3. Bringing up the rookies
Even though Ross gave a frustratingly high amount of playing time to struggling veterans like Tucker Barnhart, Trey Mancini and Eric Hosmer, we can't deny that a lot of young prospects made their way to the major league level this year.
In the bullpen, Luke Little and Daniel Palencia got a taste of the majors and were able to showcase their triple-digit-touching fastballs. Both men are just 23 years old, but this big league exposure can only help them down the road as they could very well become cornerstones of the bullpen as soon as next year thanks to their high velocity.
In the rotation, not enough can be said about Javier Assad's contributions to the team this season. Whether it was starting games or coming out of the bullpen in long relief, Assad was ready and able to turn in quality innings. He finished the year with a 3.05 ERA in 109.1 innings pitched with 94 strikeouts to boot. At times, he was the most effective pitcher in the starting rotation. For a 26-year-old in his first full season in the majors, 2023 was a major step forward for Assad and the future looks bright for him.
Another major pitching call-up was 2021 first-round pick Jordan Wicks. At a time down the stretch when the rotation was banged up, Wicks was able to slot in and bring some stability with his impressive confidence and wicked changeups.
On the position player side, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Alexander Canario were added to the roster but saw very limited playing time. This was a bit disappointing, but at the end of the day both guys were in the dugout for a good portion of September getting exposure to major-league pitching and expectations. This experience could prove valuable for their development down the road and go a long way in preparing for everyday roles.