Making the Jump

Through the course of the baseball season, a professional team might call up a big-time prospect from the minor leagues. A prospect is a young player who is expected to become a great big league player. This week, a handful of these prospects are getting the opportunity to show their stuff.

Fernando Martinez, New York Mets: Mets fans have been waiting for a couple of years to see this 20-year-old outfielder. Everybody involved with the Mets thinks that he's going to be a superstar for many years to come. Martinez is known as a five-tool player, meaning that he can hit for power, hit for average, run fast, is a good fielder and has a strong arm. Martinez got his first Major League at bat on Tuesday night for the Mets. He struck out, but later had an RBI in the Mets 6-1 win.

Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles: Wieters just turned 23 and considered to be the best prospect in all of baseball. The Orioles are expected to call him up this week so that he can make his Major League debut. Wieters is a switch-hitting catcher who has had very good stats in the minors. The Orioles think that Wieters will eventually be one of the best players in baseball and compare him to Mike Piazza, an All-Star catcher who was a great player for the Dodgers and Mets before retiring in 2007.

Jake Fox, Chicago Cubs: Fox is a little different from some other prospects. At 26 he is a bit older and played a few games for the Cubs in 2007. However, the Cubs are looking to call him up to the Majors this week because of the way he is hitting for Chicago's Triple-A level farm team, the Iowa Cubs, who play in the International League. Fox leads the league with a .423 batting average, 17 home runs and 50 RBIs.

What's the Big Deal?: For most of their lives, baseball players dream about making it to the big leagues. When a young player gets called up from the minors to make his Major League debut, it can be a very nerve wracking experience. Most players, like Fernando Martinez, struggle a little bit before they start hitting the ball well. However, some players make an immediate impact. Since 1965, 20 players have hit home runs in their first Major League at bats!

The Future: Fans get excited when prospects get called up to the Major Leagues. They get their first looks at the players who will be on their favorite teams for years to come. When Martinez came to bat at Citi Field on Tuesday night, Mets fans cheered loudly. Even though he struck out in his first at bat, fans got to see a player who could be a star for their team for a long time.

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