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Earlier in the offseason, I ranked the top 100 MLB prospects and all 30 farm systems heading into the 2022 season. Now it’s time to go deeper with my team-by-team rankings, starting with the National League followed by the American League lists later this week.
A quick refresher on a key term you’ll see throughout the team lists: future value, shortened to FV hereafter, sums up the value of a player into one number. It’s graded on the 20-80 scouting scale. A low-end everyday player is a 50, which correlates to 2.0 WAR; a well-above-average position player, No. 3 starter or high-end closer is a 60, or somewhere around 3.0 WAR. I refrain from tossing out an 80 on minor leaguers because that would imply one is expected to be one of the top players in baseball.
While the top 100 is exactly that long, I rank every prospect who gets a 45+ or better FV grade, so that rank is included here in the team lists. For every team, there are reports on the top 10 prospects and then varying numbers of others depending on the strength of the system. Broadly, it’ll be everyone better than a 40 FV, then handpicked interesting prospects who are 40 FVs.
Now on to my 2022 rankings.
Jump to a franchise:
NL East: ATL | MIA | NYM | PHI | WSH
NL Central: CHC | CIN | MIL | PIT | STL
NL West: ARI | COL | LAD | SD | SF
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No. 29 overall
No. 30 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$84.5 million total value
1. Michael Harris II, CF, 55 FV (38th in the Top 100)
2. Drew Waters, CF, 45+ FV
3. Kyle Muller, LHP, 45 FV
4. Braden Shewmake, SS, 45 FV
5. Freddy Tarnok, RHP, 45 FV
6. Vaughn Grissom, SS, 40+ FV
7. Tucker Davidson, LHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (10): Jesse Franklin V/CF, Spencer Schwellenbach/RHP, Bryce Elder/RHP, Jared Shuster/LHP, Spencer Strider/RHP, Victor Vodnik/RHP, A.J. Smith-Shawver/RHP, Alan Rangel/RHP, Ambioris Tavarez/3B, Brooks Wilson/RHP
35+ FV (7): Diego Benitez/SS, Adam Shoemaker/LHP, Jared Johnson/RHP, Indigo Diaz/RHP, Darius Vines/RHP, Dylan Lee/LHP, William Woods/RHP
2022 Impact: Davidson
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Tarnok and Grissom
40 FV or less breakout pick: Smith-Shawver
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Waters has been a bit frustrating in the upper minors. He has gotten a little more patient at the plate but that’s undercut by ballooning strikeout rates. The raw tools (plus speed, center field fit, plus raw power, plus bat control) are still huge and he hits the ball hard in games, but the whole thing is being undermined by a poor approach. Hitters almost never make dramatic changes in that skill at this stage of development, with Carl Crawford’s subtle pitch-selection improvement representing an optimistic outcome.
Shewmake has a good feel for the game and his long limbs make him deceptively quick on the basepaths and at shortstop. The question is how his hit-first skill set will play offensively. He had a hot start to his pro career, then a down 2021 at Double-A. His approach is still fine and there’s solid bat-to-ball, but his lack of in-game power and how he allows pitchers to attack him are the issues here. Grissom, a prep teammate of Riley Greene, is another solid defensive shortstop with a feel for hitting and some power, but not much punch in games just yet. His approach and overall age vs. performance is stronger than Shewmake’s, but there’s just less track record — keep an eye on him for a step forward in 2022.
Muller was drafted 44th overall in 2016 out of a Dallas-area high school as a potential solid mid-rotation starter with above-average raw stuff and feel for his craft. He’s changed a bit in pro ball to a pitcher with below-average feel, a heater up to 100 mph and two above-average breaking balls but a lagging changeup. He was solid in 36? MLB innings in 2021 and will have some sort of big league role this year, but it’s looking more like Tyler Matzek/Will Smith than Ian Anderson right now. Davidson is similar both in morphing into more of a fastball-velocity-dominant type and in likely having a 2022 big league role contingent on the feel he shows. Muller is 6-foot-7 and Davidson is 5 inches shorter, but otherwise they’re doing some similar things. Tarnok is my pitcher breakout pick. He’s got a very clean arm action, three above-average-flashing pitches and the frame/delivery to project improvement into a big league starter. I wouldn’t be shocked if he spent 2022 at Double-A and Triple-A, and eventually hopped over Muller and Davidson both on this list and in line for a big league spot start.
Others of note
Franklin has a Joc Pederson-like skill set as a power-focused late-count hitter and outfield tweener. He’s a big leaguer of some sort, but more likely a platoon type than an everyday player. Schwellenbach was one of the more talented all-around players in the 2021 draft, with legit late-first-round upside on the mound (flashed a 70-grade sinker, two 60-grade breaking balls, a 55-grade changeup, and decent feel) despite limited innings, along with second-third-round ability as a shortstop. The Braves got him for a below-slot bonus in the second round as a pitcher since he was in need of Tommy John surgery and he may be back in the fall. Elder performed better than expected in his full-season debut in large part due to his advanced feel, but has an upside of a back-end starter due to his solid-average raw stuff.
Shuster became a late first-rounder when his velocity spiked early in the shortened 2020 spring and his breaking ball also improved with the added arm speed. That regressed a bit in 2021 when he sat 88-92, but the above-average changeup and solid command are still present. Strider had a meteoric rise from low-A to the big leagues in his pro debut, powered by a whiff-friendly, 94-98 mph heater that’s been into the triple digits. His slider is just OK, solid-average at times, and his changeup is all right but isn’t a swing-and-miss pitch — but Strider knows how to use what he has and throws quality strikes. Right now, he’s a multi-inning relief option who needs to add another element to stick in a rotation long-term.
Vodnik is a shorter righty with big arm speed and decent but inconsistent secondaries like Strider, but his command is below average and may limit him to shorter relief. Smith-Shawver is raw but has considerable upside as a two-way (third base) and two-sport (quarterback) athlete who is up to 98 mph on the mound with an above-average-flashing slider despite limited miles on his arm. Wilson is a late bloomer, recently turning 26 and being added to the 40-man due to excelling in relief with a plus-plus splitter but an average fastball. Benitez has long been seen as a seven-figure caliber shortstop who was bat-first, but his power has developed of late and he may stay at the position. Shoemaker is a 6-6 Canadian prep lefty who has been up to 95 but has very limited reps. Johnson sits in the mid-90s and has hit 100 mph, but his command and overall polish is well behind the Strider/Vodnik group. Vines has an average fastball, but his curve and changeup are both above average, so he may fit best in relief when his velocity can play up. I left 2021 draft picks 2B Cal Conley, LHP Dylan Dodd and 3B Justyn-Henry Malloy off the list, but any of them could jump on with a strong first half.
No. 4 overall
No. 9 (tied) ranked in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$289 million total value
1. Max Meyer, RHP, 55 FV (33rd on the Top 100)
2. Kahlil Watson, SS, 55 FV (40)
3. Edward Cabrera, RHP, 55 FV (44)
4. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, 50 FV (54)
5. Eury Perez, RHP, 50 FV (55)
6. Peyton Burdick, RF, 50 FV (71)
7. J.J. Bleday, RF, 50 FV (91)
8. Jake Eder, LHP, 45+ FV
9. Ian Lewis, 2B, 45+ FV
10. Dax Fulton, LHP, 45+ FV
11. Nasim Nunez, SS, 45 FV
12. Jose Salas, SS, 45 FV
13. Zach McCambley, RHP, 45 FV
14. Victor Mesa Jr., CF, 45 FV
15. Joe Mack, C, 40+ FV
16. Yiddi Cappe, SS, 40+ FV
17. Evan Fitterer, RHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (6): Cody Morissette/2B, Osiris Johnson/CF, Nick Fortes/C, Braxton Garrett/LHP, Jordan McCants/SS, Cody Poteet/RHP
35+ FV (13): Payton Henry/C, Jerar Encarnacion/RF, Andrew Nardi/LHP, Brady Allen/RF, Nick Neidert/RHP, Louis Head/RHP, Andrew McInvale/RHP, Ronaldo Hernandez/C, Will Banfield/C, Sean Guenther/RHP, Griffin Conine/RF, Chris Mokma/RHP, Tanner Allen/LF, Paul McIntosh/C
2022 Impact: Cabrera
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Lewis
40 FV or less breakout pick: Johnson
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Eder was in the middle of a breakout season before needing Tommy John surgery and he would have made the top 100 if he stayed healthy. Eder sat low-90s with a plus changeup in high school but his breaker and command were inconsistent and his price tag pushed him to Vanderbilt. He either relieved or worked in short stints his first few seasons, morphing into more of a fastball/slider dominant pitcher as is common in college, then moved to the rotation in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The Marlins got him in the fourth round due to relief risk tied to command issues, but he pitched 71? innings in Double-A as a starter in 2021 with better numbers than any of his relief years in college. He now has three above-average pitches, is sitting 92-95 and has analytically friendly shape to his stuff along with starter command.
Fulton blew out after a summer showcase season that had him in the middle of the first round, eventually going 40th overall for an over-slot bonus in 2020. He came back in 2021 and pitched well across both A-ball levels. He was overshadowed by Perez but still outstanding for a teenager. His stuff is back, headlined by two 55-to-60-grade pitches in his fastball and slider with a solid changeup and command. Eder and Fulton are two of the better bets to jump into 50 FV territory with 10 more good starts, though Eder’s may have to come in the Arizona Fall League.
McCambley was a personal favorite back in high school who didn’t have his bonus number met and ended up at East Carolina. He’s always been big with above-average velocity and a hammer breaking ball with some feel, but didn’t always put the whole package together. He has good shape to his stuff and throws solid strikes, with his changeup the variable between mid-rotation starter, long reliever and setup man outcomes. He is one more of a sleeper arm to possibly make a midseason jump. Fitterer was an over-slot sinker-heavy prep righty in the 2019 draft and, while he hasn’t thrown that many pro innings, all the components are still there. He has a unique cut/sink shape to his 91-93 mph heater, along with an above-average breaker and starter traits, so bulk performance is what he needs to move up.
Lewis signed for just under $1 million out of the Bahamas in the 2019 international class that also featured Jose Salas (Venezuela) and they’re similar in value, both arrow-up since then, but I’m leaning to Lewis for now. Lewis has a great swing and great feel to hit, along with above-average bat speed, sneaky power that’s emerging, and at least plus speed, but he’ll likely settle at second base defensively. He’ll stay outside of the 50 FV tier just because he’s only played 43 pro games, all at the complex league. Salas was more heralded as an amateur ($2.8 million) and also has a high-probability hit tool, enough that the Marlins pushed him to low-A last year and he’s still just 18. Salas is a bigger kid and will probably move off of shortstop to either second or third base, but Lewis’ power indicators are a little stronger in the early going and his is a bit faster as well.
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Nunez is a specific type of prospect who has long been underrated by teams, but even more by analysts, until recent years: the plus defensive shortstop who can hit — but with little power. Teaching power is easier now than ever and Nunez has improved in this area, along with having the variables you’d want to see: physical ability, bat control, coachability and elite swing decisions. He’s about as likely to become a big leaguer as anyone who has topped out at low-A, but he’ll need to either do it at a higher level or show more pop to break into the 50 FV tier. Cappe waited an extra signing period to sign for $3.5 million with the Marlins and he’s now 19 years old, so he’s further along than the typical 16- or 17-year-old elite international signee. He’s a lanky 6-3, so the longer limbs plus limited amateur looks means there are some natural questions about contact against mid-90s velocity, but he’s got all the other tools. He has also exceeded expectations since signing, so Cappe is another young Marlin to watch early in 2021 to go up another FV tier.
Mesa Jr. was more of an afterthought at signing, getting $1 million along with his older brother Victor Victor (who got $5.25 million), but Victor Jr. quickly became the better prospect once the bonus-aided sheen wore off. He’s an above-average defender in center field and an above-average runner who had a solid full season debut in low-A at age 19. His exit velos are solid, as is his pitch selection, so with a little more loft and normal maturation, Mesa Jr. has the look of a low-end regular. Mack had long been a standout hitter on the national stage before going 31st overall last summer. He tweaked his swing a bit in the spring, which hurt his draft stock, and young catchers are the riskiest bet of position players, but Mack has plus raw power and can hit. His defense has always been fine and he probably went a dozen picks later than he would have when the spring started.
Others of note
Morissette was a hot name early last spring as he and teammate/future first-rounder Sal Frelick hadn’t been seen much on the national scene but had the making of top-50 overall picks. Morissette lasted until the 52nd pick but was the backup option for a couple of clubs in the back half of the first round. He can hit and fits at second or third, but his in-game power will be the deciding factor in whether he’s a utility guy or low-end regular. Johnson was a raw, young-for-the-class high school pick who was hurt by all the missed time around the pandemic. To make up for lost time, Miami sent him to low-A and he struggled enough to get sent back to Rookie ball, where the Marlins moved him to the outfield to ease his mind from playing shortstop. This worked perfectly, then he went back to low-A and performed much better. Now with some performance to match the big raw tools (plus bat speed, above-average raw power, bat-to-ball skills, above-average runner, center-field fit), the only question is if his pitch selection will improve to let the tools play even more.
McCants, like Johnson, is an up-the-middle prep tools bet. The 6-foot-1 McCants is at least a plus runner with a good swing and solid contact rates, along with the ability to play shortstop. His in-game power and overall polish are the questions, but the starting point is strong. Encarnacion has slid down the list as his intimidating frame and big raw power have been undermined in games by excessive swing and miss. Now 24-year-old with limited defensive ability and on the 40-man roster, he needs to rake and soon. Allen is a personal favorite since back in high school; he’s had plus raw power for a long time with a solid approach, some hitability and sneaky physical tools. I think there’s a platoon/reserve big leaguer of some sort here and prefer him to Tanner Allen, a more bat-first, left-field-only version from the Marlins’ 2021 draft class. McIntosh was a post-draft free agent from West Virginia with solid exit velos and the defensive ability to play a solid catcher but was also 23 years old with just OK numbers considering his experience. He went straight to low-A and hit shockingly well; the Marlins may have found something here. Conine is the son of Mr. Marlin Jeff and has huge lefty raw power that produced 36 homers across high-A and Double-A, but a ridiculous amount of swing and miss.
No. 18 overall
No. 29 (tied) in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$190 million total value
1. Francisco Alvarez, C, 60 FV (9th on the Top 100)
2. Ronny Mauricio, SS, 55 FV (43)
3. Brett Baty, 3B, 55 FV (52)
4. Mark Vientos, 3B (92)
5. Matt Allan, RHP, 50 FV (121)
6. Alex Ramirez, RF, 45 FV
7. Khalil Lee, RF, 45 FV
40 FV (13): Calvin Ziegler/RHP, Dominic Hamel/RHP, Mike Vasil/RHP, Carlos Cortes/2B, Joel Diaz/RHP, Jose Butto/RHP, Jaylen Palmer/3B, Nick Plummer/LF, William Lugo/SS, Robert Dominguez/RHP, Luis Rodriguez/LHP, Junior Santos/RHP, J.T. Schwartz/1B
35+ FV (12): Eric Orze/RHP, Travis Blankenhorn/2B, Jordany Ventura/RHP, Hayden Senger/C, Joander Suarez/RHP, Simon Juan/CF, Nick Meyer/C, Christian Scott/RHP, Kevin Kendall/SS, Jake Mangum/CF, Javier Atencio/LHP, Vincent Perozo/C
2022 Impact: Plummer
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Ramirez
40 FV or Less Breakout Pick: Ziegler
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Allan is a classic prep power arm with a mid-90s, top-of-the-zone-oriented heater and an easily plus high-spin curveball. He has a work-in-progress set of feel qualities that were improving before he blew out, so it’s a question about where those stand as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery. He’s about to turn 21 and has thrown 10.1 pro innings since the 2019 draft, but he’s still ranked up here because all the pieces are in place for him to be a frontline starter with power stuff and enough feel to make it all work.
Ramirez is one of the more exciting talents out of the so-far underwhelming 2019 international signing class in which he signed for $2.05 million out of the Dominican Republic. He spent all of his age-18 season at low-A and performed respectably while playing mostly center field. This is even more notable as he wasn’t able to play official pro games in 2019 and 2020. To perform as he did after being rushed as though he had a normal ramp-up is a great forward-looking sign. He has solid raw power now that should be above average to plus and there’s feel to hit, though he needs to continue adjusting to advanced pitching and chase less often. He’ll probably settle in right field but is decent in center for now.
Lee has a shot to be a solid big leaguer, maybe even a low-end everyday player, with his power-and-patience skill set and outfield tweener defensive fit. If he can only post a .220 or .230 batting average, he’ll be more of a platoon/reserve option.
Others of note
I’ll break this group of players into three subgroups. First we have the 2021 draft class pitchers with Ziegler, Hamel and Vasil. Ziegler was trending up late in the process as a Canadian prep product pitching in Florida who was flashing an above-average fastball/breaking ball combo and starter traits. Hamel is one of many 22-year-old college pitchers leftover from the shortened draft to improve in 2021. He’ll be either a back-end starter or middle reliever, depending on how his changeup and command progress. Vasil took his name out of consideration despite being a mid-first-round draft prospect three years ago, then stalled a bit at Virginia. He slid well past where he should’ve gone in the draft — I saw a solid second-round pick when he faced Georgia Tech last spring — to the eighth round and he has regained some of that prep form since signing.
The next group features the recent pitcher signees from the international program. Diaz has shown an above-average fastball and a competent but improving curveball, changeup and command en route to a very strong statistical DSL summer. Rodriguez is an advanced 6-foot-3 lefty who jumped to low-A as an 18-year-old, also showing a potentially above-average fastball with strong progress in developing secondary pitches and solid present command. Dominguez was the hot name in last year’s list when he came out of nowhere to explode post-signing, but took a step back with command issues and increased reliever risk, though the raw stuff is still electric — his fastball has been sitting 94-96 and hitting 99 mph.
Three relevant power bats include Palmer, a 2018 22nd-round sleeper from Flushing, New York, who continues to post strong exit velos and is a potential center-field fit in addition to the infield, but whose pitch selection needs to improve. Lugo had even better exit velos, near the top of the minor leagues for his age, while playing a decent infield in rookie ball as a teenager — but there are concerns about both his position and contact rate against better stuff. Plummer was a former 23rd overall pick whom the Mets signed to a big league deal as a minor league free agent from the outfielder-rich Cardinals system. The swing adjustments seem real, so the 25-year-old could be a big league factor in 2022.
No. 26 (tied) ranked overall
No. 23 (tied) in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$128 million total value
1. Bryson Stott, SS, 50 FV (66th on the Top 100)
2. Mick Abel, RHP, 50 FV (89)
3. Johan Rojas, CF, 50 FV (99)
4. Logan O’Hoppe, C, 45+ FV
5. Andrew Painter, RHP, 45 FV
6. Ethan Wilson, LF, 45 FV
7. Matt Vierling, CF, 45 FV
8. Hans Crouse, RHP, 45
9. Luis Garcia, SS, 45 FV
10. Erik Miller, LHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (12): Jordan Viars/RF, Hao Yu Lee/2B, Griff McGarry/RHP, Francisco Morales/RHP, Micah Ottenbreit/RHP, William Bergolla/SS, Simon Muzziotti/CF, Yemal Flores/RF, Donny Sands/C, Mickey Moniak/CF, Jhailyn Ortiz/RF, Yhoswar Garcia/CF
35+ FV (16): James McArthur/RHP, Cristopher Sanchez/LHP, Casey Martin/2B, Jamari Baylor/2B, Baron Radcliff/1B, Jadiel Sanchez/RF, Damon Jones/LHP, Logan Simmons/SS, Eduar Segovia/RHP, Marcus Lee Sang/RF, Dominic Pipkin/RHP, Rafael Marcano/RHP, Jean Cabrera/RHP, Jose Pena Jr./RHP, Starlyn Castillo/RHP, Gunner Mayer/RHP
2022 Impact: Vierling
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: O’Hoppe
40 FV or Less Breakout Pick: Viars
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Painter had long been one of the top arms in the 2021 prep pitching class and gained momentum late to go in the top 20 picks. He’s 6-foot-7 and is, somewhat amazingly, basically good at everything when most pitchers this tall have problems at least with command along with health and/or breaking ball consistency. I’ve seen four pitches all flash above average at times, he has been into the upper 90s at times and he has always had good command. Even polished prep pitchers usually take longer than you think, but there’s 50 FV upside in the next 12 months with a strong debut season, along the same lines as Mick Abel or Quinn Priester.
Crouse came over in the Kyle Gibson/Spencer Howard deal and made a brief, if unsuccessful, big league debut. He’s best described as quirky, due to his personality, on-mound shimmies and colorful delivery. He has been into the upper 90s for years with multiple high-spin plus breaking balls since his high school underclass days. He’s probably more a once-or-twice-through-the-order type than a true 180-inning starter, but you’ll remember watching him. Miller is a giant lefty with stuff that varies year-to-year, but all four pitches have flashed above average over the years, though with fringe command and limited innings due to injury.
O’Hoppe is trending up since reporting to camp and already had an offensive breakthrough last season, mostly at high-A. There’s a shot for solid-average offense with good pitch selection and emerging power. He’s a good defender and could be a long-term type answer and future starter, but probably more in 2023 than 2022. Wilson has plus raw power from the left side, but how much he makes contact will dictate if he’s an everyday left fielder or platoon type. Vierling might break camp with the big league team as a true fourth outfielder who can play all three spots with a hit-first offensive contribution that’s a bit below league average. Garcia has been moved aggressively as many shorter-limbed, polished, internationally signed shortstops tend to be. He was awful at the plate in 2019 in low-A, then went back in 2021 and was good. He’s a good hitter who can definitely play short and now he’s drawing some walks; power is the last component, but I wouldn’t expect much more than 8-12 homers annually.
Others of note
Viars was an under-the-radar prep prospect the Phillies took 84th overall in 2021. He’s likely a corner outfielder and has hit and power tools with a chance for more. Since there’s so little national/pro track record, he could really move up if he keeps hitting the way he did in 22 games last summer. Lee is the best position player to come out of Taiwan in years. I heard his name years ago as a no-doubt bat with real power who would probably fit at second base. At 5-foot-10 with limited speed/defense to offer, he has limited upside, but the Phils signed another international player with a similar profile years ago who is now on the Top 100 in Rays 3B Curtis Mead.
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Flores signed in January 2021 for $1.4 million and had a decent DSL debut last summer; if it works, he’ll have above-average hit and power tools. Bergolla is the headlining signing from two months ago for $2.05 million out of Venezuela. He was a top name in this international class for years due to his advanced hit/power tools for his age, making his one of the more anticipated pro debuts this summer. The last upside play in this group is 23-year-old Radcliff, drafted out of Georgia Tech in 2020. He’ll probably never be described as a pure hitter, but he has 80-grade raw power and enough patience to run up a 21% walk rate in low-A last year. He’s probably another Adam Brett Walker type who hangs around the end of the 40-man and maybe has a hot big league month or two, but I’m in on that upside chance.
McGarry has some truly ridiculous raw stuff (three pluses, sometimes a 70) but has never put up good numbers, so he’s a good developmental project in the fifth round as one of the many 22-year-old pitchers in last summer’s draft. Morales has long been a prospect who throws hard with a good slider, but his results haven’t been fantastic of late and he’s on the 40-man so he needs to be moving toward a big league role. Ottenbreit was another under-the-radar prep pick last summer in the fourth round out of Michigan. He checks a lot of boxes at 6-4 with a clean arm and feel for three pitches with command indicators. Pena went in the sixth round last summer and is the first draft pick out of Tampa Prep, my former high school — shouts to all the Terrapins out there. He has real raw stuff: up to 99 mph and a plus spike curveball. His changeup and command lag behind and he’s pretty maxed out physically, so Pena probably settles as a reliever, but it’s not hard to imagine how he’ll rack up strikeouts as this is what a lot of big league middle relievers look like.
No. 24 overall
No. 26 (tied) in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$149 million total value
1. Keibert Ruiz, C, 55 FV (27 in the Top 100) 2. Brady House, SS, 55 FV (41)
3. Cade Cavalli, RHP, 50 FV (65)
4. Cole Henry, RHP, 45 FV
5. Andry Lara, RHP, 40+ FV
6. Jackson Rutledge, RHP, 40+ FV
7. Joan Adon, RHP, 40+ FV
8. Daylen Lile, RF, 40+ FV
40 FV (12): Cristhian Vaquero/CF, Armando Cruz/SS, Yasel Antuna/3B, Gerard Carrillo/RHP, Matt Cronin/LHP, Tim Cate/LHP, Aldo Ramirez/RHP, Mitchell Parker/LHP, T.J. White/CF, Jeremy De La Rosa/RF, Sammy Infante/2B, Seth Romero/LHP
35+ FV (12): Dustin Saenz/LHP, Mason Denaburg/RHP, Branden Boissiere/1B, Roismar Quintana/RF, Zach Brzykcy/RHP, Lucius Fox/SS, Jackson Cluff/SS, Evan Lee/LHP, Drew Millas/C, Donovan Casey/RF, Israel Pineda/C, Jordy Barley/SS
2022 Impact: Ruiz
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Lile
40 FV or Less Breakout Pick: White
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Henry is the consensus fourth prospect in this system with a lot of differing opinions beyond that. After an up-and-down time with raw stuff in college, he’s now back to sitting 94-96 mph with an above average-to-plus hook, improving changeup and starter traits. He should be in Double-A this year and is a safer bet for rotation value than Cavalli, but with a little less upside. Lara is a husky 6-foot-5 righty who has a great delivery and feel for pitching, with more 55-grade stuff projections, which could end in a mid-rotation starter. Rutledge was the 17th overall pick in 2019, one of many in a line of the Nats chasing pitching upside with their first pick. The concern is the 6-foot-8 Rutledge would have trouble staying healthy and throwing strikes, and that was largely the case during a 2021 filled with shoulder soreness and blisters. When he’s right, Rutledge is up to 100 mph with bat-missing characteristics and two breaking balls that are at least plus, with a slider that’s often plus-plus. Adon got a big league look last year but feels more like a potential multi-inning type reliever with a plus fastball, solid-average secondary stuff and fringy command. Lile was one of my favorite pure hitters in the 2021 draft class, but he’s on the shorter side and is a corner fit, so he’ll have to keep banging.
Others of note
The Nats like to make splashes at the top of the international signing bonus scale, and the prized signings of the past two years are at the top of the 40 FV tier here in Vaquero and Cruz. Cruz signed last winter and played in the DSL, largely meeting expectations with one of the best gloves at short people have seen at this age and a contact bat without much pop right now. Cruz is an above-average runner and in-game power always comes last, but I tend to prefer hit-first international prospects, so I might be on the low-end until he proves it. Vaquero is a little more well-rounded with a lanky, projectable, explosive 6-foot-3 frame and plus grades on his raw power, speed and arm strength. Like Robert Puason and Jasson Dominguez, he boasts giant tools that come with some hit-tool risk and the takes vary greatly from rival clubs that got limited looks because his deal was done so early. Vaquero’s pro debut will provide some key data in rounding up or down on his tools.
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I’ll break the other players of note into two groups, with the first being former college lefties. Cronin is a high-slot fastball-heavy reliever with a decent breaker and whiff-inducing traits who will probably be a solid middle reliever. Cate is a smallish guy who has always had a plus curveball but probably needs to move to shorter stints to get his fastball velocity up and do a version of a Tim Collins impression, his common comparable. Parker is another high-slot, whiff-inducing-traits lefty with solid-average stuff and he already has outperformed expectations in pro ball, with some shot to be a backend starter. Romero looked like a top-10 pick with three plus pitches before off-field trouble derailed his college career; he’ll be 26 soon and is probably a multi-inning reliever. Saenz is a better-than-the-sum-of-his-parts squatty lefty with an above-average heater and good feel who could travel the Parker path to a backend rotation outcome.
White is a later-blooming corner outfielder who emerged down the stretch last summer en route to being a fifth-round pick. He has plus raw power and some feel to hit. He has played only 15 pro games, but there’s some interesting components here. Infante has real thump to his bat and hands for the infield, but needs to make enough contact to get to that pop, which is still a question. Boissiere was polarizing last spring, with some scouts totally sold on his bat and others thinking he was a bat-only first baseman with limited power; the latter group was a little more right after his pro debut. Quintana is now 19 and has been limited to seven official career games due to various injuries, but he has above-average raw power as part of a classic right-field profile — we just need to see how his bat plays in games to feel more sure about him.
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No. 21 overall
No. 4 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$178 million total value
1. Brennen Davis, CF, 60 FV (28th on Top 100)
2. Owen Caissie, LF, 50 FV (114)
3. James Triantos, 2B, 50 FV (115)
4. Cristian Hernandez, SS, 45+ FV
5. Pete Crow-Armstrong, CF, 45+ FV
6. Kevin Alcantara, CF, 45+ FV
7. Reggie Preciado, 3B, 45+ FV
8. Ed Howard, SS, 45 FV
9. Caleb Kilian, RHP, 45 FV
10. Jordan Wicks, LHP, 45 FV
11. D.J. Herz, LHP, 45 FV
12. Miguel Amaya, C, 45 FV
13. Christopher Morel, 3B, 45 FV
14. Nelson Velazquez, RF, 45 FV
15. Alexander Canario, RF, 45 FV
16. Alexander Vizcaino, RHP, 40+ FV
17. Brailyn Marquez, LHP, 40+ FV
18. Ryan Jensen, RHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (15): Yohendrick Pinango/LF, Kohl Franklin/RHP, Drew Gray/LHP, Cory Abbott/RHP, Ben Leeper/RHP, Burl Carraway/LHP, Greg Deichmann/RF, Bryce Ball/1B, Chase Strumpf/2B, Yeison Santana/SS, Kevin Made/SS, Michael Rucker/RHP, Ethan Roberts/RHP, Tyler Schlaffer/RHP, Daniel Palencia/RHP
35+ FV (10): Ismael Mena/CF, Anderson Espinoza/RHP, Alfonso Rivas/1B, Cole Roederer/LF, Jordan Nwogu/LF, Christian Franklin/CF, Hunter Bigge/RHP, Rafael Morel/2B, Max Bain/RHP, Koen Moreno/RHP
2022 Impact: Davis
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Crow-Armstrong
40 FV or less breakout pick: Franklin
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
In recent trades as well as in the domestic and international amateur classes, the Cubs have been targeting high-upside, lower-minors position players. Caissie came in the Yu Darvish deal — he is limited to left field, but his massive raw power started to show up this year. Triantos was a compensation-round pick who was a late riser based on conviction in his now hit/power combo, and his pro debut backed that up. It’s still early, but Hernandez was arguably the best in his international signing class, with a chance for above-average hit/power tools and to stick at shortstop. Crow-Armstrong, who was rehabbing shoulder surgery when he was acquired for Javier Baez, has made real swing improvements this offseason; he could be on the verge of jumping to a 50 FV this season.
Alcantara was acquired in the Anthony Rizzo trade with the Yankees and is a 6-foot-4 premium fit in center field. He’s only 19, but if everything clicks, he could be a superstar. Preciado came with Caissie from San Diego in the Darvish deal — he’s the prototypical lanky switch-hitting teenaged shortstop who will probably move to third base and could have above-average tools across the board. Howard has plus physical skills with some questions about his pitch selection, but all the raw tools are there. Amaya has solid-average tools and can stick behind the plate, but his in-game power has stalled at the upper levels. Morel has big power but will probably never be an above-average contact type — much like Velazquez, another plus raw power guy who is probably also a below-average contact rate type. Canario was acquired in the Kris Bryant deal — he also has plus raw power with, wait for it, contact concerns.
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Kilian was also with Canario in that Bryant package and is sneakily the best pitching prospect in the system after a breakout 2021. He sits in the mid-90s and has a solid-average four-pitch mix with separator plus command. Wicks was the Cubs’ most recent first-rounder. He’s a big lefty with a plus-plus changeup and above-average command, but his fastball/slider combo is average at best. Vizcaino, also in the Rizzo package, will probably end up a reliever but has two plus pitches in his mid-90s heater and changeup. Herz put up gaudy strikeout numbers with above-average raw stuff from the left side and enough feel to potentially start. Marquez has long been tickling triple digits from the left side, but the rest of the package hasn’t made much progress of late. Jensen also sits in the mid-90s; he can probably start but doesn’t have a true swing-and-miss secondary pitch.
Others of note
Franklin is a hot name internally for Cubs personnel. He missed the entire 2021 season with oblique then shoulder trouble, but since his return to the mound, he has run his heater up to 98 mph while still flashing a plus changeup. There’s starter command and a solid-average curveball, so Franklin might be on the express train to becoming the top pitching prospect in the system if he can deliver on that internal momentum. Gray was a personal favorite in the draft last year, flashing a mid-90s heater with bat-missing characteristics from the left side, along with an easy plus curveball with very high spin and a long, projectable frame.
Gray went to IMG in Florida but grew up in Illinois as a two-way player, so the polish and workload aren’t quite what the kids growing up in Florida are used to. If everything clicks, he could also run up this list, but that’ll likely take a couple of years. Carraway is a super fun, single-inning, high-effort lefty — into the high-90s, with a 70-grade curveball with lots of aggression, but limited execution right now. Ball joined the system from Atlanta in the Joc Pederson deal, a late-round find with 70-grade raw power who has hit better than expected so far. Santana (third guy in the Darvish package) and Made (seven-figure international signing) both have had some rightful hype in the past few years. They both have some tools, but neither hit as much as expected in 2021.
No. 19 overall
No. 10 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$188.5 million total value
1. Hunter Greene, RHP, 60 FV (23rd on Top 100)
2. Nick Lodolo, LHP, 55 FV (79)
3. Elly De La Cruz, SS, 50 FV (100)
4. Brandon Williamson, LHP, 50 FV (101)
5. Matt McLain, SS, 45+ FV
6. Rece Hinds, RF, 45+ FV
7. Chase Petty, RHP, 45+ FV
8. Lyon Richardson, RHP, 45+ FV
9. Jay Allen, CF, 45 FV
10. Austin Hendrick, RF, 45 FV
11. Tyler Callihan, 2B, 40+ FV
12. Graham Ashcraft, RHP, 40+ FV
13. Mike Siani, CF, 40+ FV
14. Nick Quintana, 3B, 40+ FV
15. Mat Nelson, C, 40+ FV
40 FV (14): T.J. Friedl/CF, Jackson Miller/C, Allan Cerda/RF, Jared Solomon/RHP, Ricardo Cabrera/SS, Reiver Sanmartin/LHP, Daniel Vellojin/C, Andrew Abbott/LHP, Bryce Bonnin/RHP, Jose Torres/SS, Alejo Lopez/2B, Yerlin Confidan/RF, Daniel Duarte/RHP, Christian Roa/RHP
35+ FV (15): Riley O’Brien/RHP, Dauri Moreta/RHP, Carson Spiers/RHP, Ivan Johnson/2B, Carlos Jorge/SS, Ariel Almonte/RF, Yassel Pino/1B, Leonardo Balcazar/SS, Alexis Diaz/RHP, Malvin Valdez/CF, Joel Kuhnel/RHP, Debby Santana/3B, Braylin Minier/3B, Thomas Farr/RHP, Stevie Branche/RHP
2022 Impact: Greene
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Allen
40 FV or Less Breakout Pick: Miller
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
McLain, the Reds’ top pick last summer, is an infielder out of UCLA with a long scouting track record — he was a late first-rounder out of high school. Some scouts see a player who can play anywhere, with a shot to be a quick mover and above-average tools across the board. Others think he is more of a second base/center field fit and worry that his swing and BP overstate his in-game upside. Hinds had real swing-and-miss questions in high school, along with concerns he’d need to move to right field, but everyone saw the 70-grade raw power and the literal backflips. He made progress showing that power in games this year (10 homers in 43 games at Low-A, with a respectable 28% strikeout rate), but he’ll have to tone down his out-of-zone chase rate at upper levels. I think he’ll settle in right field and remain a 40 bat type that you hope gets to 25-30 homer upside.
Allen was the Reds’ second pick last year and is a classic multisport center-field athlete (he also played quarterback) with feel to hit and glimpses of in-game power. His feel for the strike zone is the difference-maker here, and it could have him rising on next year’s list. Hendrick is the other sort of guy — massive bat speed and raw power, but swing-and-miss in the zone. That can be harder to adjust, since it’s either a bat-path issue, and you give up in-game power to fix it, or it’s a spin recognition/timing issue. Like Hinds, Hendrick will probably never be a 50 bat in the big leagues long-term, but you can hope that he maximizes his power so that won’t really matter.
Callihan is a now-hit/raw power combo type without a clear position — he’s getting Tommy John surgery, but it shouldn’t affect his game that much. He could end up a utility corner bat type who moves quickly, particularly if he can lift the ball more often in game. Siani’s best tool is his plus-plus center-field defense, and he appears to have worked to get his swing back on track, which should mean a big league-caliber offensive contribution. Quintana came over from Detroit in the Barnhart trade. He’s easy enough to break down: His in-game tools may all be a 50. Nelson, a compensation-round pick last year as a later-blooming 22-year-old from Florida State, fits in with many of those listed above: a lower-contact rate hitter with plus raw power and strong defense.
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Williamson, the main prospect in the Winker/Suarez deal from Seattle, just missed the Top 100. He has steadily improved to have an above-average four-pitch mix from the left side and some deception and craftiness as well; he could be a factor in the second half this year. Petty came from Minnesota in the Sonny Gray deal. He’s a tricky eval — I am normally low on triple-digit velo goofs from the prep ranks. What’s different about Petty is that he has solid physical skills with solid feel, three pitches that flash above average, and, as a lower slot, primary sinker/slider type with big movement separation between those pitches, he has the secondary and intangible qualities that so many other hard-throwing prep righties lack. Richardson is a different sort — a bit above average at everything but without a 60 on the scouting card, destined to become a fourth starter type. Ashcraft, a likely reliever with TJ in his past, is back to the high-octane stuff, sitting 95-97 mph with bat-missing lift and a plus slider. He has improved his starter traits and can now go multiple innings, but this is a loud-intro-music, blow-your-hair-back type of reliever.
Others of note
Friedl is a plus runner who plays a good center field and has an above-average hit tool; there isn’t a ton of impact, but he should be a good reserve outfielder, maybe starter quality at some point. Miller was a solid hit-first prep catcher in the draft, with enough power and defense to project as a low-end everyday backstop. He played only three games last year due to a misdiagnosed illness that he has now luckily moved past. There’s not much on the stat sheet right now, but the tools are still there and he’s primed for a breakout, playing for an organization with an excellent track record on the risky subset of prep catchers: Tucker Barnhart, Tyler Stephenson, Devin Mesoraco et al.
Despite playing only 21 games above Low-A, Cerda was added to the 40-man roster because of his big raw tools and 17 homers in 2021. He’s a plus runner now but probably settles in a corner, with plus raw power and solid patience, although his pitch selection and power approach can lead to contact issues. Solomon didn’t pitch in 2021 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, but he was the hot name from the alternate site in 2020 before his injury. Back then, you could even squint and see a starter — he was sitting 95-97 mph with bat-missing action and two plus-flashing breaking balls, along with the potential for command. Sanmartin is a totally different prospect but much closer to the big leagues: 25 years old, below-average velocity, lower-slot lefty. He sits 88-91 mph with guile and deception while a plus changeup is his best pitch. He has been around for a while, and even though he doesn’t light up a scouting report, there’s a chance he breaks camp as the No. 5 starter.
The top international signee from the most recent class is Cabrera. He has been a top-of-the-class name for years and fits broadly in the Noelvi Marte bucket — a mature-framed, strong now hit/power combo that’s a shortstop/third baseman tweener. That’s the trajectory Cincinnati is hoping for. Bonnin is another power arm, with 95-98 mph bat-missing heat and a 55-to-60 grade breaker — he could fit well as a reliever in the late innings. Torres was a draft-eligible sophomore at NC State and one of the true shortstops in the 2021 draft college ranks who had some offensive potential; I tend to think he’ll be an average bat with below-average power — likely a good utility type.
No. 27 overall
No. 21 (tied) in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$108 million total value
1. Aaron Ashby, LHP, 50 FV (83rd on the Top 100)
2. Sal Frelick, CF, 50 FV (106)
3. Joey Wiemer, RF, 45+ FV
4. Tyler Black, 2B, 45+ FV
5. Brice Turang, SS, 45 FV
6. Garrett Mitchell, CF, 45 FV
7. Jeferson Quero, C, 45 FV
8. Jackson Chourio, CF, 45 FV
9. Ethan Small, LHP, 45 FV
10. Freddy Zamora, SS, 40+ FV
11. Felix Valerio, 2B, 40+ FV
40 FV (9): Eduardo Garcia/SS, Hedbert Perez/LF, Antoine Kelly/LHP, Abner Uribe/RHP, Joe Gray Jr./RF, Korry Howell/CF, Zavier Warren/3B, Alec Bettinger/RHP, Taylor Floyd/RHP
35+ FV (12): Dylan File/RHP, Carlos Rodriguez/CF, Justin Topa/RHP, Russell Smith/LHP, Hendry Mendez/CF, Mario Feliciano/1B, Tristen Lutz/RF, Hayden Cantrelle/2B, Eduarqui Fernandez/RF, Gabe Holt/2B, Weston Wilson/3B, Max Lazar/RHP
2022 Impact: Ashby
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Chourio
40 FV or Less Breakout Pick: Fernandez
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Frelick was a priority target early last spring as he popped up as a freshman at Boston College after a multisport career at a local high school, but wasn’t seen extensively in the summers. He came out of the gates fast and stayed hot, going No. 15 overall. He’s a plus runner and solid defender and at the plate he fits a type that progressive clubs tend to like: short-levered hitter with solid pop and plate discipline. These characteristics help tools play as they should at higher levels and sometimes can lead to surprise in-game power surges. I like the football/hockey background and he still has that mentality. He almost snuck on my Top 100, but will likely be on it by midseason.
Black was my gut feel guy in the 2021 draft; I ranked him No. 16 overall and knew he wouldn’t go that high, but figured someone would take him before 30th. I was surprised he made it all the way to the Brew Crew at 33. Black has similarities with Frelick as a shorter-limbed hitter with great feel for contact and a solid approach and enough power. Black also has a number of indicators for an underrated hitter: young for the class, mid-major college, no major summer league experience, superlative performance. He also has a correctable swing issue, as he makes tons of flat contact but basically can’t pull/lift the ball despite the raw power for 15-20 homers. I think he’s probably a .275 hitter with a good approach and fringy power who plays a solid second base, and his feel for the game helps everything play up; last year a couple of guys who did that were 2.5-to-3-win players.
Wiemer had a good Cape then a bad spring for Cincinnati, but has always had tools, so he went in the fourth round in 2020 and had a loud pro debut after some swing tweaks. He’s a longer-levered hitter who tries to hit it a long way, so he has below-average contact skills, real in-game power and a shot to play all three outfield spots. This type of hitter who leans on his physical abilities (trying to launch mistakes, essentially) can take longer at higher levels to adjust to better pitching, so I wouldn’t expect him to slice through the minors, but he now looks like an exciting big leaguer of some kind.
I’ve consistently been the low guy on Mitchell and am still in that area; he needs to make a swing adjustment to pull/lift more and get to his considerable tools, but even as is, he’ll make contact and play a solid center field. Chourio has played only in the DSL but performed well after being known mostly as a tools goof (plus run, real bat control, emerging power) entering the season. I’ll round up on him here because this is exactly the kind of player teams are proactively trying to get included in deals before they get to Low-A. Turang was the best player in his prep class as a sophomore/junior but has plateaued a bit as a solid, patient hitter who is a good defender but isn’t likely to get to his 15-20 homer level power in games. Zamora tore his ACL at the beginning of his draft spring for Miami, so he was a little more mysterious than most of his draft peers. He has hit better than expected so far in pro ball and has always been a plus runner who is above average defensively, though (this should feel familiar now) he’ll likely never hit for big power. Valerio is listed at 5-foot-7 and is limited to second base, so there’s not much upside here but he can really hit.
Small is another TrackMan darling the Brewers popped a little before other teams were expecting, of a sort that was most en vogue a few years ago: vertically oriented stuff from a high slot. His ordinary-by-velocity heater fits at the top of the zone and he has a plus changeup that plays at the bottom, along with the command to spot them. His breaker has always been the weakness, along with the overall lack of putaway stuff, so he’s likely a backend type.
Quero is uniquely well-rounded amongst this group of position players. He can hit and defend like them, but he also has some power and some feel to get to it in games. I’m normally very skeptical of catchers in rookie ball because of the risk (second only to pitchers) in their path, but all the components of an everyday catcher are present.
Others of note
Garcia was a favorite of mine at a pre-signing MLB showcase three years ago, and ever since, when he’s been on the field, he’s performed well. He’s a standout fielder with enough offensive potential to project as a big leaguer, but I’ll need to see more to expect more than a utility type. Perez is a physically mature 18-year-old left fielder who can hit and has a feel for getting to his power in games, but he swings a bit too much and is already backed into the corner-outfield profile squeeze, so he’ll need to mash. Gray was a tools standout early in high school in Mississippi, went 60th overall in 2018, and finally had a breakout in 2021. Given his long-levered, power-focused approach, there’s always going to be some swing and miss, but he has plus raw power (20 homers last year across both A-ball levels at age 21) and can play all three outfield spots, so, with marginal improvements, there’s plenty there to see a reserve/platoon future.
Uribe and Kelly can be grouped together: Both are currently easy plus stuff guys without much finesse or feel. Uribe sits in the upper 90s, regularly jumping over 100 mph, and flashes a plus slider, but as you can see by the surface stats or by the eye, he has no idea where the ball is going right now. His delivery and physical skills aren’t bad, so there’s hope, but I tend to be the low guy on this type of prospect. Kelly, a 6-foot-6 southpaw, lit up the Brewers’ pitch metrics as the 65th overall pick in 2019 out of junior college. Hehas been injured and inconsistent thus far but continues to flash two plus pitches and below average but respectable command, with some markers that he’ll have good enough control to get to the big leagues.
Between Holt and Wilson, I think there’s a decent bench bat here. Holt has elite plate discipline with contact skills and speed. He can play almost anywhere, but there’s almost zero power. Wilson is 27 but hit well in Triple-A last year as a corner utility guy with above-average power and a decent approach.
No. 3 overall
No. 1 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$296 million total value
1. Oneil Cruz, SS, 60 FV (13th on the Top 100)
2. Henry Davis, C, 55 FV (39)
3. Liover Peguero, SS, 50 FV (53)
4. Nick Gonzales, 2B, 50 FV (70)
5. Roansy Contreras, RHP, 50 FV (76)
6. Quinn Priester, RHP, 50 FV (77)
7. Endy Rodriguez, C, 45+ FV
8. Travis Swaggerty, CF, 45 FV
9. Matt Fraizer, CF, 45 FV
10. Jared Jones, RHP, 45 FV
11. Ji-hwan Bae, 2B, 45 FV
12. Miguel Yajure, RHP, 45 FV
13. Bubba Chandler, RHP, 45 FV
14. Diego Castillo, 2B, 40+ FV
15. Maikol Escotto, SS, 40+ FV
16. Michael Burrows, RHP, 40+ FV
17. Rodolfo Nolasco, RF, 40+ FV
18. Anthony Solometo, LHP, 40+ FV
19. Dariel Lopez, 3B, 40+ FV
20. Canaan Smith-Njigba, LF, 40+ FV
21. Lonnie White Jr., CF, 40+ FV
22. Connor Scott, CF, 40+ FV
40 FV (13): J.C. Flowers/RHP, Kyle Nicolas/RHP, Hudson Head/CF, Luis Ortiz/RHP, Jared Triolo/3B, Po-Yu Chen/RHP, Ricky DeVito/RHP, Cody Bolton/RHP, Abraham Gutierrez/C, Carmen Mlodzinski/RHP, Jared Oliva/CF, Nick Garcia/RHP, Cal Mitchell/LF
35+ FV (22): Jack Suwinski/LF, Rodolfo Castro/2B, Shalin Polanco/CF, Yordany De Los Santos/SS, Tucupita Marcano/SS, Mason Martin/1B, Sammy Siani/CF, Tony Blanco/RF, Lolo Sanchez/CF, Brennan Malone/RHP, Owen Kellington/RHP, Tahnaj Thomas/RHP, Tsung-Che Cheng/SS, Eddy Yean/HP, Santiago Florez/RHP, Carter Bins/C, Jackson Glenn/2B, Jase Bowen/CF, Omar Cruz/LHP, Austin Roberts/RHP, Sergio Campana/CF, Matt Gorski/CF
2022 Impact: Cruz
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Cruz
40 FV or Less Breakout Pick: Head
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Rodriguez became the best part of the Musgrove trade this year with a breakout season in which he demonstrated that the short-season buzz and performance were real. He’s a plus hitter with good pitch selection and also a steady defender behind the plate. The power may or may not come, but it isn’t a barrier to becoming one of the 30 best catchers in the world at some point. Bae is another plus hitter with a solid approach but even less power. On the bright side, he is a plus runner who can play both middle infield spots capably, though he fits better at second. Castillo is also in keeping with this Pirates evaluation trend, as a plus hitter with well-below-average power who can also play capably up the middle, but lacks the secondary tools. He’s likely a utility type.
Frazier has had an odd path to high-end prospectdom, with 310 at-bats in three seasons for Arizona with a slugging percentage below .400. His pro debut was in keeping with this trend, then he missed the 2020 season, then he had a huge breakout in 2021 that makes it tough to square exactly what he’ll be going forward. He’s always had solid-average tools, but inconsistent playing time, a broken hamate bone, and a swing change are all relevant points. I think he’s probably a good platoon fourth outfielder who can play all three spots, but if he keeps performing, he’ll edge into low-end everyday territory. Swaggerty was an enticing 2018 first-rounder due to his own (negative) swing change in the spring, but with giant tools and summer performance. He has played only 12 games since 2019, so it’s unclear if the swing tweaks are working, but the tools are still giant and he’s close to the big leagues.
Smith-Njigba’s brother Jaxson is a star wideout at Ohio State. Canaan came to Pittsburgh in the Taillon package from the Yankees. His standout abilities are easy plus raw power and excellent pitch selection, which are the two key factors in hitting for power at the upper levels. He doesn’t offer much defensive value and is likely an average-at-best contact hitter, with the big question being if he can regularly lift the ball in game enough to get to his power. Nolasco was a 2019 rookie ball revelation both for his performance and exit velos. He largely did it again in the domestic complex league in 2021, setting the stage for a potential run to a 50 FV if he can do it again in Low-A. Nolasco is a good enough contact hitter and pitch selector to get to his plus raw power, and he’s good enough defensively to stay in right field.
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Lopez has a solid full-season debut as a teenager. He’s a corner fit of some sort with above-average raw power and solid hittability, but fringy pitch selection that could cause problems at higher levels. Escotto was also in the Taillon package from the Yankees and was a hot name after a strong 17-year-old pro debut with good exit velos while mostly playing shortstop. Like many, he was double-promoted into an auto-strike-calling league after not playing a competitive game in 2020, so expectations were lowered a bit and Escotto hit exactly league average in Low-A as a 19-year-old. White was a dual-sport commit as a wide receiver to Penn State and has the frame and tools you’d assume for that kind of athlete. His contact rate and exit velos over the summer led to mid-first-round buzz, then a little more swing and miss than expected helped him slide to a $1.5 million bonus at the 64th overall pick. I’m still bullish here, but he might fall into the below-average contact, plus everything else while playing center-field bucket. Scott was a favorite out of the same high school as Kyle Tucker with a lot of the same mannerisms. He has been totally fine in pro ball with 2021 representing a career year; with more in-game lift, I could see him jumping into the 50 FV tier.
Jones has explosive arm speed, and this was noticeable to scouts early in his prep career. He has improved the bat-missing shape of his fastball from that time but can still run it up to 100 mph at times, sitting in the mid-90s. He also continues to show plus ability to spin both a slider and curveball and still lags a bit behind with changeup and command quality, but his clean arm stroke and physical skills point to potential that he could stick in a rotation. Chandler was a shortstop/pitcher/quarterback ticketed for Clemson, but he’s likely just a pitcher for the Pirates after getting $3 million in the third round last summer. He’s understandably raw on the mound, but the broad characteristics — mid-90s heater, potential plus breaker, components for command, swagger and attacking style — are all there to click. He comes from a risky demographic but also was a consensus second- or third-round pick as a switch-hitting infielder, so there is a built-in backup plan.
Solometo was another big-money prep arm ($2.8 million) enabled by Davis’ underslot deal at 1-1 and has a unique arm swing, but it works for him. He tantalized with some 97 mph readings early in the spring but will probably be a low-90s type at maturity, leaning on his plus slider and feel. Yajure came in the Taillon deal and was a high-probability No. 3-4 starter, but his stuff backed up a tick, so he’s tracking more like a ready-made backend starter. Burrows is probably a long-term reliever, but he sits in the mid-90s and drops in a plus curveball, so there’s late-inning potential.
Others of note
Of the group of pitchers in the lower tiers here, I like Flowers, Nicolas, Chen and Malone the most. Flowers was a two-way prep standout who played mostly center field at Florida State, but has switched to the mound in pro ball. He’s probably a reliever, but he has plus physical skills with a plus fastball/slider combo and is still getting his feet wet on the mound. Nicolas popped on the Cape, hitting 100 mph, then was a pretty vanilla fastball-reliant hard thrower in the spring for Ball State. He went 61st overall to the Marlins, was traded to Pittsburgh after the season, and he’s probably a reliever long-term, even if he figures to fold in his above-average slider more. Chen had long been on the international radar out of Taiwan and performed well in his pro debut as a teenager, showing advanced feel and a strong curve/splitter combo in support of a low-90s heater. He’s a high-probability backend starter type. Malone was a dude in high school, going 33rd overall, and was the second piece in the Starling Marte deal. He threw only 14 innings last year, suffering from issues with injury and control. When he’s at his best, there’s starter command, four above-average pitches and a heater that’s occasionally in the upper 90s, but he’ll need to pitch more to regain that form.
Head was the second player (arguably the best at the time, ahead of Endy Rodriguez) in the Joe Musgrove deal, and he had a tough 2021 season. He was a multisport guy who popped up in the spring before the 2019 draft, so the industry had a short track record evaluating him as a hitter — and then in his full-season debut, his strikeout rate ballooned to 32%. That’s led to some general skepticism about his offensive upside, but it’s still early and he has average raw power, plus speed and a center-field fit, giving him margin for error. Triolo was a glove-first college third baseman with some offensive tools. He has hit well despite being old for the level, so playing at the upper levels in 2022 should help determine if he’s a reserve or high-end utility type. Gutierrez has bounced around in value and across two teams since being caught up in Braves international sanctions, but he has now gotten back to the impression most had while he was an amateur: He can hit and he can defend, but we’ll wait to see how much offensive impact he’ll have. There’s probably a really good prospect amongst recent high-dollar international signees Polanco (lefty hit/power potential, probably in a corner), De Los Santos (bat/power potential, probably at third base) and Blanco (huge power, rest is a question) but it’s still early. Cheng is notable here because he had 30 walks to 14 strikeouts in rookie ball as a teenager.
No. 14 overall
No. 19 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$217.5 million total value
1. Jordan Walker, 3B, 60 FV (17th in the Top 100)
2. Nolan Gorman, 3B, 60 FV (18)
3. Ivan Herrera, C, 50 FV (63)
4. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, 50 FV (93)
5. Masyn Winn, SS, 45 FV
6. Josh Baez, RF, 45 FV
7. Juan Yepez, 1B, 45 FV
8. Zack Thompson, LHP, 45 FV
9. Michael McGreevy, RHP, 45 FV
10. Malcolm Nunez, 3B, 40+ FV
11. Alec Burleson, RF, 40+ FV
12. Tink Hence, RHP, 40+ FV
13. Leonardo Bernal, C, 40+ FV
40 FV (10): Brendan Donovan/3B, Jhon Torres/RF, Luken Baker/1B, Patrick Romeri/RF, Andre Pallante/RHP, Connor Thomas/LHP, Alec Willis/RHP, Tre Fletcher/CF, Jonathan Mejia/SS, Luis Pino/CF
35+ FV (17): Ian Bedell/RHP, Ryan Holgate/RF, Angel Rondon/RHP, Austin Love/RHP, Gordon Graceffo/RHP, Edwin Nunez/RHP, Ali Sanchez/C, Chandler Redmond/1B, Freddy Pacheco/RHP, Conner Capel/RF, Edgardo Rodriguez/C, Ramon Mendoza/2B, Jeremy Rivas/SS, Matt Koperniak/LF, Dionys Rodriguez/RHP, Jake Walsh/RHP, Connor Lunn/RHP
2022 Impact: Yepez
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Baez
40 FV or Less Breakout Pick: Graceffo
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Winn is an incredible talent — a plus runner with plus bat speed who projects for plus raw power, can stick at shortstop, has solid feel for contact, at least a plus-plus arm — and oh yeah, he also occasionally pitches, flashing two plus-plus pitches when he does so. He’s still a bit raw at the plate, with below-average pitch selection, but the eye test points to a breakout coming at any time. The Cards’ pitching development staff loves him on the mound — they want him to be available to throw some innings, keeping him engaged on that side of the ball in case hitting doesn’t work out.
Baez is also exciting, with some of the best exit velos on Earth for an 18-year-old, but he also has clear explosion in his hands as well. He has dabbled with upper-90s heat on the mound, but he’s young for his prep class and had limited reps from a cold weather state, so it might be a bit slow going developmentally, at least relative to his warm weather peers. His pitch selection is the big variable that will dictate the speed of his path, and early returns are solid. Hence is another exciting young talent who threw only eight innings in 2021 — more due to caution through onboarding him to a full pro workload than any serious injury concern. He’ll flash two plus pitches, a mid-90s heater and two-plane breaking ball, but also has the clean arm stroke and physical ability to project starter qualities to develop. Switch-hitting backstop Bernal has played in only the DSL, but he checks the boxes in terms of tools, performance and age vs. level numbers — keep an eye on his stateside debut this year.
Yepez has a chance to impact the big league roster this year. He’s limited by his contribution in terms of handedness, speed, defense and position, but he’s got the stuff that matters: offensive tools and Triple-A performance. Thompson had a tough season in 2021 but bounced back in the Arizona Fall League with higher velocity and more crispness to his raw stuff and execution. He’s a potential mid-rotation starter with an easy plus curveball. McGreevy, a converted shortstop, was the Cards’ first-rounder last summer, and while he isn’t analytically en vogue for his pitch shapes and spin rates, he’s got good arm speed, a plus breaking ball and starter traits, so there’s plenty here to develop. Nunez performed well at high-A and Double-A, even while young for both levels. He can hit and he has raw power, but his swing plane doesn’t leverage all of his raw power, and his pitch selection is just OK. He might fit best at first base, so it’s trending a little more toward a corner/utility platoon than everyday player right now. Burleson was a standout two-way player at East Carolina, a coveted outfielder who was also a pro prospect as a finesse lefty on the mound. He surprised many by running from high-A to Triple-A in his pro debut as a 22-year-old — not to mention one focused solely on hitting for the first time in his career. He’s got low-end everyday tools and could force his way into a big league discussion by the end of the year.
Others of note
Baker, who made it to Triple-A last year, has massive raw power with a solid feel to get to it in games. He’s Rule 5 eligible as the out-of-favor right-handed first base/DH type, but he’s exactly the kind of guy who can get a call-up and hit four homers in his first week in the big leagues. Pallante took a step forward in the Arizona Fall League and now looks like a backend starter, sitting 94-96 mph with an above-average slider. Thomas has steadily added velocity and he’s now 89-91 mph — which could be enough to let his above-average off-speed pitches and command play in a big league rotation. Willis was a late popup prep righty last spring in Colorado. He’s still raw, but he flashes an above-average fastball/slider combo. After a loud summer on the Cape, Bedell’s velocity has wavered a bit after Tommy John surgery last season, but he has flashed three above-average pitches and command at times; keep an eye on his return. Graceffo was a fifth-rounder out of Villanova who has really impressed since signing. He’s 6-foot-4, sits 93-96 mph and flashes above-average stuff, so there’s rotation upside. Walsh has one of the best sliders in the minor leagues and sits 95-97 mph; he’s on the 40-man with some experience at Triple-A, so he could get the call-up at any time.
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No. 5 overall
No. 9 (tied) in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$274.5 million total value
1. Alek Thomas, CF, 60 FV (14)
2. Corbin Carroll, CF, 60 FV (21)
3. Jordan Lawlar, SS, 55 FV (29)
4. Geraldo Perdomo, SS, 50 FV (90)
5. Ryne Nelson, RHP, 50 FV (102)
6. Drey Jameson, RHP, 50 FV (112)
7. Blake Walston, LHP, 50 FV (122)
8. Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, 45+ FV
9. Slade Cecconi, RHP, 45 FV
10. Bryce Jarvis, RHP, 45 FV
11. Deyvison De Los Santos, 3B, 45 FV
12. Kristian Robinson, RF, 45 FV
13. Tommy Henry, LHP, 45 FV
14. A.J. Vukovich, 3B, 45 FV
15. Seth Beer, DH, 40+ FV
16. Adrian Del Castillo, C, 40+ FV
17. Cooper Hummel, 1B, 40+ FV
40 FV (11): Jake McCarthy/RF, Matt Tabor/RHP, Blaze Alexander/SS, Ryan Bliss/SS, Jeison Guzman/SS, Stu Fairchild/CF, Manuel Pena/3B, Luis Frias/RHP, J.B. Bukauskas/RHP, Jorge Barrosa/CF, Joe Elbis/RHP
35+ FV (19): Conor Grammes/RHP, Buddy Kennedy/3B, Jose Herrera/C, Dominic Canzone/LF, Alvin Guzman/CF, Jefferson Espinal/CF, Dominic Fletcher/CF, Abdias De La Cruz/SS, Humberto Mejia/RHP, Justin Martinez/RHP, Drew Ellis/3B, Levi Kelly/RHP, Josh Green/RHP, Neyfy Castillo/1B, Jacob Steinmetz/RHP, Juan Corniel/SS, Edwin Uceta/RHP, Kyle Nelson/LHP, Ryan Weiss/RHP
2022 Impact: Beer
40+ FV breakout pick: De Los Santos
40 FV or less breakout pick: Grammes
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Nelson fell to the No. 56 overall pick in 2019 because to most teams he looked like a reliever with effort to his delivery; a number of teams told me they had him in the fifth round or later due to this. The D-backs liked the raw stuff and physical skills and they’ve been proved right as he has a chance to start a big league game in the second half of 2022. The calling card is his rising mid-90s heater and two plus breaking balls, with enough changeup and command right now to project him turning over a lineup. Jameson went ahead of Nelson in 2019, at 34th overall, with a similar profile with plus stuff and below-average command. Jameson has also turned the corner and is on the verge of the big leagues, sitting 96-98 mph deep into games with a plus two-plane breaking ball. These two prospects are basically a coin flip right now. Henry was also a college pitcher from the 2019 class and is a different type: a tall lefty with fringe velocity who relies more on his slider/changeup/command and deception from a high slot. He has a good shot to be a back-of-the-rotation starter.
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Walston was also taken in the 2019 draft at No. 26 overall, striking a balance between the upside college righties and lower-upside college lefty: a 6-foot-5 projection lefty who was a late popup guy out of high school. At his best, there are shades of Cole Hamels with the curveball, changeup, and command all flashing above-average-to-plus. He sits 90-92 mph now but will jump into the mid-90s at times. He’s an old-school, high school projection bet who is pretty to watch operate. We move into the 2020 draft where the D-backs took Jarvis, Cecconi and Pfaadt in that order, but I have them ordered the other way now, though all very close. Pfaadt is a late-blooming fifth-rounder from a Division II school, but he joined those power arms from the 2019 draft in Double-A during his pro debut. His above-average breaking balls and feel both played better than expected while his fastball has improved to 92-95 mph deep into games. Cecconi was a big name early in high school, then had injuries and velo fluctuations for the last three or four years. He has above-average stuff and starter traits but hasn’t quite put it all together yet. Jarvis was another late bloomer with a velo spike in his age 22 year at Duke and has settled like Cecconi with above-average raw stuff and starter traits.
De Los Santos is the big breakout name in this group, an 18-year-old with 70-grade raw power who performed pretty well at low-A while playing third base. There are some approach and contact risks already present, along with it being unclear which corner spot he’ll settle at — so there are some real limitations, but this is a first-round-pick level talent whose name I didn’t know at this time last year. Vukovich has a number of similarities with De Los Santos, as a power-focused third baseman with some contact and defensive questions but strong production. Vukovich’s upside is a bit lower and he’s a year ahead, so it’s close to a coin flip between the two.
Robinson is incredibly talented with one of the best power-speed-production combinations in the minors, but also has a heartbreaking element to his story. In short (read more here), Bahamas-born Robinson had a mental health episode while in Arizona during the beginning of the pandemic, and the immigration issues tied to his interaction with law enforcement threatened his career. He hasn’t played a pro game since 2019 but is currently on the backfields and seemingly back on track, added to the 40-man roster in the interim due to his enormous potential. There are obviously bigger issues at play and we haven’t seen him play for a while, so this is more of a wait-and-see and hope-for-the-best type of situation.
Beer has the great fortune of being a stone-cold DH who is now ready for his big league career the year that his club will be adding the universal DH. He had shoulder surgery just five games into his big league career but looks to be on track to return where his power-and-patience-and-plus-raw-power skill set has a chance to shine. Del Castillo had some top-ten-overall-pick hype entering last spring at Miami, but had an up-and-down offensive spring without notably improving his defensive chops behind the plate. He can hit and has 15-18 homer kind of raw power, but needs to tweak his approach to get to it. I think he’ll be an offensive-focused backup catcher who rotates into the lineup at first base and DH. Hummel was acquired from Milwaukee for Eduardo Escobar last summer and profiles along the same lines as Del Castillo: He can hit, has some pop and isn’t that great behind the plate. Between these two and Daulton Varsho, the D-backs should have plenty of sorta-catchers to rotate in when the starting catcher is pinch hit for late in games.
Others of note
Alexander and Bliss have very different ways of getting to comparable prospect value at shortstop. Alexander is a solid defender with a true 80-grade arm while Bliss is also fine at shortstop but has a fringy arm that makes him a more natural fit at second base. Alexander has real contact issues but above-average raw power while Bliss has below-average raw power, can definitely hit and has enough feel to hit some mistakes out of the park. Bliss is more likely to become a big leaguer, but Alexander has more potential impact. Barrosa is also a likely big leaguer but with little impact. Plus bat control and speed along with solid defense in center are his big league skills, but his raw power is near the bottom of the scale. Grammes was a pick to click before he blew out in the summer. He’s a conversion arm up to 100 mph with two plus breaking balls and a relief fit. Canzone is another late-blooming reserve type that’s a platoon corner outfielder with 20+ homer power
No. 24 overall
No. 14 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$149.5 million total value
1. Zac Veen, RF, 60 FV (No. 20 in the Top 100)
2. Drew Romo, C, 50 FV (85)
3. Benny Montgomery, CF, 45+ FV
4. Ryan Vilade, LF, 45 FV
5. Brenton Doyle, CF, 45 FV
6. Elehuris Montero, 3B, 45 FV
7. Ezequiel Tovar, SS, 45 FV
8. Yanquiel Fernandez, LF, 45 FV
9. Adael Amador, SS, 45 FV
10. Warming Bernabel, 3B, 40+ FV
11. Michael Toglia, 1B, 40+ FV
12. Jordy Vargas, RHP, 45 FV
13. Chris McMahon, RHP, 40+ FV
14. Dyan Jorge, SS, 40+ FV
15. Sam Weatherly, LHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (11): Jaden Hill/RHP, Ryan Rolison/LHP, Colton Welker/3B, Juan Brito/2B, Helcris Olivarez/LHP, Ryan Feltner/RHP, Noah Davis/RHP, McCade Brown/RHP, Hunter Goodman/C, Karl Kauffman/RHP, Joe Rock/LHP
35+ FV (9): Mateo GIl/SS, Blair Calvo/RHP, Juan Guerrero/LF, Grant Lavigne/1B, Ronaiker Palma/C, Will Ethridge/RHP, Bryan Perez/RHP, Willi MacIver/C, Gavin Hollowell/RHP,
2022 Impact: Montero
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Tovar
40 FV or less breakout pick: Brown
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Montgomery was on the national scouting stage for a long time as a prep center fielder, notable for his plus bat speed and foot speed – along with his funky hand movement at the plate. He got bigger and stronger in his draft spring, leaping up to the No. 8 overall pick. How well his swing plays against advanced pitching and how well he shows in-game pull power will be what to watch this spring. Vilade has slowly moved down the defensive spectrum in pro ball to where he’s a left field/first base fit, but luckily he’s always been able to hit and he has above-average raw power. His in-game power is just okay, which puts him into a profile squeeze where he’s not offering much speed, defense, or over-the-fence power and he’s right-handed, which is why he’s seen more as a good role player.
Doyle was a late pop-up guy at a Division II college who hadn’t faced any pro-level pitching but had big league tools; the Rockies got him in the fourth round, right where a number of teams were hoping to get him. He had a great post-draft debut in 2019, then came back in 2021 with a solid season but one that shows where his floor/ceiling will be. Doyle is the somewhat familiar lower-contact rate center fielder with big raw power — with those types ranging from Drew Stubbs to Mike Cameron. Doyle will be 24 in May and should spend most of the year in Double-A, letting us know if he’s more of a low-end starter or role player. Toglia had an up-and-down draft year but the Rockies believed and popped him 23rd overall in 2019 out of UCLA. He’s a 6-foot-5 switch-hitting power-and-patience first baseman who doesn’t have a true plus on the card (maybe his left-handed raw power), but he’s solid at everything, which means he’s also in the platoon/bench or low-end starter spectrum.
Tovar is a plus defender at short with at least plus bat control and he got to high-A last year as a teenager due to these two skills. Beyond that, there isn’t a ton else in the way or raw tools and his pitch selection is below average, evidenced only by his low walk rates, because this kind of bat-to-ball ability means he’ll have no trouble making contact at the lower levels. He also hit 15 homers, but I think that total will go down as he advances due to the pitch selection issue. Tovar is an almost-lock big leaguer, even if he ends up being a bench type who bounces around, but the questions to dictate if he can be an every-day player are if he can improve his pitch selection or keep his in-game power at league-average levels.
Amador has some similar stuff going on, as an above average runner and defender at short with some contact skills. Amador has better pitch selection, but isn’t quite as dynamic in terms of explosion or power potential. Jorge waited an extra signing period for budgets to reset to land a $2.8 million bonus from the Rockies. He has a little more physical upside than Tovar and Amador, at 6-foot-2 with plus speed and above-average bat speed but he’s the same age as Amador with no pro performance, so he slides in just behind for now.
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Montero will forever be tied to the ill-fated Nolan Arenado salary dump, as he was the most valuable part of the package headed back to Colorado. Montero also took a big step forward in 2021, repeating Double-A two years later and smoking it then continuing the act at Triple-A, setting the stage for a 2022 big league debut. He has plus raw power and above-average bat control, but below-average pitch selection can undermine both. Montero is just OK at third base, but is, like many of the position players in this range, fits somewhere from a platoon player to low-end starter. Bernabel has a similar skillset, with bat control and iffy pitch selection with a corner fit of some sort. Bernabel has a feel for lifting the ball in game, but closer to average raw power. Like Jorge with the shortstops above, Fernandez is the highest variance of this corner group because of the lack of information. Fernandez has plus lefty raw power and showed it in the DSL, along with a solid contact rate. It seems to me to be more of a “more talented than my opposition” than a “I have power, know how to use it, but also contact skills and good pitch selection as an 18-year-old.” But also, we don’t really have any bad information here other than he’s definitely a corner outfielder.
Vargas has only pitched in the DSL, but he was sitting 93-95 mph with some life. He’s also got some projection and enough feel to spin an above-average curveball. It’s early, but there are encouraging signs here. McMahon has been a bit up-and-down since his high school underclass days. He throws a tailing sinker 91-93 mph but was more 93-95 mph when at his best in college at Miami (Fla.). His slider, changeup and feel all flash above average at times, but it’s trending more like No. 4 or No. 5 starter now than it was at draft time. Weatherly started a bit in college and has a solid four pitch mix, but has always looked more like a power lefty reliever. His 92-95 mph heater and slider are plus and anything around 40-to-45 command should make him a big leaguer if he can keep that raw stuff.
Others of note
Like a couple of other pitchers in the system, Hill isn’t the prettiest analytically, but shows the broad abilities scouts are looking for. He’s a big righty that’s often in the upper-90’s (without bat-missing shape or much deception at the moment), an above average slider, and a plus-plus changeup, though the execution with those weapons wasn’t always there. He blew out and needed Tommy John surgery in his draft spring, helping him slide from the mid-first round to the second round. There’s lots to work with here, but Hill is also 22 without a very long track record of sustained multi-inning success. Rolison’s velocity is down a few ticks from Ole Miss, but he’s still got moxie, starter command and a plus curveball, so he’ll be a useful big leaguer of some sort. Feltner flashed an electric arm at Ohio State but had some command issues; the Rockies shortened his arm swing and that part improved. His raw stuff is down a tick from college heights but he’s now a useful big league arm of some sort.
Brown flashed a plus heater and hook at Indiana, but had a shorter track record of success and command, so he’s a bit of a developmental type. Since he’s 6-foot-6 and a solid athlete with a recent stuff bump from a cold weather background, there’s a little more time to see how it goes, but the bullpen is the most likely outcome. Goodman was a 4th rounder last summer, the next pick after Brown, and he’s a below average receiver behind the plate that may need to move to first base but with easy plus raw power and solid production. He’s probably a righty bench/platoon that’s either a backup catcher or third catcher/mostly first baseman, but even that is more valuable now with the universal DH. Gil (son of Benji) also came over in the Arenado trade and is a solid shortstop with 15-18 homer potential and solid feel for the game, but without a plus tool.
No. 10 overall
No. 7 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$247.5 million total value
1. Diego Cartaya, C, 55 FV (No. 26 in the Top 100)
2. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, 50 FV (59)
3. Bobby Miller, RHP, 50 FV (61)
4. Andy Pages, RF, 50 FV (68)
5. Michael Busch, 1B, 50 FV (87)
6. Miguel Vargas, 3B, 50 FV (111)
7. Nick Nastrini, RHP, 45+ FV
8. Landon Knack, RHP, 45+ FV
9. Eddys Leonard, 2B, 45+ FV
10. Wilman Diaz, SS, 45 FV
11. Carlos Duran, RHP, 45 FV
12. Jacob Amaya, SS, 45 FV
13. Alex De Jesus, 3B, 45 FV
14. Jose Ramos, CF, 45 FV
15. Rayne Doncon, SS, 45 FV
16. Jorbit Vivas, 2B, 40+ FV
17. Andre Jackson, RHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (16): Jesus Galiz/C, Michael Grove/RHP, Maddux Bruns/LHP, Hyun-il Choi/RHP, Emmet Sheehan/RHP, Clayton Beeter/RHP, Gavin Stone/RHP, James Outman/CF, Peter Heubeck/RHP, NIck Robertson/RHP, Jonny Deluca/CF, Luis Rodriguez/CF, Samuel Munoz/3B, Kody Hoese/3B, Kendall Williams/RHP, Yeiner Fernandez/C
35+ FV (15): Carson Taylor/C, Brandon Lewis/3B, Justin Bruihl/LHP, Jake Vogel/CF, Ryan Ward/LF, Tanner Dodson/RHP, Ryan Noda/1B, Devin Mann/2B, Edgardo Henriquez/RHP, James Yurchak/1B, Leonel Valera/SS, Jerming Rosario/RHP, Drew Avans/LF, Kyle Hurt/RHP, Osvanni Gutierrez/RHP
2022 Impact: Knack
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Doncon
40 FV or less breakout pick: Galiz
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Nastrini is the wildest story for a post-draft riser that I can remember. He was on everyone’s 2021 draft lists after his freshman year at UCLA, where he showed first-round potential. Nastrini got the yips as a junior in 2021, walking 38 in 31? innings and eventually leaving the program and scouts had to go to a local college summer league team to see him throw before the draft. He was 95-98 mph with an easy plus hook there, but it was hard to reconcile these two versions of him. The Dodgers grabbed him in the fourth round for a slightly overslot $500,000 bonus.
Nastrini threw 14 pro innings after signing, mostly at low-A and struck out 32, walking 7. Nastrini was the talk of Dodgers’ instructional league play, continuing to sit 95-97 with two breaking balls that were both 60-to-70-grade pitches depending on whom you asked – although everyone agreed he was better than Bobby Miller in the same setting. After the draft every year, there’s a handful of guys who pop that summer/fall and I’m wary of ranking too aggressively based on that smallish sample, but I think Nastrini is about 20 more pro innings from being a 50 FV for me. We would just have to agree to ignore those 31? innings in 2021 at UCLA, because everything else points to this guy being a dude.
Knack has his own interesting story, emerging in the pandemic shortened 2020 season as a nearly-23-year-old passed-over player at East Tennessee State. The scouting report from that short look has held up, with an above-average fastball/breaking ball combo and above-average feel for pitching. He’ll be in Triple-A most of this year and despite the Dodgers’ excellent pitching depth on the big league team and premium pitching prospects, multiple team sources indicate they feel best about Knack of those who could come in for a spot start. Duran is a different sort of arm, a 6-foot-6 20-year-old who has only made two starts above low-A, but he’s another power arm who projects as a starter. Duran has a plus breaking ball and sits in the mid-90s, mixing in a sinker and changeup. Jackson is a converted outfielder with a Tommy John surgery in his rear view and he already has big league time. He’s solid-average at almost everything except for his plus changeup, a solid utility arm who fits in many roles.
Leonard has a breakout 2021 as a 20-year-old at both A-ball levels, hitting 22 homers and hitting 45% better than league average and playing all over the infield along with a bit of center field. He’s OK at shortstop but probably fits best at second and in center as the best version of a super utility type since he can be out of control at times and his arm is just average. He’s a plus runner with plus bat speed and above-average raw power and has turned raw tools into usable ones at the plate. If he keeps hitting like this, he’ll become a 50 FV in-season. Amaya is a little less exciting but comparable as a prospect. He’s a steadier shortstop who can stick there and he has posted less loud numbers largely due to unlucky BABIP with probably no more than fringy power.
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Grade: With Freeman on board, can anyone stop the Dodgers? (ESPN+)
De Jesus is playing mostly shortstop now but will move to third base long-term. He also had a slow start to 2021, but recovered nicely with a timing tweak to his swing, with solid year-end numbers as a teenager at low-A with a power-and-patience skill set. Vivas is a 5-foot-10 second baseman with average-ish tools but has arguably the three most important things going for him: he can really hit, he has a good approach, and he has enough power to let it all play. He also performs well and is young for his levels, so there’s universal trade value — even if he’s a Tommy La Stella-type player.
Diaz was in the top tier of prospects in the 2021 international class and still tracks as what he was projected to be at that point. The components are here for above-average hit and power tools while sticking at shortstop, though the in-game power will show up last and there’s some hit-tool risk as there is with any prospect who hasn’t played stateside games yet. Doncon was the underrated find of the same signing class; he had a deal with the Dodgers then made a physical leap during the beginning of the pandemic and showed up looking like a seven-figure talent in the DSL last summer despite a bonus roughly a quarter of Diaz’s. Doncon is a shortstop now but should get bigger and could eventually move off of the position, while Diaz likely sticks. Doncon’s pandemic development was most notable in his bat speed and raw power, and it’s already showing up in his pro statline.
Ramos was another low-dollar find by the international group, signing out of Panama as a 17-year-old and he’s done nothing but perform in pro ball. He has some of the best exit velos in the low minors and his power-and-patience skill set is already showing up in games, though he may struggle against better offspeed stuff at higher levels. He’s a defensive tweener with a double-plus arm that’ll play anywhere.
Others of note
There are three interesting young catchers in this part of the list: Galiz, Fernandez, and Taylor. Galiz had a deal early as one of the better players in the 2021 international class, then his deal fell apart and the Dodgers swooped in. He had a solid debut in the DSL with strong contact and defense but needs to get to more of his raw power in games, which the Dodgers are good at teaching. Fernandez is from the 2020 international class and has a similar profile to some previous big league Dodgers catchers: smallish, can really hit, solid power, components to become a solid defender. Taylor was a later-developing backstop at Virginia Tech who would’ve gone higher than the fourth round in the 2020 draft if he had had a full spring. He has an offense-over-defense profile after a strong pro debut in high-A.
Bruns may have had the best raw stuff (70-grade heater and hook, 60-grade slider) and worst command in the whole 2021 prep pitching class, which is contrasted by Heubeck having solid average stuff but advanced feel/delivery/projection, proving there are no absolutes even with top tier organizations. Sheehan is another already obviously good value in the college pitching ranks, going in the sixth round from Boston College. He worked in the mid-90s in college then sat 95-98 in shorter stints in pro ball, putting up Nastrini-like numbers: 15? innings, 34 strikeouts, 8 walks.
Rodriguez was one of the top position players in the so-far-underwhelming 2019 international class, and Rodriguez has lost a bit of luster as well. The 2019 class was hit hard by the pandemic. Players were set to make their pro debuts in a lost season of 2020, then a new class came in, so in 2021 many of the 2019 signees were 18 years old and got pushed to stateside pro debuts with no official games under their belt. Rodriguez got bigger and strong but his swing also got bigger and his rhythm wasn’t quite right. There’s easy plus raw power now, but he also is more of a tweener fit defensively. Munoz was the big-ticket signing in the most recent signing class and is an advanced lefty bat with power potential that may fit at any of the corner spots long-term.
No. 14 overall
No. 22 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$207 million total value
1. C.J. Abrams, SS, 60 FV (No. 4 in the Top 100)
2. Robert Hassell III, CF, 55 FV (31))
3. Luis Campusano, C, 50 FV (67))
4. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 50 FV (80)
5. James Wood, CF, 45 FV
6. Jackson Merrill, SS, 45 FV
7. Euribiel Angeles, SS, 45 FV
8. Victor Acosta, SS, 40+ FV
9. Josh Mears, LF, 40+ FV
10. Robert Gasser, LHP, 40+ FV
11. Samuel Zavala, CF, 40+ FV
40 FV (12): Jarlin Susana/RHP, Kevin Kopps/RHP, Victor Lizarraga/RHP, Eguy Rosario/2B, Reiss Knehr/RHP, Brandon Valenzuela/C, Matt Waldron/RHP, Ethan Elliott/LHP, Adrian Martinez/RHP, Steven Wilson/RHP, Yendry Rojas/SS, Max Ferguson/2B
35+ FV (12): Nerwillian Cedeno/2B, Ray Kerr/LHP, Tirso Ornelas/LF, Corey Rosier/CF, Efrain Contreras/RHP, River Ryan/RHP, Noel Vela/LHP, Jairo Iriarte/RHP, Daniel Montesino/LF, Jackson Wolf/LHP, Ryan Bergert/RHP, Brayan Medina/RHP
2022 Impact: Gore
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Wood
40 FV or less breakout pick: Susana
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Wood had a Kyle Tucker-esque look two summers ago on the showcase circuit, with above-average bat control and raw power from a 6-foot-7 frame along with no batting gloves and some tape measure home runs. He also has deceptively above average speed and isn’t bad in center field right now. His spring at IMG Academy was very up-and-down, so interest went from the middle of the first round early in the spring to scattered from the compensation round to the third round at draft time, with questions about what his signability would be. The Padres took him 62nd overall but gave him $2.6 million, commensurate with picks in the late-20s. Wood had a solid pro debut but still struck out 32% of the time in those 26 complex league games. Merrill was the Padres’ pick in the late-20s, signing for $1.8 million; there was lots of interest on Merrill before the next pick, where they snagged Wood. I didn’t know Merrill’s name until about March 2021, so many teams didn’t have enough history — particularly with wood bats at full-sized fields against D1-level pitching — to feel confident in a first-round eval, even though his tools belonged there. The lefty-swinging shortstop has some Stephen Drew vibes if it all comes together and he should join Wood in low-A this year.
Acosta has a little more prospect hype and upside than Angeles, but I slightly prefer Angeles at this point. Angeles is very advanced, in terms of polish both on and off the field, with more skills than tools at this point. He can really hit and play all the spots in the infield, along with solid power for his age (19) and size (5-foot-11, 175 pounds). He may top out at the Marwin Gonzalez-type high-end utility guy, but that’s still very valuable. Acosta is a much more likely shortstop and is a plus runner with more obvious tools, which is why he signed for $1.8 million in the class with Zavala. Acosta isn’t quite as polished but is still just 17, so there’s plenty of time.
Mears has ridiculous raw power, either a 70 or 80, and he’ll give you above-average run times occasionally as well. That starting point is fantastic, but the contact rates need to improve to let those tools play at the upper levels. Zavala stood out in the DSL last summer as a 17-year-old after signing for $1.2 million from Venezuela. He’ll probably settle as an outfield tweener, though he is a solid-average runner and decent defender in center right now. His separator is the hit/approach/power combo, which was obvious with a loud performance in the DSL — keep an eye on him for a big stateside breakout in 2022.
Gasser was one of many 22-year-old college pitchers in play for the top five rounds after the shortened pandemic draft. He has a whiff-friendly fastball shape on his low-90s heater that can hit 95 mph, and his plus slider is the carrying trait. There’s plenty of feel and command along with a usable changeup, so he may slice through A-Ball quickly.
Others of note
Susana could’ve signed in the last international class, but he waited a year — after his velocity spiked late in the process and most of the bonus money was spent — to get $1.7 million from the Padres in January. He’s 6-foot-6, 240 pounds and turning 18 this week with his biggest current skill being arm speed: sitting 95-97 and hitting 99 mph. He has two power breaking balls and a low-90s changeup that he can throw for strikes, but as you may guess there are some command and finesse issues that lead to a reliever risk.
If you watched any college baseball last year you were probably aware of Arkansas relief ace Kevin Kopps. As a 24-year-old (now 25), Kopps dominated (131 strikeouts, 0.90 ERA in 89? innings that included just one start) the best amateur league in the world, becoming the 99th overall pick and signing for a below-slot bonus. He was a late bloomer in part due to a 2018 Tommy John surgery but also the unique way he gets out: throwing a mid-80s cutter/slider about ? of the time. Padres personnel think he’ll be in the big leagues in 2022.
The third flavor of unique in this range is Matt Waldron. He was a pretty generic reliever who was 24 in Double-A last year and sat 90-94 mph, but broke out a knuckleball at this time last year and slowly it became a bigger part of his arsenal. The Padres want him to dial it down from 80 mph to the mid-70s and throw it something like 75% of the time because the limited strain it puts on his arm could allow him to throw more often than most relievers. He has a real chance for a big league look in 2022, especially if the Padres need some length.
Three other position players are of note here: Rojas (Cuban SS signed for $1.3 million, well-rounded skill set), Ferguson (slight 2B had up-and-down draft year but has bulked up, is a plus runner) and Rosier (2021 12th-rounder out of UNC Greensboro had a loud pro debut, was traded over from Seattle). The Pads took two pitchers in the 2021 draft from West Virginia is 6-foot-7 Jackson Wolf, who slings a sinker/slider combo from a low slot while Ryan Bergert was a standout underclass power arm that missed the spring due to Tommy John surgery.
No. 11 overall
No. 14 in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$230.5 million total value
1. Marco Luciano, 3B, 55 FV (No. 30 in the Top 100)
2. Luis Matos, CF, 55 FV (42)
3. Kyle Harrison, LHP, 55 FV (50)
4. Joey Bart, C, 50 FV (72)
5. Patrick Bailey, C, 50 FV (103)
6. Heliot Ramos, RF, 50 FV (107)
7. Hunter Bishop, CF, 45 FV
8. Will Bednar, RHP, 45 FV
9. Gregory Santos, RHP, 45 FV
10. Luis Toribio, 3B, 45 FV
11. Jairo Pomares, CF, 45 FV
12. Casey Schmitt, 3B, 45 FV
13. Aeverson Arteaga, SS, 40+ FV
14. R.J. Dabovich, RHP, 40+ FV
15. Nick Swiney, LHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (15): Matt Mikulski/LHP, Ryan Murphy/RHP, Manuel Mercedes/RHP, Will Wilson/2B, Tristan Beck/RHP, Carson Ragsdale/RHP, Adrian Sugastey/C, Randy Rodriguez/RHP, Sam Delaplane/RHP, Kai-Wei Teng/RHP, Sean Hjelle/RHP, Jimmy Glowenke/2B, Eric Silva/RHP, Trevor McDonald/RHP, Ricardo Genoves/C
35+ FV (9): Seth Corry/LHP, Ryan Reckley/SS, Kervin Castro/RHP, Blake Rivera/RHP, Tyler Fitzgerald/SS, Brett Auerbach/C, Mason Black/RHP, Cole Waites/RHP, Michael Plassmeyer/LHP
2022 Impact: Bart
Over 40 FV Breakout Pick: Schmitt
40 FV or less breakout pick: Murphy
Ranked prospects beyond the top 100
Bishop still has the tools that made him the No. 10 overall pick in 2019, but also has the same contact questions — along with new ones about a lack of reps and durability. A shoulder injury and the pandemic year are to blame for the last two issues while his lack of bat control is the culprit for the contact issues. The reason he’s ranked this high is he has plus-plus bat speed and raw power along with plus foot speed and enough feel to stay in center field. Pomares has concerns on his contact ability but due to his pitch selection, laid bare with a 33 strikeout to 1 walk showing in a late season promotion to high-A. Before that, he hit well in low-A as a 20-year-old and he has an above-average power/speed combo, but it comes with some real risk.
Toribio is a righty-hitting third baseman with limited range, thus at this trajectory he’ll end up at first base full-time. That backs him into a corner profile-wise (and wastes his above-average arm), but he can hit, he has a good approach, and he has plus raw power, so I see a big leaguer here of some sort, even if it’s just a platoon righty bat. Schmitt was an elite closer and third baseman at San Diego State, but the Giants have him as a position player only now. He’s a plus defender with at least an average bat and enough above-average raw power to profile as an every-day player.
Schmitt is now 23 and hasn’t been above low-A, but the components are here for a breakout. Arteaga signed for $1.2 million out of Venezuela as a familiar type: the lanky, defense-over-offense shortstop. He’s already outpaced early expectations, hitting nine home runs in 56 complex league games, showing a power/speed/patience combo that normally comes later, if ever, for prospects of this sort.
How the Savannah Bananas are changing the rules of baseball.
Bednar took a big step forward in 2021, moving into the Mississippi State rotation and serving as the ace for a College World Series title run. His plus slider is the difference-maker here, with a fastball and curveball that can both play above average at times. There’s enough command to project a No. 3 or No. 4 starter, but Bednar is maxed out physically and his delivery is just all right, so his pitchability will have to shine through. Santos took a big step forward at the alternate site, running his heater over 100 mph and flashing at least a plus slider. His command and overall pitchability are both still below average, but fine, and he could be one tweak away from being a late-inning weapon.
Dabovich was a solid starter prospect at Arizona State with solid average stuff, then moved to the bullpen and was up to 100 mph with bat-missing lift. The added arm speed helped his curveball play close to plus, but it all came with relief command. This journey is valuable because Dabovich is one of few prospects to show a distinct back-end rotation version of himself and a late inning version. He’ll likely continue along this relief path and 45-grade command will put him in the late innings. Swiney is the prototypical funky, crafty left with above average offspeed stuff, fringy velocity and above average command.
Others of note
The Giants have arguably the best, if not the best, pitcher development system in baseball right now, particularly at the big league level, so I’ll focus on some arms in the bottom two tiers. Mikulski was a second-round pick last summer as another of the improved 22-year-old college pitchers passed over in the pandemic-shortened draft. His velo spiked from the low-90s to the mid-90s and hit 100 mph with a bonkers performance at Fordham, an above-average slider and plus changeup. What he does fits in a multi-inning relief type role. Murphy is the opposite, with a fringy fastball and mostly solid-average off-speed pitchers but plus command. Continuing the whiplash, Mercedes is an upside teenager with a wide variance in possible outcomes, but he sits in the mid-90’s now with a three pitch mix that’s at least solid average when it’s right, but I’ll guess he splits the difference and fits in the multi-utility relief role like Mikulski projects.
Ragsdale is 6-foot-8 and drops his pitches out of the sky, sitting 92-94 with a plus curveball and solid feel for pitching. Delaplane was claimed off of waivers from Seattle while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and will be 27 soon with only two innings thrown above Double-A but he has wacky raw stuff. He sits 92-94 but with excellent bat-missing characteristics and unique, at least plus slider that’s somewhat confusing analytically but it’s worked everywhere so far. Teng has solid-average stuff across the board and above average command, a type that progressive pitching clubs have proven they can tease one more good quality out of and make a solid big leaguer. Silva is on the smaller side but has the physical ability, arm speed and feel for snapping off two kinds of breaking balls that you like to see to bet on a non-standard type. McDonald is another over-slot prep righty with good feel for a breaking ball and enough other qualities to project him as a back-end starter. Waites will not be a starter but is a late bloomer up to 100 mph with a 55-or-60-grade slider.
Source: ESPN MLB