2023 Top 100 Prospects

Below is our list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. The scouting summaries were compiled with information provided by available data and industry sources, as well as from our own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

All of the prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

And now, a few important things to keep in mind as you’re perusing the Top 100. You’ll note that prospects are ranked by number but also lie within tiers demarcated by their Future Value grades. The FV grade is more important than the ordinal ranking. For example, the gap between Padres shortstop Jackson Merrill (No. 10) and Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (No. 40) is 30 spots, and there’s a substantial difference in talent between them. The gap between Peraza and Guardians pitcher Tanner Bibee (No. 70), meanwhile, is also 30 numerical places, but the difference in talent is relatively small. You may have also noticed that there are more than 100 prospects in the table below, and more than 100 scouting summaries. That’s because we have also included the 50 FV prospects whose ranking fell outside the 100, an acknowledgement both that the choice to rank exactly 100 prospects (as opposed to 110 or 210 or some other number entirely) is an arbitrary one and that there isn’t a ton of daylight between the prospects who appear in that part of the list.

You’ll also notice that there is a Future Value outcome distribution graph for each prospect on the list. This is an attempt to graphically represent how likely each FV outcome is for each prospect. Before his departure for ESPN, Kiley McDaniel used the great work of our former colleague Craig Edwards to find the base rates for each FV tier of prospect (separately for hitters and pitchers), and the likelihood of each FV outcome. For example, based on Craig’s research, the average 60 FV hitter on a list becomes a perennial 5-plus WAR player over his six controlled years 26% of the time, and has a 27% chance of accumulating, at most, a couple of WAR during his six controlled years. We started with those base rates for every player on this year’s list and then manually tweaked them depending on our more specific opinions about the player. For instance, Dodgers 2B/LF Miguel Vargas and Marlins shortstop Yiddi Cappe are both 50 FV prospects, but other than them both being Cuban, they are nothing alike. Vargas is a bankable, big league-ready hitter with moderate upside, while Cappe is a risky low-level prospect with huge upside. Our hope is that the distribution graphs reflect these kinds of differences.

This year’s crop of prospects has a relatively shallow high-impact group at the very top of the list. There is no 70 FV prospect in this year’s class and only two 65 FV prospects. In a typical year, we’d have a couple more than that, and sometimes as many as five or six, but this year there are only two. And it doesn’t take long before you start talking about players with warts that reduce confidence in the overall profile. This year’s 60 FV tier has some players who still show some hit tool red flags (Chourio, De La Cruz, Jones) that kept them from ever really being considered for the tier above.

Only 37 of the 112 ranked players here are pitchers. Pitchers tend to be volatile and subject to heightened injury risk, plus their usage is being spread out among more pitchers in the majors, reducing the impact of individuals. The 55 FV pitchers and above tend to have some combination of monster stuff and good command, whereas the 50 FV pitchers often have one or the other. We gravitate toward up-the-middle defenders littered all throughout the minor leagues, and really only tend to push corner bats onto the list when they’re close to the big leagues, or if we have an abnormal degree of confidence that they will continue to hit all the way through the minors. High-risk hitters with huge tools are also welcome since FV is a subjective way to factor both ceiling and risk into the same grade.

For a further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, please read this and this. If you would like to read a book-length treatment on the subject, one is available here.

2023 Top 100 Prospects
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Gunnar Henderson BAL 21.6 MLB SS 2023 65
2 Corbin Carroll ARI 22.5 MLB LF 2023 65
3 James Wood WSN 20.4 A CF 2026 60
4 Eury Pérez MIA 19.9 AA SP 2023 60
5 Andrew Painter PHI 19.9 AA SP 2023 60
6 Elly De La Cruz CIN 21.1 AA SS 2024 60
7 Jackson Chourio MIL 18.9 AA CF 2025 60
8 Druw Jones ARI 19.2 R CF 2028 60
9 Jackson Holliday BAL 19.2 A SS 2028 60
10 Jackson Merrill SDP 19.8 A SS 2026 60
11 Anthony Volpe NYY 21.8 AAA 2B 2024 60
12 Jordan Walker STL 20.8 AA RF 2023 60
13 Francisco Álvarez NYM 21.3 MLB C 2023 60
14 Pete Crow-Armstrong CHC 20.9 A+ CF 2025 60
15 Jordan Lawlar ARI 20.6 AA SS 2025 55
16 Brandon Pfaadt ARI 24.4 AAA SP 2023 55
17 Grayson Rodriguez BAL 23.3 AAA SP 2023 55
18 Marcelo Mayer BOS 20.2 A+ SS 2025 55
19 Brooks Lee MIN 22.0 AA SS 2025 55
20 Miguel Bleis BOS 19.0 R CF 2026 55
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
21 Termarr Johnson PIT 18.7 A 2B 2028 55
22 Endy Rodriguez PIT 22.8 AAA C 2023 55
23 Brett Baty NYM 23.3 MLB 3B 2023 55
24 Ricky Tiedemann TOR 20.5 AA SP 2026 55
25 Mick Abel PHI 21.5 AA SP 2024 55
26 Kyle Harrison SFG 21.5 AA SP 2024 55
27 Curtis Mead TBR 22.3 AAA LF 2023 55
28 Diego Cartaya LAD 21.5 A+ C 2024 55
29 Triston Casas BOS 23.1 MLB 1B 2023 55
30 Tyler Soderstrom OAK 21.2 AAA 1B 2025 55
31 Josh Jung TEX 25.0 MLB 3B 2023 55
32 Owen White TEX 23.5 AA SP 2023 55
33 Bobby Miller LAD 23.9 AAA SP 2023 55
34 Hunter Brown HOU 24.5 MLB SIRP 2023 55
35 Colson Montgomery CHW 21.0 AA 3B 2024 55
36 Coby Mayo BAL 21.2 AA RF 2025 55
37 Taj Bradley TBR 21.9 AAA SP 2023 55
38 Henry Davis PIT 23.4 AA C 2024 55
39 Kodai Senga NYM 30.1 MLB SP 2023 50
40 Oswald Peraza NYY 22.7 MLB SS 2023 50
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
41 Ezequiel Tovar COL 21.6 MLB SS 2023 50
42 Kyle Manzardo TBR 22.6 AA 1B 2025 50
43 Adael Amador COL 19.9 A 2B 2025 50
44 Masyn Winn STL 20.9 AA SS 2025 50
45 Bo Naylor CLE 23.0 MLB C 2023 50
46 Michael Busch LAD 25.3 AAA DH 2023 50
47 Spencer Steer CIN 25.2 MLB 3B 2023 50
48 Miguel Vargas LAD 23.3 MLB LF 2023 50
49 Ceddanne Rafaela BOS 22.4 AA CF 2024 50
50 Jasson Domínguez NYY 20.0 AA CF 2025 50
51 Logan O’Hoppe LAA 23.0 MLB C 2023 50
52 Edwin Arroyo CIN 19.5 A 2B 2026 50
53 Addison Barger TOR 23.3 AAA 2B 2023 50
54 Brayan Rocchio CLE 22.1 AAA SS 2023 50
55 Royce Lewis MIN 23.7 MLB SS 2023 50
56 Carson Williams TBR 19.7 A SS 2026 50
57 Logan Allen CLE 24.5 AAA SP 2024 50
58 Andy Pages LAD 22.2 AA RF 2024 50
59 Gavin Stone LAD 24.4 AAA SP 2024 50
60 Bryan Ramos CHW 20.9 AA 3B 2024 50
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
61 Zach Neto LAA 22.1 AA 2B 2025 50
62 Jake Eder MIA 24.4 AA SP 2023 50
63 Cade Cavalli WSN 24.5 MLB SP 2023 50
64 DL Hall BAL 24.4 MLB MIRP 2023 50
65 Brice Turang MIL 23.3 AAA SS 2023 50
66 Joey Ortiz BAL 24.6 AAA SS 2023 50
67 Evan Carter TEX 20.5 AA CF 2025 50
68 Sal Frelick MIL 22.8 AAA CF 2024 50
69 Gordon Graceffo STL 22.9 AA SP 2023 50
70 Tanner Bibee CLE 24.0 AA SP 2024 50
71 Cam Collier CIN 18.3 R 3B 2028 50
72 Alex Ramirez NYM 20.1 A+ CF 2025 50
73 Kevin Alcantara CHC 20.6 A CF 2024 50
74 Tink Hence STL 20.5 A SP 2025 50
75 Edouard Julien MIN 23.8 AA LF 2023 50
76 Colt Keith DET 21.5 A+ 3B 2025 50
77 Luis Ortiz PIT 24.1 MLB SP 2023 50
78 Drey Jameson ARI 25.5 MLB SP 2023 50
79 Yainer Diaz HOU 24.4 MLB C 2023 50
80 Edgar Quero LAA 19.9 A C 2026 50
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
81 Gavin Williams CLE 23.6 AA SP 2025 50
82 Wilmer Flores DET 22.0 AA SP 2024 50
83 Bryce Miller SEA 24.5 AA SP 2025 50
84 Samuel Zavala SDP 18.6 A RF 2026 50
85 Drew Romo COL 21.5 A+ C 2025 50
86 Ken Waldichuk OAK 25.1 MLB SP 2023 50
87 Reese Olson DET 23.6 AA SP 2023 50
88 Hayden Wesneski CHC 25.2 MLB SP 2023 50
89 Ryne Nelson ARI 25.1 MLB SP 2023 50
90 Ronny Mauricio NYM 21.9 AA SS 2023 50
91 Joey Wiemer MIL 24.0 AAA RF 2024 50
92 Elijah Green WSN 19.2 R RF 2028 50
93 Daniel Espino CLE 22.1 AA SP 2023 50
94 Noelvi Marte CIN 21.4 A+ 3B 2024 50
95 Zac Veen COL 21.2 AA RF 2025 50
96 Brady House WSN 19.7 A 3B 2026 50
97 Marco Luciano SFG 21.4 A+ RF 2024 50
98 Mason Miller OAK 24.5 AAA SIRP 2025 50
99 Yiddi Cappe MIA 20.5 A SS 2025 50
100 Cristian Hernandez CHC 19.2 R SS 2025 50
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
101 Griff McGarry PHI 23.7 AAA MIRP 2025 50
102 Nick Yorke BOS 20.9 A+ 2B 2025 50
103 Kevin Parada NYM 21.6 A LF 2027 50
104 Luisangel Acuña TEX 20.9 AA SS 2024 50
105 Junior Caminero TBR 19.6 A 3B 2025 50
106 Jacob Berry MIA 21.8 A DH 2027 50
107 Matthew Liberatore STL 23.3 MLB SP 2023 50
108 Quinn Priester PIT 22.4 AAA SP 2024 50
109 Dylan Lesko SDP 19.5 R SP 2027 50
110 Jackson Jobe DET 20.6 A+ SP 2026 50
111 Jack Leiter TEX 22.8 AA SP 2024 50
112 Robert Hassell III WSN 21.5 AA RF 2023 50
Reading Options
Detail Level
Data Only
Graphs Hidden
Team Filter
Position Filter

65 FV Prospects

1. Gunnar Henderson, SS, BAL

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Morgan Academy HS (AL) (BAL)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 65/70 55/70 60/55 55/60 70

Henderson is a viable shortstop defender (for now) who has plus-plus plate discipline and power. He’s a well-rounded star and franchise cornerstone.

Henderson, still just the age of a college draft prospect, had one of the best offensive performances in minor league baseball in 2022 and made his big league debut late in the season. After strikeouts were an issue for him in 2021, he narrowed his approach (which is now surgically precise) and began to attack pitches he could damage, avoiding ones on the outer edge of the zone until he has no choice but to put them in play. The change made Henderson a dominant offensive force even though he continued to swing and miss at a worse-than-average rate, and he slashed .297/.416/.531 combined at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk before being called up to Baltimore for the last month of the season.

The offensive package, even with a bat-to-ball blemish (for now), is still befitting of a star-level talent at shortstop or third base, wherever Henderson ends up playing. He is short to the baseball and still generates huge, all-fields power, swinging with so much effort and might that sometimes his head rattles around and his helmet flies off as he’s making contact. While this might contribute to some of his in-zone and overall swing-and-miss rates (he posted a 77% Z-contact% and 72% overall contact% in 2022, both comfortably below the big league average), Henderson shows plenty of hitterish traits that instill confidence in his 2022 output. He has terrific breaking ball recognition, uses his whole body to maneuver the barrel around the zone, and can let pitches travel deep before driving them the other way, and Henderson is strong enough to do damage to left field even when he’s late or mis-hits a pitch. He can be beaten with high velocity more regularly than anything else, but if pitchers miss and catch too much of the meat of the zone, that mistake is going to get hit hard somewhere. Henderson’s hard-hit rate (52%), average exit velocity (92 mph), max exit velo for his age (116 mph), barrel rate in the minors, and anything else that measures power and contact quality are all a 60 or 70 on the scouting scale, and so is his plate discipline. Even with a 40 or 45-grade hit tool, which feels like a low-end outcome, that’s a star player at shortstop and an above-average regular at third base.

He’s a little more tightly wound than is typical for a big league shortstop, but Henderson’s straight-line speed is plus and so is his defensive range, and his arm strength enables him to make some plays that many other infielders can’t. His feeds around the bag sometimes lack touch and accuracy, but he’s otherwise a capable shortstop defender and would easily be plus at third base. On a universal prospect continuum, Henderson grades out a shade below some of the 70 FV or better prospects from recent years like Shohei Ohtani, Wander Franco, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and (gulp) Gavin Lux (who is now tracking like a 60, thank goodness) because we’re talking about a corner bat with what might be a 45-grade hit tool. Still, he’s poised to be a franchise cornerstone for the Orioles’ looming renaissance.

Expand arrow_drop_down

2. Corbin Carroll, LF, ARI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Lakeside HS (WA) (ARI)
Age 22.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/70 50/55 50/60 80/80 60/70 40

Carroll’s surprising power development bolsters what was once a traditional leadoff man’s skill set featuring elite speed and a great approach.

Just seven games into his 2021 minor league season, Carroll sustained a posterior capsular avulsion fracture and a labrum tear during a swing on which he homered. The rip was more explosive than his shoulder could handle, and part of it tore away from the bone. He spent most of the rest of the year rehabbing in Arizona, often attending Diamondbacks games in his sling. This isn’t a common injury and the industry wasn’t quite sure what to make of its impact on his trajectory. There was some worry that Carroll wouldn’t be quite the same player when he returned, but he quickly allayed those concerns by dominating the upper minors as soon as the 2022 starter pistol fired, notching an amazing 53 extra-base hits in just 91 Double- and Triple-A games before he slashed .260/.330/.500 during a September big league call-up.

Carroll has evolved in some surprising ways as a hitter. His amateur look was that of a slash-and-dash leadoff man with doubles power and a great idea of the strike zone. While some of those skills are still bricks in Carroll’s baseball-playing foundation, he has developed much more power than even the most optimistic amateur projections. His forearms have grown like the Grinch’s heart, and Carroll can now bang wall-threatening contact to all fields with the flick of his wrists. The compact nature of Carroll’s body and swing gives him a little extra time and distance to diagnose pitches, and his strength makes him a threat to do damage on the ones that he lets travel deep into the hitting zone. He rarely chases and spoils lots of well-executed pitches, grinding away at opposing pitchers. Because Carroll runs such deep counts, his strikeout rates have been higher than one might expect given his reputation as a plus contact hitter. He did show some swing-and-miss vulnerability at the top of the strike zone throughout 2022, but seemed to be remedying that toward the end of the season. He’s a complete hitter who will likely produce some 25-30 home run seasons by virtue of his contact quality and frequency, and some .400-plus OBP seasons because of his plate discipline and speed. And Carroll can really motor: he’s a no-doubt 80 runner and routinely posts sub-4.00 second times to first base. His speed makes him a defensive fit in center field but a lack of arm strength and the presence of young Alek Thomas in Arizona will likely push Carroll to left, where he might be the game’s best defender at that position. Poised to make an immediate impact as Arizona’s leadoff hitter, Carroll is the tip of the spear the Diamondbacks are pointing at the Dodgers and Padres.

Expand arrow_drop_down

60 FV Prospects

3. James Wood, CF, WSN

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from IMG Academy (SDP)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / L FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 70/80 35/70 60/50 30/45 40

Wood compares to a young Adam Dunn as a power-hitting outfielder of considerable size.

Wood was a divisive amateur prospect, with some scouts seeing him as a center fielder with 70 raw power projection and others seeing him as an eventual first baseman with hit tool risk. So far in pro ball, Wood has been incredible. He hit .337/.453/.601 as a teenager in the Cal League before the Padres traded him to Washington as part of the Juan Soto blockbuster, after which he hit .293/.366/.463. He did this amid multiple wrist injuries, which is something to keep in the back of your mind in the event that it becomes a chronic issue, as Wood’s wrists are an integral part of keeping his swing short enough to be manageable. After initially showing feel for opposite field-only contact on the complex, Wood began to turn on balls more frequently in 2022 and started hitting line drive lasers to all fields, with his peak exit velocity topping out at 114 mph off the bat. That’s a plus metric for a big leaguer and is ridiculous for a 19-year-old who hasn’t totally grown into his body. Even though Wood is quite big, he has feel for tucking his hands in and getting the barrel to softer pitches on the inner half of the plate, often staying inside them and driving them to the opposite gap. He’s so long that this may be exposed as an issue as the level of velocity Wood sees increases. For now, it’s amazing how sentient his feel to hit is considering his age and size. Wood has a real chance to both hit and hit for gargantuan power, and while his swing isn’t geared for consistent lift at this point, he has the raw strength to do damage anyway. This might be an “if it ain’t broke” situation that doesn’t merit proactive mechanical intervention.

It’s tough to gauge where Wood’s eventual defensive home will be. He takes a little while to get his legs churning, but once he’s moving, he’s a plus runner and has generated some home-to-first times in the neighborhood of 4.1-4.2 seconds. His huge strides enable him to cover a ton of ground in center field and he is a not only a viable defender out there right now, but he looks like a future plus glove. Still, this is a 6-foot-7, 240-pound 20-year-old who might add weight commensurate with his frame as he matures, and the way that shakes out will have a significant impact on his defensive future. That said, Wood is already defying convention by looking as good as he does out there at his current size. The broad strokes of this report read a lot like that of Adam Dunn at the same age: an XXL frame with unusual top-end speed and athleticism for his size, and a chance to fill out in a way that causes him to tumble down the defensive spectrum, but with enough power to support such a fall and then some.

Expand arrow_drop_down

4. Eury Pérez, SP, MIA

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 50/60 45/50 45/60 50/70 96-98 / 99

Built like human skyscraper, Pérez has incredible control of his limbs for a pitcher this tall, this age, and who throws this hard. His ceiling is as lofty as he is.

After he made just five starts at High-A toward the end of his breakout 2021 campaign, last season the Marlins sent the 6-foot-9, 19-year-old Pérez to Double-A Pensacola, where he was an absolute buzzsaw. Over the last year, Pérez has added about 30 pounds, experienced a two-tick fastball velocity bump, and incorporated a second, harder breaking ball that has become his primary non-fastball weapon. After sitting 94-95 mph in 2021, he’s now parked in the 96-98 mph range for entire starts, and his hardest sliders (in the 85-87 mph range) are nearly 10 mph harder than his average curveball was in 2021 (77 mph). While he’s been uniformly dominant in the minors, Pérez’s stuff hit a different gear in 2022 and he rose to being our no. 2 overall prospect, then was shut down with what Miami described as “arm fatigue.”

Even more precocious than Pérez’s velocity is his fastball command, which is absurd for a 19-year-old, let alone one who throws this hard and is also this size. Pérez shows bend and balance in his lower half as he propels himself way down the mound and releases on the doorstep of the batter’s box, making hitters extremely uncomfortable. Though he doesn’t throw the pitch a ton, his changeup feel is also very good and currently more consistent than his feel for his new slider, though we expect that will come. Pérez’s fastball shape operates to the east and west of the zone. His heater is only generating about a 14% swinging strike rate, per Synergy Sports, which is above the big league average but not elite. There are still some things to work on here, but Pérez is younger now than Trevor Rogers was on the day he was drafted, and the fact that Pérez has made relevant adjustments and continued to dominate while implementing them is remarkable.

Expand arrow_drop_down

5. Andrew Painter, SP, PHI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Calvary Christian HS (PHI)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 55/60 55/60 40/50 50/60 96-98 / 100

Painter overpowered low minors hitters with velocity then showed competent use of four pitches by the end of 2022. He’ll be a cog in Philly’s quest for a second NL pennant.

Painter overpowered low-level hitters with sheer velocity and breaking ball quality during the majority of his first full pro season. The Phillies pushed him aggressively, going all the way to Double-A Reading late in 2022. There Painter showed more refinement, incorporating a handful of changeups into his outings and displaying an ability to vary breaking ball shape in different situations.

Painter has a prototypical pitcher’s frame and then some, standing in at a broad-shouldered 6-foot-7 (which Painter has sculpted since his days as a high school prospect), a stature you’d more often associate with NBA wing players than pro pitchers. Doug Fister is a fair baseball body comp. Painter’s size creates suboptimal shape and angle on his fastball, but there will still be big league hitters who Painter can just overpower with his upper-90s velocity. He’ll work six or more innings and never throw a fastball below 95 mph, sitting 96-98 for the bulk of the outing.

Both of Painter’s breaking balls have huge movement. His slider has two-plane sweep, while his curveball (more commonly used as an in-zone pitch and against lefties) is north/south and sometimes also has arm-side direction. If he can consistently create that arm-side finish on the curveball, it will give him a weapon against lefties, though now that he’s had to whip out his changeup against upper-level hitters, some of those have been quite good. Hitters seem to take more comfortable swings against his breaking stuff later in outings, so perhaps there’s something about Painter’s fastball angle that makes it easier to see his breaking balls pop out of hand once they’ve had a look at them. In a vacuum, though, he has a shot to have four plus pitches and an inning-eater’s frame. There’s front-end upside here, and while Painter is not a complete pitcher yet, the Phillies have promoted him at such a brisk pace that he’s already on the precipice of the majors as a teenager.

Expand arrow_drop_down

6. Elly De La Cruz, SS, CIN

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr S / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/70 45/70 70/70 45/55 70

De La Cruz is a boom-or-bust prospect who could really bust or go supernova.

De La Cruz has the most exciting combination of tools and defensive fit in the minors, a switch-hitter with plus-plus power, speed, arm strength, and all-around athleticism, as well as a somewhat more consistent look at shortstop than he had a year ago, even at 6-foot-5. He followed up his splashy 2021 with a 2022 tidal wave, reaching Double-A Chattanooga as a 20-year-old while tabulating over 70 extra-base hits and about 40 stolen bases. He sports ridiculous all-fields power from the left side of the plate, floats from base to base with huge, graceful strides, can clock home-to-first times close to 4.00 seconds, and still has room for much, much more mass on his frame before it detracts from his mobility enough to push him off shortstop. While he could stand to be a little more consistent on defense (many balls got through him early this past winter with Licey), the range, bend, hands, and arm strength to play short are all comfortably here.

If he does that while getting to most of his power, he’ll be one of the better players in baseball… it’s just that De La Cruz has struck out a concerning 30% of the time. Even at shortstop, there isn’t a full-time player in the big leagues who punches out quite that often. The closest contemporary statistical predecessors and tool-based comps to make for De La Cruz are Willy Adames (a 29% K% hitter who has performed like a 60 because he gets to his power and plays great defense) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (27.6% K%). Elly’s tools are big enough to stand with those guys, but if he’s striking out at a 30% clip at Double-A, it’s likely he’ll do so more often against big league pitching, which puts him in a dangerous area. His strikeout problems stem from poor breaking ball and offspeed recognition, as he chases those pitches a fair bit (about a 40% rate against sliders and curveballs at Double-A per Synergy) while also swinging through lots of them in the zone (75% Z-Contact% versus non-fastballs). His overall chase rates remain a little worse than average but they’re not terrifying. There are plenty of good players on the big league O-Swing% leaderboard, including many young stars, but these issues together create hit tool-related bust risk for Elly. Obviously he’s ranked here as if he’s set to become a star player anyway. Added to the 40-man roster in November, De La Cruz is on pace for regular big league playing time in 2024.

Expand arrow_drop_down

7. Jackson Chourio, CF, MIL

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 18.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/70 40/60 70/70 45/55 40

Chourio is a hard-swinging center fielder with plus power and speed.

Chourio made The Leap in 2022, going from being a well-regarded prospect who had a chance to blow up to one who seemingly has. He hit a whopping .324/.373/.600 at Low-A Carolina during the first half of the year, then slashed a more pedestrian .252/.317/.488 (as an 18-year-old!) at High-A Wisconsin for the last month of the season. His power combined with his speed and defensive fit in center field give him rare upside as a 30-plus home run center fielder hitting at or near the top of whatever lineup he’s in. Initially considered a contact-first prospect, the effort level in Chourio’s swing ratcheted up in 2022 and he now takes a monster hack, whipping the bat through the zone with all his might, often needing the dirt of the batter’s box behind him to stop his rotation. The extreme shift in his strikeout and walk rates from 2021 to 2022 has as much to do with the change in Chourio’s style of swinging as it does the quality of opposing pitchers’ stuff. There were reasons to be skeptical or apprehensive about declaring Chourio one of the game’s top prospects, especially at the onset of his breakout. Forty-two of the 57 games he played in the Carolina League came at ballparks with park factors of 116 or more, per research conducted annually by Baseball America‘s Matt Eddy. That means Chourio’s surface level stats may have been significantly inflated. During that stretch, he was also swinging and missing within the strike zone a ton. At one point, his in-zone contact rate was in the ninth percentile among minor leaguers, even while his triple slash line was out of this world.

The good news is that Chourio made adjustments throughout the year, ditching his leg kick with two strikes. His in-zone contact numbers improved throughout 2022, even after promotion. When the season was over and the statistical dust settled, Chourio wrapped with a 67% Contact% and 76% Z-Contact%, both of which would be in the bottom five of big league center fielders with at least 300 PA in 2022. Still, Chourio has big-ceiling company in that part of the leaderboard — names like Byron Buxton and Adolis García are down there, and Julio Rodríguez isn’t far away. It’s comforting that there are contemporary examples of hitters making a huge impact who share Chourio’s potential blemish, ones who make that impact despite all the ponchados by getting to big power. And Chourio has that kind of power. The ball explodes off his bat to all fields, and he can do extra-base damage even when he mis-hits a ball. According to a source, he was one of just three 18-year-old hitters to have an average exit velocity of 88 mph or higher in 2022, and Chourio played at least one level ahead of the other two (Red Sox outfielder Miguel Bleis and Astros prospect Luis Baez) for the entire season, and two and three levels ahead late in the year when he had a pot of High-A coffee and a shot of espresso at Double-A Biloxi. Even when he cuts his leg kick with two strikes, there is enough bat speed and power for Chourio to do huge damage. Only recently converted to center field full-time, Chourio easily has enough speed to stay there (he’s routinely 4.15 home to first), and his routes and ball skills are okay. That Chourio has shown the aptitude to make mechanical adjustments, and that he tends to compete hard at all times, indicates that he is hungry and coachable in addition to very talented. He’s graded with the optimism that these traits will help him manage the swing-and-miss enough to be a multi-time All-Star.

Expand arrow_drop_down

8. Druw Jones, CF, ARI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Wesleyan HS (GA) (ARI)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/55 55/70 20/70 60/60 45/60 60

Jones is a great defensive center fielder with power that might require a swing tweak to unlock.

Jones’ combination of present baseball ability and physical projection were unmatched in the 2022 draft class. At age 14, thin as a rail, he was already hitting balls out of big league spring training stadiums during workouts. Now he’s a strapping 6-foot-4 and has grown into considerable power, all while maintaining some amount of future physical projection (i.e. there is going to be more power here) and impact, up-the-middle defensive ability. While he’s taken groundballs at shortstop in the past and is arguably athletic enough to develop there in pro ball, Jones is such a savant in center field that scouts won’t typically entertain that notion; he projects as a 70-grade defensive center fielder. His first step can be a little delayed, but Jones’ huge strides eat up tons of ground in the outfield, and he gallivants into the gaps, robs would-be doubles, and has a runner-sniping arm.

Jones’ swing isn’t quite dialed in. He tends to bar his front arm and load his hands high, which made it impossible for him to turn on velocity on the showcase circuit when he was facing better, faster pitching than he did during varsity play. Over the course of two years worth of showcase play tracked by Synergy Sports, amounting to roughly 250 swings on tape, Jones never pulled a ball to the left of the left-center field gap, and all but about a dozen of his airborne balls in play were to right field. This is a little odd, but it might be remedied with an unobtrusive mechanical tweak.

Everything else Jones shows you in the batter’s box is exciting. He’s a plus rotational athlete, his hands are exceptionally strong, he can drive his top hand through contact to punish pitches at the top of the zone and he sometimes alters his footwork and the bend in his lower half to dip down and barrel low pitches. Even though his stride is relatively conservative, he is still generating so much force with his legs that his back foot will sometimes come completely off the ground as he’s making contact, à la Bryce Harper. Nitpicking about his swing actualization is fine because we’re talking about one of baseball’s best prospects, but the foundation of present skills and tools combined with Jones’ physical projection makes him a potential franchise-altering superstar.

Just three days after signing, Jones suffered a left posterior labral tear while hitting, another glitch in the Matrix that seems to be causing every high-profile Diamondbacks prospect to suffer a severe shoulder injury. Jones had surgery, missed the back half of the summer and instructs, and only began hitting again in January. The injury adds more volatility to a profile that already had some and might cause Jones to open 2023 in extended spring training, but it’s encouraging that Jordan Lawlar returned to normal after enduring a similar injury.

Expand arrow_drop_down

9. Jackson Holliday, SS, BAL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Stillwater HS (OK) (BAL)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 50/60 25/60 50/50 40/50 55

Holliday is a sweet-swinging shortstop with above-average feel for contact and burgeoning power.

Holliday exited his pre-draft summer as a mid-to-late first round prospect. Among the high school prospects, he not only had perhaps the best chance to remain at shortstop, but he also had one of the better bat-to-ball track records in the class, accumulating a 3-to-1 ball in play-to-whiff ratio on the showcase circuit. He was also one of the better rotational athletes available, with one of the loosest, most beautiful swings in the class. It seemed plausible he might eventually grow into meaningful power, too. By his senior year of high school, Holliday already had. During his 2022 spring break, Holliday came to Arizona to work out and take BP with his high school team at some of the big league teams’ complexes, and he (and his younger brother, Ethan) put balls out of backfields into the teeth of the wind with ease. As Jackson worked out on one field and minor leaguers played and took BP on the quad’s other three diamonds, he stood apart from the rest in virtually every way. He left Arizona with top-five pick buzz and ultimately went first overall to Baltimore.

He checks literally every scouting box, and for as much as analytical boxes matter for a high school hitter, he checks those, too. There aren’t many lefty-hitting shortstops with this kind of offensive juice. Holliday’s range, hands, actions and arm are all above average, while his baseball instincts and internal clock are both very good, and season his defensive skill set enough to project him as a long-term shortstop even if he keeps getting bigger. At the plate, he takes a big (but balanced) stride, and can adjust his barrel depth by getting deeper into his lower half through contact. He has retained foundational feel for the barrel while coming into all that power, and is one of the higher-ceilinged all-around players in the minors.

Expand arrow_drop_down

10. Jackson Merrill, SS, SDP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Severna HS (SDP)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/70 40/45 20/40 50/50 45/55 55

Merrill is Michael Brantley, except at shortstop.

What if Michael Brantley played shortstop? That outcome seems in play for Merrill after his first full season in pro ball, even though a fractured wrist and strained hamstring both limited his reps and probably impacted his power output in A-ball. Merrill “only” hit .325/.387/.482 in 45 Cal League games, a line good for a 125 wRC+ in the hitter-friendly league and aided by a .393 BABIP. It was Merrill’s Arizona Fall League look, which came against more advanced arms, and his underlying hit data that really drove him up the prospect continuum.

Merrill’s feel to hit is sublime. He swings bent at the waist, his torso hanging over the zone, enabling him to cover the plate with gentle lift that helps him pepper the opposite field gap with doubles contact. Merrill’s breaking ball recognition is fantastic and he’s adept at making adjustments in the middle of at-bats once he’s seen the shape of his opponent’s pitches. He has one of the more picturesque swings in the minors and is extremely difficult to make whiff inside the strike zone. His injuries reduced the sample size, but Merrill’s contact metrics from the regular season are incredible. He had a paltry 7% swinging strike rate to go along with an amazing 90% z-contact% and 85% overall contact rate. Merrill’s style of hitting generates a lot of liners and groundballs — his swing only occasionally has homer-producing lift — but he is striking the baseball with precision and authority in a way that’s pretty amazing for a teenage shortstop, let alone one who dealt with a wrist fracture during the year. For instance, Merrill’s hard-hit rate in 2022 was nearly 44%, which is already well above the average big league shortstop’s mark (35%). Not all of this is coming from raw power, it’s more from the quality of the contact Merrill makes. By virtue of this precision, he might have peak years with 20 homers or so, very similar to Brantley.

Hamstring issues aside, Merrill is a pretty good bet to stay at shortstop. He has a polished first step, actions, and internal clock, and enough arm strength for the left side of the infield. He doesn’t have a huge frame, but his lack of room for mass arguably makes it more likely that he stays at short since he’s unlikely to outgrow it. The tools Merrill has in place already make him feel like a high-probability impact player, and if he develops feel for lift without compromising contact as he enters his 20s, then he’s going to be one of the top couple of prospects in the minors before he debuts.

Expand arrow_drop_down

11. Anthony Volpe, 2B, NYY

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Delbarton HS (NJ) (NYY)
Age 21.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/55 45/60 45/40 40/45 45

Volpe’s uppercut swing will allow him to get to impact power for a middle infielder.

Drafted as a glove-first shortstop prospect, Volpe had a uninspiring professional debut, but he totally transformed himself during the lost pandemic season and returned in 2021 with one of the best campaigns in all of the minor leagues, slugging .604 across two levels. After a slow start to 2022, Volpe hit .273/.355/.502 with Double-A Somerset from May through August and earned a late-season call up to Scranton. He’s poised to start his age-22 season at Triple-A and likely make his big league debut at some point in 2023, perhaps usurping Gleyber Torres as the everyday second baseman if it becomes clear that Volpe is a superior offensive option.

Working with a private instructor on a daily basis during the pandemic, Volpe completely re-engineered his swing, which now produces impact power, especially for a middle infielder. You’ve probably seen big league hitters use a “toe tap,” or heard broadcasters use that phrase. Well, Volpe’s swing starts with what is best described as a “heel tap” of his rear leg, as he loads all his weight onto his back side before he strides forward and swings with verve and ferocity. The swing changes that helped enable his breakout created a bat path built to lift the ball to the extreme, and Volpe’s average launch angle was a whopping 24 degrees last year. His swing is like a right-handed version of Juan Soto’s, capable of getting underneath the baseball in basically every part of the zone, in part because of the flexibility and athleticism in his lower half.

Even though he’s been on a throwing program to strengthen his arm, Volpe still doesn’t have the hose typical of a big league shortstop. If he had somehow improved his throwing (which isn’t terrible — he could play short in an emergency), he’d still be behind Oswald Peraza and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in this regard and would end up at second base anyway. As Volpe has added strength and mass, the trunk of his body has thickened substantially and impacted his defensive mobility a bit. His second base defense could trend down as he gets deeper into his 20s, but he should be fine there for a while. Volpe’s game power should routinely put him in the mix for All-Star teams for as long as he stays on the middle infield, and he’ll still be a productive everyday player if he moves later in his career.

Expand arrow_drop_down

12. Jordan Walker, RF, STL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Decatur HS (GA) (STL)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 70/80 55/80 50/40 45/50 70

Blocked by Nolan Arenado, Walker is taking his 70-grade power and arm to right field, where he should hit 35 annual bombs amid lots of strikeouts.

Walker worked out as a pitcher, shortstop, and third baseman in high school, then had a rough draft spring amid some weight gain, which is part of why he fell deep into the first round. To say he looks like a steal is a drastic understatement at this point, as he is one of the most exciting young hitters in the minors, with elite power potential and superlative on-paper performance at Double-A throughout 2022, all while he was still not old enough to have a beer. Any discussion of Walker begins with his exit velocities, which are nearly unheard of for a player this young. He has a simple, well-leveraged swing that takes advantage of his strength, and the long levers that come with his 6-foot-5, 220 pound frame produce jaw-dropping home runs when he really squares one up. His approach is solid, though there are some issues chasing breaking balls, and his in-zone swing-and-miss was a fair bit below average in 2022 (he swings inside a lot of sliders), but we’re talking about a 20-year-old at Double-A here. If you’re looking for the prospect most likely to hit 40 home runs in a season down the line, this is your player.

Walker’s gigantic frame at his age makes it likely that he’d eventually outgrow third base. For now, his ability to bend and get deep into his legs, as well as his lateral agility and range, is pretty amazing for a player his size. He will reach back and show you a plus arm when he needs to. Of course, Nolan Arenado’s presence through 2027 dictates a move regardless of how Walker looks over there. His 40-man timeline presents the Cardinals with what would likely be a seamless transition from MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt to Walker if they so choose, with Walker possibly DH’ing most days during Goldy’s contract year. Late in 2022, the Cardinals started giving Walker reps in the outfield, mostly in right, and he looked fine out there. Even if he plays nothing but first base from the jump, Walker will still produce enough power to be a consistent 3-WAR All-Star, and there’s superlative thump here even at that position.

Expand arrow_drop_down
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (NYM)
Age 21.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 233 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/40 70/70 50/60 40/30 40/45 55

Built like an SEC fullback, the curvaceous Álvarez has explosive pull-side power and a good shot to stay behind the plate, which gives him a cathedral ceiling.

Álvarez has been one of the more hyped prospects in the Mets system since signing out of Venezuela in 2018 for nearly $3 million, and he has largely lived up to that hype. Considered too advanced for the team’s Dominican complex, he made his stateside pro debut in 2019 and followed that up by posting a .941 OPS across two A-ball levels in 2021 while still a teenager. In 2022, he dominated the upper levels (.260/.374/.511) and made his big league debut at age 20 with a five-game cup of coffee. Veteran stalwarts Omar Narváez and Tomás Nido are both at least a year removed from a good offensive season, and so while Álvarez will reportedly start his year at Triple-A Syracuse, he may mash his way into the primary catcher role during the season.

Wherever he ends up, if you have the means to head to the ballpark early to watch Álvarez take batting practice, you should. He has had the most impressive BP session at each of the last two Futures Games, launching satellite-threatening baseballs to the very outer reaches of big league stadiums. And Álvarez wants to show you his power. He does not take casual BP hacks — he maxes out and swings with all-out effort, which extends to his in-game approach, a feature that gives some scouts pause and worry that big league pitchers will pull the rug out from under him. There is some analytical fire to back up the smoke the scouts are smelling. Álvarez only ran a 75% Z-contact and 66% overall contact rate in the minors, which is near the bottom of the big league catching continuum, and almost identical to Joey Bart and Jorge Alfaro, who have struggled to find big league footing on offense. Still, Álvarez was 20 and facing Double- and Triple-A pitching, and it’s prudent to project growth in this area. Plus, Álvarez isn’t nearly as chase-prone as Alfaro and has much more power than Bart, so he should outperform both. Álvarez begins in an open set up and then straightens out upon swing initiation without taking a big step or needing a timing mechanism. His swing is designed for power; it has a bit of a loop and a steep plane to it, enabling him to crush mistakes to left and center field. He doesn’t track pitches especially well (his head often flies all over the place) and he has mediocre barrel variability, so he’s likely to swing and miss at an above-average clip in the big leagues, but he’s going to get to an absurd amount of power for a catcher and produce at an All-Star offensive level for that position.

Defensively, Álvarez is a bit of a mixed bag. He receives on one knee with the bases empty but mixes his technique with runners on. His traditional crouch can be a little high and make it tough for him to get to the ground to block balls, which he often tries to do with his hands rather than his whole body, and he’ll cost you a base now and then because of this. He needs to improve at framing pitches in the bottom of the zone, especially breaking balls, which he tends to let travel too deep, making them appear to be below the zone. Álvarez has plenty of arm strength and will sometimes pop below 1.80 seconds (seriously) now that he’s gotten better at starting to exit his crouch before the pitch has reached him, or just cutting it loose from his knees when that’s not feasible. He’s barrel-chested and quite bulky, and he’ll need to maintain his conditioning to be able to block and receive adequately. While his profile is that of an offense-first catcher, Álvarez is unlikely to be a true liability back there and has more than enough stick to make up for his defensive deficiencies. He should be the Mets primary catcher as soon as most of the big league pitching staff feels confident and comfortable throwing to him.

Expand arrow_drop_down

14. Pete Crow-Armstrong, CF, CHC

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Harvard Westlake HS (CA) (NYM)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 45/50 35/45 60/60 45/70 55

PCA is one of the best defensive center fielders in the sport and a swing change unlocked dormant power in 2022.

PCA played just six games at Low-A in 2021 before missing the remainder of the season with a labrum injury. While injured, he was dealt to the Cubs, and when he returned in 2022, he wasted little time demonstrating why he’d netted the Mets Javier Báez and Trevor Williams in return. Having made noticeable adjustments to his swing, including a lower load and a more compact back elbow, the center fielder has proven capable of tapping into in-game power previously missing from his offensive profile. He tore up Low-A, slashing .354/.443/.557 with a 12% walk rate and an 18% strikeout rate over the course of April and May before earning a promotion in early June. His aggressive approach resulted in his walk rate dipping at High-A, while his strikeout rate inflated a bit – typical advancement-related growing pains – but he still managed to slug .498 and swipe 19 bags at the higher level. The plate discipline piece is well below average but everything else is above. Add to that his plus-plus defense at an up-the-middle position, and he’s on track for star-level everyday center field role.

Expand arrow_drop_down

55 FV Prospects

15. Jordan Lawlar, SS, ARI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Jesuit Prep HS (ARI)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 55/60 45/55 60/60 45/60 50

Lawlar is a slick shortstop defender with big power and a somewhat shaky hit tool.

A complete prospect and a total baseball rat, Lawlar had been a touted amateur as an underclassman and held serve as a near top-of-the-class talent for two or three years, even amid the volatility of the 2020 draft process. He has continued on that path as a pro, slashing an incredible .305/.402/.510 so far in the minors, reaching Double-A and the Arizona Fall League at age 20 after he had torn his labrum the year before. Some of Lawlar’s offensive performance has been inflated by his home park’s hitting environments, especially Low-A Visalia and Double-A Amarillo. Arizona’s relatively new Amarillo affiliate is especially extreme relative to the rest of the Texas League. So Lawlar isn’t quite as good as his cartoonish stats — his present hit/power combination is actually closer to average — but he does everything well and is a potential plus defender at short because of his acrobatics.

Lawlar’s throwing stroke to first base can sometimes be a little odd, but he finds all kinds of crazy ways to contort his body and send the baseball where it needs to go, which is especially true of his feeds to second base. If he develops into a plus shortstop defender with a well-rounded offensive game, he’ll easily be an impact big leaguer, and probably soon. Lawlar’s hit tool projection is a bit of a conundrum. There are aspects of his swing that are very exciting and consistent with great big league hitters (his raw power and bat speed are uncommon for a shortstop, while his bent-at-the-waist hitting posture is akin to Mike Trout‘s and Dylan Crews’), but his bat path is fairly grooved, and here the projection is that when the cement dries on Lawlar’s hit tool, it will be a little south of average. He’s still likely to get to enough power and play good enough defense to be an impact regular for Arizona.

Expand arrow_drop_down

16. Brandon Pfaadt, SP, ARI

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Bellarmine (ARI)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 50/55 45/55 45/55 93-95 / 97

A powerful on-mound athlete, Pfaadt is one of few pitching prospects capable of missing bats with every one of his weapons.

The Diamondbacks selected Pfaadt with their final pick in 2020’s abbreviated draft. The righty had only made 11 career starts at then-Division-II Bellarmine University, but a successful 2019 summer on the Cape and a lights out draft spring suggested that he was a real prospect. He rocketed through Arizona’s system in 2021, making brief stops at both A-ball levels before closing the season with six starts for Double-A Amarillo, where he then spent most of 2022 dominating to the tune of a 32% K% and 4% BB% before a late promotion to Reno.

Tall, well-built, and athletic, Pfaadt has plenty of starter traits. He has a loose arm, a frame built for eating innings, and a repeatable delivery. He sits 92-95 mph while touching higher with his carrying four-seam fastball, and like any good D-backs prospect, moves it well north-south while generating whiffs at the top of the zone; he also has a sinker as a change of pace. His best offspeed is a plus slider, a tight, two-plane offering in the low-to-mid-80s. The curve features similar movement with longer break and both are nasty when he runs them off the plate glove side, though both play in the strike zone, as well. Pfaadt’s fading change flashes bat-missing action, but it also flattens at times, and even though Pfaadt is comfortable enough to use it against righties, it’s the pitch he has the least consistent feel for locating. While some of the org’s other high-profile names have had developmental hiccups, Pfaadt has knifed through Arizona’s system without issue and is now a mid-rotation starter prospect on the doorstep of the big leagues.

Expand arrow_drop_down

17. Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Central Heights HS (TX) (BAL)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 50/50 70/70 40/45 40/50 93-97 / 99

His stuff was down in 2022 but is still good, and Rodriguez should be a mid-rotation stalwart in short order.

The 11th overall pick in 2018 out of a Texas high school, Rodriguez saw his stuff tick up immediately after turning pro, and it steadily climbed each year until it took a step backward in 2022 amid a shoulder injury. Rodriguez was quite comfortably the most dominant pitcher in the minors in 2021, when he racked up nearly three times as many strikeouts as hits allowed. As is customary for pitching prospects near the tippity top of prospect lists, Rodriguez got hurt in 2022, suffering a Grade 2 lat strain in early June. Prior to the injury, he had allowed just 48 baserunners in 56 innings and struck out 80 men. He returned three months later and labored through a rocky September with Norfolk, during which he struggled with walks. Across the season as a whole, his fastball “only” sat 95 mph, and in his final start of the year it was mostly in the 93-96 mph range, which is a two-tick regression from 2021, when Rodriguez sat 96-98 all year. Scouts who saw him after Labor Day thought the quality and utility of his breaking balls (while still good) had also backed up a bit. Certainly from a velocity and spin (about 200 rpm) standpoint they had, though each is still capable of missing bats.

There is still a front-end arm here, as well as a big, sturdy-looking frame that theoretically should be able to eat a ton of innings. Rodriguez’s changeup, which falls through a trap door just as it approaches the plate, is among the best secondary pitches in the minors, garnering a 42% chase and whiff rate in 2022. He can vary his breaking ball shape and will occasionally show you 88-91 mph with cut, at other times 77-83 mph with sweep. It’s still quite the arsenal, it’s just that the breaking balls aren’t all 60s and 70s anymore, or at least they weren’t at the end of 2022. On last look, it was stuff that profiled in the middle of a contending team’s rotation, rather than at the very front. Rodriguez is still a major league-ready impact prospect and is a prime American League Rookie of the Year candidate. He has a shot to break camp with the big club and play a huge role on the next Orioles contender.

Expand arrow_drop_down

18. Marcelo Mayer, SS, BOS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Eastlake HS (CA) (BOS)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/60 35/60 40/40 40/50 60

Mayer’s gorgeous left-handed swing produces impact power for a shortstop.

The top-ranked prospect in the 2021 draft, Mayer dropped to fourth overall, where the Red Sox were happy to scoop him up and sign him for a higher dollar amount than first overall pick Henry Davis. In his first full season, Mayer slashed .280/.399/.489, hit 30 doubles and 13 homers, and was 17-for-17 on stolen base attempts as he continued the track record of premium offensive performance that he’s displayed since he was a high school underclassman. He has a big frame, a mature approach, and a left-handed stroke so gorgeous that it’s now rumored to be dating Pete Davidson. Mayer’s underlying TrackMan data is only okay. He’s hovering at or below the big league average in most chase and contact rate categories, while generating impressive power for a shortstop his age. His front side is fairly stiff through contact, which may impact his ability to scoop lower pitches in the future, an issue Jarred Kelenic and Spencer Torkelson only had exposed once they reached the big leagues. As far as defensive projection is concerned, a boxy frame, medium straight line speed, and an awkward running gait push and pull against Mayer’s defensive instincts, first-step quickness, and strong arm. He’s already noticeably thicker now than he was in high school, though that’s probably part of where the power is coming from. He’s likely to move off shortstop eventually, but it probably won’t be for a while; the longer he stays there, the more margin for error the hit tool component, which we’re a tad apprehensive about, will have as he begins his big league career. It’s important to acknowledge the risk of his profile at this stage, but Mayer still projects as an extra-base machine at shortstop and an impact big leaguer.

Expand arrow_drop_down

19. Brooks Lee, SS, MIN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Cal Poly (MIN)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 55/55 35/50 35/40 45/50 55

Lee is a skilled, switch-hitting shortstop (for now) with power. Some pre-draft medical question marks precipitated his fall to Minnesota.

Our 36th-ranked draft prospect as a high schooler in 2019, Lee is a switch-hitting shortstop with above-average power who walked nearly twice as often as he struck out as a junior. He was a coveted prospect as a prep player, but his strong commitment to Cal Poly, where his dad coaches, and some general concerns about his physical longevity due to a back issue pushed the industry’s assessment of him down, so he went to school. Knee and hamstring surgery effectively knocked him out for the 2020 season, then Lee hit .341/.384/.626 in 2021 and had a huge summer on Cape Cod, with six homers in just 21 games. He continued to play well as a junior, showing better barrel feel from the left side than he did as a sophomore. Before the 2022 draft there was again buzz that some teams were off Lee because of his medical, and also that Lee and his family preferred that he stay as close to home as possible by joining a team that trains in Arizona. He fell deep enough in the draft’s top 10 that the Twins, who were otherwise on Cam Collier, felt compelled to pop him even though they weren’t a fit in this regard. Minnesota sent Lee to High-A almost immediately and he raked there, blowing scouts away.

Lee has fantastic breaking ball recognition, and he can let pitches travel deep before deciding whether to swing. Even when he has to shorten up to protect, the strength in his hands enables him to do extra-base damage. He is much more adept at doing this from the left side; his righty swing is relatively grooved. When Lee does take a comfortable hack, he shows you plus raw power, but his style of hitting is very balanced, and he doesn’t sell out for huge pop all the time.

This sort of offensive player would be a good everyday third baseman and a star shortstop. Lee played short at Poly, but based on his size (Brad Miller is a fair body comp), straight line speed (he’s heavy-footed from home to first, in the 4.5s) and his medical, clubs tend to have him projected to third base. This projection is a little more bullish about him staying at short, at least for a while, largely based on Lee’s feel for the position. He has quick actions and his lateral agility is better than his long speed on the bases. He’s also adept at positioning his body to be ready to throw as he fields the baseball, his transfer is quick, and his internal clock is well-calibrated. It’s tough to account for what sort of long-term impact Lee’s injury history will have on his defense, and Carlos Correa‘s presence is also a factor, but in a vacuum he projects as an above-average everyday shortstop.

Expand arrow_drop_down

20. Miguel Bleis, CF, BOS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 55/70 25/65 50/50 30/50 55

Bleis has some of the planet’s sexiest bat speed and produces shocking power for a young hitter his size.

Bleis signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in January of 2021, and after a solid showing in the DSL that year, he created huge buzz on the complex in Fort Myers throughout 2022 because of his bat speed and power. This is one of the toolsiest prospects in all the minors and one of the players on the Top 100 who has a chance to “Chourio,” i.e. leap into the top-10 overall prospect mix within the next year.

Bleis has all-world bat speed and rare rotational athleticism. His swing is a little odd and upright, and his hands load with a bit of a hitch, but he is still able to guide the barrel around the zone and produce shocking raw power for such a lithe teenage hitter. Though he’s of relatively narrow build, Bleis still oozes projection, and his present footspeed gives him room to fill out and slow down some while remaining in center field. Even though his career walk rates are extremely low (7%) for a complex-level prospect (where pitchers often struggle to throw strikes), Bleis’ chase rates are closer to average. Whether he adjusts to more cautious and competent pitching as he moves through the minors, we just won’t know until it happens, but the more granular statistical indicators here (what Bleis’ underlying contact and chase rates are relative to his strikeout and walk performance) suggest he’s going to improve in these areas. Even if you dismiss that, the measurable power that’s already here is incredible and reinforces the visual evaluation of Bleis’ electric talent. His rate of hard, impact contact is near the top of the scouting scale when you adjust for age and is already comfortably plus relative to the big league rates in some areas (like barrel rate). When you bounce his skill set off of those of recent top high school prospects, Bleis’ compares favorably. If you dropped him into the 2022 draft class (with high schoolers Bleis’ age), he’s going in the top five picks.

Expand arrow_drop_down

21. Termarr Johnson, 2B, PIT

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Mays HS (GA) (PIT)
Age 18.7 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 55/60 25/55 50/40 30/45 50

Johnson projects as a second baseman with plus contact and power.

Johnson was a well-regarded prospect basically as soon as he reached high school, and there were scouts who were so excited when they first watched him hit that they considered him a future top 5-10 pick when he was only a freshman. He ultimately went fourth overall to Pittsburgh, and because he’s a relatively advanced hitter with a mature build, there’s a good chance the Pirates move Johnson through the minors pretty quickly if he hits the ground running offensively.

Johnson’s swing bears some mechanical resemblance to Bryce Harper’s, especially its lower half usage and finish. Johnson often ends his swing with his torso having made a full 180 degree rotation, sometimes swinging with such ferocious bat speed that he loses his balance and faceplants in the batter’s box. He has a pronounced bat wrap. When an opposing pitcher releases the ball, the scoop in Johnson’s bat head is pointing at the mound with his back elbow hiked way up above his shoulder in a position that seems to defy the rules of normal human physiology. Short but not small, his lack of length and size is actually an advantage for Johnson’s swing, as he can enjoy a bat path geared for power and lift without it being too long. While especially adept at launching pitches on the inner third, Johnson also shows some ability to shorten up and cover the top and outer edge of the strike zone. He showed a tendency to expand the zone and make some sub-optimal contact as an amateur and in his 2022 pro sample, but there are times when Johnson does this and rather than frustrate scouts and analysts, he impresses them with his ability to identify and adjust to breaking balls, his barrel feel, and his hand-eye coordination. Most of his swings and misses over the last few years have been on fastballs running away from him, but in 2022, he displayed a more advanced ability to poke the barrel at balls on the outer edge of the plate, extending his short levers in an effort to slap outside pitches the other way.

Defensively, he has mostly played second base so far in his professional career, with just a handful of starts at short. He’s a good enough defender that he’d probably being playing shortstop had he ended up at Arizona State, but in pro ball the keystone is Johnson’s likeliest defensive home given his maxed-out, stocky build and what projects to be somewhat limited range. There’s an All-Star-caliber hit and power combination here, and while a bigger pro data sample might reveal some approach-related issues, Johnson has been one of the best hitters his age for going on a half decade and feels like a relatively high-probability high school hitting prospect. If he does end up having relevant chase issues, he might track like a left-handed hitting Brendan Rodgers, but Johnson’s makeup and personality are so universally lauded that it’s fair to expect him to make relevant adjustments and become a key cog on Pittsburgh’s next competitive team.

Expand arrow_drop_down

22. Endy Rodriguez, C, PIT

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 40/40 30/45 55/55 45/55 60

Unique defensive versatility (C/2B/OF) and premium feel for contact make Rodriguez a core part of Pittsburgh’s future.

As of list publication, Rodriguez is one of just two catchers on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster, and while it’s possible he’s beaten out by a veteran non-roster invitee like Tyler Heineman or Kevin Plawecki, Rodriguez’s defensive chops and versatility give him a shot to break camp with the big club, split time with Austin Hedges, and moonlight at one or two other positions before eventually seizing the primary catcher job. Endy had an incredible 2022 statline — .323/.407/.590 — most of which was generated at hitter-friendly Greensboro. He’s now a career .303/.394/.533 hitter and has had meaningful statistical success up through Double-A, where he spent about a month toward the end of 2022.

From a heuristics standpoint, you can’t do much better than Rodriguez’s profile. He’s a young, switch-hitting catcher with cartoonish offensive numbers (especially from a bat-to-ball standpoint) and uncommon defensive versatility, as he’s played a bunch of second base and left field as well. Throw in the visual twitch and athleticism, and this is the player Spotify’s algorithm would recommend to FanGraphs if prospects were musical artists.

From the left side of the plate, Rodriguez has an exceptional ability to rip his hands through pitches on the inner edge of the zone. Out over the plate, he has a tendency to stay inside fastballs and lift them toward the opposite field gap. So compact and short to the baseball is Rodriguez that he can wait an extra beat to diagnose pitch types, which enables him to make in-flight adjustments to breaking balls, spoil the well-located ones, and crush the hangers. As a right-handed hitter almost all of Endy’s damage is done on outer-third pitches that he can get fully extended against. His swing is quite uphill from the left side and he can tend to swing underneath fastballs up and away from him, but overall he is very difficult to make whiff inside the strike zone despite his steep-launch style of contact.

On defense, Rodriguez’s size is both a feature and a bug. He’s naturally adept at framing low strikes because he’s already so low to the ground, but it’s also fair to wonder if such a small athlete can withstand the grind of catching 80-100 games every summer. Rodriguez’s arm is comfortably plus. You can really see his athleticism and remarkable hip/shoulder separation on his throws down to second. His pop times are routinely in the 1.85-1.95 range in part because Endy has a strong arm, but also because he’s almost always leaving his crouch before he even receives the pitch on steal attempts, which hastens his exchange. This level of athleticism might be an indication that Rodriguez will find a way to mature into more raw power despite not having a traditionally projectable frame. His swing is already geared for lift, but he doesn’t currently have the raw juice to make the most of it. He’s going to be a star if he ends up with even average raw power, and even if he doesn’t, we’re talking about a switch-hitting catcher who can make an impact on both offense and defense. He might end up becoming the player the industry hoped Francisco Mejía would become.

Expand arrow_drop_down

23. Brett Baty, 3B, NYM

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Lake Travis HS (TX) (NYM)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 70/70 50/60 45/45 55/55 60

Baty’s swing has made it tough for him to lift the ball in games, but a 2022 tweak may have unleashed the beast.

Baty made some subtle swing changes that may have better actualized his plus-plus raw power. Most apparently, his batting stance is more upright now than in prior seasons, and as he was getting his feet wet in the big leagues late in 2022, Baty was better able to get his bat to fastballs up and away from him, which had been a problem in the minors. Baty has also consistently been a high groundball rate hitter, at least 51% at every full-season level until his 42% mark with Double-A Binghamton in 2022, where he spent the bulk of the year. The identifiable visual tweak to the swing, the shift in batted ball profile, and Baty’s dramatic uptick in home runs are all indications that he’s dialed in the details that have kept him vacillating between several FV tiers for the last couple of years. Baty was an older draft prospect of considerable size, and there was worry he’d have to move to first base in pro ball. He’s not only kept things in check physically but actually improved to the point of being an above-average defender. Lever length still limits Baty’s ability to make consistent, quality contact in certain part of the zone, but he still shows you impressive barrel control as he tries to get the bat where it needs to be. He’s a lovely, loose rotator for a hitter his size and is willing to use the opposite field when pitches are away from him. A relatively complete player, Baty will likely be better than Eduardo Escobar pretty soon and should be the Mets’ everyday third baseman in the near future, projecting as an above-average regular.

Expand arrow_drop_down

24. Ricky Tiedemann, SP, TOR

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Golden West College (TOR)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 60/60 50/60 35/50 94-96 / 94

A physical lefty with mid-90s arm strength and a mind-bending slider, Tiedemann has become one of the minors’ highest-ceiling arms.

Tiedemann was passed over as a SoCal high school hurler in the 2020 draft due in part to an ill-timed injury. He spent a year at a JUCO, where he was good but not totally dominant, to the consternation and befuddlement of some scouts. But his stuff, body projection and age (even after a year of JUCO ball, he was still just 18 when he was drafted in 2021), were enough for Toronto to pick him up in the third round. Opinions on Tiedemann vary depending on how much stock is put in his early professional performance: He sat 96 mph at instructs in 2021, but skeptics questioned whether that was a short-term effect of him airing things out in short stints, or if receiving higher-quality development and instruction than he got in his amateur environment had actually unlocked something. It appears the latter is true.

Tiedemann has shifted toward the first base side of the rubber and has closed off his stride direction slightly, which creates additional deception in his already-funky low-slot lefty delivery. The funk-factor made up for a slight dip in velocity; the heater sat in the 94-95 range, but he still managed whiff and chase rates well above average on the offering as he made his way from Low- to Double-A in his first year of pro ball. He throws two plus secondaries — a mid-80s changeup and a low-80s slider, each with good movement and high whiff-rates — and he’s shown the ability to locate each of his offerings, boasting strikeout rates over 34% at all three minor league levels. Sometimes the length of his slider is so ridiculous that it’s actually tough for him to control. He has three potential plus pitches and front-end upside.

Expand arrow_drop_down

25. Mick Abel, SP, PHI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Jesuit HS (OR) (PHI)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/65 55/70 45/55 40/50 95-98 / 99

Abel is a prototypical power pitching prospect with huge arm strength, a plus breaking ball, and the frame to not only hold his velo all year but to perhaps keep throwing harder and harder until he’s a No. 1 or 2 starter.

Abel has been the best pitching prospect his age since his sophomore year of high school, and he’s continued to track like an impact starter early on as a pro, reaching Double-A in 2022. He has the prototypical starter’s frame at a broad-shouldered 6-foot-6, and the pacing and look of his delivery evoke Gerrit Cole. Abel has long thrown hard for his age, his velocity steadily climbing into its current 95-97 mph band up from the 90-94 range when he was first known to FanGraphs as a prospect. The tailing shape on his heater is suboptimal but at times helps him miss a bat. Ideally, he’ll have a four- and two-seam variant at peak and be able to work both north/south and east/west with his fastball, but as of 2022, his fastball command was still quite crude. Thanks to his looseness and flexibility (again, think a lankier Gerrit Cole), not only does Abel project to maintain this level of velocity, but perhaps he’ll add to it as his frame fills out. Abel has a strong natural proclivity for spinning his breaking stuff, and his low-to-mid-80s slurve is already an above-average pitch and could be a 70-grade shove machine at maturity. Abel will also flash a really good changeup once in a while; that pitch tends to be in the 86-89 mph range and feasts on hitters who have to cheat to catch up to his fastball. We’re projecting heavily on Abel’s command in anticipation of him growing into his body and arm speed. If he can consistently locate his stuff — Abel’s pitch execution is behind that of the typical Double-A starter but okay for a still-growing pitcher his age— then Abel will be a front-end arm. He’s tracking to debut ahead of his draft class’ typical 40-man timeline, perhaps as early as mid-2023 if things click with his command.

Expand arrow_drop_down

26. Kyle Harrison, SP, SFG

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from De La Salle HS (CA) (SFG)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 60/60 45/55 40/45 93-95 / 98

Harrison’s body has thickened pretty quickly, but he throws hard and has diverse fastball utility and great secondary stuff. He’s tracking like a mid-rotation starter.

After a breakout 2021 season, Harrison managed to improve in virtually every column of his stat sheet in 2022. He issued more strikeouts and lowered his WHIP, all while racking up more innings and advancing two levels without showing many growing pains in the process. His 39.8% strikeout rate was the highest in the minors among qualified pitchers last year, and he fanned 186 batters in just 113 innings. Harrison’s fastball sits 93-94 mph, topping out around 98, and it plays up thanks to its shape and the deceptively low lefty arm slot Harrison hurls it from. He primarily pairs the heater with a shapely low-80s slider and gets most of his swing-and-miss in the zone with both offerings. His changeup isn’t consistent enough for it to play a major role in his arsenal quite yet, but he trusts his slider enough to use it in place of the changeup, even against righties. He has been a hot knife slicing butter all the way through Double-A and shows little signs of stopping. If the Giants are contending for a playoff spot, he may be called up during the 2023 season, perhaps first in a bullpen capacity, but he projects as an eventual impact starter.

Expand arrow_drop_down

27. Curtis Mead, LF, TBR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Australia (PHI)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/60 50/60 40/40 30/35 30

Mead’s feel to hit and power on contact will make him an impact everyday player no matter what position he ends up playing.

The Rays stole Mead from the Phillies in what seemed like a relatively innocuous trade at the time, a swap that sent a low-level developmental sleeper (Mead) to Tampa for depth starter Cristopher Sánchez. In the three years since the trade, Mead has become one of the more dangerous hitters in the minor leagues and as soon as he becomes a suitable defender, he should provide a well-rounded offensive threat in the middle of Tampa Bay’s order.

Mead is a career .306/.376/.517 hitter in the minors and hit .298/.390/.532 throughout a 2022 season spent mostly at Double-A Montgomery, with about a month of reps at Triple-A Durham tagged on at the end. He has impeccable hitter’s timing and a swing that is equal parts balanced and explosive, generating plus all-fields power despite barely utilizing any sort of stride. Even after a wildly successful 2021, Mead still cut down on what was already a very modest in-the-box stride and now derives all of his power from the rotation of his hips and the strength of his hands, which have a setup akin to vintage Evan Longoria. The upright nature of this adjusted swing has impacted Mead’s plate coverage a bit, and he swung through lots of high fastballs and sliders that finished on the outer third of the zone in 2022. When he can get the barrel out there, though, he’s a threat to do extra-base damage the other way because of his bat speed. Historically, Mead has raked despite having a hyper-aggressive approach at the plate, and this is where he grew the most in 2022. His walk rates reached career highs despite facing upper-level pitching for the first time in his life, and Mead’s underlying chase data (only 24%) was better than the big league average (33%).

He still needs to find a position, though. Mead has spent a lot of time at third and second base. He isn’t a great hands-and-feet athlete, and his arm strength doesn’t match that of a typical third baseman. Unless he’d throwing on the run, he just sort of lollipops the ball over to first. Indeed, the way Mead plays defense isn’t typical for an infielder at all; it’s as if he grew up not watching big league defenders every summer, which might be true. He does play with lots of effort, though, and Mead has enough range that the second base experiment has merit. It’s possible he’ll find a way to play a mold-breaking style of third base defense over time, but an elbow sprain (which happened amid a throwing program to try to improve his arm strength) ended his 2022 and required a PRP injection, which is often a precursor to Tommy John for pitchers. Because his bat is almost big league ready, it might make sense for Mead to learn left field or for him to debut as a DH while some sort of outfield transition happens on the side. Were he an infielder, there would be times when a manager would want to substitute for him because of how rough his defense can be, but you don’t really want to remove a hitter like this from your lineup in the middle of a game. However the defensive end of things shakes out for Mead (here he projects in left field for the third straight season), he has enough bat to be an above-average everyday player, combining potent contact, power, and perhaps a newfound sense of the strike zone.

Expand arrow_drop_down

28. Diego Cartaya, C, LAD

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (LAD)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 219 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 55/60 35/60 40/30 45/55 70

Cartaya is a Salvador Perez starter kit.

Now on the 40-man roster, Cartaya is poised to be a power-hitting All-Star catcher who gets eased into the big league waters in 2024 and 2025, toward the back end of Will Smith‘s arbitration years. His rare raw thump has already begun to manifest in games, as Cartaya clubbed 22 homers in 2022, a season after he dealt with multiple injuries that severely limited his playing time. Power and arm strength have been Cartaya’s headline tools since his amateur days, and despite missing lots of time in the 2020-21 window due to the pandemic and injuries, he has still developed on defense and managed his strikeout tendencies, and played enough in 2022 to reinforce industry confidence in his plate discipline across a larger sample of plate appearances.

Cartaya’s size was sometimes a problem on defense early in pro ball. He struggled to frame low pitches and one-hoppers would find a way through his wickets. He’s begun to solve the former problem by occasionally catching on one knee with one leg splayed out, à la Carlos Ruiz, which allows him to be lower to the ground and present low pitches moving back toward the zone. Whether or not Cartaya does this depends on the pitch he’s called, and sometimes he’ll start from a crouch and drop to a knee as the pitch is in mid-flight. His ball-blocking is still pretty rough, though. It can take him a while to get to the ground and even when he does, he tends to give up long rebounds that allow runners to advance anyway. Of course, he has game-changing arm strength. Cartaya’s exchange is absurdly fast for a player his size, and he actively hunts baserunners when they reach, a threat to throw to the bases at any time. His gigantic frame and plus arm are a big part of where the Salvador Perez comps are coming from. Power on par with Salvy seems in play here, too. Cartaya had a whopping 41% hard-hit rate in 2022, which is already better than that of the average big league starting catcher (he’s 21!), and this is true of Cartaya in most underlying statistical categories and proprietary stats that attempt to measure power output objectively. The bumps and bruises that come with catching 100 games often make it tough for catchers to sustain peak offensive performance, and Cartaya hasn’t been exposed to that yet. His physicality perhaps gives him a better chance of withstanding that grind than most other prospects. Cartaya presents the Dodgers with a good problem, as they already have one of baseball’s best catchers in place ahead of him and the two are set to overlap on the active roster during the next three to four seasons.

Expand arrow_drop_down

29. Triston Casas, 1B, BOS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from American Heritage HS (FL) (BOS)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 252 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 70/70 55/70 30/20 40/40 50

Casas has plus-plus power and enough bat-to-ball skill to weaponize it.

Casas spent most of 2022 with Triple-A Worcester and hit .273/.382/.481 there amid a two-month absence to recover from a high ankle sprain. He debuted with Boston late in the season and flashed the titanic power that promises to make him a valuable big league regular, while also running the high walk and strikeout rates that readers should expect from him going forward. Casas went to the Dominican Winter League to be part of Licey’s prospect-studded lineup (Elly De La Cruz, Ronny Mauricio, and a few others were also on that roster at the start of the LIDOM season), but a knee injury ended that jaunt after just three games.

A career .269/.374/.485 hitter in the minors, there are still some analysts who are skeptical Casas will make enough contact to profile comfortably as an above-average regular at first base. He struggles with softer stuff in the bottom of the strike zone, and his in-zone and overall contact rates in 2022 were 78% and 70% respectively, an area similar to Nolan Gorman, Franchy Cordero, Bobby Dalbec and others who have tantalizing power but have sometimes been frustrating big league hitters. In Casas’ case, there is so much lefty-hitting power here that we are still buying him as an above-average big league run producer at first base. Injuries and the pandemic have limited him to just 284 career minor league games since he was drafted in 2018, and his bat-to-ball skill has projection deep into his mid-20s as he continues to gain actual pro experience. The amount of power here is sensational. Casas is capable of hitting huge tanks to all parts of the ballpark; his hard-hit rate in 2022 was a whopping 50%, which would have been top 15 among qualified big league hitters. A lumbering, heavy-bodied athlete, Casas’ injury track record is also a bit of a concern. The Red Sox have said that they’ll manage his workload by DH’ing him and letting their righty-hitting corner bats caddy for him against some lefty starters. This combined with the undercooked hit tool might lead to some big league growing pains and medium production at first, but over time Casas should become a middle-of-the-order force capable of hitting 35-plus annual homers.

Expand arrow_drop_down

30. Tyler Soderstrom, 1B, OAK

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Turlock HS (CA) (OAK)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 60/70 50/70 40/30 20/40 45

Soderstrom may end up like Bryce Harper and Wil Myers, where the A’s cut bait on him catching to get his excellent bat to the big leagues sooner.

2022 was the first season where Soderstrom’s time at first base surpassed his time behind the dish. It’s long been seen as a potential, maybe even an obvious move, due to both Soderstrom’s below-average defense as a backstop, and as a way of protecting his offensive performance from the dings and scratches that are part and parcel with everyday catching. His Trackman data makes clear why his offense is so worthy of this line of development. More than 51% of his contact comes off his bat at 95 mph or higher, and 21.1% of that is hit at a launch angle within the sweet spot range for power production. Soderstrom has widened and opened up his stance since the start of his professional career. Instead of a short stride toward the mound, his step is toward the plate, maintaining the width as he closes his stance, with quick lower-body rotation as he muscles the barrel through the zone. He spent the bulk of the 2022 season at High-A, where he slugged .513 with 20 home runs and 19 doubles, earning him an early-August bump up to Double-A, where his slugging remained roughly the same while he brought his strikeout rate down a couple ticks. When the Double-A season came to a close, Soderstrom was promoted again to close out Stockton’s Triple-A season. His semi-aggressive approach may lead him to have a merely average hit tool, but he has 70 power and might end up hitting 50 annual doubles at his peak. He’s going to be a middle-of-the-order anchor in Oakland fairly soon.

Expand arrow_drop_down

31. Josh Jung, 3B, TEX

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Texas Tech (TEX)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 60/60 50/60 40/40 55/55 60

Jung had a rough 2022 that we’re chalking up to injury-related rust rather than severe skill regression.

Jung was an elite college performer at Texas Tech — he posted a .348/.455/.577 line with more walks than strikeouts throughout his career — but didn’t hit for huge home run power there, in part because he tended to work the opposite field. Of the 71 extra-base hits Synergy Sports has on tape from Jung’s time at Tech, 51 were to center or right field. This cemented confidence in his feel to hit and also generated pre-draft conversations about whether there was a path for Jung to get to more power in games by pulling the ball more often, and whether that would hurt his ability to make contact. It has been tough to truly find out even though Jung is now 25 and has set foot in the big leagues. There was no 2020 post-draft minor league season, and each of Jung’s last two campaigns have begun with prolonged IL stints due to severe injury. His 2021 season got off to a delayed start because of a stress fracture in his left foot (he slashed .326/.398/.592 across 80 upper-level games thereafter) and Jung spent most of 2022 on the shelf rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn left labrum. At times Jung looked totally lost late in 2022 when he finally returned from the shoulder surgery. His propensity to chase and lunge at pitches nowhere close to the zone led to a 38% K% during his September call-up. That isn’t consistent with his career performance: Jung’s 2021 chase rate, per Synergy, was just 24%, and that exploded to 37% in 2022. Our interpretation of this is that it’s a result of rust from the prolonged layoff rather than an actual indication that Jung suddenly has terrible feel for the strike zone. Jung is still a bendy, explosive and strong third base athlete with all-fields pop, a hit/power combination above the everyday bar at third base, and an above-average glove.

Expand arrow_drop_down

32. Owen White, SP, TEX

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Carson HS (NC) (TEX)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 199 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 70/70 50/50 45/55 50/60 93-96 / 98

The ultra-advanced White has plus command of four good pitches.

After a blazing-hot end to the 2021 minor league season and a dominant Fall League performance, White rode a lot of hype into last season. Drafted in 2018, his trajectory has been riddled with development-delaying injury, and 2022 was seen as the year he would hopefully put it all together. And for much of the season, that seemed to be the case: White started the year at High-A, doling out 81 strikeouts against just 19 walks in 58.2 innings of work before being promoted to Double-A Frisco at the end of June. It looked like he would continue his dominant performance at the higher level. His mid-90s fastball missed bats up in the zone and above it, and he commanded all three secondaries, with above-average spin across the board. But after just four starts with Frisco, he was shut down due to his innings limit and understandable arm fatigue, ending his season in mid-July. White’s stuff continues to shine when he’s healthy, which is especially impressive given the amount of time he’s lost. He was added to the 40-man roster at the end of the season and should become part of the Rangers rotation at some point in 2023. His stuff is more comparable to the 50 FV starters on this list, but his command should allow him to work more efficiently and eat more innings than most of that group.

Expand arrow_drop_down

33. Bobby Miller, SP, LAD

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Louisville (LAD)
Age 23.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/65 60/60 45/60 45/50 40/45 97-100 / 102

Miller has always held his velo deep into games despite a violent delivery, and his slider and changeup are both above-average, rounding out a starter’s mix in a weird mechanical package.

The quality of Miller’s outings improved throughout 2022 and after some early-season hiccups, he dominated Double-A in July and August and was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City for the final month of the season. In totality, Miller made 24 starts (if you count his Futures Game outing), worked 113 innings and posted a top-25 K-BB% among minor leaguers who threw at least 100 frames. That’s a 31% K% and 8% BB% across twice as many innings as the year before, when Miller was being built back up from the shortened 2020 season. And Miller held upper-90s velocity throughout, sitting 98-99 mph throughout most of his starts and rarely ever dipping below the 96-97 mph band with his fastball, which he also threw for a strike at a 70% clip in 2022. Despite some of the length and violence in Miller’s delivery, he’s demonstrated that he can sustain elite velocity deep into each start, throw strikes, and (so far) keep his arm healthy, as his only career IL stint was for an oblique strain. He’s set up to throw about 135 innings in 2023 (assuming a typical 20-inning increase) and, if his annual pattern of promotion is any indication, he’ll be given his first big league opportunity late this year (and push for a playoff roster spot), then compete for an Opening Day rotation job in 2024. Given the 2022 performance of some of their young 40-man occupants (strike-throwing issues for Ryan Pepiot, Andre Jackson), Miller might be Los Angeles’ most reliable in-season option to make a start if one or more of their projected starters goes down with injury.

In addition to the humming fastball, Miller wields three above-average (at least) secondary pitches that he mixes pretty evenly, especially against lefty batters. Firm, upper-80s changeups and sliders dart in different directions, and are thrown with 100 mph-looking effort. It’s tough for hitters who are looking for a fastball to do anything with them, even though Miller’s feel for locating his secondaries (especially his sinking changeup and low-80s curveball) is not sharp. Sheer unpredictability and velocity allow Miller to bully the strike zone without precision and still stay off barrels, while his well-executed pitches miss bats. It’s possible the ceiling on Miller’s curveball is big. A newer offering for him (at least based on the previous notes and data FanGraphs has), it spins at 2,900 rpm, 300 rpm more than his trademark slider. Miller’s arm slot varies a little bit when he throws it, which might tip off big league hitters, but his feel for the pitch stands to improve the most of all his offerings because of its newness, which makes its raw spin rate exciting. Velocity, repertoire depth, and fastball control have Miller poised to be an impact, mid-rotation starter in the near future, while long-term secondary projection could eventually pull him into a different stratosphere.

Expand arrow_drop_down

34. Hunter Brown, SIRP, HOU

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Wayne State (HOU)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 212 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 70/70 40/45 40/40 94-96 / 100

Already armed with plus-plus velocity after coming out of a Division-II school in Michigan, Brown has added a plus-plus curve and slider since turning pro. He still has some relief risk.

Brown is the Mewtwo of pitchers, engineered as a facsimile of another powerful entity using science and technology. Drafted out of Wayne State, a Division-II school in Michigan, Brown’s arm strength and velocity have been sculpted to replicate the power-pitching formula in Houston. Readers have probably seen the side-by-side mechanical comparisons of Brown and Justin Verlander, and took notice of Brown’s overpowering stuff during his brief 2022 big league debut. Brown’s stuff was already good at Wayne, and it leveled up pretty quickly after he signed, but it was the strike throwing that took a step forward in 2022 and led to his September call-up. Make no mistake, Brown does not suddenly have Verlander’s command. In fact, his fastball locations are still pretty scattered and his delivery remains quite violent. But Brown’s fastball has the sort of action that gives pitchers margin for error in the strike zone, and his stuff is so nasty that he can be imprecise and still beat hitters. Combine that with your standard issue Astros breaking ball complement (a hard 90-mph cutter/slider and a slower knuckle curveball) and you very likely have an impact big league arm, if a somewhat inefficient one.

Expand arrow_drop_down

35. Colson Montgomery, 3B, CHW

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Southridge HS (IN) (CHW)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/60 45/60 50/40 35/55 50

Montgomery may provide a counterexample to the industry’s obsession with hitters’ age in the draft room, as the former 19-year-old high schooler looks like he might be a star.

Lots of high-level decision makers ran to Indiana to see the high school version of Montgomery as part of a late spring jaunt through the Midwest, and he was one of the buzziest prospects just as the 2021 draft approached, with some pre-draft smoke near the top 10. He ultimately fell to the White Sox at 22nd overall, and a little over a year removed from his selection, that looks like an absolute steal. Montgomery raked his way to Double-A, where he spent the last couple weeks of his first full pro season as part of “Project Birmingham,” a de facto instructs and evaluation period for Chicago’s best mid- and upper-level prospects.

There was some demographic push and pull happening in the guts of Montgomery’s amateur profile that we can already reflect on a bit. Remember that there was pre-draft consternation around his age (he was well over 19), which draft models tend to penalize prospects for because of the historical success of younger players. But his geographic and two-sport background — Montgomery was a high-level hooper in high school — were arguably “late-bloomer” traits. In this case, Montgomery’s bat seems to have already blossomed, while you can throw out the age-related concerns given that he has now proven himself at High-A. He slashed .274/.381/.429 at mostly Low- and High-A in 2022 before wrapping up at Birmingham. His in-zone contact rate on the year (89%) is very impressive for someone who detractors feared would be raw upon his entry into pro ball, and Montgomery is already doing measureable damage (based on his barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and other sourced metrics assessing impact contact) on par with a typical starting big league shortstop. Watch him hit and you see the breaking ball recognition and low-ball power, as well as the flexibility in Montgomery’s lower half that should help him move the barrel around the zone.

Because the White Sox had so many good prospects in Birmingham toward the end of the season, it was extremely efficient to source scouts and conduct film study from that time period. Montgomery did not look good at shortstop during that stretch, falling short of the position’s high bar in most facets (range, hands, arm strength). It’s possible he was gassed at that point, but his late-2021 and early-2022 backfield defensive look was similar, and it’s rare for shortstops to be this size. He projects to third base, where the offensive bar is much higher. He may not have the power of a typical big league third baseman yet, but at a strapping 6-foot-4, it’s likely to come with time, physical maturity, and a good strength program. It might not be long before Montgomery’s bat is better than Yoán Moncada‘s, so perhaps a proactive shift to third base is a good idea. This is another potential homegrown star for the Sox.

Expand arrow_drop_down

36. Coby Mayo, RF, BAL

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) (BAL)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 60/70 50/60 55/40 30/50 70

Mayo keeps hitting despite his odd swing, and we think the hit/power combo will be enough for him to be an impact player, even with a move off the dirt projected.

Cue the Hunter Pence comps because Mayo’s swing is still wacky looking and odd, but it clearly works for him. After slashing .251/.326/.494 at Aberdeen, the 20-year-old was promoted to Bowie for the stretch run. Mayo makes frequent, hard, pull-heavy contact despite his sometimes ugly-looking cut, which features a strange, choppy stride. If most hitters’ leg kicks and “move forward” are “outies,” Mayo’s is an “inny” — his front foot often lands closer to his rear foot than where it began. All of his swing’s components fire in a short period of time, which can be jarring to watch, but Mayo has been smoking liners and hitting huge pull-side homers with this swing since he was a high school underclassman. Hilariously, Mayo’s swing is perhaps well-suited for the current “metagame” because so many contemporary fastballs ride to the top of the strike zone, which is where Mayo’s barrel hunts. He has no underlying swing-and-miss issues and his massive 6-foot-5 frame still has room for more strength.

Drafted and mostly deployed as a third baseman, Mayo has projected as a right fielder since his draft year because of his size. He is more than capable of making a subset of plays at third, where his range and lateral agility are both plus, but he really struggles to make plays coming in on the grass. He actually looks more comfortable and accurate making max-effort throws from deep in the hole than he does when moving toward the first base line. Baltimore has tried him some at second and first base, but because he’ll show you a 70 arm on his best throws and runs pretty well, right field continues to feel like the best long-term fit even though Mayo hasn’t played there yet. The toolset to profile as a 50 in right is arguably already in place, and there’s a chance Mayo ends up with 70 raw at peak and becomes a star out there.

Expand arrow_drop_down

37. Taj Bradley, SP, TBR

Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Redan HS (GA) (TBR)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 40/40 45/55 50/60 93-97 / 99

Bradley’s fastball utility, command, and athleticism enable deep projection on his secondary pitches into his 20s.

Not all of the pitchers who showed a velocity increase during 2020 Instructional League activity, which came after the prolonged pandemic layoff, have sustained that bump. Bradley has, and he’s done so while building an innings count that should help vault him into the Rays rotation at some point in 2023. He only averaged 91-94 mph during the 2019 season, but he has been parked in the 94-97 range since that ’20 instructs period. His pitch efficiency has been ludicrous and actually got better in 2022, when he walked just 6% of opposing batters. Bradley hammers the zone with his heater (he threw strikes with his fastball at a 71% clip in 2022), and the uphill line and carry on the pitch make it difficult for hitters to get on top of, especially at these velocities. His slider often has curt, unspectacular-looking movement, but Bradley’s command of it and the way he sets it up with well-located fastballs make it a dominant pitch. He’s adept at dropping it into the top of the strike zone, around the hands of left-handed hitters who think it’s a fastball above the zone until it cuts down onto the corner. These two pitches are Bradley’s most-used weapons by a wide margin, as his splitter and curveball are both used 6-7% of the time. Because his delivery is so elegant and consistent, Bradley’s splitter has deep projection. Yes, he’s reached Triple-A, but this is a 21-year-old we’re talking about here. He’s likely to develop feel for that pitch over time and have a more complete arsenal at peak. His fastball’s underlying traits will make his current style of pitching effective at the big league level, and Bradley’s demonstrated durability and command mean he’s going to consume a ton of innings and have some years where he’s one of baseball’s top 25 or so starters from a WAR standpoint even if that splitter is only ever okay.

Expand arrow_drop_down

38. Henry Davis, C, PIT

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Louisville (PIT)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 70/70 50/60 30/30 30/40 50

Davis has huge, plus-plus raw power, and will be a star if he can stay behind the plate or a solid everyday first baseman if he can’t.

Davis was on the IL multiple times in 2022 with issues stemming from a small nondisplaced fracture of his left wrist that he suffered when he was hit by a pitch in May. He did not hit well after the injury, but that’s typical of hitters coming off a wrist fracture, and a second IL stint due to the wrist was an indication that it was bothering Davis throughout the year. A core scouting rule of thumb is to take the long view with catchers who have impact offensive potential. M.J. Melendez’s 2019 and Bo Naylor’s 2020 are recent examples of otherwise good-hitting catchers who had a terrible offensive season in the mid-minors followed by an immediate and significant rebound the following year. The bumps and bruises suffered from catching can sometimes level players for whole seasons, and Davis had a lot of them in 2022. He practically straddles the plate and was hit by 20 pitches during an injury-shortened regular season, then was somehow beaned seven more times in just 17 Arizona Fall League games. Across the 2022 calendar, Davis had nearly as many HBPs as he did extra-base hits, to which the wrist fracture likely contributed. Davis’ plate crowding helps enable his pull-heavy approach. He has the strength to do damage the other way, but save for the occasional pitch on the outer edge, he’s geared to pull. Big league sliders might force Davis to make an adjustment, but so far his contact performance has been solidly average. Even if sliders are a chronic issue for Davis, he’ll likely still get to enough power to produce better than the average everyday catcher.

He’s not a great defender right now, and probably won’t ever be better than a 40-grade glove, but Davis frames high strikes well and has plus raw arm strength. His footwork on throws to second is clunky and variable, which often impacts his throw times and accuracy, but the pure arm strength is in there. You can see the power and athleticism in Davis’ lower half throughout other aspects of his game, and it’s an indication that he has the ability to polish this stuff up and control the running game. With Endy Rodriguez around, it may not matter a ton. Even though both Davis and Rodriguez are near-ready catching prospects, they aren’t redundant, and in fact they complement each other well. Both can be in the lineup every night because of Rodriguez’s defensive versatility and the universal DH, and a more liberal timeshare behind the plate might help keep them both healthier and more consistently productive on offense. Davis’ skills and offensive style are tailored like those of Evan Gattis.

Expand arrow_drop_down

50 FV Prospects

39. Kodai Senga, SP, NYM

International Free Agent (NYM)
Age 30.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 202 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Splitter Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 40/40 40/40 60/60 50/50 50/50 94-97 / 99

A “rookie” more than he is a “prospect,” Senga’s splitter and fastball velocity fit in the middle of a contender’s rotation.

It’s tough to call Senga a “prospect” but he is an MLB rookie and presents a useful litmus test for other major league-ready minor leaguers. This is where we value a contending team’s plug-and-play third or fourth starter. After beginning his career as a reliever, Senga moved into the Fukuoka Hawks rotation in 2017 and has spent the last half decade as one of the better starters (and hardest-throwing pitchers) in all of NPB. While the righty struggled with walks early in his tenure as a starter (he walked 75 hitters in 180 innings in 2019 and 57 hitters in 121 innings in 2020), free passes have become less of an issue during the last two seasons. Senga’s walk rate fell from the 10-11% range to the 8-8.5% range during that stretch, and his WHIP was a measly 1.05. Senga has added four ticks to his fastball since debuting in NPB. This wasn’t a gradual increase, either – it happened all at once in 2019. He now sits 96 mph and will touch as high as 102, though he typically tops out at 99 in any given start. Even though premium velocity is rare in Japan, Senga’s fastball doesn’t play like a premium pitch due to its shape and angle. In fact, his dastardly mid-80s splitter, which falls off the table and finishes below the strike zone, is easily his best offering, garnering twice as many swings and misses as his fastball in 2022, and about as many whiffs as the rest of his many pitches combined. Those pitches (in order of usage) are a cutter, slider, and the occasional curveball, all bending in anywhere between 94 and 75 mph, with the slider’s shape and velo sometimes bleeding into the other two. While his breaking ball command is inconsistent, Senga’s velocity, splitter, repertoire depth, and demonstrated durability make him a fit as no. 3 or 4 starter on a contender like the Mets, who signed him to a five-year, $75 million deal.

Expand arrow_drop_down

40. Oswald Peraza, SS, NYY

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (NYY)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 176 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/45 50/50 40/50 60/60 55/60 55

An outstanding international find for $175,000, Peraza is a plus-run, plus-glove shortstop with average pull power.

Peraza had another solid offensive season, this time as a 22-year-old at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, where he slashed .259/.329/.448, hit 19 homers, and stole 33 bases. He performed well during a September call-up to New York, posting a BABIP-aided .306/.404/.429 line in 18 games. It was enough for the Yankees to roster him for their postseason series against Houston, who worked Peraza with sink and breaking balls in the bottom of the zone, which he consistently swung over the top of. His swing is geared for pull-side damage. He loads his hands high and cuts down at the ball, which makes him tough to beat in the upper two thirds of the strike zone because Peraza is so short to those locations. However, this type of swing also makes it tough to scoop underneath low pitches. Peraza seems to realize this and tends to let strikes in the lower third of the zone go by until he absolutely has to swing at them. His ability to do this consistently is surprising considering that Peraza is a fairly aggressive hitter in general, likely to run OBPs in the .310-.320 range.

Peraza’s true carrying tool is his shortstop defense. He is sure-handed and slick, twitchy and acrobatic, wielding plus range, hands, actions and arm strength. His internal clock is precise and allows him to make fundamentally uncompromised throws to first with confidence because he knows he’s going to beat the runner there. He is quite comfortably the best defensive shortstop on the Yankees 40-man entering the 2023 season and likely to play there every day in the near future, producing on par with an average regular at the position.

Expand arrow_drop_down

41. Ezequiel Tovar, SS, COL

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 40/45 30/40 45/45 45/60 50

A fantastic defensive shortstop, Tovar’s poor plate discipline somewhat undermines his excellent bat-to-ball skill.

A skilled but impatient hitter who can really pick it, Tovar is poised to be the Rockies’ everyday shortstop and probably will be for a while. He has incredible defensive range, especially to his right, and his footwork around the bag is balletic. At times he’s too bold and rushes throws that he should just holster, but Tovar is only the age of a college draft prospect, so details like this will likely tighten up as he matures. The area where it’s most imperative for Tovar to show improvement is his plate discipline. His fantastic bat-to-ball skill has enabled him to rake in the minors, but he has a tendency to offer at pitches that are way, way off the plate, pitches most hitters instantly know aren’t competitive. He chased at a 37% rate in 2022, which isn’t terrible in a big league context, but is pretty bad when viewed through the minor league lens, where fewer pitchers have chase-inducing stuff. While his ball/strike recognition isn’t good, Tovar is otherwise an advanced hitter. He tends to work contact to center and right field, especially against fastballs, and he has a clear two-strike approach where he ditches his leg kick and takes a more conservative swing. It will be interesting to see how Tovar’s speed helps inflate his extra-base output in Coors Field; he might end up turning a lot of doubles into triples there. If not for the risk created by Tovar’s plate discipline, he’d be in the 55 FV tier, as he’s otherwise about to produce like a complete up-the-middle player.

Expand arrow_drop_down

42. Kyle Manzardo, 1B, TBR

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Washington State (TBR)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/70 40/45 40/50 40/40 40/50 40

He lacks the raw power of a typical big league first baseman, but Manzardo’s feel for sweet spot contact should enable him to clear the lofty offensive standard at that position.

Manzardo put up video game numbers at Washington State, slashing .336/.404/.533 during his time with the Cougars and walking nearly as much as he struck out during his draft year. He had among the highest average exit velocities in college baseball at a whopping 98 mph, though that came with what would constitute 40-grade peak exit velocities, around 105 mph (and with a BBCOR bat — major league players’ average is 110 mph with wood). Those metrics illustrate the way Manzardo’s skill set is tailored. He doesn’t have big, over-the-fence power, and instead boasts premium feel for contact and a great idea of the strike zone that makes him a dangerous lefty stick who grinds away at opposing pitchers. Manzardo hasn’t hit a single speed bump in pro ball and moved into the Top 100 during the middle of 2022 on the strength of his statistical performance and visual feel to hit. He slashed .327/.426/.617 combined at High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery (for the final month), hitting 22 homers across the two levels. He barely ever chases and sprays hard line drives and fly balls everywhere, covering all but the very up-and-in corner of the plate, where he tends to get jammed. Every aspect of his offense is plus except for his raw power, but Manzardo’s precise feel for the barrel and tendency to hunt pitches he can drive (or spoil ones he can’t until he gets something hittable) should enable his game power to play above his batting practice raw. He’s similar to DJ LeMahieu and Vinnie Pasquantino from a skill set standpoint and should provide a long-term answer at first base for the Rays within the next couple of years.

Expand arrow_drop_down

43. Adael Amador, 2B, COL

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/70 40/45 30/40 50/50 45/55 50

He lacks a traditionally projectable frame, but Amador has still gotten stronger over the last year and he flashed more power than expected. His feel for contact and for the zone already gave him a high floor.

Amador is a well-rounded middle infield prospect with a smaller, almost maxed-out frame that compares to Jimmy Rollins or Domingo Leyba. He has special hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skill, as well as a tremendous idea of the strike zone. Amador is one of those short-levered switch hitters who is so short to the ball that he gets an extra beat to diagnose pitches before he has to commit to swinging, and he takes advantage of this. Over the last year or so, he’s thickened like a roux and become stronger, and he’s capable of doing more damage than our tepid projection expected. Increasingly, Amador’s choppers and grounders are peppered with feel for pull-side loft, when appropriate. On paper, Amador is still generating flat, groundball and line drive contact a lot of the time, but we think his feel for the barrel and for the zone together will enable him to hit for average power at maturity, maybe more as a left-handed hitter. As he’s gotten stronger, Amador’s defensive projections have shifted to second base. The degree of confidence in his hit tool has him ranked on the Top 100 ahead of some other middle infielders who are closer to the big leagues or who are more likely to stay shortstop.

Expand arrow_drop_down

44. Masyn Winn, SS, STL

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Kingwood HS (TX) (STL)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 45/55 30/40 60/60 40/50 80

Winn’s huge arm is icing on a cake made mostly of plus bat-to-ball skills and viable shortstop defense.

Once a two-way prospect, Winn’s skills in the batter’s box quickly won out, and he’s been developed solely as a position player. With breathtaking bat speed, he wraps the head of his bat over his back shoulder, keeping it pointed toward the mound well after the pitcher releases the ball, then whips it through the zone so quickly that he still manages to make contact in front of the plate. He started the season at High-A, advancing to Double-A in late May, where his strikeout rate increased slightly, but not at all to a concerning degree. Meanwhile, his walk rate increased by a wider margin post promotion, and he displayed a knack for picking out punishable fastballs, though he’s still a bit vulnerable to well-placed breaking balls out of his reach. Defensively, he’s of the Carlos Correa ilk in that his arm strength allows for some wiggle room regarding his hands and pure fielding ability. Indeed, his arm will certainly keep him at shortstop, as he demonstrated when he seized the spotlight at the 2022 Futures Game by recording the fastest ever throw across the infield since such measurements have existed, at 100.5 mph. The 20-year-old finished the season having performed exactly at the Double-A league average over his 86 games there despite being about four years younger than the average player at that level. He projects as a contact-oriented everyday shortstop, though one scouting director we spoke with for this list still wants to see what he’d look like on the mound.

Expand arrow_drop_down

45. Bo Naylor, C, CLE

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from St. Joan of Arc HS (CAN) (CLE)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 45/55 55/50 40/45 45

Naylor is a power-hitting catcher who should grab hold of the everyday job in Cleveland within a year or two.

Naylor’s 2022 rebound is a great example of why it’s prudent to give catchers with any sort of offensive potential more developmental grace than their peers. He was coming off a putrid 2021 in which he hit just .188, the first severe offensive struggles of a career that, to that point, had been all about offensive performance. In a 2022 split evenly between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, he slashed an impressive .263/.392/.496 with 21 homers and 20 steals, walking nearly as much as he struck out while with the Rubber Ducks. To call Naylor’s 2022 a return to form isn’t exactly correct, however, because much of his resurgence was due to swing alterations that made his bat path a little more variable, which he outlined in an interview with our own David Laurila. There are still visual and underlying statistical indications that Naylor is going to end up with a below-average hit tool (his swing is so uphill that he’ll almost certainly be vulnerable to whiffs in the strike zone), but he has very impressive bat speed and power (especially for a catcher) that is weaponized by his selective approach, which targets the up-and-in quadrant of the zone. Naylor’s speed is also rare for a catcher. His stolen base total itself is not an indication of speed, but Naylor is running home-to-first as fast as 4.10, which is a plus run time, and he should swipe double-digit bases in his physical prime, relevant for fantasy-playing readers.

Naylor’s defense is still pretty rough around the edges. He’s an okay receiver and framer, catching on one knee with the bases empty, utilizing a traditional crouch with two strikes and with runners on base. He sometimes sets up to block breaking balls too quickly, tipping off baserunners and peeking hitters to what’s coming. The lateral agility to block pitches in the dirt is obviously here, though Naylor is sometimes late getting to the ground. His 2022 throwing was not quite as good as previous notes indicate, with lots of one-hoppers to the bag or throws sailing on him, though Naylor’s pop times remain close to average. These are things that need some developmental love before Naylor can assume the primary catching role in Cleveland, but he’s young and athletic enough to project that they’ll be worthy of that mantle relatively soon. Cleveland added him to their 40-man toward the end of last year but never optioned him, which means he still has three option years left for those defensive skills to percolate. There’s no present danger that he needs to revisit third base (which he played plenty of in high school and early in pro ball) or anything like that, and Naylor continues to project as a 2-WAR primary catcher.

Expand arrow_drop_down

46. Michael Busch, DH, LAD

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from North Carolina (LAD)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 207 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 60/60 50/60 45/45 20/20 30

A bat-only prospect with a well-rounded offensive skill set, Busch may end up a 30-grade second base defender or just play 1B/LF.

Busch has continued his long track record of excellent offensive performance so far in pro ball. He slashed .282/.429/.492 at North Carolina and is a .267/.374/.493 career hitter so far in the minors, spending most of 2022 at Triple-A and joining the 40-man roster after the season. No doubt aided by the hitting environment of the Pacific Coast League, Busch swatted 32 home runs and 70 extra-base hits last season. His power on contact is exceptional, and even though his hit tool has looked more average than above as he’s traversed the minors, the combination of power and patience here belongs in the heart of a big league order. Busch’s swing is simple but still athletic and explosive. His hands work with natural lift, but Busch keeps their path short and on time, and he can move the barrel all over the zone. He can get extended on pitches out away from him and drive them into the opposite field gap, and has the power to do damage that way, and can also move the bat head all over the strike zone. Even though he has no defensive position (Busch’s issues at second base go beyond just range, and he isn’t a fit there no matter what the rules around shifting are), he is one of the more well-rounded near-ready bats in the minors and could play an integral role for the Dodgers in 2023, though the addition of J.D. Martinez made that less likely. Instead, Busch’s path may lead through the outfield, where things are less settled for Los Angeles. He has some outfield experience but very little in pro ball, and he doesn’t exactly look like a fish in water out there. Plus, a Dodgers source indicated to FanGraphs that they’ll continue to play Busch at second base despite his issues in the hopes he can develop there. Here he’s projected as a bat-only player. It’s tough to be a 2-WAR DH every year (Bryce Harper’s 2022 100-game line was good for 2 WAR), but Busch has the hit/power combination to do it.

Expand arrow_drop_down

47. Spencer Steer, 3B, CIN

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Oregon (MIN)
Age 25.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 50/50 45/50 40/40 40/50 45

A bat-only prospect with a well-rounded offensive skill set, Steer may end up a 30-grade second base defender or just play 3B/1B/LF.

As both the Twins and Reds (Steer was drafted by Minnesota and came to Cincinnati in the Tyler Mahle trade) searched for a viable defensive position for Steer, he backed into valuable defensive versatility that should keep him on the field in all but a few game situations. After the Reds gave him some time at first base in 2022, Steer now has experience at all four infield positions. He sometimes struggles with arm accuracy from third base and has sub-par range at second, but his footwork, hands, and actions keep him afloat at each spot. Cincinnati’s present roster situation funnels him to third base, but Jonathan India‘s injury history, Joey Votto‘s age and handedness, and the Reds’ willingness to play Kyle Farmer at shortstop in the past likely mean that Steer will see time all over the infield throughout the next few years, and this flexibility along with his hitting skill should make him nearly an everyday, every-inning player despite some of his defensive blemishes.

The bat is Steer’s carrying tool and has been since his days at Oregon. The addition of a leg kick in 2021 increased his power output without disrupting his timing at the plate, and now Steer has a well-rounded hit/patience/power toolkit that would profile in a 50 FV capacity at any non-first base position. He has some vulnerability to high fastballs and tends to do most of his extra-base damage against middle-middle mistakes, but Steer is capable of making line drive contact in basically all parts of the strike zone, and is especially adept at poking outer-third pitches the opposite way for base hits. He’s a good hitter who will stabilize an infield spot in Cincinnati for the next half decade or so.

Expand arrow_drop_down

48. Miguel Vargas, LF, LAD

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (LAD)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 45/45 40/45 40/40 40/50 45

Vargas has great feel for contact and enough power to profile as an everyday left fielder or second baseman, with the latter looking more likely for now given the Dodgers’ roster situation.

A very skilled hitter with a career .313/.390/.488 line in the minors, Vargas made his big league debut in 2022 and is poised to play a more prominent role for the Dodgers this season after their many free agent departures, though probably not at third base. His feel for contact has been lauded since he first entered pro ball, while his defensive ability at third and his middling power have kept him in more of a “high probability role player” bucket here at FanGraphs than in a star-level FV tier despite his on-paper performance.

This is not to denigrate Vargas’ skill as a hitter, as he has incredible hand-eye coordination, terrific breaking ball recognition, and a great idea of the strike zone, the complement of skills that drive his profile. He’s also worked to make himself more lithe and athletic since first arriving on the Dodgers’ backfields shortly after he signed, when Dodgers coaches were asking a fresh-faced Vargas to make mid-game swing-changes that incorporated more movement into his conservative cut. Vargas doesn’t have the sort of projectable, statuesque frame typical of a hitter in his early 20s, and despite the relevant changes to his swing, he still isn’t an especially electric athlete and the cement appears quite dry on his physique, so there’s not much reason to project on his raw power going forward. The league-wide statistical standard at third base is very high right now due to the depth of excellent players at the top of that position group, and when you compare Vargas’ tools and underlying data to what constitutes an average regular at the hot corner, he tends to hover around average in terms of both contact quality and frequency, and a little below when it comes to high-end power, which is consistent with his visual evaluation. Fold below-average third base defense into that picture and while Vargas is going to be a doubles machine and productive big league player, he is probably not a star.

Even with Justin Turner‘s departure, the Dodgers are better equipped at third base than they are in the outfield, so Vargas is poised to see time at second base and in left field in 2023. He has very little experience at second and looked okay making routine plays there during the few reps he got in 2022, but it’s tough to project him there full-time based on how his range, hands, and actions look at third. The offensive bar in left is at roughly the same level as third base and if we project Vargas to be able to play a neutral left field (he’s below average right now but looks better than he ever has at third), it actually buoys his overall profile because his third base defense was pulling it down. In that case, we’re talking about a rock solid everyday player in the Mark Canha mold, and in fact Vargas’ career has tracked in a similar fashion, especially as we stand on the precipice of a likely position change.

Expand arrow_drop_down

49. Ceddanne Rafaela, CF, BOS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Curacao (BOS)
Age 22.4 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 152 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/50 30/50 60/60 70/80 45

Rafaela is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder with a very immature approach.

Rafaela had a breakout 2022 season, hitting .299/.342/.539 mostly at Double-A Portland. And even though he has some approach-driven bust risk, he does enough other stuff to project in a prominent big league role if his chase proves too much for him to be an everyday player. For one, he’s a Gold Glove-caliber center field defender, capable of making tough plays look easy and impossible plays possible, especially around the wall. This is mind blowing when you consider that Rafaela has only been playing the outfield for two years. Here he’s projected to continue to improve on defense as he gets more experience, which would make him perhaps the best defensive center fielder in baseball at peak. Rafaela is also capable of playing a couple of spots on the infield, though not as well, and unless his approach is actually a problem and shifts Rafaela into a premium utility role, he’s probably just going to play center field all the time.

His swing is a Mookie Betts clone, rhythmic and athletic, though Rafaela doesn’t take a very discerning at-bat the way Betts does, chasing at a whopping 40% clip in 2022. Despite the extreme amount of chase, Rafaela only K’d at a 21% rate and also doubled his previous career high in homers with 21. Most of Rafaela’s underlying contact and power data is middling, and his peak exit velos aren’t what you’d typically expect from a 20-homer threat, except he does seem to hit the ball fairly hard and in the air very frequently relative to his peak exits. There might be more game power here than there is raw power, or at least more game power than you’d expect from someone who has some approach-related red flags. There’s still risk Rafaela walks the Cristian Pache path, as his issues are similar to the ones that have apparently undone the young Athletic, but more likely he’s akin to Kevin Pillar, and there are scouts who think Rafaela’s frame will continue to add strength such that he hits for more power than Pillar was able to.

Expand arrow_drop_down

50. Jasson Domínguez, CF, NYY

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (NYY)
Age 20.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/65 30/60 60/55 40/50 60

The Zion Williamson of baseball, Domínguez is a bulked-up, switch-hitting toolshed.

Often described on this website as “Baseball’s Zion Williamson,” Domínguez entered the 2022 season as one of the most volatile prospects in the sport. He signed for $5.1 million in 2019 as easily the toolsiest player in his signing class, a plus-plus running center fielder with huge switch-hitting power. In a bodily sense, he was also unlike any amateur prospect most scouts had ever seen. Built at age 16 like Maurice Jones-Drew or a late-20s Mike Trout, nobody was totally sure how Domínguez’s body and physicality would develop as he entered his 20s, and this (plus the internet hype) is where the Zion comp came from.

Domínguez also wasn’t seen facing live pitching very much as an amateur, so while his showcase tools were evident, there wasn’t as much confidence in his hit tool as is typical of a top-of-the-class prospect. At age 18, Domínguez spent most of his first pro season at Low-A, where he was only ok. Rust and the automated ball/strike system likely had an impact on his peripherals (31% K%, 10% BB%) in year one, but the Yankees felt they needed to send him back to the level to start 2022. After a little bit of a slow start, Domínguez not only made relevant adjustments there but improved upon promotion to High-A, where he slashed .306/.397/.510 and struck out just 19% of the time.

Some of the volatile characteristics of his profile are still here. Domínguez is massive for a 20-year-old, and even though he’s a plus runner who is currently a fit in center field, it’s hard to say how he’ll trend athletically into his 20s because there’s virtually no precedent for his build. His left-handed swing is very uphill, the sort typically associated with strikeout issues, but his levers are so short that his swing is still fairly compact. There will probably be a consistent hole against fastballs up and away for Domínguez. Things aren’t so bad that he’s in a red flag bust risk area because of his hit tool, but it’s enough that it will probably dial down how much in-game power he’s actually getting to. He doesn’t have traditional long-term power projection, but he’s already so powerful that if all the pop Domínguez ever has is what he’s working with now, it will still be plenty for him to be a good everyday big leaguer for as long as he’s a center fielder.

Expand arrow_drop_down

51. Logan O’Hoppe, C, LAA

Drafted: 23rd Round, 2018 from St. John the Baptist HS (NY) (PHI)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 50/50 30/40 30/30 40/50 70

O’Hoppe’s feel for contact makes him a likely everyday catcher.

O’Hoppe started the 2022 season at Double-A in the Phillies system before the Angels snagged him as part of the Brandon Marsh deadline deal. His pre-trade numbers were impressive and only improved when he joined Rocket-City: In his 29 games with the Angels’ Double-A affiliate, O’Hoppe slashed .306/.473/.673 and walked more than he struck out, good for a 194 wRC+ over that span. In keeping with the fast track he’s been on ever since he was drafted, he was promoted straight to the majors after that, skipping over Triple-A entirely, and held his own with the big-league squad, reaching base safely in each of his five games there to close out the season. Aside from his arm, O’Hoppe’s defense is sturdy if unimpressive, but his physique and ability to move fit well behind the dish, and he seems to have the workmanlike makeup typical of field general catchers. His patient approach and bat-to-ball skills are enough to make him a high-probability primary backstop.

Expand arrow_drop_down

52. Edwin Arroyo, 2B, CIN

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Central Pointe Christian (FL) (SEA)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 50/55 25/55 55/55 40/50 50

Still on the 2B/SS line, the lift in Arroyo’s swing helps him get to impact power for a middle infielder.

Arroyo is a hard-swinging shortstop who is off to a much more powerful offensive start than was anticipated when he signed out of high school. Back then, he was a switch-hitting, switch-throwing prepster who would pitch left-handed and play the infield, too talented to be a sideshow but not enough to go in the first round, as 10 high school shortstops were drafted ahead of him. He fell behind some of the other high school infielders in his draft class due to doubts that Arroyo could stay at short as well as concerns about his hit tool.

To an extent, each of those things is still true. Arroyo hit for a surprising amount of power at Low-A Modesto before he was sent to the Reds as part of the Luis Castillo trade, golfing out 13 homers and slugging .514. He doesn’t have huge raw juice (his peak exit velos are in the 106-108 mph range — a bit shy of big league average, but still good for a player Arroyo’s age), and his bat-to-ball and chase rate stats are comfortably below average, but Arroyo lifts the baseball with remarkable consistency. His left-handed swing has natural pull-side loft and he’s adept at impacting the baseball way out in front of the plate from the right side, accomplishing the same goal with a slightly different look. His open batting stance and deep pre-stride crouch are much more extreme than they were last year, and this change might have enabled him to see the ball better (similar to the way opening his stance helped unlock peak D-backs Luis Gonzalez) and improve his bat-to-ball ability enough for all of his modest power to play, especially in the Cal League. For a relatively compact hitter, Arroyo’s swing is swift and explosive. He’s going to get to whatever raw power he ends up growing into and has a good shot to be a middle infield regular, though probably not until 2026 or so just based on his 40-man timeline.There are mixed feelings about his defensive fit, with most of Eric’s sources projecting him to second base (a mix of scouts and analysts), which is where he had him coming out of high school. He shares many similarities with Eduardo Escobar.

Expand arrow_drop_down

53. Addison Barger, 2B, TOR

Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from C. Leon King HS (FL) (TOR)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 60/60 50/60 40/40 40/40 45

Barger has huge left-handed bat speed and a shot to stay on the dirt, just not at shortstop.

The Blue Jays coaxed Barger away from a Florida commitment with $270,000, and he barely played during his first two full seasons, one of them lost to the pandemic. Toronto didn’t accelerate his promotion schedule to make up for the lost time, so he began 2021 back at Low-A as a 21-year-old and (mostly) flew under the FanGraphs prospect radar as an old-for-the-level player until 2022, when Barger hammered High- and Double-A pitching as a 22-year-old. He hit 26 homers and 33 doubles and posted a 148 wRC+ at Vancouver and New Hampshire before he was promoted to Triple-A Buffalo at the very end of the year. Barger then went to the Arizona Fall League, where his left-handed bat speed stood out among lots of other good hitting prospects. His swing is a spectacle, lots of fun when he’s on time and frustrating when he’s late, utilizing a narrow, open stance and a huge leg kick. Barger can really cut it loose and is a threat to do damage on every swing. Though he’s been playing a lot of shortstop, he isn’t a fit there and his hands and actions are below average. He’s okay at second and third base, but the Blue Jays’ infield is already pretty loaded, so he’s likely to see time in the outfield this year. Ideally he’ll play a few different positions based on the game situation. We think there will be enough power for Barger to produce like an average regular in a multi-positional role.

Expand arrow_drop_down

54. Brayan Rocchio, SS, CLE

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (CLE)
Age 22.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 40/45 40/45 45/45 40/50 50

Rocchio’s feel for contact and his defensive ability drive a high-probability everyday profile.

Rocchio’s calling card is still his switch-hitting offensive ability, specifically his bat-to-ball skills, which have made him a 50 FV mainstay since he finished his first domestic pro season. He’s coming off another terrific offensive year, slashing .257/.336/.420 as a 21-year-old at Akron with about a month of Columbus thrown in, and setting a career-high in homers (18) for the second straight season. The batting average component was down a little due to his .241 BABIP at Columbus, but otherwise 2022 was another standard Rocchio season with the stick. He has a surprisingly authoritative left-handed cut for a player of his stature and shows you lovely all-fields ability to hit, snatching hanging breaking balls and inner-third fastballs to his pull side and spraying lots of middle-away fastballs to the opposite field. He’s not quite as deft a hitter from the right side, but he’s still plenty dangerous. This isn’t an iron clad offensive profile (there’s some vulnerability to up-and-away fastballs as a LHH and slightly more chase than average), but Rocchio is a damn fine hitter who looked like his usual self in what was his first season on the Cleveland 40-man.

That was not the case on defense, however. Especially in the Venezuelan Winter League, Rocchio has been struggling (and perhaps regressing) in the field. He has lost some range as his compact, ovular frame has filled out and matured, and shockingly his hands and arm accuracy (even from second base) were both concerningly bad in Venezuela. Watch film back into the 2022 regular season and Rocchio’s issues aren’t as severe, but it’s still a mixed bag on defense. His actions are lightning quick, but his range, ability to bend, the suredeness of his hands, and his arm accuracy all look less consistent. It’s possible he was gassed from playing a career-high 132 games during the regular season, and these issues are uncharacteristic of Rocchio. But they’re severe enough to dial down the previously plus grades on Rocchio’s defense and consider him a future average shortstop, while keeping an eye on how he looks there this spring. While he was closer to the 50/55 FV line last offseason, the snapshot of the defensive piece of the puzzle pulls him more comfortably into the 50s for this list cycle, one of many Guardians upper-level middle infielders with the talent to be an everyday player.

Expand arrow_drop_down

55. Royce Lewis, SS, MIN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from JSerra HS (CA) (MIN)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/70 40/60 60/50 40/45 50

Lewis’ chronic injuries have kept him on this list forever, but we’re still betting that his tools and personhood will eventually turn him into a good multi-positional big leaguer.

Lewis missed a chunk of 2019 with an injury before losing all of 2020 to the pandemic. He returned in the spring of 2021, but tore his ACL and missed all of that season as well. He was back in 2022 long enough to make his major league debut, but re-tore his ACL in late May and will be out until later this summer. His performance in 2022 was a reminder of what makes him such an exciting prospect: over 34 games at Triple-A, he slashed .313/.405/.534 with nearly 12% walks and just over 20% strikeouts. His time on the Twins roster was too short-lived to put much stake in, but was just as brilliant – more so, given his ability to translate those above-average across-the-board numbers to the highest level. In 12 games, he slashed .300/.317/.550 with two home runs, four triples, and just five strikeouts. Add to that performance his track record as a clubhouse favorite with natural leadership abilities and his multi-positional utility, and Lewis is primed for an everyday role as soon as his health allows.

Expand arrow_drop_down

56. Carson Williams, SS, TBR

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Torrey Pines HS (TBR)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 55/60 25/60 55/55 45/60 70

Williams has hit tool risk, but his power and shortstop defense make him a potential star.

Williams was a two-way high school player who was talented enough to be considered a prospect as both a shortstop and a pitcher. The Rays gave him a $2.3 million bonus to keep him from heading to Cal and have developed him solely at short. So far that looks to have been the correct assessment, as Williams hit 19 homers, tallied 51 extra-base hits, stole 28 bases and solidified shortstop as his future defensive home during his 2022 foray into full-season ball. Williams has a prototypical baseball frame at a strapping 6-foot-2, and has the range, actions, and internal clock to remain at shortstop long-term, as well as a great infield arm. His raw power has improved considerably over the last two years, and at age 19, he already has thunderous pull-side pop and is lifting the ball consistently in games. His hard-hit and barrel rates are already well above what is typical for a big league shortstop, and he still has more room for mass on his frame.

Still, there are all kinds of hit tool red flags here, both in the data and in Williams’ visual scouting report. For one, he struck out in a third of his A-ball plate appearances, and the track record for hitters who K that much at such a low level is not very good. We can quibble over whether A-ball dynamics have changed due to the elimination of the short season leagues in a way that might invalidate historical precedents like this, but it’s reasonable to have some pause about Williams’ long-term prospectdom when you realize the closest 2022 comp for his contact data (66% contact%, 78% z-contact) was Paul DeJong. Williams’ swing makes it tough for him to get to pitches finishing down-and-in, and eyeball scouts think his breaking ball recognition is middling. His defensive ability alone gives him a big league floor, and his power gives him a big ceiling if he can get to it in games. He’s such a good athlete with such polished baseball aptitude (the Rays field staff raves about it unprompted) that this forecast expects him to make the necessary adjustments to do so.

Expand arrow_drop_down

57. Logan Allen, SP, CLE

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Florida International (CLE)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 60/60 40/50 55/60 89-92 / 94

Athletic, strike-throwing lefties with a great changeup tend to pitch in the big leagues forever.

Allen was an undersized, pitchability high school lefty who worked 88-92 mph with mostly average secondary stuff and a changeup that flashed plus. He matriculated to Florida Atlantic, where the Owls considered him athletic enough to deploy as a two-way player during his freshman season before he focused more on pitching in 2019 and 2020. Allen sat 88-90 again as a junior and then, like many Cleveland pitching prospects, enjoyed a two-tick bump pretty quickly, sitting 90-93 throughout his first full season in pro ball, a velocity he maintained across 110 innings, many more than he had thrown during the pandemic-shortened year. That continued in 2022 when Allen reached Triple-A and put himself in position to claim a rotation spot this season should the need arise.

His split/changeup is still his best pitch, but Allen has undergone a stylistic change and now takes a power pitcher’s approach with his fastball, ripping it past hitters at the letters with a high-effort delivery despite its mediocre velocity. Allen’s fastball has other traits that help it punch above its weight, and he commands it with machine-like regularity to the locations in which it is most effective. He’s short, he gets way down the mound (which helps create shallow angle on the pitch), and even though he has a three-quarters arm slot, his hand position is more north/south on release, which helps him create backspin and ride on the fastball. It plays as an above-average offering even though Allen’s raw arm strength is comfortably below average. His split/changeup (it only has about 1,300 rpm of spin, definitely in split territory) has plus sinking action, but the direction of its lateral movement is highly variable. At times, it has typical sink and tail; at others, it has sink and careens toward Allen’s glove side like a slider. Speaking of the slider, Allen’s has gotten much better in pro ball. His arm angle makes it naturally tough on lefties but its utility is limited against righties, which is likely what caused Cleveland and Allen to work on a cutter that is still in the nascent stages of development. Lefties with plus command and plus changeups tend to overachieve and Allen is exactly that, poised to play a mid-rotation role relatively soon.

Expand arrow_drop_down

58. Andy Pages, RF, LAD

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (LAD)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 50/60 45/45 50/50 60

Pages’ swing is as geared for lift as any hitter in the minors, and he should get to enough power to profile in a corner.

We can safely put to bed any notion that Pages (pronounced pá-hāz) might stay in center field, and as such, his projection has narrowed as he shifts to being an average everyday corner outfield prospect by virtue of his ability to get to power, which he does via his combination of raw strength and the extreme lift in his swing. He’s hit 57 home runs combined the last two years while running sub-30% groundball rates and average launch angles in the 22-25 degree range, both of which are extreme by big league standards. As you would probably expect from a hitter with such a steep swing (this is about as steep as one can get without it becoming a problem), Pages swings and misses a fair bit, but not enough that it makes his prospecthood feel flimsy. He covers the inner two-thirds of the zone quite well (his in-zone contact rates are actually about as good as Miguel Vargas’), but his desire to pull and lift everything leaves him vulnerable on the outer edge and often impacts the quality of his contact. This approach will probably cause Pages to produce batting averages that are actually beneath his true talent feel to hit, but it’s also a big part of why he’s such a dangerous hitter, one likely to have peak seasons with 30-plus home runs.

Expand arrow_drop_down

59. Gavin Stone, SP, LAD

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Central Arkansas (LAD)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 40/45 60/70 45/60 92-96 / 97

A small school draft-and-dev success, Stone is starting to have that mid-rotation look after growing into more velocity and a great changeup.

Stone was an athletic small-school prospect with a powerful drop-and-drive delivery and short, vertically-oriented arm action who the Dodgers selected late in the shortened 2020 draft. He was working with low-90s velocity and a shapely, low-80s breaking ball at that time. Since joining the Dodgers system, Stone’s changeup has come out of nowhere to become his best pitch, while his breaking ball was split into two distinct pitches — a mid-80s slider/cutter and a slower curveball — the latter of which was scrapped in 2022. He’s also added a few ticks of velocity and now sits 93-96 mph, velocity he’s maintained across two consecutive years of innings increases. Stone raced to the upper levels of the minors and generated one of the highest swinging strike rates among Double-A pitchers who threw at least 70 innings in 2022. He’s on pace to spend most of 2023 at Triple-A and be added to the Dodgers’ 40-man after the season, though it’s plausible that the big league club will have enough injuries ahead of him on the depth chart to accelerate his timeline. Even though Stone’s delivery looks like the sort that can create a power pitcher’s angle and shape on his fastball, it isn’t a dominant in-zone pitch, and his slider/cutter plays more due to command rather than pure stuff. He definitely has a starter’s mix, but just one of his three pitches is truly plus, giving Stone the look of a no. 4/5 starter on a contender. Stone’s plus (at least) on-mound athleticism and gorgeous arm action allow for continued projection on his fastball utility and command even though he’s in his mid-20s, which gives him bigger long-term ceiling than that.

Expand arrow_drop_down

60. Bryan Ramos, 3B, CHW

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (CHW)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 55/60 35/55 55/55 45/55 50

Ramos has performed in the minors even though scouts consider him raw in many respects. If things click, he’ll be a star.

Ramos is walking the Curtis Mead path in many ways. He’s performed as a young-for-the-level hitter at each stop despite a raw approach at the plate and uncertainty around his defense, with his third base fit in question due to middling arm strength. In 2022, the talented Cuban slashed a potent .275/.350/.471 and clubbed 19 home runs at High-A Winston-Salem as a young 20-year-old (he won’t turn 21 until March) before descending upon Birmingham with the rest of Chicago’s high-profile guys.

Some of what Ramos does on defense is very impressive. His range and actions at third base are both fantastic, and he’s an accurate thrower from all sorts of awkward platforms, but there are times when he lollipops deeper (and even some routine) throws over to first base. It makes sense that there has been some second base experimentation here over the last few years, as Ramos’ range and actions make it plausible that he could eventually fit there, and Colson Montgomery’s third base projection might force the issue. Ramos’ footwork around the bag needs polish, and his frame is big enough that his range might eventually be an issue there depending on how he fills out, but in limited action Ramos looks fine enough to justify continued development at the keystone. Now that he’s on the 40-man roster, proactive experimentation makes sense so that Ramos can move the moment he needs to.

But the meal ticket here is still Ramos’ hit and power combination. His approach (a sticking point at this site in the past) has gotten better, with his chase rates now hovering close to average. He has tended to strikeout at a 20% or lower clip throughout his pro career, even when chase was an issue, which is very impressive considering Ramos’ age relative to the levels to which he’s been assigned. He has plus bat speed, and a compact, athletic swing that features a very flexible lower half and a fair amount of barrel variability. Ramos often pulls off pitches on the outer edge and swings inside ones he’d ideally either contact or spoil. He does look quite vulnerable out there but it isn’t an issue opposing pitchers have consistently been able to exploit just yet. We’ll likely learn more about that as he gains experience against upper-level pitchers, and this specific issue is the most concerning thing about Ramos’ profile, as it might require a significant adjustment on his part to avoid having a hole in his swing out there. Even as various aspects of his profile remain amorphous, Ramos’ offensive performance to this point and optimism that he’ll ultimately be able to play at least one infield position well as he matures put him on the Top 100 despite his variance.

Expand arrow_drop_down

61. Zach Neto, 2B, LAA

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Campbell (LAA)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/60 40/45 40/50 55/55 40/50 40

Neto finds a way to make lots of contact despite his cacophonous swing, which is enough to project him as an everyday second baseman.

Neto had an incredible statistical 2021, a performance he reinforced by hitting on Cape Cod and then again by hitting (checks notes) .407/.514/.769 (!) as a junior at Campbell in 2022. He was the fifth ranked prospect on our 2022 Draft Board but was picked 13th, enough to merit some reconsideration as to whether Neto belongs in the 50 FV already. We’ve concluded he does. He’s a compact-framed, contact-oriented middle infielder from a smaller conference, but Neto gets the most out of his body by taking very athletic, high-octane swings. He has a cartoonish leg kick and his hands load similarly to Javier Báez’s, and while Neto doesn’t have quite the same all-world whip as Báez, he is a plus rotational athlete who hits some epic pull-side homers. The huge swing doesn’t detract from Neto’s feel for contact, which he made plenty of during an aggressive post-draft assignment to Double-A. Neto dials down his footwork with two strikes and becomes even tougher to put away. A plus athlete, Neto does some acrobatic things at shortstop and when he puts his whole body into a throw, he appears to have plenty of arm for the left side. He goes out of his way to try to throw while he’s on the run, and he rarely makes anything look easy the way big league shortstops tend to, so we have him projected at second base. There’s enough hit/power combination for Neto to be a first-division regular there. We’ve manually adjusted Neto’s ETA to reflect the Angels’ tendency to move their prospects more quickly than their stock 40-man timeline.

Expand arrow_drop_down

62. Jake Eder, SP, MIA

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Vanderbilt (MIA)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 70/70 40/45 40/45 92-95 / 97

Nearly back from TJ, Eder might be lefty Spencer Strider.

Eder was a tantalizing but inconsistent high school prospect who at times would sit 94-97 mph, but often with scattershot control. He ended up at Vanderbilt, where those issues continued, and Eder finished his career there sitting 91-92, which is part of why he fell to the fourth round of his draft. He had a breakout 2021 at Double-A, his first full season in pro ball, posting a .98 WHIP across 15 starts while working about five innings per start until August, when he blew out and needed Tommy John. It cost him all of 2022.

Eder’s delivery has changed since college. His arm slot is not as deliberately north/south as before, but his fastball still plays as an in-zone bat-misser because of his angle and carry. The tweaks have made Eder’s slider one of the nastier on the planet (2021 pitch data showed a 300 rpm uptick from his college slider to his pro one), with some of them looking like they’re headed into the ribs of left-handed hitters before bending over the plate. His changeup is only fair right now, and his command still comes and goes, and even though he didn’t walk nearly as many hitters in 2021 as he did in college, there was still relief risk here even before his elbow blew out. But if Eder does have to move to the bullpen, there might be another gear of velocity in the tank, which gives him the out of being a premium reliever with two plus-plus pitches. The 2023 season is his 40-man roster evaluation year. He was throwing all of his pitches in bullpens and had started facing live hitters just a couple weeks before list completion. If Eder is wild upon his initial return to affiliated ball, it will be tough to know if he’s regressed to his career command mean or if it’s just rust from being 17 months post-op. There’s definitely relief risk here for that reason and because it may take two seasons to put Eder in a position to work an entire load of starter’s innings at the big league level. It’s possible he’ll be so good upon return that he kicks down the door, but it’s more likely from a roster timeline standpoint that Miami gives him all of 2023 in the minors so his innings can be manicured with his health and development in mind. Before he got hurt, there were folks in baseball who considered him a top 30 prospect, so his ceiling is big enough to include him on the top 100 now even though he’s coming off injury.

Expand arrow_drop_down

63. Cade Cavalli, SP, WSN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Oklahoma (WSN)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 60/60 55/55 40/45 94-98 / 102

Cavalli has a huge arm and a good changeup, but also carries a considerable amount of relief risk due to past injury and his violent delivery.

Cavalli climbed the ranks of the Nationals’ system in 2021, starting the season at High-A and closing it out at Triple-A, claiming the distinction of being the hardest thrower at that year’s Futures game (touching 102 mph) along the way. Of those accolades, perhaps the most promising was his durability; given the violence in his delivery, our biggest concern has been Cavalli’s ability to stay healthy, so the fact that he notched over 123 innings of work without an IL stint was a welcome development. He started the 2022 season at Triple-A and wasn’t quite as dominant as he’d been at the close of 2021, with just a 21.5% strikeout rate throughout April and May. But from June on, he was markedly more effective, boosting that K-rate to just shy of 30%, while bringing his walk rate down. This was in part due to a notable adjustment to his pitch mix. He threw his heavy, low-spin curveball with greater frequency and relied on it more as an out pitch. In two-strike counts, Cavalli threw his fastball 51% of the time in the first couple months of the season, with the curveball coming in second at just 22%. But from June through mid-August, his two-strike fastball usage diminished to just 40%, with his curveball right behind it at 34%. This is particularly important given the fact that his fastball’s viability has more to do with its velocity than its shape, so being able to rely more heavily on the secondaries – he also features an impressive mid-80s slider and a changeup he reserves mainly for use against lefties – allows the whole mix to play up. Moreover, in his 221 innings of career work in the minors, he’s allowed just eight home runs. These dominant results paved the way for a late-August call-up to the big-league squad, where he made a single start before being shut down for the remainder of the season with shoulder inflammation. Given that injury has always been the primary concern for Cavalli, the way his season ended is a letdown after a couple years of exciting progress. But if he can pick up where he left off, he still looks capable of becoming an important tent pole in the Nationals’ rotation as they continue to rebuild.

Expand arrow_drop_down

64. DL Hall, MIRP, BAL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Valdosta HS (GA) (BAL)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 55/55 55/55 60/60 30/40 93-97 / 99

Now in the bullpen, Hall’s deep repertoire should make him a premium late-inning reliever.

Hall might have debuted at some point in 2021 had he not dealt with elbow tendinitis and a stress reaction in his elbow, which was uncovered when he had a setback during rehab from the tendinitis and ultimately ended his season. He began the 2022 slate on a delay and rehabbed in extended spring training until the very end of April. Quickly thereafter he was at Triple-A Norfolk and looked like the usual DL Hall, wielding three plus pitches and struggling with walks. In mid-August, the Orioles moved Hall to the bullpen, and after just four relief appearances over a span of 12 days, he was promoted to Baltimore for a 13-inning cup of coffee. Hall didn’t throw harder in a relief role — he was still parked in the 95-97 mph range — and in fact his velo keeled off a little bit right at the very end of the season. His plus velocity and uphill approach angle make Hall’s fastball extremely difficult for hitters to get on top of, and righty batters who are trying to anticipate the heater often end up embarrassing themselves against his changeup, which generated a whopping 54% whiff rate in 2022. His slider (Hall was almost exclusively a fastball/slider pitcher against lefties during his big league run) is firm and now has better movement demarcation from his curveball, which is easily his least-used offering, usually a backdoor option to righties. It’s possible that aspects of his repertoire will be pared down in relief. Even as a pure reliever at this point, Hall still belongs on a Top 100 list due to his proximity and the likelihood that he becomes a lights out lefty closer or multi-inning buzzsaw who provides some amount of karmic retribution for the Josh Hader trade.

Expand arrow_drop_down

65. Brice Turang, SS, MIL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Santiago HS (CA) (MIL)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 173 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 45/45 30/35 55/55 60/60 55

Turang can really play shortstop, has feel for the strike zone, and makes a fair amount of contact.

Turang is so defensively gifted that he is almost certain to have a significant and lengthy big league career, especially now that shifting is banned. He has plus feet, range, and actions, and will make throws from all kinds of odd platforms, including when he’s backhanding balls to his right and throwing on the run. A famous prospect since his days as a high school underclassman, Turang has never been a sure bet to do enough offensively to be an impact everyday player. As he has laid a statistical track record in pro ball, Turang’s plate discipline became the tip of that spear, and even though his walk rate dipped to a mark merely above average (10%) in 2022, his rate of chase was a more superlative 23%, which would have been the best among qualified major league shortstops. Big league pitchers will be able to limit the damage Turang does by working him in the bottom half of the zone, where he struggles to lift the ball. While he can ambush high pitches, especially up-and-in, and show you close to average peak pop, Turang had not slugged over .400 in any pro season until he saw Triple-A in 2022. He projects to be similar to J.P. Crawford in skill and statistical output, a player good for 2 WAR annually. With Willy Adames ahead of him on the shortstop depth chart, the Brewers tried Turang at second, third and in center in 2022; he will likely be in a timeshare with Milwaukee’s righty-hitting infield crew come 2023.

Expand arrow_drop_down

66. Joey Ortiz, SS, BAL

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from New Mexico State (BAL)
Age 24.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 40/40 30/35 55/55 55/60 60

Ortiz is a slick shortstop defender with a plus hit tool and very little pop.

Ortiz put up some silly offensive numbers as an amateur, including a .422/.474/.697 line as a junior at New Mexico State that was caricatured by the elevation of Las Cruces, which is one of the most hitter-friendly environments in college baseball. The Orioles selected Ortiz in the fourth round based largely on his defensive prowess, and he has lived up to those expectations while exceeding them on the offensive side. He has reached Triple-A Norfolk while accumulating a career .271/.349/.425 line in the minors, generating plus underlying contact data in 2022 (an 89% Z-contact%, which would be top 10 among major league shortstops) in the process. Ortiz is a plus defender anywhere on the infield dirt. He makes up for mediocre twitch and range with outstanding instincts, elegant body control, lightning-fast hands and actions, and a plus arm. The floor for Ortiz looks something like Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a slick-fielding utilityman with plus bat-to-ball ability, but not enough power to be a true everyday option, essentially a 45-grade player. Except Ortiz hit 19 homers and had 60 total extra-base hits in the upper-minors last year, and while he doesn’t project to produce that kind of power against big league stuff, it’s enough damage to project Ortiz’s offense above the median bar at shortstop. He projects as a 2-WAR player whose versatility could help optimize the way Baltimore’s other young infielders are deployed.

Expand arrow_drop_down

67. Evan Carter, CF, TEX

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Elizabethton HS (TN) (TEX)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/60 40/45 20/40 60/60 45/55 50

Carter has plus soft skills but doesn’t have the power for stardom.

At a time when everyone has a camera in their pocket and the internet exists, it’s almost impossible for an early-round prospect to be hidden in a true sense, though the 2020 shutdown contributed to Carter’s lack of notoriety. Many other teams knew of Carter, but did not know his prospectdom in a thorough sense; some thought he was unsignable, others were entirely unaware of him, as we were. The Rangers took him 50th overall and he signed for $1.25 million. Carter has put up video game numbers in the mid-minors but his visual scouting report doesn’t really jive with his surface-level output. He slashed .287/.388/.476 at High-A in 2022 and hit 43 extra-base hits during the year, but Carter’s game is much more about soft skills than premium tools. A patient, discerning hitter, Carter’s breaking ball recognition and feel for the strike zone is excellent. So are his reads and routes in center field, which he runs well enough to play right now. A downward cutting swing and middling rotational athleticism limit Carter’s offensive impact to the doubles variety, and even though he’s young and has a huge, rectangular frame, Carter’s lack of explosiveness tempers long-term raw power projection here, and we consider him more of a high-floor prospect than a future star. The defense will hopefully hold as Carter ages, and Jake Marisnick presents a precedent in this regard. Carter looks like a high-OBP, table-setting center fielder in the Brandon Nimmo mold.

Expand arrow_drop_down

68. Sal Frelick, CF, MIL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Boston College (MIL)
Age 22.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 45/45 30/35 60/60 35/45 40

Frelick has a hit-over-power offensive skill set that fits in center field, where we’re projecting he’ll improve defensively over time.

A Massachusetts multi-sport prep standout (he was the Gatorade POY in football as a quarterback, as well as a lauded hockey player), Frelick emerged as a baseball prospect during his freshman season at Boston College when he hit .361/.438/.594 and went 22-for-24 on stolen base attempts in just 35 games. Though he lacked present power and typical frame-based power projection, there was enthusiasm surrounding Frelick’s catalytic offensive qualities. Hope that his many late-bloomer characteristics (multi-sport, Northeast background, reps lost due to a 2019 knee surgery and then the pandemic) would lead to an eventual breakout in the power department buoyed his draft stock into the middle of the first round.

While the power breakout hasn’t materialized yet (and feels unlikely at this point — Frelick isn’t a big hip/shoulder separation athlete), Frelick ripped through three minor league levels in 2022, his first full pro season, and ended with a very strong 46-game jaunt at Triple-A Nashville, where he slashed .365/.435/.508 and walked more than he struck out; his peripherals actually improved with each promotion. Because fate was cruel to his playing time in college, his pro data sample is already much bigger than his college one, which has helped reveal that he has premium feel for the strike zone. Short levers enable Frelick to turn on inner-third fastballs and let him spray or spoil pitches that travel deep into the hitting zone, making him very tough to strike out. Frelick’s style of hitting should enable doubles (and some triples) pop, but there isn’t likely to be any kind of over-the-fence power here, so little that one could argue Frelick belongs south of the 50 FV tier even if he were a lock to stay in center field. He has the speed to play out there, but Frelick is not a crisp center fielder, and later in the 2022 season he saw lots of time in left (though some of it was due to the sudden presence of Esteury Ruiz), where he also looked tentative. The area in which it’s most important for him to show late growth is on defense. This guy hasn’t had a clear defensive home for much of his life as a prospect. There was a stretch as an amateur when Frelick was viewed as a potential second baseman, an experiment that didn’t really go anywhere. Those aforementioned late-bloomer traits are a reason to think Frelick might develop in center field and turn into a Brandon Nimmo-type player, and that possibility is why he moved onto the Top 100 this offseason. If he ends up in left field, he bears a closer resemblance to Tony Kemp.

Expand arrow_drop_down

69. Gordon Graceffo, SP, STL

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Villanova (STL)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 60/70 50/55 55/55 50/55 93-97 / 99

Graceffo’s velocity has exploded since he left the Main Line, and he’s now nearing the big leagues as a contender’s fourth starter.

Prior to his fifth-round selection in the 2021 draft, Graceffo had been Villanova’s Friday starter, routinely called upon to throw well over 100 pitches per outing. It’s no surprise, then, that his introduction to pro ball came with a reduced workload, which Graceffo combined with a clear commitment to hitting the gym, resulting in an immediate velocity increase across his repertoire. His fastball now sits 95-99 mph, up seven ticks from his college days, and while it currently relies heavily on its velocity rather than its below-average shape, a scout we spoke with was optimistic regarding the 22-year-old’s ability to continue to improve the offering, singing Graceffo’s praises when it comes to his work ethic. He boasted one of the lowest walk rates (5.1%) among minor leaguers who notched at least 130 innings in 2022 and looks poised for a starter role in the near future. Graceffo starts his windup with a pronounced step backward, then marches toward the plate, throwing from a high arm slot to create a downhill approach. He gets a lot of swing and miss on his slider, both in and out of the zone, and commands it well. He also features a looser breaking ball in his high-70s curveball, and his changeup flashes plus, but he hasn’t yet maintained his feel for it, which may ultimately represent the difference between his future as a back-end starter and his viability as a solid number three.

Expand arrow_drop_down

70. Tanner Bibee, SP, CLE

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Cal State Fullerton (CLE)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 45/45 45/50 55/60 93-96 / 97

Bibee’s velocity ticked way up in pro ball, and he has command of a mid-rotation starter’s four-pitch mix.

Bibee was a notable West Coast pitchability prospect for a while, but he never took a step forward at Fullerton and was passed over completely in the shortened 2020 draft. As a fourth-year junior in 2021, he was still sitting 88-92 mph, with his fastball velocity sometimes drifting as low as 86 mph in a given start. He still threw a ton of strikes and went in the fifth round of the 2021 draft, projecting as a high-floor, low-ceiling depth starter based on his command. What a difference a year makes. By the middle of 2022, Bibee was sitting 95. He also altered his breaking ball usage (more sliders, fewer curves) and increased his changeup frequency, and was so advanced from a pitchability standpoint that Cleveland quickly saw fit to send him to Akron, where he spent most of his first pro season. Bibee seems to have altered his stride direction so that he isn’t landing quite as closed as he was at Fullerton, which appears to enable him to stay behind the baseball a little better, creating riding action on a fastball that wasn’t previously as explosive. He also appears to have reshaped his body somewhat, which may have contributed to the uptick in arm strength. The improved fastball utility and Bibee’s slider command give him two major league-ready weapons, while his delivery’s consistency and his long standing feel to pitch generate optimism around the continued growth of his changeup, which he’s using more often now than when he was in college. It can be tough to turn over a changeup from his arm slot, but that slot is also part of how Bibee creates depth on his curveball, which has become a show-me pitch that he lands in the zone at will. He doesn’t have to be put on the 40-man until after the 2024 season, but the rate at which he has been promoted so far indicates he’ll be in the mix for a rotation spot sooner than that. Bibee now looks like a polished mid-rotation prospect.

Expand arrow_drop_down

71. Cam Collier, 3B, CIN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Chipola JC (CIN)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 55/70 20/70 40/30 45/60 70

Collier walked a unique amateur path en route to a signing bonus as large and impressive as his power and arm strength.

Not since Bryce Harper has a prospect carved a path quite like Collier’s, one that was optimized to appeal to draft models, weighty in-person scouting looks, and perhaps lead to a very young eventual free agency. The son of 15-year pro Lou Collier, Cam was among the most physical prospects in the 2022 draft even though he reclassified from the ’23 group and was one of his class’ youngest at just over 17-and-a-half on draft day. Like Harper, Collier got his GED a year before he was originally set to graduate, went to a prominent junior college to play against older guys during his draft spring, and then (going beyond Harper) used the later timing of the draft to also play on Cape Cod against an even better collection of talent between the end of the JUCO season and the draft. He was a model-friendly prospect because of his age and performance, and a scout-friendly prospect because of his relative polish (especially on defense), physicality, and showcase tools. It seemed as though he had potential landing spots in the 2022 draft’s top 10 picks, but he ended up parachuting to 18, and signing for an over-slot $5 million.

Despite being this size at this age, which might typically cause long-term 1B/DH projection, Collier’s defensive feet, hands, actions, and arm strength are all excellent, and make him a future plus third base defender. Because he participated in Team USA and showcase events from a very young age, Collier generated an inordinate amount of amateur data. Synergy Sports has film of Collier seeing about 1,300 pitches since 2020, a gigantic sample for a teenage prospect. His on-paper whiff and chase rates are about average, while his peak power and hard hit rates are at the top of the scale for a hitter his age. Collier has stand-out raw strength and generates it across a very short mechanical distance, capable of driving thunderous contact to center and left/center with a flick of his wrists. His swing, however, works in such a way that his contact quality tends to be highly variable, his bat path really only enables him to work middle-away with any authority, he gets jammed a bunch, and he doesn’t seem to be able to go down to scoop or spoil pitches that finish down-and-in. Pro pitchers attacked him with lots of back-foot breaking balls in Collier’s brief ACL and instructs run, and while he spotted lots of them and hammered a few that didn’t finish, he struggled to touch any that were even close to well-executed. The swing particulars of an 18-year-old aren’t especially important, and Collier’s skill set gives him star-level ceiling, this is just a specific, key area to be sensitive to as he develops.

Expand arrow_drop_down

72. Alex Ramirez, CF, NYM

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/70 35/60 55/55 40/50 55

A free swinger with huge pull power, Ramirez has performed in the low minors despite offering at just about anything.

Ramirez spent all of 2021 at Low-A as an 18-year-old and slashed .258/.326/.384, which was slightly below the league-average line in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. It was exciting that the lanky and projectable Ramirez hit that well as a teenager in full-season ball, though his minuscule walk rate (6.9%), especially during a year when automated balls and strikes seemed to inflate FSL walk rates, was at least a yellow flag.

Back in Port St. Lucie to start 2022, Ramirez was red hot for the first month of the season, slashing a whopping .385/.423/.606 while cutting his strikeout rate by about 42% (from 31% to 18%), though his walk rate also dipped. After that it seemed like Ramirez was asked to try to demonstrate better plate discipline. He walked at hefty 15% clip in June, three times as much as he had to that point in the season, and his strikeout rate barely moved even though he was running deeper counts. He was rewarded with a promotion to Brooklyn, where his walk rate again keeled off but Ramirez performed anyway, and he posted an above-average batting line as a 19-year-old during two months at High-A. Ramirez has plus-plus bat speed and will show you big pull-side power already. His wispy, 6-foot-3 frame has room for another 30 pounds at least, and with that weight and strength could come huge raw thunder. Ramirez has to cut some mechanical corners to swing as hard as he does right now, and that leads to swing-and-miss risk that adds to what’s already present because of his propensity to chase, but that might be ironed out as he gets stronger and can take a more traditional swing. Another candidate to “Chourio,” Ramirez is among the highest-variance prospects in the minors.

Expand arrow_drop_down

73. Kevin Alcantara, CF, CHC

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (NYY)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 193 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/70 20/60 55/50 40/50 55

Long, lanky and loaded with tools and projection, Alcantara is a loose, 6-foot-6 outfielder with massive potential.

A backfield wunderkind who stood out immediately because of his rare combination of size and athleticism, Alcantara has been a top 100 prospect at FanGraphs for a couple of years now. Originally a high-profile Yankees amateur signee, the pandemic and a hamstring injury limited Alcantara to just nine stateside minor league games before he was traded to the Cubs for Anthony Rizzo in 2021. He had a successful foray into full-season ball, slashing .273/.360/.451 with 15 homers and 14 steals while with Low-A Myrtle Beach. Athletic, 6-foot-6 outfielders who can rotate like Alcantara can are rare. He is loose and fluid in the box but does have some swing-and-miss concerns, which is standard for a hitter with levers this long. Alcantara sometimes has trouble turning on hittable fastballs and tends to pepper the right-center field gap, which is an indication he might struggle to catch up to big league heat at all. The good news is that Alcantara already has enough pop to do damage to the opposite field and he’s probably going to grow into much more as his wispy frame continues to fill out. Even though he’s still eons from the big leagues, the Cubs were compelled to put Alcantara on their 40-man roster during the offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. At some point during the next two seasons, Chicago will have to hit the gas on his promotion schedule to avoid burning all of Alcantara’s option years before he establishes himself on the big league roster; he can’t just climb one level each year now that he’s on the 40-man. If Alcantara hits at High-A during the first half of 2023, he should get a second half look in Double-A, which would put him on a more comfortable pace to compete for an opening day roster spot in 2025.

Expand arrow_drop_down

74. Tink Hence, SP, STL

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Watson Chapel HS (AR) (STL)
Age 20.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/70 55/60 30/50 35/55 93-96 / 98

Hence’s fastball will be elite if he can sustain mid-to-upper-90s velocity across starter’s innings, which he hasn’t yet had to do.

Hence was picked up in the shortened 2020 draft, one of the youngest players taken that year, and in 2021 threw just eight innings on the complex, virtually all in relief. In 2022, he established himself as one of the premiere pitching prospects in the Cardinals system, issuing 81 strikeouts and just 15 walks over his 52.1 innings at Low-A, where he spent the entire season. His innings were limited – an effort to keep his workload light as he focuses on adding size and muscle to his frame. Right now, he’s notching six outs every five days or so, a number the org would surely like to see increase as he ramps up his innings. His four-seamer sits comfortably around 96 mph with gravity-defying carry, and a scout Tess spoke with described his curveball as having the potential to become a similarly elite offering. He also throws a changeup and a slider, both of which show promise, though neither was featured much in his 2022 mix. The young flamethrower has a super high ceiling and looks like he can man the front of a rotation one day, but that mostly depends on his ability to add strength.

Expand arrow_drop_down

75. Edouard Julien, LF, MIN

Drafted: 18th Round, 2019 from Auburn (MIN)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 35/60 40/40 30/30 40

Julien has perhaps the best plate discipline in the minors and can bang ’em when he actually swings.

Julien hit 17 dingers and slashed .278/.398/.556 as a freshman at Auburn, then was ruled draft-eligible as a 20-year-old sophomore not because of his age, but because he had attended a year of secondary school in Canada before heading to college, which made him three years removed from high school. He was suddenly a young-for-the-class college bat who might have gone very high in the draft if he’d hit like he had the year before and gotten better at second base. Unfortunately, he did neither. Julien’s stock fell early during the 2019 college season as he struggled badly, then he got hot during a tumultuous postseason run; the Twins drafted him on Day Three. Julien tweeted he was going back to school, then went to the Cape and had a great two weeks, after which the Twins’ offer rose to just shy of $500,000, inspiring him to sign. He had Tommy John in August of 2019 and rehabbed during a 2020 season that he would have missed anyway.

Julien finally got underway in pro ball in 2021 and since then, he’s had two good seasons en route to a 40-man roster spot. He’s as patient as any hitter in the minors and has walked at a 19% career rate; he has a .437 career OBP in the minors. When Julien does swing, he does so with bad intentions, taking a high-effort rip capable of putting balls out to all fields. He’s going to reach base a ton and hit for power. It’s enough that Julien comfortably projects as an everyday second baseman if it turns out he can stay there, and even though he has experience at other positions, second base is the only one he played in 2022. Julien has been without a true defensive home since college and didn’t look great at the keystone during a prolonged look in the Arizona Fall League. He may just be a DH, which would obviously make it tougher for him to profile, but there may be elite on-base ability here and that plus the power might be enough for Julien to make an impact that way, too.

Expand arrow_drop_down

76. Colt Keith, 3B, DET

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Biloxi HS (MS) (DET)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 245 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 55/60 35/60 30/30 30/40 50

Keith may not have a position, but he has a pretty stable hit/power combination that will profile at third if he can actually stay there.

Keith was a late-riser on 2020 draft boards and had teams debating whether to select him as a pitcher or a hitter, with some even considering developing him as a two-way talent. The Tigers did their homework and signed him for an over-slot bonus in the fifth round, where many teams had written him off as unsignable. Keith made his 2021 pro debut solely as a position player and moved into the top 100 in the middle of 2022 on the strength of his offensive performance, most notably his huge uptick in power. Keith added 30 pounds of bulk between when he was drafted and now, and he weighed in at 245 pounds when he showed up in Arizona for the 2022 Fall League. Keith was in the AFL because he missed all but about two months of the regular season with a shoulder injury. He produced a 150 wRC+ when healthy and was making among the highest rates of hard, airborne contact in the minors when he got hurt. Keith was on the SS/3B line as a high school defender, but his extra heft has pushed him down the defensive spectrum. He is stiff and bulky and not a lock to stay at third for a myriad of reasons. The bat is impactful enough to consider him a high-probability big leaguer regular of some kind, even at the bottom of the defensive hierarchy.

Expand arrow_drop_down

77. Luis Ortiz, SP, PIT

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (PIT)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 70/70 40/45 45/50 96-99 / 100

Ortiz had one of the fastest ascents up the minor league ladder in 2022 and now projects as a mid-rotation starter or elite reliever in Pittsburgh, depending on what he can develop beyond his lethal fastball/slider combo.

Ortiz rocketed through the system in 2022, skipping High-A and spending most of the season with Double-A Altoona before making his big league debut across four starts in September and October. While he was already throwing quite hard, Ortiz came into even more velocity in 2022 and averaged 97 mph on his fastball, up two ticks from 2021. The pitch has natural tailing action, but Ortiz can also blow it past hitters at the letters when he wants, and his TrackMan data shows he’s mixing in four- and two-seamers in the locations where they’re most effective. His finishing pitch, though, is his slider, a nasty upper-80s sweeper that generated a 50% whiff rate and 38% chase rate in 2022. He commands it consistently enough to his glove side to project as a starter. In the past, Ortiz’s high-effort delivery and sub-optimal fastball shape put him on the starter/reliever line, but he’s thrown plenty of strikes across multiple seasons while simultaneously developing more velocity and comfortably projects as a starting pitcher now. How impactful a starter may depend on how his changeup, currently a tertiary offering, develops at the big league level. It shows above-average arm-side action on occasion, but he’s only throwing it 12% of the time. Poised to compete for a rotation spot when 2023 camp breaks, Ortiz is one of a few high-upside Pirates youngsters who look like they’d fit in a contender’s rotation.

Expand arrow_drop_down

78. Drey Jameson, SP, ARI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Ball State (ARI)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/70 50/50 50/55 40/45 97-99 / 100

A spindly, undersized athlete with a plus slider and mid-90s fastball, Jameson is on the starter/reliever line as Arizona’s big league staff becomes more crowded with viable major leaguers.

Jameson reached the majors in 2022 and is ready for prime time. He ran a 6.95 ERA in Triple-A throughout 2022 but the hitting environment in Reno isn’t fair to pitchers, and Jameson’s stuff, control, and athleticism are all on par with a good team’s fourth starter. Jameson sits 95-96 mph, touches 99, can add and subtract sink from his fastball, and his mid-80s slider is comfortably plus. A slower curveball and occasional mid-80s changeup give Jameson the weapons to work through a lineup multiple times even though they’re just fair. While his delivery features a lot of effort, he has held velocity like this across a starter’s workload every year since he was drafted. He lacks precise command, but he throws enough strikes to start and bully hitters with his velocity and slider for five and six innings at a time. Jameson is also a extremely competitive and has the makeup for a late-inning role should he eventually have to make way for some of Arizona’s other good young starters.

Expand arrow_drop_down

79. Yainer Diaz, C, HOU

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CLE)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 60/60 40/50 20/20 45/50 60

Diaz is a bat-first catching prospect close to the big leagues.

Traded from Cleveland along with Phil Maton for Myles Straw, Diaz slugged his way from Corpus Christi to Sugar Land in 2022, and is now the best hitting catcher on Houston’s 40-man roster. Diaz has plus, all-fields power and covers the outer third of the plate especially well. Even while being a relatively free-swinger, he’s only struck out at a 15-17% clip since entering full-season ball and has a rare hit/power combination for a catcher, though he has been a little bit older for each level. A stiff, upright hitter, Diaz might have some issues with fastballs running in on his hands at the big league level, as he tended to be late on the ones he saw at Double- and Triple-A, driving them almost exclusively to the opposite field. He’s only been able to pull breaking balls that don’t quite finish. It’s part of why he’s projected with a below-average hit tool here even though he’s performed at an above-average clip in the minors.

Diaz is a viable defensive backstop, but he hasn’t ever had to deal with the grind of a full season back there, peaking at 51 starts at catcher in 2021. He has also seen a lot of time at first base and, more recently, a little bit in the outfield corners. He receives on one knee with the bases empty before utilizing a traditional crouch with runners on, and he’s an acceptable receiver and ball-blocker with a plus arm that plays down due to a slow exchange. Because he’s a bit stiff, it’s possible the grind of a full-season will impact his defensive mobility and even his offense if he has to catch 80-plus games. With Martín Maldonado and Korey Lee around, Diaz will be able to ease into the everyday waters and start some games at 1B/DH to get his bat into the lineup. Big-bodied catchers with potent bats, like Travis d’Arnaud, Tyler Flowers and Diaz, are the sorts who tend to take a leap later in their 20s, which is the expectation here.

Expand arrow_drop_down

80. Edgar Quero, C, LAA

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (LAA)
Age 19.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 50/55 20/50 30/20 30/50 50

Quero is a bat-first catching prospect far away from the big leagues.

Quero is a switch-hitting catcher who only had 39 professional games under his belt coming into 2022, the majority of which were played on the complex the previous year. He finished that season with a 10-game A-ball stint, where he struck out in 16 of his 42 plate appearances. But in 2022, he righted the ship and then some, putting up a .312/.435/.530 line while fanning just 17.7% of the time and walking at a 14.2% clip. The switch-hitting Quero demonstrated improved feel for getting his barrel on the ball from both sides of the plate, bopping 17 homers and 35 doubles. His lefty swing is more powerful while his righty cut is more contact-oriented. Defensively, he shows an accurate arm, thwarting 29 would-be basestealers in 2022. Still just 19 (his 20th birthday coincides with his first game of the minor league season), Quero has the foundation of a viable defensive catcher but still needs to polish the finer points of his defense. His patient approach and bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate inspire confidence in his ability to eventually become a reliable starter.

Expand arrow_drop_down

81. Gavin Williams, SP, CLE

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from East Carolina (CLE)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 255 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 50/55 40/45 40/50 95-98 / 101

Williams’ injury history is concerning, but he’s talented enough to make a big league impact in the middle of Cleveland’s 2023 rotation.

Williams’ injury history and the relative violence of his delivery kept him just outside the 50 FV tier on the Cleveland list, even though he had a strong pro debut and spent most of the year at Double-A Akron. He checks the talent and proximity boxes rather emphatically, and when you start lining up the other pitchers toward the back of the Top 100 list, Williams’ past and theoretical future injuries are more palatable than lots of other prospects actual injuries, so we’ve bumped him into this tier as a correction. He dealt with a litany of issues as an amateur, as benign as a fractured finger and as severe as back issues that had some teams drop him from their draft boards. The progress Williams made at ECU amid these issues (some of which date back to high school) was remarkable. He worked in the 89-93 mph range as a high schooler, then exploded in college, hitting 100 mph as a freshman and sustaining upper-90s velocity when he finally moved to the rotation as a fourth-year junior in 2021. He was sitting 95-99 mph throughout entire outings, and punched out at least eight hitters in each of his final 11 starts, culminating in a 13 K postseason outing against Vanderbilt when his stock reached its pinnacle. While there were some pre-draft industry concerns about the balky back, Williams’ innings-eating frame, his intense on-mound presence, and the ferocity of his stuff made him a slam dunk first round prospect. His slider execution is especially consistent, though his curveball has the more visually pleasing movement. Increased changeup emphasis, which was already evident during Williams’ first instructs, has occurred in pro ball, and while Williams’ meal ticket is still his mid-90s fastball, which he rips past hitters at the letters, he has three viable weapons right now and might have a fourth as his changeup develops. It’s a mid-rotation starter’s stuff, and healthy Williams should produce as such at the big league level, though the pitchers who tend to get hurt are the ones who have been hurt in the past, and there’s enough of a track record here to alter how Williams lines up with similarly talented peers.

Expand arrow_drop_down

82. Wilmer Flores, SP, DET

Undrafted Free Agent, 2020 (DET)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/60 60/70 45/50 40/45 93-96 / 98

Flores’ velocity tapered off some in 2022 but he threw more strikes than expected, enough to now project as a starter.

Flores has emerged as the best current prospect among the 2020 undrafted free agents and spent most of 2022 carving up the Eastern League. Born in Venezuela and signed out of an Arizona junior college, Flores gained notice as a big time prospect throughout 2021, which he wrapped sitting 93-96 mph with a hammer breaking ball in the Fall League. While Flores didn’t throw quite that hard throughout 2022, he did a lot to prove that despite a relatively violent delivery, he can throw strikes and work efficiently enough to be a starter. His fastball has sufficient action that it still plays at 92-93, and it pairs nicely with his curveball, which is a traditional power pitcher’s yakker in the upper 70s. Flores will also show you an upper-80s cutter, which has more inconsistent shape but gives him a third viable weapon. Poised to be a post-2023 40-man add, Flores worked just over 100 innings in 2022. He’s on pace to compete for a big league rotation spot in 2024 and work a full slate of innings, assuming a standard 20-inning bump year over year. It’s fair to consider there to be subjective and persistent relief risk here related to Flores’ delivery and the length of his arm action. Even if that’s the outcome, he’s probably a good enough reliever that you’d value him close to this range anyway, especially if his peak velocity returns with such a move.

Expand arrow_drop_down

83. Bryce Miller, SP, SEA

Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from Texas A&M (SEA)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 50/55 40/45 40/50 30/40 94-97 / 100

Miller’s upshot mid-90s fastball should, on its own, make him some kind of impact arm.

Miller spent his freshman year at Blinn College, then pitched out of the Texas A&M bullpen as a sophomore and junior. He was passed over in the 2020 draft despite sitting 94-97 mph in outings that were often seen by decision-makers who were in to scout Asa Lacy and Christian Roa, largely because Miller was very wild. In 2021, he moved into the Aggies’ rotation, and while his fastball would peak at 95-98 mph, he’d typically settle in at 92-94 as a starter and still had issues with walks. The Mariners drafted him in the fourth round and have deployed him as a starter so far. His peak velocity has returned, and he has been sitting 94-97 and touching 99-100 with upshot angle and carry. His fastball has done a ton of damage at the top of the zone and is a legit plus-plus pitch. Miller will occasionally show you good secondary stuff. He has a mid-80s cutter/slider that doesn’t often have vertical depth, but it does have great length for how hard it is. His upper-70s curveball has more depth, but Miller rarely throws it for strikes, while his changeup is the inverse and lives around the zone but doesn’t usually have big action. Miller’s arm swing is long and he has again been somewhat walk-prone in pro ball. Lots of scouts think he ultimately projects in relief, but he’s holding his velocity deep into games and has some other pitchability traits that suggest he could continue to start. His fastball’s shape gives him in-zone margin for error that should enable him to be loose with in-zone location, and one of our scout sources thinks his changeup also has a shot to be average. When you consider that Miller lost a lot of developmental time to COVID and being buried on A&M’s depth chart, you can start to get excited about how much potential growth remains for him. With a fastball like this, his floor is that of an impact reliever.

Expand arrow_drop_down

84. Samuel Zavala, RF, SDP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 18.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 40/50 20/45 50/50 30/50 60

Of the teenage hitters on the list, Zavala’s feel to hit is probably the most polished.

Zavala was the youngest player to reach an affiliate in 2022, joining Low-A Lake Elsinore just a couple weeks after his 18th birthday. To that point, he’d shown an advanced approach on the backfields that belied his age, and he carried his performance into the Cal League, slashing .254/.355/.508 with a mid-teens walk rate in A-ball. Zavala isn’t as physically projectable as some other youngsters on this list, but he might have a better hit plus power profile thanks to the rotation and subsequent bat speed he generates in his athletic, lefty swing. That bat speed, in conjunction with his short levers, allows him to track pitches well, resulting in impressive swing decisions for such a young player. Scouts are putting Carlos González comps on his body and swing, and think he’ll be an everyday corner guy in a few years.

Expand arrow_drop_down

85. Drew Romo, C, COL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from The Woodlands HS (TX) (COL)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 55/55 30/35 30/30 45/60 70

Romo has a plus glove and plus-plus arm but likely won’t make a huge offensive impact.

Romo is a plus-gloved catching prospect with uncommon feel for contact from both sides of the plate, though the contact he makes is not very hard. He had his second straight fair offensive season as a pro, as he produced a 95 wRC+ at High-A, mostly thanks to his ability to put balls in play. Romo’s offensive performance is impressive considering he only turned 21 near the end of the 2022 season, though in another sense it’s troubling because he’s such a physical guy and yet has such poor ball-striking power. It’s fair to consider him a high-floor, low-variance prospect because Romo’s defensive ability and rocket arm make him very likely to be a plus defender at maturity, and even a one-note style of offense (Romo both lacks power and is relatively impatient) tends to profile at catcher.

Expand arrow_drop_down

86. Ken Waldichuk, SP, OAK

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from St. Mary’s (NYY)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 45/45 60/60 45/50 90-94 / 95

Waldichuk’s command is better than his small 2022 big league sample and he should stabilize as a mid-rotation piece.

Waldichuk came to Oakland as part of the return for Frankie Montas, bringing with him a nicely shaped four-seamer and an intimidating, sweepy slider with tons of horizontal movement. A big-league ready, mid-rotation starter, Waldichuk’s arsenal also includes a changeup that he finishes with remarkable precision, but which he reserves almost exclusively for right-handed opponents (he’s only thrown one changeup to a big-league lefty). He rounds out his four-pitch mix with a mid-70s curveball that he threw just 6% of the time at Triple-A, but which accounted for 19% of his 0-0 offerings in his seven big-league starts, outranked in usage only by his fastball. He’s shown the ability to induce significant swing and miss across all four offerings, both in and out of the zone, aided largely by his funky arm action. His delivery is freaky loose, particularly in his upper back and shoulders, which we think portends better future command than he’s shown so far in Oakland. He seems the most likely to start the season as the A’s fourth or fifth starter.

Expand arrow_drop_down

87. Reese Olson, SP, DET

Drafted: 13th Round, 2018 from North Hall HS (GA) (MIL)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/60 50/50 70/70 40/40 93-96 / 97

Olson’s plus secondary stuff helps make him a potential starter even though he doesn’t throw strikes with his fastball.

After an uptick in fastball velocity a couple of years ago, Olson’s four-seamer is still resting comfortably around 94-95 mph. On its own, the heater hasn’t been much of a bat-misser, but it plays up thanks to two excellent secondaries – a changeup and a slider – both of which are plus or better, and both of which garnered whiff rates over 50% and chase rates over 40% in 2022. His ability to locate his arsenal showed improvement over previous seasons as well. In 2021, Olson spent time at both High- and Double-A, and ended the season with a combined strikeout rate of 26%, while walking 11.6%. He then spent all of 2022 at Double-A and punched out 33.1%, while trimming his walk rate down to just 7.5%. He still isn’t throwing a great many strikes with his fastball, but the improved command reinforces his viability as a starter, and he looks likely to make his big league debut this season.

Expand arrow_drop_down

88. Hayden Wesneski, SP, CHC

Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from Sam Houston (NYY)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 60/60 45/50 50/50 55/60 92-95 / 96

Wesneski’s slider is really nasty and his entire repertoire fits nicely together.

Having started 2022 with the Yankees Triple-A affiliate, Wesneski was shipped to Chicago as part of the Scott Effross trade. During his time in New York’s system, he underwent an overhaul to his mechanics and now throws with a more typical starter’s delivery, characterized by impressive flexibility in his shoulders and back. Between the two Triple-A squads, Wesneski tossed a total of 110 innings before being called upon to fill out the Cubs rotation. He made six appearances with the big league squad (four of them starts) for a total of 33 innings and lasted at least five frames in all but one of them (his only shorter appearance was in relief, and he pitched the final 3.2 innings of the game). He features a five-pitch arsenal with three distinct fastballs, and his ability to vary his usage across his pitch mix allows the mid-90s four-seamer to play up. It has been his best in-zone bat misser thanks largely to the breadth of his arsenal. Historically, Wesneski has favored his four-seamer overall, though against big league righties, his awesome slider and sinker out-paced the heater in terms of usage, with both secondaries garnering above-average chase rates and aiding his ability to maintain a high groundball rate. With Kyle Hendricks out of the rotation with injury for the start of 2023, Wesneski seems like a candidate to slot in as the big league team’s fourth or fifth starter if he shows well in camp.

Expand arrow_drop_down

89. Ryne Nelson, SP, ARI

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Oregon (ARI)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 184 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 55/60 40/45 40/45 93-96 / 98

Nelson’s velocity was down early in 2022 but picked up late in the year. He’s competing for a D-backs rotation spot.

Nelson spent most of his college career in the bullpen showing huge stuff, fringe command, and repertoire depth that led to optimism surrounding his development as a starter. He also dealt with an eye condition that would later require surgery to strengthen the collagen fibers within his cornea, surgery he had in 2020 while he also reworked his mechanics. Then Nelson had a dominant 2021 season spent mostly at Double-A Amarillo, striking out 163 hitters in 116.1 innings, all as a starter. His numbers backed up in 2022, but that’s typical of pitchers who go to work in Reno. Perhaps of real concern was Nelson’s velocity, which has fluctuated a few times during his career and was down for most of 2022. By the time he was called up to Arizona in September, it was back into the mid-90s with Nelson’s trademark angle and carry. He tends to live in the tempting upper third of the strike zone and above, where his heater is almost impossible to hit due to its riding life. Nelson used his fastball about 65% of the time in 2021 and 61% in 2022, both at the upper boundary of what is typical for a big league starter. He tends to throw his two breaking balls (his curveball’s shape pairs especially nicely with his fastball) in the zone, often early in counts, and then use the fastball as a finishing pitch. The fluctuations in velocity, Nelson’s mechanical look, and his end-of-year scapula injury in 2022 wrap his profile in long-term relief risk, but that’s pretty standard among big stuff pitchers toward the back of the top 100. He is otherwise a major league-ready fourth starter.

Expand arrow_drop_down

90. Ronny Mauricio, SS, NYM

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 60/70 40/55 40/40 45/55 60

Mauricio has gotten big and strong while remaining at shortstop, but his approach remains a huge concern.

Mauricio is both “What They Look Like” and “What They Look Like When They Bust.” He is a huge-framed, switch-hitting shortstop with power from both sides of the plate and a rocket arm, but his swing decisions are often so reckless that even though he’s coming off a 20/20 season at Double-A, he’s still an extremely volatile prospect. Mauricio has developed as well as could have been rationally hoped when he signed. He’s filled out and gotten stronger while remaining agile enough to play shortstop, he’s hit 20 homers each of the last two years as he’s reached the upper levels of the minors, he won the Dominican Winter League MVP during the offseason, and he’s done this despite missing his age-19 season due to the pandemic.

Still, Mauricio owns a 40% chase rate and has a career .300 OBP in the minors. His secondary pitch recognition is not good, and he both needs to stay at shortstop and continue getting to all of his considerable power for an everyday profile to hold water. There are some players who are as aggressive as Mauricio (or more so) who find a way to be impact players anyway and almost all of them tend to make enough in-zone contact to buoy their overall offensive output. Ronny Mo is on the very edge of the threshold of viability in this respect. He does show an ability to move the barrel around and sizzle the baseball somewhere, often with tremendous force behind it. It isn’t pretty, but some of the proof is in the data. Mauricio’s measurable power is already plus (45% hard-hit rate, 114 mph max exit velo), and at a strapping 6-foot-4 or so, he might still grow into more. He ran an 83% Z-contact rate in 2022, which again, is right on the precipice of viability, as chase-prone, low-OBP hitters like Ozzie Albies and Jonathan Schoop have shown.

Some aspects of Mauricio’s defense need to be cleaned up. He’s as likely to make an incredible play as he is to botch a routine one. He’s only ever played shortstop in affiliated ball but saw time at third base in LIDOM, where he understandably looked uncomfortable at times. His arm strength (a 70 on the scale two winters ago) was not as consistent in recent looks but is still strong. The floor here is XL Freddy Galvis with worse defense, but there will be some peak seasons where more of the power plays and he produces like a star.

Expand arrow_drop_down

91. Joey Wiemer, RF, MIL

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Cincinnati (MIL)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 70/70 50/60 70/70 50/60 70

Wiemer is a power/speed freak who might bust or be a power-hitting anomaly.

Wiemer has a rare size/athleticism combination and wields an elaborate swing that produces huge pull-side power. He crushes mistakes, and has 48 career bombs in about a season-and-a-half’s worth of pro games. While his peak exit velocities have long been tops among his peers, college and pro, he didn’t really start launching homers until after he was drafted, when it appears his swing and approach changed. Constant max-effort hacking often leads to lots of strikeouts, but Wiemer had mostly kept his Ks in check until 2022, when he punched out 30% of the time at Double-A Biloxi. His strikeout rate improved upon promotion to Triple-A, albeit in a smaller sample. Look under the hood and there is cause for concern. Wiemer often swings inside pitches on the outer third of the strike zone, and his in-zone swing and miss rates are on par with the bottom handful of big league outfielders who saw at least 300 PA in 2022, among names like Joey Gallo and Christopher Morel. While not quite as mountainous as skill set-cousins Gallo or Jorge Soler, Wiemer’s size and physicality set him apart from other players, even big leaguers, and he seems likely to get to power in big league games by virtue of how much raw thump he has. He projects as a slugging five- or six-hole hitter in a typical contending lineup, with contact issues that will create some whiff-prone stretches and significant year-to-year variance.

Expand arrow_drop_down

92. Elijah Green, RF, WSN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from IMG Academy (FL) (WSN)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 70/80 25/60 70/70 30/50 60

See: Wiemer, Joey

The son of two-time Pro Bowl tight end Eric Green, Elijah became “Draft Famous” during his junior year, homering a couple of times in high school tournaments held in big league parks and looking much toolsier than all but a couple of the prospects who were a year older than him. He was seen a ton as a junior because he played at IMG, which was home to a lot of 2021 draft prospects and served as competition for others. Scouts were blown away by his power and speed, but swing-and-miss issues were a concern. Green struck out in a third of his varsity at-bats in 2021, and swung and missed more than he put balls in play during that year’s summer/fall showcase circuit before things improved during his senior year of high school.

What’s causing the swing-and-miss? Green’s swing is simple and direct, and he doesn’t have an elaborate leg kick (he barely has a stride) or a complicated load; he just tends to swing inside fastballs on the outer third and expand the zone a little bit against fastballs up. He is otherwise incredibly gifted, a 70 runner with at least 70 raw power that plays to all fields. His long speed gives him a shot to stay in center field, but his routes to balls can be a bit of an adventure. He wasn’t considered a lock to stay there before the draft, and pro scouts came away skeptical of his defense in center from Green’s post-draft look. His frame makes him pretty likely to slow down with age, but as he fills out he’ll probably grow into elite raw power. If he develops even a 40-grade hit tool, he’ll hit 30 annual bombs and it won’t matter where he plays. There is hit-related bust risk here, but things trended in a favorable direction during Green’s senior season and he didn’t play enough after the draft for his pro strikeout rate to scare us away.

Expand arrow_drop_down

93. Daniel Espino, SP, CLE

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Georgai Premier Academy (GA) (CLE)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
80/80 60/70 55/60 45/55 45/50 97-100 / 102

Espino looked like a front-end arm early in 2022, then missed most of the season with knee and shoulder issues, the latter of which (dabs tear ducts) bled into 2023.

Born in Panama, Espino had the best arm strength among the high school pitchers in the 2019 draft, but concerns about his delivery and arsenal depth dropped him to the 24th overall pick. His stuff has gotten even better under the tutelage of Cleveland’s player dev system, and he dominated during his 2021 full season debut, putting up a strikeout rate north of 40% while shortening his arm action and altering his slot to impart more vertical movement on his heater. Espino had taken another leap at the onset of 2022, sitting in the 98-102 mph range with a fastball that sometimes had 20-23 inches of vertical break during the spring. He dominated Double-A for a month before he was shut down with a knee injury at the end of April, and he started having shoulder issues during his rehab. Even though beat writers reported that he had begun throwing again in June, Espino didn’t pitch in games for the rest of the year. He worked out in Panama during the offseason and the Guardians thought he was a full-go for spring training 2023, the start of his 40-man evaluation year. Instead, just a few days before Top 100 list publication, it was revealed that he still has a tear in his shoulder and will miss the first few months of the year. Chronic shoulder issues have derailed the careers of countless pitching prospects, and the new information caused Espino to be repositioned from the 60 FV tier (he was close to 12th overall on early drafts of the list) to here, where both his ceiling and heightened “bust” risk are factored in.

Healthy Espino is a physical freak with exceptional talent and drive, and his continued presence on the 100 is as much a bet on his demeanor and makeup as it is his ability. More striking than his velocity itself is the ease with which Espino generates it. Even as he has become more and more muscular entering his 20s, he has maintained a freaky level of flexibility, which he attained by stretching four times per day. His slider can bend in as hard as 94 mph and has late, two-plane finish. It would be an above-average pitch were it simply in the low-to-mid-80s, but at this velocity, it’s a 70-grade weapon, and Espino has consistent feel for locating it down and to his glove side. His curveball has 12-6 shape and plus depth and power, used as a way of garnering called, early-count strikes, and the speed with which he has developed two distinct breaking balls despite pitching just one full minor league season is incredible. The curve has enough depth to have bat-missing utility below the zone and generate groundballs even when hitters sniff it out in mid-air. Espino barely throws his low-90s changeup, but he still has good feel for locating it in an enticing location away from lefty batters, and even that and his rarely-used curveball (combined, he threw those pitches 8% of the time in 2021) could be above average at maturity. He has top-of-the-rotation stuff but the injuries make it more likely that Cleveland proactively moves him to the bullpen.

Expand arrow_drop_down

94. Noelvi Marte, 3B, CIN

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (SEA)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 60/65 30/50 40/40 30/50 60

Marte’s body and athleticism regressed in 2022, and he looked pretty rough in the Arizona Fall League.

Marte had a long and eventful 2022 that culminated in him looking absolutely gassed during the Arizona Fall League. After playing some winter ball for Gigantes del Cibao, Marte saw 520 regular season plate appearances, changed organizations as the highest-profile prospect in the blockbuster Luis Castillo trade in the midst of those, went to Germany as part of Team Spain’s WBC qualifier roster, and then came back to the US and played for another six weeks in the Fall League. His desert lethargy was understandable, but it’s still the most recent thing the industry has seen.

There have been prior instances of prospects, including Mike Trout and Buster Posey, who had a terrible Fall League coming off a long year simply because they were tired and then rebounded the following season. It’s prudent to bake this context into how one thinks about Marte, but there are also some statistical yellow flags evident in his regular season performance as well as some harsh realities to come to grips with regarding his trajectory on defense. His frame is maxed out, and Marte is not currently mobile enough to project as a big league shortstop defender. Because he’s still so young, the chances are better that Marte can course correct in this area, and there’s recent precedent for that path in Julio Rodríguez, who became sleeker and faster to stay in center field.

But assuming that third base is now his likeliest position, more pressure will be put on Marte’s bat, and while there’s good news in that regard, there also needs to be refinement if Marte is going to hit enough to play an everyday role at third base. For instance, Marte isn’t easy to beat in the strike zone. His hands load in a pretty typical spot that keeps him short back to the baseball, and he doesn’t swing and miss a ton. He’s also shown some ability to make mechanical adjustments, trading a high leg kick for a lower, longer stride that makes it even more evident just how powerful and balanced his lower half is than his previous swing did. Still, the quality of Marte’s contact, as much as he might make, is not consistent or authoritative, and this was true in the regular season when he looked twitchier and looser than he did in the fall. Considering how strong he is and how much contact he makes, there is a shocking dearth of measurable, high-quality contact happening here. It’s possible Marte simply lacks feel for squaring up the baseball, and/or that his power output was caricatured by the hitting environments of Seattle’s A-ball clubs (Everett is hitter-friendly, and pockets of the Cal League are extremely so), or was simply over-evaluated in the first place. It’s not typical for a prospect who was just put on a 40-man roster to have this much perceived volatility or create this level of polarization. You can do some thought exercises around where he’d go were Noelvi a 21-year-old draft prospect, or play “would you rather” with the names of other prospects to try to triangulate where he should fall on the FV scale, and all of that went into placing him here.

Expand arrow_drop_down

95. Zac Veen, RF, COL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Spruce Creek HS (COL)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 55/70 30/55 60/55 30/55 55

Veen’s lefty swing is still vulnerable to inner-half velocity, and he remains in a liminal prospect space more than he is a slam dunk big league star.

We are still in a holding pattern with Veen because the length of his swing continues to make it very difficult for him to turn on fastballs. He has performed well through the lower minors (.271/.368/.438), and his frame, speed, general athleticism, and long-term frame-based power projection are all very enticing from a scouting standpoint, but the limitations of his current swing still make Veen’s big league impact more of an abstract projection than an inevitability. Veen rotates with rare ferocity and his broad-shouldered, 6-foot-4 frame leaves room for immense strength as he matures. As explosive as most of his body is, Veen’s hands are not, and he tends to be long into the hitting zone. Fall League pitchers were working him in on the hands, then getting him to swing over the top of back-foot breaking balls once Veen would start to cheat on heaters in that spot. He can absolutely fly and will occasionally do some impressive stuff at the dish, especially when he bends out over the plate to whack breaking stuff away from him. Almost all of Veen’s pull-side contact into the outfield once he was promoted to Double-A came against secondary pitches. If he and the Rockies can find a way to be on time against fastballs, then there’s a shot for a real breakout here, but it’s tough to ask that of someone who, to this point, has been successful.

Expand arrow_drop_down

96. Brady House, 3B, WSN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Winder-Barrow HS (WSN)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 60/70 20/60 45/40 30/50 60

Healthy House has huge power. He was hurt in 2022.

House started the 2022 season very hot, slashing .325/.408/.449 with a 141 wRC+ at High-A through April before injuring his back in early May and sitting out a couple of weeks. When he returned, he was a completely different hitter. He struck out a third of the time and posted an OPS of just .602 before being shut down for the remainder of the season in mid-June. It’s safe to assume he was playing through injury during that return appearance, which could account for the significantly depleted power (his average exit velo was in the 80 mph range). It’s hard to make any assumptions about him based on his shortened 2022 season, but he still looks like the same type of player he’s been historically, assuming the power comes back when he’s fully healthy and that the back issue isn’t a persistent one.

Expand arrow_drop_down

97. Marco Luciano, RF, SFG

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (SFG)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/70 30/60 45/40 30/40 50

Luciano had persistent back issues that followed him to winter ball. His bat speed is still great, but everything else has trended down.

Bat speed prodigy Luciano has encountered a few developmental speed bumps since roasting the Cal League in 2021. After hitting .278/.373/.556 with San Jose, he was promoted to High-A and struck out at a 37% clip during the final month of the season. His 2022 line (.263/.339/.459) was solid if unspectacular, though some of the reduction from his performance in 2021 is simply due to exiting the Cal League for the more muted offensive environment in the Northwest. Importantly, Luciano’s strikeout rate returned to his career norm of 22%, indicating he adjusted after the whiff-prone end of 2021. Unfortunately, his season was interrupted (and maybe compromised) by a back injury that cost him all of June and July, and he only played in 57 games throughout the season. He was set to pick up winter ball reps in the Dominican Republic for Estrellas Orientales, but was shut down after just five games due to continued back discomfort. He turned out to have a stress fracture in his lower back, which the Giants revealed as players reported to camp at the start of 2023. Even with the back issue, the Giants put Luciano on their 40-man roster during the winter. He was on pace to start 2023 at Double-A and be in the mix for a big league roster spot at some point in 2024 if he kept hitting. Now, after what might be a delayed start to his 2023, he’ll be asked to hit the ground running after only playing half of last year. It’s a tall order for a prospect who already has some hit tool risk.

Luciano’s bat speed is incredible but his barrel accuracy is not. He tends to swing through the down-and-in portion of the zone and struggles with anything away from him. It’s hard to know how much of that was caused by the back issue, which may have been compromising his movement. That caveat extends to his defense, where Luciano continues to look miscast as a shortstop. He plays with the high center of gravity more typical of an outfielder, and has a hard time flipping his hips to make fundamentally typical throws if he’s had to range left to field a groundball. The loss of reps might accelerate a move down the defensive spectrum (the Giants have publicly refuted this) so Luciano can just focus on hitting his way to San Francisco. He still hits the ball really hard for a player his age and looks the part in the uniform, but there’s growing risk here, enough to reposition Luciano’s FV into this tier.

Expand arrow_drop_down

98. Mason Miller, SIRP, OAK

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Gardner-Webb (OAK)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 211 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 55/60 55/60 30/40 93-97 / 99

Miller has huge stuff and has been hurt a lot.

After sustaining an arm injury during spring training, Miller spent most of 2022 rehabbing. When he returned to the mound in August, he leapfrogged his way up the minor league ladder. He pitched a couple innings on the complex, skipped Low-A, threw seven High-A innings, skipped Double-A, then closed the season out with two appearances in Las Vegas and a stint in the Fall League. He blew triple-digits at the top of the zone past batters at every stop, with his fastball averaging 99 mph at Triple-A. Miller pairs the heater with a sharp, mid-80s slider and locates both with consistency, good for a combined 50% strikeout rate, while issuing just three walks across 14 innings in 2022. His changeup flashed plus in the Fall League, where he carried that good health and momentum and posted a 10.8 K/9. Though he’s mostly started so far and has three nasty pitches, Miller’s delivery is very violent and his injury history suggests he may only have so many bullets, so we expect Oakland will put him on the big league roster in fairly short order, perhaps in a relief role.

Expand arrow_drop_down

99. Yiddi Cappe, SS, MIA

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (MIA)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 45/55 20/45 55/55 40/50 60

Cappe has a prototypical shortstop’s build and good feel for contact. He wasn’t tested on the complex in 2022.

Cappe has an ideal baseball frame, as well as the athleticism, hands, and arm strength to play shortstop, and while his swing is a little noisy and imbalanced, he tracks pitches well and finds a way to put the bat on them even if it isn’t always pretty. On paper, Cappe has performed well from a bat-to-ball standpoint early in his career, and he has very exciting raw power projection because of his wide receiver-ish frame. Though his lower half looks a little stiff and he plays defense with a high center of gravity, he’s capable of acrobatic defensive plays and at least has a shot to stay at shortstop long-term. Despite being rough around the edges (remember Cappe waited an extra year to sign so he could get more money from the Marlins and has played a full season less than the typical 20-year-old prospect), he has a great tools and projection foundation that is now being reinforced by early-career performance, most notably from a bat-to-ball standpoint. He’s still risky as a prospect but has big upside.

Expand arrow_drop_down

100. Cristian Hernandez, SS, CHC

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (CHC)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/35 50/70 25/55 55/55 45/55 60

Hernandez has fantastic bat speed and power for a no-doubt shortstop prospect, but he K’d at a concerning rate in 2022.

A high-probability shortstop with a long-limbed, projectable frame, Hernandez was your traditional international amateur who excels in a workout environment. His infield actions are smooth and athletic, his swing has a gorgeous, pronounced finish, and he has the right amount of overt physical projection that he might mature into the unteachable, star-making Goldilocks Zone, where he stays at short and also has impact power.

The components of Hernandez’s swing push and pull against one another, as his cut is pretty long but he also has very advanced barrel control. The latter is more important at this stage of his career. He’s able to pull his hands in and get the barrel on inside pitches, but he swung underneath a ton of fastballs during his 2022 season on the complex, which is why he struck out at a very scary 30% clip. The Cubs have had some recent success in tweaking swings and if Hernandez can shorten up his cut and even be a 40-grade contact hitter at maturity, then he’s likely to be a good big league shortstop because every other tool is in place. Hernandez has a great skill and athleticism foundation, and he already has incredible power for a shortstop his age, capable of hitting oppo lasers. There’s substantial bust risk here but the ceiling is huge, too big to move off of Hernandez after a whiff-prone first year stateside.

Expand arrow_drop_down

101. Griff McGarry, MIRP, PHI

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Virginia (PHI)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 60/60 30/35 93-96 / 98

McGarry has three plus pitches but also the worst control on the Top 100.

McGarry still has below-average control and only throws his pitches for strikes at a 60% clip, but he’s come a long way since his days at Virginia, when he was walking a batter per inning and was passed over in the 2020 draft. He’s now on the doorstep of the big leagues as a three-pitch power reliever. The Phillies moved McGarry to the bullpen just before he was promoted to Triple-A at the end of 2022. He still has two years before he technically has to be added to the 40-man, and theoretically the Phillies could use all that runway to keep developing him as a starter in the hopes that things click, but going on age 24 that feels like a bit of a pipe dream.

McGarry sits 95-96 mph and will bump 99 as a starter. His powerful lower half and flexibility drive the production of this velocity, while McGarry’s long arm action makes it tough for him to have a consistent release. McGarry’s mid-80s slider and low-80s changeup are both plus, but his control issues extend to those pitches. He struggles to set up his slider with well-located fastballs, and even when he does it’s not a given that he’ll land the slider after it’s been set up. This sort of thing runs through McGarry’s whole operation, but he already has rare repertoire depth and quality for a reliever, and he might throw harder working just one or two innings at a time. If he can throw strikes in Allentown, he’ll likely crack the Phillies bullpen in 2023, and he has closer ceiling if he can throw strikes consistently. If not, he’s a Phillippe Aumont sequel.

Expand arrow_drop_down

102. Nick Yorke, 2B, BOS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Archbishop Mitty HS (CA) (BOS)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 40/45 30/45 50/45 30/40 30

Yorke may end up as a 40-grade infield defender, but he can really hit, and we’re staying on him despite a rough, injury-riddled 2022.

Yorke was the biggest surprise of the 2020 draft’s first round. He was a known bat-first prospect from California but time off recovering from a shoulder surgery and the pandemic made him tough to properly evaluate before the draft, tough enough that he was not generally seen as a first round prospect. Yorke’s 2021 pro debut was a rousing success, as he hit .325/.412/.516 across two A-ball levels as a teenager. In contrast, his 2022 was a tough-luck grind, as Yorke hit just .232 at Greeneville and dealt with myriad injuries, including turf toe, back stiffness, and wrist soreness that reared its ugly, uh, wrist during the regular season and again when he went to Arizona to pick up reps in the Fall League. Yorke’s rhythm and timing at the plate were fantastic there, though, and we’re inclined to dismiss his 2022 as being the result of his injuries rather than a real regression in skill or exposure of a flaw in his offense. Yorke and his French swing (because it is evocative of Ty France) looked like a high-probability big league hitter with a well-rounded contact and power combination in Arizona, enough to project as a regular if he can stay on the dirt. If there’s a real long-term concern that has become evident as a result of Yorke’s year, it’s that he seems injury prone and has now had several disruptive maladies in the last couple of years.

Expand arrow_drop_down

103. Kevin Parada, LF, NYM

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Georgia Tech (NYM)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 60/60 35/60 45/40 30/40 45

Parada may not be able to catch, but we think his bat profiles anywhere.

Parada was the rare high-profile California high schooler who left the state for college, traveling all the way to Atlanta for two years at Georgia Tech. Just shy of age 21 in 2022, he was a draft-eligible sophomore and somehow improved on an incredible freshman season (.318/.379/.550) by nearly tripling his home run total, walking as often as he K’d and slashing .361/.453/.709 as a soph. Parada has impeccable hitter’s timing, and batting stance aside, his swing is rhythmic and balanced. He has enough raw power to do damage to all-fields and Parada’s feel to hit weaponizes it, as he often hits the ball where it’s pitched, driving stuff on the outer edge to right field, pulling pitches on the inner third, and spraying everything in between.

Parada is not a lock to catch. He is a fringe receiver and ball-blocker with a 45 arm. He is similar to Henry Davis and Kyle Schwarber, in that he may have to move out from behind the plate due to poor receiving, ball-blocking, and his raw arm strength, though he is pretty accurate. It’s worth developing him at catcher for at least a while since that position is at the very top of the defensive spectrum, and Parada’s other seemingly viable positions are at or near the bottom. He runs well enough to play an outfield corner and we’re projecting him there, à la Schwarber’s trajectory. Make no mistake, Parada’s bat was one of the surer things in the 2022 draft, and he’s likely to hit in the middle of a big league order regardless of position, which would make him a superstar catcher, but closer to an average regular if he ends up a LF/DH.

Expand arrow_drop_down

104. Luisangel Acuña, SS, TEX

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (TEX)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 50/55 30/50 55/55 40/50 55

Acuña’s athleticism is too exciting to keep him off the list even though his approach is sometimes reckless and he doesn’t impact the ball in the air.

Acuña’s swing is explosive and athletic, starting upright with a load and leg kick similar to his brother’s, before he takes a gargantuan stride toward the mound. The 20-year-old ends it near (or sometimes in) a kneeling position in the box because he’s swung with so much effort. His hands are quick and direct to the ball, though he struggles to make contact in front of the plate, often over-swings, and tends to chase. He generates bigger exit velocity than his size would imply, but because he tends to offer at pitcher’s pitches, it has resulted in a groundball rate around the 50% mark. Acuña slashed .317/.417/.483 at High-A before finishing the season at Double-A, where his numbers deflated across the board, though that did include his strikeout rate, which he brought down to 21% at the more advanced level. He looked great at the start of the Fall League before pitchers figured out they could get him to chase whatever and started junk-balling him to death. Defensively he spent most of his time at shortstop in 2022, and while he isn’t technically polished there, he does have the twitch and arm to project there with more refinement. An approach or swing change could lead to a breakout and Acuña’s approach might also cause him to perform beneath this ranking, so consider him a volatile prospect even though he’s on a 40-man.

Expand arrow_drop_down

105. Junior Caminero, 3B, TBR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (CLE)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 55/60 20/60 50/50 30/50 60

Caminero has plus-plus bat speed, but his pitch recognition and swing path are concerning.

Powerful and explosive, the exciting Caminero was among the DSL’s home run leaders in 2021 before coming over from Cleveland in a 40-man roster deadline trade for pitcher Tobias Myers that offseason. He took a throw to the face during extended spring training, but was back for the start of the Complex League season and was one of that league’s most dominant hitters, slashing .326/.403/.492 with a 13% K% and 10% BB%, and earning a promotion to full-season ball, which also went swimmingly (.299/.359/.505). Caminero is much bigger than his team-listed height and weight, and is very likely a third base-only fit, though the Rays continue to give him some middle infield reps. He also has sizable raw power thanks to his plus bat speed and a promising early-career bat-to-ball track record. Caminero has a big leg kick, loads his hands low, and swings with bloodthirsty effort, with plus bat speed driving big pull-side power. His peak exit velocities are absurd for a teenager, and while his breaking ball recognition and overall plate discipline are both crude, his in-zone feel for contact is also very promising. The hit/power combination to profile at third base is pretty comfortably here, and Caminero might yet come into more power at physical maturity. He might have to augment his swing to get to all of that power, and the chase component threatens to drag the hit tool down, but guys who hit the ball this often and this hard tend to turn into good big leaguers.

Expand arrow_drop_down

106. Jacob Berry, DH, MIA

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from LSU (MIA)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 212 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 60/60 35/55 50/45 20/30 50

Berry has no position but raked in college, including after he left hitter-friendly Tucson and faced SEC arms.

Berry turned down seven figures coming out of high school and went to Arizona, where he raked as a freshman DH for a Wildcats team that made a deep postseason run. When LSU hired Jay Johnson away, Berry was one of several players who transferred out of Tucson, following Johnson to Baton Rouge. A draft-eligible sophomore in 2022 and a career .360/.450/.655 hitter, his numbers improved in his sophomore year even though he faced SEC pitching, and he was considered one of the more bankable prospects in the 2023 draft despite lacking a true defensive home. The Marlins made him the sixth overall pick.

Berry has plus bat speed and raw power, with an uppercut bat path from both sides of the plate. His right-handed swing is pretty grooved, but still powerful, while his lefty swing is more skillful and dynamic, giving him a potent contact/power blend. Though he does his homer damage almost exclusively to his pull side, Berry slices breaking balls away from him to the opposite field, and most of his non-extra-base hits come that way. He can shorten up and punish inner-third velocity from the left side like few other hitters in the 2022 draft could, and he rarely expands the zone. Here Berry projects as a DH. He’s actually a fairly rangy third baseman, as his foot speed allows him to cover a lot of ground, but his hands and arm accuracy are both pretty rough and cause him to be error-prone. Berry is similar to Dodgers prospect Michael Busch when he was coming out, and is one of the favorites to be the first to reach the big leagues from his draft class, producing like a 2-WAR hitter even as a DH.

Expand arrow_drop_down

107. Matthew Liberatore, SP, STL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Mountain Ridge HS (AZ) (TBR)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 50/55 60/60 45/55 55/60 92-95 / 97

Libby’s curveball won’t ever play like you want it to, but he still goes at hitters with the kitchen sink and we think his command will sharpen enough for him to have a career as a fourth starter.

An intense, cerebral presence on the mound, Liberatore made his big league debut in 2022, spending the back half of the season shuttling between the Cardinals rotation and Triple-A. A somewhat frustrating blend of exciting elements, Liberatore features a four-pitch mix and each of his offerings is at least average, which presents as an obvious starter’s foundation. But the best parts of Libby’s game are offset by the fact that they don’t fit with the rest of his profile, which puts a mild damper on it. His curveball has a 12-6 shape, and he’s deployed the pitch to particularly devastating effect against left-handed opponents; between the two levels, only one lefty has recorded a hit on the curveball. But it’s shape, while deep, is a less-than-ideal pairing with his fastball. His slider tunnels better with the four-seamer, but its whiff and chase rates have been more pedestrian. Meanwhile, his changeup hasn’t yet made the necessary strides to consistently play against advanced righty hitters, and his overall command has plateaued. We’re taking the long view here and think Libby will find a way to be a fourth starter.

Expand arrow_drop_down

108. Quinn Priester, SP, PIT

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Cary-Grove HS (IL) (PIT)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/55 70/70 40/45 50/55 92-94 / 96

Scouts like Priester, pitch data does not. He’s added a hard slider/cutter to his amazing-looking curveball, but his fastball still doesn’t miss bats and his report reads like Aaron Sanchez’s did.

Priester’s four-seamer is divisive. It comes out of his hand from a high arm slot that looks like the kind optimized for data-friendly ride, but the pitch’s downhill angle makes it less of a weapon at the letters and actually makes it very vulnerable within the strike zone. Perhaps as an adjustment to deal with this issue, Priester now mixes in plenty of fastballs for which he pronates on release, giving the pitch screwball-like spin. Its bat-missing capabilities are limited to the bottom arm-side portion of the zone, where this two-seam-ish fastball tends to finish. Many scouts are champing at the bit over Priester’s prototypical frame and four- or five-pitch mix, depending on whether you consider his fastballs two distinct pitches. Quants and front office analyst types are more bearish, citing issues with Priester’s fastball playability. His fastball velocity is down, in the 92-94 mph range, a far cry from Priester’s upper-90s peak. In 2022, it garnered just 8% whiffs and 13% chase during his time at Double-A, where he spent most of the season. However, Priester makes up for it with his preferred secondaries — a huge, arcing curveball that Priester has had forever, and a more recently developed mid-80s slider — both of which have garnered swing-and-miss rates well above the big league average. Neither his slider nor changeup is fully baked quite yet, but if either (or both) become viable, they would bring with them a higher probability that Priester slots in as a mid-rotation starter. Here he’s projected as a no. 4/5 on a contender.

Expand arrow_drop_down

109. Dylan Lesko, SP, SDP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Buford HS (GA) (SDP)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/50 70/80 20/50 92-95 / 98

Lesko hasn’t thrown a pro pitch yet due to TJ rehab, but his changeup and pre-injury velocity and fastball playability demand he be one here toward the back.

Lesko is arguably the most polished and complete high school pitching prospect to come along in a decade. He has an ideal pitcher’s frame, his gorgeous delivery generated mid-90s velocity with huge riding life at the top of the zone, his changeup is one of the better amateur changeups most scouts have ever seen, and before his elbow blew out during his draft spring, his curveball looked like it had gotten better. Lesko was already the consensus top high school pitcher in the draft before the curveball showed up, and would have been a top 10 lock had he stayed healthy throughout the spring, but instead he fell to 15th, where he was picked by San Diego. The risk and long developmental timeline for high school pitchers, let alone injured ones, typically keeps them from sniffing the top 100 in all but a few cases. This is one of those cases. Lesko looked like he had two plus pitches on board as a high schooler. The Padres pitching development track record isn’t great and perhaps they’re not the team best suited to coax a great breaking ball out of Lesko, but as long as his stuff is the same coming off of TJ, he’s already in position to project as a 50.

Expand arrow_drop_down

110. Jackson Jobe, SP, DET

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Heritage Hall HS (DET)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 60/70 50/50 50/60 25/55 93-95 / 98

Jobe’s stuff has more spin than the 24-hour news networks, but he had a rough first season in pro ball.

Jobe was the consensus top high school arm in the 2021 draft and earned a bonus of nearly $7 million as the third overall pick. He had a somewhat rocky first full season in pro ball, running a FIP near 5.00 across 18 starts with Lakeland before finishing up with three fair outings at Western Michigan. After his velocity varied throughout his senior year — at times 92-94 mph, at others parked comfortably in the 95-96 mph range and touching above — Jobe mostly sat 93-95 in 2022. His trademark breaking ball, which has plus-plus spin and flashes huge depth, tends to finish in the strike zone and isn’t yet a consistent putaway pitch. Hitters in general seemed unphased by Jobe’s fastball/breaking ball combo and were comfortable parsing them from one another, even in A-ball. He didn’t throw a ton of strikes and the visual quality of his stuff was closer to average overall than plus or better, which is how it looked in high school. It’s possible some of this is simply the growing pains of a teenage pitcher, and it’s also possible that this is what Jone’s stuff will be under the stress of a pro season’s worth of innings. He’s a plus athlete who would have been a Day Two pick as a position player, and his delivery is smooth and well coordinated, allowing for continued projection of Jobe’s command and control. Here he stays in the same FV tier as last year but falls within that tier due to his 2022 performance. There’s still mid-rotation potential here, it’s just not as in focus as it seemed to be a year ago.

Expand arrow_drop_down

111. Jack Leiter, SP, TEX

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Vanderbilt (TEX)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 55/55 40/55 40/50 93-97 / 99

Leiter was wild in his first full season, but we don’t want to come off him too severely since he has looked like a solid fourth starter basically every other year he’s been on the prospect radar.

After he went second overall in the 2021 draft, Leiter rested for the remainder of that season, having racked up 110 innings on the mound for Vanderbilt. The Rangers then took an aggressive approach, assigning him directly to Double-A Frisco for his first year of pro ball in 2022. He started the season with a schedule that mimicked his college days, pitching every Saturday game in April and the first half of May, before transitioning to a more traditional every-five-days regimen. His strikeout rate began to decline after that, and while his fastball was averaging just over 96 mph across his first four professional starts, it was just below 94 mph over his last four. More disappointing though is that the shape of the heater hasn’t played the way it was hoped to or how the TrackMan data that came out of his time at Vandy hinted that it might, having lost some of the ghost-like deception that flummoxed opposing college batters. His mid-80s slider was his go-to secondary, but his command was spotty throughout the season, to the tune of a 5.44 BB/9 over the course of his 92.2 innings. He hardly threw his changeup at all (just 6% usage), and his numbers against lefties were particularly affected by its omission. But while these setbacks may indicate he’s not quite the stud his draft position would’ve implied, we think there will be bounce back in 2023 and beyond. Leiter is too powerful an on-mound athlete not to have an impact fastball, though he does need to sharpen his control. He slid within this FV tier but his grade didn’t change, and he’s still a pretty good bet to be a no. 4 starter fairly soon even if the arrow is currently pointing down.

Expand arrow_drop_down

112. Robert Hassell III, RF, WSN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Independence HS (TN) (SDP)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 45/50 30/45 55/55 40/50 60

Hassell’s performance tanked after the Juan Soto trade, and he broke his hamate in Arizona after the regular season. He’s now a bounce back prospect.

Hassell was playing like his usual sweet-swinging self until he was traded to Washington as part of the Juan Soto blockbuster; after the deal, his performance took a nosedive. By the end of the year he was late on any sort of real velocity, struggling to get on top of fastballs up and away from him, and spraying most of his contact down the third base line, unable to turn on much of anything. Hassell went to the Fall League, where he broke his right hamate; he had surgery and was shut down. The visual evaluation of Hassell’s feel to hit was consistently strong until the last couple months of 2022. He’s a little bit upright in the box but has a well-timed, toe-tap stride and great-looking swing that has typically been on time despite a little bat wrap and hitch in his hands. Generally considered a polished, high-floored prospect, there’s now a fair bit of volatility here. Hassell doesn’t have premium ball-striking power and is probably a corner outfielder, so the contact piece of his profile needs to rebound in a big way for him to continue projecting as a regular. We’re betting on Hassell in part because he’s a very competitive guy who seems hellbent on maxing himself out.

Expand arrow_drop_down

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

thank you eric, very cool

Cave Dameron
1 year ago
Reply to  jbgocubs

Very cool indeed!