Provided the spread of COVID-19 permits it, Major League Baseball will launch its regular season on July 23, nearly four months after it was originally scheduled to begin. Earlier this month, teams started the build-up process by releasing their player pools. The pools can contain up to 60 players, and will dictate which players teams can use throughout the 60-game season. Because there will not be a traditional minor-league season, teams are including prospects in these pools for developmental purposes. 

As a result, we wanted to highlight one prospect from each team who is worth knowing. We've opted to focus on players who could conceivably contribute this year, even if they aren't likely to crack the Opening Day roster. Do note that we're not, necessarily, focusing on the best prospect in each system, or even the best prospect who can crack the majors. 

With that in mind, let's get to business.

Prospect watch

Few prospects stand to benefit from the universal DH more than Seth Beer, who seemed like an impractical fit for the Diamondbacks when they acquired him in the Zack Greinke trade. Beer is what one might call a professional hitter, which is a fancy way of saying he won't add value with his glove or wheels. He has well-above-average strength, and before the year is out he should receive an opportunity to prove he can make consistent hard contact against good pitching.

Cristian Pache can play a mean outfield and he has the speed, if not the basestealing technique, to be a menace on the basepaths. The biggest concern with him at this point is whether he'll hit enough to become a star. Pache made some progress in that regard last season, upping his walk rate and even lifting the ball more often in Double-A. His power gains didn't translate to Triple-A, but time is on his side as he won't turn 22 until November. At some point this season, Pache could help the big-league team with his glove and his wheels. 

The Orioles haven't added many prospects to their pool, so we're giving the nod to Travis Lakins, a right-handed reliever on his third organization since January. Lakins has an average three-pitch arsenal, fastball-cutter-curve, and 16 games' worth of big-league experience. He could probably function in a multi-inning role given he has experience as a starter.

The Red Sox's player pool does not yet include Jeter Downs, the top prospect gained in the Mookie Betts trade. It does include Connor Wong, a catcher who came over as part of the trade. Wong has experienced at second and third base, and figures to profile as Boston's version of Austin Barnes. He played well during a limited run at Double-A last season, and the Red Sox could give him a big-league look late this year, either out of curiosity or necessity. 

Adbert Alzolay made his big-league debut last year, and he could play a bigger role this season, likely in relief. Alzolay has a quality fastball-curveball combination, but he's struggled to stay on the mound and he needs to improve his changeup and command if he's ever going to stick in a rotation. 

Before the pandemic, one of the big questions facing the White Sox was when they would bring up second baseman Nick Madrigal. That remains the case now. Madrigal has a special ability to put the bat on the ball -- special enough to so far overcome limited power potential --  and he's considered to be a good runner and fielder. At minimum, he's going to be an interesting player to watch, in part because he's so different from the norm.

Right-hander Tejay Antone split last season between Double- and Triple-A, positioning himself for a 2020 debut. The circumstances are different, but he should be able to contribute as a starter or reliever thanks to an assortment of pitches and a bulldog demeanor.

We thought there was a chance someone would take right-hander Cam Hill in last year's Rule 5 Draft. He throws a solid fastball and curveball from a steep release point. He's had trouble staying healthy, but if he can stay on the mound he should make his debut this year.

Ashton Goudeau is older than the standard prospect (he'll turn 28 during the season's first week) and is on his third organization. Even so, he has a chance to have a career thanks to an arsenal that includes two spin-rate standouts, in his fastball and his curveball. Goudeau spent last season as a starter, but he's more likely to fill a relief role in the majors.

There's a time to get cute and then there's a time to play it straight. Here, we're doing the latter by giving the nod to Casey Mize, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. Mize has dealt with some injury issues, but his feel for throwing strikes and well-rounded arsenal (including a trapdoor splitter) should allow him to pitch effectively in the majors as soon as the Tigers give him the call.

The Astros' old regime pushed Cristian Javier right along through the system last year. He started the season in High-A and finished it in Triple-A, posting shiny ERAs throughout. Despite Javier's high strikeout and walk rates, he's more of a feel-based pitcher than a pure power arm. How exactly the whole package plays in the majors is to be seen, and presumably soon.

We're suckers for fast runners, and outfielder Nick Heath is one of the fastest in the minors. His speed and his defense should be enough for him to have a career as a reserve.

There's no need to make this more complicated than it needs to be: Jo Adell is the pick here. He's the best prospect in baseball outside of Wander Franco, and he's guaranteed to play in the majors this season. The Angels have some of the most exciting players in the game already, in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon and Andrelton Simmons, and Adell is next in line. He has star-level upside. 

DJ Peters isn't a top prospect, but he's an intriguing one. Peters is listed at 6-foot-6 and has the impressive raw power expected from a human being that size. Yet he's also graceful enough, for the time being anyway, to run well and play center field. The amount of swing-and-miss in his game could limit him to Quad-A status, but he should get a chance to prove he can cut it against big-league pitching this year.

You can make the case that outfielder Monte Harrison has four plus or better tools. The only one lacking is his hit tool, which happens to be the most important of them all. If Harrison can keep his strikeouts in check, he has a high ceiling. Otherwise, he'll fall on the spectrum between second-division starter and reserve. 

The Brewers don't have a great farm system to choose from, so a (likely) reliever gets this spot. Drew Rasmussen has already undergone a pair of elbow surgeries. There's no reason to waste anymore time than is necessary, then, so the Brewers should give him a look this season in a relief role. His fastball and breaking ball could make him a late-inning option sooner than later. 

Brent Rooker almost certainly would have debuted in the majors last season had he not gotten injured at the same time as Nelson Cruz. He's a bat-over-glove, power-over-hit first baseman who is a threat to strike out in more than a third of his plate appearances. The snazziest or safest profile it isn't, but he should play in the Show.

The Mets' farm system doesn't provide many options. David Peterson, a physical left-hander without an outpitch, will have to do. He pitched well enough in Double-A last season to think he could give the Mets some innings in 2020.

You never know when another reliever will come in handy. The Yankees would seem to have a good and deep bullpen on paper, but that's where Brooks Kriske could come in handy. He's a three-pitch right-hander who fanned nearly 12 per nine innings in Double-A last season. 

The Athletics acquired Buddy Reed from the Padres over the winter. He'll probably never hit enough to start, but he can run and play center field and that'll be enough to get him to the majors -- and potentially as soon as this season if he can successfully leapfrog Dustin Fowler and Skye Bolt on the depth chart. 

Spencer Howard is the obvious choice. He has a deep arsenal, good control, and success as far up the ladder as Double-A. He doesn't have a ton of innings under his belt, so the Phillies could play it a little slower so as to not risk his development. Even if they do, he ought to be an important part of their rotation down the stretch.  

The Pirates will presumably play it safe with their top prospects. That leaves someone like outfielder Jason Martin in line for this spot. He can do a little bit of everything, but not enough of anything to foresee him being more than a reserve. 

The Padres acquired Jake Cronenworth as part of the Tommy Pham trade. He's a genuine two-way prospect who could make it as either a reliever or utility infielder. That's fun and useful, and he should come in handy beginning this year.

The Giants plucked Dany Jimenez in the Rule 5 Draft and we think he has a real chance to latch on. He has two plus pitches, in his fastball and slider, and he's thrown enough strikes throughout his career to envision him being able to transition to the majors now in a middle-relief role.

Sam Delaplane is one of, if not the best relief prospect in the game. He has a nasty slider and he's posted some absurd strikeout rates in the minors. Heck, last year in Double-A he struck out 14.11 per nine while holding the opposition to a 0.49 ERA. There's no reason or incentive for the Mariners to hold him back from the majors this year.

We'll stick with relievers for a beat longer to highlight Kodi Whitley. He's gained velocity and that, plus a pair of decent secondary offerings, should grant him enough berth to make his big-league debut before 2020 is out.

The Rays have arguably the best prospect (Wander Franco) and farm system in baseball. They probably won't call upon Franco this year, however, meaning the top candidate here might be someone like Taylor Walls. He doesn't have the upside of Franco (or Vidal Brujan), but he can hit and does enough else to profile as a potential starter. 

Technically, Jonathan Hernandez made his big-league debut last year. He looked like a potential monster reliever this spring, before things were shut down, thanks to a plus or better fastball and a slider that evaded bats on nearly half the swings batters took on it in 2019.

Nate Pearson has front-of-the-rotation potential if he can stay on a mound. He has a big frame, a big fastball and a big breaking ball. Pearson could be the Blue Jays' second-best starter beginning the day he's promoted to the Show.

The Nationals have one of the leaner farm systems in the game, so, for as boring as it is to choose another reliever, we don't have much choice. Washington signed right-hander Kyle Finnegan to a big-league deal over the winter. He's never pitched in the majors, but he does have three solid pitches and should be one of the first arms up if he doesn't crack the Opening Day roster.