This post picks up where we left off Sunday when I posted the Top 25 Outfield Prospects for Dynasty Fantasy Baseball in 2022. While we’re here, I might as well include a quick link to all my work this off-season: 2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospects, the Minor League Preview Index. It’s been fun to explore the game system by system then position by position. Starting pitchers are coming up next, followed by relievers in one of my favorite articles to build every year (I’ve been working on it for weeks) before we ring in the new minor league season with a fresh list of Top 100 prospects. Can’t wait! This particular list could’ve gone on forever (in the sense that “forever” refers mostly to a pretty damn long time), but I stopped at sixty to avoid overstaying my welcome (I hope). If someone you expected to see isn’t on here please drop a line in the comments section.

Format = Player | Team | Age on 4/1/22 | Highest Level Played | ETA 

26. Elly De La Cruz | Reds | 20 | A | 2025

The taste of the moment in Prospect World, De La Cruz is listed at 6’2” 150 lbs but looks much bigger than that today. A switch-hitter with double-plus power and speed, he has good hand-eye coordination to make it work right now even as his mechanics are all over the place. Huge topside here where the numbers don’t tell the full story. He struck out 31 percent of the time in A-ball and walked just 4.8 percent of the time across 50 games. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen so many sources laud a player with such shoddy plate skills, but De La Cruz was just 19 in full-season ball. He’s at the starting line of a long baseball life and has several paths ahead of him, so optimism is warranted. 


27. Pete Crow-Armstrong | Cubs | 20 | A | 2025

The Mets traded Crow-Armstrong for a couple months of Javy Baez, which isn’t great for Mets fans but worked out better than the Cubs could have imagined. Maybe the Mets felt PCA was found money, having lucked into a top ten talent in the 2020 draft at the 19th overall pick. His approach isn’t geared for power at the moment, but he’s got the natural ability to make adjustments, and you can’t do much better than his brief, full-season debut in A ball, when he slashed .417/.563/.500 across *checks notes* six games.


28. Sal Frelick | Brewers | 21 | A+ | 2023

A Razzball favorite for Prospect Hobbs and myself, Frelick hit the ground running in his pro debut, slashing .329/.414/.466 across three levels, culminating in a tough 15 games at High-A (.167/.296/.267), but I’m not going to ding him much for that because it was the tail end of his draft year. The 15th overall pick out of Boston College possesses double-plus bat control and contact abilities that should let the rest of his game flourish as he climbs the ladder. He swiped 12 bags in 35 games as a pro and should be able to contribute in that category at the highest level. 


29. Matthew Fraizer | Pirates | 24 | AA | 2023

An ascending player, Fraizer appears to be part of the outfield picture as soon as 2022, assuming we have a season. An elite football prospect, Fraizer is still learning to maximize his 6’3” 217 lb frame. 2021 showed he’s picking things up in a hurry. He slashed .288/.356/.492 in his 37 games at AA. In the full season across two levels, he hit 23 HR and swiped 15 bags in 112 games while maintaining solid strikeout and walk rates throughout. He’s a big dude with a beautiful left-handed swing, and I suspect we’re going to be hearing a lot about him from all the prospect outlets sometime soon. Just checks off every box anyone might put in front of him.


30. Garrett Mitchell | Brewers | 23 | AA | 2023

Mitchell is a wide receiver type talent at 6’3” 215 lbs, and he’s smooth in pretty much everything he does on the field, which is kind of the problem in the batters box, where the lefty lacks torque. Here’s what I wrote about him on September 8 in Prospect News: Josh Lowe Climbs the Ladder, Garrett Mitchell Falls:

“Milwaukee OF Garrett Mitchell’s worst tool is hit. That’s not what we want. Sure, it works out sometimes, but others, you’ve got an experienced college hitter slashing .197/.309/.282 for a month at AA. 

“For a month” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. Can’t blame anyone who goes shoulder to the wheel on a player and ignores a month of output. Please, Garrett, just drive. Counterpoint is he has always had to grind on his hitting. Several scouts thought he’d need a swing change in the pros, something we’ve yet to see. Milwaukee has been great at a lot of things this past decade, but developing its own hitters isn’t at the top of that list.”


31. Austin Martin | Twins | 23 | AA | 2023

The Ferrari was more like an Oldsmobile in his first pro season, or as we referred to it in our family, The Grocery Go-Getter. The GG-G slugged .382 in 93 AA games, so while it’s cool that he had a .414 On-Base Percentage and stole 14 bases, it’s less cool that he hit five home runs. I think Toronto made a smart trade, sending Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson out for Jose Berrios, who signed a new contract with the Blue jays this winter. They’ve got plenty of field players and needed pitching to push for the playoffs. Some pundits expressed shock at the team’s willingness to move their top pick from 2020, but they’d had a pretty good look at him by then, given the insular nature of complex work during the pandemic. If you’d asked if they wanted to draft Luis Arraez 5th overall in 2020, they may have said no, so it’s fitting that Martin lands in the same place as the player who comes most easily to mind when thinking about the skill set he’s shown so far. He’s a better athlete and runner than Arraez, but I couldn’t shake the comparison so figured I’d share as I rarely think in those terms.


32. Lawrence Butler | Athletics | 21 | A+ | 2023

A chiseled 6’3” 210 lb left-handed hitter, Butler was a 6th round pick in 2018 and did not hit in his first two seasons, slugging .330 in rookie ball in his draft season and .286 across 55 games at Low-A in 2019. Something shifted during the 2020 shutdown, and Butler caught up to his competition, popping 17 home runs and swiping 26 bases in 88 games at Low-A before spending his final 14 games at High-A where he cut his K-rate by five percentage points and slashed .340/.389/.540 with 2 HR and 3 SB. I’ve also seen him make some great plays at first base. The slightly shrinking strikeout rate is no fluke; Butler tightened up his swing and decision-making throughout the season. The speed is real, too. If he can keep the K-rate lower than 30 percent, Butler’s got the tools to carve out a roster spot in any size fantasy league. 


33. Kyle Isbel | Royals | 25 | MLB | 2021 

A 5’11” 190 lb lefty, Isbel struggled early after winning a starting job in Spring Training, slashing .265/.306/.324 with a 41.7 percent strikeout rate in 12 games before being sent down to AAA, where he got the train back on track through the long season and returned to the majors in September. He hit .286/.362/.524 with a 10.6%/17.% BB/K rate, 1 HR and 1 SB in 16 games. Please allow me to be a stock talking head for a moment so I can confidently declare he’s probably somewhere in between those outcomes. So helpful, that statement always is. He’s closer to September Isbel than April Isbel. In 105 games at AAA, he hit 15 home runs, stole 22 bases and struck out 20.2 percent of the time. If he’s even a little like that as a big leaguer, he’ll be a bargain at redraft tables this winter and a must-start in just about any kind of league.


34. Heriberto Hernandez | Rays | 22 | A | 2024

Hernandez had a weird start to his time with Tampa, slashing .211/.417/.421 with three home runs and a 30.1 percent strikeout rate over his first 24 games. Looks like an overly passive approach to me, but something that shifted the rest of the way when the 6’1” 195 lb righty slashed .270/.364/.466 with nine home runs in 49 games. Whichever outcomes you prefer, both were disappointing to me. Hernandez generates massive power as an explosive rotator with a thick trunk and keeps his swing short enough that he’s got a chance at a plus hit tool. He’s not the best athlete on the field but can be functional in a corner. I’m still excited for the future but a little less gung ho than I was this time last year. Probably the Rays are helping him make little changes and grow into his game, which will take time and might create a buy-low opportunity or two as he rides the slow road to Tampa. 


35. Nelson Velazquez | Cubs | 23 | AA | 2022

Velazquez brings plus athleticism at 6’ 190 lbs and put up a tasty 20 HR 17 SB season across two levels last year, culminating in his best stretch as a pro: 34 games in AA slashing .290/.358/.581 with 8 HR and 5 SB despite being 2.5 years younger than the average player. He’s also playing in the Arizona Fall League this year, and while I don’t care that he has four hits in nine at bats there, his assignment to the league suggests he’ll get some opportunities in spring training.


36. Benny Montgomery | Rockies | 19 | CPX | 2025

I’m gonna say the name Eric Davis here, but I’m talking more about player type than expectations people should have for Benny Montgomery–a tall (6’4”) lithe (200 lb) top-of-the-scale athlete who could unleash hell on the basepaths in his first full season at A ball in 2022. Takes the dude about three steps to steal second, and with the three-throws-over rule juicing the numbers, Montgomery’s statline figures to pop off the screen. He was the 8th overall pick in the 2021 draft and got busy in the complex league right away, swiping five bags in 14 games with a .340/.404/.383 slash line. His batting average will always be a little higher than his skill level in the box thanks to the double-plus wheels, but there’s plenty of upside here for our game even if Montgomery doesn’t work his way toward a more natural cut with some torque and loft. 


37. Owen Caissie | Cubs | 19 | A | 2025

Came over from San Diego along with Reggie Preciado in the Yu Darvish trade. Seems to have a lot of believers within the fantasy industry, and I can see why. He’s a patient 6’4” 190 pound lefty bat with plus power who demonstrated good strike zone judgment in walking at an 18.6 percent rate across two levels. I tend to be leery of guys who walk and strike out a lot in the lower levels because that kind of extreme patience is hard to pull off against elite pitchers, so I’m likely to be a little down on the mighty Caissie relative to other rankers. He’s a nice piece for OBP leagues regardless of how his contact skills materialize in the short term. For the year, Caissie slashed .302/.434/.489 with 7 HR in 54 games. Can’t complain about that.


38. Cristian Pache | Atlanta | 23 | MLB | 2020

If you can separate hype and history from the game on the field, Pache had a good year as a 22-year-old at AAA, slashing .268/.336/.418 with 10 HR and 9 SB across 83 games, good for a 104 wRC+. He’s on track to be an everyday centerfielder thanks to double-plus defense. There’s fantasy value in the playing time and speed with a decent stick. Manny Margot stuff would be a pretty good outcome. Pache retains topside beyond that, but Cedric Mullins he’s not. That was fun to write. Sure, he might not pay back the investors who’ve been all in on him for three years, but he’s a good prospect.


39. Pedro Leon | Astros | 23 | AAA | 2023

We probably haven’t seen Leon’s best, but what we’ve seen raises questions. He played 17 games at AAA this year and slashed .131/.293/.164 with 0 HR and 4 SB. Look a little like Siri’s first month at the level to you? One difference is Siri has been in the Reds’ system since 2013. 2021 was the Lion’s first chance at making the kind of gains available within the long grind of a stateside season. I’ve moved him around a bit on the list. I can’t tell if he’s a buy or sell. Probably just depends on context, but I doubt his teams are eager to sell given the momentum he seemed to be building in the middle of last season. For what it’s Wuertz, his ETA says 2023 here, but he’ll probably be up by September. I just don’t think he’ll play much until next year. 


40. Jairo Pomares | Giants | 21 | A+ | 2024

Pom was wonderful in 2021, slugging 20 home runs in just 77 games across two levels. His career total in 51 games had been three home runs, so something shifted for the 6’1” 185 lb lefthanded hitter. Specifically, he went pull-hunting like a season one Kendall Roy. The previous iteration of Pomares employed a read-and-react, opposite-field-heavy approach, but this Giants development staff has these guys working with VR machines to simulate the stuff they’ll see from opponents on any given night, and I imagine this helped Pomares zero in on the pitches he could punish. That plus the mechanical and strength development across time left us with a totally new player here: my favorite kind of prospect story. 


41. JJ Bleday | Marlins | 24 | AA | 2023

I don’t love including Bleday here because he hasn’t earned it on the field, slashing a paltry .212/.323/.373 across 397 at bats this year after logging a .257/.311/.379 back in 2019. Bleday was the 4th overall pick in his draft year on the strength of a breakout junior season, and if he were a 4th rounder, he’d have dropped off fantasy radars long ago. As is, the would-be power hitter edges out OF Peyton Burdick, SS Yidde Cappe and SS Nasim Nunez for the final spot on the list, largely because nobody in the system knocked him off. He’s a definite sell for me if anyone’s buying.


42. Diego Rincones | Giants | 22 | AA | 2022

Rincones is a low-strikeout, high-average, plus-power guy who’s just about ready for the big leagues with the bat. I’m not a big fan of the phrase “bad-body guy,” but it does accurately describe a case where a player gets less hype than his outcomes warrant because he’s not a love-at-first-sight type for scouts who see him. Rincones, at a glance, is round and slow, but he’s athletic in his hands and even athletic in his base during his swing. In 76 games spread across High-A and AA, Rincones slashed .293/.377/.514 with 15 HR. He was about two years young for the level in AA but was just as good there as he’d been in A+. He struck out just 37 times in 51 AA games. 


43. Nick Plummer | Mets | 25 | AAA | 2022

2021 was a breakout season for Plummer, a likely major leaguer with a decent lefty bat. Might not be impactful enough to matter for our game, but I’m intrigued by his opportunity with the Mets this year with the DH. 


44. Kristian Robinson | Diamondbacks | 21 | A | 2023

At his best, Robinson is a plus-everything athlete who looks born to play the game. He’s a 6’3” 190 lb wide receiver type who rotates like Luis Robert. Outfielders with 30/30 topside come along less often than big budget films as good as Dune, so if you’re in a long-term rebuild or have the roster space and patience to wait, Robinson could provide real desert power to the believers.


45. Cody Thomas | Athletics | 27 | AAA | 2022

The former Dodger had a monster year in 2021 after a swing change, but his stats don’t matter a whole lot for our purposes because the A’s AAA team plays in Las Vegas, where the warm, dry air provides lift off for guys like Thomas to blast 18 home runs in just 59 games and slug .665. He struck out at a 31.8 percent clip, but walked 10.2 percent of the time and carried a .363 OBP. A high-end college football prospect who played Quarterback at Oklahoma, Thomas offers some lack-of-reps topside that’s obscured by his age on the page. 


46. Pedro Piñeda | Athletics | 18 | CPX | 2025

Piñeda struck out a lot in his debut season, but he was playing against much older guys and still made enough impact on contact to collect an impressive .258/.403/.403 line with 1 HR and 3 SB in 23 games at the complex site. We’re just scratching the surface on the 6’1” 170 lb centerfielder with plus power and speed who signed for $2.5 million in January 2021. Hit tool concerns are the only thing holding him back. 


47. Matt Vierling | Phillies | 25 | MLB | 2021

It’s easy to overlook Vierling, a 5th round pick in 2018 who never garnered much press in his journey to the majors, partly because he lost the 2020 season, partly because much of that climb occurred this year when Vierling traversed three levels and wound up one of the club’s better hitters down the stretch, albeit in a part-time role. He got the season cooking with a steamy .345/.422/.644 line in 24 games at AA, but that ballpark in Reading is notoriously generous to hitters, and he struggled to replicate that success at AAA (.248/.331/.359) before splashing down with a .324/.364/.479 line in 79 major league plate appearances. He doesn’t swing and miss much (9.2% in Philadelphia) or strikeout much, and he packs just enough power and speed to cause problems for opponents and score points for us. He’s my favorite name in this system in terms of price versus potential to help us in the standings.


48. Bubba Thompson | Rangers | 23 | AA | 2022

I watched Thompson and Josh Smith lead off the season’s final game with back-to-back bunt singles. First time I’ve seen that since the Marlins with Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo. He led off all year, actually, Thompson, picking up a meaty 470 plate appearances in 104 games, all at AA. His lines are not spectacular, but they’re plenty good for a multi-sport athlete drafted out of high school playing his third full pro season at AA. Context is a slippery situation in the pandemic. I caught some Reddit flak for putting Thompson at the back of a top 100 early in 2021 as people remembered his empty 2019 when he slashed .178/.261/.312 with 5 HR and 12 SB in 57 games at High-A. I totally get how something like that could stick in your mind, but he bounced back with 16 HR, 25 SB and a .275/.325/.483 slash line along with solid to plus defense in centerfield, where he should continue to progress given his plus speed and athletic feel. It’s kind of a funny scenario in the sense that Cristian Pache is still safely inside most Top 100 lists I see, and if you give me the choice between him and Thompson today, I think I’m taking Thompson. I wouldn’t go trading for him though. That park is double tough, and he should be borderline free for those interested in rostering him. 


49. Gilberto Jimenez | Red Sox 21 | A | 2024

Bit of a surprise this winter as Jimenez was left off the 40-man roster and exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Click here to read more about Chaim Bloom’s thinking on that front.

The lost 2020 cost him some of his age-to-level advantage, so he’ll be near the average when he opens 2022 at High-A. In 96 games this year, the 5’11” 212 lb centerfielder slashed .306/.346/.405 with 3 HR and 13 SB. He also hit 16 doubles and six triples, but those numbers and his slash line are a little inflated by his double plus speed and opposite-field approach. He still needs to learn how to incorporate his base into every swing, but that makes sense. He’s a young switch hitter who only started hitting lefty a few years ago. Lots of growth potential here. Probably worth your while to check in and find out if the Rule 5 situation has created a little buying opportunity in your leagues. 


50. Alec Burleson | Cardinals | 23 | AAA | 2022

My large adult son made waves in his debut season, traversing three levels and slashing .270/.329/.454 with 22 HR and 3 SB in 119 total games. He was a two way player in college and has enough athleticism and arm to provide plus defense in a corner. I don’t think he’s a big impact bat for our game, but he is a likely major leaguer we’ll get some big league looks at in 2022 if he’s hitting in AAA.


51. Zach DeLoach | Mariners | 23 | AA | 2023

The 43rd overall pick in the 2020 draft, DeLoach got busy in a hurry when he finally got the chance to play a pro game, slashing .313/.400/.530 with 9 HR and 6 SB across 58 games in Low-A. He then posted a .227/.338/.384 line in 49 games at AA, but that’s a tough hitting environment, as evidenced by DeLoach’s 98 wRC+. League average is more or less the expectation across the board here, I think, with a little room above that in speed and hit. At 6’1” 205 lbs, DeLoach is a high-energy guy who makes a lot of diving attempts in the outfield and grinds out tough at bats with something of a drop-the-hammer swing from the left side. 


52. Drew Waters | Atlanta | 23 | AAA | 2022

Waters was excellent in AA as a 21 year old (.319/.366/.481 across 108 games), and he seems to be running a lot more (28 SB in 36 attempts this year) to compensate for struggles at the plate since that stretch. He’ll need to stop striking out so much but cut about five percent off his K rate this year compared to his 26 AAA games in 2019.


53. Heliot Ramos | Giants | 22 | AAA | 2022

Ramos didn’t graduate AA so much as he aged into AAA, where he was still 5.7 years younger than the average player. Across the full season (116 games), he slashed .254/.323/.416 with 14 HR and 15 SB. Not bad. Not ideal. The hope is that he settles in at AAA and soaks up some coaching, applies that across his opportunities and takes the slow road to becoming a fantasy factor. I doubt the club will rush him to the majors in any needs-based scenario. This is good news for Ramos and us, as it gives the 6’1” 188 lb, 2017 first-rounder time to grow into his skillset. 


54. Khalil Lee | Mets | 23 | MLB | 2021

I did not know Lee ran a .451 OBP in 102 AAA games this year. He’s always had so much swing and miss in his game that I sort of set him aside. Even getting on base almost half the time, he strikeout rate was 29.6 percent. That’s not totally disqualifying anymore, but it’s not what you want to see in the minors. Another surprise on Lee’s statsheet: he got caught stealing in 10 of 18 attempts. He’s added some thump—14 HR this season—but if he’s not fleet-a-foot enough to get the green light, he’ll struggle to help us in fantasy.


55. Austin Hendrick | Reds | 20 | A | 2025

The 12th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Hendrick struck out 37.6 percent of the time in his first taste of full-season ball. He also walked a whopping 19.2 percent of the time. What the what? Swing the bat, dude! How else are you gonna learn to hit some of this stuff? He somehow got worse throughout the season, striking out 40.9 percent over his final month. It was only 63 games, and it was Hendrick’s first look at professional pitching in a game setting, but yikes, is a decent word for how his season played out. I have never liked his mechanics for what it’s worth. Torque is a good thing for hitters. Too much torque is a problem. Henrick looks like a wind-up toy imitating a high-school age Bryce Harper. If he shortens up, trades some thump for some contact and starts swinging a little more often, he could be dangerous. A Tyler O’Neill type is the hope, but that’s on the really high-end for Hendrick, and it took O’Neill a long time to get where he was this season.


56. Ryan Vilade | Rockies | 23 | MLB | 2021

The 6’2” 226 lb former shortstop could make a run at that spot if the team is feeling frisky. He jumped AA in 2020 and held his own at AAA in 2021, slashing .284/.339/.410 with 7 HR and 10 SB in 117 games. That’s not what you’d want on your fantasy teams, but it’s not so bad in context of a guy who hadn’t played in 18 months and jumped a level. If Vilade has a hot streak at any point in 2022, he’s an add-first, ask-questions-later type of asset. 


57. Jordan Viars | Phillies | 18 | CPX | 2025

A 3rd round pick in 2021, Viars got off to a slow start on the complex before homering three times in his final nine games at the level. He’s a powerful 6’4” 215 lbs with enough patience (17.2%/18.8% BB/K rate) and speed that I expect he’ll cruise through a couple levels next year if he’s making enough contact.


58. Brandon Lockridge | Yankees | AA | 25 | 2022

Was considered a relative certainty to play some kind of big league role entering 2021 thanks to extreme speed and defense, but then something happened in AA. The 6’1” 185 lb right handed hitter had suddenly learned to synchronize the leg strength that made him so fast into his hips and explode through his swing. Could’ve been just that flash of lightning, full-blown-flow type of thing that happens to people dedicating their life to a craft. Perhaps he’ll never recapture that magic, but in 43 games at AA, Lockridge slashed .328/.382/.557 with 10 HR and 13 SB. He also struck out 30.4 percent of the time, quite the jump from the 19.9 he’d posted in 32 games at High-A, but that’s what happens when you suddenly start swinging with all you have. It’s hard to explain how difficult it is to truly swing with everything you’ve got. Even harder to learn. Might be a blip, but if a guy with this kind of speed and defense suddenly brings plus in-game power, we’re looking at a big league regular.


59. Joe Gray Jr. | Brewers | 22 | A+ | 2023

Gray Jr. was the best player in his Low A league, slashing .289/.407/.632 with 12 HR and 12 SB, and that line is a little dampened by a tough stretch that saw him hit .157 over his final 11 games at the level. Gray employs an uppercut that might struggle to stay on top of elite spin up in the zone as well as down and out, as evidenced by his struggles in High-A, where the 6’1” 195 lb righty slashed .219/.306/.381 across 59 games. Nonetheless, he compiled 20 HR and 23 SB in 110 games across two levels as a 21-year-old, and I suspect we’d all be happy with 25/25 upside on our roto squads. 


60. Korry Howell | Brewers | 23 | AA | 2023

Milwaukee has an obvious type: premium athletes, and Howell is certainly that. The 6’3” moving castle comes from a multi-sport background and features double-plus speed and plus power to float his developing contact skills. There’s risk in the profile, sure, but he’s coming off a 16 HR, 24 SB season accrued in just 96 games across two pitching-thick levels. He was striking out too much in AA, but that’s par for the course in this system, so it shouldn’t hold him back, opportunity-wise, like it might on another club that’s more invested in slap and dash dudes. The Brewers want impact, and Howell brings the noise.


Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.