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. 

 

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Luvdarooks
Luvdarooks
10 days ago

Wow Kirby over Baz? I’m surprised.
Also who makes the bigger bang in a 6×6 (OBP- 2b/3b), in 2023 between Carrol or walker ?
How many AB’s do you think for each next year

mookie
mookie
22 days ago

Love your work Itch. Al-only keeper, who do you prefer: Brujan or Bello? Both keepable for four years after this season. Also, is it close or do you have one way ahead?

Philip
Philip
23 days ago

Thanks for these articles, Itch.

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
23 days ago

My how Volpe has fallen. Nothing like some schadenfreude at the expense of Yankees fans

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
Reply to  The Itch
23 days ago

The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say that Yankees prospects on the list get clicks.

Volpe still has a LOT of time to figure it out (and has been getting better) but I am with you on being insulated from results too much. There are other guys who aren’t struggling at that age (look at Gunnar Henderson) and at some point you have to be willing to acknowledge their relative performances.

At this point it is obligatory for me to mention that the same case for adjustment in the opposite direction should be made for Esteury Ruiz :)

scoboticus
scoboticus
24 days ago

Walker’s pounding balls in the dirt right now. You think he’s going to fix that anytime soon?

slappyJ
slappyJ
Reply to  scoboticus
24 days ago

Jordan Walker? I think he already has

tinstaapp
tinstaapp
24 days ago

Hey Itch! What’s your current perspective on Vidal Brujan? You seemed like the high man on him for awhile, but the results haven’t been there yet at the top level.

Are you still holding in deep keeper leagues? Still seems like a 5×5 league-winning lottery ticket if it clicks…

Gordeon
Gordeon
24 days ago

Itch, Watsup with CJ not swiping bags this year? Only 7 between MLB and MILB.

Dingo37
Dingo37
24 days ago

Thoughts on todays OF call-ups? Swaggerty, Steele, Adell.

Prawn Lord
Prawn Lord
24 days ago

Hi Itch, I’ve been waiting for this update. Great stuff!

What do you think the Dodgers plan is with Vargas? Are they just keeping him down because they can?

junior56
junior56
24 days ago

Good morning, Itch!

Thank you for the list. You always bring your A game.

Which side of this deal do you like? Acuna & O’Neil for Ohtani & JD Martinez?
12 team Roto redraft.

Think Jarren Duran gets back up to the show before September?

Do you think it’s time to deal Morel? Has had a nice run and keeps it going.

slappyJ
slappyJ
Reply to  junior56
24 days ago

Duran hit leadoff yesterday vs. OAK

junior56
junior56
Reply to  slappyJ
24 days ago

Thanks for the heads up!

MJ888
MJ888
24 days ago

I lied, this is my last question. As a die hard Cubs fan, Morel intrigues me. I follow prospects as much as anyone but had NEVER heard of him prior to his callup. No arguing that he has been nothing short of spectacular thus far, but his minor league numbers are nothing special. I don’t believe he was on anyone’s radar and I don’t think he was even a top 20 Cub prospect. Be honest, how much did you know about him prior to this season and how sustainable is this for him?

Joe Buckyourself
Joe Buckyourself
24 days ago

Itch,

Good morning. 10 team dynasty roto.

Should I keep Adley since it’s a dynasty or use him in a package to acquire a top player.

Maybe M Ozuna, Adley R, Lodolo for Betts. Is that too much or a decent place to start.

In one hand I value Rutschman age/talent, but Im also ok filling the C spot with different guys every year.

Thanks

Ciwa
Ciwa
24 days ago

Hi! I know that Adell and Kelenic are no more “prospects”, but they has been dropped in my K league. How do you consider them? Must add?

Thanks for everything and sorry for my bad english from italy!

MJ888
MJ888
24 days ago

One more fir you, itch. I am a big fan of both Michael Busch and Miguel Vargas. I think from a fantasy perspective, Busch has the better on base and power profile. Vargas has the better contact skills. Do you prefer Vargas because he seems the more likely candidate to be called up? Or why do you like him over Busch?

Ray
Ray
Reply to  MJ888
24 days ago

Not Itch, but I think Vargas is the better overall hitter. He walks more and strikes out less, and his power is comparable to Busch. I think he sees time in the big leagues in the 2nd half as Turner has struggled in the first 2 months of the season. I figure Vargas is their 3rd baseman in 2023.
As far as Busch, it will be interesting to see what the Dodgers do with Muncy and Bellinger next offseason. Both are getting more expensive.

MJ888
MJ888
Reply to  Ray
24 days ago

Thanks, Ray. I do disagree in that Busch actually walks more. I believe his walk rate this year is 18% vs 13% for Vargas. Vargas hits for a better average and strikes out far less. I like both though and want to see what the Dodgers do.

MJ888
MJ888
24 days ago

Nice list, Itch. Hard to argue with any of it. I love Walker at #3 but wonder where he plays in St Louis? He’s blocked at third and first, which means outfield and DH are his only fulltime options. Curious where you think he lands, and why haven’t they started moving him around yet to get him some reps at other positions? If when he arrives, he becomes an every day corner outfielder while also giving days off to Arenando at third that would be great for his fantasy value. I just hope he doesn’t become the fulltime DH!

bigbear
bigbear
24 days ago

Vinnie P has no business still in AAA. None.

Adley will be fine. I think he needs to be a bit more aggressive swinging.

If OPACY was pre-LF wall change, I’d arm-wrestle you to have Gunnar above Tovar! :)

I keep debating about Morel in a 12 team redraft…

Thanks for the hard work and passion you bring!

galica1234
galica1234
24 days ago

The Itch!!!

Awesome!

a. Love the list.

b. In my 12-team, weekly, 5×5 standard cats, dynasty this is the team.

Kirk
Alonso
LUrias
Devers
Witt Jr
Walsh
Pena
Adolis, Harris II, Judge, Jul-Rod, Ward
Cron
Bench – Brujan, OCruz, JNaylor
IL – O’Neill

SP – Roansy, Cortes Jr, Eovaldi, Lauer, Manaea, Ashby, Ashcraft, Edward Cabrera
RP – Hendriks, JLope, Romano, Robertson

Just moved into 2nd in this league.

Standings.

1st in hitting (54.5), 7th in pitching (35) for a total of 89.5. My most recent increases have come in ERA, Ks and SBs. Obviously per the results below I need to boost Ws, WHIP and Ks

Offense
Runs 353 (1st)
HR 118 (1st)
RBI 357 (1st)
SB 33 (tied for 5th)
BA .263 (2nd)

Pitching
Wins 22 (8th)
Ks 360 (9th)
Saves 39 (2nd)
ERA 3.25 (3rd)
WHIP 1.183 (8th)

Max/Min requirements are just 1000 IP minimum, no maximum. Seven weekly moves allowed per week.

Questions

1 Schwarber’s available. Who would you drop for him?

2 What’s your strategy on how to maintain the offense but boost pitching stats? I use a balanced approach of between 6 or 5 SP with between 3 or 4 RP. Should I start more SP or more RP or just continue along this path and see where I am around September 1-ish?

c. George Carlin quote of the day for June 5, 2022

Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.’

Cheers,
Ante

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
Reply to  The Itch
23 days ago

The Itch!

Love you, man.

On idealists, half way through ‘The One and only Dick Gregory’ doc. Overall sad that not much has changed since his time. Funny quote from the doc.

‘Black liberals are worse than white liberals.’ He meant the idea of white or black liberals.

Cheers,
Ante

Baggiejohn
Baggiejohn
24 days ago

Hi Itch

Thanks for the update.

I noticed that Elehuris Montero isn’t on the list whereas Ezequiel Tovar is #15. I know you have misgivings (as do I) about how the Rockies’ management treat their prospects, but Montero has been batting .324 over the last 30 days at AAA. Is he still a Hold or an easy drop for Tovar ?

Are you at all worried by Kahlil Watson’s strikeouts so far, or is that just part and parcel of being a 19-y-o pressing too hard ?

All the best to you.

Matt
Matt
24 days ago

Thanks, Itch!!

Prospect(ish) question: have you heard anything in regards to Kirloff? His plate discipline in AAA looks great, power not as much. Minnesota doesn’t exactly have room to just ‘see how he does at the MLB level or extra at bats with Miranda and soon Lewis. I’m trying to decide if he’s worth a stash and roster spot in my 12 team Roto dynasty. I could live with the low power output but would need him to be in the bigs….help!

Chhhh
Chhhh
24 days ago

Itch.

Thanks for this. What’s up with N Marte?