Last week, I ranked the top 100 MLB prospects and all 30 MLB farm systems heading into the 2023 season. Now it’s time to go deeper with my team-by-team rankings, starting with the National League followed by the American League lists later this week.
A quick refresher on a key term you’ll see throughout the team lists: future value, shortened to FV hereafter, sums up the value of a player into one number. It’s graded on the 20-80 scouting scale. A low-end everyday player is a 50, which correlates to 2.0 WAR; a well-above-average position player, No. 3 starter or high-end closer is a 60, or somewhere around 3.0 WAR. I refrain from tossing out an 80 on minor leaguers because that would imply one is expected to be one of the top players in baseball.
While the top 100 is exactly that long, I rank every prospect who gets a 45+ or better FV grade, so that rank is included here in the team lists. For every team, there are reports on the top 10 prospects and then varying numbers of others depending on the strength of the system. Broadly, it’ll be everyone better than a 40 FV, then handpicked interesting prospects who are 40 FVs.
Now on to my 2023 NL rankings.
Jump to a franchise:
NL East: ATL | MIA | NYM | PHI | WSH
NL Central: CHC | CIN | MIL | PIT | STL
NL West: ARI | COL | LAD | SD | SF
30th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$44 million total value
1. Owen Murphy, RHP, 45 FV
2. J.R. Ritchie, RHP, 45 FV
3. A.J. Smith-Shawver, RHP, 45 FV
4. Spencer Schwellenbach, RHP, 45 FV
5. Cole Phillips, RHP, 40+ FV
6. Dylan Dodd, LHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (10): Jared Shuster/LHP, Braden Shewmake/SS, Jesse Franklin/LF, Drake Baldwin/C, Ignacio Alvarez/3B, Diego Benitez/SS, Adam Maier/RHP, Luis Guanipa/CF, Darius Vines/RHP, Geraldo Quintero/SS
35+ FV (10): Blake Burkhalter/RHP, Seth Keller/RHP, David McCabe/3B, Cal Conley/2B, Roddery Munoz/RHP, Douglas Glod/CF, Ambioris Tavarez/3B, Luke Waddell/2B, Brandol Mezquita/CF, Victor Vodnik/RHP
2023 Impact: Dodd
40+ FV breakout pick: Ritchie
40 FV or less breakout pick: Alvarez
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Murphy, Ritchie, and Phillips are all prep righties who received the three highest bonuses Atlanta handed out from the 2022 MLB draft, totaling just under $6.5 million. Murphy was one of my picks to click because, unique amongst the riskiest draft demographic as a prep righty, he had the ingredients to hold his trade value for years. As a cold-weather, multisport, two-way prospect who looks solid to eyeball scouts and has plus athleticism and good TrackMan characteristics, he will still be attractive to teams in a deal no matter how his first few years went. He could have three plus pitches and command if it all clicks, but it’s still early.
Ritchie was a known name early in his high school career, dealing in the low-90s at West Coast underclass high school events. In his draft spring, he’d run it up to 97 mph but often settle in the low-90s by the middle of his outings. The selling points were his projection, command and changeup, which are all plus, along with an above-average breaking ball. If he can keep those constant and hold 92-96 mph all season, he’ll be comfortably on the Top 100 next year. Phillips was good at those same summer events but broke into top-50-pick consideration with a blistering start to the spring, sitting in the upper-90s, hitting 100, and mixing in a plus hammer curveball. He needed Tommy John surgery before the draft but was drawing glowing pre-draft reports from teams for his makeup; expect to see him later in 2023 or in the fall with a chance to dominate A-ball when let loose.
Smith-Shawver was a priority for me to track down last season when I was hearing he was into the upper-90s with a plus slider and a chance to be a starter. That matches the rosiest version of his pre-2021 draft scouting report, but that’s what he became in 2022. His style is still a little more butcher than surgeon and that means there is reliever risk in his future, but he’s now a nice find for a $1 million bonus in the seventh round.
Schwellenbach also signed for $1 million in the 2021 draft, but that was a below-slot bonus in the second round because teams knew he would need Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t returned yet but should be ready to ease back into games at the beginning of the season. The results when he does come back could be exciting, with some scouts hanging 70 grades on his mid-90s heater and 60 grades on his slider and curveball. He also has enough athleticism for his control to work in some multi-inning role. Dodd signed for well under slot value in the 2021 third round as a potential quick-moving lefty, and he has followed that by making it all the way to Triple-A in 2022. He has solid-average stuff and command with his slider as the main weapon, and he seems likely to find a meaningful big league role of some kind.
Others of note
You could slide Shuster up a notch next to Dodd, but I have him down here because he has a 45-grade heater and his slider is fringe-to-average. Shuster is the familiar changeup-and-command lefty that needs to show enough moxie and execution to turn a lineup over a few times or he could end up just a spot starter/long reliever. Shewmake is the third straight player mentioned with a chance to impact the 2023 big league club, and his path is easy to see with an above-average glove at short and above-average contact skills at the plate. That said, his pitch selection is a bit below average and his in-game power is well below average despite his 6-foot-4 frame. Vines is also on the 40-man roster and may get a look in 2023. His selling point is a 49% whiff rate on his plus changeup, but his 90-94 mph heater plays as a 40-grade pitch.
The next six guys I want to hit on here are all from the 2022 draft haul. Baldwin is an offensive-minded catcher whose hit tool and approach are his best qualities, but he also has average raw power (which he’s still learning to tap into), arm strength and defensive ability behind the plate. Alvarez is the sleeper of the group, a late-rising junior college shortstop who probably slides over to third base and can really hit — but power upside is the question. Maier popped up last summer in six Cape Cod League appearances as a little-known prospect from the University of British Columbia who then transferred to Oregon and became the Friday night starter. He only made three starts last year before going down with an elbow injury that led to a UCL repair with a brace procedure (as opposed to conventional Tommy John surgery), but the nine appearances was enough to give him $1.2 million. Maier shows an above-average three-pitch mix with lots of horizontal life from a low three-quarter arm slot.
Burkhalter is the opposite of some of these high-risk/reward arms, as a reliever from Auburn who is pretty close to a finished product. He has a plus four-seam fastball and cutter, posting a 71-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio in his draft year. Keller was one of my favorites from the spring as a shorter righty who is a plus athlete and throws strikes with three above average pitches but has some violence to his delivery. McCabe is a big switch-hitter with easy plus raw power along with some feel to hit. He has plus arm strength, but the question is if he can stay at third base.
8th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$185.5 million total value
1. Eury Perez, RHP, 60 FV (6th on the Top 100)
2. Max Meyer, RHP, 50 FV (70)
3. Jake Eder, LHP, 50 FV (124)
4. Dax Fulton, LHP, 45+ FV (140)
5. Jacob Berry, 3B, 45+ (157)
6. Yiddi Cappe, SS, 45+ FV (173)
7. Xavier Edwards, 2B, 45+ FV (180)
8. Peyton Burdick, CF, 45+ FV (182)
9. Jacob Amaya, SS, 45+ FV (192)
10. Kahlil Watson, SS, 45 FV
11. Jordan Groshans, 3B, 45 FV
12. Jacob Miller, RHP, 45 FV
13. Joe Mack, C, 40+ FV
14. Victor Mesa Jr., CF, 40+ FV
15. Cody Morissette, 2B, 40+ FV
16. Ian Lewis, 2B, 40+ FV
40 FV (6): Karson Milbrandt/RHP, Nasim Nunez/SS, Andrew Nardi/LHP, Paul McIntosh/C, Evan Fitterer/RHP, George Soriano/RHP
35+ FV (15): Anthony Peguero/RF, Marco Vargas/3B, Jerar Encarnacion/RF, Sean Reynolds/RHP, Nic Enright/RHP, Zach McCambley/RHP, Osiris Johnson/CF, Patrick Montverde/LHP, Luis Palacios/LHP, Jose Gerardo/RF, Josh Simpson/LHP, Justin Fall/LHP, Manuel Medina/LHP, Eli Villalobos/RHP, Ynmanol Marinez/SS
2023 Impact: Groshans
40+ FV breakout pick: Miller
40 FV or less breakout pick: Milbrandt
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Eder had Tommy John surgery late in a breakout 2021 season after he went in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. He was used mostly in relief at Vanderbilt then transitioned to starting in pro ball — and somewhat magically, everything got better. He’s on track to return this season and had sneaky top-100 momentum before blowing out on the strength of strong TrackMan data and three-above average pitches. Fulton is another potential midrotation lefty, and he has already returned to full strength from Tommy John surgery. Fulton may also open in Double-A with Eder, and the two pitchers are a true toss-up on prospect value. Fulton also has three-above average pitches with this breaking ball flashing plus as a primary weapon. Miller was an intriguing performer last spring, turning a relief-leaning summer showcase profile into a power-starter profile. In his best spring starts, he had three plus pitches (mid-90s heater, slider and curveball) and flashed an above-average changeup, with enough athleticism and control to project starter command but a delivery that needed some work. His fastball isn’t of a bat-missing shape, and if his velo takes a step back in pro ball (more common than you think) then his breaking stuff would get less crisp and he would lose significant value.
Berry was an old-for-the-class prep power bat whose asking price wasn’t met. He then had a huge freshman year at Arizona that put him in the top-two-rounds conversation before he followed his skipper to LSU for his draft year. Some scouts didn’t love how he looked at third base or his lack of overt athleticism, but Miami took him No. 6 overall last summer. There’s still a shot playing third base could work, but either right field or first base will be the landing spot if not. There’s a clear hit/approach/raw power combo here that’s similar to JJ Bleday, but there are question marks on his position and whether his ultimate overall offensive impact will be merely good or better than that. Cappe was a big-ticket international signing who has progressed well, but scouts are still somewhat split about him. He has bat-to-ball skills, a projectable frame and solid glovework at short, but his pitch selection needs to get better and some scouts question the ultimate power upside. Mack looked overmatched at times facing much older competition in the Arizona Fall League and has been good-not-great in limited time thus far in pro ball, as an offensive-oriented catcher with the tools to be an everyday type.
Watson looked like a steal when he fell to Miami in the 2021 draft, and I was as enthusiastic about that pick as anyone. The good news is his raw tools and overall ability haven’t changed at all, with some multiweek runs of what everyone was expecting from him during the 2022 season. The concerns have been more about how he has handled himself during rough stretches on the field, culminating with the Marlins benching him after an incident with an umpire last season. Some teams had concerns about his maturity around the draft, though I’d heard his work ethic, coachability and off-field habits are all good. But how he has handled failure so far in the pros, which is a key part of baseball, has led to inconsistent application of his tools in games. This is now the biggest question, more than his future position or his strikeout rates. His raw talent belongs in the middle of the top 100, and there’s still reason to be optimistic he can get to it.
Edwards was acquired recently from Tampa Bay’s embarrassment of contact-oriented middle-infielder riches from the Rays’ perpetually overstuffed 40-man roster. He’s an 80-grade runner with plus bat-to-ball skills, but he doesn’t have the arm for shortstop or the power to regularly post above-average performances at the plate. Burdick is a sneaky good runner and defender in center field, has easy plus raw power and arm strength and a decent approach. The issue is he simply swings and misses too much, to the point that he may be just a .210 hitter. Amaya was acquired this winter from the Dodgers for Miguel Rojas while Groshans was acquired from the Blue Jays for relievers Anthony Bass and Zach Pop at the trade deadline. Amaya is big league-ready and is solid-average at every tool except for power. He could still hit 10-15 homers, so there’s a path to being a solid everyday player. Groshans looked like a young Josh Donaldson in high school with plus bat speed and raw power potential, but that never ended up materializing in games. He’s now a standout hitter who can passably play anywhere on the field, but with below-average power.
Mesa Jr. is an above-average hitter, runner and defender in center field, but his below-average power is keeping him from being projecting as an everyday player just yet. Morissette was a bat-first prospect at Boston College but has grown into enough power in pro ball to now be projected as about average at everything in the batter’s box, along with speed and defense at second base. Lewis has the components — plus bat speed, good mechanics, shorter arms, solid-average raw power, plus speed — to project as an offensive standout, but he hasn’t quite dialed it all in yet. The potential is there for a breakout at any time, but his swing and chase rates are still too high and he doesn’t lift it enough to take advantage of his power.
Others of note
McIntosh signed as an undrafted free agent out of West Virginia in 2021, immediately going to Single-A and performing well with the bat — along with showing enough athleticism that it appeared he might be able to catch. He did it again in Double-A in 2022 and now there’s a real shot he’s an average offensive player that can play a passable catcher and fill in at the corners, all just 18 months after going unpicked in a 20-round draft. Nunez is starting to look more like a good utility player as he has had just zero impact at the plate thus far, despite plus pitch selection, speed, defense at shortstop and arm strength. Peguero (can hit and has power potential but it’s early and he’ll probably settle in right field), Vargas (probably not a shortstop but can really hit and has good approach, some pop), and Gerardo (not much in the way of contact to offer right now, but huge raw power and a good enough approach/swing to get to it) are some DSL position players to keep an eye on.
Milbrandt is a raw, exciting, projectable young righty. He’ll show mid-90s heat and a potential plus breaking ball with the components to project command, which is about all you can ask for out of a non-first-round prep righty. There’s a collection of young pitchers on the 40-man roster worth a mention: Nardi (lefty hitting 92-95 while mixing in a plus slider, solid command), Soriano (94-98 mph plays down because of shape and command, slider and changeup both play a bit above average), Reynolds (6-foot-8 righty converted to the mound from first base in 2021; sits 94-97, gets out with plus changeup), Enright (Rule 5 pick from Cleveland who commands a sneaky, 90-93 mph heater with rise, solid breakers), Simpson (lefty is 94-96 mph, has a plus curveball but below average command) and Villalobos (94-96 mph fastball he uses a ton and it plays well, but his curveball and splitter are both just alright).
22nd in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$203.5 million total value
1. Francisco Alvarez, C, 60 FV (5th on the Top 100)
2. Brett Baty, 3B, 55 FV (20)
3. Ronny Mauricio, SS, 50 FV (56)
4. Kevin Parada, C, 50 FV (110)
5. Alex Ramirez, CF, 50 FV (114)
6. Mark Vientos, 3B, 45+ FV (142)
7. Jett Williams, SS, 45 FV
8. Calvin Ziegler, RHP, 45 FV
9. Blade Tidwell, RHP, 40+ FV
10. Mike Vasil, RHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (11): Nick Morabito/CF, Jesus Baez/SS, William Lugo/3B, Joel Diaz/RHP, Matt Allan/RHP, Jose Butto/RHP, Christian Scott/RHP, Khalil Lee/RF, Luis Rodriguez/LHP, J.T. Schwartz/1B, Dominic Hamel/RHP
35+ FV (15): Jacob Reimer/3B, Vincent Perozo/C, Daiverson Gutierrez/C, Zach Greene/RHP, Bryce Montes de Oca/RHP, Eric Orze/RHP, Jeffrey Colon/RHP, D’Andre Smith/2B, Simon Juan/CF, Junior Santos/RHP, Jordany Ventura/RHP, Junior Tilien/2B, Tyler Stuart/RHP, Robert Dominguez/RHP, Chase Estep/3B
2023 Impact: Alvarez
40+ FV breakout pick: Vasil
40 FV or less breakout pick: Baez
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Parada was one of a handful of older high school prospects who didn’t have their prices met in the 2020 draft as a result of not having a full spring to prove their skills were more important than their age relative to their class. Parada was a second-round talent then but turned into a top-half-of-the-first-round prospect at Georgia Tech, with a massive draft year: .360/.452/.709, 26 homers, 30 walks and 32 strikeouts. Some thought he’d land in the top five picks but clubs picking that high bristled at his fine-not-great defense behind the plate and average arm that sometimes played a bit below average. If he can’t stick behind the plate, he’s probably only a first baseman which means zero margin for error in projecting his bat. His contact skills are also good-not-great, but his pitch selection and ability to tap into his plus raw power in games are what will get him to the big leagues; the other stuff will dictate how good he’ll be once he’s there.
It feels like Vientos has been on the Mets prospect list for a decade, but it’s only been since 2017. He has now made his big league debut and likely won’t be on next year’s list, with the scouting report still pretty similar to when he was drafted: decent defender at third base, pretty good approach and 30-homer potential, but some real swing and miss baked into his swing.
Ramirez is a pretty typical toolsy young position player. He comes with pitch-selection risk, but has plus raw power along with pretty good contact skills, a chance to stick in center field and an arm that’ll play anywhere. The upside here is a .270 hitter with 25 homers who plays a solid center field, and it’s a promising sign that he has already hit pretty well in High-A as a teenager.
Williams was the Mets second first-rounder in last summer’s draft, as a type of player who flies in the face of traditional scouting wisdom: Don’t pay a 5-foot-8 infielder out of high school, let him prove it in college. The Mets paid him $3.9 million as the 14th overall pick and I’m a fan of the player. He is a plus runner and will be able to play an up-the-middle position long-term, but the question is primarily if his quick release and footwork are good enough to make up for average arm strength with range some scouts also think is questionable. He has surprisingly average raw power, a feel for lifting the ball in games against velocity and plus contact skills, so there is also a pretty high floor for a prep position player.
Ziegler flew a bit under the radar in the 2021 draft as a raw Canadian righty attending a Florida baseball academy. The Mets took him in the second round, at the high end of where teams had him, and he is now a 2023 breakout candidate. On the right day, he’ll flash three above-average-to-plus pitches, but his execution and command, particularly of his off-speed stuff, are still inconsistent. Tidwell popped up late in the 2020 draft process by hitting the upper-90s, but did so too late for his asking price to be met. He blew up at Tennessee despite some arm issues, showing four above-average-to-plus pitches and components for starter command. Scouts’ evaluations vary enough on the start-to-start consistency of his stuff that he could still end up in the bullpen.
Vasil has had a roller coaster in terms of prospect status, with mid-first-round talent out of high school but never getting the chance to get an offer since he pulled his name out of the draft to attend Virginia. As is all too familiar at Virginia, a big-time prep pitching prospect underperformed and went lower after three years than he would’ve out of high school. Vasil went in the eighth round in 2021, but looked better right after signing and finished 2022 well in the Arizona Fall League. He still projects as a starter, sitting 93-95 mph with some life, a 55-grade curveball and a solid-average changeup.
Others of note
Morabito was a pop-up prep position player last spring, showing above-average contact skills, bat speed, raw power, and speed. The question was both a lack of history and high-level competition, in addition to what his ultimate defensive home will be. Since he’ll likely lose a step, there’s a lack of a true plus tool in the future from his plus speed. Some teams said Morabito could only play left field, thus putting lots of pressure on his bat, but there’s a chance he could play center, maybe even second base. Baez and Lugo are two other young position players to keep an eye on. Baez has plus raw power and pretty good control of the strike zone while still being 17 years old. Lugo has a similar offensive profile, but just turned 21 years old.
Allan was a back-half-of-the-first-round talent out of high school in 2019, with a 70-grade curveball and mid-90s heater but some relief risk. It’s still unclear how he fell to the third round, at any asking price, but he has had a tough road since then. He threw 10⅓ innings in the summer after signing, had Tommy John surgery and just a few weeks ago had a revision of that surgery. He hasn’t pitched in a game since that summer of 2019, an absence that should now extend into 2024.
Schwartz has a limited upside as a first base-only type with average raw power, but I’ve liked the high floor his bat and approach provide dating back to his prep days in Southern California. Reimer was an overslot pick, getting early third-round money in the fourth round. He’s a prototypical third baseman with a solid-enough glove and what could be an above-average hit/power combo. Estep is another corner bat who had a strong year at Kentucky (.302/.416/.560, 13 homers, 16 stolen bases) but will be 23 as the minor league season starts, so he’ll need to move quickly.
Diaz is a plus athlete with the components to be a starter and is still just 18 years old. He sits 93-95 mph, flashes a potentially above average curveball and has a feel for commanding his fastball; he’ll just need to sharpen his secondary stuff. Scott will turn 24 in the summer, and despite having a shot to be a big league starter, he hasn’t thrown 60 innings in a season after three years at Florida and two with the Mets. 2023 will be a key year for him to show he can post 150 innings in a back-end role. Stuart is 6-foot-9 and had Tommy John surgery at Southern Miss, showing big league potential with a mid-90s heater and decent feel for a three-pitch mix.
29th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$141.5 million total value
1. Andrew Painter, RHP, 60 FV (10th on the Top 100)
2. Mick Abel, RHP, 50 FV (46)
3. Johan Rojas, CF, 50 FV (119)
4. Griff McGarry, RHP, 45+ (138)
5. Hao-Yu Lee, 3B, 45 FV
6. Jordan Viars, RF, 45 FV
7. Justin Crawford, CF, 45 FV
40 FV (7): Gabriel Rincones/RF, Simon Muzziotti/CF, William Bergolla/SS, Jesus Caba/SS, Ethan Wilson/LF, Alex MacFarlane/RHP, Nikau Pouaka-Grego/2B
35+ FV (16): Emaarion Boyd/CF, James McArthur/RHP, Jhailyn Ortiz/RF, Noah Song/RHP, Orion Kerkering/RHP, Marcus Lee Sang/RF, Dalton Guthrie/2B, Baron Radcliff/LF, Kendall Simmons/2B, Hans Crouse/RHP, Micah Ottenbreit/RHP, Yhoswar Garcia/CF, Luis Ortiz/RHP, Carlos De La Cruz/LF, Andrew Baker/RHP, Michael Plassmeyer/LHP
2023 Impact: Painter
40+ FV breakout pick: Lee
40 FV or less breakout pick: Rincones
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Rojas didn’t make the leap I was hoping for last season, as he’s still not lifting the ball enough to take advantage of his power. His average launch angle on hard-hit balls is 1 degree whereas the major league average is around 12 degrees, and elite power hitters can get up around 20 degrees. One of last year’s picks to click, Michael Harris (38th on the top 100), corrected that issue while another (former) Braves center field prospect who’s similar to Rojas in Cristian Pache, hasn’t quite done it yet. The upside for Rojas is real if he can make the adjustment. He has plus bat-to-ball ability, average pitch selection, solid-average raw power now with matching in-game hard hit rates, potential for 60-grade raw power, 70 speed, 70 defense in center field and a plus arm.
McGarry was straight wild in college at Virginia: 134 innings, 131 walks, 186 strikeouts. He always showed plus stuff, but his way-below-average command made it where many scouts didn’t take him seriously as an option in the top few rounds of the 2021 draft. Fast forward about 18 months and 145th overall pick McGarry ($325,000 bonus) is the 138th prospect in baseball and No. 2 overall pick Jack Leiter ($7.92 million bonus) is the 149th prospect in baseball, with pretty similar scouting reports now. Both rely in a plus fastball/breaking ball combo with below average but pretty good command and solid-average third and fourth offerings.
Lee signed out of Taiwan in 2021. He was the most advanced hitter to sign from there in some time and his first full pro season went really well, with him making it to High-A as a teenager. He’s a well-balanced offensive threat and may settle with above-average bat control, pitch selection, raw power and in-game power. He’s just OK at second and third base, and you’re hoping he can be average defensively there. Viars wasn’t well-known before the draft, going 84th overall in 2021. He’s a well-built 6-foot-4 and, like Lee, has a well-rounded mix of offensive talents — but his game is leaning more to a power-and-patience profile in a corner outfield spot.
Crawford is the son of Carl Crawford, and their games have some similarities. Both are lefty-hitting, plus-plus runners, play in the outfield and are slasher hit-over-power types at the plate with somewhat aggressive approaches. Justin will play center field and the main question is exactly how these tools will translate to higher levels.
Others of note
Rincones was a favorite of some Central Florida-area scouts in the 2021 draft out of a junior college but his price wasn’t met and he went to Florida Atlantic. Improbably, he put up really similar numbers that were better in some ways: .346/.451/.658 with 19 homers, 42 walks and 51 strikeouts. That performance in a mid-major conference bridged the gap to where most teams had a similar eval and he went 93rd overall last summer. He’s not a great runner or defender, but he can really hit and he has a 25-homer upside.
De La Cruz is a 6-foot-8 outfielder, and yes, that’s going to make contact difficult with his arms being so long. Luckily, he has plus-plus raw power so he can impact the ball when he gets ahold of it. His pitch selection and the lift in his swing could both be improved, but the innate bat-to-ball feel is pretty good. He moves around well enough to play a corner outfield spot, so these a chance this could click at any time, but it’s trending like an intriguing up-down type that produces some crazy highlights.
Pouaka-Grego signed in January 2022 out of New Zealand and put in a strong performance at the complex level as a 17-year-old. He can really hit, has a good approach and will fit somewhere in the infield, but his ultimate power output is the question. Bergolla (also from the 2022 international class) and Caba (just signed last month) were seven-figure signees that play shortstop. Both are plus runners and potentially plus defenders that are hit-over-power and project to be medium-framed. Boyd is a plus-plus runner whose swing and offensive approach are raw, but early returns are positive; he signed for $650,000 in the 11th round last summer out of a Mississippi high school.
MacFarlane was an intriguing prospect in 2019 out of a Georgia high school because of his projectable frame, loose arm, ability to spin a breaking ball and athleticism. His price wasn’t met and three years later at Miami, the scouting report was pretty similar. He was pitching mostly in relief, but his raw stuff had ticked up: 95-97 mph, hitting 99, and a plus slider. His changeup is usable and the raw components are here for command, but his long arms make it hard to repeat his delivery.
Song was a surprise Rule 5 pick from the Red Sox, as he still has a naval commitment with an unclear outlook, causing him to not appear in a pro game since the summer of 2019. He’ll show three 55- or 60-grade pitches with enough feel to start when he’s right, but it’s impossible to guess what he’ll look like when/if he returns to pro ball. Kerkering was a fifth-rounder last summer and has some similarities to Song on the mound. Kerkering sits 92-95 mph and mixes in a plus breaking ball, but his command puts him on the starter/reliever borderline. Baker is a pure reliever but sits 97-100 mph with a plus fastball/curveball combination; he could be in the big leagues in 2023.
22nd in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$197 million total value
1. James Wood, RF, 60 FV (13th on the Top 100)
2. Robert Hassell, CF, 50 FV (57)
3. Cade Cavalli, RHP, 50 FV (69)
4. Jarlin Susana, RHP, 50 FV (85)
5. Elijah Green, CF, 50 FV (103)
6. Brady House, SS, 50 FV (120)
7. Cole Henry, RHP, 45 FV
8. Cristhian Vaquero, CF, 45 FV
9. Jake Bennett, LHP, 45 FV
10. Andry Lara, RHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (10): Daylen Lile/RF, T.J. White/RF, Armando Cruz/SS, Jeremy De La Rosa/RF, Jackson Rutledge/RHP, Alex Call/LF, Brenner Cox/CF, Trey Lipscomb/3B, Jose A. Ferrer/LHP, Matt Cronin/LHP
35+ FV (16): Jake Alu/2B, Stone Garrett/CF, Jake Irvin/RHP, Sammy Infante/3B, Jared McKenzie/CF, Israel Pineda/C, Zach Brzykcy/RHP, Roismar Quintana/RF, Dustin Saenz/LHP, Thad Ward/RHP, Jeter Downs/2B, Yasel Antuna/RF, Aldo Ramirez/RHP, Mason Denaburg/RHP, Mitchell Parker/LHP, Evan Lee/LHP
2023 Impact: Cavalli
40+ FV breakout pick: Green
40 FV or less breakout pick: Lile
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
The Nats have been known for over a decade to take big swings at the top of the draft, in the international market and in free agency. They collect boom-or-bust players in search of upside and have landed plenty of booms through all avenues: Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and Max Scherzer are some examples. Elijah Green, Brady House and Cristhian Vaquero are three position players who have landed in this system from that line of thinking.
Green showed 70 raw power, 70 speed and 70 arm strength as early as his sophomore year of high school, all packed into a 6-foot-3 frame that looks like it belongs in the NFL, where his father played. As scouts beared down on the potential No. 1 overall talent entering last summer’s draft, they started to wonder if he was going to hit enough to get to all that power in games and that stuck with him until draft time, when some teams reflexively put him in their top fives and others had him outside the top ten. The Nats took him fifth overall and It’ll probably be clear by the end of the 2023 season if Green is going to go supernova and become a superstar or be more one-level-per-year prospect with some growing pains.
House also stood out early in his high school career and also has ridiculous raw tools: a 6-foot-4 shortstop with Dwight Howard’s shoulders, 30-plus homer potential, a plus-plus arm and occasionally plus run times. House also has hit-tool risk but this is simply because, similar to other elite talents, House swings too much in large part due to being able to get the bat on almost any pitch thrown at him his whole life. How he adjusts to this impulse at higher levels will dictate his career outcome. Vaquero was one of the top players in his international class for a while, showing plus raw power, bat speed, foot speed and arm strength at age 14. He made his pro debut in the DSL last summer and was solid, but he is just scratching the surface and needs to be challenged more.
Henry’s prospect stock has been riding a roller coaster as a polarizing prospect out of high school, a clear first-rounder as a freshman at LSU then a second-rounder in reality the next year, a top-100 prospect for some in 2021 and now a reliever for many. He had thoracic outlet surgery in August. Henry will show three plus pitches and pretty good control, but probably not enough command to go 150-plus innings as a starter. Bennett was the No. 45 overall pick last summer out of Oklahoma and is a steady 6-foot-6 lefty who runs it into the mid-90s but has a plus changeup and starter command. Lara is even more advanced for his age, getting to Low-A as an 18-year-old in 2021. He’s a sturdy 6-foot-4, sits 93-96 with an above-average fastball/slider combo and projects for starter command.
Others of note
There’s a nice collection of young outfielders in this range of the list. Lile was a standout hitter with enough power to profile in right field, going in the second round in 2021. He didn’t play in 2022 because of a March Tommy John surgery, but he should be able to pick up where he left off. The switch-hitting White is more of a pure athlete with plus speed and raw power but below-average contact skills that are helped by a good-enough approach. De La Rosa was added to the 40-man roster despite only playing 32 games above Low-A. He’s also a power-over-hit type with the plus speed that means he could possibly play center field. Cox signed for $1 million last year as a plus-running center fielder from a Texas high school with explosiveness at the plate, but he’s still a bit raw in all aspects.
Cruz was hyped since well before he signed for $3.9 million out of the Dominican Republic at age 16. He has always been a loose athlete with super quick hands that help him rank among the best amateur defenders at shortstop in a long time and project to be plus-plus at the position. The rest of his game is just OK right now, with his next-best tools being contact ability and speed that are both a bit above average. There isn’t much power and may never be, but there’s still a path to being a lower-end everyday player with 40-grade power. Rutledge was also hyped at signing, getting $3.45 million as the No. 17 overall pick in 2019 out of a Texas junior college. He’s 6-8 and threw 100 mph often, mixing in an easy plus slider and enough athleticism to imagine he would start. It hasn’t gone to plan, but 2022 was his best pro season and the broad skills are still there. Irvin was a fourth-rounder in 2018 but looked like a potential first-rounder earlier in his time at Oklahoma and he has now regained some of that form. He’ll turn 26 later this month but had 24 strong starts last year with an above-average two-plane breaking ball his best pitch.
The back half of the list has a number of reliever types who could be big league options in 2023. Ward was a Rule 5 pick from the Red Sox who has long been a solid multi-inning prospect with a tailing 93-95 mph heater and a cutter and slider that are plus at times, going all the way back to his days at UCF. Cronin is a high-arm-slot lefty who throws mostly 90-92 mph fastballs with lots of ride but has an average-ish breaking ball. Brzykcy was an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech in 2020. He has always been a hard thrower with a power breaker and OK command, and has done a nice job dialing in the balance of those things in pro ball. Ferrer is a lefty that throws mostly a 94-97 mph tailing heater, but also mixes in an above-average changeup that drew a 50% chase rate last season.
4th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$221 million total value
1. Pete Crow-Armstrong, CF, 55 FV (36th on the Top 100)
2. Jordan Wicks, LHP, 50 FV (51)
3. Kevin Alcantara, CF, 50 FV (77)
4. Cristian Hernandez, SS, 50 FV (113)
5. Hayden Wesneski, RHP, 50 FV (116)
6. Owen Caissie, RF, 50 FV (118)
7. James Triantos, 3B, 50 FV (125)
8. Brennen Davis, CF, 45+ FV (133)
9. Alexander Canario, RF, 45+ FV (146)
10. Cade Horton, RHP, 45 FV
11. Ben Brown, RHP, 45 FV
12. Caleb Kilian, RHP, 45 FV
13. D.J. Herz, LHP, 45 FV
14. Jackson Ferris, LHP, 45 FV
15. Matt Mervis, 1B, 40+ FV
16. Moises Ballesteros, C, 40+ FV
17. Daniel Palencia, RHP, 40+ FV
18. Miguel Amaya, C, 40+ FV
40 FV (8): Kevin Made/SS, Ed Howard/SS, Christopher Paciolla/SS, Derniche Valdez/SS, Jose Escobar/SS, Nazier Mule/RHP, Drew Gray/LHP, Ryan Jensen/RHP
35+ FV (27): Tyler Schlaffer/RHP, Luis Devers/RHP, Porter Hodge/RHP, Miles Mastrobuoni/2B, Adan Sanchez/C, Yeison Santana/SS, Brailyn Marquez/LHP, Ismael Mena/CF, Pedro Ramirez/2B, Ben Leeper/RHP, Jeremiah Estrada/RHP, Kohl Franklin/RHP, Yohendrick Pinango/LF, Javier Assad/RHP, Chase Strumpf/3B, Luis Verdugo/3B, Cole Roederer/LF, Bryce Ball/1B, Zachary Leigh/RHP, Ludwig Espinoza/SS, Jefferson Rojas/2B, Pablo Aliendo/C, Danis Correa/RHP, Jordan Nwogu/LF, Christian Franklin/CF, Brandon Birdsell/RHP, Luke Little/LHP
2023 Impact: Wesneski
40+ FV breakout pick: Palencia
40 FV or less breakout pick: Made
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Hernandez checked a lot of boxes as one of the top international signees in the 2021 class: lanky 6-2 frame with some present power and potential for more, likely stays at shortstop, potentially above-average at everything if it all clicks. His swing mechanics still need dialing in, and he’s struck out 92 times in 91 professional games, all in the complex leagues, so he’s a ways off still. He’s ranked up here because he’ll be 19 all season, and things could click at any time with the potential rosy outcome of a 25-30 homer producing shortstop.
Caissie was a high-variance, later-blooming Canadian corner outfielder in the 2020 draft that the Padres took in the second round, then included in the Yu Darvish package. He’s made steady progress and is still just 20 years old, with easy plus power as the selling point and a solid approach giving him a path to get to it in games. Triantos is the opposite sort of position player, a hit-first infielder with great feel for the bat head. Everything else about his game — pitch selection, raw power, speed, defense, arm — are all around average. He’ll probably be able to play a solid second or third base but that bat-to-ball will carry him to the big leagues.
Davis was a dynamic multisport plus athlete in the 2018 draft who also carried plenty of bust potential due to hit tool questions. He’s hit much better than expected and was a top 100 prospect until an injury-marred 2022 season. Davis had back pain that required surgery in June to cauterize a cluster of blood vessels. He returned in August then went to the Arizona Fall League for reps but bowed out due to back tightness. Davis is 6-4, has plus raw power, plus speed, and plus arm strength in a power-over-hit center field profile that he can hopefully return to in 2023.
Canario was half of the return for the Giants’ 2021 rental of Kris Bryant, and he has improved since coming over in the deal. He’s a right fielder with plus raw power, a plus arm and a good approach for tapping into his power in games. Canario may get a big league look in 2023 and has 25-30 homer upside.
Mervis will also get a 2023 look, though he may start in Triple-A with Eric Hosmer, Patrick Wisdom and Trey Mancini manning the first base and designated hitter spots. He has plus raw power and above-average bat-to-ball skills as evidenced by a three-level breakout 2022 season. He’s just OK defensively and doesn’t have much margin for error with the bat, more likely becoming a good lefty platoon type. Ballesteros also has plus raw power from the left side, along with an excellent approach and decent contact skills, but still needs work behind the plate. Amaya is a good defender behind the plate with low-end everyday upside, but didn’t play much in 2022 due to Tommy John surgery and a foot fracture.
Wesneski (93-95 mph, above average command, two plus breaking balls) was acquired via trade from the Yankees, Brown from the Phillies (94-96, easy plus curveball, average command), Kilian (93-95, above average cutter, average curveball and command) from the Giants, and Palencia (96-100, solid average curveball, decent command given velocity and experience) from the A’s while Horton (mid-90’s, two plus breakers, starter feel) and Ferris (above average fastball/breaker and command from huge lefty) were the Cubs’ first two picks in the 2022 draft. Herz (91-93 plays up due to shape and angle, changeup is plus, command will limit to shorter outings) is the one long-time Cub, drafted in 2019.
Others of note
Let’s cover the five shortstops in the 40 FV tier. Kevin Made had a tough pro debut in 2021, but turned the corner in 2022 with a double digit walk rate and 10 homers. The selling points are his physical projection and above-average glove at short, so he’s now tracking like an everyday shortstop if he can keep this up. Howard was the 16th overall pick in 2020 and showed rough pitch selection in a 2021 pro debut that improved in 2022 before he missed much of the year with a hip injury. He’s a bit better defender and athlete than Made, but his offensive upside looks a bit lower now.
Paciolla is a tier below these two in terms of raw tools, as a maybe shortstop who is a below-average runner, but he can stick in the infield and he can hit. He signed for $900,000 in the third round out of a SoCal high school last summer. Valdez was the headliner of last month’s international haul, signing for $2.8 million out of the Dominican Republic. Like Made and Howard, Valdez is an above-average athlete, runner and defender who projects as more of an average offensive threat, with a hit-over-power game at the moment. The lefty-hitting Escobar is a maybe shortstop that signed last February and had a loud debut in the DSL last summer, also showing average offensive upside.
11th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$274 million total value
1. Elly De La Cruz, SS, 60 FV (9th on the Top 100)
2. Edwin Arroyo, SS, 55 FV (40)
3. Noelvi Marte, SS, 50 FV (44)
4. Cam Collier, 3B, 50 FV (50)
5. Spencer Steer, 2B, 50 FV (104)
6. Chase Petty, RHP, 45+ FV (136)
7. Matt McLain, 2B, 45+ FV (166)
8. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B, 45+ FV (169)
9. Mike Siani, CF, 45 FV
10. Connor Phillips, RHP, 45 FV
11. Jay Allen, CF, 45 FV
12. Lyon Richardson, RHP, 45 FV
13. Steven Hajjar, LHP, 45 FV
14. Andrew Abbott, LHP, 45 FV
15. Brandon Williamson, LHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (16): Mat Nelson/C, Victor Acosta/SS, Rece Hinds/RF, Casey Legumina/RHP, Sal Stewart/3B, Ricardo Cabrera/SS, Alfredo Duno/C, Austin Hendrick/RF, Thomas Farr/RHP, Jose Torres/SS, Logan Tanner/C, Bryce Hubbart/LHP, Levi Stoudt/RHP, Tyler Callihan/2B, Carlos Jorge/2B, Daniel Vellojin/C
35+ FV (26): Hector Rodriguez/2B, Joe Boyle/RHP, Andrew Moore/RHP, Jose Franco/RHP, Justin Boyd/RF, Cade Hunter/C, Ricky Karcher/RHP, Kenya Huggins/RHP, Allan Cerda/RF, Christian Roa/RHP, Yerlin Confidan/RF, Leonardo Balcazar/SS, Fernando Cruz/RHP, Trey Faltine/SS, Dennis Boatman/RHP, Bryce Bonnin/RHP, Ivan Johnson/SS, Nick Quintana/3B, Ariel Almonte/RF, Austin Callahan/3B, Luis Mey/RHP, Hunter Parks/RHP, Zach Maxwell/RHP, Ben Brutti/RHP, Malvin Valdez/CF. Carlos Sanchez/3B
2023 Impact: Steer
40+ FV breakout pick: Phillips
40 FV or less breakout pick: Hubbart
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Steer, Encarnacion-Strand, Hajjar, and Petty were all acquired from the Twins, in separate trades for Tyler Mahle and Sonny Gray. Steer is a big league-ready late-blooming overachiever who is hit-over-power (but may hit 15-20 homers) and can play capably at second and third base. Encarnacion-Strand is also a late-bloomer. He went in the fourth round in 2021 out of Oklahoma State and got to his big raw power better than expected right away in pro ball. He’s just OK defensively at third base, and his pitch selection is the big question. Hajjar was a name out of high school then was an up-and-down performer at Michigan. His velo popped in pro ball with him now getting into the mid-90s, and he looks like a solid back-end starter. Petty was a late-first-rounder in 2021 as a high schooler reaching up to 101 mph with a plus slider and plus athleticism. He’s now 93-95 mph and flashing an above-average changeup as he’s improving his starter traits, getting to High-A as a teenager.
Phillips and Williamson both came over from Seattle in the Eugenio Suarez deal. Williamson had a bit of a down 2022 as his command took a step backward, particularly late in the season. He still has above average stuff and will get a big league look as he’s now on the 40-man, but the role isn’t as clear as it seemed a year ago. Phillips is arrow up as the plus athlete with plus velocity (95-98 now), a plus curveball and a plus slider. His changeup is a bit of an afterthought, and he’s a true power type with a relief look that has trouble commanding his power pitches in the fastball and slider but can flip in the curveball effectively. He’s probably a multi-inning type of some sort, but a 150-inning-plus type starter seems unlikely.
McLain (2021, UCLA) and Allen (2021, Florida high school) were first-round picks by the Reds, while Richardson (2018, Florida high school) and Abbott (2021, Virginia) were second-rounders and Siani (2018, Pennsylvania high school) got second-round money (a $2 million bonus) in the fourth round. McLain has evolved over the years and is now a power-over-hit second baseman with a late-count approach and 20-homer upside. Allen was a standout center fielder and quarterback in high school. He runs just well enough to play center field with mostly average tools across the board. Richardson is back from Tommy John surgery that cost him the 2022 season and was up to 99 mph during instructional league play, leading to him being added to the 40-man roster. He looks like a third or fourth starter once again. Abbott has good command of a 50-grade fastball and 55-grade curve, which should be enough to be a multi-inning weapon in the big leagues. Siani is a plus runner, thrower and defender in center field. He had a bounce-back 2022 at the plate, but he is limited to 10-15 home run upside with his current swing and approach.
Others of note
Acosta came over from San Diego for Brandon Drury at the trade deadline and has a considerable upside if he can put all the pieces together offensively. Acosta has some bat-to-ball ability, above-average power potential and above-average defensive potential at shortstop, but is the age of a domestic high school senior, so it’s still early. Hinds and Hendrick are similar in that they both have massive raw power and real contact issues while playing right field. The way they do it is different, in that Hinds is a 6-4 athlete with plus-plus raw power while Hendrick has plus-plus bat speed at six-feet, but both have below-average bat control and pitch selection. The top incoming position players in this system behind Collier are Stewart (32nd overall pick out of a Florida high school with above-average hit/power potential but the question is if he can stay at third base) and Duno (signed for $3.1 million out of Venezuela last month who has massive raw power with contact questions, as Cincinnati tends to chase).
Rodriguez and Jorge are two smallish second-base types worth monitoring this year. Rodriguez is a plus runner with excellent feel for the bat head, gap power, some experience playing center field and reached Low-A at age 18. That said, he currently swings way too much, and he must improve his pitch selection. Jorge, despite being 5-foot-8, has enough pop that you could project solid average power to go with his above-average speed, but his approach will probably always come with some strikeouts.
Farr and Hubbart are two sleepers to keep an eye on in 2023. Farr was a stuff-over-command type at South Carolina, but his feel has now progressed enough to project average command. He sits 93-96 with good ride while his slider and changeup both flash above average. 2023 will be a big year for him to prove this can work in the upper minors. Hubbart posted one of the best amateur command performances I’ve ever seen when facing a strong Cal lineup for Florida State last spring. He’ll need it in pro ball because he sits 88-92 mph, though with good shape for the top of the zone. He has two above-average breaking balls, but a rarely used changeup.
12th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$193 million total value
1. Jackson Chourio, CF, 60 FV (11th on the Top 100)
2. Sal Frelick, CF, 50 FV (45)
3. Brice Turang, SS, 50 FV (72)
4. Jeferson Quero, C, 45+ FV (141)
5. Joey Wiemer, CF, 45+ FV (156)
6. Tyler Black, 2B, 45+ FV (189)
7. Robert Gasser, LHP, 45 FV
8. Garrett Mitchell, CF, 45 FV
9. Eric Brown, SS, 45 FV
10. Abner Uribe, RHP, 45 FV
11. Jacob Misiorowski, RHP, 40+ FV
12. Luis Lara, RF, 40+ FV
13. Hendry Mendez, RF, 40+ FV
14. Ethan Small, LHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (10): Robert Moore/2B, Jadher Areinamo/SS, Freddy Zamora/SS, Janson Junk/RHP, Carlos Rodriguez/RHP, Luis Castillo/LF, Gus Varland/RHP, Carlos Rodriguez/CF, Joseph Hernandez/RHP, Eduardo Garcia/SS
35+ FV (18): Zavier Warren/3B, Cam Robinson/RHP, Hedbert Perez/LF, Blake Perkins/CF, Matthew Wood/C, Adam Seminaris/LHP, Eduarqui Fernandez/RF, Luke Adams/3B, Russell Smith/LHP, Tyson Miller/RHP, Payton Henry/C, Elvis Peguero/RHP, Ben Metzinger/3B, Justin Yeager/RHP, Lucas Erceg/RHP, Taylor Floyd/RHP, Gregory Barrios/SS, Logan Henderson/RHP
2023 Impact: Turang
40+ FV breakout pick: Brown
40 FV or less breakout pick: Castillo
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Quero is a plus defender behind the plate with a plus arm and plus bat control that helped him hit his way to High-A as a teenager in 2022. He’s limited a bit by his high swing and chase rates — both about 10% above big league averages while facing much worse pitching — but he’s still very young and has solid-average power upside. Wiemer is tooled out: 6-5 with at least plus raw power, speed and arm strength. Due to his approach, both his bat control and pitch selection are below average, but he seems very likely to at least be exciting and usable in the big leagues. Black is almost the exact opposite: a medium frame with fringy raw power and an unclear best positional fit. I think he’ll be fine at a number of spots, including second base and all three outfield spots, and he has one of the best hit/pitch selection combinations in the entire minor leagues.
Gasser popped up at Houston in 2021 and went 71st overall to the Padres before getting included in last trade deadline’s deal for Josh Hader. He has continued to progress, with strong fastball shape helping his low-90s heater play up, two-above average breaking balls and above-average command. Uribe is a different sort from Gasser, almost averaging 100 mph on his heaters and a plus to plus-plus two-plane slider is his out-pitch. He’s probably a reliever, but he has a decent delivery and hasn’t pitched that much yet, so there’s some room to dream. Misiorowski popped up last spring at a Missouri junior college with truly bananas raw stuff: a lanky 6-7 regularly up to 100 mph in the spring, a plus if not plus-plus slider and rapidly improving control. There’s plenty of relief risk here, but the combination of traits is truly rare. Jumping back to the other end of the spectrum, Small is a 6-3 lefty who sits 90-92 mph with a plus changeup, guile and angles working to his advantage.
I’ve generally been the low guy on Mitchell, but he’s now at least met my expectations by hitting his way to the big leagues two years after going in the first round out of UCLA. I doubted his ability to make offensive adjustments, and he’s made some, though he’s still not lifting the ball enough to tap into his raw power or making enough contact to where that won’t matter. He’s at least a toolsy fourth outfielder and could still be more. Brown has a funky setup to his swing, but he puts the bat on the ball, has a solid approach, solid average speed, and will fit somewhere in the infield. Whether he can play shortstop and if he can get to his fringy raw power in games are the remaining questions. Lara is listed at 5-9, 155 lbs. but has surprisingly big tools for a lesser-known, smaller position player with average raw power, solid average speed, a plus arm and great feel for hitting. It’s very early but he’s one to keep an eye on. Mendez is a teenager that can really hit and has an excellent feel for the strike zone. He’s limited, though, by a corner outfield fit and an extreme groundball tendency, which holds back his in-game power.
Others of note
Moore is the son of Royals GM Dayton and looked like a first round pick soon after getting to Arkansas, but leveled off a bit in his draft year. He’s a plus runner and above-average defender at second base with above-average contact skills, but his 2022 performance in the SEC didn’t show it. The Brewers are betting on him being young for the class (he enrolled early at Arkansas) and having above-average tools bodes well for correcting it. Areinamo is a teenaged shortstop who can really hit, but that may be his only above-average tool, but that’s definitely one of the ones to have. Somewhat similarly to these two middle infielders, Zamora probably won’t hit for much power but he can make contact. Zamora’s standout skills are plus speed and an above average glove at short.
Castillo is a left-field fit, but the good news is that he mashes. He hit his way to Low-A at age 18 with plus power and patience while showing the feel to get the ball in the air. Adams and Metzinger were both underappreciated in last year’s draft. Metzinger was 23 on draft day and only has average raw power, so that seems like a light profile for a guy that has to play on a corner — but he can hit and could move up the ladder quickly. Adams is a 6-4 third baseman who was a late-riser at an Illinois high school. He has above-average raw power and arm strength with some feel to hit, but may end up in right field eventually.
5th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$230 million total value
1. Termarr Johnson, 2B, 55 FV (24th in the Top 100)
2. Endy Rodriguez, C, 50 FV (42)
3. Henry Davis, C, 50 FV (68)
4. Liover Peguero, SS, 50 FV (112)
5. Quinn Priester, RHP, 50 FV (115)
6. Ji Hwan Bae, 2B, 50 FV (121)
7. Bubba Chandler, RHP/3B, 45+ FV (159)
8. Luis Ortiz, RHP, 45+ FV (172)
9. Michael Burrows, RHP, 45+ FV (186)
10. Travis Swaggerty, CF, 45 FV
11. Thomas Harrington, RHP, 45 FV
12. Anthony Solometo, LHP, 45 FV
13. Jared Jones, RHP 45 FV
14. Yordany De Los Santos, SS, 40+ FV
15. Hunter Barco, LHP, 40+ FV
16. Canaan Smith-Njigba, LF, 40+ FV
17. Jared Triolo, 3B, 40+ FV
40 FV (13): Carmen Mlodzinski/RHP, Tsung-Che Cheng/SS, Po-Yu Chen/RHP, Nick Gonzales/2B, Abrahan Gutierrez/C, Dariel Lopez/3B, Cody Bolton/RHP, Lonnie White Jr./CF, Michael Kennedy/LHP, Connor Scott/CF, Jack Brannigan/3B/RHP, Jun-Seok Shim/RHP, Malcolm Nunez/3B
35+ FV (23): Ricky DeVito/RHP, Rodolfo Nolasco/RF, Hudson Head/CF, Eddy Yean/RHP, Kyle Nicolas/RHP, Tony Blanco Jr./RF, Jase Bowen/CF, Colin Selby/RHP, Maikol Escotto/SS, Shalin Polanco/CF, J.C. Flowers/RHP, Matt Fraizer/CF, Jose Hernandez/LHP, Tres Gonzalez/LF, Carter Bins/C, Matt Gorski/CF, Lolo Sanchez/CF, Sergio Campana/CF, Javier Rivas/SS, Sean Sullivan/RHP, Tahnaj Thomas/RHP, Owen Kellington/RHP, Ryan Vilade/LF
2023 Impact: Ortiz
40+ FV breakout pick: Harrington
40 FV or less breakout pick: Kennedy
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Peguero made his big league debut last summer after coming to Pittsburgh as the headliner in the 2020 Starling Marte trade with Arizona. He looks like an everyday shortstop, with above-average bat control, speed and defensive ability, but he’s just enough of a free swinger for scouts to question if he’ll reach his offensive upside. Bae is more likely to reach his upside, but it’s just a bit lower. He’s a plus runner and fine defensive second baseman with plus bat control and a solid approach, but more like 10-12 homer potential. Swaggerty has had his ups and down since going No. 10 overall in 2018, but is now knocking on the door of the big leagues as something close to what was advertised. He’s a plus runner and above-average defender in center field with plus raw power and a decent approach, but fringy contact skills and fringe-to-average power output.
Priester has perennially seemed on the verge of a breakout dating back to when he went 18th overall in the 2019 draft from a Chicago-area high school. He has a plus-plus yakker of a curveball and sits 93-95 mph, but his four-seamer plays below average, while his two-seamer is a better fit. Dialing in his command and third pitch will dictate the outcome, which ranges from becoming a second to fifth starter. Chandler has some similarities with Brannigan as a dynamic two-way (and two-sport, as a Clemson quarterback commit) talent, though he fits a bit better as a primary pitcher. He sits 94-97 mph in shorter stints and his breaking ball, changeup and command all flash above average but none of them are consistently there yet. Ortiz popped up this year firing 95-98 mph heaters with an above-average slider and changeup, making his fringy command and if he can do all this again the questions going forward.
De Los Santos is 17 years old and has only played in the DSL so far, but he has a well-rounded mix of bat speed, bat control and raw power projection with a shot to stay at shortstop. Harrington was one of my favorite pitchers to watch last spring, as he’d routinely get strikeouts with all four of his pitches, then he was the star of the sports science metrics I had access to right before the draft. He has four solid-average pitches headlined by a plus change and also above average command; he’s my pick to click in this group.
Smith-Njigba is a big leaguer, but his last name may be more notable to fans because his brother is projected to go in the first round of the NFL draft. Canaan is a left fielder with plus power and patience, but he has to lift the ball more to make the most of this skill set. Triolo was added to the 40-man roster and has mostly average tools across the board, except for his-above average glove at third base. His hit-over-power approach means he doesn’t get to all of his average raw power right now.
Burrows is big league-ready and now may have starter command to go with with three above-average pitches. Solometo signed for $2.8 million in the 2021 draft out of a New Jersey high school. He throws a lot of low-90s fastballs that have excellent life and angle, though his command and execution of his offspeed pitches still need to come along. He looks like a third/fourth starter type. Jones has long been a hard thrower, still sitting 95-97 mph with three above-average pitches but below-average command. I’m still not sure of his ultimate role, but he’s a plus athlete, so I won’t rule out one more notch of command development to make him a mid-rotation starter. Barco’s asking price wasn’t met out of high school due to a late shoulder concern, then he needed Tommy John surgery in his draft year at Florida. He’s a reliable lefty with a feel for a plus splitter, above-average slider and low-90s velo that can creep into the mid-90s at times.
Others of note
Mlodzinski has morphed a bit over the years from mostly unknown early in his college career to breakout Cape Cod League fireballer reaching 99 mph, and now he’s a likely solid big leaguer who sits 93-95 mph. His command and polish have improved as the velocity settled a bit, and now all three of his pitches and his command project around solid-average. Brannigan is harder to project, with upper-90s velocity on the mound and a bevy of plus tools as a third baseman: bat speed, raw power, athleticism and arm strength. He’ll get a cleaner chance at being a position player, but he’s raw in all aspects so he is an intriguing ball of clay for development. Kennedy drew some Jon Lester comps on the showcase circuit, and the Pirates gave him $1 million in the fourth round. He’s a well-built 6-1 pitcher who is young for his prep class and got limited reps coming from New York, but would show three above-average pitches and starter command
Cheng signed out of Taiwan in the summer of 2019, eventually making his pro debut in 2021. He’s a 5-7 lefty hitter with plus speed who can play shortstop, but as you may guess due to his size, with very little power. His speed will help juice his isolated power by turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples, but he’s also hit 10 homers in 142 pro games, so there’s enough pure hitability here to punish a mistake. Lopez has above-average bat-to-ball skills and raw power, but his pitch selection and defense at third base are both question marks right now.
White has had multiple injury issues since signing that have limited him to only 11 pro games, but he is a fantastic athlete with plus power and plus speed who was also a top-tier football recruit. Gonzales was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 draft, and that was COVID shut-related as scouts only thought he was that type of talent due to a strong Cape Cod League summer without a full spring season to prove how real that was. He’s been a bit old for a prospect at each level in the pros thus far and still has been running strikeout rates near 30% without enough power to make that palatable. There’s still a path to being a lower-end everyday player but it involves some offensive adjustments.
18th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$228 million total value
1. Jordan Walker, RF, 60 FV (14th on the Top 100)
2. Masyn Winn, SS, 55 FV (27)
3. Tink Hence, RHP, 50 FV (61)
4. Gordon Graceffo, RHP, 50 FV (81)
5. Ivan Herrera, C, 50 FV (89)
6. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, 50 FV (123)
7. Alec Burleson, RF, 45+ FV (155)
8. Jonathan Mejia, SS, 45+ FV (181)
9. Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, 45 FV
10. Josh Baez, RF, 45 FV
11. Michael McGreevy, RHP, 40+ FV
12. Leonardo Bernal, C, 40+ FV
40 FV (6): Brycen Mautz/LHP, Connor Thomas/LHP, Pete Hansen/LHP, Jimmy Crooks/C, Max Rajcic/RHP, Freddy Pacheco/RHP
35+ FV (21): Jose Fermin/SS, Moises Gomez/RF, Tre Fletcher/CF, Alec Willis/RHP, Zane Mills/RHP, Luis Pino/CF, Ian Bedell/RHP, James Naile/RHP, Jeremy Rivas/SS, Wilking Rodriguez/RHP, Jake Walsh/RHP, Guillermo Zuniga/RHP, Patrick Romeri/RF, Yordalin Pena/CF, Chandler Redmond/1B, Ryan Holgate/RF, Luken Baker/1B, Jhon Torres/RF, Victor Scott/CF, Ramon Mendoza/2B, Samil De La Rosa/2B
2023 Impact: Walker
40+ FV breakout pick: Hjerpe
40 FV or less breakout pick: Mautz
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
The conversation around Liberatore has changed from his high school days when he was seen as a exciting, high-upside pitcher who projected for plus stuff as a potential frontline starter and then a few years later when he was seen as a decent backend-type with a fringy fastball. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between. He’s a 6-4 lefty sitting 92-95, but his fastball doesn’t have the bat-missing angle many teams are looking for, even if he now throws a pretty even split of tailing two-seamers and four-seamers with ride. He has above-average command of both fastballs, and they play around average. Both breaking balls are above average, with the curveball being plus for many, and his changeup is a bit above average while his overall command is also a bit above. I think the reasonable projection is now a third or fourth starter, depending on further adjustments.
Hjerpe is a pick to click amongst analytical types as he does a lot of the things that teams are looking for in pitchers. He delivers from a low slot and gets down the mound well, creating the flat plane that helps a fastball play above its velocity when commanded at the top of the zone. All three offerings (fastball, breaker and changeup) are above average and will flash plus at times. His command projects above average as well, but some trust-their-eyes types saw Hjerpe with an 88-92 mph fastball and an average slider at times in college, and that camp is waiting for some pro results before jumping totally on board. I think it’s about 50/50 Hjerpe will be in the top 100 next winter. It’s not a perfect comp, but there are a little bit of lefty Aaron Nola vibes here.
Back on the less sexy fastball shape end of things, McGreevy throws a tailing 90-93 mph four-seamer that he commands well, but it plays as a 45-grade pitch as is. He’s a good athlete with a plus breaking ball, his curve and change both flash average, and he has easy starter-level command. He looks like a high probability back-end starter right now, but he converted to pitching in college and has some markers that make another leap possible.
The hitters in this group are a little more straightforward to evaluate, as a protractor is not necessary. Burleson was a two-way player at East Carolina then took a bigger step forward than expected when he became a hitter only in pro ball. He has above-average raw power and bat-to-ball skills in a corner-outfield package, but his pitch selection is still below average and may undermine his offensive upside in the big leagues. Mejia was a seven-figure international signing and has a familiar toolset — plus bat control, switch-hitter, above-average speed and defense at shortstop — but is still just 17 years old and has only played in the DSL. Baez has explosive bat speed, raw power and arm strength but it remains to be seen if he’ll make enough contact to get to his power in pro ball. Bernal made it to Low-A as an 18-year-old, switch-hitting catcher, which tells you a lot. It’s still early, but I’ve seen enough to project at least average offensive (he’s surprisingly hit 12 homers in 89 professional games) and defensive upside, if not more on both counts.
Others of note
The Cardinals loaded up on lefties in the 2022 draft, taking Mautz and Hansen after Hjerpe. Mautz is a 6-3 lefty with excellent feel for locating his plus slider, and he’ll run his fastball into the mid-90s at times, giving an easy relief floor, but there’s enough feel here that I think he’ll stick as a starter. Hansen went undrafted in 2021 in part due to a velo dip after he had COVID-19, then went in the third round in 2022. Hansen closed well, scraping the mid-90s, but the selling point here is his feel and above-to-plus slider.
Thomas was a 2019 draftee but fits with this group of lefties. He was mostly 86-90 mph at Georgia Tech and is just a tick higher than that now, but it plays close to average due to the angle, life and command he has of the pitch. His cutter, slider and command are all above average, and his changeup is about average, so there’s a multi-inning role of some sort in his future, probably at some point in 2023.
Rajcic and Crooks were also notable 2022 draftees. Rajcic was name in SoCal that scouts had a lot of history during his high school days before he played three seasons at UCLA. He has solid command of a solid-average four-pitch mix and could move quickly due to his polish. Crooks is a hit-over-power lefty who could hit 15 homers and has worked to become average defensively with a solid-average arm.
Gomez was released by the Rays after the 2021 season, but he performed so well with the Cardinals that they added him to their 40-man roster after the 2022 season. He’s always been a stout righty hitter with plus raw power, but the rest of the package varied in the past few years. He’s a late-count hitter trying to get to his power, so he’ll always strike out, but he hit 39 homers in the upper minors last year. Zuniga could be a bullpen option in 2023 despite not playing above Double-A. He sits 97-99 mph, mixes in a 55-grade slider and has decent command. Pacheco is another similar option, sitting 96-98 mph and mixing in a solid-average slider with roughly similar command.
16th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$354.5 million total value
1. Corbin Carroll, CF, 65 FV (2nd on the Top 100)
2. Gabriel Moreno, C, 60 FV (4)
3. Jordan Lawlar, SS, 60 FV (8)
4. Druw Jones, CF, 55 FV (21)
5. Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, 55 FV (32)
6. Drey Jameson, RHP, 50 FV (96)
7. Ryne Nelson, RHP, 45+ FV (151)
8. Deyvison De Los Santos, 3B, 45+ FV (167)
9. Blake Walston, LHP, 45+ FV (179)
10. Ruben Santana, 3B, 45 FV
11. Landon Sims, RHP, 40+ FV
12. Jorge Barrosa, CF, 40+ FV
13. Adrian Del Castillo, C, 40+ FV
40 FV (14): Yu-Min Lin/LHP, Tommy Henry/LHP, A.J. Vukovich/3B, Bryce Jarvis/RHP, Slade Cecconi/RHP, Kristian Robinson/RF, Ivan Melendez/1B, Cristofer Torin/SS, Carlos Vargas/RHP, Blaze Alexander/SS, Manuel Pena/3B, Ryan Bliss/SS, Nate Savino/LHP, Dylan Ray/RHP
35+ FV (17): Abdias De La Cruz/SS, Christian Montes De Oca/RHP, Tyler Holton/LHP, Dominic Fletcher/CF, Tim Tawa/2B, Joe Elbis/RHP, Demetrio Crisantes/SS, Wilderd Patino/CF, Justin Martinez/RHP, Luis Frias/RHP, Jose Fernandez/SS, Andrew Pintar/SS, Adrian Rodriguez/SS, Spencer Giesting/LHP, Christian Cerda/C, Gavin Conticello/3B, Juan Corniel/SS
2023 Impact: Carroll
40+ FV breakout pick: Jameson
40 FV or less breakout pick: Lin
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Nelson relied on a power fastball and breaker at Oregon, so many teams thought he would be a reliever in the pros. His starter traits have progressed to the point where he is now playable as a big league starter, with a 55-grade fastball and slider still his top weapons. Walston has been a projection lefty with some Cole Hamels vibes for years now and hasn’t quite broken through, sitting 90-93 mph with his curveball, changeup and command all projecting for above average. Sims started for Mississippi State in his draft year after having a Craig Kimbrel look in relief as an underclassman. He needed Tommy John surgery before the draft and now is probably a mid-90’s, plus slider, flat-approach-angle reliever long-term, but the D-backs may take one more look at him in longer stints.
De Los Santos has an easy carrying tool in his plus-plus raw power, but the rest of his profile is a question right now. He’s OK at third base, he has some bat-to-ball ability and the feel to tap into his power in games, but he swings way too much to let his hitting tools shine through. Santana has some similarities to De Los Santos, as a righty-hitting third baseman with potential plus-plus raw power in a power-over-hit profile. Santana is still just 17 years old and has only played in the DSL, so he’s one to monitor. Barrosa is a very different type, listed at 5-9, with average-ish physical tools but excellent feel in his approach at the plate, bat-to-ball skills and instincts in center field. The report on Del Castillo back to high school has been that he is a good hitter with a pretty lefty swing and solid approach, but his power and defense behind the plate play fringy in games.
Others of note
Lin had an incredible 2022 pro debut after signing out of Taiwan: 91 strikeouts to 22 walks in 56.1 innings while getting to Low-A as a teenager. The D-backs were quickly getting trade asks on him and there is underlying ability to support his early success. He sits 88-90 mph but with good life, command and angle to the plate, but the selling point is a plus changeup. Henry made nine big league starts last year and will be a good back-end lefty with his average-ish stuff and lots of guile. Jarvis was a late-rising college arm who has held his velo spike (94-96 mph still) and has solid-average stuff, but fringy command. Cecconi showed up in pro ball firing upper-90s bullets and mixing in a plus slider, but his stuff has settled closer to average, similar to the rest of this group.
Vukovich has plus raw power, solid bat-to-ball ability and sneaky athleticism, but his high chase and swing rates have limited his performance. Melendez went in the second round after a huge 2022 season at Texas (.387/.508/.863, 32 homers, more walks than strikeouts in 67 games). He has plus-plus raw power and pretty good bat-to-ball skills, but little speed or defensive ability. Torin is the kind of prospect that numbers-oriented clubs try to get thrown into a deal: a smallish middle-infielder with unreal strike zone discipline. Torin walked 37 times and struck out just 20 as a 17-year-old in the DSL, so he has a really high floor but he’s also 5-foot-10 with very little power and probably fits better at second base than shortstop. Alexander has always been fun to watch due to his 80-grade arm at short stop, but it’s his decreased strikeout rate (from 32% to 24%) and increased power output (.153 ISO to .233) that got him added to the 40-man roster this winter.
12th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$191 million total value
1. Ezequiel Tovar, SS, 55 FV (35th on the Top 100)
2. Zac Veen, RF, 50 FV (49)
3. Adael Amador, SS, 50 FV (73)
4. Drew Romo, C, 50 FV (128)
5. Nolan Jones, RF, 45+ FV (154)
6. Dyan Jorge, SS, 45+ FV (158)
7. Benny Montgomery, CF, 45 FV
8. Warming Bernabel, 3B, 45 FV
9. Jordan Beck, RF, 45 FV
10. Gabriel Hughes, RHP, 45 FV
11. Sterlin Thompson, RF, 45 FV
12. Yanquiel Fernandez, RF, 45 FV
13. Michael Toglia, 1B, 40+ FV
14. McCade Brown, RHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (15): Brenton Doyle/CF, Jackson Cox/RHP, Sean Bouchard/LF, Joe Rock/LHP, Julio Carreras/SS, Gavin Hollowell/RHP, Victor Juarez/RHP, Noah Davis/RHP, Jordy Vargas/RHP, Jaden Hill/RHP, Chris McMahon/RHP, Connor Staine/RHP, Luis Mendez/SS, Hunter Goodman/C, Jeff Criswell/RHP
35+ FV (18): Carson Palmquist/LHP, Ryan Rolison/LHP, Riley Pint/RHP, Connor Seabold/RHP, Blair Calvo/RHP, Jarrod Cande/RHP, Nick Garcia/RHP, Ryan Ritter/SS, Kelvin Hidalgo/3B, Daniel Montano/LF, Karl Kaufmann/RHP, Ronaiker Palma/C, Grant Lavigne/1B, Luke Taggart/RHP, Helcris Olivarez/LHP, Juan Guerrero/LF, Juan Mejia/RHP, Brayan Castillo/RHP
2023 Impact: Tovar
40+ FV breakout pick: Brown
40 FV or less breakout pick: Staine
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Romo was universally seen as a plus defender with a plus arm and some power potential at the plate when he went No. 35 in the 2020 draft. He has been better than expected as a hitter, but his in-game power has been well below average and that will dictate if he’s a low-end regular or potential All-Star. Jones will compete for big league time at all four corner spots after being acquired from Cleveland this winter. He has plus raw power but averaged a 3-degree launch angle that holds back his power production. Toglia will also be in the mix for big league reps at first base in 2023 and has plus raw power, though his bat control is lacking.
Jorge signed for $2.8 million and had a solid pro debut in the DSL, with a strong collection of hit tool, pitch selection and speed packed into a potential everyday-player package. Brown is an athletic righty who flashes three-above average pitches and the components for command, but he still needs to be tested at higher levels.
Fernandez (right fielder who could hit 25-30 homers) and Bernabel (solid third baseman with 20 homer upside and feel for contact) are both potential regulars with well-below-average pitch selection holding them back. They are 20 and 21 years old respectively, so there’s still some time to develop that skill. Montgomery was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 draft with the sales pitch being that he’s a 6-4 center fielder with plus speed, a plus glove in center field, plus power potential and feel for contact despite a funky swing. His pitch selection is also lacking, but he could be in for a breakout if it improves.
Hughes, Beck and Thompson were the Rockies first three draft picks in 2022 (all going in the top 38 overall) though I prefer them in a different order than which they were taken. The 6-3 Beck is an excellent athlete with easy plus raw power and above-average speed, but a swing designed for power that needs to be dialed in a bit. Hughes is a 6-4 righty with an above-average-to-plus sinker/slider combo and enough feel to remain a starter. Thompson may be able to play some second base, but probably fits best in a corner outfield spot as a pure hitter with 55-grade raw power held back by below-average pitch selection at the moment.
Others of note
Doyle was a little-known prospect until his draft spring at Division II Shepherd University. There were huge questions about his hit tool against even decent velocity, but his plus speed, above average arm, and above-average raw power were enough to gamble on in the fourth round. So far, his hit tool is fine but his chase and swing rates have been problematic enough for him to project more as a toolsy fourth outfielder than a starter. Bouchard got some early attention at a SoCal high school, but that interest tailed off at UCLA, and he went in the ninth round in 2018. He has produced nonstop in the minors, hitting his way to the big leagues last year. He’s a roughly average offensive threat, a good corner utility type.
Cox was a 2022 second-round pick as a prep from Washington. He’s a good athlete with 3000+ rpm spin rates on his breaker and a fastball that gets into the mid-90s at times, giving him starter traits. Palmquist is a near-sidearm lefty from Miami who has a chance to be a starter. His fastball plays well despite parking in the low-90s, his slider is tough on lefties and his changeup is usable — but overall execution is still a question. Staine was the Rockies’ 2022 fifth-rounder with buzz as high as the second round due to his breakout spring. He’s a 6-5, athletic righty with a mid-90s heater, though his three off-speed pitches and command are inconsistent. He had a recent velo spike and the traits to become a back-end starter are here.
Rock is a 6-6 lefty who popped up at mid-major Ohio in the 2021 draft spring and eventually went 68th overall. He has a solid-average three-pitch mix and fringy command, though some scouts worry his arm action portends command and injury issues down the road. Hill was the 44th overall pick in 2021, a tough outcome for a player it appeared could go in the top ten picks before command issues followed by Tommy John surgery. He still runs it into the upper-90s and has a plus changeup he showed while pitching 17.1 pro innings last season. Finally, Pint was the fourth overall pick in 2016 out of a Kansas high school with an elite mix of raw stuff and athleticism, but retired in 2021 after never getting out of A-ball. He returned in 2022 and was good enough to be added to the 40-man roster. He sat 95-97 and drew a 53% whiff rate on his slider in the upper minors last year, but his command is still well below average.
1st in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$265 million total value
1. Diego Cartaya, C, 55 FV (22nd on the Top 100)
2. Bobby Miller, RHP, 55 FV (25)
3. Gavin Stone, RHP, 50 FV (55)
4. Miguel Vargas, 3B, 50 FV (80)
5. Dalton Rushing, C, 50 FV (98)
6. Michael Busch, 1B, 50 FV (126)
7. Nick Frasso, RHP, 45+ FV (139)
8. Andy Pages, RF, 45+ FV (143)
9. Nick Nastrini, RHP, 45+ FV (188)
10. Emmet Sheehan, RHP, 45+ FV (191)
11. Josue De Paula, RF, 45 FV
12. James Outman, CF, 45 FV
13. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, 45 FV
14. Jorbit Vivas, 2B, 45 FV
15. Rayne Doncon, SS, 45 FV
16. Landon Knack, RHP, 45 FV
17. Eddys Leonard, 2B, 40+ FV
18. Jonny DeLuca, RF, 40+ FV
19. Maddux Bruns, LHP, 40+ FV
20. Joendry Vargas, SS, 40+ FV
40 FV (10): Samuel Munoz/RF, Yeiner Fernandez/C, Michael Grove/RHP, Peter Heubeck/RHP, Edgardo Henriquez/RHP, Andre Jackson/RHP, Jose Ramos/CF, Mairoshendrick Martinus/SS, Jesus Galiz/C, Oswaldo Osorio/SS
35+ FV (24): Alex Freeland/3B, Carson Taylor/C, Jeral Perez/SS, Logan Wagner/SS, River Ryan/RHP, Maximo Martinez/RHP, Joel Ibarra/RHP, Luis Rodriguez/RF, Wilman Diaz/SS, Ronan Kopp/LHP, Carlos Duran/RHP, Nick Robertson/RHP, Ryan Ward/LF, Kyle Nevin/RF, Jake Vogel/CF, Juan Alonso/CF, Thayron Liranzo/C, Adolfo Ramirez/RHP, Ben Harris/LHP, Eduardo Guerrero/SS, Derlin Figueroa/SS, Yunior Garcia/RF, Justin Wrobleski/LHP, Carlos De Los Santos/RHP
2023 Impact: Vargas
40+ FV breakout pick: Frasso
40 FV or less breakout pick: Freeland
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Busch doesn’t really have a defensive home (likely a mix of first base and DH) and hasn’t made his big league debut yet at 25 years old. That said, he’s a high-probability hitter with plus pitch selection, plus raw power and good bat-to-ball skills. Pages is a decent center fielder with a plus arm that will fit anywhere and has shown good feel for getting to his above-average power by hitting 57 homers over the past two seasons. He’s been young for every level, but scouts question his overall impact since he’s probably a right fielder with a roughly average offensive outlook. Outman will get a real chance to play in the big leagues this year and may make me look bad for not putting him in my top 100, though he has a terrible name for a hitter. He’s a 6-3 lefty with plus raw power, solid pitch selection and plus speed, but it isn’t clear yet if that power will completely show up in games or if his speed is enough to allow him to play an average center field. The outcomes of this toolset ranges from Sam Hilliard to Andrew Benintendi.
Leonard fits as a multi-positional utility player with an average overall toolset who is average defensively everywhere except shortstop. DeLuca has been productive, hitting 47 homers and stealing 37 bases the last two seasons, and profiles as a fourth outfielder. DePaula is an exciting DSL product who signed for $300,000 last year. He’s a corner outfield fit but has maybe-plus bat control, pitch selection and raw power potential, so he could shoot up into the top 100 if he starts 2023 in Low-A as a 17-year-old.
Vivas has a high floor but less upside. He has a plus-plus combination of hit tool and pitch selection, but 45-grade power and is a second base fit. Doncon also has an above average-to-plus bat control, bat speed and raw power combination like De Paula, but the issue is his defensive home isn’t clear (I’ll guess second base, but it could be the outfield), and his chase and swing rates are very high. Vargas was the Dodgers top international signing last month and is a 6-3 switch hitter with a shot to stick at shortstop and produce above average offense, but he’s projectable, and it’s early.
As usual, the Dodgers have an exciting, varied collection of pitching prospects with the potential to pitch in a playoff series in some role. Frasso is a later-blooming righty who was acquired from the Blue Jays last season. He has great pitch metrics and hit 100 mph last spring, but also recently returned from Tommy John surgery. Nastrini was an afterthought in the 2021 draft after leaving UCLA and pitching in a local summer league, but he has a chance to reach the majors this season with easy plus stuff and playable command. Sheehan opened his 2021 draft year as the fourth-best prospect at Boston College and went in the sixth round, but now after being run through the Dodgers dev group, he has a plus fastball and changeup along with multi-inning quality command. Pepiot also has multi-inning level command with three above-average pitches headlined by a plus changeup. Bruns is a 6-2 lefty with three plus pitches, but his command is still well below average. Knack is a clear starter with solid-average stuff.
Others of note
Munoz is a bit behind De Paula from the same signing class, but he is still an exciting prospect. The 6-3 lefty swinger also fits in a corner-outfield spot but may move to first base, with the selling point being that he’s above average at everything in the batter’s box. Martinus signed out of Curacao, also in the 2022 signing class, blooming a bit later than the typical elite international prospect. He’s a lanky 6-3 that could end up anywhere on the diamond depending on how his physicality evolves, but he’s an above average runner with a plus arm, plus bat speed, and plus power potential, even if he swings too much right now.
Freeland (third round) and Wagner (sixth round) are 2022 draft picks with some tools for the Dodgers’ dev group to work with. Freeland is a 6-2 switch hitter who will stick in the infield and has above-average offensive tools. Wagner isn’t a long-term shortstop, but will also stay in the infield and is a switch hitter with plus bat speed and power potential. Heubeck is a silky smooth righty with good command and average raw stuff that plays up and could jump with more arm speed. Ibarra is a converted position player whose fastball sits in the mid-90s with excellent life and angle to go with an above-average cutter/slider and good enough command.
27th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$145 million total value
1. Jackson Merrill, SS, 60 FV (16th on the Top 100)
2. Dylan Lesko, RHP, 50 FV (82)
3. Samuel Zavala, RF, 50 FV (99)
4. Ethan Salas, C, 45+ FV (135)
5. Eguy Rosario, 2B, 45 FV
6. Robby Snelling, LHP, 45 FV
7. Adam Mazur, RHP, 45 FV
8. Rosman Verdugo, SS, 40+ FV
9. Henry Williams, RHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (10): Yendry Rojas/SS, Victor Lizarraga/RHP, Ryan Bergert/RHP, Estuar Suero/CF, Lamar King Jr./C, Jakob Marsee/CF, Josh Mears/CF, Jay Groome/LHP, Garrett Hawkins/RHP, Nerwilian Cedeno/2B
35+ FV (18): Nathan Martorella/1B, Brandon Valenzuela/C, Daniel Montesino/LF, Pedro Avila/RHP, Ray Kerr/LHP, Matthew Batten/SS, Korry Howell/CF, Brett Sullivan/C, Tom Cosgrove/LHP, Jose Lopez/LHP, Angel Felipe/RHP, Isaiah Lowe/RHP, Reiss Knehr/RHP, Maikol Munoz/3B, Jackson Wolf/LHP, Alek Jacob/RHP, Zack Qin/LHP, Efrain Contreras/RHP
2023 Impact: Rosario
40+ FV breakout pick: Williams
40 FV or less breakout pick: Suero
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Salas was the best player in the international class that became eligible to sign last month and got a top-of-the-class bonus at $5.6 million. He starts pro ball in the conversation with previous elite international signees including Jasson Dominguez, Wander Franco and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. because players in this tier can often move quickly. Salas projects for plus raw power with the ability to stick behind the plate (if not thrive) defensively and his plus arm helps. There’s plenty of hit tool, he’s always performed well in games, and his brother Jose is already a top-100 prospect with the Twins. Salas was at Petco Park for a minicamp recently and surprised some in attendance by hitting a number of balls out in BP. Young catchers are a risky bunch, but Salas has the full package to shoot up this list ASAP.
Rosario is big league-ready, can capably play around the infield and should provide average offensive contributions, but the start of his season will be impacted by a broken ankle. Verdugo is another infield fit — he probably won’t be a shortstop — but he just turned 18 years old so his future is still pretty unclear. He has above-average power upside and some real feel to get to it, hitting seven homers in 52 domestic complex league games, so he’s an exciting one to keep an eye on in 2023.
There are three more pitchers from the 2022 draft class worth mentioning here. Snelling (comp round, Nevada high school) was also a football prospect as a linebacker and took a huge step forward on the mound in the spring by getting into the mid-90s and commanding a plus breaking ball. Mazur (second round) transferred from South Dakota State to Iowa and had an up-and-down spring, but he has a heater that gets into the upper-90’s, a plus-flashing slider along with a loose athletic frame and arm action. Williams (third round, Duke) missed the whole spring due to Tommy John surgery, but the 6-5 righty showed an above-average fastball/slider combo and starter command in the 2021 fall when scouts were labeling him a top-50 overall pick.
Others of note
Rojas can really hit and has a solid approach as evidenced by having more walks than strikeouts in the DSL last summer. He’ll probably end up in a corner defensively, so his ability to get to his raw power in games will be key. Suero is another breakout international signee, with a loud debut in the DSL while still 16 years old. He’s a 6-5 switch hitter with plus power projection and above-average speed, giving some James Wood vibes. King was a pop-up prep catcher in Maryland last spring who was taken in the fourth round. He has the tools to stick behind the plate and above-average raw power with some feel to hit, but hasn’t been tested against top competition yet. Marsee was a sixth-rounder out of Central Michigan who had a strong pro debut at Low-A with 12 stolen bases and more walks than strikeouts in 18 games. He can hit, has a good approach and might be able to stick in center field, which is a nice place to start. Mears still has bananas raw tools — 6-3 with 70 raw power and 60 speed once he’s moving — and a decent approach, but excessive swing and miss.
Martorella got more scouting looks in 2022 at Cal that his talent would dictate in part because he hit just after another left-handed hitter in sandwich pick Dylan Beavers, so scouts didn’t need to move after they set up down the third base side to watch Beavers. Martorella went in the fifth round as a first-base only type with just solid-average raw power, but he can hit and has an excellent approach so there’s a good shot he’s a platoon bat at some point.
Lizarraga is a 6-3 projection righty signed out of Mexico for $1 million in 2021, and he has third/fourth starter upside. As is, his command needs to become another notch better and his raw stuff is fringy right now, but could become above-average across the board. Bergert was drafted in the sixth round after missing his draft spring due to Tommy John surgery. He looks like a potential depth starter with solid-average stuff. His changeup is ahead of his breaking balls, and he has an above-average 91-94 mph heater with some lift. Groome has rode they hype roller coaster since getting top-five-pick buzz in high school leading into an up-and-down spring that saw him drop to 12th overall in 2016 — followed by a Tommy John surgery in pro ball and lots of inconsistency with raw stuff and command. He’s on the 40-man roster and set to make his big league debut as a multi-inning option with average stuff and decent feel.
18th in quality depth (prospects better than 40 FV)
$176.5 million total value
1. Kyle Harrison, LHP, 60 FV (19th on the Top 100)
2. Marco Luciano, SS, 50 FV (52)
3. Luis Matos, CF, 50 FV (111)
4. Patrick Bailey, C, 45+ FV (137)
5. Grant McCray, CF, 45+ FV (147)
6. Aeverson Arteaga, SS, 45+ FV (193)
7. Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, 45 FV
8. Casey Schmitt, 3B, 45 FV
9. Reggie Crawford, LHP, 45 FV
10. Mason Black, RHP, 45 FV
11. Heliot Ramos, RF, 40+ FV
12. Trevor McDonald, RHP, 40+ FV
40 FV (16): Vaun Brown/LF, Ryan Murphy/RHP, Hunter Bishop/CF, Keaton Winn/RHP, Landen Roupp/RHP, Cole Waites/RHP, R.J. Dabovich/RHP, Randy Rodriguez/RHP, Eric Silva/RHP, Jairo Pomares/RF, Jose Cruz/RHP, Rayner Arias/CF, Brett Wisely/2B, Sean Hjelle/RHP, Will Bednar/RHP, Nick Swiney/LHP
35+ FV (21): Luis Toribio/3B, William Kempner/RHP, Ryan Reckley/SS, Adrian Sugastey/C, Tristan Beck/RHP, Thomas Szapucki/LHP, Onil Perez/C, Will Wilson/2B, Erik Miller/LHP, Julio Rodriguez/RHP, Juan Sanchez/LHP, Brett Auerbach/C, Victor Bericoto/1B, Matt Mikulski/LHP, Carson Seymour/RHP, Carson Ragsdale/RHP, Liam Simon/RHP, Tyler Fitzgerald/SS, Blake Sabol/RF, Hayden Birdsong/RHP, Ford Proctor/C
2023 Impact: Harrison
40+ FV breakout pick: Crawford
40 FV or less breakout pick: Silva
Ranked prospects beyond the Top 100
Matos was 42nd on last year’s top 100 as a number of scouts saw a plus hit tool, plus bat speed, plus raw power projection, plus speed, and a center field fit. He came down to Earth a bit this season, with less power and less contact at High-A. His pitch selection got a bit worse and his underlying exit velos also didn’t show the power some were expecting. Many still see an everyday player, but more of a low-end starter and a level-at-a-time prospect.
Bailey, like Bishop below, was a top-half-of-the-first-round college position player who is now about to turn 24 and hasn’t gotten out of A-Ball yet. Part of this seems by design as the Giants have a lot of older players playing levels below where prospects of their age normally play and don’t seem either interested or aware that other clubs’ pro scouting models heavily weigh age versus level, taking some trade value off of the table as well. Bailey still is who he was in the 2020 draft — a fine catcher with average tools and a good approach who can hit — but the polished potential quick mover part seems to have not been true. Ramos, another former first-round pick, has stalled at the upper levels after looking like a high-probability everyday outfielder a few years ago; maybe the Giants’ plan has logic behind it.
Schmitt, McCray and Artega are more exciting types with some upside. Schmitt was a third baseman and closer at San Diego State with a plus arm and plus glove, the standout tools now that he’s a full-time position player. His pitch selection is just OK, but he has average offensive tools that could translate to league average offense in the big leagues as soon as this season. McCray is a plus runner who fits in center field and has above-average raw power. He broke out with 21 homers and 35 stolen bases while (wait for it) being old for the level in Low-A last season. He has a power-over-hit approach with some patience, so he’ll be tested at higher levels. Arteaga is a plus runner and good defensive shortstop who hit 14 homers in Low-A last year as a teenager. He has a power-over-hit approach, but people I trust think this will work so I’m optimistic.
Crawford (UConn, Tommy John surgery) and Whisenhunt (East Carolina, failed PED test) were the Giants first two picks in the 2022 draft after missing their college seasons. Crawford is electric on the mound, regularly hitting triple digits and flashing a plus breaking ball, though that comes with real relief risk. Scouts rave about his athleticism and coachability, so he’s a real arrow-up candidate once he gets back on the mound — and he’s also a good enough hitter to moonlight as a DH. Whisenhunt’s velo spiked in preseason outings with his fastball hitting 97 mph and his breaking ball flashing plus, but he then missed the whole season due to a positive drug test. He returned pre-draft in the Cape Cod League, then made his pro debut in the Arizona Fall League. He now looks similar to how he did in 2021, sitting in the low-90s where his plus-plus changeup and average-ish breaking ball are still plenty effective. Black is a 2021 third-round pick out of Lehigh who made a lot of progress in 2022. His breaking ball that was a question at draft time is now often an above-average pitch and with some incremental improvements he now could be a third/fourth starter. McDonald also took a step forward in 2022, with his changeup and command now helping him track as a league-average starter type.
Others of note
Brown was a revelation in 2022, going from completely off the prospect radar to hitting 23 homers and stealing 46 bases with an OPS over 1.000 at both A-Ball levels. He has above-average raw power and solid bat-to-ball, but will need to keep proving it in the upper levels because he’s 24 and fits best in left field. Bishop was the No. 10 overall pick in 2019 out of Arizona State and has been injured or inconsistent since then. He still has explosive bat speed and plus-plus raw power, but has limited bat control and is a center/left field tweener defensively. Bishop is trending toward the Derek Fisher/Brad Zimmer toolsy extra outfielder type but he’s also 24 and hasn’t gotten out of A-Ball yet. Arias (right field type with plus bat speed, power potential and arm strength) and Reckley (Bahamian hit-first shortstop with a good approach) were San Francisco’s seven-figure position-player signings in the last two periods.
There’s a nice collection of multi-inning pitching prospects in the 40 FV tier, all with above-average fastballs. Winn will be 25 soon and has only made six starts above A-Ball, but he has three above-average pitches and enough command to turn a lineup over at least once. Roupp has a plus-plus hammer curveball and 92-94 mph sinker that he throws nearly 90% of the time. His command is good enough to start and he has an average slider and changeup, but often pitchers with a breaking ball this good relative to their other pitches find themselves pitching in shorter stints to maximize effectiveness. Speaking of standout pitches, Waites has one of the best fastballs in the minor leagues: he sits 95-99 with outstanding life, command and angle. He throws that fastball 80% of the time, but his slider is solid-average and he’ll need to have the threat of a second pitch to get big league hitters out. Dabovich sits in the mid-90s with a plus fastball/curveball combination. He’s a slam-dunk big leaguer because he also was a starter in college with solid-average stuff, so he could fill a lot of roles but likely will be a late-inning control-over-command weapon.