2023 Top 100 Prospects Chat

Image credit: Gunnar Henderson Adley Rutschman (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

The Baseball America staff hosted a chat to discuss the 2023 Top 100 Prospects list. You can read the transcript below.
Neal (Indianapolis):

     I would love to hear each contributor’s top guy that did not make the list.

Matt Eddy: Great question. My list of leftovers isn’t all that compelling. I think we included every player in which we had high confidence in the Top 100. I had a scrum of pitchers on my personal list — or just off it — who might have fit in the 90s: Chase Silseth, Kyle Muller, Gordon Graceffo, Wilmer Flores, Robert Gasser. Names like that.

Andrew (New Haven):

     Jaison Chourio, Yasser Mercedes and Jonathan Mejia were breakout stars in the DOSL, yet none made your top 100 list. Are they simply too young at this point or do you see development issues?

Matt Eddy: It’s rare that just-signed international free agents make the Top 100 in their first seasons, though we have made exceptions for elite talents like Wander Franco and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The prospects you mentioned are excellent but not near that level.

Fish Stripes (Miami):

     How would you describe the impact that a top-10 prospect has on an entire farm system? (referring to Eury Pérez and the Marlins) Is it possible to still have a bad system when there’s an individual player with his special potential?

Matt Eddy: The classic example JJ Cooper likes to cite is the 2001 Cardinals. That year St. Louis had Albert Pujols in its top 10 but almost literally no other significant MLB contributors. When we rank farm systems, we definitely place greater emphasis on high-end talent than depth, but even still a top-tier system would require multiple Top 100 Prospects, preferably with one or more in the top 20. The Marlins have work to do to reach that status.

Nate (NY):

     Loved the addition of the top 100 by average exit velo, but I wonder about the top 100 (or even the top 10:)) by MAX exit velo. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t max exit velo as (or more) important than avg exit velo? Thanks!

Matt Eddy: I have come around on 90th percentile exit velocity as my favorite. It removes some of the sampling errors at the extremes that are present in average and max EV. The reason we use average in this presentation is because it correlates with pitcher average fastball velocity and because it is something every reader can comprehend.

Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):

     So the Orioles have 3 of the top 15, and 8 players in your top 100 list – comparing this to Baseball America’s top 100 lists of years past is this top showing by any team? If not, which teams have been better?

Matt Eddy: I can look this up, but not in a timely manner. Please tweet me at @MattEddyBA to remind me. You may be seeing the answer to this question at BA soon.

Jim Nooth (WA):

     Who are a few players outside the top 100 that you think has a really good chance of jumping on early in the season?

Matt Eddy: Some full-season debuts I will be watching closely include Dodgers C Dalton Rushing, Guardians OF Chase DeLauter, Yankees OF Spencer Jones and Rangers OF Anthony Gutierrez. I also want to see an encore from Padres OF Samuel Zavala. I still like Nationals SS Brady House and Red Sox 2B Nick Yorke and will be watching for rebound potential. First-round college bats like Jacob Berry and Jace Jung are also interesting and have the potential to prove us wrong.

Matt (Anaheim):

     Was Edgar Quero in consideration for a spot on the top 100? Was his lack of upper-level experience his main detractor?

Matt Eddy: Angels C Edgar Quero, the Cal League MVP, received some support for the Top 100. His hitting approach is quite mature. In the end, we had less certainty about his ability to catch and also struggled to place his numbers in the context of a hitter-friendly league with a low level of pitching talent. That could lead to a case where his surface statistics should not be taken at face value.

Jonathan (OH):

     What’s the ceiling for Colson Montgomery? Both as a prospect (ranking) and his MLB future?

Matt Eddy: You can find scouts who *really* like Colson Montgomery and think the Corey Seager comps he drew in high school are apt. The discipline is there. The feel to hit is there. The power is developing. He is better than 50/50 to stick at shortstop. So it’s easy to see a lot of things going right for him. It’s also notable that he played through a hand/wrist injury in 2022 and that his overall totals were brought down by spending his final 2+ weeks in Double-A.

rusty shackleford (b-moore, maryland):

     Joey Wiemer and Dustin Harris were both pop-upish guys within the last year or so – how close were they to the Top 100?

Matt Eddy: Double-A is referred to as the separating level. Pitchers can command their stuff and mix their pitches better. Fielders are more adept at turning balls into play into outs. The field conditions and umpires are better, etc. Wiemer and Harris both dominated Class A levels in 2021 and had more ordinary performances when jumping to Double-A in 2022. I wouldn’t write off either player. Just recalibrate. Wiemer has incredible power buy shaky zone control. Harris is more the opposite, with good bat-to-ball but more questionable power.

JimmyEarl (Arlington, Va):

     Joey Ortiz has burst on the scene for Baltimore. I’m hearing he’s the best defender out of the umpteen MIF prospects they have. Is it in the realm of reasonable possibility that we could see Henderson at 3b, Ortiz at SS, Norby at 1b/2b and Westburg at the other, in order to get all of these talented bats in the lineup(at some point)?

Matt Eddy: That’s not far-fetched. What looms over the whole infield picture — and MLB as a whole — is the shift restrictions. I bet teams will revert to their old way of thinking and prioritize range up the middle at SS and 2B. So it’s possible that Ortiz and Westburg wind up on the middle infield, with Henderson at 3B where his terrific arm and body control are major assets. It’s also possible that anybody below the Henderson tier will be traded to import some pitching help. It’s a great problem to have, especially after the comically bad infields the Orioles had for the five seasons prior to 2022.

David S (STL):

     Will BA be doing their Dynasty 1000 this year again? That thing was awesome…. I was able to draft Walker, Perez, Mayer, Alvarez, and De Los Cruz

Matt Eddy: Yes, absolutely. The Dynasty Hot 100 is in the works for next week. We delayed slightly this year to reflect the reality of the new Jan. 15 international signing period. Be on the lookout for additional fantasy baseball goodness as well!

Matt (Pittsburgh):

     How likely is Andrew Painter to make the Phillies opening day roster?

Matt Eddy: Maybe not as outlandish as it might sound. Dave Dombrowski aggressively pushed Jeremy Bonderman and Rick Porcello to MLB at a similar stage when he ran the Tigers. But given that the Phillies project to have five better option on Opening Day, my bet is they let Painter dominate at Double-A or Triple-A and target a June callup if everything looks good. There would also be workload concerns if they started him in Philly on Opening Day. Better to let him ease into things to try to keep him fresh for a six- or seven-month season.

Justin McDearmont (Shreveport, LA):

     Looking at my Dbacks, we seem to have a very top heavy system. 5 of the top 30 are Dbacks prospects, but none of the last 70. Is it top heavy? Did any just miss the top 100?

Matt Eddy: A system being top heavy is a *very* good problem to have. It tends to signify a prospect base that is extremely talented, close to MLB or both. In general, a high farm system rating in the present leads to MLB success in the future. Right now, the D-backs have a high farm system rating.

Sully (MA):

     If Yoshida is a 2-3 WAR player right now as the Sox and some projections seem to think, shouldn’t he be higher than 87? Do you expect the lack of power and defensive questions will make it unlikely he’s that good out of the gate?

Matt Eddy: Yoshida — and other NPB stars in their late 20s — are almost impossible to rank in a Top 100 context, and in this case Yoshida is a divisive player. I tend to look at his NPB track record, contract amount, projections and belief that the Red Sox did their due diligence and view him favorably. But even in that scenario, I only had him around No. 85 on my personal list. What works against him is a lack of defensive or running value and his age likely leading to a shorter window of production.

Jon (CA):

     How do you see LA breaking in Miller this year? A multi inning reliever as soon as needed or keep him stretched out for a spot in the rotation in the second half?

Matt Eddy: Bobby Miller will probably begin at Triple-A to stay on a routine and then come up around midseason and work in a hybrid starter/reliever role as needed. This is how the Dodgers have integrated prospects such as Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin in the past. Walker Buehler worked exclusively in relief in his 2017 debut as a September callup.

Josh Norris: Hey all, Josh (Bear) tagging in for Matt (human). Let’s chat.

Roger (Greenville, SC):

     How close was Edouard Julien?

Josh Norris: Mr. Julien was very, very, very close. In fact, he was among the last cuts from the list. There’s no doubt he has one of the best ideas of the strike zone in the minors, but questions from evaluators about his ability to handle lefties and his overall lack of a defensive position gave us just enough pause.

George (Arlington):

     No consideration for Jarlin Susana? They don’t teach 103 mph fastballs.

Josh Norris: Susana was certainly among those considered, and our votes + feedback placed him around the 125ish range. No, they do not each 103 mph fastballs (although they certainly can develop velocity these days … just ask George Kirby), but there’s enough risk with his age and size that we (and the industry) seemed to feel like he was maybe more of a guy who could jump onto the list at some point next year.

Nate (Washington):

     Would any of this year’s international signees — like Ethan Salas or Felnin Celesten — fit into the top 100 conversation? Or are they still just a bit too far away to compare to established stateside talents?

Josh Norris: I’ve asked that question in each of the last two years myself, given the timing of new international period and our release, so it’s certainly a fair query from you. I think our general mindset is that we’d certainly consider them, but usually we’d run it by Ben Badler to see if his extensive research makes him believe these players would be worthy.

Chris (Chicago):

     Looking in the future, one year from now, who are the top 3 prospects in BA’s 2024 ranking?

Josh Norris: Jackson Chourio, Jackson Holliday, James Wood.

Bob (Texas):

     It’s exciting to see Evan Carter almost into the top 25, but his exit velocity of 85 is quite low compared to the rest of the list. I know he’s young, but do you think that puts a league average cap on his power potential?

Josh Norris: That’s the biggest key with Carter going forth. He needs to get stronger and put some more oomph behind the ball to get the most out of his skill set. That’s where projection comes into play. I answered some version of this question yesterday in Texas Rangers Chat, but evaluators believe Carter’s size and frame (plus large hands, feet and neck) point to more strength coming. If that happens, he could be a monster.

Matt (Pittsburgh):

     Do you view Painter, Grayson Rodriguez and Eury Perez as being essentially equivalent, or are they ordered the way they are for a reason?

Josh Norris: Pretty much, yeah. I think if you surveyed all 30 Pro Scouting Directors about the top 3 pitching prospects in the game you’d get those three names from all 30, albeit in a bunch of different orders. That group fascinates me, because two typical red flags for pitchers typically come from high school righthanders and size outliers. And all three of those arms have one or both of those qualities. Grayson Rodriguez: 6-foot-5, HS RHP Andrew Painter: 6-foot-7, HS RHP Eury Perez: 6-foot-8 RHP (and HS aged, too) Might this be the group to break all the rules? Time will tell. Also, kudos to the Phillies amateur department for going with tall, HS righthanders in the first round in back to back years (Abel, Painter) and seeming to hit the jackpot both times.

Andrew (Boston):

     What do you make of Elijah Green? He has great exit velocities, but has any player ever been a successful major leaguer striking out as much as he did in the GCL?

Josh Norris: Yeah, I’m a little bit concerned about that one too. I haven’t done any studies or anything like that, but I did just well enough in math to know that 40 percent is a rather large number. There’s certainly impact potential there, but scouts who saw Green in the FCL were surprised by the amount of swing and miss in Green’s game.

Kevin (Maine):

     Miguel Bleis have a chance to be a top 5 prospect by this time next year?

Josh Norris: Top five might be a bit of a stretch, but nobody would have predicted at this time last year that Jackson Chourio would be a Top Three prospect heading into 2023. That said, I’m pretty excited about him myself and wouldn’t be surprised to see him move quite high up the board during the year.

Richard Z. (New Jersey):

     2024 Orioles Infield? 3B Westburg SS Henderson 2B Ortiz Is 1B an option for the 5’10 Norby?

Josh Norris: If the Orioles play up to their potential this year and have a chance and making it to the dance, then I’d expect someone from that group not named Gunnar Henderson to be dealt somewhere for whatever reinforcements are needed. That’s a lot of words to say: Probably not.

Jake (NYC):

     I noticed Luisangel Acuna didn’t stay in the list after closing out last year at 81. Did he just miss the list or did the jump to AA really expose his flaws at the plate?

Josh Norris: Can it be both? Acuña has a chance to be a pretty interesting player, but he does have some stuff to correct before he can make the most of his potential. Namely, he needs to tone down his free-swinging approach in the box. Also a good chance he’s not a shortstop in the long run, either, so that hurts his overall profile.

Jim (St. Louis):

     In the BA top 100, Anthony Volpe is ranked 14 and Mayson Winn is ranked 48. Is the reason Volpe is ranked higher because he is more polished? Winn showed more power in the second half last season and clearly has the better arm.

Josh Norris: Winn was also a level lower than Volpe in the second half of last season, and got to play the second half in a league with plenty of super hitter-friendly parks (looking at you, Amarillo), which might have contributed to that uptick in power. The arm strength part, of course, is correct, and would be true when comparing him to Volpe or basically any other infielder in recent memory save for a guy like Shawon Dunston or Oneil Cruz.

Steven (Dayton, OH):

     How close was EDLC from being top 5 and is it just strikeouts keeping him from being there?

Josh Norris: He’s ranked No. 8 now, so he was reasonably close to being Top 5. To the second part of your question: Yeah, pretty much. His overall game is Ellyctric, but there are definitely concerns about how much swing and miss he’ll have in the big leagues.

Larry (The Moon):

     Holliday over Jones? Is it because of Jones’ shoulder surgery?

Josh Norris: Listen up, Orioles fans: At this time next year, it would not be a huge surprise to see Jackson Holliday as the No. 1 overall prospect in the game. When we sent out an original list to scouts and executives, Holliday’s feedback was not unlike putting your ear next to an air horn. Having high draft picks certainly has its advantages, but kudos to the team on Eutaw Street for using those picks on great players.

Max (San Francisco):

     I see you put a 60 on Carroll’s power. How do you know is power isn’t artificially boosted by the environments he’s played in? Thanks!

Josh Norris: Hard to say, and that’s going to be question until the end of time (or at least if and until the next time MiLB affiliations shuffle) with Arizona having home parks at Amarillo and Reno. In our shoes, you talk to as many people as possible and do the best you can with the data at hand.

Kyle Glaser: Hey everyone, I’m jumping in to take over from Josh here for a bit. Look forward to chatting with you all.

Frederick (Boston):

     Thanks for the chat! Who are some FYPs just drafted or signed that you’d anticipate jumping onto and up this list? Are there any non 1st rounders that have significantly raised their stock in this way too?

Kyle Glaser: It’s a little early for that. Most of last year’s draftees barely played because the complex leagues ended so early with the adjusted schedule. We need to let these guys go out and play for more than a handful of games before saying anyone’s outlook has significantly improved or declined.

Scott (Alexandria, VA):

     Another guy who I think may have made an appearance in the top 100 over the Summer is Edgar Quero. Did he just miss this time?

Kyle Glaser: Edgar Quero isn’t far off. If he improves his defense and shows his bat plays against better pitching at High-A, he’ll be on the list in short order.

Mark (LA):

     I am surprised that Ryan Pepiot is ranked slightly higher than Gavin Stone. Is there a high degree of confidence that Pepiot can improve his control and remain a starter?

Kyle Glaser: I wouldn’t call it a high degree of confidence as much as it’s trending in the right direction and he has a chance. That said, he and Stone have the exact same grades on them and are all of one spot apart. It would not be a surprise at all if Stone ends up having the better big league career. They’re really, really close.

Dusty (Colorado):

     It seemed like, at the time, James Wood was the third or 4th name in the Juan Soto deal. However, his stock has been on a huge upward trajectory since. He’s obviously a big bodied guy. How much does the success of guys like Judge at the ML level play into JW’s hype? Are scouts more trusting of guys with his type of body? What’s the ceiling for him?

Kyle Glaser: Well, some of that is who else he was traded with. CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore were big leaguers who were even more touted as prospects than Wood is. They’re automatically going to be the headliners in the deal and remain so today, even as talented as Wood is. It’s not really anything to do with Judge’s success as much as it is with Wood’s ability. He showed himself to be a much, much better hitter than expected out of the draft, has gargantuan power and showed some really impressive athleticism in center field for a guy his size. He has a chance to be a game-changing, middle-of-the-order monster who hits for average and power if everything goes right, but as talented as he is, we’re still talking about a young kid yet to play above Low-A who has a long way to go between now and the majors.

Ryan (Phoenix):

     I am absolutely shocked that Ryne Nelson and Drey Jameson aren’t on this list. They’re both mid rotation upside, major league ready pitchers. What held them back?

Kyle Glaser: They’re both really talented. I had them both on my personal Top 100. I think when we look back in a few years, they will have had careers worthy of having been Top 100 Prospects. As far as the upside though, you’re a tick high. Nelson is more of a No. 4 with a chance to be a No. 3 in his best years as opposed to a bonafide No. 3, while Jameson is still more likely to be a dominant closer than a mid-rotation starter when all is said and done (even with his impressive four starts to begin his career). Those are still really valuable players who will help the D-backs win games.

mark (Chicago):

     Matt Mervis advanced 3 levels last year improving at each level. Additionally, he was the Arizona Fall League MVP. That’s not worth a spot in the top 100 prospects?

Kyle Glaser: Mervis is one of the big risers from last year and wasn’t too terribly far off. Ultimately, there are still enough concerns that he’ll struggle against lefthanded pitching and be a platoon first baseman, which ultimately is what kept him off the Top 100. Now, that said, being the strong side of a platoon and mashing will still make him a very, very valuable member of the Cubs lineup.

Aaron (Los Angeles):

     How is Matthew Liberatore still on this list? He’s been mediocre at every stop for years, the stuff itself grades out just okay, and even the writeup seems lukewarm on his upside.

Kyle Glaser: Some of it is a function of this year being a very shallow prospect crop. I agree Liberatore has always been more a No. 5 starter for me who is going to have to rely on his feel for pitching and secondaries because his fastball is very, very hittable. That said, a solid No. 5 starter on a first-division team still makes the cut at the back of the Top 100, especially in a year like this where the prospect crop is generally down.

Taylor V (Seattle, WA):

     If Tanner Bibee holds his velocity, k and BB rates from last year through AA and AAA, how high does he climb before he debuts?

Kyle Glaser: I highlighted Bibee as one of the players who could rise quickly in 2023. If he keeps up the track he’s on, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him become a Top 50 overall prospect before he debuts and graduates off the list.

Logan Field (Mi):

     I might have some Tiger bias, but what is holding Wilmer Flores, Colt Keith and / or Ty Madden back from the Top 100? I feel like they all have a good case for the top 100, especially Keith and Flores. Thank you!

Kyle Glaser: Flores was on the back of the Top 100 in some early iterations of the list, but in the end front office officials around the game felt there were other guys who were just a tick better and more deserving. That said, Flores, Madden and Keith all aren’t far off and are candidates to quickly jump onto the Top 100 with continued performance and graduations of other players.

Logan Field (Mi):

     Did Jace Jung’s pro debut have an impact on him not being in the top 100? Do you think Tigers will regret taking Jung over Neto? Thanks!

Kyle Glaser: To be honest, the reviews on Jung were pretty underwhelming even as the draft approached (he really struggled at the end of the season) and he — along with fellow 2022 draftee Jacob Berry – received some of the strongest feedback amongst front office officials as someone who should not be on the Top 100 based on what they saw in his pro debut. Right now Neto looks like the significantly better player.

Clark (Upstate NY):

     How many of these bubs have top of the rotation potential? Please answer.

Kyle Glaser: True No. 1 starters are rare. Andrew Painter is the obvious guy. Grayson Rodriguez and Eury Perez have a chance but it’s certainly far from a sure thing. Those are really the three candidates right now, and odds are only one of them – if any – will reach it.

Molly B. (New Jersey):

     How close were young Intl guys like Gabriel Gonzalez and Deyvison De Los Santos to being on the list?

Kyle Glaser: Gonzalez and De Los Santos are in the conversation and not too terribly far off, but they’re not quite candidates to jump on immediately. I’m probably higher on De Los Santos than many of my colleagues, but we need to see what approach improvements he makes against higher-level pitching before he projects to be one of the 100 best future major leaguers in the minors.

Logan Field (Mi):

     What is your realistic expectation for Jackson Jobe? Do you think he actually has front of the rotation upside?

Kyle Glaser: Right now Jobe projects to be more of a No. 3 or 4 starter based on what he showed last season. That was true going into last year, too. Front of the rotation starters are rare and a good mid-rotation starter would be a great outcome for Jobe and pretty much any pitcher on the list.

Greg (Binghamton):

     I noticed Priester fell right off the list. How come? Am I late to the party as usual?

Kyle Glaser: Priester isn’t far off. Right now there are guys with more impressive stuff that evaluators and front office officials around the game prefer (his fastball doesn’t miss many bats and his curveball is his only pitch better than average), but getting to Triple-A at 21 and pitching effectively shouldn’t be ignored. He’s got a chance to be a good pitcher and is someone to watch, there are just guys with better stuff that get the edge right now.

Matt (New York):

     What position do you anticipate Michael Busch playing in MLB? Especially with the new shift rules he seems like a stretch at 2B.

Kyle Glaser: That’s the million dollar question. The Dodgers are committed to him being a second baseman because he won’t have any chance to play first base with Freddie Freeman there. It’s very possible he ends up a DH who mashes.

Jim (Min):

     Five years from now, rank these players – Jackson Jobe, Wilmer Flores, and Ty Madden

Kyle Glaser: The Tigers Top 10 Prospects list has the answer for you. That’s what these lists are – who projects to be the best players.

Jeffrey (MD):

     At this point in time, how does Gunnar Henderson compare to other top prospects like Wander Franco and Bobby Witt Jr. when they were in their last years of prospect eligibility?

Kyle Glaser: Gunnar Henderson is really, really good, but we as a staff have talked a lot about how the top of this year’s list (Henderson, Carroll, Chourio) is well short of the top three of last year’s list (Rutschman, Rodriguez, Witt) talent-wise. He shouldn’t be compared to guys like Franco or the aforementioned trio. It’s generally just a down year prospect-wise. He’s really good, and just let that suffice.

Gaurdians Pitching (Cleveland):

     Thanks for the chat today, I have maybe a fun hypothetical one for you. The Gaurdians current rotation looks to be full with Bieber, McKenzie, Quantrill, Plesac, and Civale, but they also have 4 pitching prospects in the top 100 that have pitched in AA or higher. Hypothetically speaking, if Espino, Williams, Allen, and Bibee all pitch to their upside and the Gaurdians trade none of the 9 pitchers, Who would you say would be the top 5 and in the rotation?

Kyle Glaser: Bieber, Espino, McKenzie, Williams, Quantrill if they all stay healthy and hit their peaks – but we know that won’t happen. Such is life with pitchers.

Roger (Greenville, SC):

     How close was Griff McGarry?

Kyle Glaser: Griff McGarry was one of the final cuts from the list. He’ll be back on as soon as a few players graduate.

DH (PA):

     Are there any clear tiers in the front half of the list?

Kyle Glaser: The top two were a clear-cut top two. I’d say from 3-9 is another tier, 10-16 is another tier and 17-31 is another tier. The separation between players and their rankings gets much, much smaller the further you move down the list.

Tim (Mi):

     Who are your favorite none top 100 prospects and why?

Kyle Glaser: Dalton Rushing was one of the best hitters I saw last year. The minute he shows he can handle age-appropriate competition at High-A – and I believe he will – he’s going to rise fast.

Chris (Pittsburgh):

     Nick Gonzales of the Pirates was dropped from the top 100 prospects and Connor Norby was added this year. Both prospects are bat first 2b players. What reason has Norby usurped Gonzalez?

Kyle Glaser: It’s pretty simple – Norby is a better hitter and has more power. He’s just a better player. It’s pretty straightforward.

Michael (Raleigh):

     The A’s have cleaned house of established quality players for prospects, ostensibly to drive future competitiveness. Yet their only player in the top 100 is homegrown Tyler Soderstrom. Isn’t this a condemnation of their recent scouting evaluations with regards to trades? Mediocrity, which the A’s have seemingly traded for in abundance, does not wins flags of any kind. Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: The A’s have whiffed on a lot of their trades. To trade Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Murphy, Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas and only get back what they have is pretty awful, and it set the franchise back years. You can’t do your job effectively if you don’t have the resources to do it, and A’s ownership is blatantly not giving the team and staff the resources it needs to be successful for reasons that aren’t exactly a secret.

Josh (LA):

     I realize coming off TJ surgery Nick Frasso has not pitched many innings. If he can develop better command of his secondary pitches does he have a good chance of making the list at mid season? Is that likely?

Kyle Glaser: Nick Frasso is one of the sleepers who has a chance to rise onto the Top 100, yes. As you’ve said, it all is going to come down to the development and command of his secondary pitches. As for how likely that is, it’s hard to say. He shows it in flashes, but doing so consistently is an entirely different challenge. We’ll see if he can.

Michael (Raleigh):

     How close was Zach Geloff to the top 100. I thought he had a chance to sneak in the final 10. Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: Gelof wasn’t far off for me. He can really hit and I think he has a chance to jump onto the list during the season with some graduations.

Royce Lewis (St. Paul):

     If I can stay healthy, what is my most likely position in the majors now that we resigned Carlos?

Kyle Glaser: It’s going to have to be third base or the outfield. Lewis has played third base well in the AFL a few years ago, but it’s been awhile. Most importantly, we have to see if he can stay healthy and how he looks after his second major knee injury.


     Weird being a Braves fan and looking at this list! If you could see the future, who are you guessing is the next Braves prospect in the top 100?

J.J. Cooper: The Braves have done a very good job of developing pitchers in recent years, so my best guess would be AJ Smith-Shawver, Owen Murphy or JR Ritchie. But none of them are all that close to breaking the top 100 right now.

Scott (Alexandria, VA):

     Thanks for the updated list and the chat. Was curious how close Mason Auer was to making the top 100. Thought he might sneak in there.

J.J. Cooper: He’s someone I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see crack the list at some point early or mid-season as other players graduate. He had an excellent 2022 and he’s the next “on-deck” prospect for the Rays, since everyone on the Rays Top 10 above him is already on the Top 100. He’s not all that far away from cracking the 100, It’s probably worth noting that the difference between ranking 90th and 130th is not as big as the difference between rankings 50th and 90th even if they are both 40 spots different.

Frederick (Boston):

     Do you have a list of players to target now in a dynasty league before the season starts that could skyrocket onto and/or up this list by midseason? Thanks for your time!

J.J. Cooper: We will be posting a full suite of dynasty rankings and a ton more in the upcoming weeks. Geoff Pontes and the staff are busy getting those ready.

John C (Cleveland, OH):

     Can you expand on why Logan Allen is ranked above Tanner Bibee? Given their repositories, it feels like Bibee would have the higher ceiling and has yet to struggle at any level, whereas Allen had some issues at Triple-A last season.

J.J. Cooper: I would say it’s close now, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Bibee leap past Allen (and several other Guardians) in 2023. But it’s also somewhat based on the belief that Allen’s step back in 2022 was a blip after an extremely strong 2021.

T. Ohka (Montreal):

     If we assume that the free agent market is reasonable and that players get payed more-or-less in-line with how teams value them, what is the logic behind ranking the NPB import who signed a $90M contract (plus a significant posting fee) over 70 spots lower than the NPB import who signed a $75M contract (with no fee)?

J.J. Cooper: We can’t find any MLB front office officials/scouts who scouted the two of them who preferred Yoshida to Senga. The free agent market is not a market where all sides have perfect information, which explains why not all free agent signings line up exactly as we would expect before free agency begins.

mjk (wyckoff, nj):

     hi: how volatile are the rankings for prospects following their first full season of pro ball? i understand the need to rank them but do you change how much you adjust for the unknown on a year to year basis when doing this list? Does Jett Williams rank higher than Ronny Mauricio because he has been exposed less? Thanks for the chat!

J.J. Cooper: It’s always possible that is true…Jett Williams may have flaws that haven’t been discovered yet. We are trying to predict how these players will turn out years from now, but to some extent you can also view this as a trade value chart. In our discussions with people in baseball, the consistent feedback can be translated as saying that Jett Williams would have more value in a trade than Ronny Mauricio right now. When Mauricio was in Class A, the hope was that his swing decisions would continue to improve as he matured. Nowadays, it’s hard to feel as confident in that development. Among all MiLB hitters with 800+ PAs the past two seasons, Mauricio’s .296 OBP ranks 8th worse among 338 players who meet those criteria. Yes, he is young. Yes he has power and he may be able to stay at shortstop, but his offensive approach has a significant flaw that has been a problem over four seasons now.

Micah (DC):

     Was James wood in consideration for a higher ranking? Perhaps closer to top 3?

J.J. Cooper: I felt like 11th was very aggressive for a player who has yet to play above Class A, has less than 500 pro PAs and was the 62nd pick in the draft less than two years ago. Every single player above him in the rankings has reached at least High-A and 9 of the 10 ahead of him have reached Double-A.

Wildcat (Arizona):

     How close is Chase Silseth to the top 100? His numbers are just as good if not better than some of your top 100 pitchers including Perez and Bradley from AA Southern League.

J.J. Cooper: He wasn’t far off the 100. Comparing him to Bradley and Perez, it is worth noting both are younger than him. When he and Bradley were both in the Southern League, Bradley had a 1.70 ERA and 2.72 FIP while Silseth had a 2.28 ERA and 3.75 FIP. He did post better numbers than Perez statistically, but he’s also 3 years older.

Russell Miller (Maryland):

     Can you assess a potential future top 100 pitcher that the Orioles got from TampaBay in a trade….Seth Johnson.

J.J. Cooper: I don’t know if Johnson will ever crack the January Top 100 (the one we consider canonical). He’s a quality pitcher, but he’s going to miss much of the next year recovering from Tommy John surgery. So it’s hard to see him getting a chance to push his way onto next year’s Top 100. And if it goes well for him, he could potentially graduate from prospect status at some point in 2024, in part because he’s already on the 40-man roster. I do think the Tommy John surgery makes it more likely than before that Johnson ends up as a reliever, because it speeds up his options clock to some extent.

Jordan (Dallas, TX):

     Can you explain the reasoning behind Josh Jung at 59 and Owen White at 66, despite Owen White being above him in the Rangers top 10? Also how close was Luisangel Acuna from the Rangers to making the top 100? Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: A screw-up…they have been flipped and an editor’s note has been added to explain why White is actually 59 and Jung is 66. We apologize for that. Acuna wasn’t all that far away. When we post the “just-missed” story tomorrow, expect to see his name.

Adam (Tennessee):

     Both Manzardo and Mead missed time at the end of the season. Is there any cause for concern for their respective injuries?

J.J. Cooper: Not yet. But if those injuries linger into 2023 then it will cause for concern.

Joe (NY):

     How close was Spencer Jones to cracking the list?

J.J. Cooper: When we write about players who could easily jump onto this list in 2023, expect to see him prominently featured. Jones’ analytical information (exit velocity, hard-hit rate, etc.) was exceptional in his pro debut and his performance matched those metrics. So why won’t we put him on the Top 100 yet? We want to see a little more. As a three-year Vandy veteran, the Low-A FSL was not expected to be a big test for him and it wasn’t. And at Vanderbilt, he really broke out as a hitter as a junior, after not performing at that level in his first two years. We think that Jones could end up being one of the best power hitters in the 2022 MLB Draft class, but we want to see him do it a little more before we’re willing to slot him into the 100.

Matt Mervis (Iowa/Chicago):

     I was next up in your Cubs top 10. How close was I to cracking the top 100?

J.J. Cooper: Among others in consideration I would say. Mervis wasn’t prospect No. 101, but he was someone we talked about when putting together the back of the list.

Ray Davis (The Depths of Hell):

     Rangers fans are freaking out over Jack Leiter falling out of the top 100. Anything can offer to talk us off the ledge?

J.J. Cooper: He’s not all that far off the 100 right now, and could leap right back on with some improvements once games begin. But it’s hard to sugarcoat how rough his 2022 season was. His fastball did not play the way it had in college, and his control of it and his entire assortment of pitches took a big step backwards. Double-A is a tough assignment, so there’s hope it was a learning experience that helps Leiter get to where he needs to be in the long-term, but he has to show better control and a better fastball to rejoin the top 100.

Matthew (Lynchburg, Va):

     Elly de la Cruz has a 40 hit tool grade and I noticed that Elijah Green received a 50 hit tool grade. Was curious the difference between the two since they both have similar approach and K% concerns.

J.J. Cooper: It’s hard to say it’s similar yet. Elijah Green has 50 pro PAs in the complex league while De La Cruz has nearly 1,000 pro PAs.

rusty shackleford (b-moore, maryland):

     Will you guys be ranking FYPD players for fantasy again this year?

J.J. Cooper: Yes. A ton of fantasy content is right around the corner.

Matt (Pittsburgh):

     If you had to predict which pitcher currently in the Top 100 has the best major league career, would you take (A) one of Painter, Rodriguez and Perez or (B) the field? If it’s (A), does your choice change if you expand the field to all players currently in the minor leagues?

J.J. Cooper: The field. In a question like this I will always take the field, because the odds are very much in your favor.

T.K. Smith Jr (New York City):

     Has there ever been a thought to put out a second top 100 list geared more towards fantasy baseball and specifically, dynasty fantasy baseball? Obviously this list is for real baseball and projecting real life talent. I know that the Dynasty Hot 100 is in the works but was just curious if there has been any thought of a completely separate top 100 list geared towards fantasy baseball. Thanks!

J.J. Cooper: I am passing this question along to Geoff Pontes, but we will have multiple Top 100+ rankings for purely fantasy players. We will do a dynasty list that goes far beyond ranking just 100 players.

Mike (Chicago):

     Gunnar’s numbers against LHPs do not look good. At MLB level or in minors. Does this concern you for the #1 prospect?

J.J. Cooper: Not a lot. I would expect he’ll always hit RHPs better than LHPs, but I would be much more worried if he was a RHH who couldn’t hit RHPs. Nowadays it’s very hard to attack LHHs with lefty specialists. Freddie Freeman for example is a LHH who has always been a good bit better against righties. But for his career, 70% of his PAs have come against RHPs.

J.J. Cooper: Sorry to wrap this up, but we are going to go record a podcast. Thanks for the questions and thanks for subscribing.


Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone