ZiPS 2023 Top 100 Prospects

© Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

For the eighth time, we’ve reached the point in the offseason where I run down the ZiPS Top 100 prospects. For those wandering in who may hear “ZiPS” and think of the University of Akron or possibly the popular Cincinnati burger spot, ZiPS is a computer projection system that crunches a lot of data about players and attempts to peer through the fog that obscures the future. More can be read about the system here or in MLB.com’s executive summary.

ZiPS is a useful tool, but the projections, whether for prospects or for baseball as a whole, are not intended to replace scouting. The purpose of ZiPS is to get the best answers possible from the data available, not necessarily to be the one-ring-to-prove-them-all-unified-field-theory-giant-Katamari-Damacy-ball of prognostication. ZiPS doesn’t see some things that scouts do. But by being able to process large amounts of data and instantly put those numbers into context and make adjustments, ZiPS also sees some things that scouts can’t. Computers and humans have different strengths, after all.

How well does it work? ZiPS, like human scouts, has its own share of gigantic misses (hello, Arismendy Alcántara), but it also has a number of notches in its virtual belt. ZiPS regularly ranked lots of future stars, such as Mookie Betts, Austin Riley, and Pete Alonso, significantly higher than consensus. Last week, a reader looked at Top 100 lists from 2018 onward and ZiPS did just as well as others, including naming the most players with 5 WAR so far (29).

Naturally, there is a lot of agreement between ZiPS and other lists when it comes to top prospects. Elite prospects tend to please both the scouts and the silicon, and 68 of this year’s ZiPS Top 100 overlap with the official FanGraphs Top 100. The ZiPS list should be used in addition to other lists, not in a mutually exclusive fashion.

I’ve adjusted the methodology of the rankings slightly, going with the interquartile mean for career WAR rather than the 50th percentile projection. That’s because, with the benefit of hindsight, it consistently slightly outperforms the 50th percentile rankings (though none of the actual rankings will be retconned for the ZiPS Cinematic Universe). ZiPS will still have a tendency to like high-floor, low-ceiling players more than scouts do. This is understandable given the nature of projections; scouts are optimistic by nature, traveling to Hagerstown or Kannapolis to see something special, not just to find a useful fourth outfielder or innings-eating fourth starter.

So, let’s get to the Top 100. The position listed reflects where the player has played the most recently; ZiPS is making no attempt to gauge where a team will choose to deploy a player, so take that into consideration:

ZiPS Top 100 Prospects – 2023
ZiPS Rank Player Pos. Organization FanGraphs Rank
1 Corbin Carroll CF Arizona Diamondbacks 2
2 Gunnar Henderson SS Baltimore Orioles 1
3 Francisco Álvarez C New York Mets 13
4 Anthony Volpe SS New York Yankees 11
5 Orelvis Martinez SS Toronto Blue Jays Unranked
6 Eury Pérez P Miami Marlins 4
7 Jordan Walker 3B St. Louis Cardinals 12
8 Grayson Rodriguez P Baltimore Orioles 17
9 Endy Rodriguez C Pittsburgh Pirates 22
10 Kyle Harrison P San Francisco Giants 26
11 Andrew Painter P Philadelphia Phillies 5
12 Masataka Yoshida OF Boston Red Sox Unranked
13 Brett Baty 3B New York Mets 23
14 Ricky Tiedemann P Toronto Blue Jays 24
15 Elly De La Cruz SS Cincinnati Reds 6
16 Noelvi Marte SS Cincinnati Reds 94
17 Brandon Pfaadt P Arizona Diamondbacks 16
18 Jackson Chourio CF Milwaukee Brewers 7
19 Ezequiel Tovar SS Colorado Rockies 41
20 Taj Bradley P Tampa Bay Rays 37
21 Jasson Domínguez CF New York Yankees 50
22 Daniel Espino P Cleveland Guardians 93
23 Kyle Manzardo 1B Tampa Bay Rays 42
24 Curtis Mead 3B Tampa Bay Rays 27
25 Bo Naylor C Cleveland Guardians 45
26 Oswald Peraza SS New York Yankees 40
27 Addison Barger SS Toronto Blue Jays 53
28 Coby Mayo 3B Baltimore Orioles 36
29 Brayan Rocchio SS Cleveland Guardians 54
30 Bryan Ramos 3B Chicago White Sox 60
31 Matt McLain SS Cincinnati Reds Unranked
32 Miguel Vargas 3B Los Angeles Dodgers 48
33 Alexander Canario CF Chicago Cubs Unranked
34 Jose Salas SS Minnesota Twins Unranked
35 Triston Casas 1B Boston Red Sox 29
36 Royce Lewis SS Minnesota Twins 55
37 Mick Abel P Philadelphia Phillies 25
38 Blake Walston P Arizona Diamondbacks Unranked
39 Matthew Liberatore P St. Louis Cardinals 107
40 Andy Pages RF Los Angeles Dodgers 58
41 Marcelo Mayer SS Boston Red Sox 18
42 Robert Hassell III CF Washington Nationals 112
43 Ronny Mauricio SS New York Mets 90
44 Diego Cartaya C Los Angeles Dodgers 28
45 Ceddanne Rafaela CF Boston Red Sox 49
46 Pete Crow-Armstrong CF Chicago Cubs 14
47 DL Hall P Baltimore Orioles 64
48 Quinn Priester P Pittsburgh Pirates 108
49 Marco Luciano SS San Francisco Giants 97
50 Logan O’Hoppe C Los Angeles Angels 51
51 Brice Turang SS Milwaukee Brewers 65
52 Spencer Steer 3B Cincinnati Reds 47
53 Jordan Lawlar SS Arizona Diamondbacks 15
54 Tink Hence P St. Louis Cardinals 74
55 James Wood CF Washington Nationals 3
56 Josh Jung 3B Texas Rangers 31
57 Angel Martinez SS Cleveland Guardians Unranked
58 Kodai Senga P New York Mets 39
59 Edwin Arroyo SS Cincinnati Reds 52
60 Maikel Garcia SS Kansas City Royals Unranked
61 Mark Vientos 3B New York Mets Unranked
62 Cade Cavalli P Washington Nationals 63
63 Ky Bush P Los Angeles Angels Unranked
64 Owen White P Texas Rangers 32
65 Hunter Brown P Houston Astros 34
66 Jake Eder P Miami Marlins 62
67 Kevin Alcantara CF Chicago Cubs 73
68 Kyren Paris SS Los Angeles Angels Unranked
69 Gordon Graceffo P St. Louis Cardinals 69
70 Mason Montgomery P Tampa Bay Rays Unranked
71 Gavin Stone P Los Angeles Dodgers 59
72 George Valera RF Cleveland Guardians Unranked
73 Adael Amador SS Colorado Rockies 43
74 Allan Cerda CF Cincinnati Reds Unranked
75 Yunior Severino 3B Minnesota Twins Unranked
76 Logan Allen P Cleveland Guardians 57
77 Edgar Quero C Los Angeles Angels 80
78 Drey Jameson P Arizona Diamondbacks 78
79 Jorbit Vivas 2B Los Angeles Dodgers Unranked
80 Bobby Miller P Los Angeles Dodgers 33
81 Ken Waldichuk P Oakland Athletics 86
82 Jordan Westburg SS Baltimore Orioles Unranked
83 Jack Leiter P Texas Rangers 111
84 Ryne Nelson P Arizona Diamondbacks 89
85 Drew Rom P Baltimore Orioles Unranked
86 Connor Norby 2B Baltimore Orioles Unranked
87 Harry Ford C Seattle Mariners Unranked
88 Joey Ortiz SS Baltimore Orioles 66
89 Michael McGreevy P St. Louis Cardinals Unranked
90 Alec Burleson LF St. Louis Cardinals Unranked
91 Tanner Bibee P Cleveland Guardians 70
92 Juan Brito 2B Cleveland Guardians Unranked
93 Yoendrys Gómez P New York Yankees Unranked
94 Cristian Mena P Chicago White Sox Unranked
95 Gabriel Arias SS Cleveland Guardians Unranked
96 Sal Frelick CF Milwaukee Brewers 68
97 Christian Encarnacion-Strand 3B Cincinnati Reds Unranked
98 Justin Foscue 2B Texas Rangers Unranked
99 Carson Williams SS Tampa Bay Rays 56
100 Edouard Julien 2B Minnesota Twins 75

To make it easier for fans to know whether they should be delighted or furious with me and Mr. Szymborski’s monster, I’ve also prepared a useful summary chart for each team:

ZiPS Top Prospects by Team – 2023
Organization Top 50 Top 100 Top 200
Cleveland Guardians 3 9 11
Baltimore Orioles 4 8 12
Cincinnati Reds 3 7 11
Arizona Diamondbacks 3 6 10
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 6 16
St. Louis Cardinals 2 6 8
New York Mets 3 5 5
Tampa Bay Rays 3 5 7
Los Angeles Angels 1 4 9
Minnesota Twins 2 4 7
New York Yankees 3 4 5
Texas Rangers 0 4 6
Boston Red Sox 4 4 7
Chicago Cubs 2 3 7
Milwaukee Brewers 1 3 6
Toronto Blue Jays 3 3 6
Washington Nationals 1 3 6
Miami Marlins 1 2 7
Chicago White Sox 1 2 2
Colorado Rockies 1 2 5
Philadelphia Phillies 2 2 4
Pittsburgh Pirates 2 2 5
San Francisco Giants 2 2 4
Houston Astros 0 1 4
Kansas City Royals 0 1 5
Oakland Athletics 0 1 7
Seattle Mariners 0 1 3
Atlanta Braves 0 0 1
Detroit Tigers 0 0 11
San Diego Padres 0 0 3

For the second straight year, the Cleveland Guardians do extremely well here. The Baltimore Orioles ranking highly should be no surprise, even with Adley Rutschman graduating. The Cincinnati Reds better rank highly after dumping most of their team, and I’ve already talked about ZiPS secretly being paid off by the Diamondbacks. It’s jarring to see the Braves and Padres so low after how dominant they’ve been in the rankings previously, but a lot of that is the price of success; Austin Riley, Michael Harris II, Spencer Strider, and Vaughn Grissom would all be ultra-elite this year, but they’re all in the majors, a result the Braves no doubt prefer. As for the Padres, they’ve made a lot of trades in recent years, which will naturally reduce the level of talent in a farm system. The only other team shut out of the Top 100, the Detroit Tigers, can take some solace in the fact that they’re tied for third overall when you extend to 200 prospects.

Since a chart of 100 players is unwieldy, let’s break it down by position, and talk about a few of the highlights. Me saying “ZiPS says X” for 100 individual prospects would be rather boring, so please, put your questions in the comments if there are things you’re curious about! And for detailed breakdowns of the players as a whole, be sure to check out The Board. We’ll start with first base:

ZiPS Top 10 First Base Prospects – 2023
Pos. Rank Player Pos. Organization FanGraphs Rank
1 Kyle Manzardo 1B Tampa Bay Rays 42
2 Triston Casas 1B Boston Red Sox 29
3 Tyler Soderstrom 1B Oakland Athletics 30
4 Matt Mervis 1B Chicago Cubs Unranked
5 Niko Kavadas 1B Boston Red Sox Unranked
6 Alex Isola 1B Minnesota Twins Unranked
7 Grant Lavigne 1B Colorado Rockies Unranked
8 Michael Toglia 1B Colorado Rockies Unranked
9 Hunter Goodman 1B Colorado Rockies Unranked
10 Wilfred Veras 1B Chicago White Sox Unranked

First base prospect lists just aren’t what they used to be. Teams are generally (rightfully) resistant to moving their prospects to first unless they have to. Generally speaking, there are two tiers of first base prospects here. The top four all rank in the ZiPS Top 200, then there’s a big drop-off from Matt Mervis at 189 to Niko Kavadas at 282. Triston Casas tends to be the consensus top first base prospect, but ZiPS likes Kyle Manzardo even more; he has one fewer year of pro experience, but the minor league translations are more impressive and because he’s younger, ZiPS sees more chance of a tantalizing breakout. ZiPS wasn’t overly enthused by Tyler Soderstrom’s performance, but is much happier when you take his age into consideration. ZiPS prefers Mervis to fellow Cub Trey Mancini, but Mervis finishes fourth here by virtue of being older than Manzardo, Casas, and Soderstrom, and the computer just not seeing as much upside as it does with those three.

ZiPS Top 10 Second Base Prospects – 2023
Pos. Rank Player Pos. Organization FanGraphs Rank
1 Jorbit Vivas 2B Los Angeles Dodgers Unranked
2 Connor Norby 2B Baltimore Orioles Unranked
3 Juan Brito 2B Cleveland Guardians Unranked
4 Justin Foscue 2B Texas Rangers Unranked
5 Edouard Julien 2B Minnesota Twins 75
6 Michael Busch 2B Los Angeles Dodgers 46
7 Jeremiah Jackson 2B Los Angeles Angels Unranked
8 Eguy Rosario 2B San Diego Padres Unranked
9 Nick Yorke 2B Boston Red Sox 102
10 Brett Wisely 2B San Francisco Giants Unranked

No, ZiPS did not give additional points to Jorbit Vivas for having such a fun name. The second base list has some of the same characteristics as first base, simply because a lot of the “true” best second base prospects are currently playing shortstop. Vivas ranks 78th in the Top 100, while Adael Amador, a shortstop who ranks six places ahead of him, doesn’t even crack the top 15 at his position! Connor Norby, along with Jordan Westburg and Joey Ortiz, is why I’m sort of annoyed with the Orioles for making one of their few free agent signings second baseman Adam Frazier. Even by 2022 minor league offensive standards, a second baseman with a .960 OPS is someone you shouldn’t sleep on, and as a former second-rounder, it’s not like Norby doesn’t have a pedigree. Justin Foscue has been a ZiPS favorite for a while, with the computer seeing him a bit like Nick Solak if Solak had met expectations. There’s still a question about Edouard Julien’s ultimate position, but he has a fascinating offensive profile. The projections know to not go too nuts over walk-heavy minor leaguers, but Julien isn’t a passive, power-less bat; he hit .300 with 17 homers at Double-A in 2023. There’s a pretty wide range of possible outcomes when it comes to Julien, but with a little luck, his long-term projections would involve a higher batting average than the rather unimpressive mean projections he currently has.

ZiPS Top 10 Shortstop Prospects – 2023
Pos. Rank Player Pos. Organization FanGraphs Rank
1 Gunnar Henderson SS Baltimore Orioles 1
2 Anthony Volpe SS New York Yankees 11
3 Orelvis Martinez SS Toronto Blue Jays Unranked
4 Elly De La Cruz SS Cincinnati Reds 6
5 Noelvi Marte SS Cincinnati Reds 94
6 Ezequiel Tovar SS Colorado Rockies 41
7 Oswald Peraza SS New York Yankees 40
8 Addison Barger SS Toronto Blue Jays 53
9 Brayan Rocchio SS Cleveland Guardians 54
10 Matt McLain SS Cincinnati Reds Unranked
11 Jose Salas SS Minnesota Twins Unranked
12 Royce Lewis SS Minnesota Twins 55
13 Marcelo Mayer SS Boston Red Sox 18
14 Ronny Mauricio SS New York Mets 90
15 Marco Luciano SS San Francisco Giants 97

Here’s where you can see some serious prospectage from top to bottom. I hope Orioles fans can forgive me for Gunnar Henderson ranking behind Corbin Carroll, but he’s still the best shortstop prospect among a very impressive group. And if he moves to second or third base, he’s the best prospect at those positions as well! Henderson had one of the biggest breakout seasons for a shortstop in prospect history in 2022, and it’s with good reason that he’s quickly moved into ultra-elite territory.

The most controversial projection here may be that of Orelvis Martinez, who ranks above some seriously high-quality shortstop prospects. Most of that is a dispute over position; there’s a real question whether he can stick at short or will move to third base. ZiPS uses a Total Zone-esque method for looking at minor league defense, for which I have the location/angle hit of every defensive play in the minors. This method nailed players like Luis Robert Jr. as minor leaguers, and right now, it thinks Martinez is below average but not alarmingly so. If he turns out to be Hanley Ramirez-esque at shortstop, he drops very quickly in the rankings given the competition here.

The Cincinnati Reds have accumulated a comical number of shortstop prospects. Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, and (surprisingly) Matt McLain all make the top 15. Edwin Arroyo missed, but he ranks 58th overall, and yet another shortstop, 2021 third-rounder Jose Torres, finishes in the Top 200. Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, both higher-floor/lower-ceiling guys in ZiPS’ view, ought to feel a bit of urgency because someone here is inevitably going to join the fight for third base!

ZiPS Top 10 Third Base Prospects – 2023
Pos. Rank Player Pos. Organization FanGraphs Rank
1 Jordan Walker 3B St. Louis Cardinals 12
2 Brett Baty 3B New York Mets 23
3 Curtis Mead 3B Tampa Bay Rays 27
4 Coby Mayo 3B Baltimore Orioles 36
5 Bryan Ramos 3B Chicago White Sox 60
6 Miguel Vargas 3B Los Angeles Dodgers 48
7 Spencer Steer 3B Cincinnati Reds 47
8 Josh Jung 3B Texas Rangers 31
9 Mark Vientos 3B New York Mets Unranked
10 Yunior Severino 3B Minnesota Twins Unranked

Jordan Walker doesn’t get the shiniest mean projection — ZiPS projects 1.8 WAR from him in 2025 — but his upside is quite explosive. If we look at the 75th-percentile projections for 2025 instead of the 50th, that 1.8 WAR jumps to 3.7 WAR. Simply put, ZiPS think there’s a decent chance that Walker puts up some obscene home run totals, even if that’s not necessarily the over/under line. ZiPS is a fan of Curtis Mead causing a position battle at third for the Rays, which I imagine will result in someone ending up in an outfield corner. I hope the presence of Coby Mayo discourages the O’s from prematurely moving Henderson to third like they did with Manny Machado when they gave priority to J.J. Hardy. Last year’s surprise third base inclusion, Bryan Ramos, maintains his rank, and ZiPS doesn’t know that the Dodgers will probably have Miguel Vargas play other positions more often than third in 2023.

ZiPS Top 10 Catcher Prospects – 2023
Pos. Rank Player Pos. Organization FanGraphs Rank
1 Francisco Álvarez C New York Mets 13
2 Endy Rodriguez C Pittsburgh Pirates 22
3 Bo Naylor C Cleveland Guardians 45
4 Diego Cartaya C Los Angeles Dodgers 28
5 Logan O’Hoppe C Los Angeles Angels 51
6 Edgar Quero C Los Angeles Angels 80
7 Harry Ford C Seattle Mariners Unranked
8 Yainer Diaz C Houston Astros 79
9 Austin Wells C New York Yankees Unranked
10 Israel Pineda C Washington Nationals Unranked

ZiPS is going to be Super Annoyed if Francisco Álvarez spends a good deal of the season at Triple-A Syracuse, to a degree that humanity is fortunate I’m nowhere near smart enough to program Skynet. I like Omar Narváez, but Álvarez has a good chance to be something truly special, and there comes a point where the Mets are just wasting his time in the minors. Endy Rodriguez has leapfrogged way ahead of Henry Davis among Pirates catching prospects thanks to his 2022, and while it doesn’t have an effect here, I like that the Bucs are still occasionally using him at second base and in the outfield, which could make him some kind of Beast Mode Austin Barnes.

Bo Naylor’s power blew up in 2022, so it ought to be no surprise to see him rank so highly, and the Angels now have two catchers here, with Logan O’Hoppe likely being a semi-starter as a minimum in 2023. Harry Ford is one of the names on the list that really interests me. As an aside, I’m going to keep saying Harry Ford whenever possible because my dumb brain still calls him Henry Ford about half the time. ZiPS is a bit concerned about his defense; 14 passed balls and eight errors for Harry Ford is a lot in 54 games, and while Harry Ford’s not hopeless at controlling baserunners, it’s also not really a plus. But Harry Ford’s bat, which went from high school to full-season ball very quickly with few consequences, may end up playing anywhere. Harry Ford.

ZiPS Top 10 Outfield Prospects – 2023
ZiPS Rank Player Pos. Organization FanGraphs Rank
1 Corbin Carroll OF Arizona Diamondbacks 2
2 Masataka Yoshida OF Boston Red Sox Unranked
3 Jackson Chourio OF Milwaukee Brewers 7
4 Jasson Domínguez OF New York Yankees 50
5 Alexander Canario OF Chicago Cubs Unranked
6 Andy Pages OF Los Angeles Dodgers 58
7 Robert Hassell III OF Washington Nationals 112
8 Ceddanne Rafaela OF Boston Red Sox 49
9 Pete Crow-Armstrong OF Chicago Cubs 14
10 James Wood OF Washington Nationals 3
11 Kevin Alcantara OF Chicago Cubs 73
12 George Valera OF Cleveland Guardians Unranked
13 Allan Cerda OF Cincinnati Reds Unranked
14 Alec Burleson OF St. Louis Cardinals Unranked
15 Sal Frelick OF Milwaukee Brewers 68

ZiPS sees Corbin Carroll as the class of the 2023 prospect contingent, a franchise player who the Diamondbacks should try to sign to a long-term deal as quickly as possible. (They appear to be doing this.) Jackson Chourio ranking second in the outfield group isn’t a shocker, and ZiPS loves his combination of power and speed. The first big surprise is Alexander Canario. ZiPS thinks his defense is better than the consensus in center field, and based on some of the advanced hit data from the minors, the system thinks he got totally hosed in the BABIP department. Add in impressive power upside and you have a pick that might look genius or absolutely crazy in three years. Remember, all of the projection misses remain Carson Cistulli’s fault.

The most notable projection here may be how low Nats outfielder James Wood ranks. In this case, ZiPS is designed to be skeptical about players with little minor league time — and completely agnostic about high schoolers yet to debut — and it’s actually fairly impressive that he ranks this highly. If all goes well, Wood has an easy path to the ZiPS overall top 10 in 2024. That is, if he doesn’t blow through the minors quickly; the Nats were certainly willing to give Juan Soto a chance very, very quickly, and if he continues to hit like this, it’ll be hard to not use Wood similarly. Colton Cowser slipped a lot after a rather weak Triple-A debut; without it, he’d rank 87th overall rather than tumbling to 105. One other big slipper is George Valera, who ZiPS still sees as a prospect despite dipping to no. 71 after placing fifth overall last year. The scouts seem to have gauged him better than the computer, at least in 2022.

ZiPS Top 20 Pitching Prospects – 2023
Pos. Rank Player Pos. Organization FanGraphs Rank
1 Eury Pérez SP Miami Marlins 4
2 Grayson Rodriguez SP Baltimore Orioles 17
3 Kyle Harrison SP San Francisco Giants 26
4 Andrew Painter SP Philadelphia Phillies 5
5 Ricky Tiedemann SP Toronto Blue Jays 24
6 Brandon Pfaadt SP Arizona Diamondbacks 16
7 Taj Bradley SP Tampa Bay Rays 37
8 Daniel Espino SP Cleveland Guardians 93
9 Mick Abel SP Philadelphia Phillies 25
10 Blake Walston SP Arizona Diamondbacks Unranked
11 Matthew Liberatore SP St. Louis Cardinals 107
12 DL Hall SP Baltimore Orioles 64
13 Quinn Priester SP Pittsburgh Pirates 108
14 Tink Hence SP St. Louis Cardinals 74
15 Kodai Senga SP New York Mets 39
16 Cade Cavalli SP Washington Nationals 63
17 Ky Bush SP Los Angeles Angels Unranked
18 Owen White SP Texas Rangers 32
19 Hunter Brown SP Houston Astros 34
20 Jake Eder SP Miami Marlins 62
21 Gordon Graceffo SP St. Louis Cardinals 69
22 Mason Montgomery SP Tampa Bay Rays Unranked
23 Gavin Stone SP Los Angeles Dodgers 59
24 Logan Allen SP Cleveland Guardians 57
25 Drey Jameson SP Arizona Diamondbacks 78
26 Bobby Miller SP Los Angeles Dodgers 33
27 Ken Waldichuk SP Oakland Athletics 86
28 Jack Leiter SP Texas Rangers 111
29 Ryne Nelson SP Arizona Diamondbacks 89
30 Drew Rom SP Baltimore Orioles Unranked

Surprisingly, there’s quite a lot of agreement between the ZiPS list and the FanGraphs list at the top of the pitching ranks. Eight of the top nine prospects in ZiPS are basically the top pitching prospects on Eric and Tess’ list. I’d have liked to see Grayson Rodriguez stay at the top, but you can’t deny that 2022 added some additional uncertainty to the mix. A lot of the disagreement on the remaining pitcher, Daniel Espino, may simply come down to the fact that ZiPS isn’t aware that his shoulder problems have continued, which is something that should always frighten you about pitching prospects! Ricky Tiedemann may be the most impressive big jumper here, as it’s hard for a pitcher to rank this highly based on so few professional innings; that simply reflects his dominance in those innings.

Blake Walston is the first big surprise here, a low ceiling prospect who didn’t have an impressive season on the surface in 2022. But on a play-by-play level, ZiPS thinks his high BABIP and too-high HR/9 (.341, 1.35) weren’t actually earned from his pitching, and given how offense exploded in the minors, ZiPS is much sunnier about his recent campaign. ZiPS continues to like Matthew Liberatore, and he’s joined by two teammates, Gordon Graceffo and Tink Hence. Hence’s rank is more impressive than it looks for a reason similar to Tiedemann’s: he only has 16 starts above rookie ball! But what a 16 starts they were. Fourteen strikeouts per game with a low walk rate and just a single homer? Sign me up. More of this, and Hence will rank like Rodriguez or Eury Pérez in ZiPS (I checked). Drey Jameson and Ryne Nelson join ZiPS’ Arizona Bias Factory to give the team four of the league’s top 30 pitching prospects by ZiPS. Mason Montgomery is one of the ZiPS low-ceiling/high-floor specials; pitching in the Trop against the backdrop of a pitcher-friendly big league offensive environment, ZiPS sees Montgomery’s control as just good enough to give him a shot at crafty lefty territory.

Kodai Senga’s relatively low rank reflects the fact that he’s already 30 and has fewer years remaining than other pitchers who work out rather than indicating any skepticism about his abilities.

Comments? Questions? Complaints? The comment section is open!

[Note: Masataka Yoshida was originally not flagged as a rookie and left off the list due to the slight incompetence of the author -DS]





Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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Choochmember
11 months ago

Been looking forward to this all week, thanks Dan! Minor error fyi, you misspelled interquartile.