10 Players Poised To Join Top 100 Prospects List In 2023
Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list for 2023 has been released, but the version you see now is far from its final form. We update the list regularly throughout the season. Sometimes it’s to replace players who have graduated from prospect consideration. Other times, it’s to reflect the ebbs and flows of prospects during the spring and summer.
Here are 10 players we believe could land on the Top 100 at some point in 2023 if they live up to their expectations.
Samuel Zavala, OF, Padres
Despite trading a small city’s worth of prospects over the last few years, San Diego still has an enviable top of its system. The Padres placed Jackson Merrill (22) and Dylan Lesko (69) on this year’s Top 100, but Zavala could join them at some point. The outfielder missed time in 2022 with hamstring and wrist injuries but was impressive when he was on the field. He’s got plenty of power potential from the left side—he homered seven times in 33 games at Low-A—despite a frame that doesn’t look like it would be conducive to thumping balls. He’s also got a strong idea of the strike zone and the speed and instincts to handle center field at least until his body reaches full maturity. He’ll play more than half of the 2023 season at 18 years old and could shoot his way onto the Top 100 if he shows the potential he hinted at last summer.
Spencer Jones, OF, Yankees
Jones has an enviable combination of power and athleticism that could make him a valuable player on both sides of the ball. He has the type of physicality and brute strength the Yankees covet—being lefthanded doesn’t hurt, either—and both traits showed up in spades in his pro debut, spent mostly at Low-A Tampa. Even in a short sample as a pro, scouts noticed that Jones did a good job closing an early hole on the inside of the plate and doing a better job overall to cover the entirety of the strike zone. If Jones can keep that up, his natural ability to crush the baseball will shoot up not only the Yankees’ list, but also onto the Top 100.
Mason Miller, RHP, Athletics
Miller fell a little bit off the radar during the 2022 season because of injuries that limited him to just six starts during the regular season, including two at Triple-A. The A’s assigned him to the Arizona Fall League, where he spent six weeks showing his full potential. He overwhelmed hitters with a combination of a fastball that lived in the triple-digits and a putaway slider that garnered silly swings from accomplished hitters. Next year, he might be even tougher on hitters. As he came back from injury, Miller shelved a cutter that he will reintroduce in 2023. If the cutter returns in its previous form, it could give Miller three filthy pitches with which to attack hitters. He could be even better if he can bring his firm changeup to even fringe-average.
Marco Raya, RHP, Twins
Raya’s stuff is some of the best in Minnesota’s system. His repertoire includes a fastball and slider that project as plus or better, as well as a curveball that could get to above-average. His mix plays up because of the way his delivery works and the angles it creates. Now, he needs to add strength and stamina, specifically in his lower half to help him keep the stuff crisper in outings and deeper into the season. If he does that, he could emerge as the Twins’ top pitching prospect.
Jeferson Quero, C, Brewers
The Brewers’ outfield group gets the bulk of the hype, but Quero shouldn’t get lost in the mix. He’s a stellar defensive catcher with a throwing arm that is at least plus and allowed him to throw out roughly 31% of runners at both Class A stops in 2022. He upped that ante in the Arizona Fall League, where he caught potential runners at a clip of nearly 46%. If he improves his approach, he could begin creeping closer to average power production and become more of a weapon on both sides of the ball.
Bubba Chandler, RHP, Pirates
Chandler is an athletic righthander with outstanding stuff and a near-ideal pitcher’s frame. Each of his three pitches projects as above-average or better, and his control could get to average with further experience. His fastball sits in the mid 90s, gets tons of whiffs and is especially effective at the top of the zone. Chandler’s slider and changeup each have their moments, though both lack consistency. That’s especially true of his slider, which varies enough in quality that it can sometimes look like two variations of the same pitch. Despite doing a fine job repeating his delivery, Chandler’s control and command wander. The Pirates chalk this up to overall inexperience and expect it to improve as he moves up the ladder. If it does, he could tap into his sky-high potential and move into the game’s elite prospects.
Grant McCray, OF, Giants
Along with Vaun Brown, McCray was one of the two biggest revelations in the Giants’ system in 2022. The third-rounder from 2019 has long had tools, but last season was when he began putting them all together. Adjustments to his stance allowed McCray to unlock some more potential, but he’ll need further improvements to his rates of swing-and-miss. These changes would also allow McCray’s raw power to become more usable in games. McCray is a standout defender and rates as the system’s best outfield defender. If McCray’s offensive game adds a bit more polish, he could be a player who stands out on both sides of the ball and provides excellent defense in center field.
Dax Fulton, LHP, Marlins
When the Marlins drafted Fulton in 2020, they knew it might take a little while for him to shed his post-Tommy John surgery rust. Toward the second half of the 2022 season, it was clear he was back to his old self and began dominating the upper levels of the minor leagues with improved stamina, fitness and the pitch mix to match. Fulton made some alterations to his repertoire as well, adding a two-seamer and utilizing a new grip on his changeup. The results were a dominant stint in Double-A, where he struck out nearly 13 hitters per nine innings and helped lead Pensacola to the Southern League crown. Further improvement to his changeup could boost Fulton into the Top 100.
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Owen Murphy, RHP, Braves
For the first time in BA history, the Braves did not have a player ranked in the preseason Top 100. That’s partially because of trades and graduations rather than a true lack of organizational talent. Murphy, who ranks No. 2 on the Braves’ list behind fellow righty AJ Smith-Shawver, is a candidate to break on through in 2023. Murphy is an athletic righty with a low-90s, high-spin fastball, a nasty curveball and slider whose shape the Braves are working to alter into more of the version used to great effect by breakout starter Spencer Strider. Atlanta liked Murphy’s combination of stuff, makeup and athleticism enough to take him in the first round. If the club’s assessment was correct, he could raise his stock in the early months of the coming season.
Jarlin Susana, RHP, Nationals
By now, you know about Susana. He’s a massive human who has a flamethrower in place of his right arm. His fastball reaches past 100 mph with regularity, and his nasty, powerful slider gets plenty of swings and misses. His changeup and curveball need refinement, as does his overall control and command. That’s not a surprise for someone of his age, size and experience, but it needs to be worked on nonetheless for Susana to remain a starter. If he does that, he’ll have an easy time jolting into the Top 100. If not, his fastball and slider could give him a spot as a dominating closer.