Julio Rodriguez is showing what an electrifying prospect he is. (MLB.com)
And we’re back with our 18th annual Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list, and — as always — this list is our take on how these prospects rank prior to Opening Day.
This season, we plummeted from 64 to 44 returnees, which is likely yet another consequence of the missing 2020 season. We anticipated more grads, more players falling off the list and more newbies as we got further away from 2020, so this is not a shock.
To wit, the number of graduate prospects more than doubled from 14 to 30; those falling off the list rose by nine — from 17 to 26; and newbies bounced back from 36 to a whopping 56.
Graduating From Last Year’s Top 100 List
Last year’s rankings in parentheses.
Jarred Kelenic, OF, Seattle Mariners (1); Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays (2); Dylan Carlson, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (6); Andrew Vaughn, 1B, Chicago White Sox (7); Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels (9); Casey Mize, SP, Detroit Tigers (11); Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota Twins (13); Ian Anderson, SP, Atlanta Braves (14); Luis Patino, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (16); Spencer Howard, SP, Philadelphia Phillies/Texas Rangers (17); Tarik Skubal, SP, Detroit Tigers (19); Matt Manning, SP, Detroit Tigers (24); Trevor Larnach, OF, Minnesota Twins (27); Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago White Sox/Chicago Cubs (28); Jazz Chisholm, SS/2B, Miami Marlins (31); Ryan Mountcastle, OF/1B, Baltimore Orioles (32); Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates (41); Michael Kopech, SP/RP, Chicago White Sox (50); Garrett Crochet, RP/SP, Chicago White Sox (53); Brandon Marsh, OF, Los Angeles Angels (54); Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland Guardians (60); Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (63); Taylor Trammell, OF, Seattle Mariners (71); Daniel Lynch, SP, Kansas City Royals (73); Josiah Gray, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers/Washington Nationals (85); Bobby Dalbec, 1B, Boston Red Sox (88); Jesus Sanchez, OF, Miami Marlins (92); Logan Gilbert, SP, Seattle Mariners (97); and Shane McClanahan, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (98).
Dropping Off the List This Season
Last year’s rankings in parentheses.
Mackenzie Gore, SP, San Diego Padres (4); Nate Pearson, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (5); Kristian Robinson, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (25); 35. Brailyn Marquez, SP, Chicago Cubs (35); Drew Waters, OF, Atlanta Braves (36); Forrest Whitley, SP, Houston Astros (37); Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta Braves/Oakland Athletics (38); Clarke Schmidt, SP, New York Yankees (47); Jeter Downs, SS, Boston Red Sox (48); Nolan Jones, 3B, Cleveland Guardians (51); A.J. Puk, SP, Oakland Athletics (61); Matthew Liberatore, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (62); Xavier Edwards, 2B/SS, Tampa Bay Rays (64); Deivi Garcia, SP, New York Yankees (74); Jose Garcia/Barrero, SS, Cincinnati Reds (75); Brendan McKay, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (78); Hunter Bishop, OF, San Francisco Giants (79); Austin Hendrick, OF, Cincinnati Reds (80); Geraldo Perdomo, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (82); Luis Campusano, C, San Diego Padres (83); Simeon Woods Richardson, SP Toronto Blue Jays/Minnesota Twins (84); DL Hall, SP, Baltimore Orioles (86); Robert Puason, SS, Oakland Athletics (87); Erick Pena, OF, Kansas City Royals (95); Seth Beer, 1B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (99); and Heston Kjerstad, OF, Baltimore Orioles (100).
Are you ready? Without further ado, here are our…
2022 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospects
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Seattle Mariners (3): After a dominant performance at High-A, which included hitting for average, elite on-base skills and speed, Rodriguez was bumped to Double-A. Don’t be shocked if he breaks camp with a job this spring, especially considering the serious pop he’s flashing (see video below).
2. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Kansas City Royals (22): There’s a case to be made for Witt at No. 1 over Rodriguez, but we prefer the latter by a smidge — even if Witt has the positional advantage. What Witt did in his first full season of pro ball last season (33 homers, 29 steals between Double-A and Triple-A) is nothing short of jaw-dropping for a 21-year-old.
3. Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles (12): Last year, Baltimore was aggressive with its top prospect, starting him out at Double-A, and then promoting him to Triple-A after just 80 games. Rutschman probably gained enough experience at Triple-A (and certainly proved he can dominate the level), that he’s just about ready for the Show. Small wonder he’s in camp as a non-roster invitee for the third time, but this year, he had a legitimate chance to win a job on Opening Day but an elbow woe has likely scuttled that plan.
4. Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers (26): Despite being a 2019 draft pick out of high school, Greene was advanced enough for Detroit to send him to Double-A last year. Now the team believes he has a real shot to win an Opening Day gig this spring.
5. Spencer Torkelson, 1B/3B, Detroit Tigers (10): The Tigers have a couple of top prospects ready to make their MLB debuts this season. Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft, is said to have a real chance to make Detroit’s Opening Day roster.
6. CJ Abrams, SS, San Diego Padres (21): In moving up to Double-A last year, Abrams saw a regression in his walk rate, but really, given all his health woes, it was tough to judge his season fully. This year, he’s one of the most notable non-roster invitees in the Padres’ training camp, and despite the truncated year, he did enough (.296 BA with a .420 SLG at Double-A) to maintain his status as the team’s top prospect.
7. Noelvi Marte, SS, Seattle Mariners (34): Marte really soared up our prospect list this season, and for good reason. He excelled at Class-A, and then continued to rake (.290) after a promotion to High-A. Clearly, Seattle has yet another stud on its hands here.
8. Brennen Davis, OF, Chicago Cubs (52): Davis is the kind of player you can build a Dynasty team around, so it’s no surprise that he’s the most exciting non-roster invitee in camp for the Cubs this spring. Expect him to be ticketed for Triple-A to start 2022 because he desperately needs more minor league experience.
9. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (40): Carroll was molesting High-A (.435 BA) before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury early on in 2021. Now that he’s healthy, this speedster will quickly remind us why so many are excited about his future.
10. Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees (NR): Volpe is the top ranked new entry on our 2022 list after he hit very well at Class-A, and then gained valuable experience at High-A. Sure, Yankee prospects tend to get overhyped, but it’s hard not to take notice when the team suggests he could be the next Derek Jeter.
11. Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco Giants (20): Luciano’s power potential has excited prospect hounds for a few years, and last season we saw it manifest itself more than ever. The Giants plan to keep him at shortstop, so want him to get in the requisite minor league time to develop defensively. As a result, expect Luciano to top out at Double-A at best this season.
12. Shane Baz, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (59): Baz looked really sharp in going undefeated in his first taste of the majors, so it’s no surprise he’s moved to the top of Tampa Bay’s prospect list. Given the stellar command he showed last year, he’s a prime candidate to take home AL ROY honours.
13. Grayson Rodriguez, SP, Baltimore Orioles (39): When we ranked Rodriguez 39th in our 2021 Top 100 Prospects, we predicted he could make his MLB debut last year. Okay, so that didn’t happen, but after his superb showing at Double-A, he’s damn close. A huge part of B-More’s rebuild plan, Rodriguez has been invited to camp this spring as a non-roster invitee.
14. Robert Hassell III, OF, San Diego Padres (81): Hassell has soared through the Padre system since he was taken out of a Tennessee high school eighth overall in 2020. Given the budding power we’ve seen out of his sweet lefty swing, it will be fascinating to see how much he’s adjusted in his second big league camp this year.
15. Zac Veen, OF, Colorado Rockies (33): Veen hit very well in his pro debut last year at Class-A, showing nice power in a highly productive campaign. Colorado’s top prospect will likely begin the season at High-A, but it’s not inconceivable he could force his way to Double-A before season’s end.
16. Josh Jung, 3B, Texas Rangers (69): The hot corner in Texas was Jung’s gig to grab, but the injury-prone prospect got hurt again, undergoing shoulder surgery that will likely delay his MLB debut until late in the season. Still, this dude is the Rangers’ top prospect for a reason, so expect him to be worth the wait.
17. Oneil Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (65): Despite his imposing size (6’7″), Cruz is still a shortstop, one with serious power as he displayed in his brief look in the bigs last year. Is it his time to stick in the majors this spring? We shall soon find out.
18. Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets (76): Steamer projects some offensive struggles this year if the NL’s top catching prospect can somehow make it to the Show. Realistically, Alvarez is still a ways from the bigs, but that doesn’t temper excitement for a prospect some consider top 10. We’re not that bullish on him, but could easily see him moving into our top 10 a year from now.
19. Alek Thomas, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (44): Speed is Thomas’ chief weapon currently, but in time he’ll also be an excellent defensive outfielder capable of doing a bit of everything. The fact he’s a Tucson native has to have Diamondback fans even more stoked about the two-time Futures Game participant.
20. Nick Gonzales, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates (42): Given that Gonzales has yet to reach Double-A, he’s not a viable Fantasy option for 2022 — even in NL-only leagues. But don’t think that Pittsburgh’s 2020 first round pick isn’t one hell of a prospect for Dynasty league owners. The dude has some serious pop in his bat, as you can see in the video below…
Nick Gonzales hit THREE home runs yesterday. pic.twitter.com/wKYIdOq4P3
— Young Bucs (@YoungBucsPIT) August 30, 2021
21. Nolan Gorman, 2B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals (49): Gorman made quick work of Double-A last year before putting up some impressive counting cat totals at Triple-A. The 2018 19th overall pick’s time has nearly come based on his power and improving strikeout rate. Not many expect Gorman to be a contributor this season, but it wouldn’t shock us in the least.
22. Max Meyer, SP, Miami Marlins (30): In his first pro season, Meyer got some great experience at Double-A before going winless in a pair of very strong starts at Triple-A. He has that rare ability to record outs even when he doesn’t necessarily have his best stuff on any given night. With a strong fastball and slider in tow, if his changeup continues to develop, look out.
23. Jordan Walker, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals (NR): Walker was a serious on-base machine at Class-A in his pro debut, earning a bump up to High-A, where his extra base pop regressed. His raw power has the chance to be elite in time.
24. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Boston Red Sox (NR): In his pro debut, Mayer showed groundball hitting tendencies, which plays into his speed. Having said that, we’re talking about a very small sample size (26 pro games, 91 at-bats). We’ll know a lot more about Mayer this time next year, but he’s well worth tracking.
25. Josh Lowe, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (NR): Upon moving up to Triple-A last year, Lowe saw fewer strikes, and that percentage went down even further in his brief time in the majors. Still, notwithstanding his .291 BA at Triple-A, expect power to be his ultimate calling card.
26. Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto Blue Jays (NR): Moreno is not a spectacular fielding catcher, but he should be decent in time. Rather, his ticket to the bigs is his overall package, highlighted by an improving hit tool. Moreno’s athleticism should excite Fantasy owners tremendously.
27. Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B, Toronto Blue Jays (70): This 20-year-old Dominican should have been on Fantasy owners’ radars for well over a year now. After he was brought to camp as an NRI this spring, the hype machine will really begin for Martinez.
28. Jasson Dominguez, OF, New York Yankees (29): Looking for a peek into the future of the Yanks? Volpe and this kid, whose hype machine both concerns us and intrigues us, if that makes any sense. Dominguez is not only a switch hitter, but a massive man-child who can just crush balls.
29. Hunter Greene, SP, Cincinnati Reds (89): Drafted second overall in 2017, Greene’s had a long road through the ranks, disrupted by both injuries and the lost 2020 minor league season. But after a dominant showing at Double-A last year, he proved he can also win at Triple-A, so the team’s top prospect will very soon be showcasing his triple-digit heater in the bigs.
30. Luis Matos, OF, San Francisco Giants (NR): Matos is another prospect with solid across-the-board skills, but his biggest asset is his hit tool. Part of the Giants’ enviable 2018 international signing class, he is already making people notice him in minor league camp, so don’t be shocked to him beat the 2023 estimates for when he’ll arrive in San Francisco.
31. George Valera, OF, Cleveland Guardians (77): Last year, Valera scored a boatload of runs at High-A, before earning a promotion to Double-A, where his total base count waned, but he was far from overmatched. While he’s pretty much a consensus top 50 prospect, we’re a bit higher on him than most, but a bit of patience will be required here.
32. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays (18): Brujan looks like he’s going to be a category difference maker, having stolen at least 44 bags in three straight minor league seasons. Assuming he gets enough PT in the bigs, he’ll be a 30-swipe dude right away.
33. Tyler Soderstrom, C, Oakland Athletics (NR): No one doubts his ability to hit, but does Soderstrom have the defensive chops to be a starter in the majors? That’s the only thing holding him back from being a stud prospect. Soderstrom is a universal top 40 prospect, but if he can’t stick at catcher, his value will be capped.
34. Nick Yorke, 2B, Boston Red Sox (NR): The 17th overall pick in the 2020 draft may ultimately help BoSox fans forget (or at least be less wistful) about Dustin Pedroia. Yorke’s best weapon is his hit tool, which he’s already employed to prove that he wasn’t a reach where Boston took him. With him, Triston Casas and Mayer in the fold, the future infield for the Red Sox looks extremely promising.
35. Jack Leiter, SP, Texas Rangers (NR): After Texas took him in the first round last year (second overall), Leiter justified the team’s faith with a dominant performance in the College World Series. He looks like a future stud starter in the bigs, so we can’t wait to see how aggressive the Rangers will be in terms of what level they send him to this spring.
36. Kahlil Watson, SS, Miami Marlins (NR): Among the toolsy-est players in 2021 draft, Watson brings a nice power-speed combo to the table despite a small frame. Right now, speed is his best weapon, but in time, both his raw and in-game power will be his main appeal.
37. Brayan Rocchio, SS/2B, Cleveland Guardians (NR): The switch-hitting Rocchio has a very high floor. Cleveland has a plethora of shortstop prospects, but this kid looks just about ready to justify the $125,000 investment it took to sign him.
38. MJ Melendez, C, Kansas City Royals (NR): Melendez surged onto our list this year after his superb hitting performance in 2021 — an impressive feat considering how lost he looked at High-A in 2019. Talk about a turnaround! All Melendez did was go from hitting .163 in 2019 to bashing 41 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
39. Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox (67): Non-roster Spring Training invitee Casas slots significantly higher on some lists, and while we’ve bumped him up quite a bit this year, we weren’t ready to declare him a top 20 prospect. Still, if Bobby Dalbec‘s contact issues don’t improve, we could see Casas in Boston by season’s end.
40. Oswald Peraza, SS, New York Yankees (NR): Thanks to fellow Yankee prospect Volpe’s meteoric rise up the rankings, it’s easy to forget that Peraza is also a top Dynasty league option at shortstop. Still, Pereza is closer to the bigs, having already proven he can hit Triple-A pitching. Expect to see his impressive power-speed combo (check out the power below) to debut in the bigs at some point this season.
Oswald Peraza’s first Triple-A hit is this line drive that has enough juice to clear the wall and head into the RailRiders bullpen. That’s the 21-year-old’s 18th homer of the year. pic.twitter.com/0uzSpL1XZ0
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) September 24, 2021
41. Nick Pratto, 1B, Kansas City Royals (NR): Former first round pick Pratto had scuffled to live up to his billing until exploding last year. He flashed serious pop to earn a mid-season promotion up to Triple-A, where he continued to mash. Pratto has a fantastic glove, and now the bat to match it.
42. Andy Pages, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (NR): Last year, Pages made nice strides with his contact skills to the point where some see him as a top 10 outfield prospect. We’re not completely sold on him just yet, but if he can continue to hit this well at Double-A, we’ll jump on his train as a potential top 25 prospect.
43. George Kirby, SP, Seattle Mariners (58): Kirby posted a superb ERA at High-A last year, earning his way up to Double-A, where he was a bit more hittable, but still extremely strong. The Elon University product has put himself in position to make his MLB debut this year thanks to his stellar control.
44. Brady House, 3B/SS, Washington Nationals (NR): We love the strike zone judgment House showed in his pro debut — especially for a kid coming out of high school. It’s early days in his career, but we can’t wait to see what he can do at full-season ball after posting a 970 OPS at Rookie ball last year.
45. Reid Detmers, SP, Los Angeles Angels (91): Although he’s a tad higher on some lists, Detmers didn’t quite crack our top 40 despite a nice hike up the rankings this year. Still, some consider him the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game now. Either way, expect to see plenty of Detmers and his tremendous curve ball in the bigs this season.
46. Nick Lodolo, SP, Cincinnati Reds (68): Lodolo dealt with a variety of injuries last year, so the fact he’s healthy this spring is big news. Better yet, he’s showing that he’s worth serious consideration for an MLB gig a season after dominating at Double-A and Triple-A (albeit in limited starts).
47. Sixto Sanchez, SP, Miami Marlins (8): Sanchez’s heater is elite, but the rest of his arsenal needs work and he’s struggled to stay healthy, missing all of last year with a shoulder injury. Unfortunately, that health woe has lingered into this spring, causing him to be shut down indefinitely.
48. Joe Ryan, SP, Minnesota Twins (NR): Ryan looked far from overmatched (106 ERA+) in his first five MLB starts last year. Even if he doesn’t have the ceiling of some on this list, this is one of the prospects that can really help your team this season.
49. Austin Martin, SS/OF, Minnesota Twins (23): Given what he’s shown already, we’d maintain that Martin should easily rank among the top 200 players in Dynasty leagues already — especially for those tracking OBP. He’s going to hit for a solid BA, help you in steals, and be among the best in the business at getting on base.
50. Jose Miranda, 3B, Minnesota Twins (NR): Few players raised their stock more last year than Miranda, who showed advanced contact rates at Double-A before spending over half a season terrorizing Triple-A pitchers. Considering he was an average player before 2021, how much stock you put into his breakout will govern how good a prospect you think he is. We personally love Miranda’s potential upside.
51. Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins (45): Four straight Twins? Sure, why not. Clearly, Minny has a good group of top prospects, and Lewis is the one that seems like he’s been around forever. Between injuries and some ineffectiveness, it’s been a slow slog for Lewis, yet despite barely playing for three years, he’s running now, and remains a potential factor for 2022. Still, the signing of Carlos Correa definitely clouds Lewis’ immediate future.
52. Miguel Vargas, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers (NR): Brought to camp this spring as an NRI, this Cuban raked at High-A last year, before hitting even better after a bump to Double-A. There’s no clear path for Vargas to reach the majors right now, but given that he has experience at third, second and first base, his chances of making his MLB debut this season is higher.
53. Cade Cavalli, SP, Washington Nationals (NR): In his first pro season, Cavalli managed to get from High-A to Triple-A, putting him on track to make his MLB debut at some point this year. The former Oklahoma star is tall (6’4″), stocky (230 pounds) and knows how to miss bats (175 Ks in 123 1/3 pro innings to date). Once he masters Triple-A, he’ll be a rotation staple for the Nats.
54. Bryson Stott, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (NR): Yet another newcomer to our list this year, Stott made quick work of High-A last year, spending over half the season at Double-A before wrapping up with a couple of weeks at Triple-A. To cap his superb season, he racked up tons of runs in the AFL. Stott flashed tremendous on-base skills, proving he may very well be ready to leave camp with an MLB gig this spring.
55. Edward Cabrera, SP, Miami Marlins (66): Yes, another Marlin pitching prospect. We recommended Cabrera as a waiver wire claim in August, but he was inconsistent down the stretch, going winless despite an impressive hit rate in September. He remains among the top pitching prospects in the game, so we’re expecting a big bounce back season, one worthy of late-round consideration because of his strikeout potential.
56. Jordan Lawlar, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (NR): Texas high school product Lawlar was a legitimate threat to go first overall in the 2021 draft, so when he slid to No. 6, Arizona pounced, getting a potential steal. Early on in training camp, he’s looked very smooth both at the bat and in the field, but he doesn’t project as a major power hitter right now. That could change as he learns to alter his swing over time.
57. Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B, Baltimore Orioles (NR): The O’s pushed Henderson aggressively last year, starting him out at Class-A before a promotion just 35 games later. He finished the season with a five-game stint at Double-A, spending the majority of the campaign at High-A. He definitely gained some valuable experience last year after the lost 2020 season, but faces some stiff competition given the middle infield depth Baltimore has managed to assemble, hence a full-time move to the hot corner may be in his future.
58. Henry Davis, C, Pittsburgh Pirates (NR): Pittsburgh’s catcher of the future received a non-roster invite to Spring Training, saying he’s focused on becoming a team leader. After Davis turned pro last year, it took just two games for the organization to realize he was too good for Rookie level ball, bumping him up to High-A, where he continued to hit well.
59. Hedbert Perez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): Buoyed by a very high BABIP in the Arizona Rookie League, in late-August Perez was bumped up to Class-A ball, where he struggled to adjust in limited action. The son of former Brewer Robert, Perez may be the best hitting prospect in the Milwaukee system.
60. Eury Perez, SP, Miami Marlins (NR): And still another Marlin arm! Man, this team sure knows how to develop pitching. Perez is crazy tall (6’8″) and skinny, but unlike pitchers with similar builds at his age, he can already harness his body to generate major heat (see video below). He’s only this low on the list because he’s so young, with so far to go, but don’t be shocked if in time Perez winds up having a higher ceiling than any Miami pitcher on this list.
The soothing sight of Eury Pérez throwing a baseball pic.twitter.com/JPGTQe914a
— Fish Stripes Prospects Coverage (@FishProspects) December 22, 2021
61. Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox (NR): Duran didn’t set the world on fire in his first taste of the bigs last year, but you can’t ignore his speed. This kid could easily swipe 25 bags this season, making him a real sleeper. Duran has already proved he can dominate Triple-A, so this year expect him to begin mastering the majors.
62. Daniel Espino, SP, Cleveland Guardians (NR): Espino spent half of last season at Class-A, where his command wasn’t as sharp as it had been in 2019, but he corrected that after a promotion to High-A — an extremely good sign. The former first round pick has already opened eyes at camp as he prepares for a very big year when he’ll have to face more advanced hitting.
63. Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets (NR): Last year, Baty performed well at High-A, earning a promotion to Double-A for the final few weeks of the season. The 2021 Futures Game participant was taken 12th overall in 2019, and his success has given the Mets a pair of superb options (the other being Mark Vientos) for a potential third baseman of the future.
64. Heliot Ramos, OF, San Francisco (72): In his second taste of Double-A to begin 2022, Ramos upped his extra-base sock, earning a promotion to Triple-A, where he benefited from a higher BABIP. Already on the 40-man roster, Ramos is likely to make his MLB debut either in the second half or, if injuries create an opening, earlier.
65. Kyle Harrison, SP, San Francisco Giants (NR): Harrison posted a fine groundball rate in his pro debut at Class-A last season. The young lefty got into much better shape this offseason, and is now focused on learning how to control the greater velocity he’s added to his fastball. But given the comparisons to Chris Sale, it’s hard not to get excited about Harrison’s future.
66. Bobby Miller, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (NR): Miller spent most of last season at High-A before a late-year promotion to Double-A, so it’s likely he has more seasoning in order — especially considering he got beat up in the AFL. Still, he’s a breakout candidate who could push his way onto the big stage by season’s end.
67. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (90): The Brewers have some fine outfield prospects, and while Mitchell’s bat is advanced, he still has room to improve with his glovework. His speed, however, is already near-elite, and assuming he can make strides after an injury-ravaged 2021 season, he could put himself in position to make the bigs as soon as next year.
68. JJ Bleday, OF, Miami Marlins (55): As a 2019 pick out of college, Bleday turned 24 in the fall, so the fact that he had a tough time adjusting to Double-A concerned us enough to lower him a bit in the rankings this year. Still, he says he’s not only stronger this spring, but also a better hitter.
69. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Chicago Cubs (94): The Cubs are starting to build up a cadre of nice prospects, and Crow-Armstrong is a big part of that. He hit extremely well in limited time during his pro debut at Class-A last year, and now he’s reportedly eschewed his open batting stance in an effort to be able to get to more pitches that are higher in the zone. Assuming this pays off, look out, as Crow-Armstrong has some crazy high upside already.
70. Cole Winn, SP, Texas Rangers (NR): Taken in the first round (15th overall) in 2018 by Texas, Winn broke out last year, putting up a 2.31 ERA at Double-A to earn a two-start stint at Triple-A in which he went undefeated. Expect him to begin the season back at Triple-A with a trip to the bigs in the offing as soon as he shows the requisite improvements — especially with his control.
71. Cristian Hernandez, SS, Chicago Cubs (NR): After blowing their wad a few years back, the Cubs again have some very fine looking young hitters in their system, and 2021 international free agent signee Hernandez is among the most interesting. Compared physically to Alex Rodriguez and Manny Machado, Hernandez is already impressing the team this spring and it sounds like he’s a very driven kid who is determined to work his way through the minors as quick as possible. Keep an eye on Hernandez, as he has a chance to really shoot up the rankings in 2022.
72. Coby Mayo, 3B, Baltimore Orioles (NR): Baltimore’s fourth rounder in 2020 enjoyed a pro debut last year that sure put him on the map. Mayo proved far too advanced for Rookie ball, earning his way to Class-A, where his power was even more impressive. His contact rates were also eye-opening, helping establish himself as a key cog of the Oriole rebuild. Assuming he stays on track, expect Mayo to reach Double-A by season’s end.
73. Ronny Mauricio, SS, New York Mets (57): Despite sliding in our rankings this year, Mauricio remains a huge component of the next wave for the Mets as evidenced by being named a 2021 Organizational All-Star for the franchise. Already a 40-man roster spot owner, he also earned a spot on the High-A East postseason All-Star squad after leading all Mets minor leaguers in hits last season. The big question with Mauricio is where on the diamond he’ll wind up.
74. Michael Harris, OF, Atlanta Braves (NR): Harris didn’t have much hype behind him entering the 2021 season, but the hitting, power and speed he’s shown have put him in position to claim a full-time gig in Atlanta by next year. The Braves have brought him to camp as an NRI this spring, and we’re very curious to see how he does.
75. Aaron Ashby, SP, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): Although he exceeded his rookie eligibility for MLB purposes, Ashby remains a prospect from a Fantasy perspective given that he’s only pitched 31 2/3 innings in the bigs. Some consider the lefty a top 50 prospect, but we’re slightly less bullish. Still, there’s tremendous potential here even if we worry somewhat about Ashby’s command over the long haul.
76. Jordan Groshans, 3B/SS, Toronto Blue Jays (46): Prior to 2021, Groshans hadn’t played much lately thanks to injury and the pandemic, yet he handled Double-A quite well. Still, his lack of power caused him to slide in this year’s rankings and while some believe he’s retained his spot at the top of the Toronto prospect list, we believe he’s been passed by a couple of players. Now, if Groshans’ power shows up this year, we reserve the right to amend that statement.
77. Tyler Freeman, SS, Cleveland Guardians (96): Despite having his 2021 cut short with a shoulder woe, Freeman was impressive enough to get a boost in our rankings. We’re still optimistic that his massive doubles totals will ultimately translate into more dingers, so we’ll be keeping close tabs on his power development as soon as he’s fully healthy (he’s still behind this spring thanks to injuries).
78. Everson Pereira, OF, New York Yankees (NR): The Yanks have clearly restocked their system in last couple of years, and while Pereira isn’t the lynchpin of this prospect corps, you need to have him on your radar. This kid has some serious power (three multi-homer games in 2021, including a three-dinger showing), and while he improved his contact rate, it’s still a concern worth monitoring as he moves to the upper levels of the system.
79. Joey Bart, C, San Francisco Giants (15): Bart took a huge tumble in our rankings this year, but remains a prospect very much worth discussing. We’re certainly not about to write off a potential stud catcher simply because he’s struggled to hit MLB pitching in a tiny 35-game sample size. After all, now that Buster Posey has sailed off into the sunset, Bart has a direct path to the starting job — especially if he can makes strides with his strike zone judgment.
80. Jhonkensy Noel, 3B/1B, Cleveland Guardians (NR): If Noel can stick at the hot corner, we’ll be much more excited about him as opposed to him winding up at first base. Still, this kid has power and can hit for average, so either way he’s definitely a prospect to track, one who — admirably — places an emphasis on education (see video below).
Three Cleveland prospects, Jerson Ramirez, Jhonkensy Noel and Wilfi Peralta graduate from the organizations high school program run by Education and Language Coordinator Anna Bolton. Chris Antonetti also on hand in Lake County for the ceremony. pic.twitter.com/jth3OJ4xRQ
— Justin L. (@JL_Baseball) August 26, 2021
81. Pedro Leon, SS, Houston Astros (NR): If you’re seeking a prospect that could provide value as a late-round flier this season, look no further than Leon. He says he’s been working on the mental aspect of grinding it out over a long season, and assuming he can put it all together, we find his power-speed combo quite intriguing.
82. Emerson Hancock, SP, Seattle Mariners (56): A young righty out of the University of Georgia, Hancock was taken sixth overall in 2020, but he dealt with some injury issues last year (shoulder) and is doing so again thanks a lat sprain this spring. This latest health woe could scuffle rumours that the Mariners planned to deal him for immediate help. Once he’s cleared, expect Hancock to begin the season at Double-A (assuming he’s not traded first).
83. Quinn Priester, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (NR): Priester can bring the heat, pairing it with a potentially elite curveball. He’s been invited to Spring Training, but realistically has a ways to go considering he’s yet to pitch above High-A. Next year is a more likely timeline for Priester to make his MLB debut, depending on how he adjusts to higher levels this season.
84. Colton Cowser, OF, Baltimore Orioles (NR): Drafted fifth overall out of Sam Houston last year, Cowser was clearly too good for Rookie ball after just 25 plate appearances. B-More bumped him up to Class-A, where he continued to dominate. Still, Cowser has just 149 plate appearances as a pro, so no need to rush him — especially considering how good the O’s system finally is. But this is one five-tool prospect you definitely want on your Dynasty team.
85. Mick Abel, SP, Philadelphia Phillies (93): Despite being babied in his first pro season, Abel still wound up missing some time with injury. Flyball tendencies led to some home run issues, but his ability to miss bats sure caught our attention. Still, he’s the Phillies’ top pitching prospect, and really has been on the radar for prospect hounds since his sophomore season in high school. If Abel can stay healthy, he’ll be on the fast track.
86. Greg Jones, SS, Tampa Bay Rays (NR): Jones is a fine Dynasty asset as evidenced by making quick work of High-A last year before gaining a bit of Double-A experience. The highest draft pick in the history of UNC Wilmington could use a bit more seasoning, but his speed makes him a very intriguing prospect.
87. Curtis Mead, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays (NR): The Rays always seem to churn out a ton of infield prospects, don’t they? Mead was extremely productive at Class-A and then continued to rack up extra-base knocks at High-A before proving he can hit Triple-A pitching (over a very small sample size). Where does Tampa Bay find these dudes? In Mead’s case, it was Australia.
88. Austin Wells, C, New York Yankees (NR): Wells has yet to play above High-A, so isn’t likely to get to the majors for a couple more years. Still, he’s on track to top out as a mid-range starter in AL-only leagues or a solid No. 2 catcher in mixed leagues — assuming he can improve his fielding. Wells is not yet on the 40-man roster, but after showing nice extra-base sock between Low-A and High-A last year, he’s likely going to force his way on next winter.
89. Justin Foscue, 2B, Texas Rangers (NR): Foscue is Texas’ second baseman of the future, justifying his status by going yard in eight straight games at High-A in July. Currently, his bat is ahead of his glove, but there’s a reason the 14th overall pick from 2020 has been likened to Jeff Kent.
90. Liover Peguero, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (NR): Peguero has solid across-the-board skills, but speed is his chief allure. Part of the booty the Pirates received in the Starling Marte trade, Peguero could be a real help in the steals department. Already on the 40-man roster, Peguero is sure to become a fan fave thanks to the energy he brings to the field.
91. Sal Frelick, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): Did we mention the Brewers have some damn fine outfielders on the way? Frelick is small in stature, but clearly big in talent, whipping through three levels last year while flashing impressive contact skills. Others have him ranked much higher within the Brewer system, but we’re going to reserve judgment to see how he fares against higher competition. Still, we love Frelick’s athletic ability, fielding prowess and baseball I.Q.
92. Diego Cartaya, C, Los Angeles Dodgers (NR): Does it seem fair that the Dodgers have such a strong big league squad and a great system? Cartaya is another great international find by the Dodgers and is considered among the best pure bats in his 2018 class. In fact, many think he’s the best Dodger prospect, but we’re wary of touting catchers before they experience the rigours of full-season ball. It’s clear, however, that this kid has some thunder in his bat, and that’s super exciting for a catcher.
93. Jackson Jobe, SP, Detroit Tigers (NR): Jobe is armed with a devastating slider that he has tremendous control of. Drafted as a high schooler last year, he gets an elite spin rate out of his top pitch that has the chance to buckle the knees of even seasoned hitters.
94. Taj Bradley, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (NR): Taken in the fifth round in 2018, Bradley took a massive step forward last year, posting a sweet record at Class-A before going undefeated over the final third of the season at High-A. This kid just seems to keep getting better, and is looking like a steal considering where he was taken in the draft.
95. Dustin Harris, 1B/3B, Texas Rangers (NR): Harris can absolutely smoke a baseball and the team is really excited about him because of his size, smarts and work ethic. He’s unlikely to arrive in the bigs before 2024, but he’s clearly among the top five first base prospects in the game. Best of all, Harris may be the rare first baseman who can provide some steals for your team.
96. Elly De La Cruz, SS/3B, Cincinnati Reds (NR): Another newcomer to the Fantasy radar is De La Cruz, a tall and skinny Dominican. In his first taste of North American ball, he made quick work of Rookie ball, before a promotion took him to Class-A for the rest of the season. He still has plenty of seasoning remaining, and will likely wind up at third base, where his superb speed will be a major asset.
97. Joey Wiemer, OF, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): Wow, is Milwaukee ever loaded with outfield prospects. Wiemer spent most of the season at Class-A, but really picked up his play after a promotion to High-A — always a great sign. We like him a tiny bit more than most given his massive size, fantastic throwing arm and power potential.
98. Mark Vientos, 3B/SS, New York Mets (NR): Vientos enjoyed a power breakout at Double-A last year, earning a late-season promotion to Triple-A, where he hit nearly as well. He has a small window to try to win the job before fellow Met 3B prospect Baty arrives, so this is a huge year for the strong-armed Vientos.
99. Asa Lacy, SP, Kansas City Royals (43): Lacy’s ERA was unsightly at High-A last year (before a shoulder woe shut him down), hence he finds himself clinging to one of the final spots on our 2022 list. He looked much sharper in the AFL, so we’re bullish for a rebound, but do note that the Royals clearly will not rush this kid.
100. Roansy Contreras, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (NR): The Pirates are very well represented on the top 100 list, and although he just squeaked on, Contreras could easily win a rotation spot this spring (but is more likely headed to Triple-A). With his velocity (see video below), he may breathe some life into the Pittsburgh rotation very soon.
— Kody Duncan (@KodyDuncanPGH) March 21, 2022
RotoRob Tune of the Day
American actor Melvin Van Peebles is best known for the 1971 Blaxploitation classic Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, featuring a brilliant soundtrack by Earth, Wind and Fire. Here’s the infectiously groovy “Sweetback’s Theme.”