of McCann. Bethancourt is ready to catch in the majors right now, but his bat isn't there yet, and there are questions about whether or not it will ever get there. If the Braves want him to potentially develop into an everyday catcher, they'll need to give him most of 2014 in Triple-A, and they look prepared to do so. Evan Gattis playing everyday could get ugly, however, and Bethancourt is his antithesis. If things get bad enough for Gattis behind the plate, or if he can't replicate his 2013 power outburst, the Braves might as well call Bethancourt up and at least make their pitchers happy. EIther way, a lot of Bethancourt's ETA is out of his control.
ETA: Mid-to-late 2014
What Could Speed It Up: Defensive struggles by Gattis.
What Could Slow It Down: Offensive struggles by Bethancourt.
Williams is on this list because he oozes tools, but his 110:15 K:BB ratio this season is all you need to know about how long it's going to take Williams to get to the majors. He spent a full season at Low-A Hickory and that should become a trend for Williams and the Rangers.
ETA: Late 2017
What Could Speed It Up: An improvement in plate discipline
What Could Slow It Down: If competition in the upper minors takes advantage of his aggressiveness.
89. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Meadows did some impressive things in short-season ball after signing, but he still has a ways to go and will start that trek this spring. He is advanced for a prep draft pick but also showed a tendency to struggle against mediocre pitching in high school, so there's no telling how he'll react to full-season baseball. If he hits the ground running he could move quickly, but the Pirates don't tend to move prospects very fast. They are more than willing, however, to do mid-season promotions if the player has earned it. We'll know a lot more about his timetable around mid-season, but he's still a few years away.
What Could Speed It Up: Great production in the low minors.
What Could Slow It Down: A methodical approach by the Pirates or a crowded outfield.