A lot of the best prospects are now big leaguers, but the top of this list remains stocked with ready-now impact fantasy talents. 

Graduated from Volume 3: Wink if You’re Ready or What’s the Rush, Man? 

Royce Lewis, Oneil Cruz, Luis Garcia, Roansy Contreras, Riley Greene, Elehuris Montero, Josh Winckowski, CJ Abrams, Caleb Kilian, Edward Cabrera, Jonathan Aranda, and Zack Thompson.

Graduated from Volume 2: Royce Lewis Rolls Into Town Wearing Pink Like Kirby 

George Kirby, Adley Rutschman, Alek Thomas, Vidal Brujan, Nolan Gorman, Ryan Pepiot 

Click here to see Volume 1: Oneil Cruz Control

 

1. San Diego OF Esteury Ruiz (AAA) 23 years old 

Hyperbole falls short in describing Ruiz’s 2022 season. 13 HR and 47 SB doesn’t tell the story either, as the plate skills have been elite as well. He’s scuffled a bit the past week, but all that’s really left now is for him to debut and find out how the plate skills, power and speed play against the best pitchers in the world. I’m much more confident Pasquqantino and Vargas are ready to hit, but neither offers the speed of Ruiz.

 

2. Kansas City 1B Vinnie Pasquantino (AAA) 24 years old

Carlos Santana is warmer than the current side of the pillow, so the Royals continue to smash that pause button on Vinnie P’s timeline, though I’m not sure the two events are actually related given how the team dragged its feet when Santana was looking cooked. .

 

3. Dodgers 3B Miguel Vargas (AAA) 22 years old 

Still ready to face major league pitching. Still blocked and waiting. A little more defensive versatility might have gotten him the call when Mookie Betts got hurt, but instead the Dodgers are looking to Stephen Romero and Trayce Thompson.

 

4. Miami RHP Max Meyer (AAA) 23 years old 

Meyer missed a month with elbow soreness but threw three good innings on June 17 and will factor into the team’s short-term plans if he proves healthy.

 

5. Dodgers RHP Gavin Stone (AA) 23 years old 

Recorded 11 strikeouts over five shutout innings on June 18 then got one strikeout over five shutout innings on June 24. Lotta ways to skin a hitter. Decent chance his next start at AA will be his final turn at the level.

 

6. Houston 2B Enmanuel Valdez (AAA) 23 years old 

On a tiny cold snap as I type this on Friday, having gone 0-for-11 in his last three games, but he’s gotten on base in each of those games via two walks and a bean ball. He’s been in the middle of action all season long and looks like the club’s best option next time it needs an infielder.

 

7. Detroit OF Kerry Carpenter (AA) 24 years old 

I can’t deny I’m a little pissed off at the Tigers development team. I don’t understand why I take this kind of stuff personally, but Kerry Carpenter has played 172 games at AA as a 23-and-24-year-old. He has hit 37 home runs across those games. He is slashing .311/.376/.662 with a 176 wRC+ and 22 home runs in 60 games this season after posting a 102 wRC+ in 112 games last season. I guess it’s none of my business, but what in the gray hell is going on here? By the way, most Tigers are orange, white and black, in case anyone involved with the organization cares to know. Or you could get into white tigers with their piercing blue eyes. These blegh gray day onesies they wear now? Worst use of a mascot in uniforms today.

 

8. Baltimore SS Gunnar Henderson (AAA) 20 years old 

Henderson is in a unique spot to force the issue. The organization has recalled Adley and started the countdown on their contention window, the Super 2 stuff is behind us but only just, so if Baltimore intends to turn the service-screws on Gunnar, they’ll have to wait a full calendar year from now. They might be up for that kind of fuckery, but Henderson is playing so well at AAA right now, they might risk stalling his development.

 

9. Baltimore 2B Jordan Westburg (AAA) 23 years old 

It’s only been 14 games at AAA, but Westburg is slashing .413/.439/.825 with five home runs and two stolen bases. He made the latest level jump along with Henderson, and their timelines might remain wedded.

 

10. Kansas City 1B Nick Pratto (AAA) 23 years old 

Slashing .236/.364/.431 with two home runs and a 115 wRC+ in 19 June games. Not forcing the issue, not that it would matter much if he were.

 

11. Boston 1B Triston Casas (AAA) 22 years old

Hasn’t played since May 17 due to an ankle injury.

 

12. Cleveland OF Will Benson (AAA) 24 years old

At 6’5” 230 lbs, Benson has easy power to all fields and good speed for a big man. He has also reduced his strikeout rate to 23.2 percent, about five percent better than his best season in that area. He’s a unique prospect with 12 HR, 13 SB and a .236/.392/.463 slash line. Might be a good fit for the fooly ball era.

 

13. St. Louis 1B OF Alec Burleson (AAA) 23 years old 

Unleashing elite plate skills (7.1% BB, 13.2% K) as he settles into being a full–time hitter after a two-way college career. He’s got 14 HR, 3 SB and a .335/.383/.556 slash line. Would be higher on the list if I felt confident he’d get some playing time this season.

 

14. Texas 3B Josh Jung (AAA) 

When he’s healthy, he’ll be in the lineup if Texas can stay within shouting distance of the expanded playoffs. And maybe even if they can’t.

 

15. Mets C Francisco Alvarez (AA) 20 years old 

As a hitter, Alvarez looks ready to graduate AA with 16 home runs and a .278/.366/.559 slash line along with solid plate skills (11.7% walk rate, 24.2% strikeout rate). His defensive readiness will dictate his promotions schedule.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

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Harley Earl
Harley Earl
1 month ago

Hey Itch,

Just curious on a couple things. The Athletic writer that covers the Padres says scouts are divided on Ruiz, and he seems to indicate the horrible Triple A pitching has made Estuery appear to be a better hitter than he is. Also said he’s talented but not this talented. They seem down on him. You agree with that assessment?

Two other things. Gunnar just turned 21 this week. He’s the youngest player in Triple-A. Why don’t you have him higher?

Finally, Alec Burelson. What makes you think he’s stuck in the minors this year? Just not enough room on the mlb roster? Dude seems legit. He hit a three run bomb last night. I’m a Cardinals fan, so I’d like to see him get the call sooner rather than later.

Thanks!

Weird Fishes
Weird Fishes
1 month ago

Bader on DL with plantar fasciitis, an injury that could linger. Do you see Burleson getting the call?

Milarky
Milarky
1 month ago

Looking for feedback from whoever is willing. I need to pick up a closer, and we only get 1 claim per week so i need to try and make it count. If you could pick only one of these guys and hope it works out ROS, who do you go with?

Graveman
Tanner Scott
Seranthony Dominguez

Anuj
Anuj
Reply to  Milarky
1 month ago

Tanner Scott, my friend. Dominguez’s workload is being closely monitored – he didn’t get the save opportunity today a day after throwing a mere 10 pitches the night before. Scott has a very elite K rate as well.

LenFuego
LenFuego
Reply to  Milarky
1 month ago

I have picked up all three of those guys in the past two weeks chasing saves. I trust Scott by far the most ROS. Hendriks will relegate Graveman to the setup role once he is back in about a week, and Seranthony is probably in a three-way committee with Knebel and Hand. Meanwhile Scott appears to have won the closing job in Miami, and is pitching well.

Screwballs
Screwballs
1 month ago

Itch,

Thanks for all of the good updates this season. I am in a 20 team H2H Keeper league that has 3 NA spots during the season, and I have on 1-2 potential keeper spots for rookies/NA for 2023.

I have been holding Jose Barreos, Gabriel Arias and Triston Casas, but had grabbed Jonathan Aranda and Reid Detmers. Now they have been sent down and Gavin Stone and Kerry Carpenter are available.

Who are the top 3, and are any of the others coming up soon enough to use a bench spot on?

Thanks in advance!

joebobsays
joebobsays
1 month ago

Thoughts on Jay Allen and Johan Rojas? They were in your top 100 back in March. Still feeling it for them? Thanks ahead of time for your thought!

Mark Dobson
Mark Dobson
1 month ago

Kevin Stowers?

MJ888
MJ888
1 month ago

Hey Itch – great write up as usual. As far as Vargas goes, how is his defense at third? I see them trying him out in the outfield (which I wish St Louis would start doing with Walker), but I know that is mainly just for positional flexibility. Between him and Walker, I really need one of them to play third next year! Guessing Vargas has a better shot at qualifying there then Walker?

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
Reply to  MJ888
1 month ago

There is almost no chance Walker is playing 3B next year. Arenado said he is not opting out, and apparently Walker is stretched there defensively anyway

If you want a potential 3B stash for next year get Gunnar, more upside than Vargas anyway

Last edited 1 month ago by Oddball Herrera
Umpy70
Umpy70
Reply to  Oddball Herrera
1 month ago

you think walker is up next year Oddball? Or maybe just as a sept call up

MJ888
MJ888
Reply to  Oddball Herrera
1 month ago

I guess with Walker my hope is he is Arenado’s backup at third and gets enough playing time there to qualify. I am a bit surprised they still have not started giving him reps elsewhere.

I’d love to have Gunnar but he was already rostered.

Anthony
Anthony
1 month ago

Itch – I know adell technically lost prospect status, but I never see him on these lists anymore. What are your thoughts about him? Is he stash worthy? And value long term or for this season?

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 month ago

Morning Itch..someone dropped Edward Oliveres while back…picked him up
In my 13 team dynasty league 5×5…pretty deep in the OF Pepiot has come available…would you drop either Madris, Kwan or Oliveres for him? Thanks! You are the best in the biz!

Philip
Philip
1 month ago

Is ji-hwan Bae anywhere near Sunset Boulevard, Itch? It’s pretty far from LA, but I hear Pittsburgh theater is the next big deal. Dude hit his 7th dinger last night and stole 16,17, and he’s been pretty hot since May. Could he be a difference maker?

And here’s a dynasty question for my 20 team keep forever 6×6: Starting rotation of Woodruff, Urias, Ray, Peralta, May, Flaherty, Gilbert, Gore, Rogers, Muller. Do you think I need to worry about starting pitching at all? Its kinda nice to think I’ve got that stuff in the bag for the next few years, but this year has been rough.

Thanks, Itch! You are the difference maker. I’ve churned so many prospects because of your recommendations, distributing them all around the league.

Old Guy
Old Guy
1 month ago

New to your prospect posts. I enjoy them and appreciate your vast knowledge. I play in several AL only keeper leagues. I always try to have some SP prospects who are close to MLB call-up. I have Gray Rod and Daniel Espino on a few but doesn’t look like they will be of help this year. Who would you advise to pick up among Brayon Bello, Ken Waldichuk, Taj Bradley, Hunter Brown, Peyton Battenfield, LT Allen, Taylor Dollard, DL Hall (anyone I missed)? Again looking for help for rest of this year and beginning of next.

Thank you

Matthew Samra
Matthew Samra
1 month ago

Itch,
I love your write ups. I think one of the things holding Ruiz back is he isn’t on the 40 (45?) man roster. How much of a problem do you think that would be?

Matthew Samra
Matthew Samra
Reply to  The Itch
1 month ago

Thanks Itch! Enjoy your week.

Old Guy
Old Guy
1 month ago

New to your prospect posts. I really enjoy them and appreciate your vast knowledge. I play in several AL only keeper leagues and always try to have a few SP prospects who are close to MLB promotion. I have Gray Rod and Espino in a few but doesn’t look like they will be of help this year. Who would you look to be most useful rest of this year or early next among Bello, Waldichuk, Taj Bradley, Hunter Brown, Taylor Dollard, LT Allen? Anyone I missed who may be better stash?

Thank you

bigbear
bigbear
1 month ago

As much as Baltimore could use help at 2B/SS/3B, I really don’t see them starting the clock on Gunnar. Maybe Westburg but that’s doubtful too.

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
Reply to  bigbear
1 month ago

He really seems like a cup of coffee guy to me. I don’t see it happening outside that

galica1234
galica1234
1 month ago

The Itch!!!

Awesome!!

a. No real questions, man. Thanks for everything. Stocked up on Esteury everywhere possible, especially in my dynasty keep forever leagues. Glad to see him make some progress.

b. What’s your take on Walston’s recent poor performance? Cause for concern or something else? I know 1YPD, but AZ doesn’t have a great track record with pitching prospects or do they?

c. George Carlin quote of the day for June 26, 2022

Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.’

Cheers,
Ante

thorby
thorby
1 month ago

How would you compare Joey Wiemer to the OF prospects you have on your list?

toolshed
toolshed
1 month ago

I wish I saw Carroll on this list, but I know he is a longshot at best. AZ has no reason to bring him up this year.

One guy who I know you covered before while he was in Detroit is Paredes. Do you think what he is doing now is just a hot streak or did the Rays pull out their magic wand and fix him? Is this “real” and someone that we can count on rest of season? I am not sure what to think.
Thanks

David
David
Reply to  The Itch
1 month ago

Good stuff again itch….. in an OBP league would you drop Lane Thomas for Vinnie P?