Here Are 15 Players Who Just Missed The Top 100
Every year, the toughest spot to rank on the Top 100 isn’t No. 1, 2 or 3. It’s No. 100. We agonize over who is left off those final few spots, especially since the difference between ranking No. 95 and 105 is miniscule.
Here’s a look at 15 players who finished just outside of the Top 100.
Andy Pages, Dodgers: The High-A Central MVP, Pages finished the 2021 campaign as the High-A leader in home runs, runs and RBIs, a tremendous season from the then-20-year old outfielder, who was experiencing his first taste of full-season ball. Blessed with plus power and on-base ability, further refinement of his approach and bat-to-ball skills could see Pages make a rapid ascent up the Top 100.
Jordan Groshans, Blue Jays: After cracking three previous Top 100 lists and ranking as high as 29th (2020), Groshans slipped off the back end of the list. Despite boasting one of the best hit tools in the minor leagues, questions have begun to mount around his power upside. With early graduations likely coming for several Top 100 prospects, Groshans should slide back onto the list fairly easily. However, to regain his once-lofty prospect status he will need to build on his 2021 season and show his above-average raw power in games with consistency.
Luis Gil, Yankees: Gil had a stellar major league debut in which the righthander made six late-season starts for the Yankees in 2021, pitching to a 3.07 ERA with 38 strikeouts to 19 walks. While the performance was strong on the surface, there are still very real concerns around Gil’s viability as a starter due to his below-average command. That said, his combination of a four-seam fastball that sits 95-97 mph and a wipeout mid-80s slider is as formidable of a one-two punch as any righthander inside the Top 100. Gil is likely to graduate before he can earn his first Top 100 ranking.
Brice Turang, Brewers: An instinctual middle infielder, Turang doesn’t do anything flashy but he shows a high baseline of fundamentals at the shortstop position with league average offensive projection. An aggressive hitter, Turang will likely max out at fringe-average power, but he knows his game and has a good feel for the barrel, working gap to gap. Likely to return to Triple-A Nashville to begin 2022, improvements at the plate could push Turang onto the back half of the Top 100 in the next update.
Mark Vientos, Mets: After hitting .265/.329/.429 across parts of three minor league seasons, Vientos was assigned to Double-A Binghamton and experienced a renaissance of his prospect status. Across 72 Double-A contests and 11 late-season Triple-A games, the 2017 second-rounder hit .281/.352/.581 with 25 home runs. The former shortstop slid over to third base, making 49 starts at the hot corner, while splitting time at designated hitter and left field. With another strong showing at Triple-A Syracuse over the first half of 2022, Vientos just might crack the Top 100 for the first time.
Matt Allan, Mets: After cracking the 2021 list at 98th, Allan had Tommy John surgery in May and missed the entirety of the 2021 season. Likely to return in the second half of 2022, Allan has the stuff to claw his way back onto the Top 100. Armed with a mid-90s fastball, a plus curveball, an average changeup and average or better control, Allan has the makings of a perennial Top 100 prospect.
Jordan Westburg, Orioles: Though Westburg did not have a tremendous amount of fanfare coming out of Mississippi State, the 2020 supplemental first-round pick made his presence known in 2021. Climbing three levels of the minors, Westburg hit .285/.389/.479 with 47 extra-base hits across 506 plate appearances. His overall numbers were heavily inflated by his production at both levels of Class A, and his 30-game Double-A sample was uneven. The infielder should return to Bowie to start 2022, where he’ll look to replicate his Class A production. With some of the best plate discipline of any player that just missed the Top 100 list, Westburg has a strong chance of moving onto the back end in the next update.
Nolan Jones, Guardians: As the old saying goes, “Patience is a virtue.” Unfortunately for Nolan Jones it can also be a detriment. Jones' now-famous passivity began to catch up to him, as his inability to be aggressive on the right pitches became more glaring in the upper minors. The issue is Jones not only takes too many strikes, he also swings through too many. With a more aggressive mentality, Jones could unlock a balance of patience and aggression that would allow him to tap into his power with greater regularity. Jones is a member of the Guardians 40-man roster, and with a full season of Triple-A under his belt he should see opportunities in the major leagues at some point during the first half of 2022.
Asa Lacy, Royals: It was a difficult debut for the 2020 fourth overall pick, as Lacy struggled with command, finishing 2021 with a 17.3% walk rate. There’s no questioning the quality of Lacy’s stuff, particularly his powerful fastball and slider combination. His pitchability and command for his big stuff has become a major concern. It still cannot be understated the upside that Lacy does possess. After a normal offseason under the tutelage of the Royals development team, an improved version of Lacy who is more in line with expectations could emerge early in 2022.
Spencer Strider, Braves: After an injury-plagued career at Clemson, Strider had the biggest 2021 breakout of any player on this list. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, Strider rose through four levels of the minors, eventually making his major league debut out of the Braves bullpen late in the 2021 season. Strider could impact the big league club in a variety of roles in 2022. If the club decides to continue to develop Strider as a starter he could return to Triple-A Gwinnett and likely qualify for our next update.
Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cubs: In a different timeline within the metaverse Pete Crow-Armstrong has a healthy 2021 and plays his way into the Top 100. The reports on “PCA” coming out of camp during the spring were overwhelmingly positive, with many anticipating a good year from the 2020 first-rounder. Unfortunately, he tore the labrum in his right shoulder and underwent surgery in mid May. The outfielder was then dealt to the Cubs in the Javier Baez swap at the trade deadline, capping off an unusual first full season of professional baseball. Few doubt that a healthy season could see Crow-Armstrong cement his place as an annual Top 100 prospect until his graduation.
Brayan Bello, Red Sox: Few pitchers on the Top 100 miss as many bats with their secondaries as Bello. Both his plus slider and developing changeup generate whiffs at a plus rate, and his four-seam fastball sits 95-98 mph consistently. A true power pitcher, Bello fits into the tweener profile of a starting pitching prospect that could excel in a high-leverage bullpen role. He’s likely to return to Double-A Portland, where he’ll continue to further refine his command. A late-season major league debut with the Red Sox is very much a possibility, as is Bello pitching his way onto the Top 100.
Sal Frelick, Brewers: There was a late push for Frelick to make the Top 100, as several executives and evaluators stumped for the 2021 first-rounder out of Boston College. The outfielder’s game is centered around elite athleticism, twitch and baseball instincts. One of the hardest outs in college baseball last spring, Frelick’s strong play continued in his professional debut, as he hit .313/.401/.443 across stops at both Class A levels. With plus bat-to-ball skills, double-plus running ability and strong center field defense, Frelick will likely crack the Top 100 in our next update.
Matt McLain, Reds: A two-time first-round pick, McLain was one of the more polished college hitters in the most recent draft. After just a pair of games at the complex level, McLain was assigned to High-A Dayton, where he hit .273/.387/.424 with three home runs and 10 stolen bases across 119 plate appearances. It’s McLain’s all-around offensive game and defensive versatility that will likely earn him a spot on future Top 100s.
Hunter Brown, Astros: Who is the real Hunter Brown? Is it the uneven starter at Double-A and early on in his Triple-A career? Or is it the pitcher we saw dominate over the final six appearances in 2021 that pitched to a 2.36 ERA and struck out 30 batters to nine walks over 26.2 innings of work? There’s plenty of power in Brown’s four-pitch mix, it’s just a matter of refining his command and sequencing.
Spencer Strider Is The Epitome Of Atlanta's "Less Is More" Approach To Pitching Development
Strider has two premium pitches and has found success by almost never using his changeup and entirely forgetting the old curveball he previously threw.
Astros: Hunter Brown
Cardinals: Michael McGreevy
Giants: Will Bednar
Nationals: Cole Henry
Phillies: Andrew Painter
Pirates: Jared Jones
White Sox: Colson Montgomery