2022 MLB Top 100 Prospects

Just Baseball's top 100 MLB prospects for the 2022 season along with detailed write-ups.

Just Baseball’s top 100 prospects for 2022 is finally here! We won’t bore you with too much of an intro, but before you dissect the list, some important notes: We believe the prospect thresholds are generally a bit too loose. Any pitchers who have thrown more than 50 MLB innings or hitters who have racked up 150 MLB PA’s will graduate from the list. We also graduate former prospects who have appeared in multiple big league seasons.

For example, Roansy Contreras (PIT) has not accumulated 50 MLB innings, but graduates from our list now that he pitched at the MLB level in both 2021 and 2022.

This list and the write-ups have been months in the making. We factor everything into consideration from our first hand accounts, conversations with scouts and other evaluators, conversations with players, the data, and more.

Keep up with all of the latest prospect news, info and interviews on our prospect podcast, “The Call Up”!

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RankPlayerTeamAgeLevelPositionETAFuture Value
1Bobby Witt Jr.Royals22MLBSS202275
2Julio RodriguezMariners21MLBOF202275
3Adley RutschmanOrioles24AAAC202270
4Grayson RodriguezOrioles21AAARHP202270+
5Francisco AlvarezMets20AAC202370
6Riley GreeneTigers21AAAOF202270
7Spencer TorkelsonTigers22MLB1B202265
8Shane BazRays22MLBRHP202265
9Gabriel MorenoBlue Jays22AAAC202265
10Anthony VolpeYankees21A+SS202365
11Oneil CruzPirates23MLBSS202265+
12Corbin CarrollDiamondbacks21A+OF202360+
13C.J. AbramsPadres21AASS202260+
14Marco LucianoGiants20A+SS202360+
15Brennen DavisCubs22AAAOF202260+
16Triston CasasRed Sox22AAA1B202260+
17Daniel EspinoGuardians21AARHP202360+
18Nick LodoloReds24MLBLHP202260
19Hunter GreeneReds22MLBRHP202260+
20George KirbyMariners24AAARHP202260
21Noelvi MarteMariners20A+SS202460+
22Jeremy PeñaAstros24MLBSS202260+
23MJ MelendezRoyals22AAAC202260
24Robert HassellPadres22A+OF202360
25Brett BatyMets22AA3B202355+
26Josh LoweRays24MLBOF202260
27Alek ThomasDiamondbacks21AAAOF202255+
28Jordan WalkerCardinals19A+3B202360
29Jordan LawlarDiamondbacks19ASS202460
30Marcelo MayerRed Sox19ASS202460
31Eury PerezMarlins19AARHP202360
32Jack LeiterRangers21AARHP202360
33Josh JungRangers24AAA3B202355+
34Max MeyerMarlins23AAARHP202255+
35Henry DavisPirates22A+C202355+
36Nick YorkeRed Sox20A+2B202355+
37Matt BrashMariners23MLBRHP202255+
38Zac VeenRockies20A+OF202455+
39Bryson StottPhillies24MLBSS/3B202255
40Tyler SoderstromAthletics20A+C202455
41Miguel VargasDodgers22AAAINF202255
42Jackson JobeTigers19ARHP202555+
43George ValeraGuardians21AAOF202355+
44Luis MatosGiants20A+OF202455+
45DL HallOrioles23AALHP202355
46Nick PrattoRoyals23AAA1B202255
47Colton CowserOrioles22A+OF202355
48Kahlil WatsonMarlins19ASS202460
49Bobby MillerDodgers23AARHP202355
50Andy PagesDodgers21AAOF202355+
51Cole WinnRangers22AAARHP202255
52Elly De La CruzReds20ASS202560
53Nick GonzalesPirates22AA2B202355
54Brandon WilliamsonReds24AALHP202355
55Oswald PerazaYankees22AAASS202255
56Cade CavalliNationals23AAARHP202255
57Jose MirandaTwins23AAA3B/1B202255
58Kyle HarrisonGiants20A+LHP202355+
59Taj BradleyRays21AARHP202355
60Michael HarrisBraves21AAOF202355
61Mick AbelPhillies20A+RHP202455+
62Brayan RocchioGuardians21AASS202355
63Diego CartayaDodgers20AC202455
64Nolan GormanCardinals21AAA2B/3B202255
65Gabriel AriasGuardians22AAASS202255
66Steven KwanGuardians24MLBOF202250+
67Curtis MeadRays21AAINF202355
68Emerson HancockMariners22AARHP202355
69Shea LangeliersAthletics24AAAC202255
70Liover PegueroPirates21AASS202355
71Orelvis MartinezBlue Jays20AASS/3B202355+
72Joey WiemerBrewers23AAOF202355
73Austin MartinTwins23AASS/OF202255
74Edward CabreraMarlins24AAARHP202255
75Mark VientosMets22AAA3B202255
76Sal FrelickBrewers22A+OF202455
77Matthew LiberatoreCardinals22AAALHP202255
78Brady HouseNationals18ASS202555
79Jairo PomaresGiants21A+OF202455
80Coby MayoOrioles20A+3B202455
81Michael BuschDodgers24AA2B/1B202255
82Royce LewisTwins22AAASS202255
83Jasson DominguezYankees19AOF202555+
84Endy RodriguezPirates20A+C202455
85Cristian HernandezCubs18DSLSS202555
86Tyler FreemanGuardians22AAASS/2B202250+
87Everson PereiraYankees22A+CF202355
88Matt McLainReds22AASS202355
89Ryan PepiotDodgers24AAARHP202255
90Owen CaissieCubs19AOF202455
91Luis CampusanoPadres23AAAC202255
92Ezequiel DuranRangers22AAINF202355
93Owen WhiteRangers22A+RHP202350+
94Jordan GroshansBlue Jays22AASS/3B202250+
95MacKenzie GorePadres22MLBLHP202255
96Harry FordMariners19AC202455
97Heliot RamosGiants22MLBOF202250+
98Vinnie PasquantinoRoyals23AAA1B202250+
99Bryan BelloRed Sox22AARHP202350+
100Ken WaldichukYankees24AALHP202250+

1.Bobby Witt Jr. – SS – Kansas City Royals

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (2), 2019 (KC) | ETA: 2022

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Baseball’s best prospect is the definition of a five-tool player. Witt Jr. could not have had a better first full professional season for the Royals. Kansas City may have their face of the franchise for the next decade.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .290/.361/.575, 33 HR, 72 XBH, 29 SB, 143 wRC+, 23.2 K%, 9 BB%

Offense

Very quiet, upright stance to start and proceeds to drop into his back hip, triggering a hovering front leg rather than a leg kick. Witt has a truly special lower half that allows him to produce huge exit velos while his body is in spots that most hitters cannot get to. The lower half is eerily similar to Mookie Betts thanks to the combination of athleticism, mobility and explosion. Even when Witt takes ‘B’ and ‘C’ swings, his lower half allows him to create insane, line-to-line power.

Witt’s hands and bat speed are just as impressive, and they allow him to cover top of the scale velocity in all parts of the zone. Witt’s electric and wiry body allows him to produce at least plus raw power at present and there could be more to come as he continues to mature and add strength. In addition to his immense raw hitting tools, Witt has already shown an advanced ability to manage at-bats. He is quick to make adjustments at the plate and rarely gets fooled.

You’d never guess this kid is only 21 years old when you watch him. He truly carries himself like a big leaguer already. He currently deploys an approach that features tons of line drives and fly balls, with a slight preference to do damage to his pull-side.

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The only knock on Witt’s offensive profile is his slight tendency to swing and miss. He manages this well, however, and even if he ends up striking out above 25% at the big league level, his huge exit velos and plus-plus speed should fuel a sustainably high BABIP on an annual basis. Witt’s bat has the potential to be special, and it wouldn’t surprise us if he produces slash lines close to .280/.350/.550 with 30-35 homers per year.

Defense/Speed

Witt is an electric defender who comes with zero concern about his ability to handle shortstop at the big league level. His range is well above average thanks to a fantastic first step as well as light feet that allow him to get to balls that most shortstops cannot.

His arm might be plus-plus with continued development and it allows him to make throws from deep in the hole. Not only can Witt make the web jem play, but he’s also close to automatic on routine plays as well. Yet another loud tool, Witt is a plus-plus runner who registers home to first times close to four seconds routinely. He also cuts bases like a big leaguer already, and he could be a threat to lead the league in triples, especially at Kauffman Stadium. Twenty-plus stolen bases can be expected as he continues to refine his base stealing. 

Outlook

Not only are Witt’s raw tools incredible, he is also lauded for his makeup, work ethic and passion for playing. The tools could be plus or better across the board when all is said and done, making Witt the rare, true five-tool player. Physically, he reminds us a bit of Trevor Story, although Witt’s tools are louder and his natural feel to hit far exceeds Story’s. This is a guy who has a chance to become a perennial MVP threat in the American League. Oh yeah, and he is big league ready now.

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2. Julio Rodriguez – OF – Seattle Mariners

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $1.75 million, 2017 (SEA) | ETA: 2022

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J-Rod has done nothing but hit since he debuted in 2018. The 21-year-old has stepped his game up after every promotion, finishing last year with nearly a .500 OBP in 46 Double-A games.

2021 Stats A+/AA: .347/.441/.560, 13 HR, 34 XBH, 169 wRC+, 19.4 K%, 12.6 BB%

Offense

Extremely advanced right-handed swing, slight weight transfer in the lower half allows him to use it to its full potential. Slow and controlled load where his front foot lands very softly and consistently gets in a great launch position. Hands are extremely fast, and he produces top of the scale bat speed which leads to impact power to all parts of the field.

Rodriguez probably has another 10 pounds of muscle to add to his frame, leading to the belief that he’ll grow into 70-grade raw power. J-Rod controls the strike zone extremely well, and thus far in his career his ability to identify breaking balls has been one of his bigger strengths. Advanced approach allows him to drive fastballs in the oppo gab with authority, while driving hanging breaking balls with lift to his pull-side. Line-drive machine. His quiet mechanics combined with his plus pitch recognition should give him a chance to put up an OPS over .900 on an annual basis, while also hitting 30-35 home runs.

Defense/Speed

Rodriguez is a terrific athlete for his size, currently posting above-average run times to first base while also playing a competent center field. As his body matures, he may add some weight and lose a step, and he has the plus arm that suits him perfectly in right field. He takes naturally good routes to the baseball, and his makeup and work ethic are lauded upon by members of the Mariners front office. Rodriguez’s athleticism and work ethic lead to an above-average projection as a right fielder.

Outlook

Rodriguez’s offensive ceiling rivals that of any prospect in minor league baseball. His advanced approach, incredible natural hitting tools, and plus makeup make it easy to believe that the Mariners have a future superstar on their hands.

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3.Adley Rutschman – C – Baltimore Orioles

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 220 | Bat/Throw: S/R | 1st Round (1), 2019 (BAL) | ETA: 2022

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Baseball’s best catching prospect in many years, Rutschman has the potential to provide high-end production along with elite defense behind the dish.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .285/.397/.502, 23 HR, 50 XBH, 144 wRC+, 16.6 K%, 14.5 BB%

Offense

Very simple setup and load from both sides of the plate. Starts slightly more open from the left side but other than that there are no significant differences in his left swing versus his right. He uses a small leg kick to create rhythm and timing and the balance he displays in his swing from both sides of the plate is truly spectacular, he’s always aware of where his body is at and has a knack for getting his ‘A’ swing off against pitcher’s pitches. His awareness and control of the strike zone sets him apart from nearly every other minor league player.

Rarely does he chase out of the zone and rarely does he take a pitch that he can drive. He creates easy plus power from line-to-line that starts with his XXL frame and long levers that create easy plus bat speed as well as tremendous leverage. He has a knack for back-spinning the ball to all fields with a slight preference to inflict pull-side damage, especially early or ahead in the count. His in-game adjustments are fantastic for a player with under 100 minor league games, which can be attributed to his ability to slow the game down and understanding how a pitcher is attacking him.

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There isn’t a lot of swing-and-miss in his profile, though as he advances through the higher levels it would do him good to let his athleticism and lower half adjustability work more as he gets behind in counts. Due to his lack of speed and preference to pull the ball, the shift could eat away at his batting average at the big league level, however, you can still expect batting averages in the .260-.280 range with top of the line on-base numbers and anywhere from 25-35 homers on an annual basis.

Defense/Speed

In addition to owning one of the most potent bats in all of the minor leagues, Rutschman’s defense behind the plate has the potential to be elite as well. A kicker in his early years at Oregon State, Rutschman is extremely agile and athletic for his size and he possesses soft hands that create framing that could be elite as well. Rutschman also displays a plus arm and exchange behind the dish that should neutralize the running game even at the highest level. Rutschman’s instincts, feel for the game and leadership truly stand out behind the plate, and he’s exactly the kind of player that a team dreams of in terms of leading a pitching staff. 

Outlook

Rutschman’s combination of potentially elite hitting, elite fielding as well as elite makeup are rarely seen across the sport, and perhaps have never been seen before at the catching position. Adley has the kind of special skill set where essentially any comp isn’t crazy. Name a catcher and there’s a reasonable hope that he can attain that ceiling. Catchers who impact the game on both sides of the ball are just too rare nowadays. One hair splitting thing to watch: Rutschman’s OPS from the right side this year is about 300 points higher than the left side, though his swing from both sides looks great. Expect to see him with a chance to crack the Opening Day roster for the Orioles in 2022.

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4.Grayson Rodriguez – RHP – Baltimore Orioles

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’5′, 225 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (11), 2018 (BAL) | ETA: 2022

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The best pitching prospect in baseball really does not have a weakness on the mound. A big body with three plus pitches and good command make it easy to see why Rodriguez is the best arm in the minors. 

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2021 Stats (A+/AA): 103 IP, 2.36 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, 40.5 K%, 6.8 BB%

Arsenal

High ¾ arm slot with consistent, medium-effort mechanics and tons of arm speed, Rodriguez’s repertoire starts with his mid-to-upper 90’s fastball that features ample amounts of both ASR and sink. It’s an explosive and heavy heater which he commands well and it plays up when located down and to his arm-side.

Rodriguez creates tons of soft contact early in counts and also has shown advanced feel for locating it at the top of the zone for swings and misses. Rodriguez stands at 6’5” tall, creating an extremely tough angle for hitters; right-handed hitters in particular really struggle with his heater. As Rodriguez continues to refine his command of the fastball, it will become a nightmare in regards to missing barrels. 

The big righty has several secondaries that are currently plus or at least flashing it. Rodriguez’s plus-plus mid 80’s changeup leads the charge with good arm speed and ridiculous ASR and sink. He already has a feel to land it for strikes at the bottom of the zone as well as miss bats with the pitch late in the count. The pitch features so much horizontal break that Rodriguez is able to deploy it against lefties and righties alike. Rodriguez’s changeup is arguably the best in the minor leagues and will soon be one of the best in the bigs.

Rodriguez also throws a pair of breaking balls, with his mid 80’s slider being the more used and effective pitch. The slider’s deceptive nature leaves hitters taking consistently bad swings when located down and to his glove-side. He also has the ability to throw it for strikes early in the count against both left and right-handed hitters as well as manipulate it to a tighter, harder more cutter-ish pitch. The other breaking ball, the curveball, features much more vertical drop as a great pitch to bury in the dirt late in counts to get hitters to chase.

Outlook

There’s a reason why Grayson Rodriguez is our No.1 pitching prospect in all of baseball. Rodriguez’s combination of stuff, size and command don’t come along often. He is already showing an ability to mix at a high level and can throw four pitches for strikes. Depending on the day, any of them can miss bats.

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The 21-year-old has seen his velocity increase as the Minor League season has endured over the last couple years, leaving optimism for how he can endure the marathon that is a big league season without fading. Rodriguez has elite starting pitcher potential and could be in Baltimore as early as the middle of the 2022 season.

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5.Francisco Alvarez – C – New York Mets

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 5’10’, 233 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $2.7M (2018) | ETA: 2023

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The heir-apparent to Adley Rutschman as baseball’s best catching prospect, Francisco Alvarez has offensive upside that rivals almost any prospect at any position while showing plenty of potential defensively.

2021 Stats (A/A+): .272/.388/.554, 24 HR, 43 XBH, 148 wRC+, 22.3 K%, 13.8 BB%

Offense

Open stance with pre-loaded weight shift into back hip reminiscent of Tyler O’Neil. Only really physical players can generate power from that position and Alvarez is just that. At a solid 5-foot-10, 230 pounds, Alvarez has easy plus-plus pop in the tank and his simple set up allows him to consistently be on time as well as control his body. Still just 20 years old, Alvarez has mashed his way to High-A, launching 22 homers in 2021, while maintaining a respectable 22% K-rate. 

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Right now, Alvarez’s power is mostly being demonstrated pull-side as he has had no problem punishing hanging breaking balls and catching up to hard stuff middle-in thanks to his explosive bat speed. Pitchers at higher levels will likely work away from the at times pull-happy Alvarez, but his pitch recognition and body control have us confident that he will adjust.

Alvarez has plus plus raw power, combined with a feel to hit that is ahead of his years. Forty home runs wouldn’t even be out of question for the Mets top prospect at some point in his career, along with palatable K-rates. 

Defense/Speed

Alvarez’s athleticism at the plate can be seen behind the dish as well. He is an incredibly advanced receiver for a 20-year-old and moves well behind the dish, allowing him to block balls that many catchers can’t get to. Alvarez also has a plus arm and gets good carry on his throws. All indications point towards Alvarez becoming an above-average defender. 

Outlook

As soon as Adley Rutschman graduates, Alvarez will become the best catching prospect in baseball. To take it a step further, we believe that Alvarez will eventually be baseball’s top overall prospect. At the big league level, the sky truly is the limit for the young catcher. With offensive upside that rivals any prospect at any position and projectable defense, Mets fans could be looking at their best catcher since Mike Piazza. 

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6.Riley Greene – OF – Detroit Tigers

Age: 21| Height/Weight: 6’3′, 200 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 1st Round (5), 2019 (DET) | ETA: 2022

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An advanced hit-tool paired with exciting power potential and impressive athleticism make Riley Greene one of the most exciting, well-rounded prospects in baseball.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .301/.387/.534, 24 HR, 57 XBH, 148 wRC+, 27.4 K%, 11.3 BB%

Offense

Very quiet mechanics in the box allow him to get to a consistent launch point and unleash his silky smooth left-handed swing which features plenty of quickness and bat speed. The raw, physical attributes of Greene’s swing are truly satisfying to watch. As he matures and puts on weight, it appears that plus power is not out of the question. 

Greene has put up consistently good stats as one of the youngest players at each of the levels in which he has played, and the fact that he’s still a little rough around the edges when it comes to managing at-bats gives us reason to believe that as he matures as a hitter, his ceiling is monstrous.

Greene has a tendency to get big and expand in plus counts, which is completely understandable for such a young hitter. He has struck out a decent amount throughout his professional career (27%), but it’s likely due to his youth/approach rather than any major swing and miss concerns. After all, Greene mashed his way to Triple-A Toledo as a 20-year-old and performed there too.

His ceiling as a pure hitter rivals his teammate Spencer Torkelson, albeit without quite as prolific of power. Greene still boasts plus raw power projection and taps into his present pop well thanks to his overall strong feel to hit. Already physical and only 21 years old, there is still room to add muscle and get stronger. His bat speed and balance at the plate are immense, as are his bat-to-ball skills that should enable him to hit for both average and power at the highest level.

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Defense/Speed

Greene is a very physical athlete who’s athleticism is more geared toward fluidity than sheer speed in the field. He’s has been able to log a majority of his starts in center field thanks to above-average speed and a fantastic first step. His routes have steadily improved since turning pro as well.

If he adds the weight to his frame and becomes a 225-pound monster, he will likely lose a step and move to a corner where his above-average arm would play nicely. Greene moves really well for his size and could be average in center, though a move to a corner is expected. He’d be well above-average defensively in either corner. Greene’s strong first step translates into good jumps on the base paths as well, allowing him to be an opportunistic base stealer.

Outlook

Hitters with Greene’s gorgeous left-handed swing and consistently solid production don’t come along often at such an early age. There is still ample room for improvement both physically as well as with his process and approach in the box. His sweet left handed swing and frame are reminiscent of Michael Brantley, and he could approach Brantley-like numbers in his prime, with a little bit more power at the expense of some contact.

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7.Spencer Torkelson – 3B/1B – Detroit Tigers

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (1), 2020 (DET) | ETA: 2022

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2021 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): .267/.383/.552, 30 HR, 61 XBH, 148 wRC+, 21.5 K%, 14.5 BB%

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Offense

One of the simplest swings you’ll find in all of baseball, Torkelson uses miniscule movements to produce consistently thunderous contact with ease. Very rarely do you find a player who is as direct and quick to the ball the way Torkelson is. His immense strength allows him to produce plus-plus power with minimal forward movement; he simply sits into his back hip and lets it eat. 

His incredible bat speed gives him more time to identify pitches than most and he combines it with an incredible eye. As a result, Tork’s plate discipline has allowed him to produce elite BB/K numbers, while still hitting for a ton of power. His levers are short and strong, which is why he’s so short to the baseball and is able to produce such loud contact.

Torkelson’s approach includes ample amounts of line drives and fly balls, specifically to his pull-side, leading to his immense power evaluation. Despite not seeing much to hit, Torkelson’s at-bats are routinely excellent. Another quality that sticks out about Torkelson is how easy his takes are; he seemingly never looks fooled or off-balance. This is a can’t miss bat, capable of producing 40 homers on an annual basis and could be the anchor of an offense for years to come. 

Defense/Speed

Torkelson’s sheer size limits his mobility in the field and he will likely be a first baseman when all is said and done. That being said, the Tigers have him splitting time between first base and the hot corner this year. His feet are heavier than you’d like at third and a below-average defender is probably the ceiling over there. His arm plays as average, though he does possess the soft hands that you see in a lot of first basemen. He’s a 40 runner at best so it doesn’t appear that a corner outfield spot is doable either. You can squint and see an average defender at first, but it likely doesn’t matter, the bat is going to drive his value. 

Outlook

Torkelson was widely heralded as the best bat to come out of college baseball in years and he has done nothing to take that mantle away from him. He’ll likely end up at first base where he can focus on perfecting his swing and becoming the best hitter he can be.

If he hits his ceiling, Torkelson should be a top-ten hitter in all of baseball and should make the spacious confines of Comerica Park appear small. His swing is simple, repeatable, and powerful, making it built for consistency and longevity. It’s probably not a coincidence that his stroke reminds us a bit of Nelson Cruz.

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8.Shane Baz – RHP – Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (12), 2017 (PIT) | ETA: 2022

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After starting 2021 in Triple-A, Baz pitched so well that he got the nod for a postseason start by season’s end for the Rays. Baz tackled his command questions by simplifying his mechanics and looks to be one of the most exciting young pitching talents in the game.

2021 Stats (AAA): 78.2 IP, 2.06 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 0.80 WHIP, 37.9 K%, 4.4 BB%

Arsenal

High ¾ arm slot with very low effort and an athletic 6’2” frame. He has a short arm stroke that produces one of the most electric fastballs in the minor leagues, a mid-to-upper-90’s weapon that produces tons of ride and gets swings and misses all over the strike zone. Baz has focused on locating the fastball east and west to get ahead, as well as at the top of the zone where it is virtually unhittable. Baz has become one of the best pitching prospects in the minors due to how significantly his command has improved. He already has average command of his heater and as he continues to develop, there is more to come.

Baz’s slider gives him a second plus-plus pitch. It sits in the upper-80’s, featuring electric horizontal and vertical break and it seemingly moves at the very last second. It misses bats at an elite rate against righties and lefties, and Baz has continued to show improvement in terms of landing it for a strike as well. He commands it down and to his glove side consistently and similar to his high fastball, it is unhittable when located.

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Baz’s upper 80’s changeup will flash plus at times due to its deception and ASR. The pitch can become too firm at times but in time, it could become a soft contact inducing offering against lefties. He rounds out his arsenal with a low-80’s curveball that he has yet to find a feel for. At it’s best it steals strikes early in the count, however, Baz has yet to deploy it consistently enough to call it a legitimate weapon.

Outlook

Baz’s lethal fastball-slider combination allowed him to utterly dominate the minor leagues in 2021. His command has improved enough to give him frontline upside while all but eliminating the once perceived high reliever risk. Both Baz’s floor and ceiling rival that of any prospect in baseball and he is poised to help anchor the Rays rotation next season and beyond.

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9.Gabriel Moreno – C – Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $25K (2018) TOR | ETA: 2022

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An elite hit tool with burgeoning power and solid defense, Gabriel Moreno has become one of the safest bets behind the dish in the minors. 

2021 Stats (AA): (32 G) .373/.441/.651, 8 HR, 18 XBH, 192 wRC+, 15.2 K%, 9.7 BB%

Offense

Upright stance with some weight on his back leg, Moreno starts his hands in a relaxed position then uses a barrel tip for timing. He is able to repeat this move remarkably well, timing it up with a simple stride. Moreno creates great separation, allowing him to uncork like a rubber band on pitches middle-in. A really mature hitter, Moreno leverages hitter’s counts really well and knows where and when to do damage. Moreno is so advanced at the plate that he can look to do damage early and adjust when behind. 

With just a 12% K-rate in his minor league career and an ability to spray the ball to all fields, Moreno’s plus hit tool is his best attribute. The 21-year-old also showed an improved ability to walk and did not see his K-rate jump at expense of his burgeoning power, leaving us very confident in his plus hit tool.

Defense/Speed

An athletic catcher, Moreno moves well behind the dish and has a quick release complemented by an above-average arm. Moreno’s receiving has earned mixed reviews, but he has shown enough to leave optimism in that regard. Same goes for his blocking. Moreno is a gamer who pitchers enjoy as a battery mate and he continues to blossom defensively with more reps. It is safe to assume that Moreno could at least be an average defender with potential to be above-average with the glove.

Outlook

Moreno was one of our breakout candidates for the 2021 season and before going down with a thumb injury, he had exceeded even our expectations. Moreno has a swing geared for line drives, but showed burgeoning power homering eight times in his 32 Double-A games.

Moreno earns an above-average power grade, but with a 70 hit-tool, he is able to squeeze out every ounce of that 55-grade pop. It is easy to envision 20-25 homers for Moreno along with a high batting average and improved on-base skills. The 22-year-old has only punched out 11% of the time in his MiLB career and his strikeout rate has hardly budged as he has ascended to the upper levels.

With a great approach, elite bat-to-ball skills and power that is developing before our eyes, it is easy to see a perennial All-Star ceiling with Gabriel Moreno. If he weren’t a catcher, the bat would still be exciting enough to rank him comfortably inside of the Top 100 List, however with a good defensive profile behind the dish, Moreno is one of baseball’s most exciting prospects.

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10.Anthony Volpe – SS – New York Yankees

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 5’11, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (30), 2019 (NYY) | ETA: 2023

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Offense

Relaxed and loose setup in the box with an advanced ability to use his lower half. Extremely whippy hands that allow him to make late decisions in the box. Volpe specializes in managing at-bats because of his advanced feel for the strike zone and his ability to do damage on pitches over the plate. Perhaps Volpe’s best attribute at the plate is his pitch recognition skills. He takes quality breaking balls out of the hand and can do significant damage when they’re hanging. 

Volpe has also shown that he can adjust from pitch-to-pitch thanks to his ability to slow the game down in the box as well as his barrel control. His bat-to-ball skills are tremendous and as he matures, he should be tough to strike out at the big league level (19% K-rate in 2021). While Volpe’s raw power is above-average at best, he’s already shown that he can tap into plus game power thanks to his elite ability to lift. It is probably safe to envision 25+ home run potential with a strong ability to get on base.

Defense/Speed

Volpe’s defensive tools are similar to his offensive ones; they aren’t loud, but Volpe’s instincts and feel for the game allow them to play up. He projects as an average shortstop thanks to his solid range and soft hands, however his average arm will likely keep him from becoming a true, impact defender at short. He is an average runner and will likely never steal a ton of bases, however, he should become a valuable baserunner thanks to his ability to make the most of his physical tools. Volpe’s best position may be second base, where he could be an above-average defender once fully developed.

Outlook

Volpe is a ballplayer plain and simple. You’d be hard pressed to find a hole in his game even if he hadn’t launched 27 homers last season, but it’s hard to make a case against Volpe being anything but a top-15 prospect who balances a high floor and increasingly high ceiling.

The power breakout of Volpe was one of the most pleasant surprises in the prospect world last season. Pair the breakout power with an advanced feel to hit and you have one of baseball’s most exciting prospects. Not to mention, he is only 21 years old. The Yankees have the future of their shortstop position and potentially a five-tool All-Star in Anthony Volpe.

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11.Oneil Cruz – SS/3B – Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’7, 210 | Bat/Throw: L/R | IFA: $950K – 2015 (LAD) | ETA: 2022

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We have never seen a player like Oneil Cruz. Tall enough to be an NBA forward yet somehow still able to play shortstop and produce plenty of contact, Cruz truly is a unicorn. Oh, he has 80 grade raw power too. 

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): (68 G) .310/.375/.594, 17 HR, 48 XBH, 158 wRC+, 22.8 K%, 9.3 BB%

Offense

Very relaxed and loose setup in the box with a minimal lower half move forward with some hand movement as he gets to launch. Cruz utilizes his lower-half extremely well for a player of his size; he stays on his back-side well and uses the natural leverage that his 6-foot-7 frame creates. Extremely long levers create top of the scale bat speed and back spin and Cruz has done a fantastic job keeping his swing as short as those arms will let him.

The raw power is top of the scale and should allow him to do damage to all parts of the ballpark and there is easily 40+ homer pop if he’s able to consistently put the ball in the air. He controls the strike zone very well for a 23-year-old in Double-A and he has more feel to hit than you’d think given his size. Cruz has already posted exit velocities as high as 120 miles-per-hour –for reference, that would be the fourth hardest hit homer of MLB’s Statcast era.

His lower half is extremely athletic and he is able to do damage on ‘B’ swings, especially on hanging breaking pitches. High fastballs may give him a problem once he reaches the Show, however, his athleticism and proclivity to adjust at each level of the minors bodes well for his ability to make adjustments once he reaches the games highest level. His strikeout rates have been around average at each of his stops. His ability to manage at-bats has made it easy for him to hide some of the natural swing-and-miss that comes with his frame. Once Cruz becomes slightly more selective at the plate and continues to develop, he could be a 40-homer threat annually in the big leagues.

Defense/Speed

Despite frequent noise that the 6-foot-7 Cruz would have to move off shortstop, he has consistently proven his critics wrong and it’s beginning to look like he will stick there long-term. His huge size gives him more than enough range for the position and his 80-arm should make him a specialist in turning hits in the six hole into outs.

His frame makes it tough for him to come in on slow choppers but his arm is good enough to make up for it and then some. Cruz adds another plus tool in his speed, which is possibly plus-plus once he gets going. It takes him a while to get to his top speed so stolen bases and infield hits may never be strengths for him. With nobody blocking him from shortstop in Pittsburgh, a move to center or right is unlikely, although Cruz projects as a plus defender at either spot. 

Outlook

Cruz is a unicorn among baseball’s top prospects. Nobody has ever played short at his size. Add in the fact that two of his tools grade out as 80 and you have a player with possibly a top-five ceiling in all the minor leagues. How much Cruz hits will ultimately determine his worth and even if he doesn’t, he should provide value with his immense physicality and tools. 

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12.Corbin Carroll – OF – Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 5’10’, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (16), 2019 (ARI) | ETA: 2023

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An absolute speedster with phenomenal baseball instincts and a veteran’s presence in the batter’s box, Carroll is a safe bet to be a solid big leaguer with All Star potential. 

2021 Stats (A+): (7 Games) – .435/.552/.913, 2 HR, 5 XBH, 3 SB

Offense

Starts almost completely upright and then proceeds to drop his weight into his back hip and get his body low. Stays on his back leg surprisingly well for a young hitter and already has an efficient bat path that projects perfectly for line drives. More bat speed than you’d expect given his small frame, leading to sneaky pop to the pull-side.

Another grinder at the plate, Carroll is constantly battling and is a hard player to get out. He already has a polished approach that led to a 17.5% walk rate in 31 games as a 19-year-old in rookie ball. His ground ball and line drive heavy approach is perfect for him given that he is consistently clocked around 3.9 seconds to first base. Carroll has the offensive profile of a top of the order catalyst who should produce high batting averages and on-base percentages, as well as adding up to 20 homers per season.

Defense/Speed

Carroll has the makings of an easy plus defender in center field. His 70-grade speed and 5-foot-10 frame allow him to reach his top speed relatively quickly, giving him closing speed that few others in the minors possess. His reads are already close to big league average, and he has a plus arm that produces consistent and accurate throws. He’s a lock to stick in center field long-term and he has the upside to be a premier, Gold Glove center fielder.

Outlook

Carroll was one our big time breakout candidates coming into the season. He looked to be in the midst of a breakout through his first seven games of the season before unfortunately going down with a shoulder injury for the year. Carroll is so advanced and has such an interesting skill-set that we think he will make up for lost time and enjoy a big season next year.

With only 49 pro games under his belt, Carroll lacks the exposure that typically comes with big name prospects. Due to the success he had at the ATS and the fact that he has a chance to have above-average tools across the board, Carroll is already an elite prospect and he has the potential to be one of the 15 best prospects in all of baseball if he continues to perform.

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13.CJ Abrams – SS – San Diego Padres

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (6), 2019 (SDP) | ETA: 2023

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Top of the scale speed and burgeoning power, Abrams has the ingredients to be a star and flew through the minor leagues thanks to his plus hit tool and much improved defense

2021 Stats (AA): .296/.363/.420, 16 XBH, 13/15 SB, 19.7 K%, 8.2 BB%

Offense

Upright set-up with small hand load and minimal leg kick. Extremely quick to the ball, could negatively impact his power output but make his hit tool very exciting. Swing is advanced for his age and level, and has excellent feel for the barrel. Simple and repeatable mechanics bode well for his chances to continue raking throughout his minor league career. 

Has the potential to add to his power profile if he continues to add weight. Abrams made a concerted effort to get his lower half more involved in his swing and we started to see him generate some more natural carry, even launching a few backside homers. Before being lost for the season with a sprained MCL, Abrams was enjoying a great year despite an aggressive Double-A assignment to start the season. The 20-year-old made improvements to his already solid approach, walking more than 8% of the time and leveraging his hitter’s counts a bit better rather than just looking to put the ball in play and trusting his speed.

Defense/Speed 

Once viewed as a likely candidate to move to center field, Abrams’ 80-grade athleticism has helped him make major strides at shortstop. His range is unsurprisingly great and his actions have come a long way, but his arm is fringy. A move to center field could still be in his future, which will allow his 80-grade speed to be used daily on defense, but it seems like the Padres are keen on keeping Abrams in the infield for now. If he’s moved to center field, it’s easy to project him as a plus defender there. For now, the hope is he’ll be an above-average shortstop. In 43 games, Abrams was successful in 13 of his 15 stolen base attempts.

Outlook

Abrams is an elite athlete and runner. Combined with his potentially plus hit tool, we could be looking at a top of the order table-setter and a perennial All-Star. Abrams is an extremely exciting young and dynamic prospect with an extremely high ceiling. While he may not be a 30/30 threat, we believe in Abrams being able to tap into at least average power as he matures with room for a bit more.

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14.Marco Luciano – SS – San Francisco Giants

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $2.6M (2018) | ETA: 2023

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One of baseball’s most exciting prospects, Luciano packs a punch that you would never expect from a player of his stature thanks to his off the charts bat speed. Luciano could feasibly be baseball’s top prospect by 2022’s end, but his hit tool will be the determinant.

2021 Stats (A/A+): .258/.344/.471, 19 HR, 42 XBH, 112 wRC+, 10.6 BB%, 26.9 K%

Offense

Made small adjustments to his set-up during the season, starting slightly open with his feet a little wider than shoulder width apart and weight a bit more stacked on his back side than before. Luciano uses a more toned-down leg kick in order to generate lower body momentum and is much more controlled and consistent with his timing since quieting things down a bit. Once he’s in his launch position, Luciano unloads what is one of the fastest swings in all of baseball; Luciano truly has Javier Baez level hand speed without as much movement or effort.

Too talented for the level he was at in 2019, he simply waited for a pitch to do pull-side damage with and unleashed. Luciano started this season in Low-A and looked much more advanced approach wise, but still has room to improve.

After mashing Low-A pitching, Luciano earned a promotion to High-A where the newly turned 20-year-old had some of the inconsistencies in his approach highlighted (38.5 K%). Facing Low and High-A pitching in 2021 was more of a challenge for Luciano in terms of his approach, as he will have to give in and show his ability to go the other way as he progresses through the minors. 

Defense/Speed

His physical development will likely go one of two ways: either he has a playing weight of 190-200 and sticks at shortstop, or he becomes a 210+ pound, physical monster who moves off the position. Given that he already possesses plus-plus raw power, the Giants could prefer to keep him lighter and more athletic. He has average quickness for a shortstop, but doesn’t always take the right angels to balls, and his hands are currently below-average. Luciano does have a plus-plus arm which helps him at short. He is a fringe above-average athlete, and flashes average home to first times. 

If he does become the 220+ pound physical monster, a move to third base or right field will be the most likely outcome. He has the best infield arm strength in the minors, and his only big league comparisons in regards to arm would be Fernando Tatis, Carlos Correa, and Javier Baez. Those guys are better athletes than Luciano, however he could have more raw power than all of them.

Outlook

The Giants could have a perennial All-Star and MVP on their hands with Luciano. It’s easy to dream on a .285/.375/.600 slash line with around 40 homers a year. Even if he has to move off shortstop, Luciano’s bat will play anywhere on the diamond. While High-A was a bit struggle for the newly turned 20-year-old, there is no reason to believe that he will not get acclimated in his second taste of the level next year. Like many prospects with ridiculous raw power, it will come down to the hit tool for Luciano.

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15.Brennen Davis – OF – Chicago Cubs

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’4′, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (62), 2020 (CHC) | ETA: 2022

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2021 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): .260/.375/.494, 19 HR, 44 XBH, 141 wRC+, 28.4 K%, 12 BB%

Offense

When Davis was drafted in 2018, he was seen as a tall, lanky kid with quick twitch ability, but scouts were unsure what to expect with the bat. After all, Davis did not really focus on baseball until his senior season of high school, excelling on the basketball court as well. 

Early in Davis’ career, you’ll also see an armsy swing that doesn’t incorporate his lower half very much. An inconsistent lower half is common among younger players and is going to be even more pronounced when you are 6-foot-4, 175 pounds. Davis showed up in 2019 looking much more physical and has continuously added strength. Now listed at 210 pounds, you can see the physicality making its way into Davis’ game. 

It doesn’t take much for Davis to generate power, especially now that his lower half plays a part in his swing. Limited effort and quick twitch athleticism allow Davis to control his body well. Despite his long levers, Davis typically does a good job of staying short to the ball. The outfielder has no problem hitting the ball where it’s pitched and has shown an easy ability to leave the yard from foul pole to foul pole.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner, Davis has the goods to stick in center field along with an above-average arm which could handle either corner as well. Like many young outfielders the 21-year-old could improve on his reads in center, but his quickness from his days on the basketball court and recovery speed give him a margin for error. While stolen bases have not been a huge part of his game, Davis’ plus speed and long strides make him an effective base runner. His strong instincts should allow him to steal 15+ bags annually.

Outlook

Davis earns high marks for his makeup and work ethic, which has been backed up by his consistent progression. The former second-round pick has mashed his way to Triple-A in just 152 games. The power/speed combo that Davis possesses along with a good feel to hit evoke some young Matt Kemp memories. Davis has 30+ home run pop right now and we don’t think he’s done adding juice.

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16.Triston Casas – 1B – Boston Red Sox

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’4′, 240 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (26), 2018 (BOS) | ETA: 2022

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The rare high floor/high ceiling combination for a big-bodied power hitter, Casas boasts 30+ home run potential with an innate feel to hit.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .279/.394/.484, 14 HR, 32 XBH, 141 wRC+, 15.4 BB%, 19.1 K%

Offense

Possessing a big body with long, natural levers and tremendous strength throughout his frame, Casas deploys a small leg kick that is very slow and controlled and allows him to maintain incredible balance throughout every swing. His strength and long arms allow him to create lightning-quick bat speed and he features plus-plus raw power currently. Casas is capable of doing damage to all parts of the ballpark.

Despite his longer arms, Casas has a very short stroke designed to be as short to the ball as possible. The swing itself is somewhat reminiscent of Freddie Freeman due to the ability of using a short swing as a XXL frame with long levers.

Casas’ approach at the plate could make him a special hitter at the Major League level. He already understands how to use the count to dictate his approach, with most of his damage coming while he’s ahead in the count and an innate ability to battle and spray the ball when he’s behind. He chokes up and widens out with two strikes and simply looks to put the ball in play rather than do damage, and often still winds up doing so. Casas has just started to tap into his elite pop, but has still been wildly productive in Double-A thanks to his strong approach. Casas could become a force at the plate as a dynamic bat capable of producing plenty of extra-base hits, walks, and a tolerable amount of strikeouts. 

Defense

Casas’ XXL frame limits him to first base, where he moves well and already excels at picking and has solid footwork around the bag. His arm is easily plus, but his near bottom of the scale speed would make a transition to the outfield difficult. He has the agility to be an above-average defender at first for his size.

Outlook

Casas has the classic look of a slugging first baseman capable of producing runs in bunches. While the power is immense, it’s the hit tool that really has us intrigued. Casas has shown flashes of his plus-plus raw power, including three moonshot home runs in the Olympics in Tokyo, but the 22-year-old is still working on consistently tapping into it. Power is the last tool to develop for a lot of great hitters, and Casas is just that. Casas has the potential to be a very potent bat for years to come and a good baseline thanks to his feel to hit.

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17.Daniel Espino – RHP – Cleveland Guardians

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (24), 2019 (CLE) | ETA: 2023

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Espino could not have had a much better first professional season in 2021. After throwing just 23.2 innings in his debut season in 2019, the 20-year-old absolutely shoved between Low-A and High-A in 2021. He’s the most talented prospect pitcher in an organization that has as strong a track record as any for developing arms.

2021 Stats (A/A+): 91.2 IP, 3.73 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 40 K%, 10 BB%

Arsenal

Espino’s stuff is just ridiculous. The right-hander has one of the most impressive fastballs in the Minor Leagues, sitting at 97 miles-per-hour and reaching triple digits consistenly. Thanks to Espino’s low release point and off-the-charts spin rates that push 2600 RPMs on the fastball, he was able to pick up a ton of swinging strikes up in the zone and freeze hitters at the knees.

Espino recorded a 15 percent swinging strike rate on his fastball, one of the best clips in professional baseball. Expanding to the rest of his stuff, Espino posted the second best swinging strike rate among qualified pitchers in the minors at 20.2 percent, behind only Spencer Strider of the Braves.

Of his off-speed offerings, Espino’s slider is his strongest. The pitch sits in the upper 80’s, occasionally touching 90 miles-per-hour. Espino does a great job of repeating his tough release point across all of his pitches, making it difficult for the hitter to differentiate what’s coming out of his hand. By the time they realize the slider is coming, it’s too late. The pitch has sharp, late break, darting away from right-handed hitters and tying up left-handed hitters. Espino held opponents to a .375 OPS on the offering along with a 59% K-rate.

While he is still working to command it, Espino’s changeup is an exciting third offering with plus potential. Working off of his elite fastball, the changeup will play up, but the pitch itself is nasty. While a hitter is worrying about 98 with life, Espino could mix in 88 with around 13-15 inches of horizontal movement fading away from left-handed hitters. For Espino, it was more a matter of if the pitch would be near the strike zone, not if Low-A or High-A hitters could touch it.

Espino’s fourth offering is a curveball that he will mix in to steal strikes in the upper 70’s. The pitch can be above average and provides a rare look from Espino that isn’t in the upper 80’s or upper 90’s.

Outlook

A really physical 6-foot-2, 205 pound right-hander, Espino uses his body really well and has clean mechanics. For that reason, I expect Espino to be able to improve on his command as well as maintain his high-end velocity as his workload piles up.

Espino’s velocity improved as the season went on last season, cutting his walk rate nearly in half after his promotion to High-A Lake County. Improving his strike throwing consistency was as simple as finding a more consistent landing spot for Espino given his explosive lower half. As Espino improved on his command, his strikeout rate jumped to a ridiculous 45% in his 49 innings for Lake County. The sky is the limit for this kid and he is one of the prospect biggest names to watch on the mound moving into the early goings of this year.

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18.Nick Lodolo – LHP – Cincinnati Reds

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’6, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (7), 2019 (CIN) | ETA: 2022

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Had his season not been cut short by shoulder fatigue, Nick Lodolo would have been one of the most dominant pitchers in professional baseball last year. Still, in his 50 innings pitched, the Reds southpaw clued us in to what he is capable of. We will have to see how the Reds decide to handle Lodolo’s workload in 2022, but he has an elite combination of stuff and command which has the 23-year-old poised for a big league debut this season.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): 50.2 IP, 2.31 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 0.97 WHIP, 39 K%, 5.5 BB%

Arsenal 

Low ¾ arm slot with some crossfire built into the delivery. Slow-moving body until delivery where the heater explodes out of the hand, and his firm front side creates heavy sink and run on the offering. The built-in deception of Lodolo’s delivery combined with the 92-96 mph velocity and movement on the pitch give it clear plus potential.

Most of the fastballs are located to his glove-side due to his natural feel to rip the pitch across his body, although Lodolo showed much more comfort locating to his arm-side last season. The heater mostly misses east and west because of the ridiculous horizontal movement the pitch has, as well as his tremendous ability to keep it down in the zone. The movement profile and overall ability to locate his fastball helped Lodolo to an impressive 54% ground ball rate when he wasn’t striking guys out at a ridiculous 39% clip in 2021.

Lodolo’s slider gives him another plus pitch in his arsenal. A sweeping breaking ball in the low 80’s that features filthy slurve-like movement with 12 inches of horizontal break. It has become his out pitch against both lefties and righties and he gets tons of swings and misses when he locates it down and to his glove-side.

The southpaw commands the pitch so well that he also uses the slider to steal strikes when he’s behind in the count. The sweeping action and sheer movement of the pitch has some similarities to the slider that Chris Sale has made a career out of. If he continues to refine it and somehow makes it even tighter, it has the upside of an elite out-pitch at the big league level. 

Lodolo also possesses a changeup that flashes above-average, though he hasn’t needed it much as he’s ascended through the minor leagues. It features good fading action to his arm-side in the mid 80’s and has the ability to be a weapon against righties when he’s on. His command and feel for the changeup is clearly behind his other two pitches. If Lodolo is to hit his ceiling, he will need to mix in the changeup for strikes against both left and right-handed hitters. There is definitely potential for the offering to miss bats if he refines his command of it.

Outlook

Lodolo is one of the most polished pitchers in the minors and possesses the rare high floor/high ceiling combination. His ability to sequence his pitches stands out almost as much as his electric stuff, and he is likely ready for the big leagues today. His arsenal is extremely similar to Twins reliever Taylor Rodgers, which is terrifying given the fact that Lodolo comes with rotational staying power.

If Lodolo continues to refine his changeup and command, his ceiling is a true ace. Even if he never develops advanced feel for the changeup, we believe he has the floor of a high-end No. 3 starter thanks to the combination of stuff, command and feel for pitching. Lodolo has become one of the most intriguing pitching prospects in the Minor Leagues, and we should see him called up to the big league club soon. 

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19.Hunter Greene – RHP- Cincinnati Reds

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’5′, 230 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (2), 2017 (CIN) | ETA: 2022

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A pitcher with generational arm talent and athleticism, Greene has the goods to become one of MLB’s most electric arms. The 22-year-old does come with some holes in his arsenal which will need some addressing for him to achieve the success that many are expecting from the former second overall pick.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): 106.1 IP, 3.30 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 31.7 K%, 8.9 BB%

Arsenal

High ¾ arm slot with arm speed that rivals anyone in the sport. Greene’s smooth and consistent mechanics make it easy for him to repeat his delivery and when combined with his elite athleticism, creates command that is already close to average and could improve to plus when he’s further developed.

The bread and butter of Greene’s arsenal is his electric fastball that sits anywhere from 97-102 miles-per-hour and has reportedly topped at 104. Greene is able to hold his velocity late in games and rarely looks like he is overthrowing; it’s one of the easiest 100’s you will ever see.

That being said, Greene gives up more loud contact on the fastball than you might expect from a guy who throws as hard as he does. That is not due to a lack of quality in the pitch; it is simply his over-reliance on it. Greene throws his fastball nearly two thirds of the time, allowing hitters to cheat for the pitch and play the percentages. The slider–which I’ll get to in a moment–is a plus pitch, but upper-level hitters were just daring him to locate it three times for a strike. Greene’s distant third offering of a changeup shows flashes of being a strong third pitch, but he only threw it five percent of the time.

As a result, Greene allowed 11 of his 13 home runs on the season on his fastball.

Greene has shown flashes of command with his fastball, but does have the propensity to miss over the middle at times, serving up a punishable pitch for the hitters who were sitting dead-red on it. He’ll need to shore that up in order to produce at the big league level, as fastballs over the middle get hit in the big leagues no matter how hard you throw; especially when they have a tendency to flatten out over the middle.

Greene’s go-to secondary offering is a low-to-mid 80’s slider with good tilt and depth that he throws to both left and right-handed hitters. His command of the offering varies from outing to outing, but it gives Greene another plus pitch. The slider lacks the elite bite that you see in typical big league out-pitches, though his command of it should only improve as he develops and will allow for the pitch to play up.

Greene’s changeup is still a work in progress, though it does flash above-average when and if he has feel for it. It sits right around 90 miles-per-hour with some arm-side run and drop but like the slider, it lacks the deception and pure movement to consistently miss bats. He currently deploys it almost exclusively to left-handed hitters while ahead in the count, and as he matures it should give him another soft contact inducing pitch. The fact that Greene only threw his changeup about five percent of the time last season can clue you in to the lack of confidence he has in the pitch.

If he’s able to consistently land it for strikes against left and right-handed hitters, it could become a real weapon. Greene also reportedly began throwing a low 90’s cutter, although it remains to be seen how effective the pitch will be. A pitch breaking hard to his glove side could create difficulty for hitters to stay on Greene’s heater which will be vital for his success.

Outlook

While Greene has the electric velocity that few pitchers have ever possessed, his lack of a third pitch is holding him back from his massive ceiling. With that being said, Greene’s athleticism and feel for pitching bode well for him. Plus command is not out of the question and could take some pressure off of a need for a third pitch, but one of the two will need to develop further in order for Greene to be the ace we all know he can be.

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20.George Kirby – RHP – Seattle Mariners

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’4′, 215 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (20), 2018 (SEA) | ETA: 2022

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2021 Stats A+/AA: 67.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 1.08 WHIP, 29.2 K%, 5.5 BB%

Arsenal

High ¾ arm slot with a short arm action. Fastball has been 90-94 in the past, but was reportedly touching the upper 90’s at the Mariners alternative camp. It has some arm-side run and sink, but the added velocity is huge for his long term value, as his fastball can become hittable at times. With that being said, a version of Kirby sitting in the mid 90’s is terrifying given his incredible command of the pitch. He can robotically locate it to his glove side, even better than most major leaguers. He can also locate it to his arm side at an above average clip, giving his fastball command a rare chance of being elite.

Kirby’s curveball is his best secondary offering, flashing plus with it’s lower 80’s velocity. It has hard, late bite with it’s 11-5 action, and it’s his go-to pitch for whiffs. He can already bury it for strikeouts, as well as throwing it for strikes at will.

His slider gives him another quality breaking ball despite it’s lack of current depth. It sits in the mid to upper 80’s and has solid horizontal movement without the expense of much drop. Like the first two pitches in his arsenal, he can throw it for strikes whenever he wants. He uses it to steal strikes and produce weak contact against right handed hitters, but as of now it doesn’t project to miss a lot of bats.

The changeup is the only pitch in his arsenal that lacks average current command, but the drop and arm-side run on it give it the potential to be another above average offering. It sits in the mid 80’s, and he uses it mostly against left handed hitters in even counts. As he develops the pitch, it could become a soft-contact inducing machine, capable of producing lots of ground ball rollovers.

Outlook

Kirby is the rare type of prospect who has both a high floor and a high ceiling. His increased fastball velocity combined with his potentially elite command gives him the floor of a third or fourth starter capable of eating innings while excelling at producing soft contact. If he’s able to further refine his changeup and slider, Kirby has the potential to have four distinct speed differences, as well as multiple weapons to both induce soft contact and miss bats. If he’s able to accomplish this, Kirby has the ceiling of a number two starter, and an outside chance of becoming an ace.

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21.Noelvi Marte – SS – Seattle Mariners

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $1.55M (2018) | ETA: 2024

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A young, offensive minded prospect with major upside, Marte has proven that he can hit the ball as hard as anyone in the minor leagues with his towering home runs and elite exit velocities.

2021 Stats A/A+: .273/.366/.459, 17 HR, 47 XBH, 118 wRC+, 22.9 K%, 11.7 BB%

Offense

Really good athlete. Broad shoulders and projectable lower half should lead to plus raw power in the future. Simple right handed swing with the ability to miss the barrel and still produce pull side power. Marte’s swing path and body control should enable him to drive the ball to the opposite field with authority as his body continues to mature. He currently possesses above average bat speed with more to come. Solid approach at the plate, producing a 12% walk rate in Low-A against a 23% strikeout rate.

Defense/Speed

Current shortstop, but comes with questions of staying power long-term. Marte has quick feet, but the angles he takes to the ball are poor and he will lose a step or two of range as he fills out. He projects as a below average fielder at short, but a move to third seems to be in his future and he profiles as an above average defender there. He is a plus runner presently, but with his projectable frame, we could see him slow down a step.

Outlook

Marte has a high offensive ceiling, and when combined with his ability to play the left side of the infield, has an extremely exciting outlook. Like Marco Luciano, Marte earned an aggressive promotion to High-A where his numbers have dipped a little, but Marte’s at-bats looked more comfortable. Still just 20 years old, Marte is just scraping the surface of his offensive ability. 30 home runs along with impressive athleticism should give him a chance to be a multiple time All-Star, but like many of the young prospects on this list, we’ll have to see how he handles higher quality opponents.

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22.Jeremy Peña – SS – Houston Astros

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’0′, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 3rd Round (102) – 2018 (HOU) | ETA: 2023

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The heir-apparent to Carlos Correa has generated a ton of hype that has now transcended the Houston Astros circles. Peña’s glove is big league plus right now and the 24-year-old has made major improvements at the plate to go with his added strength and above average speed.

2021 Stats (AAA): (30 G) .287/.346/.598, 10 HR, 16 XBH, 126 wRC+, 26.3 K%, 4.5 BB%

Offense

We might’ve seen Peña at the big league level last year had an injury not cut his season to just 30 games in Triple-A. The buzz around Peña’s offseason development after he arrived to Astros camp was palpable as the 24-year-old added strength, simplified his swing and brought the same high-end makeup and attitude that helped the Astros fall in love with him as a prospect out of the University of Maine. 

Peña added about 15-20 pounds of muscle in the offseason, allowing him to tap into above average power with relative ease. The 24-year-old is able to utilize a fairly simple setup aside from a small leg kick and relaxed hands just above his shoulder before relying on his strong lower half to uncork on baseballs. Peña is capable of producing 110+ mph exit velocities with ease and as he learns to tap into his raw power more in games, he should be playing pepper with the Crawford Boxes soon enough. 

Defense/Speed

One of the smoothest young shortstops out there, Peña makes difficult plays look easy thanks to his quick first step, impressive range and plus arm. Peña is able to make all of the difficult throws and his footwork is impressive. Don’t be surprised if Peña brings home a couple Gold Gloves during his big league career. An above average runner, Peña should be able to steal 10-15 bases a year. 

Outlook

One of the more underrated rookie of the year choices all of the sudden looks like he could be the guy to beat. There was never much doubt with Peña’s glove, but his development in the batter’s box both in the power and hit department have him looking like a potential All Star. With the intangibles to back it all up, Jeremy Peña will be the man at shortstop in Houston for a long time. 

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23.MJ Melendez – C – Kansas City Royals

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’1, 190 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (52), 2017 (KCR) | ETA: 2022

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Melendez led all of Minor League Baseball with 41 homers while providing strong defense behind the dish. 2021 truly was a breakout season for the former second round pick, and his work ethic/makeup give us a ton of confidence in his longterm outlook.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .288/.386/.625, 41 HR, 66 XBH, 162 wRC+, 21.7 K%, 14.1 BB%

Offense

After a brutal 2019 that saw Melendez post a 67 WRC+ in 110 games in High-A, his stock dropped tremendously, leaving many prospect evaluators wondering if Melendez would ever make it to the big leagues. Melendez spent 2020 revamping his swing and approach at the plate, and the results have been truly astounding.

Melendez has transformed himself into one of the best power hitters in the minor leagues, producing a 157 WRC+ with 28 homers across 79 games at Double-A and earning a call-up to Triple-A at just 22 years old. Melendez’s swing features a slow and controlled load with a sizable leg kick aimed to enhance his timing and power at the plate.

He sits into his back hip at a high level, allowing his barrel to stay in the zone for a long time and produce tons of loft and leverage, especially to his pull side. He produces tons of hard line drive and fly ball contact, which has been a big reason why the homers have come in bunches this year. Melendez has learned to manage at-bats at a high level, picking his spots to inflict damage. His sweet left-handed stroke should produce homers at the highest level, and his feel for hitting has developed so much that he has a chance to produce solid batting averages and on-base percentages to complement the power. 

Defense/Speed

Melendez has been a highly-regarded defender dating all the way back to his high school days, and the offensive improvements he’s made in 2021 haven’t come at the expense of his above-average defensive projection behind the plate. His frame and athleticism allow him to block pitches at a high level, and his soft hands make him a solid receiver already. Melendez also features plus arm strength behind the dish that should help neutralize the running game at the MLB level.

Interestingly, the Royals are getting Melendez reps at third base. Given his sped up timeline, he may be blocked by Salvador Perez at the catching position for the time being. Like most catchers, Melendez is a below average runner, although his athleticism and baseball instincts should make him a solid baserunner.

Outlook

Melendez’s offensive improvements made him one of the biggest breakout prospects in 2021. Left handed catchers with power and above average defense are a rare breed, only adding to Melendez’s future profile and projection. He has the toolset to become an All-Star one day, and if he keeps hitting like he has, we should see him in Kansas City very soon.

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24.Robert Hassell III – OF – San Diego Padres

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 1st Round (8) – 2020 | ETA: 2023

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Hassell lived up to expectations in his professional debut, crushing Low-A pitching and flashing some of the power that scouts were unsure how much of which they would see. There was a learning curve for Hassell in High-A, but the youngster showed fantastic flashes in his brief stint there as well.

2021 Stats (A/A+): .302/.393/.470, 11 HR, 48 XBH, 130 wRC+, 19.2 K%, 12.8 BB%

Check our our interview with Robert Hassell III on The Call Up Podcast!

Offense

Simple and easy swing, quiet, repeatable mechanics. Buggy whip in the swing, twitch throughout his body. Extremely fast hands and hips should create plus power as his body fills out. Hassell struggled a bit in his first pro season to get separation with his lower and upper half, as they don’t constantly sync up, but has looked much more consistent with his lower half in 2022.

Hassell’s lower half improvements should help him overcome some of the tendency to get on his front foot, which at times can sap power or cause the barrel to go in an out of the zone too quickly. This is a common issue for young hitters and Hassell is so athletic that he often would still shoot baseballs the other way with authority even with a bit of a drift forward. You can see Hassell gain comfort with his movements the more AB’s he gets under his belt, and in the early going of 2022, the left-handed hitter looks to be on the cusp of figuring himself out as a hitter.

There’s some shades of Bryce Harper in Hassell’s swing given the incredibly elastic and athletic lower half combined with exciting bat speed. The 20-year-old has already shown an ability to leave the yard foul pole to foul pole, but could probably add a 10-15 pounds of muscle in order to push his power fully into the “plus” territory.

Defense/Speed

Hassell is currently a fringe plus runner who takes long strides and has great closing speed in the outfield. If Hassell slows down a bit due to added strength, there is a chance he moves to a corner where his arm would more than play. I still think that there is a good chance that Hassell can stick up the middle and was impressed with his range out there.

In the early going of 2022, Hassell has been aggressive on the base paths and as he continues to get more comfortable in picking his spots to run, 20+ stolen bases is not out of the question.

Outlook

Hassell has the potential to be an impact, middle of the order force once he fills out with extremely exciting complementary tools. As he currently stands, Hassell is an easy 20-25 home run threat who can hit for average and get on base at a pretty strong clip. If Hassell develops a bit more physically, he has 30+ homer upside with a dynamic skill set that could remind people of Kyle Tucker.

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25.Brett Baty – 3B – New York Mets

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’3′, 210 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (20), 2019 (NYM) | ETA: 2022

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2021 Stats (A+/AA): .292/.382/.473, 12 HR, 35 XBH, 132 wRC+, 25.5 K%, 11.9 BB%

Offense

Very loose and relaxed setup that features a wide base in which he holds the majority of his weight in a coiled back hip. The swing is still a little raw because Baty is inconsistent with his lower half weight transfer; he has a tendency to lose the power in his lower half when he doesn’t load correctly. With that being said, Baty features both quickness and bat speed, with the latter being close to elite once he’s fully developed. Baty’s loudest tool is his raw power to all parts of the field thanks to his immense combination of strength and bat speed.

The power that he flashes to the opposite field is truly unique because of his ability to hit home runs to left field that even right handed hitters have trouble reaching. He deploys the approach of a “fastball masher,” as he is aggressive to heaters in all parts of the zone. His pitch recognition is advanced for his age and he has shown an ability to sit back and drive hanging breaking balls as well.

There is some swing-and-miss to his profile, but it could be due to his inconsistent swing mechanics that also produce more ground balls than a player like Baty should be hitting. Baty’s swing mechanics hint at untapped upside in his offensive profile and once he shores them up, his advanced approach and physical tools could blend into a middle-of-the-order run producer at the highest level. 

Baty’s plus raw power can be seen when he hits the ball in the air, but the 22-year-old simply did not do enough of that last season. In 91 games between High-A Brooklyn and Double-A Binghamton, Baty recorded a ground ball rate above 55%.

When Baty did get the ball in the air, it went. Nearly a quarter of his fly balls left the yard in 2021, but for a power hitter, you cannot be hitting the ball on the ground more than half the time.

Defense/Speed

Baty is a physical presence at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and while he moves well for his size, we don’t believe he will be an impact defender at the hot corner. His feet are heavier than most third baseman and while he has soft hands, range will always be a problem due to his size. He has a chance to be average defensively, but that seems to be best case scenario. Baty’s plus arm is an asset for him in the field and he moves well enough to deploy in left field in a pinch. First base is his best natural fit, where his soft hands and solid footwork could add up to becoming a plus defender.

Outlook

Baty’s profile is driven by his undeniable ability to hit. His plus power potential and strong approach lead me to believe he will be an impact bat in the big leagues oin due time. Baty’s power to all fields will translate at the highest level if he continues to improve on his ability to get the ball in the air. 30+ home runs with a high on base percentage is the hopeful outcome for Baty, and he has a good chance of achieving it.

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26.Josh Lowe – OF – Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’4′, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (13), 2016 (TB) | ETA: 2022

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Dynamic and electric, Josh Lowe made major strides with the hit tool last season. Swing and miss will likely be a part of his game, but plus power, speed, and strong defense give him exciting upside.

2021 Stats (AAA): .291/.381/.535, 22 HR, 52 XBH, 26 SB, 142 wRC+, 26.2 K%, 13 BB%

Offense

Small leg kick to gather into his back side, then unleashes an explosive swing. Lowe has always had tantalizing tools and projectable power, but had not tapped into it through his first few professional seasons. Like many young, tall hitters, Lowe struggled with his lower half, often times drifting onto his front foot; the result is generally less power and more ground balls.

Lowe adjusted his load and found a way to stay in his back hip a bit more, which allowed him to stay behind the baseball. As a result, the left handed-hitting outfielder broke out in 2019 with 18 home runs after never hitting more than eight in a season. Lowe’s ground ball rate dropped by roughly 10 percent, and his home run-per-fly ball rate tripled. There is some swing and miss in Lowe’s game, but he has been able to offset that with consistent walk rates and steady numbers against southpaws. Now that Lowe is allowing his impressive bat speed to play thanks to his adjustments, he is a legitimate 30/30 threat (22 home runs and 26 stolen bases in 111 games).

Defense/Speed

A fantastic athlete, Lowe is a plus runner whose speed translates into stolen bases and above-average defense in center field. Lowe takes strong routes and long strides which give him great closing speed as well as a plus arm. Despite being tall and long, Lowe is a great baserunner who gets good jumps and picks good spots to run. Lowe was a perfect 26/26 on stolen base attempts in Triple-A this past year.

Outlook

Lowe has the chance to be a five-tool player if he is able to keep the strikeouts in check. His blend of power, speed, and fielding is tantalizing; the 24-year-old projects as the future centerfielder for the Rays, potentially pushing out Kevin Kiermaier. Lowe’s skillset is reminiscent of Kyle Tucker, but in center field and with a little more swing and miss and more walks. There is a lot to be excited about with Josh Lowe in Tampa.

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27.Alek Thomas – OF – Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 5’11, 210 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (63), 2018 (ARI) | ETA: 2022

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Thomas has as well-rounded of a game as you’re going to find in the minor leagues. Above average tools across the board and phenomenal instincts make Thomas one of the highest-floor prospects out there but still possessing plenty of upside.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .313/.394/.559, 18 HR, 49 XBH, 146 wRC+, 20 K%, 10.5 BB%

Offense

Thomas has a lot of moving parts in his swing, but repeats them with ease and shows off elite barrel control thanks to his impressive athleticism. Body control is Thomas’ best asset; he is rarely fooled and can still put good “B” swings on tough pitches. Thomas is sneaky strong and has surprising raw pop for his frame as well. A smart hitter who uses the whole field well, Thomas will make adjustments between at bats and even pitches making it hard to poke a hole in his approach. Thomas is a plus hit-tool guy who continues to get better each time I see him.

Defense/Speed

A good portion of Thomas’ value will come from what he does in the field and on the bases, and he projects to be above average in both facets of the game. He’s a ‘gamer’, he’s always hustling and plays the game extremely hard. He gets out of the box well and his speed translates to center field, where he gets great reads and uses his above average speed effectively. His arm is comfortably below average, which puts added pressure on both his outfield reads and his ability in the box.

Outlook

Though he doesn’t possess big tools, Thomas’ hard-nosed approach to the game bodes well for his future as a big leaguer. There’s some Ender Inciarte to his game, and he has the potential to be an even better hitter. As he continues to develop as a hitter, an increase in line drives is necessary to reach his full potential as an average Major League center fielder.

28. Jordan Walker – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 6’5, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (21), 2020 (STL) | ETA: 2023

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A behemoth of a teenager who is way more advanced at the plate than many expected, Jordan Walker has elite power potential and a skillset to supplement it.

Offense

Starts fully upright, then sinks into his back hip in what is reminiscent of a more subtle Christian Yelich load. Hands go back with his weight as he takes his easy stride to create strong separation. Walker is a physical specimen who does not need to do much to generate power, but his ability to repeat his movements and consistently be on time is impressive for a 6-foot-5, 220 pound teenager. 

There were no doubts about Walker’s raw power, but his hit-tool is lightyears ahead of what anybody anticipated. Despite being one of the youngest players in his class, Walker started his professional career in Low-A, then hit his way to High-A, maintaining a 24% K-rate and 9% walk rate between the two levels. The 2020 Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia has already produced exit velocities in the first percentile, and, terrifyingly, has more in the tank. With 14 homers in just over 70 games and a wRC+ over 150, Walker could not have had a better start to his professional career. 

Defense/Speed

Walker moves impressively for his size and has a massive arm. His athleticism can really be seen when he makes throws on the run and from different arm slots. His actions could use some improvement, but his strong arm and good footwork lead me to believe he will be an above-average defender.

Outlook

Walker is one of the names who could quickly ascend into the top-10. Aside from his exciting tools, 40-home run power, and more advanced feel to hit than anticipated, Walker earns high marks for his makeup and intelligence. Saying Walker is a name to watch would be putting it lightly; the kid has franchise cornerstone upside.

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29.Jordan Lawlar – SS – Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (6), 2021 (ARI) | ETA: 2024

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Offense

Sets up in a medium base with equal weight in his front and back leg and deploys a simple, lightning quick stroke with very few moving parts. The swing produces more quickness than raw bat speed, but there is more bat speed to come as he adds strength. Lawlar’s feel to hit rivals anyone in his draft class, flashing plus bat-to-ball skills and an advanced knowledge of the strike zone for a player of his age. He very rarely looks sped up or fooled in the box and it always looks like he is in control of the at-bat. He has a tendency to get big in plus counts, similar to most 19-year-olds, but it almost certainly won’t be a problem as he matures. Lawlar shows an advanced ability to use the whole field and has a chance to own a special hit tool.

The power is the bigger question mark, as he may never be physically imposing. With that being said, he already flashes average power to his pull side and as he adds strength, he could add around 20 homers on an annual basis. Lawlar’s advanced feel to hit and developing power give him great upside in the batter’s box, and he fits the profile of the modern leadoff hitter to a tee. 

Defense

Lawlar is an elite athlete with quick-twitch actions on the defensive side of the ball. There are no questions about his ability to stick at shortstop, and his range, hands, and plus arm lead us to believe he could potentially compete for gold gloves. He’s also a 65 runner who will flash plus-plus home-to-first times. The defensive tools are loud and he should impact the game with his glove and legs on a nightly basis. 

Lawlar is an exciting blend of polish and projection. His present feel to hit is extremely advanced as are his defensive tools and legs. How much power he will generate is the biggest question that will ultimately determine his ceiling but as we’ve seen with draft prospects in recent years, power is often the last tool to develop. Lawlar has the ceiling of a perennial All-Star capable of impacting the game in a variety of ways. 

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30.Marcelo Mayer – SS – Red Sox

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 6’3, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (4), 2021 (BOS) | ETA: 2024

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Outlook

Smooth and simple left-handed stroke that features effortless plus bat speed. Tons of feel to hit, and he’s shown the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field with ease. Mayer’s profile is currently hit over power, although that could change due to the fact that he has tons of projection remaining in his 190 pound frame; he could add around 30 pounds of muscle as he matures. Everything Mayer does on the baseball field looks smooth and easy and as he continues to refine the mechanics of his swing; the smooth athleticism should translate into fantastic lower half adjustability. His bat-to-ball skills are advanced, as is his ability to navigate at bats. He currently has a tendency to lose his lower half at times, but once he learns to sit into his back hip consistently and adds strength, Mayer could grow into plus raw power and possibly more. Mayer has the look of a player who could produce doubles in bunches as well as the bat-to-ball skills to produce good batting averages and on-base percentages on an annual basis. 

Defense/Speed

The same smoothness that Mayer features as a hitter translates directly to the field where there are very few questions about his ability to play shortstop in the big leagues. He has above average range that he pairs with an above average arm and soft hands. He has the ability to make solid throws even when his body is in unorthodox positions, a trait you see in fantastic big league shortstops. He is currently an average runner, however it remains to be seen if he’ll lose a step as he physically matures. If he develops into a 225 pound unit, it isn’t out of the question to see a move to third. 

Outlook

Mayer was in contention to go first overall due to the relative ease that he plays the game with. The physical tools are certainly impressive as Mayer has an outside chance to have four plus tools. As is the case with 18-year-old prospects, there is a lot of variance and possible outcomes in regards to the kind of player Mayer will become. His ceiling is certainly high and we like his chances of becoming a big league regular in the years to come.

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31.Eury Perez – RHP – Miami Marlins

Age: 18 | Height/Weight: 6’8, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $200K, 2020 (MIA) | ETA: 2023

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A wunderkind who towers at 6-foot-8, Eury Perez has floored scouts and opponents alike with his ability to command the strike zone and repeat his mechanics. Perez has the kind of upside that could make him the top pitching prospect in baseball by next year.

2021 Stats (A/A+): 78 IP, 1.96 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 0.88 WHIP, 35.4 K%, 8.5 BB%

Arsenal

This kid is a unicorn. Looking like he should be working on his finishing around the rim rather than carving hitters up, the 6-foot-8 Eury Perez has been a breakout prospect for the Marlins. A slow, controlled windup that exudes little effort, Perez takes his time before he whips in his mid 90’s heater with ridiculous arm speed. We saw Perez’s plus fastball consistently eclipse over 2500 RPM’s with heavy sink and arm-side run. Perez generates easy extension thanks to his ridiculously long levers, causing the ball to get in on hitters quickly. 

The 18-year-old has also shown a good feel for his above average curveball, which sits in the high 70’s to low 80’s and repeats the release point well with his fastball. The sweeping breaking ball that comes from such a high release point is something most hitters are not used to, making it devastating as it breaks away from right-handed hitters. Perez has shown comfort throwing the pitch to lefties as well, burying the pitch at the back leg of hitters as well as stealing strikes through the back door. 

Perez’s changeup has flashed plus and works off of his fastball really well. Like many young, hard-throwing pitchers, Perez can at times be a bit to firm with the offering, but when he’s feeling it, it can be a true swing and miss pitch to lefties and righties.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Perez is his command. A 6-foot-8 18-year-old who has a good feel for three pitches sounds like a player you would create in Road to the Show. Already in High-A where he is the youngest player at the level, Perez’s command has encouraged the Marlins to be aggressive with him and he has answered the call. 

Outlook

To put a ceiling on Perez would be ridiculous. He still has some developing to do in order to get swings and misses at the upper levels of Minor League Baseball, but he did not blink in his High-A debut. Perez’s ability to repeat his mechanics for such a young, tall, and long pitcher should have the Marlins dreaming. His delivery is so effortless that there may be even more velocity in the tank. I’m not even sure what a Eury Perez who reaches his full potential looks like, but I can promise it is really, really good. 

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32.Jack Leiter – RHP – Texas Rangers

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’1″, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (2), 2021 (TEX) | ETA: 2023

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2021 Stats (NCAA): 110 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 14.6 K/9, 3.7 BB/9

Arsenal

High ¾ arm slot with a short arm stroke and lower half driven mechanics. There’s some effort in the delivery, but Leiter’s plus athleticism allows him to repeat his mechanics with ease. The fastball is a plus-plus offering featuring 93-97 velocity that plays up because of the spin and rise it creates from a low vertical attack angle. The heater really is a swing and miss machine, regularly leaving hitters missing just under it.

His command of the heater could improve a bit, although he has advanced feel to locate it at the top of the zone late in counts. Leiter’s ability to command his fastball horizontally is something to follow as he makes his professional debut, as he has the tendency to miss high and arm side with the offering at times. Once Leiter is able to dominate the corners early in the count, the sky’s the limit with his electric four seamer.

Leiter’s curve is currently his best secondary offering, sitting in the mid 70’s with excellent downward break. At its best, the curve should be a plus swing-and-miss pitch to both lefties and righties thanks to its vertical break.

The right-hander will also deploy a sharp slider which he locates exceptionally well to his glove side. Leiter did not use the slider as much in college, but has already flashed it a bit in Spring Training in the mid 80’s. The pitch is above average, and with the way Leiter has continuously developed his arsenal, it could easily improve to become plus as he throws it more.

Leiter rounds out his arsenal with a changeup that has ticked up to the upper 80’s. A changeup that is deployed almost exclusively to left handed batters, Leiter is still developing feel for the pitch, but it has looked better than ever this spring with impressive arm side run and sink. Leiter locates the pitch a bit better to his glove side as well, starting it at the front hip of lefties as it breaks into the inside corner.

Outlook

A bulldog on the mound, Leiter has all of the intangibles along with ridiculous athleticism to make him one of baseball’s most exciting pitching prospects. Leiter earns exceptional marks for his makeup and has had a pretty good built-in pitching coach in his father, Al.

An arsenal that is led by an exceptional fastball along with three secondaries that boast above average to plus potential, Leiter seems to improve every time we see him. With his breaking balls already showing more distinguishable shape and the changeup now flashing above average to plus potential, there’s no telling what Leiter’s ceiling could look like.

Expect the 22-year-old to move quickly from High-A or skip it entirely with an importance placed on his east/west fastball command and changeup development; both of which I would bet on progressing nicely.

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33.Josh Jung – 3B – Texas Rangers

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (8), 2019 (TEX) | ETA: 2023

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The hit tool and raw power were never a question for Jung, but he struggled to tap into his plus raw pop in his first professional season. 2021 was a different story, as swing adjustments allowed him to get the ball in the air more and mash 19 homers in 78 games.

*Jung is out for the 2022 season with a torn left labrum. 

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .326/.398/.592, 19 HR, 42 XBH, 152 wRC+, 22.2 K%, 9.1 BB%

Offense 

Jung has had impressive bat-to-ball skills dating back to his days at Texas Tech, where he hit .348/.455/.577 over his three years as a Red Raider. The hit-tool translated in Jung’s first season, posting a .316 batting average between rookie ball and Low-A, but the third baseman mustered just one homer in 44 games.

Jung’s power was sapped by a 50% ground ball rate, which came as a result of an aggressive leg kick that was more of a knee lift upwards than a gather into his backside. Jung tended to have a heavy front foot on his landing and tended to be steep to the ball. 

After 2020’s layoff, Jung emerged with a tweaked set up and a swing geared for more lift. The adjustments made a huge impact in the power department and did not undermine his bat-to-ball skills at all. Jung’s groundball rate dipped by more than 15% while his HR/FB rate jumped from 5% to 22%. The 24-year-old’s extreme confidence in his hit-tool sometimes results in him expanding the zone a bit earlier in counts, but he does a good job of battling with two strikes and improved with his patience after his promotion to Triple-A Round Rock.

Defense/Speed

An extremely fundamentally sound third baseman, Jung may not wow with the range, but only made one error in 56 starts at the hot corner last year. Jung has improved his footwork to give him average range at the position since going pro and has an above average arm as well. 

Outlook

We will have to wait to see how Jung returns form his left labrum surgery, but the eighth overall selection in 2019 boasts a high floor with the potentially for an extremely balanced and productive slash line. 

Jung has a chance to post a batting average in the high 200’s, along with 25+ homers and average or better defense at third. As the Rangers continue to focus on competing in the next couple years, Jung will undoubtedly be a big part of those plans; just a year later than we initially thought. 

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34.Max Meyer – RHP – Miami Marlins

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’0, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (3), 2020 (MIA) | ETA: 2022

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An athletic pitcher with one of the best sliders in the minor leagues, Meyer has improved the quality of his fastball and changeup which has hedged much of his perceived reliever risk. 

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): 111 IP, 2.27 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 28.6 K%, 9.3 BB%

Arsenal

Meyer’s calling card is his plus-plus slider which sits 89-91 and generates 2800 RPM’s. Meyer commands the pitch exceptionally well to his glove side, sweeping it away from right-handed hitters and burying the offering down and in on the back leg of lefties thanks to its gyro break. The slider tunnels well with Meyer’s fastball, as his inward twist with his leg lift helps him hide the ball a bit longer before uncorking his quick arm from a similar release point across the two offerings. It also helps that the Meyer’s fastball sits 95-97 and the slider is not too far off in the low 90’s. While the fastball can flatten out at times, Meyer’s command of the pitch has improved and the velocity has ticked since the early going of 2021. 

The former Minnesota Golden Gopher did not need to use his changeup much in college thanks to his dominant duo of offerings, but Meyer has made a concerted effort to improve the quality of his third pitch. After watching Meyer on the backfields this spring, the desire to mix in the changeup and gain more of a feel for it was clear, and the pitch flashed above-average with good arm-side fade. Even mixing in a changeup eight to ten times per game will be enough for Meyer with the way he can manipulate and locate his slider to both lefties and righties. 

Outlook

As far as I’m concerned, those who still believe Max Meyer has reliever risk have simply just not watched him pitch. Meyer was a two-way player at Minnesota and his athleticism is more than evident on the mound with the way he is able to use his lower half and repeat his mechanics. 

Meyer struggled a bit with walks in his professional debut (the Marlins started him in Double-A), but settled in as he learned to trust his stuff a bit more and stopped nibbling. Now, Meyer goes right after hitters with his fastball and slider, and whether it was big league hitters in Spring Training or upper-level minor leaguers, nobody has been able to hit the slider. Even when he doubles and triples up on it, he still gets hitters to chase.

It is hard to deny the results from Meyer thus far, and the 23-year-old seems to get better each time we see him. The electric right-hander has legitimate frontline starter upside and should get a chance at the big league level this year. 

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35.Henry Davis – C – Pirates

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 210 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (1), 2021 (PIT) | ETA: 2023

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The top selection in 2021’s MLB Draft has continued to impress with the stick since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates. Davis boasts big-time raw power and rarely looks uncomfortable at the plate. Though a bit raw defensively, Davis has some loud tools that could make him a positive behind the dish as well.

2021 Stats (NCAA): .370/.483/.663, 15 HR, 24 XBH, 10.5 K%, 13.5 BB%,

Offense

Starts crouched and slightly open. Hovers with front leg to help keep weight back. Though a bit unorthodox, Davis generates a ton of torque and rotational power with his swing. Putting up video game numbers that were more impressive than Joey Bart’s at Georgia Tech, Davis put the questions around his swing to bed by slashing .370/.482/.663 with 17 homers and 31 walks against just 24 K’s versus ACC pitching last year. 

Though a small sample size, Davis carried that success into High-A, slugging two homers in six games. We have some questions as to how Davis will be able to handle higher quality breaking stuff, due to his tendency to get overly rotated and at times pull off of the baseball. That being said, he has answered any detractors in regards to his swing with pure production and limited swing and miss. His bat speed is undeniable, as is his plus raw power. The ball truly jumps off his bat, and if he is able to hit consistently enough, 30+ homers is the expectation. Ironically, Davis has some similar offensive concerns to Joey Bart, which is: can they do damage anywhere other than pull-side?

Defense/Speed

Davis’ best tool on defense is his 70-grade arm. He’s a good athlete which leaves us optimistic that he can continue to improve behind the dish, but he has some work to do in regards to blocking and receiving. Davis was able to get away with some things in college thanks to his absurd arm, but in professional baseball there will be more of an emphasis on the fundamentals for the Pirates top catching prospect. We expect him to catch on as a backstop and improve into an average-to-above-average catcher. 

Outlook

At the end of the day, the big asset here is Davis’ bat. That being said, the Pirates took him first overall to be the catcher of the future, and he has a chance to be just that. Davis has shown good bat-to-ball skills and immense pull-side power that should have Pirates fans excited. He is probably a bit further off than some of the other college bats in his class in terms of timeline. 

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36.Nick Yorke – 2B – Boston Red Sox

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 6’0, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (17), 2020 | ETA: 2023

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Already looking like one of the steals of the 2020 draft, the Red Sox somehow nabbed Yorke for nearly $1 million below the slot value with the seventeenth overall pick. Yorke is a beyond his years as a hitter with frame-defying pop.

2021 Stats (A/A+): .325/.412/.516, 14 HR, 39 XBH, 149 wRC+, 15.6 K%, 11.8 BB%

Offense

Simple set up, relaxed hands, short stride into an explosive swing. Yorke has some of the quickest hands you’ll see in the minors, allowing him to generate surprising above-average power for his six-foot, 200 pound frame. Similar to Anthony Volpe, Yorke’s lack of physical imposition and strong feel to hit led many to believe that he will be a high contact doubles guy. Instead, York added some muscle after being drafted in 2020 and has slugged 14 home runs between Low and High-A. 

The most impressive aspect of Yorke’s game, however, is his feel to hit. The second baseman has limited body movement and a short, compact, quick swing which leads to confidence in making late decisions. Yorke rarely expands the zone and is adept at spoiling tough pitches. His takes are easy as well, backed by his 15% K-rate and 12% walk rate. Yorke goes to all fields really well and has even showed above-average power to the opposite field. 

Defense/Speed

Yorke seems to have found a permanent home at second base. His arm has looked solid and healthy, which of course was the biggest question when it came to his defense. At 19 years old, Yorke could make major strides defensively, especially at a position like second base where much can be aided by just footwork improvement. He is an above-average runner, who is smart on the basepaths and can steal bags opportunistically. 

Outlook

Yorke is likely to be a bat-first second baseman, but a darn good one. While the hitting styles are quite different in terms of set up, a Dustin Pedroia type of outcome in terms of production is a feasible best-case scenario. Yorke doesn’t quite boast the glove or speed of Pedroia, but his feel to hit and burgeoning power give us reason to believe he is capable of becoming the Red Sox second baseman of the future if all works out. Expect many, many doubles with a solid number of homers sprinkled in.

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37. Matt Brash – RHP – Seattle Mariners

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’1, 170 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 4th Round (113), 2019 (SDP) | ETA: 2022

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Arsenal

Brash sits 94-96 MPH on his fastball, topping at 101, along with an assortment of secondary pitches. Containing somewhat of a reliever risk profile due to some injury concerns and the fact that his best out pitch is a wipeout slider, Brash has quelled those concerns thanks to his improved command and ability to mix in a changeup and curveball.

Throwing from a three-quarters arm slot, Brash is able to create a ton of deception and repeat his release point well. Brash’s fastball has good arm side run, generating a difficult opposite action from his sharp slider. A big development for Brash has been the feel for his changeup, which he will mix in enough for left-handed-hitters to think about. From that same release point, it can be difficult to pick up, especially when you are geared up for an upper-90s heater. Just when a left-handed hitter is thinking about pitches tailing away from him, Brash has no hesitance when it comes to using his slider to back leg a lefty.

Outlook

Brash’s ability to carve up lefties leaves me even more optimistic about the long term rotation outlook. If anything, Brash is actually a reverse splits guy, but righties haven’t had success against him either. The Niagara University alum has held lefties to a slash line of .125/.238/.232 and righties to .224/.323/.304. While the three aforementioned pitches would be enough for Brash to have success, he mixes in a curveball that will often steal strikes early in the count, and offer another look as well. Brash has the stuff to be a high strikeout mid-rotation arm with the fallback of a lights out back end reliever. I have enough optimism in his secondaries and improving command to maintain a starter’s projection

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38.Zac Veen – OF – Colorado Rockies

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’4, 190 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (9), 2020 | ETA: 2024

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Tantalizing tools and an incredibly projectable frame give Veen immense upside. After an incredibly productive first pro season, Veen will need to prove that he can cut down the swing and miss a bit to reach his superstar ceiling.

2021 Stats (A): .301/.399/.501, 15 HR, 46 XBH, 135 wRC+, 26.3 K%, 13.4 BB%

Offense

The ninth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Veen was viewed as one of the highest ceiling bats in his class and he did nothing to dull those projections with a fantastic first season in the Rockies organization. Veen’s upside rivals that of anyone in the minors; he has the potential to become a five-tool superstar.

Veen is a long, slender, and fluid athlete with tons of projection still left in his frame. His long levers fortunately don’t create too much extra length in his swing, as he is compact and short to the ball with tons of bat speed. His at-bat quality is advanced for his age, keeping his chase rates at bay often and is aware of the strengths he possesses in the box. 

His swing decisions as a whole can still improve, especially in plus counts where he tries to do too much and can have an at-bat turn south on him quickly. Veen possesses a natural ability to use the whole field and as he adds strength and mass, he will become a threat to leave the yard from line to line. Veen’s lower half is extremely mobile and flexible, which allows him to do damage even when he doesn’t get his ‘A’ swing off. Depending on how much weight his frame will carry, we could be looking at a 35 homer threat with a good feel to hit. 

Defense/Speed

Like in the box, Veen’s running and fielding projection is contingent on how his body develops. He is currently a plus runner who utilizes long strides to cover tons of ground in the outfield. He gets to his top speed quicker than most his size and could be a threat to steal at the highest level. Veen’s plus arm gives him a classic right field profile and he has the potential to be a plus defender in a corner.

Outlook

Veen is one of the more tantalizing talents in the minor leagues. The combination of power, speed, and a decent feel to hit gives him a potentially special skillset. As he continues to add weight and get stronger, Veen has the potential to be a middle of the order monster who adds a dynamic piece to a lineup due to his ability to run. High-A will challenge Veen’s approach even more, but if the 20-year-old puts it all together, 40 home runs wouldn’t be out of the question at Coors Field.

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39.Bryson Stott – SS – Philadelphia Phillies

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’3′, 200 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (14) – 2019 (PHI) | ETA: 2023

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Balanced tools across the board and a bit of an uptick in power give Stott a really good chance to be a solid regular with room for a bit more impact. 

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .299/.390/.486, 16 HR, 44 XBH, 138 wRC+, 22.2 K%, 13.3 BB%

Offense

Stott added some strength in the offseason allowing him to tap into at least average power with a bit more to his pull-side. An upright stance with a toe tap for timing, Stott’s swing is smooth and under control, using the whole field with ease. 

On top of his added strength, Stott has improved with his ability to pick spots that he wants to do damage in. As a result, 20+ home run upside is the expectation as he continues to get more comfortable against big league pitching. Stott is a pretty disciplined hitter and posts nearly identical splits against both LHP and RHP. 

Defense/Speed

An above average runner and defender, Stott moves well at shortstop showcasing decent range and a solid arm. Stott’s actions are smooth and he should have no problem sticking at the position. The infielder does have the ability to play third thanks to his arm strength and second thanks to his quickness if the Phillies prefer him somewhere other than short. 

Outlook

While Stott may not be the highest ceiling prospect, it is extremely difficult to find a hole to poke in his game. Above average tools, steady improvements in the box and some versatility have Stott looking like he is on his way to a solid big league career. If he can tap into his above average power at the big league level, he may be able to sneak into an All Star Game or two. 

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40.Tyler Soderstrom – C – Oakland A’s

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 200 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (26), 2020 | ETA: 2023

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Soderstrom is way ahead of his years in the batter’s box, but has a lot of work to do behind the plate. The 20-year-old’s bat will profile anywhere, but if his defense develops to even passable, he could be one of baseball’s more exciting catching prospects.

2021 Stats (A): .306/.390/.598, 12 HR, 33 XBH, 145 wRC+, 24 K%, 10.6 BB%

Offense

Starts with his feet slightly more than shoulder width apart with small movements that activate his load. Big time bat speed that is already above-average and projects as at least plus once he fully matures physically. He’s already physical, but with broad shoulders and long legs, he’s likely to add another 20 pounds of good weight. His hands and wrists contain immense strength that allow him to manipulate the barrel at a high level. Soderstrom was more of a hit-over-power guy in his first season, but once he learns to use the leverage that he naturally produces, he should hit for power from line to line. All the tools are there for him to hit for both average and power at the highest level.

Defense/Speed

The A’s drafted Soderstrom as a catcher, but barring any advances to his athleticism and lateral movement, he likely projects as a corner infielder. He currently struggles to keep balls in front of him when blocking, which is likely due to the fact that he lacks the quickness to be able to constantly get in good blocking positions. He’ll flash plus pop times thanks to his quick transfer and above-average arm strength, but the accuracy of his arm is currently inconsistent. If he’s unable to improve behind the dish, any of the corner positions are possible. While he’s an average runner right now, he’ll likely lose a step or two with the weight he’ll put on, making corner outfield the least likely of landing spots. His most likely landing spot is first base, where his athleticism and hands would play at an average level.

Outlook

Soderstrom possesses the most exciting bat in an A’s system that is light on potential middle-of-the-order hitters. That is exactly what he could be, a left-handed bat that can produce big time offense in the middle of a big league lineup. Regardless of where he ends up on the defensive spectrum, Soderstom’s bat will be his ticket to becoming a big league regular.

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41.Miguel Vargas – 3B – Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’3′, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $300K, 2017 (LAD) | ETA: 2022

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2021 Stats (A+/AA): .319/.380/.526, 23 HR, 52 XBH, 142 wRC+, 16.4 K%, 8.3 BB%

The hit tool was never a question for Vargas, but question marks defensively paired with uncertainty about future power output at a premium offensive position held him back a bit in terms of prospect allure. Vargas answered all of those questions and then some with a ridiculous 2021 season on his way to winning the Dodgers Minor League Hitter of the Year award in an absurdly loaded system.

Offense

Vargas has a silky smooth swing and a barrel that lives in the zone. A simple set up from the right side, Vargas doesn’t require much movement to deploy whipping bat speed, which allows him to be on time consistently. The newly turned 22-year-old added some strength prior to the season and worked with the Dodgers to translate his high contact rate and bat speed into more power output.

A very smart hitter who knows how to play to his strengths, Vargas does major damage on pitches middle-in thanks to his explosive rotational ability. As a result, most of Vargas’ home runs are to his pull-side, but he has no problem barreling baseballs the other way, especially when behind in the count.

With great body control and pitch recognition, Vargas hit everything thrown his way; between High-A and Double-A, Vargas posted an OPS above .800 against fastballs, breaking balls, and changeups individually, making him incredibly difficult to game plan for. As a hitter who likes the ball down, we saw pitchers attack Vargas with velocity up at times, but he adjusted to that rather quickly as well.

A big key for Vargas’ improved power output was simply getting the ball in the air more to complement the added strength. The native Cuban cut his ground ball rate by nearly 10% and boosted his HR/FB% by nearly 10% as well. The power is very real for Vargas and it did not come at the expense of his hit-tool. In fact, Vargas struck out less and walked more after his call-up to Double-A Tulsa.

Defense/Speed

An average runner, Vargas will swipe a bag here and there, however speed will likely never be a huge part of his game. Vargas made improvements defensively in 2021, providing more confidence that he can play third base at least at an average level in the big leagues. While he may not have the most range, he can make the plays necessary and has an above-average arm.

Outlook

To do what Vargas did to upper-level pitching as a 21-year-old is incredibly impressive. Prospects who have a track record of hitting and develop power later on have higher rates of success in the ever-volatile world of prospecting. Vargas is pretty close to big league ready and could be up as soon as this year if the Dodgers need him. Not only does LA have their third baseman of the future in Miguel Vargas, but I think that they have an All-Star.

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42.Jackson Jobe – RHP – Detroit Tigers

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (3), 2021 | ETA: 2023

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Arsenal

Easy mechanics with limited effort in his delivery and natural deception. Jobe has a fastball that sits 93-95, but it gets on hitters quickly. Jobe’s slider is what scouts have marveled at, posting absurd spin rates over 3,000 RPMs with sharp late break. The Oklahoma native made high school hitters look silly with the pitch, whether it was against a random high schooler or future first round selections. He hasn’t needed it yet, but the 19-year-old has flashed an above average changeup as well, which should give him a solid third offering. The most advanced pitcher in his prep class, and that we have seen in a while, Jobe has the makings to climb quickly and has a ton of physical projection. 

Outlook

It’s hard to project a kid that we admittedly have not seen much of, but his mechanics, physicality, and pitch data all point towards someone who can develop into an ace. His advanced feel for three pitches as a prep arm should allow him to handle aggressive assignments.

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43.George Valera – OF – Cleveland Guardians

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 5’11, 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $1.3M (2017) – CLE | ETA: 2023

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One of the sweetest left-handed swings in the minors, Valera’s plus bat speed translated into a legitimate power with 19 home runs in 86 games last year. Valera boasts the most offensive upside in the Guardians’ system.

2021 Stats (A+/ AA): .260/.405/.505, 19 HR, 28 XBH, 148 wRC+, 18.2 BB%, 24.2 K%

Offense

Valera starts with an open stance and his weight stacked on his backside which helps him control his lower half throughout his load and into his swing. Valera has exciting power–especially to his pull side–but the 21-year-old will at times look to pull a bit too much. After Valera was promoted to Double-A, pitchers began to work away from him much more frequently. Because of his body control, Valera is able to stay behind the baseball and use the whole field, but he is still ironing out his approach.

A patient hitter, Valera was able to get away with falling into deep counts at High-A Lake County because of his ability to demolish mistakes over the heart of the plate or on the inner half. With his unteachable bat speed, Valera is blessed with the ability to make later decisions than most hitters. At the end of last season, we saw Valera use that to his advantage as he began to shoot outer half fastballs the other way for home runs while still having no issue reacting middle-in. As a result, we saw Valera’s chase rate decline as the year went on to just 17% (average is around 30%).

Valera’s ability to stay on his back hip and let his natural bat speed/strength eat, paired with a good knowledge of the strike zone, have me convinced that he will be able to keep the strikeout rate in the low 20% range as he develops along with an above average walk rate.

Defense/Speed

A slightly above average runner, Valera is a good athlete who moves his feet pretty well along with an average arm. Valera will steal a few bases here and there, but he will be an opportunistic base stealer at best. With decent defensive tools across the board, Valera should be a fine defender in a corner outfield spot who doesn’t hurt you on the base paths.

Outlook

With George Valera, it is really about the bat. And, the good news is that the bat is exciting. The Dominican Republic-native offers 30+ home run upside with an above average OBP and steady development with his approach has reinforced my optimism that he can continue to develop into an average hit tool or better.

There seems to be some dissent in the industry as to how valuable of a prospect Valera is, but to be totally honest, I don’t see much at all that is not to like with this exciting young hitter. Prior to last season, Valera had only played six games above Rookie/short season ball. Don’t be surprised if the 21-year-old kicks it up another notch next year.

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44.Luis Matos – OF – San Francisco Giants

Age: 20 Height/Weight: 5’11’, 160 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $725K (2018) | ETA: 2023

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Despite not being the top teenage prospect in his own organization, Matos is one of the most exciting teenage prospects in baseball, which is a testament to the upside of the Giants’ system. Similar to Marco Luciano, Matos has power and bat speed that defies his frame, making it hard to place limits on his power potential.

2021 Stats (A): .313/.358/.494, 15 HR, 51 XBH, 21 SB, 121 wRC+, 12.4 K%, 5.7 BB%

Offense

A simple, upright setup before using a small gathering leg kick to get into his back side, Matos relies on his athleticism and ridiculous bat speed to impact the baseball with minimal effort. Matos has plus power to the pull side, but is a bit too eager to do damage that way, largely in part to his aggressive approach.

The fresh 20-year-old often looks to catch pitches out in front of the plate leading to above-average chase rates and an off the charts 55% pull rate. While Matos will need to adjust his approach in order to have success at the upper levels, his impressive season was buoyed by fantastic bat-to-ball skills. Despite an aggressive approach, Matos boasts impressive contact rates combined with exit velocities routinely above 105 miles-per-hour thanks to his exceptionally quick hands.

Matos has the capability to let the ball travel and use the whole field, which is why his aggressive approach doesn’t knock down the hit tool projection for him too much.

At this point, Matos’ bat-to-ball skills are almost a double-edged sword; on one hand, he is able to spoil tough pitches in two-strike counts, playing a big part in his minuscule 12% K-rate, but on the flip side, Matos will produce weak contact swinging at a ball off the plate early in the count that most other hitters would whiff and recalibrate. The thought that he can get to any pitch is confidence-inducing, but also approach-compromising. If Matos looks for certain pitches in certain spots and displays more patience, he should see an uptick in the power and walk departments, while his K-rate would increase a negligible amount at most.

In terms of natural talent, Matos is the whole package offensively and it is important to note that his only experience prior to last season was 60 games in Rookie Ball as a 17-year-old. Matos will only get better as he gets more at bats under his belt and he is likely to mature physically as well.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner combined with impressive quickness, Matos is a threat on the base paths and has a strong chance of sticking in center field. Matos swiped 21 bases last season in 26 chances, and made 85 of his 109 starts in center field. Matos has an average arm that is more than fine in center. As his reads/routes continue to improve, Matos should be a solid defender out there.

Outlook

Matos has already shown an ability to integrate his exciting tools into game action through his performance last year in Low-A San Jose. While the free-swinging aspect to Matos’ approach presents at least some risk, his lack of professional at-bats and proven ability to produce (despite youthful aspects to his game) bode well for his long-term upside. The combination of enviable bat-to-ball skills and room for growth within his frame give Matos exiting offensive upside.

There’s five-tool potential here for Matos as a player who should be able to hit for a high average, run into 25 or more home runs and steal 20+ bases all while sticking in center field. A big X-Factor for Matos will be his selectiveness at the plate, which could be the difference between him being a decent regular and an All-Star.

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45.DL Hall – LHP – Baltimore Orioles

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (21), 2017 (BAL) | ETA: 2023

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2021 Stats (A+/AA): 31.2 IP. 3.13 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 1.01 WHIP, 43.8 K%, 12.5 BB%

Arsenal

Long arm action. Very athletic and whippy athlete who gets great extension and features big time arm speed. The fastball is the calling card for Hall, as the 6-foot-2 lefty routinely sits in the mid-to-upper 90’s with arm-side run and sink. Hall’s command of the heater is fringe average with a tendency to miss arm-side due to the heavy run he produces when he flies open too early. Hall has trouble consistently locating it to his glove side, something he will need to shore up in order to reach his ceiling.

The fastball plays double-plus when he is locating it down and to his arm side, where it produces tons of soft contact as well as swing and miss. If Hall can achieve average command of his big time fastball, he will become a tremendous arm.

Hall’s slider is his best secondary offering with sharp, late bite in the mid 80’s. The southpaw leans on the pitch much more frequently in left-on-left matchups, holding left-handed opponents to a meager .385 OPS on the pitch last season.

Hall also has a ‘slurvy’ type breaking ball that features 10-4 break in the low 80’s. The lefty’s two breaking balls used to have more of a tendency to blend together, however he has focused on distinguishing the two offerings. Hall’s curveball lacks the tightness of his slider and is a bit more of a hittable pitch, but is still an above-average secondary.

The changeup gives Hall another potentially above-average secondary thrown in the mid 80’s that features lots of arm-side run and some sink. He throws the pitch with good arm speed, creating lots of deception, making it his go-to secondary against right-handed hitters. The change has the ability to miss bats, however, it specializes in inducing soft contact.

Outlook

Hall saw his 2021 season cut short due to a stress reaction in his elbow, but he looked to be just fine in Spring Training, already touching triple digits on the gun. He has the makings of an impressive repertoire and is clearly the second best pitching prospect in the Orioles farm system. The raw movement on his pitches is great. However, he will have to continue to make strides with his command in order to reach his frontline ceiling. Hall showed improvements in that regard last season, and we will see if he can continue to build on that in 2022.

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46.Nick Pratto – 1B – Kansas City Royals

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’1, 180 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (14), 2021 (KCR) | ETA: 2022

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2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .265/.385/.602, 36 HR, 71 XBH, 156 wRC+, 28.8 K%, 15.2 BB%

Offense

Slightly open and upright stance with simple loading triggers with his hands and lower half. Very easy move into his back hip allows ample time for Pratto to identify pitches and unleash his big league ready swing that features plus bat speed and bat-to-ball skills. Pratto manages the strike zone at an elite level, albeit with some strikeouts. He’s patient early in the count, looking for pitches he can drive into the gaps and do damage with. His ability to recognize spin is extremely advanced and his swing allows him to sit back and do damage to hanging breaking stuff even when he’s looking for heaters. Pratto is a big league ready hitter right now and at only 22 years of age, he is only going to get better.

Defense/Speed

Pratto’s glove at first base is arguably the best in the minor leagues, and he should compete for Gold Gloves as soon as he gets called up. He’s as smooth as they come at first, with soft hands and tons of range. The icing on the defensive cake is that Pratto owns a plus arm that allowed him to fire low 90’s fastballs in high school. He’s a below-average runner, so first base will likely be his spot and he will save his infielders tons of errors over there.

Outlook

Pratto is a safe bet to hit at the big league level and the upside is considerable given his advanced approach at the plate and plus raw hitting tools. The Royals should feel good about Pratto as a long term option at first, and we should see him at Kauffman Stadium very soon.

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47.Colton Cowser – OF – Baltimore Orioles

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’3′, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (5), 2021 (BAL) | ETA: 2023

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV/RISK
55/7045/5535/4555/5545/5555 (Low)

Elite contact ability and burgeoning power with a projectable/athletic frame give Cowser an exciting combination of solid floor and intriguing upside.

2021 Stats (A): (25G) .347/.476/.429, 1 HR, 6 XBH, 158 wRC+, 15.3 K%, 17.7 BB%

Offense

Upright stance from the left side and a simple swing geared for line drive contact. Cowser’s limited movement allows him to be on time more often than most hitters, but his swing lacks the violence you’d like to see from a 6-foot-3 outfielder. Unsurprisingly, scouts loved Cowser’s feel to hit and strong approach (76 BB/70 K in college), and he showed flashes of enough pop in his junior season to force his way into the top five picks of last year’s draft–albeit under slot.

Cowser continued to put the bat on the ball and get on base in his 25 Low-A games last year. The 21-year-old walked more than he struck out and slashed .347/.476/.429 in his 124 PA’s. As impressive as Cowser’s line was in his professional debut, it will be very interesting to see how the Orioles’ top draft pick returns in 2022 physically. Yes, Cowser’s hit tool and well-rounded game is valuable and give him a high floor, but for the O’s to take him fifth overall, I’d imagine that they see this kid filling out some more and adding above-average power.

The more Colton Cowser I watch, the more I like. He does things in the box that you can’t teach; his ability to make adjustments between pitches, control the barrel, and his general feel for the strike zone are all things players go their entire careers trying to master. The track record of hit-tool guys with room to add power is a lot stronger than vice versa.

Defense/Speed

Cowser moves a lot better in center field than I initially thought he would. In admittedly limited looks on my end, he seemed to make good reads and showed strong closing speed. Cowser’s arm is above average for center as well.

A strong runner, Cowser was said to have recorded a pretty steady number of plus run times in his professional debut, which helps his center field outlook a ton. Cowser’s long strides and savviness on the base paths should allow him to bring value in that regard as well. In his collegiate career, Cowser was 31/36 on stolen base attempts, and 7/11 in his professional debut. I don’t expect stolen bases to be a huge part of Cowser’s game–as his swipes were against mid-major catchers and pitchers–but he knows the right pitches to run on and should be able to do the same as he climbs through the minors.

If Cowser adds some weight to his 6-foot-3, 195 pound frame, he could lose a step, but he is an athletic outfielder who should have a good chance to stick in center. If not, he will be an above average corner guy.

Outlook

Every farm system needs a Colton Cowser. In the volatile world of prospects, Cowser offers a rare level of safety while still providing enough projection to get excited about. If Cowser can stick in center field, that would take a bit of the pressure off of his bat in the slugging department while maximizing his value. I see some Brandon Nimmo similarities.

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48.Kahlil Watson – SS – Miami Marlins

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 5’9, 180 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (16), 2021 (MIA) | ETA: 2024

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV/Risk
40/5555/6045/6060/6035/5555+ (High)

An explosive athlete with exciting power potential despite a compact frame, Watson has the most upside of any bat in the Marlins organization.

Offense

Watson is the rare type of prospect where you can see him take one swing and you know he’s different from most other hitters. While he stands at just 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Watson is incredibly strong and already boasts plus raw power. Unlike most powerful hitters who lack physical size, Watson does not require much movement to produce his off-the-charts bat speed.

The power translates to all fields and his quickness from launch to contact will allow for Watson to make later decisions, aiding the outlook on his plate discipline and overall hit tool. Watson is a hitter who is going to look to do damage and as a result, there could be some swing and miss. But, his overall skill set in the box should help him keep his K-rate in check. 

Defense/Speed

Watson’s athleticism and above-average arm allow him to profile well at pretty much every position. The hope is that Watson will be able to stick at shortstop, but he will have to make some improvements with his footwork and actions. This is fairly common for young shortstops who have been able to play the position well off of athleticism. However, as the game speeds up, there will be added emphasis on the little things for Watson to remain at short. 

Speed wise, there’s no question that Watson is a plus runner. If shortstop is not the answer long-term, Watson’s plus run times should easily translate into center field. While we have not been able to see much of Watson on the base paths against higher level competition yet, the expectations is that stolen bases should be a part of his game. The question is just how much. 

Outlook

Watson has the highest ceiling of any offensive prospect in the Marlins system. If not for some signability and non-baseball related concerns, the teenager could have easily heard his name called in the top five picks of 2021’s MLB Draft. The Marlins were thrilled to have Watson fall into their lap as the sixteenth selection and in the early going, all signs point towards Watson being one of the potential steals of the draft. 

There is legitimate 30/30 upside for Watson as a shortstop who could slot into the top or middle of an order with dynamic qualities. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Watson’s game is the fact that the hit tool does not seem to be of much concern relative to most power hitting, athletic high school bats. 

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49.Bobby Miller – RHP – Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’5, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (29), 2020 (LAD) | ETA: 2023

FASTBALLSLIDERCHANGEUPCurveballCOMMANDFV/Risk
55/6060/6055/6045/5045/5555 (Medium)

It was a great first professional season for Bobby Miller last year, who really saw his stuff jump in his shortened 2020 collegiate season at Louisville. After the Dodgers took Miller in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, he capitalized on his momentum from his abbreviated junior season by continuing to develop his stuff at the alternate training site, which led to a dominant 2021 campaign. 

2021 Stats (A+/AA): 56.1 IP, 2.40 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 0.94 WHIP, .191 OPBA, 30.4 K%, 5.7 BB%

Arsenal

Miller has an assortment of pitches he can attack hitters with. The right-hander’s plus fastball gets better seemingly each time I see him throw. Miller throws both a four-seamer and two-seamer that continued to rise in the velocity department as the year went on. By the time Miller arrived in the Arizona Fall League, he was sitting around 98 miles-per-hour on the heater.

Miller’s two-seamer is a bowling ball with a ton of arm-side run. The movement profile complements his plus slider well, but also helps Miller roll a ton of ground balls. Both heaters have a ton of life and are high spin at nearly 2500 RPMs on average. As Miller continues to gain a feel for distinguishing the two fastballs, the four-seamer should develop as more of a swing-and-miss pitch up in the zone, while the two-seamer should help him get weak contact and keep his pitch count down–something that Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara excels at, but few others are capable of. 

Of his secondary offerings, Miller’s mid-80’s slider is the most impressive. The pitch is already plus thanks to the late, sharp break it has as well as Miller’s strong command of it–especially to his glove side. 

With Miller’s dueling fastballs alongside his slider, the right-hander can create a tunneling nightmare for hitters. The 22-year-old also has an above-average changeup that showed plus in several outings in the Arizona Fall League. The changeup hovers around the upper-80’s with impressive arm side fade. Miller showed a much better feel for the pitch as the season went on, but still has the tendency to tug it glove side at times. I am willing to bet on Miller’s changeup playing up to plus off of his fastball, especially if he continues to establish his four-seamer. 

Miller’s fourth pitch is a curveball that he does not throw too often. The low-80’s bender is a bit slurvy, but provides a different look and speed from his other offerings. While not used often, Miller has confidence in the pitch to steal strikes from left-handed hitters early in the count, as well as bury it to righties to disrupt any pitch usage patterns. While it may not be plus, Miller’s curveball is a serviceable fourth offering. 

Outlook

There is so much to like with Bobby Miller; the 22-year-old has two present plus pitches with a good chance for a third accompanied by already above-average command. Miller’s stuff, command, and athleticism on the mound give him the upside of a frontline starter. Given the way the Dodgers ease workloads onto their young pitchers, we did not get to see Miller go deep into starts, but his ability to throw strikes and get ground balls should allow him to go deeper into games than most pitchers generating the kind of strikeout numbers he does. I can’t help but see some similarities to Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara.

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50.Andy Pages – OF – Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 212 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $300K, 2017 (LAD) | ETA: 2023

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV/Risk
40/4560/6055/6550/5045/5555+ (High)

Similar to Diego Cartaya, Andy Pages put on a show in rookie ball during the 2019 season, building up anticipation for his full-season debut in 2021. Pages did not disappoint, putting his loud tools on display in High-A with the Great Lake Loons. 

2021 Stats: .265/.394/.539, 31 HR, 57 XBH, 152 wRC+, 24.5 K%, 14.3 BB%

Offense 

Pages is a fantastic athlete and you can see it when he is in the batter’s box. The 21-year-old is able to get away with a fair amount of movement thanks to said athleticism, however there is still some question as to whether Pages will be able to hit more advanced pitching. Given Pages’ raw strength, bat speed and twitchy athleticism, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make it all work–especially after seeing his approach and pitch selection improve as the season endured. 

In each passing month of the second half, Pages saw his walk rate increase and strikeout rate decrease. Pages probably could have been called up to Double-A, however the Dodgers probably feel no need to rush him and the momentum the then 20-year-old was building with his improved approach is something you do not want to disrupt for a player as young as he is. 

Pages has ridiculous pull-side power and also has no issue going dead central in even the biggest of yards. I’d like to see Pages use the whole field a bit more, but similar to Cartaya, it is hard to nail that into the head of a young hitter when they are torching A-ball pitching with a pull-heavy approach. Pages backspins baseballs really well, allowing for big-time carry even on balls that he misses under. For that reason, I think Pages will have no problem leaving the yard to all fields as he gains a bit more of a feel for the barrel.

You’re not going to find many strength/athleticism combinations in the minors more impressive than the newly turned 21-year-old Andy Pages. Time will tell on the hit-tool, but his improvements through the end of the season give me confidence that he can make the adjustment to Double-A pitching as he continues to refine his approach. 

Defense/Speed

An above average runner, Pages is capable of playing all three outfield spots, though he made the majority of his starts in right field last year. Pages has one of the strongest arms in the Minor Leagues, making the right field profile even more clear long-term as he continues to get stronger. With a plus-plus arm, above-average range, and improving routes, Pages should easily be an above-average to plus defender in right field. 

Outlook

There just aren’t many players with the skillset that Pages has. Given how absurd his tools are and how raw he appeared to be coming into the 2021 season, last year was huge for his overall outlook and prospect value. Despite still having a little ways to go in regards to his approach, Pages is further along than many thought he would be. One of the more volatile prospects in a loaded Dodgers system, Pages has perennial All-Star upside, but a wider range of outcomes than others in the org. 

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51.Cole Winn – RHP – Texas Rangers

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (15) – 2018 (TEX) | ETA: 2022

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A good fastball with feel for three secondaries, Winn is one of the safer arms in the top 100, but don’t mistake that for a limited ceiling. 

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): 86 IP, 2.41 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 0.86 WHIP, 32.2 K%, 9.3 BB%

Arsenal

Winn’s arsenal is led by a plus fastball that sits in the 92-94 mph range, topping out at 96 mph. The heater has strong characteristics, boasting a ton of induced vertical break which allows it to play really well up in the zone and set up his assortment of secondaries. 

The right-hander’s plus curveball features sharp downward action, working well off of his riding fastball. More of a power curve in the low 80s, the pitch dives below the strike zone at the last minute making it incredibly effective to both left-handed and right-handed hitters. 

Winn also features a slider in the upper 80s which he commands well and will use a bit more frequently to righties. The gyro type break that the slider has allows it to still be effective against lefties while differentiating from his curve. 

Winn’s fourth offering is his changeup, which he made a ton of progress with in 2021 and continues to show more comfort throwing. With the life that Winn has on his fastball and assortment of secondaries, even an average changeup should play up for him. 

Outlook

2021 was a breakout season of some sorts for the former first rounder, showing a ton of confidence and polish on the mound for a then 21-year-old. Winn’s feel to pitch really stood out as the season went on. In the two starts I saw, Winn would go through a lineup operating with just the fastball and curveball and then pull out the slider and changeup a bit more the second time through the order to keep hitters uncomfortable.

Winn’s deep arsenal and comfort for all of his pitches affords him the ability to do things like that which will help him pitch deeper into ball games. With his arsenal and pitchability, Winn is a high probability middle-of-the-rotation starter with some more upside. 

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52.Elly De La Cruz – SS – Cincinnati Reds

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 150 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $65K – 2018 (CIN) | ETA: 2024

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
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One of the more overlooked prospects in the 2018 International Free Agent class, Elly De La Cruz looks like he could end up being one of the biggest steals after the Reds inked the power-hitting teenager for just 65 thousand dollars. De La Cruz has a long way to go in his development, but the tools he has put on display at 19 years old leaves me wondering how he wasn’t a high six figure signing bonus (or more) guy. 

2021 stats (CPX/A): .269/.305/.477, 8 HR, 24 XBH, 127 wRC+, 30 K%, 5 BB%, 10 SB

Offense

A switch hitter with big time raw power, De La Cruz wowed with his impressive raw power in both the Complex League and Low-A Daytona. Despite being a wiry 6-foot-2 and just 150 pounds, De La Cruz generates a ton of barrel whip and bat speed. It’s hard to believe that De La Cruz has already produced 110+ mile-per-hour exit velocities on several occasions. 

Plus-plus raw power seems feasible for De La Cruz, considering his present ability to impact the baseball with more than plenty of room to fill out in his frame. De La Cruz’s swing is smooth and aesthetically pleasing when everything is on time, especially from the left side. De La Cruz is a bit inconsistent with his lower half, deploying a big leg kick that can cause his mechanics to break down when they’re out of sync. 

De La Cruz has the propensity to fly open a bit with his front side, causing him to come off of the ball a bit early when it is middle away, though he possesses so much bat speed that he can still throw his hands at the ball and hit it hard. The pull-heavy approach seems to be a product of De La Cruz likely feeling rushed at times due to his large leg kick, just trying to get the barrel out there as well as a young hitter simply trying to do too much in the box. De La Cruz gets away with some of these moves because of how twitchy and athletic he is, but will likely need to smooth things out as he climbs up the ladder.

The present power/exit velocities that De La Cruz has already displayed and the room he still has to fill out has me just wondering how insanely productive this kid can be if he puts it all together. Despite some inconsistencies with both swings, there’s a lot to like and still some feel to hit for such a raw prospect. 

Defense/Speed

There’s some question within the industry if De La Cruz can stick at shortstop as he physically matures, but given that he is an off-the-charts athlete with a rocket for an arm, added muscle and weight shouldn’t hold him back much, if at all. De La Cruz could use some refinement with his actions at short, which will come with more reps. But he has shown the ability to make all of the throws with plenty or range. 

Where De La Cruz shocked me was his speed. The kid absolutely flies. His long legs move quickly, making it seem like he is taking three steps between bases. I watched De La Cruz leg out multiple triples where he seemed to get from home to third in the blink of an eye. I have no problem labeling De La Cruz as a plus-plus runner. 

Outlook

Not only does De La Cruz possess the most exciting offensive tools in this farm system, but there are not many players in professional baseball that have the kind of five-tool upside he has. Plus-plus speed and potentially plus-plus raw power as a switch hitter has De La Cruz sitting on the brink of catapulting not only onto all of the top 100 prospect lists, but high up on those lists as well. 

While Elly De La Cruz has a long way to go, our minds can only wonder what it would look like if this kid puts it all together.

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53.Nick Gonzales – 2B – Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 5’10, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (7) – 2020 | ETA: 2023

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV
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Offense

Athletic set up. Gathers into his back side with with a small leg kick that has become more apparent since turning pro, but it hasn’t disrupted his knack for being on time. Despite his 5-foot-10, 190 pound frame, Gonzales is able to generate plus power thanks to elite bat speed and a swing that generates easy backspin. After putting up better than video game numbers as a walk-on at New Mexico State, there were still questions as to whether Gonzales could handle higher level competition. Gonzales put those questions to rest by dismantling Cape Cod League pitching on his way to winning the league’s Pro Prospect of the Year Award.

Gonzales’ has an impressive ability to control his body and repeat his swing. He is so quick and compact to the baseball that he is able to make late decisions. Gonzales has no problem spoiling borderline pitches or shooting the ball out of the catcher’s mitt the other way. Our plus grade on his power may be higher than the industry perspective, but after watching Gonzales swing wood for an entire summer, we feel confident in his 60 grade juice. Gonzales displayed power to all fields, spraying homers to right, dead center and pull-side. He would even inside-out balls that left the yard to right field. 

Gonzales’ feel to hit will allow him to consistently hit for more power as well. He leverages hitter’s counts, taking more aggressive swings, and is tough to beat with two strikes thanks to his bat speed, body control and good feel for the zone. 

Defense/Speed

While not a burner, Gonzales gets the most out of his above-average speed thanks to his high baseball IQ. He knows which pitches to run on and does a great job of reading stuff in the dirt. Defensively, Gonzales is similar. He will probably not win Gold Gloves, but has decent range, good actions, and his high IQ translates in the field too. 

Outlook

Gonzales is one of the more high floor prospects you will find, but his ceiling is far from restricted as well. A great hit tool, sneaky power, and elite makeup make me as confident in Nick Gonzales being an impact big leaguer as nearly any player in the top 100.

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54.Brandon Williamson – LHP – Cincinnati Reds

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’6, 210 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (59), 2019 (SEA) | ETA: 2023

FASTBALLSLIDERCURVEBALLCHANGEUPCOMMANDFV/Risk
55/5550/5560/6045/5045/5055 (High)

2021 Stats (A+/AA): 98.1 IP, 3.39 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 37.4 K%, 8.1 BB%

Arsenal

Standing at 6-foot-6 with long levers, Williamson creates a deceptive, downhill plane from his high release point. Williamson’s fastball sits from 92-94 miles-per-hour, but plays up thanks to the aforementioned deception. Another big reason why Williamson’s fastball plays up is the way it works off of his plus curveball. Williamson’s downer curve has sharp 11-5 break from the same high release point. The two pitches work off of each other beautifully, reminiscent of a more firm Rich Hill bender. The vertical break on the curve allows it to work against both lefties and righties

Williamson’s changeup and cutter are vying to stand out as his third offering, with both flashing above average. Williamson commands the cutter better to his glove side, making it an effective pitch to bore in on right-handed hitters. The changeup has been inconsistent at times, but the pitch has a chance to be above average thanks to the deception that he creates with his delivery and the pitch’s fade when he gets on top of it. While Williamson’s command is presently average, he does not exhaust a ton of effort in his delivery and has even simplified his mechanics a bit since college; the southpaw showed great command in several individual outings last year including his final two starts of the season. I expect the command to develop to above average.

Outlook

A plus curveball, above average-fastball and viable third and fourth offerings bode well for Williamson’s chances to become a No. 3 or No. 4 starter in the big leagues; the natural deception the southpaw is able to generate only furthers that notion. The depth and vertical break on Williamson’s curve makes it effective to both lefties and righties, giving him steady splits as well. 

At 6-foot-6 but just 210 pounds, I am still holding out hope that Williamson can see a bit of a velocity bump in the future. Still, the southpaw has been able to generate a ton of swings and misses (14 K/9) between High and Double-A. The main piece of the return for Cincinnati in the Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez deal, Williamson seems primed to join Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene in a young and exciting rotation soon. 

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55.Oswald Peraza – SS – New York Yankees

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’0, 170 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $170K, 2017 (NYY) | ETA: 2022

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV/Risk
50/6050/5540/5060/6055/6055 (Medium)

Offense

Despite being younger than the average player at every Minor League stop he’s been at, Peraza has held his own with both the bat and his glove along the way. 2021 was truly a breakout season for Peraza, who has not only solidified himself as one of the best position player prospects the Yankees have, but also has expedited his MLB ETA through his improved offense and elite glove.

Peraza has a silky smooth right-handed stroke that features a big, slow and controlled leg kick and a clean barrel path that stays in the zone for a long time. The swing takes extreme body control and athleticism that Peraza has a ton of. 

He has good bat speed that allows him to produce above-average raw power and he’s starting to show he can get to it in games. Peraza also features a noticeable two strike approach, in which he gets rid of the leg kick and looks to battle. It’s similar to Bo Bichette, albeit with less power. He’ll need to continue to improve his knowledge of the strike zone as he moves up, as he could stand to walk at a higher rate. The bat-to-ball skills are excellent and he has a real chance to become a plus hitter with solid power when all is said and done.

Speed/Defense

Peraza is a fringe plus runner and has good footwork at shortstop to aid his above-average range. His plus arm strength allows him to make all the throws necessary and his hands are among the best in the Yankees system; the 21-year-old should be a plus at short. Peraza is quick enough to steal bases at the highest level, and he has drawn immense praise for his high baseball IQ.

Outlook

Peraza’s sweet swing from the right side and plus defense at short make him a high probability everyday shortstop. The Venezuela native has the upside of a fringe All-Star if he continues to develop offensively. If he can improve his plate discipline and pitch recognition, we could see him in the Bronx before the end of the 2022 season. 

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56.Cade Cavalli – RHP – Washington Nationals

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’4′, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (22), 2020 (WSN) | ETA: 2022

FASTBALLSLIDERCHANGEUPCOMMANDFV
60/7060/7050/5535/4555+ (High)

Some of the most effortless triple-digit fastballs you will see complemented by nasty stuff, it all really comes down to the command for Cavalli.

2021 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 123.1 IP, 3.36 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 1.26 WHIP, 33.5 K%, 11.5 BB%

Arsenal

Big, athletic right-hander with an over the top delivery that features some deception due to the natural funkiness. Big time fastball that sits in the mid-to-upper 90’s with some ride when located at the top of the zone. It generates swing and miss in the strike zone and is unhittable at the top of the zone. Cavalli’s present command of the fastball is below-average and he is more of a ‘sprayer’ at the moment. Cavalli’s athleticism and relative newness to pitching, however, bode well for his future command, and there is potential for at least average command of the fastball.

Cavalli’s slider is a devastating upper 80’s offering that generates ample amounts of swing and miss to both righties and lefties. He is still developing feel for the pitch and has a tendency to miss badly when his mechanics aren’t in sync. When he locates it down and to his glove side it features sharp, late bite and tremendous shape that gives it plus-plus projection. He has trouble consistently landing it for strikes, and as he develops, it will be key to be able to do so.

Cavalli rounds out his arsenal with a mid-to-upper 80’s change up that features late arm-side run and sink and flashes plus when located down and to his arm side. It produces both swing and miss as well as soft contact, and Cavalli is already deploying the offering against both lefties and righties. He has good feel for the change and it gives him another bat missing pitch.

Outlook

Cavalli’s upside rivals that of any prospect in the minor leagues, as he features three swing and miss offerings and the size and athleticism seen in big league aces. He will need to improve his command and feel for pitching in order to achieve his ceiling, which remains sky high. Cavalli’s floor is also high due to his pair of plus-plus offerings and worst case-scenario, he is a dominant back of the bullpen piece for Washington. Given that he has only thrown 230 innings dating back to college, we believe Cavalli will continue to develop.

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57.Jose Miranda – 1B/2B/3B – Minnesota Twins

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 210 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (73), 2016 (MIN) | ETA: 2022

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A second round pick back in 2016 out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico, Miranda showed flashes off offensive ability early in his professional career. Added strength and adjustments to his overly aggressive approach helped Miranda break out in as big a way as anyone in Minor League Baseball in 2021.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .344/.401/.572, 30 HR, 62 XBH, 12.5 K%, 7.1 BB%, 158 wRC+

Offense

Jose Miranda was arguably the best hitter in the upper minor leagues last season. The former second round pick exploded last season thanks to added strength and improved approach during 2020’s layoff. Miranda made adjustments to get his lower half more incorporated in his swing. The 23-year-old uses a gathering leg kick which he times up very well to get into his back hip. Miranda’s improved ability to tap into his strong lower half has also allowed his explosive rotational power to shine through even more. 

Miranda’s barrel lives in the zone, and he has an elite feel for his swing. The infielder has always been able to spray line drives all over the field, and many of those gappers in prior seasons turned into home runs with the added strength and incorporation of his lower half. After posting a HR/FB rate of just 5% in 2019, Miranda saw that number multiply by five in 2021 to around 25%. 

Put simply, a much, much larger percentage of fly balls left the yard for Miranda last season than any year prior. Prospects with top-end contact rates who develop power are generally the safest profile to see much of their production translate at the big league level. 

Defense/Speed

Miranda split time between second, third, and first base last season, making the most of his starts at the hot corner. Despite seeing more action at third, Miranda profiles more as a second baseman. His arm is just average and he is a bit flat-footed at third. Though Miranda could have the offensive profile to support a move to first base, I was encouraged enough by what I saw from him at second base to believe that he can be an average defender there. 

Outlook 

If you couldn’t tell, I am sold on the breakout from Jose Miranda. The production didn’t come by chance, but rather a result of several positive factors. While Miranda is still a bit aggressive in the box, he has toned it down enough to achieve success thanks to his advanced feel to hit. 

It is hard to not have confidence in elite bat-to-ball skills and above-average exit velocities, especially when a guy puts up the numbers that Miranda did in the upper levels. I see a ton of Ty France in Jose Miranda, but with more present pop.

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58.Kyle Harrison – LHP – San Francisco Giants

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/L | 3rd Round (85)- 2020 | ETA: 2023

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In a 2020 MLB Draft dominated by college arms, the Giants were able to entice prep southpaw Kyle Harrison to forgo his UCLA commitment with a $2.5 million signing bonus. The Giants like to target naturally deceptive arms with unique pitch profiles, and Harrison fits the bill quite perfectly. 

2021 Stats (A): 98.2 IP, 3.19 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 1.40 WHIP, 35.7 K%, 11.8 BB%

Arsenal 

Harrison used his lively four-seam fastball to overpower Low-A hitters. A plus offering, Harrison’s heater sits 93-95 miles-per-hour, occasionally grabbing a six or seven. The pitch’s perceived velocity is closer to the upper-90’s thanks to Harrison’s low release point and high spin rates. Averaging nearly 2400 RPM’s from a high three-quarters release, Harrison is able to achieve the widely sought after rising action on his fastball combined with a release that is difficult to pick up because of the way he is able to hide the baseball. 

Harrison’s above-average changeup worked in tandem with his fastball to make at-bats extremely difficult on opposite-handed hitters. Sitting in the mid-80’s, Harrison’s changeup features a ridiculous 18 inches of horizontal movement. The pitch has shown plus and works well off of his plus heater. 

Because of the slingshot type of release Harrison has, it is difficult for right-handed hitters to see the ball out of Harrison’s hand, making it a bit of a guessing game as to whether the pitch will be that fastball riding up or a changeup fading away, which helps both pitches play up even more. 

A great example of a pitcher who benefits from a similar effect is Trevor Rogers of the Marlins, and similar to Rogers, Harrison produces reverse splits, holding righties to meager offensive production. Harrison could benefit sacrificing a bit of the horizontal break for some more vertical drop, which would allow for the pitch to tunnel a bit better with his fastball. Right now, Harrison’s changeup is more of a side spinner, but it still differentiates effectively from the fastball, especially to his arm side.

Harrison’s third offering is a slider in the mid-80’s which flashes above-average when he can command it. Harrison leans on the slider more against left-handed hitters, but does not totally shy away from it against righties. From the 20-year-old’s tricky release point, the slider can look like it is coming at the hip of same-handed hitters before breaking back over the plate. When his command is on, Harrison sets up the slider well with tough fastballs in on the hands of lefties. The struggle for Harrison was that his command became sporadic and there were times where left-handed hitters could really just key in on the fastball when the feel for the slider wasn’t there. 

When Harrison had a good feel for his pitches, he was more than comfortable using the slider to backdoor right-handed hitters for early strikes in order to set up his changeup with opposite action. Righties slashed just .207/.329/.298 against Harrison last year because they had to worry about pitches either breaking towards them, away from them, or rising. Left-handed hitters posted an OPS nearly 200 points higher due to the inconsistency of Harrison’s slider, along with his reluctance to go to the pitch against left-handed hitters due to how much it breaks towards them; another reason why some more vertical drop on the changeup could help. 

Outlook

19 years old at the start of the season, Harrison handled the Low-A competition with ease, striking out 36% of batters, while doing a good job of keeping the ball in the yard (3 HR in 98.2 IP). Harrison’s fastball is an above-average big league heater and his secondaries have already shown enough to make a legit MLB three-pitch mix easy to envision. 

Harrison’s strong arsenal combined with natural deception and maybe even room for a tick more velocity bode well for his massive upside. If Harrison can continue to improve in the command department, it is easy to envision a high end No. 3 starter or even average No. 2 starter. If Harrison’s command remains fringy, his stuff should allow him to be a high-volume strikeout guy who strands just enough guys to survive in the back of a rotation. 

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59.Taj Bradley – RHP – Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 5th round (150), 2018 (TB) | ETA: 2023

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Arsenal

The Rays took Bradley in the fifth round in 2018 and gave him twice the slot value, tantalized by his upside. At 17 years old on draft day, Bradley was one of the youngest players in the entire class. Bradley spent two years in Rookie Ball, as the Rays slowly paced his development and entered the 2021 geared up for his first full-season. The hard-throwing right-hander’s maturation was immediately visible (1.83 ERA across 22 Low-A and High-A starts).

Bradley’s plus fastball is his best pitch. At 94-97 miles-per-hour with a ton of life, Bradley is able to get a ton of swings and misses when he elevates the heater, but also freezes hitters weary of his slider with four-seamers at the knees. The slider flashes plus and has gotten better each time I’ve seen Bradley pitch. Bradley’s advanced feel to pitch and repeat his release point helps him locate the slider as well as tunnel it with his lively heater. The 21-year-old’s changeup is lagging behind as a third offering, tending to get firm on Bradley at times.

Outlook

Being that he was drafted in 2018, it is easy to forget that Bradley is still extremely young with his full season debut delayed due to the pandemic. His changeup needs some refining, but the improvement of Bradley’s fastball command, paired with the consistency of his slider, has the Rays excited about the future.

Now with a dominant full season under his belt, Bradley is still younger than 2021 No. 2 overall pick, Jack Leiter. As Bradley stands now, he projects more as a middle-of-the-rotation arm who can rack up K’s, but if he is able to develop his changeup and continue to demonstrate an above average feel for repeating his mechanics, I will bet on the Rays continuing to develop this athletic, exciting young arm. 

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60.Michael Harris II – OF – Atlanta Braves

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’0, 195 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 3rd round (98), 2019 (ATL) | ETA: 2023

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A plus hit-tool and exciting athleticism has many believing that there is more power in the tank for Harris. Even without 25+ home runs, Harris has all of the ingredients to be an impact big leaguer, but we believe there’s more power to be tapped into as well.

2021 Stats (A+): .294/.362/.436, 7 HR, 36 XBH, 27 SB, 114 wRC+, 18 K%, 8.3 BB%

Offense

An extremely advanced hitter with burgeoning power, Harris was picked by many as a breakout candidate last year after strong reports from the Braves Alternate Training Site. While Harris did not quite set the world on fire in his first full professional season, the then 20-year-old put his high-end hit tool and exciting tools on display in High-A.

Harris was initially drafted as a switch-hitter, but has had little issue left-on-left professionally which resulted in him committing to the left side of the batter’s box full time. An athletic hitter, Harris deploys a decent sized leg kick but controls his body really well and has no problem with timing. 

Like many young hitters with a plus hit-tool, Harris can get a bit aggressive and squander hitter’s counts by swinging at borderline pitches that he cannot do much with. As Harris gets better at leveraging his hitter’s counts as well as naturally fills out a bit more, 20+ home run power could easily be in the tank. Harris possesses impressive bat speed and has already put up 110+ mph exit velocities. As the 21-year-old gets better at picking his spots and gets the ball in the air a bit more, solid power numbers accompanied by a strong batting average is within reach. 

Defense/Speed

A two-way player in high school, Harris was also getting looks as a left-handed pitcher in high school. Harris has a plus arm along with above-average speed and good instincts in the outfield, giving him a good chance to be at least an above-average defender in centerfield. Harris already takes good routes and gets solid jumps, making him a safe bet to provide value in the outfield. 

While not quite a plus runner, Harris’ instincts make their way to the basepaths where his above average speed allows him to effectively swipe bags. Harris stole 27 bases on 31 attempts last season, though 15-20 bags is probably a safer projection moving forward.

Outlook

Harris is the best all-around hitter in the Atlanta Braves system, and it’s not particularly close. The 21-year-old boasts 55’s across the board or better when it comes to his tools along with impressive baseball instincts. Harris has some Dylan Carlson in him and could be a part of the Braves outfield as soon as 2023. 

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61.Mick Abel – RHP – Philadelphia Phillies

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’5, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st round (15), 2020 (PHI) | ETA: 2024

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The most talented prep arm in the 2020 draft class, Abel has not disappointed thus far and has provided snippets of what could be one of baseball’s best pitching prospects very soon.

2021 Stats (A): 44.2 IP, 4.43 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 34.9 K%, 14.3 BB%

Arsenal

Abel has an electric arsenal along with a big, projectable frame. The combination of present stuff, projectability and makeup have the Phillies brass feeling as though they have a future ace on their hands, and it’s easy to see why they feel that way.

Abel’s plus fastball sits at 94-97 miles-per-hour, topping at 99 with elite spin rates and limited effort. The heater has some riding life to it and plays well at the top of the zone. 

Working off of the fastball for Abel is a plus slider in the mid 80’s with late, sharp downward bite. Abel tunnels the pitch extremely well with his lively heater, allowing for them to play up against hitters from both sides of the plate. That said, Abel also possesses a changeup that has flashed above average with arm-side fade. Abel will almost exclusively go to the change against lefties, giving him another look aside from his slider. 

Abel’s fourth offering is an average curveball that can blend at times with his slider in the low 80’s. Because of Abel’s arm speed and ability to spin the baseball, there’s a chance his curve could develop into something a bit more. 

Outlook

The only reason Abel is not ranked higher on the Top 100 list is simply because we haven’t seen a ton of him. The stuff is ridiculous, and there is a legitimate chance that Able solidifies himself as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball by the 2022 season’s end. 

At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, Abel has the physicality to sustain his quality of stuff later into starts and into the season. His relatively low effort delivery helps with that as well. Like many young, tall pitchers, Abel struggled with command at times in his professional debut, however with his quality of stuff and assortment of offerings, Abel only needs to have relatively average command to be a high-end big league starter. 

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62.Brayan Rocchio – SS – Cleveland Guardians

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 5’10, 170 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $1.3M (2017) – CLE | ETA: 2023

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Tools across the board and burgeoning power have Rocchio’s stock rising quickly. The switch hitting shortstop has unteachable baseball instincts and can’t help but remind us a bit of former Cleveland prospect Francisco Lindor.

2021 Stats (A+/AA): .277/.346/.460, 15 HR, 46 XBH, 120 wRC+, 21.6 K%, 6.7 BB%

Offense

Impressive bat-to-ball skills and just overall improved quality of contact in 2021 helped Rocchio triple his home run total from 2019 in just 40 extra games. While power may not be the catalyst of Rocchio’s game, it was the one tool that was lacking a bit prior to the season. The newly-turned 21-year-old now looks like an extremely balanced prospect with the intangibles to back it up.

A switch-hitter, Rocchio’s bat to ball skills are more impressive from the right side, but his lefty swing provides a bit more in the home run department thanks to natural lift. Like many young hitters who have a strong feel to hit, Rocchio can at times be a bit too swing-happy, putting balls in play early in counts that he can’t do much with. As a result, Rocchio’s higher-than-average chase rates don’t necessarily translate into K’s, but rather low walk rates and stifled production.

After his promotion to Double-A Akron, Rocchio did a much better job of attacking fastballs and laying off of the breaking stuff which often gave him trouble. The fact that Rocchio is a switch hitter with strong bat to ball skills instills confidence in his overall ability to circumvent an at times swing-happy approach, but a little bump in the walk rates wouldn’t hurt him.

Rocchio’s offensive upside is still intriguing as a guy who could provide 15-20 home runs and hit for a high batting average. With the complementary tools Rocchio has, that kind of production is more than enough.

Defense/Speed

A great defender at shortstop, it seems like Rocchio always knows where to be and gets excellent breaks on balls hit in his direction. Rocchio’s plus speed can be seen in the field, as the talented shortstop will show off impressive range in all directions. Smooth hands and and a strong enough arm for the position have Rocchio projecting as a plus defender.

Rocchio’s speed is more visible in the field than on the base paths at this point, which is a bit surprising given his well-documented impressive baseball IQ. I’d expect Rocchio to get better in the stolen base department (21/31 on SB last year) as he continues to learn the right spots to run and improves his jumps.

Outlook

Rocchio receives the comparisons to Francisco Lindor because they are both instinctual ballplayers with tools across the board that maturated in the Cleveland organization, but Rocchio obviously lacks the $341 million offensive upside that Lindor has. The 21-year-old projects more as a premium defender at shortstop who can give you above average offense and speed along with qualities that will not show up in the WAR calculations.

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63.Diego Cartaya – C – Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’3′, 219 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $2.5 Million, 2018 (LAD) | ETA: 2024

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The top prospect in the 2018 International Free Agent class, the Dodgers inked Cartaya to a $2.5 million deal as a 16-year-old in 2018. Cartaya enjoyed a strong rookie ball showing in 2019 at just 17 years old, building a ton of excitement around him in the organization and later earning himself an invite to the Dodgers alternate training site, where he was by far the youngest player. Cartaya entered 2021 with high expectations and did not disappoint when healthy. 

2021 Stats (Low-A – 31 G): .298/.409/.614, 10 HR, 16 XBH, 158 wRC+, 27 K%, 13 BB%

Offense

Cartaya entered 2021 as a teenager with big-time power potential. He put that power on display in his 31 games at the Low-A level, launching 10 home runs in just 137 PA’s. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury cut Cartaya’s season short, or else he could have had a massive season. Still, the catcher took major strides towards realizing his potential at the plate.

Cartaya uses a rhythmic leg kick from the right side to help get into his back side. The right-handed hitter utilizes his strong lower half well, helping him produce consistently 105+ mile-per-hour exit velocities when he barrels the baseball. Put simply, Cartaya was just more advanced than his Low-A competition, which allowed for him to get away with some aspects to his approach that will probably not fly at the upper levels. The newly turned 20-year-old pulled the baseball a whopping 60% of the time, the highest rate of any full season prospect in the Dodgers organization. 

A big factor for Cartaya’s pull-heavy approach is simply that he can get away with it. He was sitting dead red on fastballs during the season and daring pitchers to locate their off-speed. When he got the fastball, he didn’t miss it, posting an 1.100 OPS. 

Pitches on the outer half–specifically sliders from righties and changeups from lefties–gave Cartaya fits at times, and will be something to watch as he reaches the upper-levels. Given the fact that Cartaya has no problem catching up to elite velocity, thanks to a really quick bat and great feel for his swing, I expect him to continue to mature as a hitter and iron out those kinks. 

Defense/Speed

Already earning high marks for the way he commands a game behind the dish, Cartaya is an incredibly cerebral catcher who pitchers love to throw to. Cartaya is an athletic catcher who moves and blocks well. Like many young catching prospects, Cartaya could use some improvement in the receiving department, but shows promise. The Venezuela native has a plus arm and should be an above-average all-around catcher, along with great intangibles. 

Outlook

One of the few prospects in the Dodgers top 10 that is still relatively far from his big league debut, Cartaya is still incredibly early in his development. The Dodgers absolutely love this kid, and for good reason. You can dream on 30 home run upside with above-average defense from the catching position. Prospects like that do not grow on trees–not even for the Dodgers. 

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64.Nolan Gorman – 2B/3B – St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’1, 210 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (19), 2018 (STL) | ETA: 2022

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A competitor who doesn’t get cheated, Gorman boasts big-time raw power. Despite some kinks in his approach, Gorman has been able to survive extremely aggressive assignments from the Cardinals thus far. 

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .279/.333/.481, 25 HR, 46 XBH, 115 wRC+, 22 K%, 7.3 BB%

Offense 

Long lauded for his prodigious left-handed power, Gorman mashed his way to Triple-A in 2021 at just 21 years of age. Power like Gorman’s from the left side is not easy to find, as he has foul pole-to-foul pole power with the ability to hit bombs even when he’s off the barrel. He has simplified his lower half this year by slowing down his leg kick, which has allowed him to consistently get into good positions to do damage. He features nearly elite bat speed and combines it with big time strength, specifically in his lower half. 

The lower half adjustments have also had a positive impact on his strikeout rate that peaked at 29% in 2019 and decreased to a very manageable 22% in 2021. Gorman features an aggressive approach at the plate that will need to be honed in once he reaches the big club. He has a tendency to swing at pitcher’s pitches early in counts when he should be looking for pitches to drive. 

The only major red flag in Gorman’s offensive profile is his drastic splits against lefties that features a .589 OPS compared to .917 against right handers. Gorman’s power will play in the big leagues, but his ability to control the strike zone and hitting left handers will need to improve if he’s to make a significant impact. 

Speed/Defense

While Gorman came up as a third baseman, he has seen the bulk of his playing time in 2021 at second base thanks to the presence of Nolan Arenado in St. Louis. He isn’t especially quick on the defensive side of the ball, but he does possess good hands and a rocket for an arm that should allow him to move effectively around the diamond. He’s a below-average runner, but thanks to his arm, a corner outfield spot isn’t out of the question either. 

For now, the Cardinals continue to deploy him at second base in preparation for a 2022 call-up. I was pleasantly surprised at how well he moves on the right side of the infield, and his actions are strong. Gorman has an easier time than most second baseman going to his right because of his massive arm for the position. The same rings true for rushed double play turns where he may have to take the throw flat footed–the plus arm strength really shines through. 

Outlook

Gorman’s huge raw power will always be his calling card, and the pre-swing adjustments he has made have allowed him to get to it with more consistency. Further work needs to be done regarding his plate discipline as well as his ability to hit left-handers if he’s to be an impact big leaguer. With that being said, left-handed power like this in the infield is hard to find. Gorman has All-Star upside, and the strides he has made in 2021 has gotten him a step closer to reaching his big-time ceiling. 

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65.Gabriel Arias – SS – Cleveland Guardians

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 5’10, 175 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $1.3M (2017) – CLE | ETA: 2023

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Arguably the most exciting prospect included in the return for Mike Clevinger, Arias offers a power/defense combination that could make him an exciting shortstop.

2021 Stats (AAA): .284/.348/.454, 13 HR, 45 XBH, 115 wRC+, 22.8 K%, 8.1 BB%

Offense

Arias lacks the consistent bat-to-ball skills that many of the top prospects in this Guardians system offer, but palatable chase rates and even production across all pitch types make it difficult for pitchers to attack a particular weakness. As a result, we have seen Arias climb the minors more quickly than most prospects with his profile with a Triple-A season under his belt before his 22nd birthday.

The Venezuelan duplicated his comfortably above-average HR/FB rate last year to go with impressive average exit velocities. For that reason, it would be fair to expect a bit more in the power department from Arias, but a 50% ground ball rate held him back a bit from realizing his slugging potential.

Once viewed as a more risky prospect, Arias now has back-to-back years of solid production as a prospect who was several years younger than the bulk of his competition. Making the jump from High-A in 2019 to Triple-A in 2021 did not expose any major issues in Arias’ offense game; in fact, he nearly doubled his walk rate and dropped his strikeout rate by a hair.

Defense/Speed

Arias boasts the strongest arm in the Guardians system, and he puts it on display at shortstop. Quick feet and good actions allow for Arias to showcase some range, but even if his body is not in the best spot, his plus-plus arm can bail him out. Arias is a plus defender at short, but could easily accommodate a move to third base in the future, where he would be elite.

Outlook

Yet another middle infielder for the Guardians who has strong baseline tools and a bit more to dream on, Arias is probably the closest to big league ready who has not debuted yet. After a strong 115 games in Triple-A Columbus, there is probably not much more for Arias to prove.

An above average but streaky bat with plus defense is what seems like the most likely outcome for Arias. However, having just turned 22 years old, there is reason to believe that there could be a bit more upside for Arias.

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66.Steven Kwan – OF – Cleveland Guardians

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 5’9, 175 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 5th Round (163), 2018 (CLE) | ETA: 2022

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Part of a loaded Oregon State team that was riddled with big-time bats like Adley Rutschman, Nick Madrigal, and Trevor Larnach, Kwan was a bit overshadowed. The fifth round pick has done nothing but rake since going pro, posting career-best numbers across the board in 2021. Similar to his former teammate Nick Madrigal, rare bat-to-ball skills give Kwan a high floor.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .328/.407/.527, 12 HR, 31 XBH, 154 wRC+, 9.1 K%, 10.6 BB%

Offense

You are not going to find many hitters in baseball with better bat-to-ball skills than Steven Kwan. As a result, Kwan posts one of the best zone contact rates in all of professional baseball (95%) and walked more than he struck out last year. While power will never be a part of Kwan’s game, he added some strength and also improved his ability to lift the ball a bit more. As a result, Kwan hit a career-high 12 home runs in 2021, with seven of them coming in two strike counts.

Kwan starts with an upright stance and uses a big leg kick to get into his backside. Evidently, Kwan has no issue timing up the leg kick just like his former collegiate teammate Nick Madrigal. Kwan provides more offensive upside than Madrigal because of his ability to lift the ball with some unexpected carry, especially when the pitch is located middle-in.

Ultimately, Kwan profiles as a contact-oriented table setter who can spray the ball all over the field as well as surprise you every once in a while by turning on one and sending it over the right field wall. Kwan’s high contact rates, low chase rates, and ability to draw free passes give him a high floor as a bat and his complementary tools only solidify his floor further.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner who gets great breaks on balls in centerfield, Kwan covers a ton of ground and does it efficiently. Kwan’s average arm is more than fine because of his ability to get to spots quickly and get behind the baseball. Kwan is a well-above-average center fielder and would be a plus defender in either corner.

Despite being a plus runner, stolen bases are not a huge part of Kwan’s game. In 77 games between Double-A and Triple-A last year, Kwan only swiped six bases on eight attempts.

Outlook

The biggest riser in this Guardians system since the pandemic-cancelled season, Kwan won an Opening Day roster spot and took the baseball world by storm, starting his Major League career 8-for-10 through his first three games. Kwan’s gap-to-gap power should be more than enough with his off-the-charts contact rates and overall ability to get on base. Kwan is a bit of a throwback player, but it is hard to argue against a .934 OPS at the upper-levels with defensive value and almost no strikeouts.

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67.Curtis Mead – 3B/2B – Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 170 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: (2018) | ETA: 2022

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2021 Stats (A/A+/AAA): .321/.381/.532, 15 HR, 56 XBH, 143 xRC+, 15.4 K%, 7.9 BB%

Offense

Signed by the Phillies out of Australia in 2018, the Rays acquired Mead in November of 2019. The 20-year-old experienced an offensive explosion in his first full year with the Rays, slashing .321/.378/.533 while chipping in 15 homers and 38 doubles across three levels of minors.

Starting from an upright and relaxed setup, Mead features an extremely advanced swing for his age with proper sequencing that allows his lower half to work extremely well. The result is a barrel path that essentially ‘lives’ in the zone and allows him to drive balls to all parts of the zone with relative ease. While his frame isn’t especially large, there’s enough strength and bat speed to project for 15-20 homers; he could end up as a doubles machine due to his all-fields approach combined with the remaining projection in his frame. Mead’s body control and bat-to-ball skills combined with his average raw power could make him a hitting machine in the future.

Defense/Speed

While not especially flashy or athletic, Mead’s hands and instincts should make him an average defender at either third or second base. Mead’s average arm and speed will keep him on the dirt with second base being the position he profiles best at. The 20-year-old’s footwork looks strong enough to accommodate a move to second, but his arm is decent enough to anchor third if he reaches his offensive ceiling. 

Outlook

Mead’s advanced approach and swing give him a chance at becoming a plus hitter at the highest level. If his astronomical ascent continues, we may see him in Tampa sooner rather than later. After all, the Rays were willing to shockingly fast-track Mead to Triple-A. Mead’s characteristics and production are somewhat reminiscent of Jonathan India, which would be a wonderful outcome for both the Aussie and the Rays. 

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68.Emerson Hancock – RHP – Seattle Mariners

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’4, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (6), 2020 (SEA) | ETA: 2023

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The stuff did not quite play up the way many expected in Hancock’s first professional season, but he still had no problem getting outs and showed flashes of the lights-out starter he can be.

2021 Stats (A+/AA): 44.2, 2.62 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.03 WHIP, 24 K%, 9.5 BB%

Arsenal

A true power pitcher, Hancock has electric stuff and the body to support it. The 6-foot-4, 215 pound righty deploys a fastball that sits in the mid-90’s with heavy arm-side run. It naturally plays well down in the zone, resulting in a high rate of ground balls, but Hancock can also use the pitch to tie up right-handed hitters.

The tailing action of his heater overlays well with his slider that has flashed plus. Hancock has showed a level of comfort commanding the fastball to his arm-side to set up the slider. The right-hander struggles at times to locate to his glove side, resulting in his fastball tailing back over the middle. The better secondary offering from Hancock so far in his near 50 professional innings has actually been his changeup, which also flashes plus.

Hancock is comfortable throwing the pitch to lefties and righties, but the late fade that he generates on the pitch makes it a nightmare for left-handed hitters who are hitting .100 (6-for-60) against him this year. While his changeup is ahead of the slider right now, it would not be a surprise to see the latter catch up as we have seen flashes of a wipeout pitch. Hancock will also mix in an average curveball, giving him a solid fourth offering.

Outlook

Regarded by many as the pitcher with the best pure stuff in the 2020 class, Hancock has lived up to the bill in limited action. Shoulder discomfort has kept him from a full season, but his physical body and strong mechanics give him a good chance to sustain the duration of a baseball season. Like many young pitchers, Hancock’s command has waned at times, but it is not a major concern. In fact, I expect him to have above-average command as he progresses. Hancock is a power arm with a good feel for his pitches, that generally is a fantastic combination for an impact starter.

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69.Shea Langeliers – C – Oakland A’s

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’0′, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (9) – 2019 (OAK) | ETA: 2022

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One of the main pieces in the Matt Olson return from the Braves, Langeliers is big league ready behind the dish and has developed into a decent offensive threat as well.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .256/.339/.494, 22 HR, 37 XBH, 127 wRC+, 26.8 K%, 10.2 BB%

Offense

When Langeliers was drafted, he was viewed as a plus defensive backstop with some offensive upside. The glove has not disappointed at all and Langeliers has started to realize his offensive upside, putting it together in 2021. 

Langeliers boasts plus raw power, posting exit velocities above 110 mph on 11 occasions last year. While Langeliers is a bit pull oriented with his approach, he has improved at getting the ball in the air more and staying through the baseball. 

Langeliers can be a bit aggressive at times and doesn’t walk quite as much as he should, but he has shown improvement in that regard in the early going of 2022. The burly right-handed hitter should hit enough to produce 20-25 homers, but improved walk-rates would help his overall offensive outlook to hedge some of the swing and miss. 

Defense/Speed

A rocket arm behind the dish, Langeliers is one of the most difficult catchers in all of the minor leagues to run on. The 24-year-old earns rave reviews for the way he calls games and his ability to block and receive make him one of the most well-rounded defensive catching prospects. 

Outlook

With his defensive prowess, Langeliers pretty much has the floor of a backup catcher, however his raw power and improvements at the plate give him the upside of a top 10 catcher in the game if he can hit enough. Swing and miss will be a bit of a challenge for Langeliers, but the power has really come back after a hamate injury at Baylor. 

Plus defense, power production and all of the intangibles you want in a catcher should help Langeliers hang around in the big leagues. If the hit-tool can trend closer to 50 grade than 40 grade, he could develop into one of the better all around catchers in baseball.

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70.Liover Peguero – SS – Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’1, 200 lb | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $475K – 2017 (ARI) | ETA: 2023

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2021 Stats (A+): .273/.335/.454, 15 HR, 37 XBH, 111 wRC+, 24.9 K%, 8.0 BB%

Offense

With great bat-to-ball skills and plenty of athleticism, Peguero is a high floor prospect who put up respectable numbers in his first full season. The 20-year-old was the youngest player invited to the Pirates alternate training site because of the ahead-of-his-years polish he possesses. 

While his swing is geared for frequent contact and line drives, Peguero showcased some pop last season, launching 14 home runs in High-A. Peguero deploys an all-fields approach and impressive barrel control, giving me plenty of reason to believe that he can be an above-average hitter. While his flat swing resulted in a lot of ground balls last season (50% GB rate), he has the speed to be a high BABIP guy. 

As Peguero matures in the box and leverages his hitter’s counts, I expect the power to shine through a bit more, as he has already produced exit velocities as high as 109 miles-per-hour. If Peguero looks to get the ball in the air to do damage when he is ahead, I can see 20+ home run potential–his HR/FB rate was well above-average last season at 17%; it is just a matter of getting the ball in the air a bit more. 

There is a lot to like in Peguero’s bat, and while I am not sure that he will ever be a .900 OPS guy, he has the tools across the board to produce a strong slash line to go with exciting complementary characteristics.

Defense/Speed

Peguero is a plus runner and despite MiLB’s weird experimental rules which made holding runners on impossible, I think that the shortstop’s 31 stolen bases last season are a component of his game we can expect to continue–just maybe not at that frequency. Peguero is a hustle player who is always looking to take the extra base, he profiles really well as a spark plug leadoff hitter with some sneaky pop. 

Defensively, Peguero has athleticism and actions to be an above average shortstop. Peguero’s throws were inconsistent at times, resulting in a few too many errors, but I expect that to clean up and am optimistic of his ability to stick at short. In the event that Peguero’s defense doesn’t develop the way I think it will, his athleticism will allow for him to land at another spot and potentially thrive there.

Outlook

While he may not have superstar potential, Peguero is a high floor shortstop who I think will unlock a bit more at the plate. If his defense continues to develop to above-average, his bat-to-ball skills, burgeoning power, and athleticism give him a good chance to be an above-average regular at the shortstop position. 

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71.Orelvis Martinez – SS – Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $3.5M  – 2018 (TOR) | ETA: 2023

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Impressive game power and production as a 19-year-old really boosted Martinez’s prospect stock last season. Time will tell if his aggressive, pull everything approach will work in the upper levels, but the talent is undeniable. 

2021 Stats (A/A+): .261/.345/.549, 28 HR, 56 XBH, 135 wRC+, 25.1 K%, 9.5 BB%

Offense

Martinez has no problem getting the ball in the air. It seems like almost anything thrown Martinez’s way, he is looking to put over the top of the left field foul pole. The thing is, he successfully does that a lot. 

One of the youngest position players in Double-A, Martinez has been able to climb the minors quickly through ridiculous natural talent and off-the-charts slugging on contact. 

Despite his flawed approach, Martinez has a pretty good feel for the barrel and will yank pitches foul until the pitcher leaves one over the middle or inside. As Martinez climbs through the minors, pitchers will make less mistakes and some of the things he got away with in the box through the lower levels may not play so well as he gets closer to the big leagues.

Martinez will not miss a hanging breaking ball and does not have much issue catching up to velocity, but changeups were a massive achilles heel for him last year, going just 3 for 35 against the offering. 

Defense/Speed

Martinez is a candidate to move to third base, but has the arm to accommodate the move and surely the offensive profile. Martinez’s footwork and actions are just a bit too sloppy to see him stick at shortstop long term as the 20-year-old committed 20 errors in just 64 starts last season. 

Outlook

28 home runs as a 19-year-old between Low-A and High-A is impressive no matter how you spin it. Martinez is as talented as any position player prospect in the Jays system and has plenty of room for improvement in the batter’s box. 

Martinez projects as a 30+ home run third baseman who could frustrate at times with his inconsistency while producing enough to make fans forget about it.

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72.Joey Wiemer – OF – Milwaukee Brewers

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’5, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 4th Round (121), 2020 (MIL) | ETA: 2023

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An unorthodox set up and swing that has done nothing but produce big results, it is easy to see how Wiemer has drawn comparisons to Hunter Pence.

2021 Stats (A/A+/): .295/.403/.556, 27 HR, 47 XBH, 155 wRC+, 22.2 K%, 13.3 BB%

Offense

After struggling to tap into his plus raw power at the University of Cincinnati, Wiemer made some adjustments to get the ball in the air more. The big right-handed hitter starts heavily stacked on his backside using a pronounced toe tap as a timing mechanism. 

A great athlete for his 6-foot-5, 220 pound frame, Wiemer repeats his unique moves really well and does a great job of adjusting to tough pitches. There’s a bit of zone whiff for Wiemer, but he makes up for it with a solid approach and spectacular slugging on contact. 

Wiemer produced 31 batted balls with a velocity of 105 mph or above in just a little over 100 games last season and has shown no signs of slowing down in 2022. Despite liking to go to his pull-side for damage, Wiemer has shown easy pop to all fields and does a good job of hitting the ball where it’s pitched. 

Wiemer’s adjusted set up also helps him stay back on offspeed, producing an OPS a hair under .900 against both breaking balls and changeups. Wiemer’s ability to hit secondary stuff really improves his outlook in regards to his hit tool, as Wiemer is one of the best in the minors at catching up to velocity. Last season, Wiemer slashed .333/.476/.667 against fastballs 94 mph and above. 

Defense/Speed

An above average runner who uses his long strides to cover ground quickly, Wiemer is capable of playing all three outfield spots. His ability to cover ground and plus arm make Wiemer a potentially plus outfielder in a corner and his continued improvements with his reads and routes could make him viable in centerfield. 

Stolen base numbers were difficult to validate last season, however Wiemer still had 30 swipes in 36 attempts and even mentioned in an interview on our prospect podcast “The Call Up” how he would like stolen bases to remain an aspect of his game even at the highest level. 

Outlook

Already looking like one of the biggest position player steals of the 2020 MLB Draft, Wiemer has enjoyed a spectacular start to his professional career. His elite raw power, solid approach and sneaky athleticism have all come together into what has become a very exciting prospect for the Brewers. 

The 23-year-old could find himself in the big leagues as early as late 2022 and has the upside of a 30+ home run bat who will provide some added value defensively and on the base paths. 

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73.Austin Martin – UTIL – Minnesota Twins

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’0’, 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (5), 2020 (TOR) | ETA: 2023

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Arguably the most advanced bat in the 2020 MLB Draft class, Austin Martin received an aggressive assignment to begin his career in Double-A where he did not blink offensively. Martin was sent over to Minnesota in the Jose Berrios trade last year, but currently lacks a true position defensively, along with some questions surrounding how much power he can hit for.

2021 Stats (AA): .270/.414/.382, 5 HR, 25 XBH, 128 wRC+, 19.9 K%, 14.4 BB%, 14 SB

Offense

A fantastic approach and elite bat-to-ball skills have helped Martin make a smooth transition straight to Double-A, something that is rare even from the most advanced collegiate bats. Martin does a great job of picking out fastballs he can do something with early in the counts and has no fear of going deep into counts. As a result, Martin chases as little as any hitter in the minors.

There really is no question around Martin’s ability to get on base and generally avoid strikeouts, but his ceiling could be somewhat tempered due to limited power output. Martin slugged just .382 last season, which did not help the pre-draft concerns about how much power he can hit for.

Martin is a very instinctual hitter and he could have been feeling things out a bit in his first season. Combine that with below-average exit velocities and you are going to struggle to do damage. As a result, there is a lot of pressure on Martin’s hit tool, however it is difficult to be anything but extremely confident in that hit tool. On top of the impressive plate discipline, Martin can get to almost any pitch and does a great job of spoiling the tough ones.

“The more you watch Austin,” one former Vanderbilt teammate told me. “The more you realize how much slower the game is for him than everyone else.”

Even though he is not a burner, Martin seems like the perfect leadoff hitter as a guy who gets on base and grinds out at bats by seeing a ton of pitches.

Defense/Speed

While not an explosive athlete, Martin posts above-average run times and moves pretty well all over the diamond. The issue is, Martin does not really have a true position. He has gotten plenty of run at shortstop, however that does not look like a destination for him long-term; in 42 starts there last season, Martin made 16 errors. Martin as an average arm which could work at third base, though his bat would not profile well there.

The two most likely landing spots for Martin defensively will be centerfield or second base. After his trade to the Twins, Martin played a bit more centerfield than shortstop and showed improved routes and more comfort out there. Of course, that Byron Buxton guy will hopefully be anchoring centerfield for the foreseeable future, but with his injury concerns, getting Martin acclimated up the middle is not a bad idea; especially when second base is a position that will come much easier to him and he has college experience at third.

Outlook

A top-25 prospect in the eyes of many outlets, I admittedly may be a bit more bearish on Martin compared to the industry, but not because I don’t think he can be a good big leaguer. Martin is a high-floor prospect who will more than likely be able to handle MLB pitching by the time he gets up there.

What is keeping Martin more towards the back third of our Top 100 list is that I am not sure there is much to dream on beyond a high-contact guy. There’s plenty of value in getting on base a lot and that is why he is able to circumvent the defensive questions and alarmingly light power output to still be a top 100 prospect. A Jonathan India type of offensive profile is the hope if Martin can slug a bit more.

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74.Edward Cabrera – RHP – Miami Marlins

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’5′, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $100K – 2015 (MIA) | ETA: 2022

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Cabrera dominated the minors in 2021, striking out 81 batters in 55.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Command issues hampered Cabrera in his big league debut last year and now the right-hander has his work cut out for him to  force his way back into a loaded Marlins rotation. 

2021 Stats (MLB): 26.1 IP, 5.18 ERA, 6.63 FIP, 1.63 WHIP, 23.3 K%, 15.8 BB%

Arsenal 

Cabrera’s plus fastball sits 95-97 mph, hitting triple digits plenty. The heater doesn’t quite have the desired life you’d expect from an upper-90s fastball and Cabrera had the tendency to run it back over the middle at times. When Cabrera is on, the fastball still gets on hitters pretty quickly as the 6-foot-5 right-hander generates easy extension. 

When Cabrera is on, he can attack hitters with any of his three secondary pitches. The 24-year-old’s plus slider is his most consistent offering in the upper 80s with sharp downward bite. Cabrera also features a curveball in the mid 80s and a changeup in the low 90s. The curveball flashes above average but can blend with his slider at times. Cabrera’s changeup has earned plus grades by some in the past, but it backed up on him a bit in the big leagues. The pitch has strong arm-side fade, though it lacks the desired separation from his fastball and can get a bit firm on Cabrera at times. 

Outlook

Cabrera has proven that he can carve through the upper minor leagues over the last couple seasons. While his 26 inning big league cameo did not go as Marlins fans hoped, Cabrera’s stuff is good enough to get MLB hitters out, he just needs to trust it a bit more and not nibble. A big hurdle for Cabrera though has been health as the right-hander has had the start of his last two seasons delayed due to arm discomfort. Cabrera has middle-of-the-rotation upside if his command develops a bit. 

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75.Mark Vientos – 3B/LF – New York Mets

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’4, 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (59), 2017 (NYM) | ETA: 2022

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2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .281/.352/.581, 25 HR, 43 XBH, 146 wRC+, 28.7 K%, 9.5 BB%

Offense

With some of the best raw power in his draft class and a large, projectable frame, Vientos enticed the Mets enough to take him 59th overall at the price tag of $1.5 million (half a million dollars over slot) in 2017. Seventeen years old on draft day, Vientos was one of the youngest players in his class, and took a few years to fully settle into professional baseball. It is safe to say he got comfortable in his fourth professional season. The South Florida native tapped into his power, walked more, and boosted his contact rates at the Double-A level and is still just 21-years-old. 

Vientos always had the physical projection, but some small tweaks at the plate have allowed him to really unlock his 70-grade raw power. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound slugger was going to his pull side for power earlier in his professional career, but adjusted his load which has allowed him to get into his back hip more and stay there. Now, we’re seeing Vientos mishit baseballs that are getting out to the opposite field. 

Vientos has lightning quick hands and wiry strength, and his improved body control has allowed those unteachable qualities to shine through. The 21-year-old tripled his HR/FB% to 30% this year, and is going to center field or the other way nearly seven percent more frequently. There were concerns as to whether Vientos could handle high velocity and/or breaking stuff, and I think he answered both last season. Against fastballs 94 miles-per-hour and above, Vientos hit a robust .469/.538/.938 in a 139 pitch sample. While not quite as dominant against breaking balls, Vientos held his own, posting a .765 OPS and a much improved chase rate.

Defense/Speed

With fellow third base prospect Brett Baty also enjoying a great season, Vientos has gotten reps in left field as well as third base. Vientos will likely be average-at-best at either spot. He has a rocket for an arm, but his footwork at third could use some cleaning up and his throws can be inconsistent.

Outlook

Regardless of which corner he ends up in, Vientos is a bat-first prospect with prolific home run potential. Improved approach and swing mechanics have helped his long-term outlook, but Vientos still remains a boom-or-bust corner player with as much offensive upside as anyone you’ll find in the minors. The fact that he has feasted on velocity and showed vastly-improved spin recognition in the upper levels gives us a lot of reason to believe that Vientos could be the next homegrown masher for the Mets.

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76.Sal Frelick – OF – Milwaukee Brewers

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 5’10, 180 lb | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (15) – 2021 (MIL) | ETA: 2023

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A proven ability to hit mixed with plus speed and more power than you’d expect, Frelick is a high-floor prospect with good enough complementary tools to still give him exciting upside.

2021 Stats (A/A+): (35 G) .329/.414/.466, 2 HR, 13 XBH, 12 SB, 140 wRC+, 12.4 BB%, 14.8 K%

Offense

Frelick uses a really simple set up, allowing for his extremely athletic lower half to drive his swing. A small toe tap is all Frelick needs for timing, as he does an excellent job of staying in his back hip and tapping into more power than his overall frame may suggest thanks to his strong base. 

The lefty’s swing is geared for line drives and a ton of contact. It’s tough to sneak a fastball by him, but he also stays back well on breaking balls. Frelick can get a little ground ball-heavy at times, however that type of approach is palatable when the player has easy plus speed like the former Boston College Eagle does. 

A nice development for Frelick has been the bit of pull-side power he has put on display in the early goings of his pro career. While the home runs have not quite shown up for Frelick yet, he has put up exit velocities as high as 111 miles-per-hour. Frelick has close to above-average power to his pull side and with Milwaukee as his home ballpark, 15-20 home runs is a possible outcome. 

Defense/Speed

Frelick can really move, and you can see his speed translate both on the base paths and in center field. The 22-year-old has great instincts and gets good jumps in center with the closing speed to help him project as an above-average defender despite his fringe arm. 

Frelick ran a bit more in 2021 than he had in college, swiping 12 bags in his first 35 professional games. With plus speed and good instincts in the field, it will be interesting to see if Frelick is a bit more aggressive on the base paths this season. 

Outlook

An easy plus hit tool combined with plus speed and at least an average ability to impact the baseball give Frelick a high floor with still an exciting amount of upside. While Frelick made the move to center field later in his collegiate career, the 2021 first rounder has already shown enough to project as an above-average defender up the middle. 

For Frelick to reach his fringe All-Star ceiling, the power will have to tick up or his hit tool will have to develop closer to a 70 grade. Either outcome could be wishful thinking, however the idea that Frelick could be an impactful regular does not require much dreaming at all. 

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77.Matthew Liberatore – LHP – St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’4, 200 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 1st Round (16), 2018 (TB) | ETA: 2022

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Traded over from Tampa Bay in the Randy Arozarena deal, Liberatore has been able to get outs at every level in the minors, but his stuff profiles more as that of a middle-of-the-rotation starter at best.

2021 Stats (AAA): 124.2 IP, 4.04 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 23.7 K%, 6.3 BB%

Arsenal

There’s a lot to like with a 6-foot-4, 22-year-old southpaw like Liberatore–especially when you consider the fact that he is athletic and repeats his mechanics very well for a pitcher of his profile. Originally a first-round pick by the Rays in 2018, Liberatore was dealt to the Cardinals as part of the Randy Arozarena deal in early 2020. 

Liberatore entered the 2021 season having never pitched above Low-A due to 2020’s cancellation, but his ability to throw strikes with his four-pitch mix gave the Cardinals enough confidence to start the southpaw in Triple-A.

Liberatore was effective in 2021, however he did give up quite a bit of loud contact, especially on his fastball. The lefty’s heater sits around 91-94 MPH, but is low spin and lacks life. Libby surrendered an OPS above .900 when throwing his fastball last year. It was a bit more of the same for Liberatore in big league spring training as veteran hitters ambushed the heater.

While many regard Liberatore’s curveball as his best offering, it is actually his slider that is most effective. The offering sits in the upper 80s with late horizontal break, giving hitters difficulty because of how much it looks like his fastball out of the hand. Liberatore also commands the pitch really well, using it like a cutter in on the hands of right-handed hitters, while also showing an ability to back door them as well. The southpaw uses his slider to sweep away from lefties, showcasing his strong glove-side command.

Liberatore’s slider vs. his curveball is an excellent example of how we can at times be a bit too fixated with the movement profile of a pitch to the point where we ignore its effectiveness. The curve is still a great change of pace offering in the mid 70s that he can use to steal strikes or as a get-me-over, but it is just not a strikeout pitch. It grades out as above-average because of the massive vertical break, however the offering is loopy and easier to read out of Liberatore’s hand.

Liberatore realized this as the season endured at Triple-A Memphis, throwing the slider nearly twice as much as his curveball by season’s end. The 22-year-old’s slider garnered a 24% swinging strike rate, tripling that of his curveball at 8%. 

Currently, Liberatore is more comfortable using his curveball as a third pitch and third speed than his changeup. There is still some above-average potential on his changeup when it sits more in the low 80s thanks to the arm-side fade he is able to generate. At times, the change can get firm on him in the upper 80s and will be straighter. 

Outlook

Matthew Liberatore entered 2021 with a little over 100 innings pitched in his entire professional career–that is nothing for an arm drafted out of high school. It wasn’t until the second half of the season that Liberatore started to figure out the most effective use of his arsenal against upper level hitting. 

By season’s end, Liberatore was going to his slider more than his curveball and utilizing his two-seam fastball more. As a result, the southpaw enjoyed his best stretch to end the year over his final 55 innings, pitching to a 2.83 ERA and a much improved K-BB ratio.

While he could probably survive in the big leagues right now, Liberatore could use a bit more experience in the Minor Leagues before heading to St. Louis. If he continues in the direction I think he will with his pitch usage, Liberatore has a relatively high probability outcome of a middle rotation starter. If Liberatore pushes his above-average command to potentially plus command–which is not totally out of the realm of possibility given his athleticism and clean mechanics–No. 2 upside is not out of the question. 

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78.Brady House – SS – Washington Nationals

Age: 18 | Height/Weight: 6’4′, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (11) – 2021 (WSN) | ETA: 2025

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Arguably the best raw power prep bat in the 2021 class, House instantly became the most exciting offensive prospect in the Nationals system the second they selected him. House will take time, but could be worth the wait with his offensive upside. 

2021 Stats (CPX): (16 G) .322/.394/.576, 4 HR, 7 XBH, 151 wRC+, 19.7 K%, 10.6 BB%

Offense

House really impressed at the Complex League last year, showing off his absurd raw power while making a decent amount of contact. House is a bit of a polarizing prospect with evaluators split on whether they believe he can hit enough to succeed. 

There’s some length to House’s swing at times, but he has a very simple set up in the box, minimizing movement and prioritizing being on time. House’s raw strength allows him to tap into impactful pop without much effort, so the simplified setup is encouraging. There’s no doubt that House can make any field look small to his pull-side and he has already shown plenty of comfort letting the ball travel and going the other way.

Pitch recognition has unsurprisingly been a hurdle for the young, raw prospect. House’s simple set up and present body control is encouraging and as he gets more at-bats under his belt, his ability to read spin should improve. 

Defense/Speed

House moves well for his size, however speed will never be a part of his game. The 18-year-old is currently listed as a shortstop, but projects as a third baseman long term where is plus arm and range should give him a chance to be an above average defender. 

Outlook

House boasts as much offensive upside as anyone you’re going to find in the latter half of the top 100 list. It is extremely difficult to project a teenager who is built like a linebacker with mixed reviews on his hit-tool, though there is just too much to dream on with House to not have the power-hitting infielder in our top 100. 

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79.Jairo Pomares – OF – San Francisco Giants

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 185 | Bat/Throw: L/R | IFA: $975K (2018) | ETA: 2024

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Pomares has big time raw power from his sweet left-handed swing and athleticism that helps him produce explosive bat speed. A trigger-happy approach challenged Pomares after his High-A call-up, but last season boosted his stock big time.

2021 Stats (A/A+): .334/.378/.629, 20 HR, 48 XBH, 155 wRC+, 26.5 K%, 5 BB%

Offense

Pomares has a relaxed setup, starting upright with his hands resting low. Pomares uses his rhythmic hand load to start his move to get into his back hip, which includes a leg kick that he times up pretty consistently. 

A big reason why Pomares is able to get into so much power is his ability to stay on his backside. While the K-rate jumped a bit in High-A, it was not due to being overmatched or overpowered, but rather approach flaws being exposed. The 21-year-old did damage against all types of offerings, posting a .900 OPS or better against fastballs, breaking balls and changeups; a testament to the athletic hitter’s body control.

While I have not seen many “plus” power grades from other evaluators on Pomares, I would argue that his raw pop easily projects as plus if not a hair more. Seven of Pomares’ homers traveled 110+ miles-per-hour along with nearly 50 batted balls clocked above 105mph last season. 

After dismantling Low-A pitching, High-A arms were a bit more wary of what they were throwing to Pomares, using the young hitter’s willingness to expand the zone against him. Pomares still made plenty of contact in High-A and did not get cheated in his quality of contact, but he only walked one time in 104 PA’s. 

The fact that Pomares has success against all types of pitches and showed plenty of comfort letting the ball travel and shooting it the other way against the shift on plenty of occasions leads me to believe that the 21-year-old is capable of working through his approach limitations. Like many young hitters with a feel to hit, Pomares’ confidence in his bat-to-ball skills can lead to wanting the pull the trigger at everything. The left-handed hitting outfielder has only played 77 games of full season ball in his professional career and should only continue to progress in that department with experience. 

Defense/Speed

Athletic enough with the arm to supplement an above-average defensive profile, Pomares’ inexperienced reads and routes were visible at times. The young outfielder did get better as the year went on in that department and has the tools to be a solid defender in either corner with more reps. Pomares can post run times a tick above-average and gets out of the box quickly, but he will likely be an average runner as he progresses. 

Outlook

Entering the 2021 season, few had Jairo Pomares tabbed as a breakout candidate, but his performance last season was convincing. Pomares has a quick bat and body control that allows him to get to difficult pitches, but that doesn’t mean he has to swing at them early in the count. As Pomares continues to realize and work through that, his skills will continue to be an unteachable strength rather than a cause of his nearly nonexistent walk rates.

Pomares boasts an impressive spray chart with home runs leaving foul pole to foul pole and his pull-side power can be “silence the crowd” level of impressive when he connects. While I believe that Pomares will improve enough defensively to not be a negative in either corner, his bat will ultimately dictate where his career goes. 

There is plenty of risk in a profile like that of Pomares, but players less gifted than him have worked through similar approach issues. If Pomares can cut down the aggression in the box, there is a good chance he will be making kayakers in McCovey Cove very happy, and drenched, for years to come. 

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80.Coby Mayo – 3B – Baltimore Orioles

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’5′, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 4th Round (103), 2020 (BAL) | ETA: 2024

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Exciting raw pop combined with a more advanced feel to hit than many had expected out of the gate has evaluators really excited about Mayo’s potential.

2021 Stats (CPX/A): .307/.409/.543, 10 HR, 26 XBH, 152 wRC+, 19.6 K%, 12.8 BB%

Offense

Huge frame, long levers, yet a surprisingly controlled swing, Mayo impressed with his feel to hit in his first professional season. When looking at 6-foot-5 19-year-old in the batters box, body/barrel control is not one of the things I expect to see, but you would never know it was Mayo’s first pro season. In 26 Low-A games, Mayo slashed .311/.416/.547. Mayo was big time over slot pick in the 4th round of the 2020 MLB Draft, the Orioles offered the then 17-year-old $1.75 million to forgo his commitment to the University of Florida. 

After seeing Mayo play, it’s easy to understand why the O’s were willing to go well over slot value for the teenager; his simple hitting mechanics follow suit with what the organization looks for, but he also has massive upside with his huge frame and athleticism. As Mayo continues to mature physically and at the plate, it’s easy to envision 30+ home run upside. 

Defense/Speed

Mayo moves really well for his size and has a plus arm at third base. There are some who believe that Mayo could end up moving to a corner outfield spot where his arm will play well and he would be more than nimble enough to be an above average defender. For now, the O’s are continuing to get Mayo reps at third, where he showed improvement with his actions as the year went on as well as decent footwork. 

Outlook

It is really early in the development of Mayo, so there’s still a wide range of outcomes, especially with the profile that Mayo has physically. That said, Mayo’s ahead-of-his-years polish at the plate hedges some of the perceived risk. I love the adjustments that Mayo made to his set up to aid his body control and his feel for the barrel is something that you can’t really teach. When it comes to production, Mayo has a similar upside to Ryan Mouncastle, but Mayo seems to be a more patient hitter and is a more athletic defender. 

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81.Michael Busch – 2B – Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 210 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 1st Round (31), 2019 (LAD) | ETA: 2022

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Busch is a unique cast of an older prospect who we had hardly seen until 2021. Drafted 31st overall out of UNC in 2019, Busch played 10 professional games after his collegiate season. Then, like everyone else, he could not play in 2020. Busch worked hard during instructs and impressed the Dodgers with his advanced approach and feel to hit. 

2021 Stats (AA): .267/.386/.484, 20 HR, 48 XBH, 134 wRC+, 26 K%, 14 BB%

Offense

A very patient hitter, Busch is comfortable in two-strike counts and leverages his hitter’s counts really well. Busch has a swing geared for line drives and is comfortable spraying the ball all over the field, however he does have impressive pull-side power and will unload on pitches in on the middle half or down in the zone.

Busch has a really strong lower half and uses it well. He stays in his base throughout his swing and demonstrates impressive body control. Despite a bit of a high K-rate at 26%, it is important to note that this year was essentially Busch’s first professional season and he made the jump to Double-A. 

Another interesting factor with Busch is that his zone contact rate is actually above average. Part of the reason why Busch will strikeout a bit more than one might expect is because of his propensity to get deep into counts; it is a big reason why his on-base percentage is so high, however it will also leave him a bit susceptible to K’s.

Busch has above-average power and knows when to try to do damage, allowing him to get the most out of it. High on-base with 25-30 home run pop is the outcome to hope for with the Dodgers’ second-best infield prospect.

Defense/Speed 

This is the department where Busch leaves a bit to be desired. His defense did improve as the year went on at second base, and Busch did make some starts at first base as well. An average athlete, Busch is never going to be a big factor on the base paths or with the glove, but if he can be just average in both departments, the bat should lead the way. 

Outlook

Busch’s profile reminds me a lot of a Max Muncy-lite. The on-base skills, power and swing from the left side all have similarities to the Dodger star. There’s a decent deal of pressure on Busch’s bat–especially if he moves to first base–but his polished approach and high-end contact skills have me confident in his long-term outlook as an above-average MLB bat. 

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82.Royce Lewis – SS – Minnesota Twins

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 210 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (1), 2017 (MIN) | ETA: 2022

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After not being seen in a game setting since 2019 due to injuries and 2020’s MiLB season cancellation, Lewis looks healthy and much improved at the plate in 2022.

DNP in 2021 (Torn ACL)

Offense

When the Twins drafted him first overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, they saw an uber-athletic position player with a high-floor coupled with a high-ceiling. Unfortunately, things have not gone to plan for either Lewis or the Twins. After a rough 2019 Minor League season, Lewis broke out as the MVP of the Arizona Fall League. Just as things were looking up for the young prospect, an ACL tear abruptly ended Lewis’ 2021 season before it began.

The good news for Lewis is that he doesn’t turn 23 years old until mid-season and he is back healthy for 2022. There was some buzz around the backfields in Spring Training regarding how good Lewis looked, and the former top pick has made some extremely encouraging adjustments at the plate. Lewis eliminated his dramatic leg kick, which often threw his timing off as well as his balance. He now utilizes a toe tap to simplify things while letting his natural bat speed and athleticism produce the power. 

A more under control Royce Lewis at the plate is a prospect who is worth getting excited about and aside from his MVP performance in the Arizona Fall League a few years back, Lewis has never looked better.

Defense/Speed

Lewis has shown he can handle shortstop throughout the Minor Leagues. His plus wheels and athleticism allow him to move around the field with ease and his plus arm strength only strengthens his defensive profile. Lewis could be a bit more consistent with his actions at times, but that will come with more reps…and we know he has lost out on plenty of those. 

Even with the ACL tear in the rearview, Lewis can still fly and should steal bags at the highest level thanks to his ability to get to top speed relatively quickly. With more experience, Lewis will get better at picking the right spots to run, but he could easily be a 20-20 threat. 

Outlook 

Lewis has all the tools to be an impact big leaguer, and the adjustments he has made in the batter’s box as well as just getting healthy have the hype train starting to fire up again for one of baseball’s longest tenured top-100 prospects.

Possessing as much upside as anyone you are going to find in the back end of the top 100 list, Lewis has the ingredients to become an All-Star. The two H’s: “health” and “hit-tool” (cheated with the second one) will be the key factors to whether Lewis can become the player everyone has long hoped he can be. 

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83.Jasson Dominguez – OF – New York Yankees

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 5’10, 210 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $5 million – 2020 (NYY) | ETA: 2025

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A bit of an enigma, Dominguez did not meet the gargantuan expectations placed on him ahead of his first pro season. Dominguez is still a teenager with extremely exciting tools, but he has to prove that they can translate into baseball production.

2021 Stats (A): .258/.346/.398, 5 HR, 15 XBH, 105 wRC+, 31.3 K%, 9.8 BB%

Outlook

Dominguez has quieted many of the moving parts to his swing down from his first professional season. The 19-year-old really struggled to repeat his slow load and big leg kick from both sides of the plate, but now has tempered the leg kick and simplified the load to help him be on time more frequently. Due to timing issues last year, Dominguez was often caught in between quality fastballs and breaking balls. 

He looks like a bodybuilder already, and all of that muscle is full of quick twitch fibers. The bat speed is elite from both sides of the plate, and the ridiculous torque he can generate with his lower half when everything is in sync is fun to watch.  

Dominguez already has plus-plus raw power, possessing the ability to do damage to all parts of any ballpark. It’s too early to predict what kind of numbers he could produce, however, his power is so immense that it’s hard to imagine anything shy of 35+ if he puts it together. 

The hit tool is a big question mark, but Dominguez has shown flashes that he has solid bat-to-ball skills and lower half adjustability. His offensive ceiling is as high as any prospect in the minors, albeit with tons of variance regarding what kind of hitter he will ultimately become. 

Defense

Dominguez possesses ridiculous tools on the defensive side of the ball as well, starting with his above average speed and plus-plus arm. His speed gives hope that he can stick in center, however Dominguez is very heavy on his feet at times, which affects his quickness to spots and routes. 

Right now, his speed seems to be more straight line, lacking desired agility which can be seen on the base paths as well. Still, his elite arm gives him a defensive toolset comparable to some of the most exciting outfielders. Time will tell if his speed will translate to stolen bases, as he is so early in his development that he should have ample time to refine the smaller parts in his game that need to be ironed out. Dominguez has the opportunity to produce tons of value with his glove and legs if his footwork improves.

Outlook

Dominguez is easily the most interesting man in the Minor Leagues. He possesses both an MVP-caliber ceiling along with a mostly unknown floor, making him one of the highest variance prospects we’ve ever seen.

Dominguez is still rough around the edges (as are all 19-year-olds) and he has tons of time to refine his game. He is polarizing in every way, and we are excited to see more of him as he progresses and the adjustments in the box for 2022 are extremely encouraging.

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84.Gunnar Henderson – SS – Baltimore Orioles

Age: 20 | Height/Weight: 6’2′, 210 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (42), 2019 (BAL) | ETA: 2023

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2021 Stats (A/A+/AA): .258/.350/.476, 17 HR, 49 XBH, 120 wRC+, 30.9 K%, 12.1 BB%

Offense

Simple set up with a slight weight shift into his back side and short stride, Henderson has a naturally sound swing from the left side that is geared for power to all fields. Henderson produced 17 homers in 105 games across Low, High, and Double-A, but I think there is even more pop in the tank.

Henderson’s swing is explosive, and his lower half often times struggled to keep up this year. His swing seems geared for pull-side bombs, but too often pitches that I would expect him to get around on would crowd him inside. Without speculating too much, I’d guess that the issue stems from Henderson being able to rely on his ridiculous bat speed for so much of his amateur career. It really isn’t a matter of Henderson having issues controlling his lower half, but rather getting it to work in congruence with his upper half, which is why I am not worried about the 20-year-old continuing to iron that out.

The O’s have a lot of confidence in their 2019 second Round pick, promoting him to High-A before his 20th birthday and getting him a taste of Double-A before the end of the year. While Henderson’s strikeout rate is a tad high at 30%, he was consistently playing against older competition and offset the K’s with a strong 12% walk rate.

Henderson has a chance to be a major impact bat; I really think he is just an adjustment away from putting it all together. Remember, this was Henderson’s first full professional season and he already showed enough to earn a cup of coffee in Double-A. The infielder has 25+ home run pop with a solid feel to hit.

Defense/Speed

Henderson made 62 starts at shortstop this year and 35 starts at third base. The Orioles aren’t ready to fully move him to third base, and I’d guess that the organization is waiting to see which of him or Jordan Westburg show more promise at short. From what I have seen, I think Henderson is more than capable of staying up the middle. While he is not a burner, Henderson is a good athlete who moves well for his size and has the arm strength to compensate for his average range. Should Henderson move to third base, his bat would be more than capable of producing to scale.

He is maybe a tick above average when it comes to speed on the base paths, and will likely be an average runner by the time he gets to the big leagues.

Outlook

A 2019 draft pick, it feels like Henderson has been around for a little bit, but it is important to note that the 20-year-old has only played 134 professional baseball games. For a player very early in his development when it comes to experience, Henderson is in a great spot.

Already showing a knack for getting on base despite some swing and miss, I expect Henderson to grade out as an above-average hitter when we check back in this time next year. As mentioned earlier, Henderson is just a tweak away from putting it all together, his bat speed, swing, and approach have me really excited to see what “putting it all together” will look like for him. My guess is something around 25+ homers with an above average on-base clip.

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85.Endy Rodriguez – C/OF/INF – Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’0, 185 | Bat/Throw: S/R | IFA: $10K – 2018 (NYM) | ETA: 2024

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Signed for a measly $10,000 by the Mets before being traded to the Pirates in the Joe Musgrove deal, Rodriguez has flashed exciting offensive potential from both sides of the plate and athleticism that helps him do everything defensively from catching one day to playing second base or left field another. 

2021 Stats (A): .294/.380/.512, 15 HR, 46 XBH, 17.7 K%, 11.5 BB%, 140 wRC+

Offense

A switch hitter with pretty even production from both sides in the early going of his career, Rodriguez has a really good feel for both of his swings. Rodriguez features a bit of a hovering leg kick from the left-side, using the mechanism to help get into his back hip.

At times, Rodriguez can get on his front foot a bit too early due to his occasional inconsistency with the timing of his leg kick, but when he stays back, Rodriguez boasts exciting bat speed and a natural feel for back-spinning fly balls. 

A simpler setup from the right side of the plate, Rodriguez starts slightly open and drags his toe over while focusing on keeping his weight back. As a result, Rodriguez does not quite post the exit velocities he does from the left side of the plate, however his contact rates are a notch better when hitting righty. 

Still 21 years old with some room for a bit more strength to be added, Rodriguez has already produced exit velocities as high as 109 miles-per-hour and launched 15 homers in just 98 games. Rodriguez’s profile is aided by good swing decisions and impressive feel for his swing. It is easy to envision a 20+ home run bat who will put the bat on the ball plenty. 

Defense/Speed

A primary catcher, Rodriguez is extremely athletic behind the dish and receives well. Despite his youth, Rodriguez controls the game well as a catcher and pitchers seem to enjoy working with him. With a litany of talented catching prospects in the Pirates system, Rodriguez has also received reps at second base, first base, and left field. The 21-year-old already looks passable wherever the organization sticks him and his athletic ability should help Rodriguez acclimate to whichever secondary positions the Pirates prefer for him.

Outlook

Endy Rodriguez is an extremely fun prospect. I mean, how many switch-hitting catchers who can also play the infield and outfield have we seen? Combine the defensive versatility and switch hitting with a strong balance of bat-to-ball and intriguing power, there is a lot to like with Rodriguez.

If he were signed for more than $10,000, we would probably see the hype around Rodriguez take shape a little sooner, but it is only a matter of time for the Pirates’ prospect. Rodriguez’s bat could wind up being the most valuable aspect to his game which combined with the presence of Henry Davis could result in more appearances in the field. Regardless, Rodriguez is an extremely valuable Swiss-army knife who can provide 20-25 homers, strong on-base skills and unique defensive versatility.  

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86.Cristian Hernandez – SS – Chicago Cubs

Age: 18 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $3M – 2020 (CHC) | ETA: 2025

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The youngest player to crack our top-100 prospect list, the 18-year-old Hernandez has a feel for the barrel that you do not see from many players his age along with physical tools and projection. 

2021 Stats (DSL): .285/.398/.424, 5 HR, 11 XBH, 21 SB, 132 wRC+, 20.4 K%, 15.7 BB%

Offense

Hernandez swings the bat like a kid who has been in the minor leagues for several years. The teenager utilizes a gathering leg kick to get into his lower half and does a great job of timing it up as well as keeping his weight back. 

Hernandez’s swing is extremely smooth through the zone, where his barrel seems to live forever. The Dominican Republic native really impressed with the effortless power he could generate as a 17-year-old, encouraging the Cubs to shell out $3 million to sign him. The synergy of Hernandez’s upper and lower half along with his present feel for the barrel provide plenty of optimism that the Cubs prospect can hit the ground running once he makes his debut stateside.

Projecting Hernandez’s offensive upside is extremely difficult because of the fact that his athleticism continues to translate more onto the baseball field even as he continues to add strength and size. Just take our word for it, his offensive upside is immense to say the least. 

Defense/Speed

Typically, teenage shortstops with tons of physical projection tend to move from shortstop to another position, however Hernandez continues to get better at shortstop as he matures both physically and mentally. Hernandez’s plus speed translates to twitchy quickness in the field, showing off impressive range and the arm to complement it.

Expect the Cubs to continue to develop Hernandez at shortstop as the youngster’s tools evidently translate into plenty of defensive upside. Hernandez swiped 21 bases in 24 tries in the DSL, for what that is worth, but stolen bases should be a part of his game at any level given his speed and quickness. 

Outlook

Cristian Hernandez is ahead of his years in a lot of aspects, especially at the plate. Still, Hernandez has yet to make his debut stateside and has plenty to prove once he does. Again, trying to project a prospect as raw and early in his development as Hernandez is extremely difficult, however the skillset and ahead-of-his-years polish make the 18-year-old a surefire top-100 prospect and one of the names we are most excited to follow in 2022. 

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87.Tyler Freeman – SS/2B – Cleveland Guardians

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’0, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | Comp B. (71), 2017 (CLE) | ETA: 2022

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Another prospect for the Guardians with a high-end hit tool, Freeman does not quite have the complementary tools to stack up with some of the other bats ahead of him, but has a really strong chance of becoming a decent big leaguer.

2021 Stats (AA): (41 G) .323/.372/.470, 2 HR, 20 XBH, 130 wRC+, 11.7 K%, 4.4 BB%

Offense

Posting the second best contact rates in the Guardians system behind only Steven Kwan, Freeman does not swing through many pitches. Freeman’s swing is geared for line drives and the barrel seems to live in the zone. He uses the whole field well and does not miss hangers. Even when Freeman is off-balance or fooled, his hands work well enough to throw the bat at the ball and catch a barrel.

The question for Freeman on the offensive side of things is whether he can tap into average power. There’s room for a bit more strength in his frame and the 22-year-old has demonstrated on occasion that he can turn baseballs around with a bit of authority. The more realistic hope is that Freeman finds the gap to gap consistency to rack up doubles in bunches. Freeman is never going to walk much, but as a .319 career hitter in the minors, he does not necessarily need to.

Defense/Speed

While Freeman doesn’t stick out as a liability at shortstop, his fringy range and arm stretch him a bit thin at the position. Ultimately, Freeman projects as a second baseman, and a really solid one at that. Initially drafted as a shortstop, Freeman is passable at the position, however his offensive profile is moreso that of a second baseman anyways.

Outlook

Freeman has top end bat-to-ball skills with decent complementary tools and at least a little bit more pop to dream on. There is still room for some strength in Freeman’s frame and he has shown flashes of above-average exit velocities.

What really solidifies Freeman as a top-100 prospect, though, is his high floor. The 22-year-old is a .329 hitter in his minor league career with a 134 wRC+ and unheard of 9% strikeout rate. At the very least, Freeman can be high-end utility piece, but the Guardians are hoping there’s more production in the tank.

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87.Everson Periera – CF – New York Yankees

Age: 21 | Height/Weight: 6’0′, 195 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $1.5M (2017) – NYY | ETA: 2023

HITRAW POWERGAME POWERRUNFIELDFV/Risk
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2021 Stats (A/A+): (49 G) .303/.398/.686, 20 HR, 31 XBH, 178 wRC+, 27.6 K%, 12.7 BB%

Offense

Pereira was yet another example of a Yankees prospect taking his game to the next level in 2021, especially in the power department. Pereira added muscle during the layoff, and it was evident in his batted ball data. After producing just five homers in his first 59 professional games between 2018 and 2019, Pereira exploded with 20 homers across all levels this season.

I was really impressed with the jump Pereira was getting off of the barrel when I watched, he had no problem leaving the yard to dead center and even opposite field. The 20-year-old posted exit velocities over 110 miles-per-hour on several occasions without a ton of effort in his swing.

Pereira starts with his weight already staked on his back side a bit, made evident by his front foot mostly being up on his toes. This likely serves as a reminder to stay in his back side, which he does a really good job of. The right-handed hitter deploys a bit of a leg kick that is more of a gather than anything to continue that weight shift into his back hip.

You can really see Pereira’s athleticism make itself known in the batter’s box with how explosive his lower half is and his twitchy bat speed. He is short and quick to the ball, able to turn on high end velocity in spots where big league hitters even struggle to get to. Whether it’s turning around 96 up and in or making a late swing decision on something on the outer half, Pereira can get the bat there and drive it with authority to all fields.

There’s some swing and miss concern (27.6% K-rate in 2021), but it seems to be more approach than anything. Pereira’s swing and unteachable bat speed allows him to get to pitches many can’t, when he is going wrong it seems to be more just over aggressiveness. Like many young hitters, Pereira would find himself going to get breaking balls and getting out of his base a little bit. Given his already demonstrated ability to let the ball travel and drive it to all fields when he is going right, I expect him to iron this out–especially when you consider the fact that he had no experience above short season ball prior to this season.

Defense/Speed

Pereira was closer to a plus runner when he was first signed, but since putting on weight is more of a 55-grade runner–still conformably above average. I have been really impressed with everything I saw from Pereira in centerfield and think he can be a well above average defender out there. He gets fantastic jumps on the ball and takes efficient routes while possessing an above average arm. I have little doubt that Pereira will stick in center.

Outlook

Not only is Pereira the most underrated prospect in the Yankees system, but he is arguably one of the more underrated prospects in baseball. The power he has already put on display at 20-years-old coupled with a high staying probably in center has me scratching my head as to why he is not considered a consensus top five prospect in the Yankees system. Swing and miss is the concern for some, but as I explained in the offensive portion of the write up, his at times inconsistent contact rate is not alarming to me given his limited experience and age.

If Pereira matures the way I think he is capable of at the plate, I see a combination of power and defense in centerfield that could make him one of baseball’s more exciting prospects very soon.

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88.Matt McLain – SS – Cincinnati Reds

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 5’10’, 180 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (26), 2021 (CIN) | ETA: 2023

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A polished college bat, McLain received an aggressive assignment straight to High-A after being selected 25th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft. After being drafted in the first round by the Diamondbacks in the 2018 MLB Draft, McLain opted to fulfill his dream to play for UCLA. The move proved beneficial, as McLain continued to look better and better each time I saw him, following up a rough freshman year with a great summer on the Cape and a phenomenal collegiate career for the Bruins.

McLain put his well-rounded game on display during his 29 games in Dayton, and has all the makings to climb through the Minor Leagues very quickly.

2021 stats (High-A): .273/.387/.424, 3 HR, 9 XBH, 27 wRC+, 20 K%, 14.3 BB%

Offense

McLain has as simple of a swing and set up as you’re going to find. The right-handed hitter starts upright and takes a short stride before just letting his strong bat speed and elite hand eye coordination kick in. The simplicity of McLain’s swing and his easily repeatable movements make it easier for him to be on time frequently. The flip side is that I am not sure how much power McLain will be able to hit for this way.

McLain is a line drive hitter who splits the gaps and can get into some home runs on his pull-side, but there is not a ton of violence in his swing. Given his bat-to-ball skills and short, quick swing, McLain does not need to hit 30 home runs to be a successful big leaguer. I do wonder if some slight tweaks may be made to accommodate a bit more power without undermining his bat-to-ball skills, considering McLain looks like he’s playing pepper at the plate.

What encourages me most about McLain is his strong approach and pitch recognition. This is generally typical of players who are quick to the ball and do not have to accommodate a ton of pre-swing movement; those types of hitters just have more time to decide.

As is, McLain’s offensive profile will put a bit of pressure on his hit tool, but I’m willing to bet on that hit tool from what I’ve seen through the years and most recently in High-A. McLain’s elite feel for the barrel makes it extremely difficult to beat him, and his plus speed paired with a ton of line drives should make him a high BABIP candidate.

Defense/Speed

A plus runner, McLain made it a point to be a bit more aggressive on the base paths in his professional career, swiping 10 bags in just 29 games. In his 121 collegiate games prior, McLain stole just 16 bases, but was also only caught three times. With his speed and athleticism, 20 stolen bases should be more than attainable at the big league level if he can improve his jumps.

McLain played all over the field in his collegiate career, but that is not because he is not capable of sticking at his drafted position of shortstop. McLain got plenty of run in center field early in his career because of the presence of now Tigers prospect Ryan Kriedler at shortstop. Once Kreidler was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft, it was McLain’s turn to take over at short.

Given the fact that McLain had just simply been blocked from shortstop his freshman year, then had his sophomore year cut short due to COVID, looks were limited. I really like what I saw from him at the shortstop position in his first professional stint. The 22-year-old has strong foot work and an above average arm, giving him solid range and an ability to make all of the plays a shortstop needs to make and then some.

I have a ton of confidence in McLain sticking at short, however he can also play center field or second base if his defense takes a step back for whatever unlikely reason. I expect above-average defense at the shortstop position for McLain.

Outlook

A high-floor offensive profile along with plus speed and an above-average glove has all the makings of a safe, back-end top 100 prospect with room for the hit-tool to take him a bit further. McLain does not expand the zone much at all, posting impressively low chase rates, helping him get on base at an impressive clip for a guy who pitchers are not necessarily pitching around.

While he may not be a superstar, McLain has a really good chance to be an above average regular at the shortstop position as a flat out gamer who can set the tone for your lineup. McLain could get a nice little boost at Great American Ballpark as well with some of those doubles turning into home runs. I expect McLain to climb quickly and help the Reds sooner rather than later.

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89.Ryan Pepiot – RHP – Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’3, 215 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 3rd Round (103), 2019 (LAD) | ETA: 2022

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Pepiot generated buzz both within the Dodgers organization as well as in the industry when his previous low 90’s heater made a significant jump by comfortably sitting in the mid 90’s in 2021. His 2021 was a tale of two halves; Pepiot dominated Double-A to the tune of a 34.8% strikeout rate while producing a manageable 11.2 BB%.

The move to Triple-A was not as kind to Pepiot, as his strikeout rate dropped to 22.8% and his ERA ballooned to an unsightly 7.13. While the late-season struggles are certainly alarming, it should be noted that Pepiot’s workload was higher than ever, and he could have been dealing with fatigue from a long season. 

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): 101.1 IP, 4.62 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 29.2 K%, 10.8 BB%

Arsenal

Standing at 6-foot-3 and a sturdy 215 pounds, Pepiot’s build, arsenal and poise on the mound give plenty of reason for optimism heading into 2022.

Pepiot deploys a high ¾ arm slot combined with a repeatable, low-effort delivery in which the ball explodes out of his hand. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s and can get up to 98 with fantastic spin rates and good horizantal movement. It generates swing-and-miss within the strike zone and has the ability to consistently miss bats at the top of the zone.

Pepiot commands his heater impressively to his armside, producing natural running action not seen on most four-seamers. Pepiot’s command of his fastball is already average and projects to become above-average thanks to his-low effort mechanics and athleticism. At times, Pepiot’s fastball would run back over the middle, making him susceptible to the long ball, one of the only missing pieces in regards to his command.

Pepiot’s changeup is his claim to fame, garnering comparisons to Devin William’s infamous “airbender”. While it may not be quite the pitch that William’s deploys, this is still a bat-missing machine that consistently flashes plus-plus when Pepiot can command it.

It sits in the high 80’s with elite arm side run and plenty of sink. He throws the change with terrific arm speed and it is unhittable when located down and to his arm side. While it may be Pepiot’s go-to pitch for strikeouts, he still needs to refine his ability to throw it for strikes.

The slider may be the most important pitch when considering Pepiot’s ability to start at the big league level. At its best, he can throw it for strikes to his glove side with sharp and late movement. Like his changeup, the slider sits in the high 80’s with his command of the offering wavering from start to start. Pepiot has also experimented with a cutter and curveball, although he has yet to throw them with any consistency. 

Outlook

Pepiot’s power arsenal is intriguing and can be dominant when he is on. Several hitting prospects I spoke to in the minors cited Pepiot as one of their most difficult at-bats of the year. He can deploy three bat-missing offerings and absolutely take over a game. Refining the command of his secondaries will be what ultimately takes him to the next level and dictate whether he is a late inning relief option or a capable three starter in a rotation. 

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90.Owen Caissie – OF – Chicago Cubs

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 6’4’, 190 | Bat/Throw: L/R | 2nd Round (45), 2020 (CHC) | ETA: 2024

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Big time physical projection and a pretty good feel for the strike zone, Caissie has immense offensive upside, especially in the power department. 

2021 Stats (CPX/A): .302/.434/.489, 7 HR, 19 XBH, 148 wRC+, 18.6 BB%, 29.6 K%

Offense

Standing at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds with already impressive present pop, many evaluators are eager to see what kind of power Caissie will be able to generate as he continues to fill out and mature physically. 

Caissie has not totally tapped into his power in the limited game action we have seen so far due to some upper and lower half inconsistencies, as well as a steep path at times which causes his bat to drag through the zone a bit. As a result, Cassie found himself cutting the inside of the ball a bit too often and struggling to turn on pitches middle-in against higher quality stuff. 

When everything is in sync for Caissie, you can see flashes of a potentially special power bat. As Caissie continues to iron out the inconsistencies with his lower half, there is foul pole to foul pole power potential for the Ontario, Canada native as he generates a ton of leverage and carry.

Defense/Speed

Caissie moves well for his size, but his limited experience is evident in his reads and routes in the outfield. A comfortably above-average arm and more than enough athleticism to be passable in a corner outfield spot, there is plenty of reason to believe that Caissie can develop into at least an average defender. 

Outlook

Caissie is already putting on shows with his majestic batting practice homers, and with plenty of room for added strength and power in the tank, it really will come down to whether the 19-year-old can get his exciting power to translate into games. 

With an impressive feel for the strike zone and sneaky good bat to ball skills, Caissie could be a middle-of-the-order masher capable of 35+ homers if the raw pop can translate into game pop. 

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91.Luis Campusano – C – San Diego Padres

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 5’10, 230 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (39) – 2017 | ETA: 2022

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A disastrous big league catching situation resulted in the Padres promoting Campusano a bit too early. The offensive-minded catcher settled back into his mashing ways once he was back in Triple-A for the majority of the season and should be ready for another big league look soon.

2021 Stats (AAA): .295/.365/.541, 15 HR, 39 XBH, 122 wRC+, 20.2 K%, 8.3 BB%

Offense

Starts slightly crouched over and follows it with simple mechanics, not a lot going on in his load and gets to launch consistently on time. Big-time bat speed and quickness, mashes fastballs in all parts of the zone. Has a tendency to get big and sway away from his approach, especially with quality breaking stuff. Big time hitting tools with advanced bat-to-ball skills and a great feel for the barrel. Carrying tool is the bat, with the potential to hit for both average and power at the highest level. 

Defense

Well-proportioned muscular build, physically filled out. Despite his weight, moves surprisingly well behind the plate. Presently a decent blocker and mobile defender. Big-time arm strength behind the plate that, combined with his quick release, should help shut down the running game. His framing needs work and projects as average at best. Should be an average overall defensive catcher when all is said and done.

Outlook

Campusano has huge upside; above average hitters don’t grow on trees in today’s MLB, especially at the catching position. The 22-year-old had his development stunted by an over-aggressive, desperation call-up to the big leagues, but he has settled back into his rhythm in Triple-A. If he stays within himself on a consistent basis, we could be looking at a future All-Star and a mainstay for years to come as the Padres starting catcher.

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92.Ezequiel Duran – INF – Texas Rangers

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 5’11, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $10,000 – 2017 (NYY) | ETA: 2023

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2021 Stats (A+): .267/.342/.486, 19 HR, 47 XBH, 118 wRC+, 27.6 K%, 8.5 BB%

Offense the Joey Gallo return, Duran brings infield versatility paired with exciting pop

Duran has a compact build, but really packs a punch when he connects and looks to go to his pull side to do damage. Duran takes big-time hacks, especially early in the count, where he hunts something to demolish middle-in. Even with the aggressive hacks, Duran does not expand the zone egregiously and his contact rates are respectable. 

The power isn’t really a question for the 22-year-old, putting up exit velocities 110 mph and above on 13 different occasions last season. Generally, pull-happy hitters are susceptible to a good breaking ball or opposite handed changeup, but Duran is capable of using the whole field when he makes a concerted effort. Even when Duran takes his bigger hacks, he stays relatively under control. His ability to stay back and recognize pitches was reflected in his .850 OPS against secondary offerings. 

Defense/Speed

An average runner, Duran is agile and boasts good footwork in the field. Duran has already seen action at shortstop, second base and third base in his professional career, looking at least capable at each position. Second base is more likely to be the everyday home for Duran, though his arm is strong enough to slide over to third or shortstop when needed. 

Outlook

Duran has a really fun profile. An infielder with defensive versatility who is capable of producing 25+ home runs is valuable to any team. I believe that Duran’s ability to hit is a bit better than it is made out to be and as he continues to refine his approach, Duran can be an above average regular who can be moved around the infield in order to keep pop in the lineup. 

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93.Owen White – RHP – Texas Rangers

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’3, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 2nd Round (55), 2018 (TEX) | ETA: 2022

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Drafted in 2018, injuries and a COVID canceled season delayed White’s debut until 2021, but the right-hander has been well worth the wait. Explosive stuff and an advanced feel to pitch should help White make up for lost time.

Arsenal 

Since debuting in 2021, White’s fastball has operated in the mid 90s, topping out at 97 mph with riding life. White’s fastball is easily a plus pitch thanks to the strong velocity, high spin rates and his ability to command it on both sides of the plate.

White has an assortment of secondaries he is comfortable going to off of his fastball, but his slider is the best of the bunch. The right-hander snaps his slider in the mid 80s with late horizontal bite, making it effective to both lefties and righties. White’s curveball flashes above average in the 78-81 mph range, featuring more downward break. 

Finally, White features a changeup that he continues to show a better feel for each time I see him throw. The changeup shows good armside fade and is an effective weak contact producer at the very least. 

Outlook

White entered 2022 with only 71 innings pitched in his professional career including his dominant stint in the Arizona Fall League at the end of last year. Generally, the lack of innings under a young pitcher’s belt would be concerning, but White’s comfort with his assortment of secondaries and plus fastball have the Rangers confident that the 22-year-old can make his way to the upper minors by mid-season and potentially debut in 2023. White’s profile screams solid middle-of-the-rotation starter and I’d bet on him getting there. 

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94. Jordan Groshans – SS/3B – Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’3′, 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (12) – 2018 (TOR) | ETA: 2022

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The power has not made its way into game action for Groshans so far, but he controls his at bats really well with a great feel for the barrel. 

2021 Stats (AA): .291/.367/.450, 7 HR, 30 XBH, 124 wRC+, 19.3 K%, 10.8 BB%

Offense

A pretty big frame, scouts expected Groshans to grow into some more power. Now four years since he has gone pro, Groshans has made a ton of progress as a hitter, boasting a fringe plus hit-tool, but the power just isn’t quite there. 

Groshans broke 105 mph in the exit velocity department only twice last season and produced a HR/FB% of just 8%. Likely recognizing power isn’t going to be a main component of his offensive value, Groshans really leaned into his impressive bat-to-ball skills, spraying the ball all over the field and posting impressive contact rates as well as low chase rates. 

Injuries have hampered Groshans a little bit and there is still hope that he can develop into a 20+ home run bat. The 22-year-old’s ability to control at bats and get on base at an impressive clip give him a solid offensive floor.

Defense/Speed

Unlikely to stick at shortstop, Groshans is more likely to see action at the hot corner, where he made 21 starts last season. Even though Groshans isn’t the quickest guy in the world, he likely could play a competent second base though we have not seen him there for game action. 

Outlook

Groshans is not the most exciting prospect in the world, but he is a higher probability big league regular who still has room for a bit more offensive upside. High batting average and high on-base will likely continue to be the calling card for Groshans. If he can tap into even 20+ home run power, Groshans could be a comfortably above-average regular.

95. MacKenzie Gore – LHP – San Diego Padres

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’2, 197 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (2) – 2018 | ETA: 2022

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2021 was a roller coaster for MacKenzie Gore. The once top pitching prospect has dealt with command issues that have set him back a bit. The good new is Gore is just 22 years old, but next year will be a definitive one for the highly touted lefty. 

Arsenal

MacKenzie Gore may be the most difficult pitcher to evaluate right now. The 22-year-old has already shown us that he is capable of carving up High-A hitters to the tune of a 1.02 ERA in 79 innings back in 2019, but 2021 was a different story for Gore. 

The southpaw quickly made the 2019 version of himself seem distant as he struggled to find the strike zone and had a different look every few times we saw him on the mound. 28 walks in 50 innings is something that nobody ever thought they’d see from the athletic pitcher who once boasted plus command. 

Gore’s fastball played as a plus pitch in 2019, boasting a ton of life and earning swings and misses up in the zone. Part of the reason why the pitch played up so well was Gore’s plus changeup, which he was comfortable throwing to both lefties and righties thanks to its late drop and fade. Most importantly, he was extremely comfortable throwing it. In 2019, opponents had an OPS below .300 against the pitch. 

As Gore lost feel for his pitches in 2021, his changeup was no exception. Through his struggles, Gore worked to tweak his mechanics and changes to his arm action impacted his feel for his best pitch. An offering that so many pitchers desperately try to discover, Gore had lost.

At certain points, Gore’s arm action was messy and inconsistent. His fastball velocity dipped as low as 89 and reached as high as 97 mph on many occasions in the Arizona Fall League. 

Interestingly enough, Gore’s slider–which was viewed by most as his fourth pitch–was the offering that he found some success with in the Fall League. The pitch sits 86-88 mph and was comfortably above average when he located it.

Gore’s curveball has always been an aesthetically pleasing pitch with sharp downward bite. In 2019, the pitch sat more in the upper 70s, but last season Gore actually threw it in the 80-82 mph range while also losing some vertical break, causing it to blend a bit more with his slider. The vertical break on Gore’s curve is what made it effective to both lefties and righties and also worked well off of his fastball. 

In 2022 Spring Training and his first start of this season, Gore has looked electric. His fastball is back to sitting in the mid 90s, topping out at 98 mph while he seems to have settled into his simplified delivery. Gore showed signs of life in the Fall League to end last season and has carried that momentum into 2022.  

Outlook

It is nearly impossible to project MacKenzie Gore because we know what he is capable of when everything is working, yet we have not seen him consistently pitch at a high level since 2019. Gore has shown four above average to plus pitches and elite athleticism on the mound which is what made him one of baseball’s best overall prospects not long ago. 

Things seem to finally be trending in the right direction for the southpaw–who is still just 22 years old–and even in limited action so far this year, Gore has looked closest to the 2019 version of himself as he ever has. 

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96. Harry Ford – C – Seattle Mariners

Age: 19 | Height/Weight: 5’10, 200 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (12), 2021 (SEA) | ETA: 2024

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First round prep catchers have a brutal track record, but Ford is not your typical prep catcher. Easy plus speed and projectable power give Ford plenty of upside, even if he can’t stay behind the dish. 

2021 Stats (CPX): (19 G) .291/.400/.582, 3 HR, 10 XBH, 150 wRC+, 21.5 K%, 13.8 BB%

Offense

One of the most dynamic players in the 2021 Draft, mock drafts had Ford going as high as the top five and as low as the twenties; the athletic catcher wound up somewhere in the middle, selected 12th overall by Seattle. The track record of high school catchers is a brutal one, so brutal that teams often stay away from them in the early parts of the first round. Ford, however, is an exception thanks to his unparalleled athleticism from the catching position.

At a physical 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, Ford generates impressive bat speed contributing to his plus raw power and already impressive game power. Ford scrapped the leg kick in favor of a toe tap which has helped him catch up to higher velocity and has not come at the expense of any power. Ford has a great feel for the barrel and is able to get to a lot of difficult pitches thanks to his lightning-quick hands. 

Defense/Speed

Ford has the makings of a five tool catcher. Yes, a five-tool catcher. He has speed, raw power, and the athleticism to excel at several different positions in the field. The plan is for Ford to catch, and he looks to have a chance to stick. 

Unsurprisingly, he moves well and gets to difficult pitches to block. His receiving is better than I thought it would be, and his arm looks average. Should Ford not be able to stay at catcher, his athleticism would allow him to play center field and potentially play it well. Or, he could do a little of both like Daulton Varsho. From what I’ve seen, Ford is quick enough to steal 30 bags. 

Outlook

Projecting a player as unique as Harry Ford is difficult, but for nothing but good reasons. If Ford struggles behind the dish like many of his high school catching predecessors, he has a really exciting bat and plus speed to fall back on, essentially hedging any of the risk that comes with drafting a high school backstop. If Ford is able to stay at catcher, he could be one of the most dynamic prospects we have seen in a while. It is worth wondering if moving Ford to center field would be better for the longevity of his career and overall value; especially if the 19-year-old isn’t providing value with his glove. 

As a plus runner, years squatting at catcher would likely sap some of his explosiveness and speed, which is going to be a big part of his value. The Daulton Varsho type of mold could make a lot of sense for Ford and preserve his long-term health. Catch a few days per week, play the field the other days. Ford’s bat also comes with more upside than Varsho. If Ford continues to develop, he could be a perennial 20/20 candidate with an outside shot at some 30/30 seasons. 

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97. Heliot Ramos – OF – San Francisco Giants

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’1′, 190 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 1st Round (17) – 2017 | ETA: 2022

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Rushed development resulted in Ramos taking a bit of a step back in 2021, but Ramos put up above-average numbers in Double-A as a 19-year-old and in 2019 and did more of the same in 2021 before getting the bump up to Triple-A Sacramento, where he struggled to find the same production.

2021 Stats (AA/AAA): .254/.323/.426, 14 HR, 42 XBH, 94 wRC+, 28 K%, 8.5 BB%

Offense

Despite having a somewhat aggressive approach, Ramos uses the entire field really well, especially against southpaws. Ramos doesn’t have too many moving parts to his swing, but sometimes looks a bit rushed in the box. It could be inconsistent timing or a struggle with pitch recognition, but at times Ramos will seem to be caught in between and on other occasions he will sit back well on a breaking ball and drive it the other way or won’t have much issue catching up to the heater.

The impressive bat speed and body control of Ramos allow for him to put good swings on tough pitches, but consistency is where the trouble lies. Whether it is a matter of being on time more frequently and/or pitch recognition, both will come with more upper level at bats. It may feel like Ramos has been around for a while, but the former high school draft pick made his way to Triple-A after two and a half professional seasons. For Ramos to realize his potential, he will need to cut down a bit on the chase rate, as his aggressive approach has limited him to just an 8% walk rate in his career as well as putting balls in play that he cannot do much with. 

Defense/Speed

Ramos may not be much of a base stealer, but he is a fringe above-average runner who is capable of playing all three outfield spots. Once closer to a plus runner, there is a bit more pressure put on the jumps and routes for Ramos when in center field, however he can be average out there. Long term, Ramos could wind up in a corner where his plus arm and still solid speed should translate to comfortably above average defense. 

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98. Vinnie Pasquantino – 1B – Kansas City Royals

Age: 23 | Height/Weight: 6’4′, 240 | Bat/Throw: L/L | 11th Round (319), 2019 (KC) | ETA: 2023

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One of the most overlooked bats in the minors, Vinnie Pasquantino has done nothing but rake at every single stop. A fan favorite in the making whose bat will have to carry him, but it shouldn’t have any issue doing so.

2021 Stats (A+/AA): .300/.399/.551, 24 HR, 68 XBH, 153 wRC+, 12.9 K%, 13.2 BB%

Offense

Open stance into a toe tap that gets him back closed while keeping weight back before unleashing with an explosive lower half. Pasquantino always had the bat-to-ball skills, but answered the questions about his power output with 24 homers in 2021. 

What is really impressive about Pasquantino is his ability to repeat movements. His swing is so consistent and there is no wasted energy. Pasquantino’s elite body control helps him almost always be on time and get to tough pitches. Pasquantino’s feel to hit blended with his more developed power is hard to find; the first baseman was the only prospect in the entire minor leagues to have a 1.00 K/BB ratio or greater and more than 20 home runs. If 24 home runs wasn’t enough to be sold on Pasquantino tapping into plus pop, he produced consistent exit velocities in the top five percent of the minors. 

An 11th round pick out of Old Dominion in 2019, Pasquantino just wasn’t going to be on top prospect radars unless he put up monstrous numbers. He has did just that in 2021, yet we are not seeing him ranked by the industry where he should be. Those who I have spoken to who played against Pasquanino marveled at his approach and polish at the plate. Pasquantino has the potential to hit in the .280 range with a high on-base and 20+ homers, and his floor doesn’t seem too far off from that. 

Defense/Speed

At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Pasquantino is not the most nimble, but he does have soft hands defensively at first base. His foot work is good enough and he is good with the glove, whether it’s digging balls out of the dirt or smothering grounders. Speed will not be a part of his game, but Pasquantino is a smart base runner. 

Outlook

Pasquantino excels at the most important aspect of baseball, making consistently hard contact and getting on base. There is not a freakish tool to dream on and he is a first baseman, which is what causes him to be a victim of what I like to call the “Ty France Effect”–in other words, we ignore steady offensive production as it pertains to prospect rankings because of defensive limitations or a lack of jaw-dropping tools. 

In a game that is riddled with so much swing and miss, players like Vinnie Pasquantino are incredibly undervalued. In fact, Pasquantino and Jose Miranda of the Twins (No. 56 prospect) were the only two prospects in baseball with more than 20 home runs and a K% below 13%. Pasquantino is as safe of a bet as you’re going to find in the minors to be able to hit at the highest level.

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99. Brayan Bello – RHP – Boston Red Sox

Age: 22 | Height/Weight: 6’1, 175 | Bat/Throw: R/R | IFA: $28K (2017) | ETA: 2023

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An under-the-radar electric and athletic right-hander, Bello broke out in a big way thanks to a velocity bump and increased feel for a slider that was much tighter.

2021 Stats (A+/AA): 95.1 IP, 3.87 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 1.28 WHIP, 32.8 K%, 7.7 BB%

Arsenal

Any time a pitcher sees his fastball jump to the upper-90’s, the rest of his arsenal will usually play up as well. That is exactly what happened for Brayan Bello in 2021. The 22-year-old struggled at times in the past with his fastball flattening out, resulting in it being fairly hittable. The bump in velocity created more separation from his secondaries–specifically his upper-80’s plus changeup–allowing him to get away with his inconsistently located heaters a bit more, but even in the 96-98 mile-per-hour range, the pitch was hit more than you may expect.

Bello has been able to circumvent his inconsistent fastball with wildly improved feel for his 85-88 mile-per-hour sweeping slider, throwing it early in the count and even when he is behind. Bello is comfortable manipulating the slider to break more like a gyro slider, capable of stealing called strikes while also ripping it as a wipeout pitch when ahead. 

Right-handed hitters will get a steady diet of the fastball/slider combination, but Bello is extremely confident in his plus change with impressive arm-side fade. Because of the 17 inches of horizontal break the pitch possesses, Bello has success burying it under the hands of righties, which sets up his slider exceptionally well. 

Unsurprisingly, Bello leans on his changeup heavily against left-handed hitters, but he is extremely confident in his ability to backdoor with his slider or bury it on the back leg lefties as well. The effectiveness of Bello’s secondaries against both lefties and righties is a huge plus for the Red Sox best minor league arm. Despite his fastball still being closer to 55 than 60-grade, the uptick in velocity was huge for the pitch individually as well as his arsenal as a whole. 

Outlook

Bello went from a $28 thousand International Free Agent to the best pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization thanks to a ton of hard work in the weight room during 2020’s layoff. Not only did the 22-year-old totally change his outlook, but he also expedited his timeline. It only took six starts for the Red Sox to realize that Bello was too good for High-A, promoting him to Double-A where he would make 15 starts.

Bello’s ERA jumped from 2.27 in High-A to 4.66 in Double-A in 2021, though his FIP only ascended from 2.82 to 3.12 and the strikeout numbers remained consistent. Boasting ridiculous arm speed and explosive athleticism on the mound, sometimes Bello rushes himself to the plate, causing some inconsistency with his ability to locate. 

Overall, Bello does a good job of recapturing the strike zone after a noncompetitive pitch and despite not quite boasting pinpoint command yet, the right-hander has more than solid control and throws enough strikes. I’d expect Bello’s command to continue to improve given his feel for the slider and even changeup paired with the impressive athleticism. 

I’d imagine that Bello is one of the prized prospects for Chaim Bloom, as he is now head and shoulders above the rest of the arms in the Red Sox system. On the surface, Bello may seem to carry reliever risk, however his ability to weaponize his secondaries to hitters on each side of the plate paired with hope for above-average command lead me to believe that he will stick as a starter and could be a darn good one. 

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100. Ken Waldichuk – LHP – New York Yankees

Age: 24 | Height/Weight: 6’4′, 220 | Bat/Throw: R/R | 5th Round (165) – 2019 (NYY) | ETA: 2022

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Built-in deception and a high spin fastball helps Waldichuk pick up K’s in bunches, despite his secondaries being just average or slightly above. The southpaw’s stuff has ticked up a bit and his command continues to improve, giving him a much better outlook as a potential rotation piece.

2021 Stats (A+/AA): 110 IP, 3.03 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 36 K%, 11.3 BB%

Arsenal

One of the Yankees biggest breakout pitching prospects in 2021, Ken Waldichuk piled up strikeouts in bunches behind a four pitch mix with build in deception. Waldichuk stands at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and generates a ton of extension from his high three quarters release. While his stuff may not jump off the page pitch profile wise, it looks like it is coming out of a slingshot with the way he hides the ball. There are some similarities with Trevor Rogers in the way that Waldichuk’s funkiness makes for a miserable at-bat. 

Waldichuk’s heater sits in the low 90’s, but is a high-spin pitch averaging over 2400 RPM’s which allows it to play up at the top of the zone. The fastball gets in on hitters really quickly, exploding out of his tough release point. 

Waldichuk has a pair of above average breaking balls that he utilizes well. His sweeping curveball lives in the upper 70’s and is a pitch that he likes to bury to set up his elevated fastball, but when his command is on he can backdoor righties with it. The slider is more of a sweeper in the low 80’s which he throws more frequently to left-handed hitters. Think of every pitch building off of his seemingly invisible fastball because that is what the hitter is thinking about. As lefties are geared up for a fastball with life, Waldichuk will sling the slider resulting in some of the ugliest swings and misses from incredibly talented hitters. That told me all I needed to know. 

The changeup is a pitch that I think will continue to play up as Waldichuk learns to command it. Trevor Rogers earned average grades on his changeup in the Minor Leagues due to the pitch profile, but as his fastball ticked up and his command improved, his changeup became his best offering because of the respect the hitter has to give to the fastball. Waldichuk understands that and uses his changeup more to right handed hitters who often times can’t tell that it isn’t the fastball until it’s too late. Even if the changeup is an average pitch, it will play up.

Outlook

The more I watch Waldichuk throw, the more confident I am in his longterm ability as a starter. There are still some command issues to iron out, but when guy is recording swinging strikes at a 15% clip on your fastball and have a feel for three other offerings, it’s hard to not get excited. I think the stuff is pretty darn close to big league ready with the missing piece just being some room for improvement in the command department. 

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