1. Cardinals OF OF Jordan Walker | 20 | AA | 2023

At 6’5” 220 lbs with 80-grade power, plus athleticism and easy speed, Walker belongs to a rare class. No offense to Corbin Carroll or Gunnar Henderson, I’m just slightly more confident Walker will be an impact fantasy player. Check out Grey’s Jordan Walker, 2023 Fantasy Outlook for more. Fun videos in there. Really drives home how easy it can look for Walker when he’s on his game.


2. Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll | 22 | MLB | 2022

A lightning-quick lefty, the 5’10” 165 lb Carroll calls Mookie Betts to mind for his surprising core strength and plus barrel control. It’s a lofty thought, but Carroll warrants the optimism, cruising through the minors despite losing a season to a major shoulder injury. His all-fields power and double-plus speed helped him to 15 extra base hits in 32 big league games. In 93 games across three levels, Carroll slashed .307/.425/.610 with 24 home runs, 31 stolen bases, 22 doubles and eight triples. I’m not sure how high is too high for redraft leagues, but I suspect his ADP will rise month-over-month from here through April.


3. Orioles 3B Gunnar Henderson | 21 | MLB | 2022

I’ve got him listed at third base because Jorge Mateo was so good on defense last season, that’s likely where he’ll stay in 2023. Henderson might wind up the shortstop sometime between now and Jackson Holliday’s debut. It’s nothing to worry about, of course. I’m just interested to find out how this group of infielders fits on the field together. Henderson is a 6’2” 210 lb left-handed hitter with plus power, speed and plate skills. The total package. I have some concerns about the top-end impact of the speed, so I feel like any kind of buy window is well behind us at this point in dynasty or keeper leagues. 


4. Brewers OF Jackson Chourio | 19 | AA | 2024

Chourio won’t turn 19 until March 11, giving him an outside shot to make his big league debut at age 19. It’s unlikely but within the range of possible outcomes for a player who has already defied the age-to-level curve in an extreme way, playing AA games at 18 and getting valuable winter league reps in a hyper-competitive environment. The numbers don’t matter a whole lot for a wunderkind like this, but the numbers are good: 20 HR and 16 SB in 99 games across three levels.


5. Reds SS Elly De La Cruz | 21 | AA | 2023

In his 2023 Fantasy Outlook for Jordan Walker, Grey refers to meta-human type athletes as Lab Babies. Next year, if he’s still eligible, that post is reserved for E to the DLC: Lab Baby. Prospect Thanos. Inevitable. Only thing between him and that kind of shine is a 2023 debut. The strikeouts and the Reds’ general level of competitiveness could conspire to delay his arrival, but if he does make the leap, we’ll want him on our redraft squads. The power and speed are elite, and I’m way less worried about the strikeouts (158 in 120 games) than what I’ve seen in some other prospect portals because I think the quality of contact is so extreme the strikeouts barely matter until proven otherwise. De La Cruz is a switch-hitter at 6’5” 200 lbs who explodes his hips through the zone from both sides of the plate. Like Aaron Jude and Oneil Cruz before him, he doesn’t have to square up a pitch to send it seven rows deep. It’s unique. It’s uncanny. It helped him slash .304/.359/.586 with 28 home runs and 47 stolen bases in 120 games across two levels.


6. Nationals OF James Wood | 20 | A | 2025

There’s a lot riding on the broad shoulders of the 6’7” 240 lb center fielder. If he remains a high-contact, big-power bat through the upper minors, the Juan Soto trade could look okay a couple years from now. CJ Abrams has a big part to play in that math as well, and he started hitting better down the stretch with regular at bats. Like Abrams last winter, Wood should be a consensus top ten fantasy prospect this off-season after slashing .313/.420/.536 with 12 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 76 games this year. He also walked 50 times and struck out 75. So far, his game has no apparent weaknesses. Depending on the timelines of Jackson Chourio and Elly De La Cruz, James Wood could be baseball’s number one overall prospect early in 2024.


7. Phillies RHP Andrew Painter | 19 | AA | 2023

If I have to pick one minor league arm to become a no-doubt fantasy ace, I’m asking Sherwin Williams because it’s between Painter, Grayson Rodriguez and Eury Perez, and Painter is my preferred option at the moment. In 103 innings across three levels, Painter posted a 0.88 WHIP and 155 strikeouts and 25 walks, culminating in a successful month in Double-A where he struck out 37 batters and walked two across 28.1 innings. Philadelphia’s Double-A setting in Reading has battered a number of young pitchers in the past, so it’s especially exciting to see the 6’7” 215 lb Painter smother hitters who are 5.5 years his senior, on average. With a double-plus fastball, slider and curve, Painter hasn’t needed the changeup much but has shown an aptitude to command all four offerings. Probably could’ve helped the club in this postseason run–not that they’ve needed it so far.


8. Dodgers 2B Miguel Vargas | 23 | MLB | 2022

Over the years, I’ve read a lot of reports that downplay the physicality Vargas brings to the game as a 6’3” 205 lb right handed hitter with baseball bloodlines. He’s not some contact-only, right-center slap-hitter, and he’s not a mess on defense. I felt pretty good about my read on Vargas when the Dodgers named him their Opening Day second baseman because I’ve written in these pages more than once about how good he looks at second base when I watch the games. His plate skills have always been elite, strikeout rates settling in around 15 percent the past two seasons in Double-A and Triple-A. In 113 AAA games, he walked 71 times and struck out 75, slashing .304/.404/.511 with 17 home runs and 16 stolen bases. 


9. Orioles RHP Grayson Rodriguez | 24 | AAA | 2023

Here’s what Grey said about his progeny in his Grayson Rodriguez, 2023 Fantasy Outlook

“Gray-Rod, which sounds like but is different than A-Rod kissing the mirror, has a Sistine ceiling. The sky’s the limit, really. For 2023, I’ll give Grayson Rodriguez projections of 8-3/3.37/1.07/127 in 106 IP, with a chance for more depending on the Orioles, but I think that’s honestly optimistic for MLB playing time because he also doesn’t have many innings on his arm, after his partial past year.”

Feels like Rodriguez has been around a long time. Some of that is pandemic time warp. Some of that is Baltimore time-bending. Some of that is injuries slowing his progression. He’s easy to love as a prospect, especially with the cavernous left field.


10. Marlins RHP Eury Perez | 19 | AA | 2023

It’s tough to keep Eury Perez in perspective. He’s 6’8” 220 lbs and started his second Double-A game on his 19th birthday. His control came and went this season, netting him a 4.08 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 75 innings as a 19-year-old facing hitters half-a-decade (5.4 years) older than him. He missed about a month late with injury but returned before season’s end, walking four batters in two innings on September 16 to round out his 2022. If you track prospects, you have to like this guy for his easy velocity and repeatable, athletic mechanics. He’s a unicorn. The only rub here is his perceived value. After all the off-season ink has dried, Perez could be the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball–a mantle frequently carried by players who wind up disappointing us in the long run. Last year’s top two were Shane Baz and Grayson Rodriguez, who will again be in the running for king of pitching prospect mountain after missing most of 2022 with a lat strain. For most of Perez’s trajectory, I’ve been hammering the gas, but I’ve backed off over the past few cycles as his name value has skyrocketed. I even traded him in the Highlander Dynasty Invitational last year. Brought back Camilo Doval who was crucial to me winning that league. I’d still want Perez wherever I could get him. I’m just wary of the price point. 


11. Yankees SS Anthony Volpe | 21 | AAA | 2023

Turns 22 on April 28. Where will he be celebrating? He struck out 30.3 percent of the time in 22 Triple-A games, a huge jump from the 17.7 percent rate he’d posted in 110 games at Double-A, so it’s possible he spends a large chunk of 2023 with the RailRiders of Scranton Wilkes-Barre. If Oswald Peraza takes the job in spring training and plays well, we might not see Volpe in the majors all year. The polar opposite is in play as well, as Volpe offers the kind of topside that suggests he could settle the issue once and for all with a dominant spring or scorching start at Triple-A. Even riding the struggle bus to start 2022, Volpe finished with 21 home runs and 50 stolen bases in 132 games across the top two minor league levels. I’ve always been a little lower than consensus on him because the Yankees hype machine is so loud, and I’m not certain his loft-heavy approach will work against truly elite pitchers, but the 80th percentile outcome on Volpe would make him a fantasy star, and that puts him in elite company.


12. Orioles SS Jackson Holliday | 19 | A | 2026

The number one overall pick in 2022’s amateur draft, Holliday is a 6’1” 175 lb left-handed hitter who appears to have inherited his father’s all-out approach to baseball. He’s probably in a batting cage or a weight room right now. Everyone works hard at this level, but Holliday’s had access to baseball resources for a long time, and you can see the results in his game and his build. He dominated on the complex for just eight games before the team had seen enough and sent him to Low-A for the final two weeks of the season, where he posted a .439 on base percentage. He’ll likely head back there to open the year but should be able to force a promotion at some point. I suspect we’ll see more aggressive timelines with this next cohort of young Orioles in general. Holliday could be a nice bellwether for that. 


13. Rockies SS Ezequiel Tovar | 21 | MLB | 2022

Tovar’s like that smiley-smooth Essex kid in The White Lotus. Just makes it look easy. Or maybe it just looks easy in comparison to Albie aka other Rockies. In 66 games as a 20-year-old in Double-A, Tovar slashed .318/.386/.545 with 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases. That’s juicy. Speaking of, Grey gave you his thoughts on the matter in his Ezequiel Tovar, 2023 Fantasy Outlook.


14. Diamondbacks SS Jordan Lawlar | 20 | AA | 2024

Lawlar played at four levels, slashing .303/.401/.509 with 16 home runs and 39 stolen bases. He couldn’t keep up that pace for the 20 games he spent in Double-A at season’s end, but that’s no reason to worry. The struggle bus could be good for him in the long run, especially if he comes back strong in 2023. I don’t have all the high school game logs, but I’m guessing Lawlar has rarely slumped like that for a month. The 6th overall pick in 2021, he’s on a short list of contenders to be the number one overall prospect by this time next year.


15. Brewers OF Sal Frelick | 22 | AAA | 2023

Hit machine. Walked (8.8%) more than he struck out (7.4%) in 46 games at Triple-A, slashing .365/.435/.508 with four home runs and nine stolen bases. I have no idea why he didn’t get called up. 40-man stuff, maybe. Brewers really crapped the bed down the stretch last year, and I suppose bad decisions can have a compounding effect and lead to more bad decisions. In this case, the Josh Hader trade created a need to see Esteury Ruiz at the major league level, so they brought him up, perhaps taking Frelick’s ticket even though they barely played Ruiz and then sent him back down before moving him along to Oakland. 


16. Diamondbacks OF Druw Jones | 19 | NA | 2026

Jones suffered the mandatory D-Back shoulder injury shortly after draft night, when Arizona landed him with the 2nd overall pick. Arizona’s top three prospects here all feel like windfall profits. You can make a pretty good case none of them should’ve been on the board, but there they were, and Arizona didn’t overthink it trying to pinch pennies or find the Vitruvian man in the case of Carroll, who was clearly an elite prospect who fell to 16th due to his size. At 6’4” 180 lbs, Jones looks like the 2.0 version of his old man. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say he’s an impressive variation on the young version of his dad, one with more speed.


17. Astros RHP Hunter Brown | 23 | MLB | 2022

Can Jose Urquidy hold this freight train off for the fifth starter spot? Hunter Brown is the most chamber-approved pitching prospect Houston’s had since Forrest Whitley. At 6’2” 212 lbs, Brown maintains impeccable balance throughout his delivery thanks to elite posture and strong legs. His ability to repeat has improved year over year to the point that his control is finally trending toward command. Hitting spots is still not his long suit, but Brown’s stuff is so dynamic, he’ll never have to be especially fine to retire big league hitters. In 20.1 MLB inning in 2022, he posted a 1.08 WHIP after recording a 1.08 across 106 Triple-A innings. The Houston development plan of piggy-backing mixed with starting all the way up prepares these guys for the life they’ll face as an Astro, waiting sometimes multiple seasons to truly crack the rotation. Whether or not Brown can buck that trend will come down to health across the roster, the club’s commitment to Jose Urquidy, and how Brown handles the back-and-forth role in which he’ll likely open the season.


18. Pirates C Endy Rodriguez | 22 | AAA | 2023

If you put the switch-hitting Rodriguez behind the plate and in the middle of Pittsburgh’s lineup, the whole team looks about 200 percent better. The athletic 6’0” 170 lb former Mets farmhand played a fair bit of outfield in 2022 but looks smooth behind the plate. His bat is racing his glove to the majors, and the presence of number one pick Henry Davis complicates the issue further, but it might help them both to share the workload and kick over to DH or left field on off-days. Rodriguez is a better baseball athlete than Davis and a more versatile defender, so he might find himself in the ideal fantasy catcher spot, escaping the rigors of daily dish duty while finding his way into the lineup much more than the average backstop. In 31 Double-A games last year, Rodriguez popped eight home runs and slashed .356/.442/.678 with an impressive 13-to-15.2 percent walk-to-strikeout rate. He finished the year with a week in Triple-A, where he collected eight RBI in six games and slugged .773. In short, he is ready. 


19. Angels SS Zach Neto | 22 | AA | 2023

Here’s what I wrote about Neto in my Top 15 for 2023 First-Year-Player Dynasty Drafts this summer.

“Not many options for those seeking a college bat with speed who could cruise through the minors quickly enough to help you sometime soon in the standings. As a bonus, the Angels don’t have anyone blocking anything on the middle infield, with the possible exception of Luis Rengifo, who I’ve been adding and trading for across my leagues because I believe in his steps forward this season. One downside is Neto’s oversized leg kick, something he ditches with two strikes in favor of a contact-oriented approach. The big front leg isn’t necessarily bad, and I like that he’s got a two-strike approach, but he might need some adept coaching along the way in making the leap from Campbell and the Big South Conference. He’s hit well in wooden bat leagues against college arms, which assuages some of the small school concerns.”

Since then, Neto has in fact cruised through the minors quickly. He played 30 Double-A games and slashed .320/.382/.492 with four home runs and four stolen bases. It’ll be hard to hold him back in the minors if he replicates that success this coming season. He was seventh on this post-draft list and will be higher than that when I shuffle up and deal a new ranking. 


20. Blue Jays LHP Ricky Tiedemann | 20 | AA | 2023

At 6’4” 220 lbs with an upper-nineties fastball, Ricky Tiedemann has been bullying batters throughout his baseball life but took it up a notch in 2022, traversing three levels of minor league play (78.2 innings) with 117 strikeouts and a 0.86 WHIP. He was every bit as dominant in 11 Double-A innings (0.82 WHIP) as he had been in 30 Low-A innings (0.80 WHIP). The only real worry here is that he won’t get tested until the majors, but as bugaboos go, that’s a preferable one. He’ll likely need better command, especially off-speed command, to survive big league lineups a couple times through, and he won’t need either of those traits in place to dominate again in the minors. The Jays put him on an aggressive timeline seeking someone to challenge him in 2022 and might do the same this year if they decide he’ll need to develop in the majors anyway. He’ll turn 21 in August and is on track to celebrate that milestone in Toronto.


21. Cubs 1B Matt Mervis | 24 | AAA | 2023

The 6’4” 225 pound Mervis hit 36 home runs in 137 games across three levels and keeps on hitting them in the Arizona Fall League, where he’s got five homers in 13 games. He has struck out and walked thrice a piece, continuing the case of the disappearing strikeouts after K-ing in just 14.6 percent of his Triple-A plate appearances. Should open 2023 in the major league lineup.


22. Rays 1B Kyle Manzardo | 22 | AA | 2023

A 6’1” 205 left-handed hitter with excellent plate skills, Kyle Manzardo has scaled the minors in a hurry since being drafted 63rd overall in 2021. Tampa assigned him to High-A to open the 22 season after just 13 games on the complex in 2021. Manzardo rewarded their confidence with 17 home runs in 63 games, slashing .329/.436/.636 with 46 strikeouts and 45 walks. He then replicated that success in 30 games at Double-A, where he slashed .323/.402/.576 with 19 strikeouts, 14 walks, and five home runs. If the tremors on my register are any indication, his prospect stock is soaring this winter. If you don’t have him already, it might be too late. Which is fine. Don’t overpay here. But if you can get in a little cheap, you might be able to flip him for a nice profit in a few months.


23. Mets RHP Kodai Senga | 30 | NPB | 2023

Senga is six-foot even and 202 lbs but can generate upper nineties velocity atop the zone and send hitters to the dugout with his trademark forkball or solid slider. The Mets signed for him for $75 million across five seasons. If he can stay healthy, he’s the safest money in this draft.


24. Cubs OF Pete Crow-Armstrong | 21 | A+ | 2024

The surprise prize of the Javy Baez trade, Crow-Armstrong features a quick but simple stroke in a 6’0” 184 lb frame. PCA is a double-plus defender who just posted 16 home runs and 32 stolen bases in 101 games across two levels where he was younger than the league average. He chipped in 20 doubles and 10 triples, slashing .312/.376/.520 on the season. The power has been a nice bonus, considering the profile isn’t dependent upon it.


25. Guardians RHP Daniel Espino | 22 | AA | 2024

Injuries kept Espino sidelined for much of 2022, but he was around long enough to leave a loud impression, striking out 35 batters in 18.1 Double-A innings and posting a 0.71 WHIP across those four starts. He’s listed at 6’2” 225 lbs and looks like a bodybuilder. Upside is as high as any pitcher in the minors thanks to an 80-grade fastball and double-plus slider. I’ve got 2024 listed as the ETA just because he hasn’t thrown that many innings, and the team is deep in pitchers both in the majors and on the cusp, but Espino could almost certainly help the major league club this season if he’s healthy. 

Thanks for reading!