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2022 Best Tools Among MLB Prospects



The Triple-A season opens today, with all remaining full-season leagues following suit on Friday.

This will be the first full minor league season in three years following the canceled 2020 minor league season and the delayed 2021 minor league season. It also represents the first chance for many of the game’s top prospects to showcase their tools over the course of a full season.

Here are the prospects with the best tools for the 2022 season. All players with prospect eligibility qualify, so prospects who will open the season in the major leagues such as Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez, Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson and Reds righthander Hunter Greene are included. The best tools winners were chosen in consultation with pro scouting directors.

All quotes are from the 2022 Baseball America Prospect Handbook.

BEST HITTER

  1. CJ Abrams, SS, Padres
  2. Nick Yorke, 2B, Red Sox
  3. Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles
  4. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners
  5. Gabriel Moreno, C, Blue Jays

“He has a flat, fluid swing and elite hand-eye coordination that allow him to hit any type of pitch no matter where it’s located. He has a keen eye for the strike zone and takes borderline pitches like a seasoned veteran.”

— On Padres shortstop CJ Abrams

Others: Tyler Freeman, Guardians; Miguel Vargas, Dodgers; Xavier Edwards, Rays; Josh Jung, Rangers; Austin Martin, Twins; Steven Kwan, Guardians; Nick Gonzales, Pirates; Marcelo Mayer, Red Sox.

BEST POWER

  1. Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Tigers
  2. Jordan Walker, 3B, Cardinals
  3. Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates
  4. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals
  5. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners

“With strength in both physical appearance and performance, he punishes baseballs to all fields with 80-grade raw power and 
hits jaw-dropping home runs that demoralize opposing pitchers.”

— On Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson

Others: Adley Rutschman, Orioles; Nolan Gorman, Cardinals; M.J. Melendez, Royals; Blaze Jordan, Red Sox; Joey Wiemer, Brewers; Riley Greene, Tigers; Deyvison De Los Santos, D-backs; Peyton Burdick, Marlins; Andy Pages, Dodgers.

BEST SPEED

  1. Jose Siri, OF, Astros
  2. CJ Abrams, SS, Padres
  3. Jordyn Adams, OF, Angels
  4. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Brewers
  5. Jarren Duran, OF, Red Sox

“His 80-grade speed allows him to regularly beat out infield singles and will make him an elite basestealing threat once he learns pitchers’ tendencies.”

— On Padres shortstop CJ Abrams

Others: Vidal Brujan, Rays; Ji-Hwan Bae, Pirates; Greg Jones, Rays; Bobby Witt Jr., Royals; Corbin Carroll, D-backs; Justin Dean, Braves; Johan Rojas, Phillies; Jayce Easley, Rangers; Steward Berroa, Blue Jays.

BEST DEFENSIVE CATCHER

  1. Drew Romo, Rockies
  2. Rafael Marchan, Phillies
  3. Patrick Bailey, Giants
  4. Shea Langeliers, Athletics
  5. Adley Rutschman, Orioles

“He has sound footwork and receiving skills, consistently posts pop
 times in the 1.9-second range on throws to second base with his above-average, accurate arm and has an advanced baseball IQ for his age
.”

— On Rockies catcher Drew Romo

Others: Dillon Dingler, Tigers; Diego Cartaya, Dodgers; Jeferson Quero, Brewers; Korey Lee, Astros; Payton Henry, Marlins.

BEST DEFENSIVE INFIELDER

  1. Nick Allen, SS, Athletics
  2. Nasim Nuñez, SS, Marlins
  3. Jeremy Peña, SS, Astros
  4. Oswald Peraza, SS, Yankees
  5. Geraldo Perdomo, SS, D-backs

“Allen’s glove is major league ready now, and he could
 compete for Gold Gloves one day. His deft hands, instincts and footwork allow him to make exceptional defensive plays look easy.”

— On Athletics shortstop Nick Allen 

Others: Alika Williams, SS, Rays; Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Rockies; Ryan Kreidler, SS, Tigers; Braden Shewmake, SS, Braves; Brayan Rocchio, SS, Guardians; Ronny Mauricio, SS, Mets; Jose Tena, SS, Guardians.

Non-SS Division: Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals; Michael Toglia, 1B, Rockies; Michael Massey, 2B Royals; Brandon Leyton, 2B, Reds; Casey Schmitt, 3B, Giants; Jared Triolo, 3B, Pirates.

BEST INFIELD ARM

  1. Masyn Winn, SS, Cardinals
  2. Gabriel Arias, SS, Guardians
  3. Elly De La Cruz, 3B/SS, Reds
  4. Nasim Nuñez, SS, Marlins
  5. Jordan Lawlar, SS, D-backs

“He has arguably the strongest arm of any shortstop in
 professional baseball. By the middle of July, he already had 15 throws across
 the diamond at 92 mph or greater, more than twice as many as all MLB 
infielders combined.”

— On Cardinals shortstop/righthander Masyn Winn

Others: Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates; Ronny Mauricio, SS, Mets; Elehuris Montero, 3B, Rockies; Gage Workman, SS, Tigers; Milkar Perez, 3B, Mariners.

BEST DEFENSIVE OUTFIELDER

  1. Cristian Pache, Athletics
  2. Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cubs
  3. Jordyn Adams, Angels
  4. Alek Thomas, D-backs
  5. Michael Harris II, Braves

“He’s a confident, fluid defender in center field with plus speed, elite anticipation and graceful actions. His above-average arm keeps runners from taking extra bases and rounds out his plus-plus defensive ability
.”

— On Cubs center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong 

Others: Mike Siani, Reds; Brenton Doyle, Rockies; Chavez Young, Blue Jays; Corbin Carroll, D-backs; Garrett Mitchell, Brewers.

BEST OUTFIELD ARM

  1. Joey Wiemer, Brewers
  2. Jose Ramos, Dodgers
  3. Donovan Casey, Nationals
  4. Cristian Pache, Athletics
  5. Andy Pages, Dodgers

“His tools are among the best in the Brewers’ system. He has the attributes to be a plus defender in right field, including an 80-grade arm.”

— On Brewers right fielder Joey Wiemer

Others: Michael Harris, Braves; Joshua Baez, Cardinals; Micker Adolfo, White Sox.

BEST FASTBALL

  1. Shane Baz, RHP, Rays
  2. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles
  3. Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds
  4. George Kirby, RHP, Mariners
  5. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Nationals

“He has one of the best fastballs in baseball. He can touch 100 mph and carries 96-97 throughout his starts. The vertical movement on his fastball ranked among the most of any MLB starter.”

— On Rays righthander Shane Baz

Others: Ryne Nelson, D-backs; D.L. Hall, Orioles; Eury Perez, Marlins; Jack Leiter, Rangers; Spencer Strider, Braves; Luis Medina, Yankees; Nate Pearson, Blue Jays; Joe Ryan, Twins; Colby White, Rays.

BEST BREAKING BALL

  1. Matt Brash, RHP, Mariners (SL)
  2. Daniel Espino, RHP, Guardians (SL)
  3. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles (SL)
  4. Sam Bachman, RHP, Angels (SL)
  5. Aaron Ashby, LHP, Brewers (SL)

“His dastardly, mid-80s slider with power sweep and sharp dive is a plus-plus pitch that some observers grade an 80.”

— On Mariners righthander Matt Brash

Others: Reid Detmers, Angels (CB); Nick Lodolo, Reds (SL); Cade Cavalli (SL), Jackson Jobe, Tigers (SL); Roansy Contreras, Pirates (SL); Luis Medina, Yankees (CB); Drey Jameson, D-backs (SL); Hunter Brown, Astros (CB); Kevin Kopps, Padres (SL); Adam Macko, Mariners (CB).

BEST CHANGEUP

  1. Adrian Hernandez, RHP, Blue Jays
  2. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, Dodgers
  3. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles
  4. Jackson Kowar, RHP, Royals
  5. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Marlins

“His changeup is a
 devastating, 80-grade offering with late drop that gets wild swings and misses. He commands his changeup remarkably well and will throw it in any count against any hitter.”

— On Dodgers righthander Ryan Pepiot

Others: Jordan Wicks, Cubs; Brayan Bello, Red Sox; Blake Walston, D-backs; Cole Winn, Rangers; Ethan Small, Brewers; Landon Knack, Dodgers; Ricky DeVito, Pirates; Adrian Martinez, Athletics; Devin Sweet, Mariners.

BEST CONTROL

  1. George Kirby, RHP, Mariners
  2. Landon Knack, RHP, Dodgers
  3. Caleb Kilian, RHP, Cubs
  4. Joe Ryan, RHP, Twins
  5. Michael McGreevy, RHP, Cardinals

“With a long, lanky build, Kirby is a good athlete with excellent body coordination, and he repeats his delivery for elite control. He has averaged 1.5 walks per nine innings in his minor league career and his misses are very small.”

— On Mariners righthander George Kirby

Others: Shane Baz, Rays; Josh Winder, Twins; Daulton Jefferies, Athletics; Peyton Battenfield, Guardians; Brandon Pfaadt, D-backs; John Doxakis, Rays; Logan T. Allen, Guardians; Darren McCaughan, Mariners; Xzavion Curry, Guardians.

Hotsheet Copy (1)

Hot Sheet: Baseball's 20 Hottest Prospects From The Past Week (5/24/22)

A pair of Pirates and Orioles prospects highlight this week's Hot Sheet.

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