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 an exciting time. 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.
51-75 was the toughest group on the list, in terms of my mind’s ability to settle on a decision and turn the page to the next task. It chewed through hour after hour of my life like the hungry caterpillar, and now I have a tummy ache.
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.
And here’s a link to the Top 50, Prospect Rankings Update: New Top 50 for June 2022
56. IF/OF Cedanne Rafaela | Red Sox | 21 | AA | 2023
Gavin Stone jumped little on the list when he struck out 13 AA Royals in six scoreless innings on June 7, bringing his Double-A ERA to 0.41 and K/9 to 15.14 in 22 innings. He jumped again when Walker Buehler got pulled from his Friday-night start due to elbow pain. Feels like a stars-aligning moment where Stone is zeroed in just as the Dodgers might have room to let a guy race to the majors. I know they have other options, but pitching is as pitching does, and Stone’s been throwing rocks all season.
Anthony Volpe is figuring some things out at AA, slashing .278/.352/.468 with two home runs and six stolen bases over his last 20 games. While those aren’t amazing numbers, he’s three years younger than his average competitor at that level, and I bring an extra lens to young-for-level players who can recover from an awful slump without being demoted.
Tampa gets a lot out of their pitchers. Taj Bradley is the most talented non-Baz arm in their system.
Bryson Stott’s outcomes are on the uptick, and I suspect he’ll find more consistent opportunities in the post-Girardi era.
In most leagues, Enmanuel Valdez has functionally zero name value in a trade scenario, so he’s tough to place on a list like this. Trade value is by no means the focus here, where we’re trying to skate toward where the puck will soon be more than where it is now, but trade value has to be part of any functional dynasty ranking rubric, and Valdez might never catch that kind of shine (I think he will). Houston keeps enough in-house that their prospects often end up a little underrated in the long math, by which I mean they aren’t an org that’s always outside glad-handing or honey-tongue-ing to boost the value of all their guys, and their home parks can be statistically deceptive. Valdez homered twice in his AAA debut this week. Worth your time to track or add in most formats if you can fit him. He’s a no-time-for-questions pick-up if Houston recalls him. Or maybe right now, depending on your league-size.
I suspect Cedanne Rafaela is a little different story on the dynasty trade market. I haven’t seen him get traded in any of my leagues, but he captured some mindshare early in High-A and backed that up by continuing to perform so well he’s been promoted to AA, where he went 4-for-6 with a HR and a double on Friday night, his fourth game at the level. Plus he’s got the speed we need, having swiped 14 bags in 16 attempts across 49 total games this year.
57. SS Edwin Arroyo | Mariners | 18 | A | 2024
I try to be slow in rushing Low-A guys up the list, yet here I am, buying Edwin Arroyo over guys who are much further down the road than he is. When I look at it through the Would-I-Make-This-Trade Lens, I cycle Arroyo down the list a little, then I remember how much grace-period his age-to-level and early success buys him, especially on the trade-front. Say he gets promoted to High-A next week and hits well right away. He won’t turn 19 until August 25th. If I were Seattle, I think I’d roll that dice. He’s slashing .309/.380/.512 with a 21.8 percent strikeout rate. Puts him right on the line: not so dominant that he must face the next challenge. Might be better for him to face the same teams a few more times. See if he can figure how to gain the advantage against repeat opponents across time.
In a contention window, these both become trade chips in my eyes, in both dynasty and reality. Seattle is not currently a contending team, but you might be.
I don’t have a lot to say about Marte that isn’t present in his players pages. The hype got out ahead of the skill-set between the lines, and that’s okay. He’s young. Plenty of time to close that gap.
61. RHP Jack Leiter | Rangers | 21 | NCAA | 2023
Nick Lodolo has a back injury, and if you’ve ever had back trouble, you’ll know how tricky that can be. Love the skill set. Not big into the setting or current scenario.
Dustin Harris is not laying waste to his level, but he does have 10 HR and 12 SB in 46 games, and his 108 wRC+ isn’t too shabby either. He warmed up with the weather last season and is slashing .333/.400/.639 over his last nine games.
Jack Leiter needs some kind of spark because it’s going from bad to worse (1.76 WHIP over his last four starts). I don’t mean to be extreme, but this is a Sell moment in my opinion. Or at least don’t buy the dip. Remember Gore. Even when it turns out well, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to buy the slide before the bounce.
Spencer Steer has pitchers pretty well hog-tied at AAA, slugging eight home runs in just 16 games at the level. He’s not a stolen base threat, but that won’t matter if he’s minimizing strikeouts and providing power like he’s done his entire career to this point.
Juan Yepez is mired in his worst stretch as a major league hitter, slashing .186/.229/.256 over his last 15 games. He’s at that first crossroads of adjusting, working through the oppositions’ new modes of attack. The smart money bets against most hitters for quite a while when/if they hit this juncture for the first time. Exceptions exist, and it’s nice to see the organization give him a chance to work through it, but most clubs pull the plug pretty quickly on a guy who doesn’t bring much (if any) defensive value. I watched him go with the pitch to knock a single to right field and begin the ninth-inning comeback for the Cards on Saturday, so that might be just the break he needed.
65. 1B Kyle Manzardo | Rays | 21 | A+ | 2024
66. SS Vaughn Grissom | Atlanta | 21 | A+ | 2023
Accidental plate skills tier here. Lots of contact, minimal strikeouts. Big power for Manzardo, a little less for Mead and another notch down for Grissom as he learns when to open up and pull the ball, but he’s also the only one here with big league stolen bases on the menu. Maybe even a career up the middle on defense.
Kevin Alcantara offers elite physical topside, burgeoning plate skills, and positive on-paper outcomes. Might still be a fairly low-cost buy-window for him in some dynasty settings.
Lenyn Sosa is swinging too much, but it’s working as he enjoys the benefits of his developing physicality. He has almost as many home runs (12) as walks (14) in 53 games, but he’s only struck out 33 times (13.6%) which makes his challenge a particularly interesting one for batting-average leagues, where I think players like Tim Anderson are underrated because his .309 AVG across 529 at bats cushions the denominator for the whole roster. Walking more than Anderson’s typical four percent of the time is preferable, but he’s also hitting better than .300 for the fourth straight season. His all-fields, heavy-contact approach plays especially well in the shift era. It’s not a physical comp, and I’m not putting that on Sosa, just letting my mind wander a bit about general tendencies toward underrating players with a swing-heavy approach. I’d rather have a player who has to learn his best approach as a big leaguer than one who can’t reach the baseline in terms of hand-eye coordination and strength.
71. OF Emmanuel Rodriguez | Twins | 19 | A | 2025
In 31 games since May 4, Kerry Carpenter is slashing .370/.420/.840 with 16 home runs and a 235 wRC+. He’s 24-years-old. If Detroit doesn’t promote the guy to AAA (or the majors) soon, they bring a double-edged blade into play because the organization is tacitly telling the player it believes his recent success is more hot-streak than true growth and showing all players paying attention just how hard it is to graduate a level no matter how well you’re playing. I don’t love it.
He’s on the IL with a lower-body injury he picked up sliding into third base, but Emmanuel Rodriguez could do no wrong before that moment, posting a .492 on base percentage due to his absurd 28.6 percent walk rate. He also struck out 26.1 percent of the time, hit nine home runs and stole 11 bases over that 47-game sample. His approach opens up a lot of questions about how it’ll play at the upper levels, but you have to love his 199 wRC+ as a 19-year-old in full-season ball.
Alec Burleson has mostly raked in his baseball life, so it’s no surprise he’s doing it now. What is a little surprising is his 4.6 percent walk rate and 12.9 percent strikeout rate. The balls-in-play focus has led to a .325/.359/.557 slash line and 12 home runs in 50 games. I have no idea where to rank him.
Diego Cartaya got promoted to High-A last week and already has two home runs in seven games at the level. He’s striking out more than you’d like to see but still taking his walks and posting impressive on-base and slugging rates.
I can’t get a good read on the value of Jasson Dominguez in dynasty leagues, but I do know his 127 wRC+ is impressive for a guy the same age as a college freshman. His 31.2 percent strikeout rate makes you squint a little, but he’s got six homers, nine steals and a .349 on base percentage. It could be much worse, and the power here remains elite.
I struggled with this spot but settled on Cole Henry because a pitcher can’t do much more than he has to earn his keep this season, graduating AA with a 0.59 WHIP after seven starts then opening his Triple-A career with five shutout innings. The 55th overall pick in 2020, Henry has dominated every step of the way thanks to three plus pitches (fastball, changeup, curveball) and improving command that allows him to all but eliminate the home run ball (one allowed in 28.2 innings pitched).
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I’m @theprospectitch on Razzball.