This first published restructuring is always fussy to navigate. Even waiting longer than I wanted to didn’t even clear much space via prospect graduations. 

I’ll try to stay concise in between the tiers here, but you can access a more in-depth consideration of each individual player by clicking on their names or skimming around in the 2022 Minor League Preview Index

Oh and here’s a link to Wednesday’s article, Prospect News: Dahian Santos is Coming to Town or Commencement Day, in which I discussed the graduates. 

We’ve got a new name atop the list and some fresh powder further on down the mountain.

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

2. SS Oneil Cruz | Pirates | 23 | MLB | 2021

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

4. SS CJ Abrams | Padres | 21 | MLB | 2022

5. OF Riley Greene | Tigers | 21 | AAA | 2022

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

Carroll has 13 HR and 18 SB in 44 games, slashing .305/.425/.626 and putting to bed any concerns about his surgically repaired shoulder in the process.

Cruz and Walker are a little similar in that they’re supremely coordinated big men who can employ variable bat paths to generate impact. 

Abrams has 15 hits in his last eight games.

Detroit needs Greene in the lineup and should have him soon. 

Lewis looked like a young superstar sipping that big league coffee, chewing that big league chew. 


7. RHP George Kirby | Mariners | 24 | MLB | 2022

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

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

It’s a good year to need pitching help in redraft leagues, in a general sense, but the year’s group of rookie pitchers in particular is strong, especially compared to the hitters.

Kirby gets the nod for having cleared the most hurdles to this point. 

Baz has the best upside of the group, getting an org-bump edge in a photo finish.

Baltimore dragged its feet on Rodriguez, and now he’s hurt before throwing a major league pitch. 


10. C OF MJ Melendez | Royals | 23 | AAA | 2022

Melendez is looking like the dream scenario of a catcher who plays everyday without enduring the physical grind that goes along with donning the tools of ignorance.


11. LHP MacKenzie Gore | Padres | 23 | MLB | 2022

12. C Adley Rutschman | Orioles | 24 | MLB | 2022

13. 1B Vinnie Pasquantino | Royals | 24 | AAA | 2022

Feels risky to buy in on New Gore, tastes more like original Gore, but he looks incredible. Not many starters holding 97 deep into games from the left side.

Rutschman isn’t getting results but looks fine in the box. I don’t love the club’s process with him. Feels like they didn’t give him much time off the IL (15 games,12 in AAA), which would’ve been functionally his spring training. He’d homered in back to back nights just before his call-up but was hitting .233 in AAA when recalled. I only mention this to cushion some patience into our early reactions to his outcomes.

Whatever worries I have about Baltimore’s process are dwarfed by the non-machinations of Kansas City. 

Path seems plain to me. Cut or trade Carlos Santana. Rest Sal Perez. Trade Whit Merrifield. Trade Andrew Benintendi. Redesign the pitching development plan like they have the hitting plan to the extent that it’s possible. Okay, so maybe it’s not so plain, or at least it’s a lot easier in theory than in practice, but putting Vinnie P in the everyday lineup is an easy start.


14. RHP Eury Perez | Marlins | 19 | A+ | 2023

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

Wunderkinds, both talented enough to thrive anywhere, both in home parks uniquely suited to their strengths.


16. SS Christopher Morel | Cubs | 22 | MLB | 2022

17. SS Elly De La Cruz | Reds | 20 | A+ | 2024

Here we find the hardest players for me to comfortably land on the list. Morel is perhaps a bit high, especially compared to consensus, but I had him in the Melendez tier once upon this week, so sixteenth already represents a compromise. The Mushroom is producing power and speed and delivering good at bats atop the lineup at a time when they’re tough to find in young players. On a per-plate-appearance, roto-league basis, Morel’s been every bit as good as Julio Rodriguez, and as a little bonus, you can play him at 2B, SS or OF. Just a very difficult fantasy profile to evaluate at the moment.

“Difficult profile to evaluate” provides a nice segue to Elly De La Cruz. You could put Elly in the ten spot, and nobody would flinch. Still has an outside lane on the top overall spot entering next year. 


18. SS Jordan Lawlar | Diamondbacks | 19 | A | 2024

19. OF Alek Thomas | Diamondbacks | 21 | AAA | 2022

20. RHP Daniel Espino | Guardians | 21 | AA | 2023

21. 3B Miguel Vargas | Dodgers | 22 | AAA | 2022 

22. SS Gunnar Henderson | Orioles | 21 | AA | 2023

23. RHP Roansy Contreras | Pirates | 22 | MLB | 2021

Lawlar looked like a star on the field but then hurt his back. That’s two tough injuries in very little time as a professional. Could be nothing, but back injuries are not good, especially for shortstops.

The player I moved around most on this list is Alek Thomas, who I think has a case for the 11 spot above Gore but landed here because it’s a potent group, probably a little stronger 11-20 than 1-10, list over list, if that makes any sense. 

Roansy could be a little higher in QS leagues. It’s not impossible to get wins on bad teams, but it’s nice to have pitchers on good ones. If I had him in a league and got offered Espino, that would lock me up for a bit, but I’m pretty sure I’d roll with Espino unless I was really close this year and needed solid innings. 


24. 2B Nolan Gorman | Cardinals | 22 | MLB | 2022

25. RHP Hunter Greene | Reds | 22 | AAA | 2022

I’m not a big believer in Gorman, but I can also acknowledge reality as it unfolds before me. Low-speed, low-contact profiles frighten me in general, but Gorman is making it work and picks up a little bonus now that he appears to be the everyday second base man in St. Louis.

Greene’s at 48 innings, so this is his last lap on a prospect list. Goes out with pretty much the same questions he brought in with him: command and fastball efficacy. I almost bumped him off here with Luciano or Hassell or Jung, and maybe I should have, but I’m buying to find out how the next month or so goes. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.