List season continues this week here at Razzball. It’s a stressful time for yours truly, if I’m honest with myself, as I don’t have time to write about everything I’m noticing just under the surface of prospect world. Stress isn’t negative all the time. It’s also exciting in this case. Tickles the geek inside my haunted carnival of a baseball mind to check in with each and every prospect and rearrange them rung by rung, tier by tier.
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.
Here’s a link to the top 25, Prospect Rankings Update: Corbin Carroll Headlines Top 25 for June 22.
Chourio gets his own tier because he’s kind of on his own island at the moment. If you asked ten prospect-tracking people to pick the number one guy by this time next season, you’d probably hear Chourio’s name more than once.
A healthy Josh Jung is a top ten guy. Torn left labrum is scary stuff for any ballplayer, but especially for a right handed power hitter. That front shoulder is doing a lot of work.
Jose Miranda is a pretty good example of a front-shoulder-dominant hitter, reminiscent of Albert Pujols to my eyes. He didn’t start his career like Pujols did, but that was only ever a stylistic comparison. He’s still having the swings-at-everything problem some premium contact hitters experience at the highest level, but he’s also slashing .361/.378/.722 with 3 HR and a 218 wRC+ over his last 11 games. I’d say he’s rewarding the organization for its confidence in him, but Minnesota demoted him in the middle of this stretch.
You could argue to put Marco Luciano lower. I wouldn’t quibble with dropping a no-speed, low-contact power bat, but hope remains that Luciano becomes something better than that. He reduced his strikeout rate by 14 percent year-over-year in High-A after scuffling for a 36 game stretch there last season. Have to be wary of the phrase “repeating the level” when it’s used in contexts like this one. I mean, sure, it’s technically true, I guess, but it’s not the same as spending a full season somewhere and then not graduating in the eyes of your organization. It will be interesting to see how the team handles his early success because it currently looks like he’ll be in AA as a 20-year-old before the year ends.
If I can give Jung a pass despite a frightening injury with potentially deleterious impacts over the long term, I can extend the same courtesy to Brennen Davis, who doesn’t have Jung’s plate skills but brings big power upside in an era (is each new permutation of the baseball an “era” now?) where that’s dwindling. Davis had surgery to alleviate a vascular malformation that pushed against a nerve, which sounds a little like blood clots and seems scary in ways well beyond baseball, but we’ve got little choice but to hope for the best. Might be a good time to buy if a contender is looking to use his spot in your league, but I would definitely want discount pricing.
And now we reach Oddball Herrera’s moment on the list. Major credit and thanks to Oddball for pointing me in Esteury Ruiz’s direction on a bi-weekly basis in this space. Hope you read the comments and nabbed Esteury early in your leagues because he’s looking like a star. Hasn’t slowed down either as I’ve been checking his lines just about every day, slashing .361/.429/.778 with 4 HR and 8 SB over his last ten games. Preposterous.
Ezequiel Duran is one of those really irritating guys I liked way before it was cool but don’t have anywhere now that’d I could use him in every single league. I did a solo podcast back in 2019 and rambled on and on about Duran. Wish I’d listened to myself.
When healthy, Edward Cabrera features otherworldly stuff, such as a 94 mph changeup, 83 mph slider and 99 mph fastball. He looks healthy and unhittable at the moment.
34. 2B Vidal Bruján | Rays | 24 | MLB | 2021
I’m concerned about Brujan being disproportionately damaged by the new big league fooly balls. He’s looked good on defense, and Tampa tends to give plus defenders a lot of time to figure out the hitting side of their game. Brujan is drilling everything into the ground, but he’s still showing positive plate skills (8% BB, 14.7%) and might be able to find some holes in time (.155 BABIP). I’m not thrilled to see he’s 1-for-4 stealing bases, but I saw two of those CS happen in the moment, and they could not have been closer.
Elehuris Montero got promoted again this week. He’s limiting strikeouts and producing power at AAA, so let’s hope he gets an extended opportunity. That’s never gone wrong, right? Hoping the Rockies will play a guy who has nothing left to prove in the minors?
I’m impressed Davis is already in AA after dominating High-A for 22 games (179 wRC+). Trouble is he’s been on the IL since mid May or he might have landed even higher. He only got two games in at Double-A but homered in his first.
41. OF Michael Harris II | Atlanta | 21 | MLB | 2022
Robert Hassell is another guy who’s repeating a level but not really repeating a level. After struggling for 18 games in High-A last year, he’s come on strong in 2022, slashing .305/.374/.449 with 6 HR 15 SB in 43 games.
There’s nothing in New York to stop Francisco Alvarez from his multi-season charge to claim that job. His ETA says 2023 here because that’s a veteran team with an inside lane on the playoffs, but he could debut this season and make the playoff roster if he stays hot. Pretty rare for a catcher to accelerate his timeline like that though.
Feels like George Valera has been around forever, but he’s just 21 and sailing through AA slashing .281/.388/.491 with 8 HR, 2 SB and plus plate skills (14.4% BB, 23.9% K).
I don’t know what to do with Triston Casas, who I’ve never liked as much as consensus. He deserves a spot, but his .248/.359/.457 slash line is less than you’d expect from a corner bopper the prospect world loves to hype.
I can’t overstate how much I love typing “crow” into a search bar and finding the baseball player I want. He’s yet to be really tested in the lower minors, but his defense is good enough to float the profile through some potential barren patches.
While hitters get patience when they turn up on the injured list, pitchers get punished in the list-making math. Maybe Max Meyer is just fine after resting with ulnar nerve irritation, but that’s not a bet I’m willing to place.
Camilo Doval hasn’t been dominant this season, but he has been the Giants closer stretching back their playoff run last season. Not often we have a no-doubt saves-accumulator on the prospect list. I’d trade a lot of guys above him for Doval straight up in the right scenario.
James Wood returned to the field on June 7 after about a month on the shelf. Have to consider injuries a small factor here because Wood is such a unicorn: a 6’7” center fielder with plus speed and double-plus power.
One nice thing about Cristian Hernandez is the power should play even with the fooly balls. It’s aggressive to run him up the list before he faces any full-season pitching, but the topside here is tremendous. He homered in his first game in the complex league this season, for what it’s Weurtz.
Gabriel Moreno hasn’t hit for power this season, which is a little concerning when he’s trying to break into a tightly contested catching corps. I still like the player a lot, but his timeline is drifting back to the future.
Masyn Winn has cleared hurdles beyond his age and come back from dreadful slumps to get hot again. His power upside remains in question, but the speed, contact and defensive skills give him a fast path to playing time.
The big league baseball creates new questions for Moreno, Winn and this last name in the fifty: Luis Matos, who I think has the power and plate-skills to overcome it, even if it slows his ascent to an everyday role. He’s mostly here because he slumped and then got hurt. I think the hit tool would’ve proven out given more time.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.