The men's baseball portion of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will culminate this weekend with a pair of medal games -- one to dictate who wins the gold and the silver (Team USA punched its ticket on Thursday to face Japan), and the other to determine which team wins the bronze. With that in mind, this week's Prospect Watch is dedicated to five players who have participated in the tournament and who are likely to make a splash over the coming years in the majors. (Do note that the players are presented alphabetically.)
1. Shane Baz, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (United States)
Baz, the third player the Rays received from the Pirates in the Chris Archer trade, could make his big-league debut later this season. He's already started five times in Triple-A, posting a 1.96 ERA and a 4.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. At minimum Baz -- who has a promising fastball-slider combination and improved control -- is well-positioned to become the best prospect in the system once Wander Franco officially graduates in the coming week.
2. Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox (United States)
The 26th pick in the 2018 draft, Casas has hit .271/.354/.424 with six home runs in his first 46 games at the Double-A level. Those marks don't jump off the page, but he is the youngest player on the roster and he's roughly three years younger than his average competition. Casas has drawn comparisons to Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman because of his vertical bat path and because his ceiling is that of a plus hitter (for average and power) and defender.
3. Julio Rodríguez, OF, Seattle Mariners (Dominican Republic)
Rodríguez is the Mariners' other big outfield prospect. He's recovered from a rough stint in winter ball last year to hit .311/.410/.557 across High- and Double-A. Rodríguez has big-time raw power and he has greatly improved his walk rate this season. He's unlikely to ever win a Gold Glove in the outfield, but his above-average arm should allow him to stick in right.
4. Seiya Suzuki, OF, Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Japan)
Though still a few seasons away from free agency, Suzuki is worth monitoring. He's been one of the most productive hitters in Nippon Professional Baseball, and so far this season he's batting .306/.407/.544 with 15 home runs and six steals (on nine tries). Suzuki is also considered to be an above-average defender in right field. Were it not for his spotty stolen-base abilities, he could be fairly described as being an all-around complete player.
5. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, RHP, Orix Buffaloes (Japan)
Yamamoto is even further away from reaching free agency than Suzuki. Nevertheless, it's never too early to put someone with this much talent on the radar. In more than 500 innings as a professional, Yamamoto has compiled a 2.06 ERA and a 4.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His fastball can touch into the upper-90s and he has a quality out pitch in his splitter. All indications point toward him being worth the wait someday for a lucky MLB team.