15 Prospects In Consideration For Top 100 Prospects List
Each offseason the prospect team at Baseball America engages in an exhaustive reporting process, polling front office personnel, scouts and analysts throughout the game to provide the most accurate possible prospect rankings. What emerges is a wide spectrum of evaluations. Our team whittles down a list of over 200 players to form our Preseason Top 100. Due to this narrow grouping, several talented prospects just miss out on inclusion. Below we have highlighted 15 prospects that garnered serious consideration for our annual Preseason Top 100.
Further down we have listed each player that earned a Top 150 vote from our team and sources in alphabetical order.
Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins: One can argue that Julien has the best on-base ability in the minor leagues. Over the last two seasons Julien’s 20.4% walk rate leads all batters in minor league baseball with 750 or more plate appearances. It’s not just Julien’s on-base ability that’s notable, as he’s the first player in over 20 years to start his career with consecutive seasons with an on-base percentage of .400 or better, 15 or more home runs and 15 or more stolen bases. A dynamic offensive player, Julien’s limitations in the field pushed him just outside the Top 100.
Dalton Rushing, C, Dodgers: Simply put, Rushing dominated the Low-A California League out of the draft. The second-round pick out of Louisville hit .424/.539/.778 with eight home runs over 28 games. Few players increased their prospect standing post-draft the way Rushing did. He fits onto the just missed list and will likely jump on to the Top 100 as soon as a few prospects graduate in the opening weeks of the season.
Wilmer Flores, RHP, Tigers: The younger brother of the Giants' Wilmer Flores, the Tigers righthander has begun to carve out his place among the top prospects in the game. A nondrafted free agent in 2020, Flores has already ascended to Double-A. Flores uses a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a sweepy mid-80s slider and a high-70s two-plane curveball, and he'll occasionally throw a high-80s cutter and a mid-to-high-80s changeup. Despite below-average fastball shape, Flores performed across two levels in 2022, posting a 2.79 ERA over 103.1 innings, while striking out 130 batters to just 23 walks.
Ryne Nelson, RHP, D-Backs: Nelson debuted in the major leagues late in 2022 with the D-backs, making three starts and allowing just three earned runs over 18.1 innings of work. A 2019 second-round pick out of Oregon, Nelson spent a majority of 2022 with Triple-A Reno, navigating the hitter’s paradise that is the Pacific Coast League. While his performance was up and down during his Triple-A tenure, he did flash a true four-pitch mix. Nelson combines a four-seam fastball at 93-94 mph, touching 98 mph at peak, with a sweepy slider, a mid-70s curveball with depth and a changeup. Nelson is likely to compete for a place in the D-backs rotation out of spring training.
Luisangel Acuna, 2B, Rangers: The younger brother of Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr., Luisangel has ranked as a top 10 prospect in the Rangers system in four consecutive seasons. An explosive middle infielder with a bat-first profile, Acuña has a promising combination of above-average power and speed. Acuña impressed over 54 games with High-A Hickory last season, hitting .317/.417/.483 over 54 games. He struggled over the final two months following a promotion to Double-A Frisco and will likely return there to start 2023.
Yosver Zulueta, RHP, Blue Jays: After an injury-plagued first three seasons in the Blue Jays organization, Zulueta enjoyed a healthy and productive 2022. The righthander is armed with a fastball that sits 96-97 mph and reached 101 mph in 2022. He shows two fastball shapes as well with a four-seam and two-seam variation. While his velocity is notable, the fastball is not Zulueta’s strongest offering—that’s his mid-80s sweeping slider that boasts over a foot of horizontal break with some late drop. In addition to the plus fastball and slider combination, Zulueta throws two more average offerings in his low-80s curveball and changeup. While Zulueta has a deep offering of average or better pitches his below-average control posed enough questions to keep him outside of the Top 100.
Gordon Graceffo, RHP, Cardinals: A fifth-round pick in 2021 Graceffo made steady velocity gains on his fastball over the last year plus. He sat 94-95 mph throughout 2022 and was clocked at 100 mph on the backfields in spring training and during the season per Trackman. He dominated the High-A Midwest League out of spring training before a solid showing in Double-A. Graceffo pairs his mid-90s fastball with a plus slider, an above-average changeup and an average curveball. Graceffo has found success due to his advanced strike-throwing and a knack for rarely walking batters. If Graceffo can prove he can miss bats at the higher levels he could jump back onto the Top 100.
Jacob Berry, 3B, Marlins: The sixth overall pick in the 2022 draft, Berry underwhelmed out of the draft, hitting .264/.358/.392 over 33 games with Low-A Jupiter. Berry’s combination of on-base ability, bat-to-ball skills and power make the switch-hitting infielder one of the more intriguing college bats in the recent draft class. With a likely move to first base long term, Berry has added pressure for his bat to carry his profile. Despite the warts, polished switch-hitters with power are a rare breed.
Quinn Priester, RHP, Pirates: After spending all of 2021 at the High-A level, Priester spent a majority of his 2022 season with Double-A Altoona, reaching Triple-A Indianapolis by season’s end. He made six starts in the Arizona Fall League but struggled, allowing 16 earned runs over 23 innings. When Priester is on, he can mix his low-to-mid-90s fastball with a trio of whiff-inducing secondaries. His curveball is his best pitch, a low-80s breaking ball with depth and late sweep. The curveball generated whiffs at a rate of 50% in 2022 and induced ground balls at a rate of 65%. His mid-80s slider and upper-80s changeup are both average pitches that can flash above-average on their best days. Priester is an above-average strike-thrower with a trio of average or better secondaries to mask the dead-zone shape on his fastball.
Chase Silseth, RHP, Angels: It’s no stretch to say that Silseth debuting with the Angels in mid-May was one of the biggest shocks in the first half of 2022. Less than a year after being selected in the 11th round, Silseth was the first player from his draft class to play in the big leagues. He made seven starts for the Angels over two stints with the major league club. However, a majority of the righthander’s season was spent at Double-A Rocket City, where Silseth dominated. Over 15 starts Silseth went 7-0, striking out 34.4% of the batters he faced. Silseth pairs a mid-90s fastball with a slider, curveball and splitter, with the curveball grading out as his best secondary. Silseth has a knack for keeping the ball on the ground with enough stuff and pitch shapes to generate whiffs at an above-average rate.
Matt Mervis, 1B, Cubs: After a standout 2022 and a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, Mervis earned serious consideration for the Top 100 but ultimately fell just short. A nondrafted free agent in 2020, Mervis rebounded from a poor full-season debut in 2021 to hit the third-most home runs in the minor leagues in 2022. Across three levels Mervis hit 36 home runs while slashing .309/.379/.605 over 137 games. He pairs above-average bat-to-ball skills (76% contact rate) with plus power (105 mph 90th percentile) and has the profile of an everyday power-hitting first baseman.
Junior Caminero, 3B, Rays: The slugging infielder was acquired from the Guardians on the 40-man roster deadline day in 2021. Caminero made his stateside debut in June, hitting .326/.403/.492 with five home runs over 36 games. He saw a promotion to Low-A Charleston in mid-August and hit .299/.359/.505 with six home runs over the final month. Poised to break out in his first full season in 2023, Caminero could soar up the list.
Mason Auer, OF Rays: Drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 draft out of juco powerhouse San Jacinto (Texas), Auer hit .290/.372/.487 with 15 home runs and 48 stolen bases while leading the minor leagues with 12 triples. Auer is a tool shed with 55 or better tools across the board and a true 80-grade throwing arm. With double-plus speed, above-average power and hitting ability, Auer could burst onto the Top 100 early in 2023 and stay there.
Casey Schmitt, 3B, Giants: One of the best defensive third basemen in the minor leagues, Schmitt showed improvement with the bat in 2022. Over 126 games across three levels of the minors, Schmitt hit .293/.365/.489 with 21 home runs. A well-rounded player, Schmitt provides above-average offensive potential with elite infield defense that will earn him everyday opportunities. Schmitt finished the season with Triple-A Sacramento and could return to the level to begin 2023. A strong offensive performance early by Schmitt could push him onto the Top 100 list and possibly the Giants active roster.
Spencer Jones, OF, Yankees: The 6-foot-7 slugger out of Vanderbilt is likely to draw several Aaron Judge comparisons in the coming years, but Jones is a unique talent in his own right. Few players have been as large and as athletic as Jones in the history of the game. While questions persisted around his bat-to-ball skills throughout his draft spring with Vanderbilt, post draft Jones showed he could limit his strikeouts and make contact at an above-average rate (75.6% contact rate). His double-plus power is unquestioned—in the spring season with Vanderbilt, Jones recorded a 112 mph 90th percentile exit velocity. Post draft the laser show continued as Jones recorded a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106.8 mph. Outside of Jones’ skills with the bat he’s an above-average runner with above-average ability in the outfield. Jones has a chance to rocket up the list in 2023.
Angels: Ky Bush, LHP, Edgar Quero, C, Chase Silseth, RHP.
Astros: Drew Gilbert, OF, Will Wagner, 2B/3B.
Athletics: Zack Gelof, 2B/3B, Mason Miller, RHP, Kyle Muller, LHP, Max Muncy, SS, Daniel Susac, C, Ken Waldichuk, LHP.
Blue Jays: Addison Barger, SS/3B, Brandon Barriera, LHP, Yosver Zulueta, RHP.
Braves: AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP.
Brewers: Eric Brown, SS, Robert Gasser, LHP, Jacob Misiorowski, RHP, Garrett Mitchell, OF, Jeferson Quero, C, Brice Turang, SS, Joey Wiemer, OF.
Cardinals: Alec Burleson, OF, Gordon Graceffo, RHP, Cooper Hjerpe, LHP.
Cubs: Ben Brown, RHP, Cristian Hernandez, SS, Cade Horton, RHP, Matt Mervis, 1B, Hayden Wesneski, RHP.
D-Backs: Deyvison De Los Santos, 3B, Drey Jameson, RHP, Ryne Nelson, RHP, Landon Sims, RHP, Blake Walston, LHP.
Dodgers: Josue De Paula, OF, Andy Pages, OF, Dalton Rushing, C.
Giants: Aeverson Arteaga, SS, Vaun Brown, OF, Luis Matos, OF, Grant McCray, OF, Casey Schmitt, 3B.
Guardians: Will Brennan, OF, Chase DeLauter, OF, Angel Genao, SS, Angel Martinez, SS,, Jhonkensy Noel, OF/3B.
Mariners: Michael Arroyo, SS, Prelander Berroa, RHP, Taylor Dollard, RHP, Gabriel Gonzalez, OF, Emerson Hancock, RHP.
Marlins: Jacob Berry, 3B, Yiddi Cappe, SS, Jake Eder, LHP, Dax Fulton, LHP, Jose Salas, SS/3B, Sixto Sanchez, RHP.
Mets: Mark Vientos, 3B, Mets.
Nationals: Jeremy De La Rosa, OF, Brady House, SS, Jackson Rutledge, RHP, Jarlin Susana, RHP, Cristhian Vaquero, OF.
Orioles: Dylan Beavers, CF, Heston Kjerstad, OF, Coby Mayo, 3B.
Padres: Luis Campusano, C, Samuel Zavala, OF.
Phillies: Justin Crawford, OF, Griff McGarry, RHP.
Pirates: Bubba Chandler, RHP, Nick Gonzales, 2B, Liover Peguero, SS, Quinn Priester, RHP.
Rangers: Luisangel Acuña, SS/2B, Anthony Gutierrez, OF, Jack Leiter, RHP, Brock Porter, RHP, Aaron Zavala, OF. Rays: Mason Auer, OF, Junior Caminero, 3B.
Reds: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B/3B, Chase Petty, RHP, Spencer Steer, 3B.
Red Sox: Mikey Romero, 2B/SS, Nick Yorke, 2B.
Rockies: Warming Bernabel, 3B, Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Benny Montgomery, OF, Sterlin Thompson, 3B/OF. Tigers: Wilmer Flores, RHP, Peyton Graham, SS, Jace Jung, 2B, Colt Keith, 3B, Ty Madden, RHP.
Twins: Edouard Julien, 2B, Connor Prielipp, LHP, Marco Raya, RHP, Matt Wallner, OF.
White Sox: Cristian Mena, RHP, Bryan Ramos, 3B.
Yankees: Spencer Jones, OF, Luis Serna, RHP.