B/R's Top 100 MLB Prospects at the Start of 2022 Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2022

B/R's Top 100 MLB Prospects at the Start of 2022 Season

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    Ed Zurga/Getty Images

    The 2022 MLB season is underway, and it is time to unveil our first Top 100 prospect rankings of the year.

    The following factors helped determine where each player fell in our updated rankings:

    • Potential: Potential trumps production a lot of the time, especially in the lower levels of the minors and with recent draft picks. Skill set and tools are often better indicators of what kind of player someone will be.
    • Talent: For those in the higher levels of the minors who are close to breaking into the big leagues, production and talent level were the determining factors since the players are viewed as more complete products.
    • Eligibility: A player must maintain rookie eligibility to be considered for inclusion. That means no more than 130 big league at-bats for position players, 50 innings for pitchers or 45 days on the active roster.

    Let's start with 50 players who fell just outside the rankings.

Next 50

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    Yoelqui Cespedes
    Yoelqui CespedesGabe Christus/Associated Press

    RHP: Sam Bachman (LAA), Matt Canterino (MIN), Hans Crouse (PHI), Gunnar Hoglund (OAK), Drey Jameson (ARI), Caleb Kilian (CHC), Landon Knack (LAD), Ty Madden (DET), Ryne Nelson (ARI), Andrew Painter (PHI), Norge Vera (CWS), Cole Wilcox (TB), Gavin Williams (CLE), Josh Winder (MIN)

    LHP: Jake Eder (MIA), MacKenzie Gore (SD), Asa Lacy (KC), Brailyn Marquez (CHC), Kyle Muller (ATL), Ethan Small (MIL)

    C: Dillon Dingler (DET), Harry Ford (SEA), Ivan Herrera (STL), Logan O'Hoppe (PHI), Drew Romo (COL), Austin Wells (NYY)

    IF: SS Nick Allen (OAK), 2B Jeter Downs (BOS), 2B/SS Ezequiel Duran (TEX), 2B Xavier Edwards (TB), 3B Zack Gelof (OAK), 3B Nolan Jones (CLE), SS Matt McLain (CIN), 3B Curtis Mead (TB), SS Colson Montgomery (CWS), SS Liover Peguero (PIT), SS Geraldo Perdomo (ARI), 2B Brice Turang (MIL), 3B Mark Vientos (NYM), SS Jordan Westburg (BAL)

    OF: Kevin Alcantara (CHC), JJ Bleday (MIA), Yoelqui Cespedes (CWS), Brenton Doyle (COL), Sal Frelick (MIL), Garrett Mitchell (MIL), Benny Montgomery (COL), Cristian Pache (OAK), Jairo Pomares (SF), James Wood (SD)

Nos. 100-91

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    Hunter Brown
    Hunter BrownIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Nos. 100-91

    100. OF Colton Cowser, BAL
    99. LHP Brandon Williamson, CIN
    98. OF Joey Wiemer, MIL
    97. RHP Jordan Balazovic, MIN
    96. LHP Blake Walston, ARI
    95. SS Christian Hernandez, CHC
    94. RHP Hunter Brown, HOU
    93. SS Greg Jones, TB
    92. RHP Roansy Contreras, PIT
    91. SS Elly De La Cruz, CIN


    Prospect Snapshot

    -After hitting just 12 home runs in 122 games at the University of Cincinnati, outfielder Joey Wiemer had a 27-homer, 30-steal pro debut between Single-A and High-A to shoot up the Milwaukee Brewers' organizational rankings. His swing has a lot of moving parts, but his .403 on-base percentage and 13.3 percent walk rate provide even more reason for optimism.

    -Blake Walston (No. 26 overall), Brandon Williamson (second round) and Hunter Brown (fifth round) were all part of the 2019 draft class, and they are all on track to outperform a number of pitchers selected ahead of them.

    -Elly De La Cruz received a 60-grade on his power tool from Baseball America following an impressive stateside debut in 2021, and despite his 6'5" frame, he has a legitimate chance to stick at shortstop.

Nos. 90-81

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    Jasson Dominguez
    Jasson DominguezIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Nos. 90-81

    90. IF Jose Miranda, MIN
    89. 2B Michael Busch, LAD
    88. RHP Joe Ryan, MIN
    87. OF Jasson Dominguez, NYY
    86. LHP Kyle Harrison, SF
    85. 2B Justin Foscue, TEX
    84. RHP Ryan Pepiot, LAD
    83. RHP Luis Gil, NYY
    82. RHP Emerson Hancock, SEA
    81. OF Andy Pages, LAD


    Prospect Snapshot

    -While he still has tremendous potential, Jasson Dominguez simply looked overmatched in his pro debut, hitting .252/.353/.379 with 15 extra-base hits in 241 plate appearances and an alarming 30.3 percent strikeout rate.

    -Versatile infielder Jose Miranda was not part of the top-100 prospect conversation a year ago, but after hitting .344/.401/.572 with 32 doubles, 30 home runs and 94 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021, he now looks like a potential impact player.

    -Limited to second base defensively, Justin Foscue will need to hit to live up to being the No. 14 pick in the 2020 draft. He got off to a good start in his pro debut with a .275/.371/.590 line that included 19 doubles, 17 home runs and 51 RBI in 62 games over three minor-league levels.

Nos. 80-71

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    Quinn Priester
    Quinn PriesterDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Nos. 80-71

    80. IF Gabriel Arias, CLE
    79. 3B Miguel Vargas, LAD
    78. RHP Sixto Sanchez, MIA
    77. 3B Jordan Groshans, TOR
    76. RHP Quinn Priester, PIT
    75. SS Ronny Mauricio, NYM
    74. SS Brayan Rocchio, CLE
    73. SS Brady House, WAS
    72. RHP Jackson Jobe, DET
    71. SS Tyler Freeman, CLE


    Prospect Snapshot

    -It's going to be interesting to see how things unfold on the Cleveland infield in the coming years, with Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario currently occupying the two middle-infield spots, and Tyler Freeman, Brayan Rocchio and Gabriel Arias all climbing the ranks in the minors. The fact that Jose Ramirez was signed to an extension also eliminates the possibility of one of them sliding over the third base. It's a good problem to have.

    -The Los Angeles Dodgers' talent pipeline never seems to dry up, and Miguel Vargas could be the next impact bat to emerge from the system. The 22-year-old hit .319/.380/.526 with 27 doubles, 23 home runs and 76 RBI in 120 games between High-A and Double-A last year as a 21-year-old.

    -Will Sixto Sanchez ever have an opportunity to deliver on his vast potential? The 23-year-old showed flashes of greatness in seven starts during the 2020 season, and he threw five shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs that year. However, injuries have been an issue throughout his career, and he's currently recovering from shoulder surgery.

Nos. 70-61

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    Steven Kwan
    Steven KwanIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Nos. 70-61

    70. C Korey Lee, HOU
    69. IF Oswald Peraza, NYY
    68. OF Steven Kwan, CLE
    67. C Shea Langeliers, OAK
    66. RHP Eury Perez, MIA
    65. RHP Cole Winn, TEX
    64. SS Gunnar Henderson, BAL
    63. RHP Mick Abel, PHI
    62. RHP Taj Bradley, TB
    61. OF Michael Harris, ATL


    Prospect Snapshot

    -A fifth-round pick in 2018, right-hander Taj Bradley looks like the Tampa Bay Rays' latest under-the-radar pitching find. The 21-year-old went 12-3 with a 1.83 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 123 strikeouts in 103.1 innings last season, and he's been sent to Double-A Montgomery to kick off the 2022 season.

    -Is Steven Kwan the real deal? The 24-year-old has come out of nowhere to seize a starting job in the Cleveland outfield and hit .526/.655/.737 through his first six MLB games. While he may never hit for much power, his bat-to-ball skills and plate discipline look like playable tools.

    -With a projectable 6'8", 220-pound frame, Eury Perez was already an intriguing prospect in the Miami system before he posted a 1.96 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 108 strikeouts in 78 innings in his pro debut last year. He has grown four inches and added 45 pounds since he signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, and his long-term upside is as high as any pitching prospect in the game.

Nos. 60-51

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    Matthew Liberatore
    Matthew LiberatoreMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Nos. 60-51

    60. IF/OF Vidal Brujan, TB
    59. LHP Reid Detmers, LAA
    58. SS Royce Lewis, MIN
    57. LHP DL Hall, BAL
    56. SS Kahlil Watson, MIA
    55. C Luis Campusano, SD
    54. RHP Spencer Strider, ATL
    53. OF George Valera, CLE
    52. LHP Matthew Liberatore, STL
    51. C MJ Melendez, KC


    Prospect Snapshot

    -Right-hander Spencer Strider used his big triple-digits fastball and wipeout slider to rack up 153 strikeouts in 94 innings last year, and he closed out the season in the MLB bullpen. The 23-year-old has an undersized 6'0" frame and lacks a reliable third offering, but after seeing him strike out five of the six batters he faced on Opening Day, he looks like an impact player even in a relief role.

    -Finally back on the field for the first time since the Arizona Fall League in 2019, Royce Lewis is still only 22 years old with the same impressive tools that made him the No. 1 pick in 2017. A fully healthy season could quickly vault him back up these rankings.

    -MJ Melendez hit .288/.386/.625 with 41 home runs and 103 RBI in the upper levels of the minors last season, and he also threw out 31 percent of base stealers behind the plate. With Salvador Perez blocking his path for the foreseeable future, he saw some action at third base last year.

Nos. 50-41

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    Josh Lowe
    Josh LoweJulio Aguilar/Getty Images

    Nos. 50-41

    50. 3B Josh Jung, TEX
    49. RHP Matt Brash, SEA
    48. 2B Nick Yorke, BOS
    47. IF Orelvis Martinez, TOR
    46. OF Heliot Ramos, SF
    45. RHP Edward Cabrera, MIA
    44. OF Josh Lowe, TB
    43. LHP Aaron Ashby, MIL
    42. 3B Brett Baty, NYM
    41. RHP Bobby Miller, LAD


    Prospect Snapshot

    -It spoke volumes that the Tampa Bay Rays were willing to trade Austin Meadows to open a spot on the MLB roster for Josh Lowe. The 24-year-old has moved slowly since going 13th in the 2016 draft, but he has developed into a stellar defensive outfielder, and he also hit .291/.381/.535 with 22 homers and 26 steals at Triple-A last year.

    -Flame-throwing Bobby Miller turned heads in Los Angeles Dodgers camp this spring, and while he opens the year at Double-A, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the majors in 2022. The 23-year-old could follow a similar path to Walker Buehler and Julio Urias, starting his career as a multi-inning weapon in the bullpen.

    -It looked like a major reach when the Boston Red Sox selected Nick Yorke with the No. 17 pick in the 2020 draft, but he quickly silenced the critics by hitting .325/.412/.516 with 20 doubles, 14 home runs, 62 RBI and 13 steals in his pro debut.

Nos. 40-31

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    Nick Lodolo
    Nick LodoloDustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Nos. 40-31

    40. IF Bryson Stott, PHI
    39. 1B Nick Pratto, KC
    38. OF Luis Matos, SF
    37. RHP Daniel Espino, CLE
    36. 3B Jordan Walker, STL
    35. LHP Nick Lodolo, CIN
    34. OF Zac Veen, COL
    33. OF Robert Hassell III, SD
    32. C Henry Davis, PIT
    31. OF Corbin Carroll, ARI


    Prospect Snapshot

    -One MLB scout on Daniel Espino, via Kyle Glaser of Baseball America: "He had like, the best stuff I’ve ever seen. He was 99-100 with like a (Jacob) deGrom slider at 90-92 and a plus curveball. It was just unbelievable. ... It’s some special stuff. I think he’s got a chance to be the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball before too long."

    -The No. 9 pick in the 2020 draft, Zac Veen hit .301/.399/.501 with 27 doubles, 15 home runs, 75 RBI and 36 steals in his pro debut at Single-A. The 20-year-old has flown under the radar because of where he was drafted, but he has as much upside as any lower-level outfield prospect in baseball.

    -Henry Davis is starting his first full professional season at High-A Greensboro after going No. 1 in the 2021 draft. He's gone 6-for-19 with a double and a home run through his first five games, so a quick promotion to Double-A is not out of the question.

Nos. 30-21

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    Alek Thomas
    Alek ThomasCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Nos. 30-21

    30. 2B Nolan Gorman, STL
    29. C Diego Cartaya, LAD
    28. RHP Shane Baz, TB
    27. 2B Nick Gonzales, PIT
    26. RHP Cade Cavalli, WAS
    25. SS Jeremy Pena, HOU
    24. OF Alek Thomas, ARI
    23. C Tyler Soderstrom, OAK
    22. SS Jordan Lawlar, ARI
    21. SS Marcelo Mayer, BOS


    Prospect Snapshot

    -The careers of Marcelo Mayer (No. 4 in 2021 draft) and Jordan Lawlar (No. 6 in 2021 draft) will be closely compared in the coming years, as they were widely regarded as the most talented prep players in the 2021 draft class.

    -It has long been speculated that the Oakland Athletics could move Tyler Soderstrom out from behind the plate in an effort to expedite his elite bat to the big leagues. The addition of catching prospect Shea Langeliers in the Matt Olson blockbuster would seem to further support that long-term approach.

    -The St. Louis Cardinals shifted Nolan Gorman to second base last season with Nolan Arenado blocking his path at third base, and he could debut later this year either as a DH option or at the keystone with versatile Tommy Edman moving back into a super-utility role.

Nos. 20-11

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    Max Meyer
    Max MeyerMark Brown/Getty Images

    Nos. 20-11

    20. RHP George Kirby, SEA
    19. C Gabriel Moreno, TOR
    18. RHP Jack Leiter, TEX
    17. 1B Triston Casas, BOS
    16. RHP Max Meyer, MIA
    15. SS/OF Austin Martin, MIN
    14. OF Brennen Davis, CHC
    13. RHP Hunter Greene, CIN
    12. SS Noelvi Marte, SEA
    11. SS Oneil Cruz, PIT


    Prospect Snapshot

    -While our No. 49 prospect Matt Brash got the nod for a spot in the Seattle Mariners rotation to start the year, it's George Kirby who stands as the best young pitcher in the organization. With a strong 6'4", 215-pound frame, a 70-grade fastball that touches 100 mph, three quality offspeed pitches and plus command, he checks all the boxes to be a future ace.

    -Jack Leiter was sent to Double-A Frisco to kick off his pro career after going No. 2 in last year's draft, and he struck out seven of the 12 batters he faced in his debut last Saturday. The Rangers won't rush him, but it also wouldn't be surprising to see him get his feet wet in the majors down the stretch.

    -It's only a matter of time before Oneil Cruz joins Bryan Reynolds and Ke'Bryan Hayes as core pieces in Pittsburgh. The 6'7" shortstop hit .310/.375/.594 with 17 home runs in 69 games in the minors last year, and light-hitting Kevin Newman won't stand in his way once he's ready.

Nos. 10-1

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    Julio Rodriguez
    Julio RodriguezIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Nos. 10-1

    10. SS Anthony Volpe, NYY
    9. C Francisco Alvarez, NYM
    8. SS Marco Luciano, SF
    7. RHP Grayson Rodriguez, BAL
    6. SS C.J. Abrams, SD
    5. OF Riley Greene, DET
    4. 1B Spencer Torkelson, DET
    3. OF Julio Rodriguez, SEA
    2. C Adley Rutschman, BAL
    1. 3B Bobby Witt Jr., KC


    Prospect Snapshot

    -With Bobby Witt Jr., Julio Rodriguez, Spencer Torkelson and C.J. Abrams all included on their team's Opening Day rosters, there's going to be a lot of shuffling in our top 10 when it comes time for the next update to these rankings. Expect Adley Rutschman (triceps strain) and Riley Greene (fractured foot) to join them in short order once they recover from spring injuries.

    -Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez is the only pitcher in our top 10 after he posted a 2.36 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 161 strikeouts in 103 innings last year. He threw four shutout innings in his Triple-A debut, allowing just one hit while striking out seven of the 14 batters he faced.

    -With the top seven on this list all potentially exhausting their prospect status in 2021, Marco Luciano, Francisco Alvarez and Anthony Volpe will all be making their case to be baseball's next No. 1 overall prospect. Alvarez and Volpe are starting the year at Double-A, while Luciano is at High-A.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Team-by-Team Breakdown

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    Steven Kwan
    Steven KwanAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    ARI (4): SS Jordan Lawlar (22), OF Alek Thomas (24), OF Corbin Carroll (31), LHP Blake Walston (96)

    ATL (2): RHP Spencer Strider (54), OF Michael Harris (61)

    BAL (5): C Adley Rutschman (2), RHP Grayson Rodriguez (9), LHP DL Hall (57), SS Gunnar Henderson (64), OF Colton Cowser (100)

    BOS (3): 1B Triston Casas (17), SS Marcelo Mayer (21), 2B Nick Yorke (48)

    CHC (2): OF Brennen Davis (14), SS Christian Hernandez (95)

    CWS (0): None

    CIN (4): RHP Hunter Greene (13), LHP Nick Lodolo (35), SS Elly De La Cruz (91), LHP Brandon Williamson (99)

    CLE (6): RHP Daniel Espino (37), OF George Valera (53), OF Steven Kwan (68), SS Tyler Freeman (71), SS Brayan Rocchio (74), IF Gabriel Arias (80)

    COL (1): OF Zac Veen (34)

    DET (3): 1B Spencer Torkelson (4), OF Riley Greene (5), RHP Jackson Jobe (72)

    HOU (3): SS Jeremy Pena (25), C Korey Lee (70), RHP Hunter Brown (94)

    KC (3): 3B Bobby Witt Jr. (1), 1B Nick Pratto (39), C MJ Melendez (51)

    LAA (1): LHP Reid Detmers (59)

    LAD (6): C Diego Cartaya (29), RHP Bobby Miller (41), 3B Miguel Vargas (79), OF Andy Pages (81), RHP Ryan Pepiot (84), 2B Michael Busch (89)

    MIA (5): RHP Max Meyer (16), RHP Edward Cabrera (45), SS Kahlil Watson (56), RHP Eury Perez (66), RHP Sixto Sanchez (78)

    MIL (2): LHP Aaron Ashby (43), OF Joey Wiemer (98)

    MIN (5): SS/OF Austin Martin (15), SS Royce Lewis (58), RHP Joe Ryan (88), IF Jose Miranda (90), RHP Jordan Balazovic (97)

    NYM (3): C Francisco Alvarez (9), 3B Brett Baty (42), SS Ronny Mauricio (75)

    NYY (4): SS Anthony Volpe (10), IF Oswald Peraza (69), RHP Luis Gil (83), OF Jasson Dominguez (87)

    OAK (2): C Tyler Soderstrom (23), C Shea Langeliers (67)

    PHI (2): SS Bryson Stott (40), RHP Mick Abel (63)

    PIT (5): SS Oneil Cruz (11), 2B Nick Gonzales (27), C Henry Davis (32), RHP Quinn Priester (76), RHP Roansy Contreras (92)

    SD (3): SS C.J. Abrams (6), OF Robert Hassell III (33), C Luis Campusano (55)

    SF (4): SS Marco Luciano (8), OF Luis Matos (38), OF Heliot Ramos (46), LHP Kyle Harrison (86)

    SEA (5): OF Julio Rodriguez (3), SS Noelvi Marte (12), RHP George Kirby (20), RHP Matt Brash (49), RHP Emerson Hancock (82)

    STL (3): 2B Nolan Gorman (30), 3B Jordan Walker (36), LHP Matthew Liberatore (52)

    TB (5): RHP Shane Baz (28), OF Josh Lowe (44), IF/OF Vidal Brujan (60), RHP Taj Bradley (62), SS Greg Jones (93)

    TEX (4): RHP Jack Leiter (18), 3B Josh Jung (50), RHP Cole Winn (65), 2B Justin Foscue (85)

    TOR (3): C Gabriel Moreno (19), IF Orelvis Martinez (47), 3B Jordan Groshans (77),

    WAS (2): RHP Cade Cavalli (26), SS Brady House (73)


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs