Top 10 East Division Prospect Graduates Based On Updated BA Grades
Evaluations made in conjunction with Kyle Glaser, Geoff Pontes and BA staff.
Baseball America follows prospects from the amateur ranks until they reach the major leagues, but then we shift our primary focus to the next wave of prospects.
In this space we give those prospects-turned-big leaguers their due. We rank the top 10 graduated prospects—you know them better as rookies—from the American and National league East divisions in 2022.
Each prospect is listed with his preseason BA Grade and then his updated BA Grade based on what happened in 2022. Each player is graded on the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average. Risk is also assessed on a scale of Low, Medium, High, Very High or Extreme. This method will be familiar to readers of the Prospect Handbook.
1. Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles
Rutschman entered the season ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball and is an even better bet today to be a franchise player. He had one of the best seasons ever for a rookie catcher, batting .254/.362/.445 with 13 home runs and 65 walks in 113 games, while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense and showing himself to be a team leader. 2023 age: 25
2. Michael Harris II, OF, Braves
The Braves dipped down to Double-A to call up Harris on May 28 and he helped ignite the club’s offense. He led all NL rookies in WAR thanks to a .297/.339/.514 batting line with 19 homers and 20 steals, backed by Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field. Harris looks like a future all-star. 2023 age: 22
3. Spencer Strider, RHP, Braves
Strider spent the first two months of 2022 in the Braves’ bullpen before seamlessly moving to the rotation on May 30. He was able to map his closer stuff to stints of five or six innings, striking out 38% of batters to establish a new record for rookies with at least 100 innings. In the rotation, Strider recorded a 2.77 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 107 innings and has a floor of a No. 3 starter. 2023 age: 24
4. Brayan Bello, RHP, Red Sox
Bello emerged from the lost 2020 throwing harder—he averaged nearly 97 mph in his MLB debut—which helped his outstanding changeup play up. With an uptick in command, Bello has No. 3 starter upside, which he flashed in his final eight starts: 3.12 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 16 walks in 40 innings. 2023 age: 24
5. CJ Abrams, SS, Nationals
Because of the pandemic and injuries and making the Padres’ Opening Day roster in 2022, Abrams has just 114 games of minor league experience. That inexperience showed in his MLB debut season—he hit .246 with a 76 OPS+—but Abrams’ steady defensive play and .303 September batting average indicated that he was beginning to show above-average potential at shortstop. 2023 age: 22
6. Vaughn Grissom, 2B, Braves
Grissom began the season in High-A and finished it in Atlanta. He had a long run as the club’s second baseman as he filled in for the injured Ozzie Albies. Grissom hit .291/.353/.440 with five homers in 41 games, and given his youth and aptitude he looks like a potential above-average regular. 2023 age: 22
7. Edward Cabrera, RHP, Marlins
Cabrera answered questions about whether his stuff would play versus MLB hitters—if not about his durability—by showcasing a 96 mph fastball and three secondary pitches with positive run values. In his final 11 starts, Cabrera recorded a 2.89 ERA with 60 strikeouts and 24 walks in 56 innings. A No. 3 upside is attainable. 2023 age: 25
8. Bryson Stott, SS, Phillies
Stott upped his power in 2021 and made the Phillies’ Opening Day roster in 2022. He took his lumps early before finding more of a groove in the second half, hitting .276/.331/.404 and settling in as the everyday shortstop. He can be a solid-average regular. 2023 age: 25
9. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Nationals
Gore may be the most difficult young player to assess. From looking like a non-prospect in 2021 to flashing No. 3-type upside with the Padres early in 2022, Gore finished his time in San Diego on a sour note—27 runs in his final 22 MLB innings—before going on the injured list with elbow inflammation. He will be given a fresh start—and a long leash—in Washington and could develop into a steady No. 4. 2023 age: 24
10. Felix Bautista, RHP, Orioles
Preseason: Not ranked
Bautista finished 2021 in the Triple-A bullpen but made an impact with Baltimore for the entire 2022 season, notching 15 saves for the upstart Orioles after taking over for traded closer Jorge Lopez. It may be a shorter peak for Bautista based on his age, but he could have a few seasons as a top-shelf closer. 2023 Age: 28
Tying It All Together: Top 30 Graduated Prospects In 2022
We ranked the top overall graduated prospects from last year’s Top 10s.
Keibert Ruiz, C, Nationals