When mapping out this year’s Top 100, I found myself getting caught up in the layout. I’ve tried a few different ways to skin this cat, and I think my favorite so far was my first: Top 25 Prospects for 2020 Fantasy Baseball.
It was simple, sleek, easy to see, easy to scroll, and it was built in tiers, which feels like a realistic lens through which to view these players. You can argue that Bobby Witt Jr. is definitively a better prospect than Julio Rodriguez if you want to, or vice versa, but if you get offered one for the other in a trade, you might freeze up like me pondering the layout of this article. The differences are real, certainly, but they’re more aesthetic and subjective than anything like objective truth. It’s a difference in type or style more than a difference of quality.
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.
Let’s bring this thing home!
Julio is baseball’s best minor league hitter, and he’s added speed the past few years. Starting to resemble a center fielder on defense and chisel away at Witt’s positional advantage, which some people use to break the tie.
I almost put Cruz in the top tier. He’s closer to that group than he is the next one, I think.
Can’t go wrong here. The number one prospect in 2023 will likely come from this group. Carroll and Abrams could’ve played their way into the top tier if injuries didn’t cut their seasons short.
Baz was the first pitcher I drafted in TGFBI at 115th overall. Risky strategy, I realize, but Baz feels as safe as any top pitching prospect we’ve seen in a long, long time. His dominant stuff, diverse arsenal, plus command and team context are all green lights for early big league success.
Oh, you prefer Grey’s large adult son? Fine by me. Baltimore bumping the left field fence back 30 feet this year is just a coincidence, wink wink, but I sure appreciate the timing of it. He’ll still be an Oriole, so that’s not ideal, but they’re on the way up, and he’s talented enough to bring the rising tide every fifth day.
13. 2B Vidal Bruján | Rays | 24 | MLB | 2021
If Bruján got traded for Rutschman in your league, would someone complain?
I honestly have no idea. Almost bumped Bruján out of this tier because his perceived value has lagged, but the 50-steal upside with plus defense at several positions makes it hard for me to shake him. His 80th percentile outcome is rotisserie gold: something like .290 with 15 home runs and 40 steals. If he ever does get there, it’ll likely come with eligibility at multiple spots.
Might be cutting it a little fine here, but I’m through the looking glass at this point. Been staring at this a long, long time, moving stuff around, grouping it together, ungrouping it. That’s part of the reason I like tiers for this. Just makes my process better, I think.
Walker almost landed in the group above. Miranda and Matos almost landed in the group below, meaning this group almost did not exist. Riveting stuff, I know.
17. OF Seiya Suzuki | Cubs | 27 | NPB | 2022
He’s not really a prospect, but he should be a good rookie in Chicago!
20. OF Zac Veen | Rockies | 20 | A | 2024
Kind of an upside sandwich here with high-probability big-league bats as the bread.
Vargas is the only surprise, I suppose, but I’ve seen him play a functional second base in AA, and I like everything about him in the batter’s box. Now I’m not saying he’ll be a major league second baseman, but he was playing there while Michael Busch was playing first at times late last year. They’d know better than most what he can do on defense. I’m now just rephrasing stuff I wrote this week in Prospect News: Top 10 Beneficiaries of the Universal DH, so it’s probably time to move along. I’ve run this one pretty snugly up against the deadline and yet here I am as the minutes tick down on a Saturday night rewriting sentences I’ve written before. Been a long week. Been simmering this thing to a boil for a long time. I’m excited. Jangly. Ready to close this thing out like Brad Lidge in extra innings.
Weirdest tier of the night goes to this crowd, but that was always going to be the case with the Jung landing spot. Kind of lost on how to handle the injury news. I didn’t drop Carroll much for his shoulder last year, and I felt like that was the right call in hindsight, so that’s the play for Jung at the moment.
Melendez has a case to be above Rutschman. Don’t hurt me. I’m just sharing thoughts. We want home runs, and he hits ‘em. Plus, he has that Varsho-esque wild card status of a possible full-slate of at bats if he ever shifts positions, or shares positions. We’re getting a little racey with the language here on Up All Night, but that’s how people have always felt about people (and characters) named MJ.
Luciano was in the tier above this before I got down to really writing my way through the thickets, where it occurred to me that he’s teetering closer to a big drop in perceived value than anyone’s really talking about, not that I know what everyone’s talking about. Just ran out of qualifiers there, but seriously, say Luciano strikes out 30 percent of the time in High-A this year and doesn’t graduate the level so much as times out of it by the end of the season. Where’s he at on next year’s hundred? That’s a slippery slope of a strawman sentence, but it’s more plainly within the range of outcomes for Luciano than most of his list-mates.
I am trying to trade for Hunter Greene, where I believe this ranking leaves room for profit.
I am not trying to trade for Triston Casas, who’s upside feels fully reflected in this ranking.
Eury Perez is the most likely of all Miami’s prospect arms to become a true fantasy ace . . . if they can support him with a decent team on the field.
My brother sent me a list of names to rank for his 20-team FYPD coming up. Lotta great players left on the board by a very-early cut-off date for minor league add/drops. Harris, of course, was on it, and looking at him in comparison to a series of names over text in the context of a team that I’d once operated, I realized how much I want Dustin Harris on my fantasy teams. Some of this is selection bias, as I watched a fair bit of Harris throughout the off-season and found his bat path to be particularly variable through a consistent base. This is the same skill I liked most about Bo Bichette. His game is myriad in the batter’s box, allowing him to foul off a lot of tough pitches and zero-in during an at bat. Harris is not as talented as Bichette, but he should be able to make the most of his opportunities in a similar manner where time equals growth.
Lodolo has a lot working for him, especially a nasty angle from the left side, but I keep wanting to drop him a little given the directionless state of that organization.
Kirby could be puffed up to just about anywhere outside the top ten and I wouldn’t flinch. He’s been a bit hittable with the fastball so far, but he’s a delight to watch. His changeup is going to be a nightmare for big league lefties.
Alvarez gets a catcher penalty here, and Thomas gets a proximity and opportunity boost. A lot of people like Alek Thomas more than me, but I still want him where I can get him. Just don’t trust that organization or their AAA outcomes due to friendly hitting environments.
Yorke is much more than just a yip-yip hitter. He’s got that dawg in him and will likely be the youngest infielder in AA early in 2022. Can make a case for him in the top 25.
Three proximity bats and a big-time arm with the talent to stand alone atop the pitching ranks next season.
Espino is where the rankings break apart a little through the lens of Which Trades Would I Make. I’m pretty sure I’d send the guys 31-33 to get him, but that’s a personal preference thing, and he probably shouldn’t cost that much in most leagues.
Ruiz is a nice target in redraft leagues. He’s at 96 at bats, so he’ll graduate off the list a couple weeks into the season.
38. SS Kahlil Watson | Marlins | 18 | CPX | 2024
42. SS Vaughn Grissom | Atlanta | 21 | A+ | 2023
43. SS Jeremy Peña | Astros | 24 | AAA | 2022
As we get nearer to an actual season, proximity is playing a bigger role in my thinking than it did at times throughout the positional and team breakdowns. I always try to keep actual near-term stats high on my list of prospect priorities, but it’s hard to keep it in focus over the winter as the vast majority of coverage moves in the opposite direction, leaving time itself as mostly a non-factor in considerations of baseball’s future stars. I get it. You don’t want to get distracted when your goal is simply overall future potential, but for our purposes, we need to weigh present versus future through a more aggressive lens and rush guys like Jeremy Peña up the lists when it looks like they’ve got their chance. Should also be wary of putting guys like Kahlil Watson way above more established players when Watson will be waiting several years for his first big league at bat.
I love this group of players. Give me every single one at their present perceived value with the possible exceptions of Martinez and Rocchio.
Leonard has gathered some hype over the off-season after a relatively quiet ascent in 2021. Razzball is probably still a little above the market here, but not by much and not for long. You could copy and paste that blurb for Grissom and Peña. I have these three guys on a lot of fantasy teams.
45. SS Marcelo Mayer | Red Sox | 19 | CPX | 2025
46. SS Brady House | Nationals | 18 | CPX | 2024
47. 1B Vinnie Pasquantino | Royals | 24 | AA | 2022
Gonzales played well in his debut season and could climb the list in a hurry, but his strikeout rate was a little high (27.4 percent), and he didn’t run a whole lot (7 SB in 80 games), but he remains a high-probability big league regular who provides above average production for his position.
Mayer and House might have more trade value than anyone in the tier, given their value is still tethered to their top-of-the-class FYPD evaluations. I’d be fine with trading either.
Might be out over my skis on Vinnie P, but he just hits and hits and hits and doesn’t strike out.
Pages, Pereira and Noel all have light-tower power and have produced against much older competitors. Could push any of these three up the list if you’re feeling frisky.
I’m gonna say I love this tier, and you’re gonna think something like “Yeah you must really love them to rank ’em outside the Top 50.” That’s fair, but I am trying to trade for Johan Rojas everywhere I can. Barrero is gettable too, I think, despite being on the cusp of some sort of opportunity in Cincinnati. I’d like to think he’ll play everyday between shortstop, outfield and DH, but that might be a pipe dream at this point, which is why you could still trade for him.
55. SS Jordan Lawlar | Diamondbacks | 19 | CPX | 2025
In this tier, we find three players I wouldn’t trade for and one player I’d be happy to have for a reasonable price.
Valera is tricky. If I had him, he’d be tough to trade, but I would put him on the block and see what materialized. Cleveland slow-rolls their roster spots, and I’m impatient enough to at least peek behind door number three.
Hassell III got moved for Seiya Suzuki in the Razz30 this year, and he’s a definite sell for me if that’s the kind of return you can expect. I’m not sure it is now that Suzuki is in Chicago. At the time, he represented a significant risk, as the team trading for him might’ve just lost Hassell for nothing if Suzuki hadn’t signed. Anyhow, the point stands he commands significant trade value despite struggling in High-A and being several years away from helping your stats.
Mayo is a go for me. He’s still available in the 15-team Ditka Dynasty. That draft is scheduled for April 1, and even though I’m trying to defend a title, I’ll probably end up scooping some Mayo into the shopping cart. He’s a little unorthodox, but he strikes me as the smooth-swinging sort of elite who might just never struggle. Reminds me a little of Ryan Braun in the bat whip and exit velocity.
58. RHP Jack Leiter | Rangers | 21 | NCAA | 2023
61. OF Jay Allen II | Reds | 19 | CPX | 2025
Peguero tends to raise some eyebrows on my lists, so I cut out a sample size that exemplifies my optimism for him. Over his final 36 games, Peguero slashed .305/.363/.523 with 8 HR and 13 SB. He’s not going to be a 25/50 type player, but his topside is the kind of cross-category contributor that never makes it out of the third round or redraft leagues during his prime.
Gorman’s been cutting the strikeout and justifying some of his early career hype. He’s still more of a sell than a buy for me, but now that he’s got a chance at 2B eligibility, I have to re-evaluate that on the regular.
I had no idea what to do with Jack Leiter. It’s tough to get a solid read on his perceived value around the dynasty game. He’s probably best used as a trade piece at the moment.
Here’s a third trade piece in a row with Jasson Dominguez, unless he’s already lost most of the sheen in your league. If so, just wait it out. He’ll catch another spotlight soon.
These last two are buys. In 19 games on the complex, Allen II slashed .328/.440/.557 with 3 HR and 14 SB. He was caught stealing once. This is what future roto studs look like at the lower levels.
I’m hoping to get Montero where I can. He’s made little tweaks to shorten up his swing and sharpen up his approach, and he doesn’t have to be particularly great to be a fantasy stud in Colorado. As an added plus, they kind of have to get him on the field. Garrett Hampson, he’s not, is what I’m saying. He’s the primary return for Nolan Arenado, so I’m hoping he gets treated more like a prospect than a bench-extender in his early career.
65. C Henry Davis | Pirates | 22 | A+ | 2023
I can see some scenarios where I don’t trade Davis or Cartaya for Camilo Doval, like a SV+H league with 40-some starting catchers, but I’m typically contending, and as such, a guy like Doval carries immense upside in saves-only formats. Maybe he splits the job with Jake McGee. Maybe he loses the gig entirely. Either way, it’s hard to get elite relievers. If you think saves are tough to come by in 15-team redraft, wait til they get scarce in your dynasty league.
Cartaya ended last season with back issues, or he might be a little higher. That plus the catcher piece was enough to waterlog his elite power.
I like all these guys. Green lights all the way at these prices, which I think are a fair representation of where they’d land in most dynasty leagues. Baty would be higher for builders. Roansy, Ashby and Ryan would be higher for tenders. I’m a little worried about the role for Ashby, but Milwaukee’s track record is incredible over the past few years.
72. SS Wilman Diaz | Dodgers | 18 | DSL | 2025
If you’re looking long term, you could swing for the fences on Hernandez and Diaz. If you need help now, pivot to Kwan.
78. RHP Cade Cavalli| 23 | AAA | 2022
Lowe features incredible power-speed upside but doesn’t make consistent enough contact for us to be confident about banking those stats.
Detmers was hittable partly because his pitches move pretty close to the average offering in his velocity band. He can overcome this with command and further reliance on his slider along with stealing more strikes early in counts with his curveball, but the early returns against major league hitters were a little scary.
Meyer should probably be higher here. I had him above Jack Leiter at one point and was probably more right then than I am here. He’d lost some shine in the dynasty world for reasons that were mostly a mystery to me, and now that he’s thrown one clean spring outing, he’s back. Wish I’d just left him where I had him in the Top 25 Starting Pitcher Prospects for Dynasty Fantasy Baseball in 2022.
Brash is bouncing up redraft boards this month as he appears to be lined up for an early opportunity.
Cavalli thrived in his first season and climbed three levels, dominating in A+ and AA before getting knocked around in his final stop: six starts at AAA spanning 24 innings resulting in a 7.30 ERA. Everyone has a bad month in them, and I’m not fussed about that underwhelming last lap. Cavalli suppressed home runs and induced ground balls all year, striking out 175 batters in 123.1 innings along the way. He’s a thick 6’4” 235 and looks like a linebacker on the mound.
If you like your prospects close, Stott might be a little higher on your list than mine. He’s a solid player with a chance at some playing time in the near term, but I’m leery of paying the market rate given his team’s track record developing hitters.
80. RHP Jackson Jobe | Tigers | 19 | NA | 2025
If you wanted Jackson in this year’s FYPD, I hope nobody took yer Jobe.
Peraza exists in something of a no-man’s land between the eras. Maybe he can push IKF off the position before Anthony Volpe comes up, but it’s looking a little bleak for his playing time outlook. These things tend to work themselves out, but teams tend to have less depth than New York.
Soderstrom could get a value boost if Oakland moves him off catcher.
84. OF Joey Wiemer | Brewers | 23 | A+ | 2023
Herbert can make me look pretty silly with a solid season. The strikeout rate has cost him some perceived value, so I’m just costing readers profit if I keep putting him in the Top 25, but I’m still a believer in the player.
Two of my favorite upside outfielders follow him. Wiemer was the most dominant player in minor league baseball for a couple months last year. Alcantara has physical gifts to rival anyone in the game and was turning that talent out on the field last year.
With a couple weeks in the closer role, Art Warren could look low here. He’s not a prospect anyway on service time, but he’s still under the limits for any dynasty league that goes by innings pitched, which is something like 99.99 percent of dynasty leagues.
91. 2B Josh H. Smith | Rangers | 24 | AA | 2022
I’ll take all these pitchers at their current cost, please. I love the names in this tier to gain a ton of value this season.
92. OF Michael Harris II | Atlanta | 21 | A+ | 2023
94. OF Colton Cowser | Orioles | 22 | A | 2023
Speed and plate skills in this tier along with Kevin Smith climbing the list due to the opportunity awaiting him in Oakland.
98. SS Luisangel Acuña | Rangers | SS | AA | 2024
99. 2B James Triantos | Cubs | CPX | 2025
Volatile tier here. I mean, they all are, but everyone one of these guys gives off a boom-bust vibe, with the possible exception of Triantos.
Siri has an outside shot to be the opening day center fielder in Houston even after arriving late to camp due to Visa issues.
Lewis has a lot to prove. Hasn’t really earned this ranking on the field. Isn’t looking at a near-term opportunity. Still has good trade value, but I doubt anyone’s moving him now. The anticipation for his 2022 is palpable. MacKenzie Gore is kind of an honorary mention here and has looked good this Spring. Has a good case to make the Battenfield tier.
Thanks for reading!
Good luck with your drafts!