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Here’s where the introductory words would go, if I thought any of us really wanted to see some introductory words. 

1. OF Corbin Carroll | Diamondbacks | 21 | AAA | 2023 

2. SS Gunnar Henderson | Orioles | 21 | AAA | 2023

3. OF Jackson Chourio | Brewers | 18 | A+ | 2024

4. 3B Jordan Walker | Cardinals | 20 | AA | 2023 

Corbin Carroll lived alone in his own tier at the top early in the process, but the other three have such strong cases for the top spot I had to include them.

Gunnar Henderson quickly found his rhythm after a rough start at Triple–A and has been arguably the best player at the level since the break. 

If you want to rank Jackson Chourio first, don’t let me stop you. He’s slashing .333/.396/.476 with a home run and a stolen base in 10 games at High-A. He’s also posting a 10.4 percent walk rate and 16.7 percent strikeout rate, shushing the whispers around his 28 percent K-rate in Low A.

I had Jordan Walker in the tier below at one point, but you can only watch so many multi-homer games from a 20-year-old in Double-A without moving a dude up the list, even if he’s already at the summit. Is this ETA light on Jordan Walker? The Cardinals added pitching at the deadline and moved an outfielder. Lars Nootbar is playing well, but Walker would be following a long tradition of elite players joining their clubs late in the season to push for the playoffs. 

 

5. OF James Wood | Nationals | 19 | A | 2025

6. SS Elly De La Cruz | Reds | 20 | AA | 2023

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. No more. I realize this is pretty high for James Wood, but this ain’t the actor we’re talking about here. If you lined up nine dudes to box James Wood in one night like James Woods did in the movie Diggstown, Wood would be even money to knock out all nine, and Vegas would have to adjust the line as everyone put their money on the 6’7” 240 lb centerfielder despite never having seen him fight.

Plenty of people are pointing out the K-rate in a small Double-A sample size for De La Cruz. It’d be pretty tough for me to pretend I care. On the season, he’s got 23 homers and 33 steals in 86 games across two levels, slashing .297/.351/.591.

 

7. 3B Miguel Vargas | Dodgers | 22 | MLB | 2022 

8. RHP Eury Perez | Marlins | 19 | AA | 2023

You could rank Miguel Vargas first and I wouldn’t bat an eye. I realize he’s in the third tier here. I’m just saying: if you need a third baseman to help you for the stretch run, and someone offers you Corbin Carroll, you should consider a counter sending Carroll for Vargas and a vet that helps you now.

I dare you to say something negative about Eury Perez. It’s not easy in the face of such hyped up headwinds. I’ll go first. He got lit up for six earned runs (four walks, four hits) in 1.1 innings on Friday night, bringing his season-long ERA up to 4.19 and WHIP to 1.14 because his two turns before this weren’t so hot either (seven earned runs across 9.2 innings). I doubt you can buy on the dip because I doubt there will be any kind of dip. These outings are just a blip on the radar of a long season, and you could argue he thinks he should’ve been promoted to AAA after the Futures Game, when he had a 3.05 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 62 AA innings as a six-foot-eight 19-year-old. 

 

9. SS Vaughn Grissom | Atlanta | 21 | AA | 2023

10. SS Anthony Volpe | Yankees | 21 | AA | 2023

Vaughn Grissom has never struggled on a baseball field. I’m sure that’s not true in his mind, but the stats say he’s been smooth sailing all the way. I know he’s rarely ranked among the top prospects, but it’s hard to overstate how good he’s been. At 21 years old and 6’3” 210 lbs with infield actions and elite outcomes ahead of the age-to-level curve, Grissom is just about the perfect fantasy prospect.

Impressive to see Volpe turn his season around after an ice cold start in AA. The Yankees seem ready to roll out the red carpet for their young shortstops next year. I think Peraza gets the first look, and he’s no poseur, so Volpe might be one of these guys who just lingers like that finger-wrapping person the Cranberries were singing about. 

 

11. RHP Grayson Rodriguez | Orioles | 22 | AAA | 2022

12. SS Royce Lewis | Twins | 22 | MLB | 2022

13. OF Pete Crow-Armstrong | Cubs | 20 | A+ | 2024

14. SS Jordan Lawlar | Diamondbacks | 19 | A+ | 2024

15. OF Druw Jones | Diamondbacks 18 | NA | 2026

Risky business in this tier, but the upside is young Tom Cruise sliding across all your screens in his socks.

Grayson Rodriguez is throwing again after missing more than two months with an injured lat.

Royce Lewis flashed his top-prospect talents then disappeared back onto the injured list where he’s spent much of his past few seasons. Sad to see a young star on the field struggle so much to stay there. 

Some reports suggested the Mets were reluctant to act at the deadline this year because they still felt the sting of sending Pete-Crow Armstrong to Chicago for a few months of Javier Baez. Pretty easy report to believe. PCA could be the top overall prospect sooner than later on rankings systems heavily weight defensive value. I think he’s probably a little overrated in some dynasty circles right now and wouldn’t get huggy about him if someone came calling and could help me in the near term.   

Jordan Lawlar has been shuttled around a bit this year, from the complex to A ball to High-A then back to Low-A then back to High-A. Whew. I’m exhausted just from typing that. He’s been atrocious against High-A pitching, and it’s a tough time to make that transition with draft arms filtering in and dominant Low-A arms getting mid-season promotions like Lawlar did, but no excuses here. It’s just 17 games. He’s striking out 31 percent of the time and walking 2.8 percent of the time. It’s concerning, sure, but it’s not a big deal just yet. Goes to show how ridiculous a player Jackson Chourio is looking like, making the same jump a year younger and going the opposite direction in the plate skills department. 

Diamondbacks prospects have had a mathematically impossible number of shoulder issues the last few years. Carroll, Beer, Lawlar and now Druw Jones hurts himself on day one as a professional. I’m here for the discount on dynasty draft day if any exists. 

 

16. C Francisco Alvarez | Mets | 20 | AAA | 2023

17. 1B Vinnie Pasquantino | Royals | 24 | MLB | 2022 

If Francisco Alvarez were a corner infielder, he might be a top ten fantasy prospect. As is, many of the public sites fade him outside the top 25. With the Universal DH, I think the catcher penalty is diminished among the elite hitters. The Mets will get Alvarez as many at bats as he can handle. If I had to pick one catcher to pull a Sal Perez and play damn near every day, it’d be this guy, who’s already homered five times in 20 Triple-A games but is slashing .191/.360/.471 after a slow start. He’s actually hit all five homers in his last 11 games, slashing .244/.380/.659 in the process.  

Vinnie P is at 124 at bats, so this is farewell. He’s hitting .293 with a 12.8 percent strikeout rate in his last eleven games, and I suspect he’ll follow a similar path as division-mate Jose Miranda in Minnesota, funneling experience into skill as the year goes along. 

 

18. RHP Shane Baz | Rays | 22 | MLB | 2021

19. 3B Josh Jung | Rangers | 24 | AAA | 2022

20. 3B Brett Baty | Mets | 22 | AA | 2022

21. SS Noelvi Marte | Reds | 20 | A+ | 2024

22. SS Ezequiel Tovar | Rockies | 20 | AA | 2023

23. OF Esteury Ruiz | Brewers | 23 |  MLB | 2022

24. RHP Felix Bautista | Orioles | 27 | MLB | 2022

25. OF Oscar Colas | White Sox | 23 | AA | 2024

If you want to rank Shane Baz higher than this, he’s certainly earned that on the field. I just think we’ve seen enough red flags around the elbow now that we should expect more bad news than good in the near future.

We were all Jung once. Josh is about halfway through his 24th year and still awaiting his assignment, hitting well enough on the complex league in his return from shoulder surgery, always a scary proposition for a power bat.  

Brett Baty has no business in AA. He’s repeating the level after posting a 118 wRC+ in 40 games last year, and he’s slashing .355/.427/.655 with eight home runs in his last 26 games. Who’s in charge of this stuff? What’s happening here? 

Marte has been a mercurial hitter this year but looks ready to graduate High-A as a 20-year-old. Could be Elly and Noelvi together just chillin in Chattanooga by next week. 

Eqequiel Tovar is on the IL, but the GM was saying he might be in the majors after the deadline if they could move Jose Iglesias. Which they apparently could not do. I’d like to rank him higher, but the Rockies are the Rockies

Esteury Ruiz remains an enigma. Apparently ready to help a team that needs him but apparently not ready enough that the team wants his help at the moment. 

A reliever!? What is this insanity? Welp, if you have Ruiz or Colas in a 15-team dynasty league and need saves, you might want to consider offering him for Felix Bautista, is what I’m thinking here. Are you taking that offer if you’re the contending team enjoying the ratio-shine of a freshly minted closer with elite stuff? Bautista is at 45.2 innings, which leaves him about 54.1 innings of MiLB eligibility runway in a lot of dynasty set-ups. Nice little bonus to swap him out on off days or when he’s just pitched in back-to-back games. 

Always tricky to evaluate a player on a hot streak, but the prospect world has been too low on Oscar Colas since Coke’s first ingredient was straight powder. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.