MLB 40-Man Roster Protection Analysis Ahead Of Rule 5 Draft
Today at 6 p.m. ET, teams must submit their 40-man rosters in preparation for next month's Rule 5 draft. As teams add players to their 40-man roster, we'll continually update this page with analysis of who has been added.
Added: UTL Cooper Hummel, OF Kristian Robinson, and RHP Ryan Weiss.
Analysis: Robinson, 20, is one of the highest upside prospects in the minor leagues. However, he missed the season due to to well publicized off-the-field issues. He pled guilty to an aggravated assault charge after punching a Phoenix-area police officer and has had difficulty getting a visa. There are few players who can match Robinson’s combination of tools and physicality between the white lines, but his future remains uncertain.
Hummel, 26, is an on-base machine with no true defensive home. He was acquired by the D-backs in the Eduardo Escobar trade and was a standout with Triple-A Reno over the last 46 games of the season with a .353/.429/.575 slash line.
Weiss, 24, is a former fourth-round pick that mixes five pitches, with his mid-90s four-seam and mid-80s slider accounting for a majority of his usage. He reached Triple-A Reno in 2021 and primarily pitched in relief this season.
Added: RHP Freddy Tarnok, OF Drew Waters, RHP Brooks Wilson, RHP William Woods
Analysis: The fire-balling Tarnok averaged 95 mph and touched 98 last season with his four-seam fastball. He posted a 2.60 ERA across nine starts at Double-A Mississippi.
Waters has big prospect pedigree but stumbled in 2021. He still ranked 6th in our recent Braves Top 10 Prospects list, and possesses everyday upside.
Woods touched 97 mph on his fastball and paired it with a hard breaking ball for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League. He could be a high-leverage reliever if everything comes together.
Wilson is a righthanded relief prospect with a plus changeup and good vertical hop on his four-seam fastball. He has a chance to see work in the Braves bullpen in 2022.
Added: RHP Felix Bautista, RHP Kyle Bradish, RHP Logan Gillaspie, LHP D.L. Hall, LHP Kevin Smith, INF Terrin Varva
Analysis: Hall, 23, has been clocked as high as 101 mph from the left side with a wipeout slider that has touched the low '90s. He missed a majority of 2021 with an elbow injury, but he has returned to throwing and should be able to have a normal offseason program.
Bradish, 25, was acquired from the Angels in the trade for Dylan Bundy in Dec. 2019. He struck out 131 batters in 100.1 innings last season at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, primarily working off a mid-90s cutter and sweepy mid-80s slider.
Bautista, 26, has a high-octane four-seamer that sits 98 mph and has been clocked as high as 101. He’s a pure reliever who reached Triple-A Norfolk in 2021. He possesses the stuff to pitch in high-leverage relief.
Gillaspie, 24, is an independent ball alum that makes his living off of mid-90s fastball with a flat vertical approach angle that plays up when he throws it in the upper quadrants. He's purely a reliever and has a chance to break into the Orioles bullpen in 2022.
Smith, 24, was acquired from the Mets in the Miguel Castro trade in Aug. 2020. He works off of two variations of his fastball and has a pair of average or better secondaries in his sweepy low-80s slider and mid-80s changeup with late tumble and fade.
Vavra, 24, was a standout at Minnesota before being drafted by the Rockies in the third round of the 2018 draft. He was acquired in Aug. 2020 as part of the Mychal Givens trade. Vavra is a versatile defender with a good feel for contact, but he missed a chunk of 2021 with a back injury.
Added: RHP Brayan Bello, SS Jeter Downs, RHP Josh Winckowski, RHP Kutter Crawford
Analysis: Downs, 23, ranked sixth in our Red Sox Top 10 Prospects entering 2022. He was part of the trade return that sent Mookie Betts to Los Angeles, and was originally a supplemental first-round selection of the Reds. He had a difficult year at Triple-A Worcester, hitting a paltry .190/.272/.333 with 14 home runs and 18 steals, but he showed improvement on the defensive side of the ball. He ended his 2021 campaign on a high note, slugging five home runs over 15 games for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League.
Few players in the Red Sox system had a better 2021 than Bello, their No. 5 prospect. The 22-year-old righthander reached Double-A for the first time and struck out more than 31 percent of the batters he faced over 15 starts. Bello averaged 96 mph on his fastball in 2021 and complemented it with a mid-to-upper-80s slider and plus changeup from a deceptive low release point.
Acquired from the Mets in the three-team trade that was headlined by Andrew Benintendi, Winckowski is the Red Sox's No. 9 prospect. The 6-foot-4 righthander mixes both a four-seam and two-seam fastball in the mid 90s and complements them with a mid-80s slider and a firm changeup with heavy armside run and tumble.
Crawford, 25, split time between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester before making his major league in early September. His bread and butter is a mid-90s four-seam fastball that generates a well above-average amount of swings and misses.
Chicago NL (36)
Added: OF Nelson Velazquez, RHP Ethan Roberts
Analysis: Velazquez, 22, firmly planted himself back into the everyday regular conversation with a strong 2021 season across High-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee. hits .270/.333/.496 with 20 home runs and 17 stolen bases. Blessed with easy plus power and speed, Velazquez was among the leaders in home runs in the Arizona Fall League and saw time at all three outfield positions.
Roberts, 24, was drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round in 2018 out of Tennessee Tech. He logged a 3.00 ERA in 39 appearances across Double-A and Triple-A last season with 72 strikeouts and 17 walks in 54.1 innings. Roberts deploys a low-to-mid 90s cutter as his primary fastball and plays a hard sweeping mid-80s slider off it. He has a high-spin arsenal with spin rates above 2800 rpms on all of his offerings.
Chicago AL (35)
Added: RHP Jason Bilous, LHP Bennett Sousa
Analysis: Bilous, 24, was a freshman on the Coastal Carolina team that won the 2016 College World Series. He had an uneven year split between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, posting a 6.51 ERA in 17 starts after he was promoted to Double-A. At his best, the 6-foot-2 righthander misses bats with a four-pitch mix, headlined by fastball up to 97 mph with above-average vertical movement.
Sousa, 26, spent most of his time at Virginia pitching out of the bullpen and has remained a reliever throughout his professional career. He reached Triple-A Charlotte last season and struck out 34.7% of the batters he faced with his mid-to-high 90s fastball and mid-to-high 80s slider.
Added: RHP Hunter Greene, OF Allan Cerda, RHP Alexis Diaz, RHP Daniel Duarte, RHP James Marinan.
Analysis: Greene was always a slam-dunk addition. The 22-year-old is one of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in history, regularly sitting at 99-100 mph during starts and topping out at 104.9 mph. The continued development of his slider and changeup will determine how successful he is at the major league level.
Cerda, 21, ranked as the Reds No. 24 prospect at midseason. The 21-year-old has started to grow into his average power, although he’s started to slow down as he's matured and his speed doesn’t play well on the basepaths. He is a center fielder who has enough pop to handle a move to the corners if needed.
Diaz, 25, righthanded reliever with a low three-quarters arm slot who gets hitters out with a mid-90s fastball that enters the zone on a flat plane. He pairs that with a mid-80s slider that gets plenty of swings and misses as well. Together, they helped him strike out nearly 15 batters per nine innings in Double-A.
Duarte, 24, is extremely well traveled. He was signed by the Rangers in 2013, selected by the Royals in the minor league portion of the 2017 Rule 5 draft and has been loaned to the Mexican League on multiple occasions. The Royals released him in 2019 and the Reds signed him. They released him, then re-signed him after he got off to an excellent start in the Mexican League this spring (1-0, 0.64 in 14 innings). He pitched at three different levels for Cincinnati this year and is currently pitching extremely effectively in the Mexican Pacific League, where he’s touched 98 mpjh while allowing just one hit in five appearances. He’s another relief candidate who primarily pitches off a mid-90s fastball and adds in a slider, although he’ll mix in a curveball and changeup sporadically.
Marinan, 24, has yet to pitch above Class A and didn’t pitch all that effectively there this year, although pitching in the Low-A Southeast league meant many pitchers struggled with their control because of the automated strike zone. Acquired from the Dodgers in a 2018 trade, Marinan has plenty of arm strength and spins the ball well enough to project a plus breaking ball in time.
Added: INF Tyler Freeman, OF Steven Kwan, C Bryan Lavastida, RHP Cody Morris, RHP Tobias Myers, INF Jhonkensy Noel, INF Richie Palacios, LHP Konnor Pilkington, INF Brayan Rocchio, INF José Tena and OF George Valera.
Kwan, 24, is one of the best contact hitters in the minor leagues with plus on-base ability and the defensive chops to handle all three outfield positions. He flashed newfound game power in 2021 after making swing adjustments, making him a must-add for the Guardians.
Valera, 21, is one of the top offensive prospects in a deep Cleveland system. He reached Double-A in his age-20 season and hit .260/.405/.505 overall.
Rocchio, 20, is another precious talent from Cleveland’s vaunted 2017 international class. The switch-hitter has an innate feel for the game that allows all of his tools to play up. He has the defensive ability to stick at shortstop long-term while providing average or better offensive production.
Freeman, 22, missed the final two months of the regular season after having left shoulder surgery. The 71st overall pick in the 2017 draft carries a lifetime .319 batting average across at-bats and is one of the best pure contact hitters in the minors.
Lavastida, 22, reached Triple-A in September before rejoining Akron for their playoff run. A 15th-rounder out of the junior college ranks in 2018, he possesses strong bat-to-ball skills and on-base ability while flashing average in-game power.
Noel, 20, displays some of the best raw power in Cleveland's organization with elite maximum exit velocities surpassing 114 mph. He missed nearly a month with a sprained ankle but still made the most of his 2021, combining for 19 home runs across both Class A levels
Palacios, 24, exhibited some of the best plate discipline among Guardians minor leaguers in 2021, walking at a 13.6% rate between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. He finished his season with Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League, batting .263/.371/.500 and earning the selection to the AFL Fall Stars Game.
Pilkington, 24, was acquired by Cleveland in the deadline trade that sent Cesar Hernandez to the White Sox. The former Mississippi State standout commands the entirety of his four-pitch mix, missing bats at a high rate with his low-90s fastball, low-80s changeup, and tight, gyro-spin slider.
Tena, 20, is yet another member of the Guardians' 2017 international class. He had a standout season for High-A Lake County with his plus bat-to-ball skills, above-average raw power and plenty of foot speed on display. He’s still a work in progress at the plate and in the field but has the tools of a future everyday middle infielder.
Myers, 23, was acquired from the Rays earlier in the day in exchange for middle infield prospect Junior Caminero. The righthander’s fastball features some of the biggest vertical movement of any pitcher in the minors. He pairs it effectively with a mid-80s sweeping breaking ball he calls a cutter, an above-average changeup and an over-the-top curveball in the high 70s.
Morris, 25, missed the early portion of the 2021 season due to a lat injury but made quick work of minor league hitters after being assigned to Double-A Akron on July 1. Morris logged a 1.62 ERA with 93 strikeouts against just 20 walks and made his Triple-A debut in early August. The South Carolina product pairs a mid-90s fastball with a plus changeup, a cutter and a low-80s curveball with two-plane break.
Added: RHP Noah Davis, LHP Ryan Rolison, SS Ezequiel Tovar
Analysis: The biggest name of this trio is Tovar, who starred for Salt River this fall in the Arizona Fall League. He’s a plus defender at shortstop but is still developing as a hitter. He has above-average raw power with maximum exit velocities exceeding 109 mph.
Rolison, 24, was the Rockies first-round pick out of Ole Miss in 2018. He missed more than two months after dealing with a bout of appendicitis that required surgery. He reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2021 and commands a trio of fringy offerings.
Davis, 24, is a former 11th-round pick out of UC Santa Barbara by the Reds. The Rockies acquired him at the trade deadline in the deal that sent Mychal Givens to Cincinnati. He spent all of 2021 at High-A and features a fringy fastball with three average or better secondaries.
Added: RHP Angel De Jesus, INF Kody Clemens
Analysis: De Jesus, 24, was left unprotected and went unpicked in the 2020 Rule 5 draft, but the Tigers decided his power fastball and slider combination was worth adding to the 40-man roster this time around. De Jesus sits in the mid-90s on his fastball and spins a hard slider. He is purely a reliever and reached Triple-A last season.
Clemens, 25, is the son of former MLB superstar Roger Clemens. He has been a productive hitter dating back to his college days at Texas and slugged .466 at Triple-A in 2021.
Added: LHP Jonathan Bermudez, RHP Shawn Dubin, SS Jeremy Pena, 3B Joe Perez
Analysis: Pena is the Astros No. 2 prospect despite missing the majority of last season after he had wrist surgery in April. He reported to Triple-A Sugar Land for the final month of the season and hit .287/.346/.598 with 10 home runs in 30 games. He is a plus defender at shortstop and is the Astros' best internal candidate to replace Carlos Correa if Correa leaves in free agency as expected.
Bermudez, 26, is a low-slot, soft-tossing lefthander with deceptive angle on his four-pitch mix. He pitched for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land, and struck out 146 batters across 111 innings.
Perez, 22, is coming off his best offensive season as a professional after he hit .291/.354/.495 across three levels. The 2017 second-round pick showed increased game power in 2021 while spending most of his season as third base.
Dubin, 26, a former 13th-round pick out of Georgetown (Ky.), spent most of 2021 at Triple-A Sugar Land and struck out more than 35 percent of the batters he faced. He mixes five pitches led by a mid-90s fastball that plays up due to his deceptive arm angle and two distinctively-shaped, high-spin breaking balls.
Kansas City (40)
Added: RHPs Jonathan Bowlan, Collin Snider and Nathan Webb, C MJ Melendez, and INFs Maikel García and Nick Pratto.
Analysis: Pratto, 23, enjoyed one of the loudest breakouts in the minor leagues in 2021. He hit 36 home runs across stops at Double-A and Triple-A. Along with fellow top prospects Bobby Witt Jr. and MJ Melendez, Pratto was one-third of one of the more fearsome offensive trios in baseball.
Melendez, 22, posted one of the worst seasons in the minors in 2019 but made mechanical adjustments at the plate that paid huge dividends. He led the minors leagues with 41 home runs as he climbed to Triple-A and established himself as the heir apparent to Salvador Perez in Kansas City. With Perez showing no signs of slowing down, Melendez logged time at third base in effort to find alternate ways to get his bat into the lineup.
Bowlan, 24, had a lot of positive momentum heading into the season as he remade his body during the 2020 shutdown and arrived at Royals camp with improved physicality. Bowlan was injured in his fourth start of the season and had to have Tommy John surgery, but the Royals saw enough to protect him anyway.
Garcia, 21, showcased some of the best plate discipline and contact skills in the Royals system, making contact at a greater than 80% rate while posting a 13% walk rate. He has well below-average game power at the moment but he has plus speed, elite baserunning instincts (35 stolen bases on 41 attempts) and above-average defensive ability at shortstop.
Snider, 26, is an older prospect but had a good season out of the bullpen for Double-A Northwest Arkansas with 41 strikeouts over 36.1 innings. He’s yet another Royals’ relief prospect with a big fastball.
Webb, 24, was the closer for High-A Quad Cities and was on the mound when the River Bandits clinched the High-A Central title. His mid-90s fastball has flirted with 100 mph, but his slider is his best pitch.
Los Angeles AL (39)
Added: RHP Elvis Peguero
Analysis: Peguero was acquired this summer in the trade that sent Andrew Heaney to the Yankees. He's a weird case as he needed to be added to the 40-man roster but had already pitched in the majors this season. Peguero was an addition as a replacement for a player on the Covid-19-relayed injured list. He is a pure relief prospect with mid-to-high 90s fastball and a power slider that touches nearly 90 mph.
Los Angeles NL (39)
Added: OF James Outman, SS Jacob Amaya, SS Eddys Leonard, INF Jorbit Vivas and RHP Michael Grove.
Analysis: Amaya, 22, is a tooled-up middle infielder with a slick glove and some power projection due to his plus bat speed. Struggles in Double-A Tulsa aside, he still has raw power, speed, feel for the strike zone and immense defensive value as the best defensive infielder in the Dodgers system.
Outman, 24, was a three year starter at Sacramento State and is yet another find for the Dodgers after the top five rounds. The lefthanded hitting outfielder is a former football standout who is still somewhat raw but boasts plus speed and plus raw power.
Leonard, 21, was one of the top offensive breakouts in the Dodgers system in 2021. He hit .296/.390/.539 with 55 extra-base hits across both Class A levels and showed electric hands and more impact than expected. He's a versatile defender who saw time at
Vivas, 20, is a diminutive infielder who makes a ton of contact (80.9% contact rate) and has more power than expected for his frame, but he lacks a true defensive home and may need to be a DH.
Grove, 24, was drafted by the Dodgers in the second round out of West Virginia in 2018 despite missing the entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery. His fastball regained its previously velocity at 94-96 mph and he complements it with two distinct breaking balls and a changeup, but he doesn't hold his best stuff for long, has below-average control and is more hittable than his stuff would indicate on paper. He posted a 7.86 ERA and allowed a .290 opponent average at Double-A Tulsa in 2021.
Added: RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Cole Sands, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Josh Winder, INF Royce Lewis and INF Jose Miranda.
Analysis: Lewis is the No. 2 prospect in the Twins system and possesses immense upside with his exciting blend of power, speed and athleticism. The top overall pick in the 2017 draft, he missed all of last season after suffering a torn ACL and didn't play in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic canceled the minor league season. The last time Lewis saw the field in 2019, he showed plenty of holes that needed to be ironed out in his swing but showed his potential when he was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League.
Miranda was one of the biggest breakout players in the minors last season. He led all minor league hitters with 184 hits and was one of just two players (along with BA Minor League Player of the Year Bobby Witt Jr.) who hit more than 30 home runs and 30 doubles. Miranda has solid bat-to-ball skills and power, though he is limited as a defender and runner and will likely be a fringy corner infielder at best. He ranks as the No. 5 prospect in the Twins system.
Winder was one of Minnesota’s most improved pitchers during the 2020 coronavirus shutdown. He added strength that translated into increased velocity and sharper secondaries this year, including a slider and changeup that now project to be plus pitches. He also has a strong track record of throwing strikes but missed the second half of the 2021 season with shoulder fatigue. He is the Twins No. 6 prospect.
The decision to protect Enlow was an interesting one, because he will miss most or all of the 2022 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has one of the highest ceilings of any pitcher in the system if he can return to his pre-injury form.
Sands has been a productive starter in his first two seasons of pro ball, with a sub-3.00 ERA in 2019 across three levels and a 2.46 ERA at Double-A last season. He utilizes a three-pitch mix including a running 92-95 mph fastball, a sweepy 78-82 mph curveball and a low-80s changeup. He has a chance to be a back-of-the-rotation starter, though some evaluators see him as a bullpen candidate given his questionable control and high walk rates.
Vallimont was acquired in 2019 in a trade with the Marlins that sent veteran reliever Sergio Romo to the Twins. He has a chance to have three average or better secondary offerings to go with a low-90s fastball, but he’ll need to become a more consistent throwing strikes. He walked six batters per nine innings at Double-A Wichita last season.
New York AL (40)
Added: INF Oswaldo Cabrera, RHP Ron Marinaccio, OF Everson Pereira, RHP Stephen Ridings and LHP JP Sears.
Analysis: Cabrera opened eyes from the beginning of minor league spring training with a clearly stronger body and more thump in his swing. The results translated from Opening Day until season’s end and resulted in 29 home runs, a mark that stood as the second-most in the system to Dermis Garcia and also bested his career total by seven. The added strength means Cabrera will likely move to second or third base, but the Yankees will gladly take the trade-off.
The Yankees have long been intrigued by Pereira’s potential, which until this season had been obscured by injuries and the pandemic. This year, he was unleashed. The results, thanks to a much more efficient swing path, were 20 home runs in 188 at-bats across the three lowest levels of the domestic minor leagues. Pereira is not likely to play center field, and there are questions about how much he swings and misses in the strike zone, but the potential he showed was too tantalizing to ignore.
If you want velocity, Ridings has it in spades. The former Cubs and Royals farmhand, whom the Yankees signed this past January, regularly throws his fastball in the triple-digits. His breaking ball improved throughout the year and eventually earned him a callup to the majors, where he struck out five in seven innings.
The Yankees were excited about Marinaccio before the season began, and the Delaware product delivered. Marinaccio, a 19th-round pick in 2017, struck out 105 batters in 66.1 innings between Double-A and Triple-A using a changeup that evaluators have tabbed as the best in the Yankees' system. That pitch, coupled with the addition of a slider and a fastball that gained roughly five mph during the shutdown, launched his breakout.
The Yankees acquired Sears—who once struck out 20 hitters in a game while pitching for The Citadel—in 2017 in a deal that sent righthanded reliever Nick Rumbelow to Seattle. He combines potentially plus command of a mid-90s fastball along with a slider and changeup which each have average potential and the deception that comes from throwing from a funky arm slot. His slider was added for this season, and the results were 136 strikeouts in 104 innings.
New York NL (36)
Added: INFs Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos, RHPs José Butto and Adam Oller.
Analysis: Mauricio, 20, is the Mets No. 3 prospect. He hit 19 home runs in 420 plate appearances with High-A Brooklyn, one of the toughest parks in the minors for hitters, and finished the year at Double-A.
Vientos, 21, enjoyed a resurgent season in 2021. He hit 25 home runs between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse and ranks as the Mets No. 4 prospect.
Butto, 23, enjoyed a breakout season over 98.2 innings split between High-A Brooklyn and Double-A Binghamton. His changeup is the best in the system and generated an unheard-of 51.8% whiff rate last season, contributing to his elite 18.1% swinging strike rate at Double-A.
Oller, 27, claimed off of waivers from the Giants in Dec. 2019, enjoyed his best season as a professional in 2021 and earned the organization’s Pitcher of the Year award. Armed with a four-pitch mix, Oller’s fastball has an above-average vertical approach angle to go with bore and armside run. His best offering is a loose, slurvy slider that plays up due to its mid-to-high 80s velocity. He is a potential back-of-the-rotation starter.
Added: 1B Jonah Bride, SS Nick Allen, INF Jordan Diaz, RHP Jorge Juan, OF Cody Thomas
Analysis: Bride, 25, had a breakout season at Double-A this summer. He pairs a discerning eye with plus contact and on-base skills but has just fringe-average power, which makes him a tough fit at first base. He’s filled in at a few positions during his Arizona Fall League stint with Mesa, including catcher.
Allen, 23, reached Triple-A Las Vegas this year and was the starting shortstop for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics. Scouts are split on whether his bat will ever make an impact, but his glove is big league ready now. He could assume Oakland’s starting role at some point 2022 depending on what the team does with Elvis Andrus.
Diaz’s bat-to-ball skills have long been coveted and he posted a 121 wRC+ as one of the youngest hitters in High-A at 20 years old, but he doesn’t have a clear defensive home.
Juan, 22, is a mammoth pitcher at 6-foot-8 and was one of Oakland’s risers this year, striking out nearly 38% of batters he faced in limited innings with Low-A Stockton. His season ended early due to injury and it’s unclear when he’ll be available in 2022.
A's fans likely don't need the reminder, but Thomas is one of two former Oklahoma quarterbacks who have been targeted by the A’s in recent years — the other being Kyler Murray. Thomas has less development than you’d expect from a 27-year-old corner outfielder, but had a powerful and productive year for Triple-A Las Vegas before an injury ended his season prematurely.
25 Players Standing Out To Scouts In 2023 Spring Training
Here are 25 players scouts believe are primed to take a step forward in 2023 based on what evaluators are seeing in spring training.
Added: SS Luis Garcia, RHP James McArthur, OF Jhailyn Ortiz
Analysis: Garcia, 21, spent time at both Class A levels in 2021 and batted .243/.353/.414 while being young for both levels. The switch-hitter has the defensive chops to stick at shortstop, with a nice blend of contact ability, on-base skills and blossoming power.
Ortiz, 23, bounced back after two below-average years in 2018 and 2019, displaying plus power in his stops in High-A Jersey Shore and Double-A Reading. He split his time defensively between right field and center.
McArthur, 24, is a tall righthander with a four-pitch mix led by two above-average to plus secondaries. He throws his curveball hard in the mid-80s at times with two-plane bite. After spending a majority of his season at the rotation at Double-A Reading, he finished the year pitching for Peoria in the Arizona Fall League.
Added: INF Liover Peguero, OF Canaan Smith-Njigba, OF Jack Suwinski and OF Travis Swaggerty.
Analysis: Peguero was one of two prospects, along with righthander Brennan Malone, acquired from the D-backs in the Starling Marte deal, Ben Cherington’s first major trade after taking over as general manager in Pittsburgh. The 20-year-old shortstop spent last season at High-A Greensboro and has impressed with his overall package of tools and bat speed.
Smith-Njigba, 22, has strong plate discipline and walked nearly 17% of the time with Double-A Altoona this year. He posts above-average exit velocities and more damage could be in store if he can cut down on the 65.3% ground ball rate he posted in Altoona.
Suwinski, 23, hits the ball quite hard and impressed the Pirates upon his arrival from the Padres this summer in the Adam Frazier trade. He profiles as a corner outfielder with thump who may be better suited in a platoon role because he struggles against lefties.
Swaggerty had a chance to factor into Pittsburgh’s outfield mix in 2021 until a shoulder injury ended his Triple-A season in late May. A plus defender in center field, Swaggerty’s bat has yet to reach its pre-draft pedigree, but the Pirates were encouraged by the 24-year-old’s improved swing decisions in a limited sample this year.
San Diego (40)
Added: LHP MacKenzie Gore, INF Eguy Rosario, and RHPs Efrain Contreras and Steven Wilson.'
Analysis: Gore, formerly the top pitching prospect in baseball, has struggled over the last two years and rarely saw the field in 2021. At just 22 years old there’s plenty of time for the former shining star of the Padres system to regain his once lofty status, but the consistency of his stuff and control remains an issue.
Rosario, 22, was one of the standout offensive performers in Padres' system in 2021. He has a short, stocky build, but is strong and twitchy at the plate. He hit .281/.360/.455 with 46 extra base hits and 30 stolen bases at Double-A San Antonio last year..
Contreras, 21, is an undersized righthander who showed an improving three-pitch mix at instructional league in 2020 but missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery. The Padres internally considered him one of their top pitching prospects before the injury and expect him to be ready for the start of 2022.
Wilson, 27, is a righthander reliever prospect that spent the majority of his season with Triple-A El Paso. He has the stuff to pitch in the majors now with a 93-94 mph fastball that reaches 97, an average slider he commands well and a chanegup that flashes plus, but he has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career.
San Francisco (40)
Added: RHP Sean Hjelle, RHP Randy Rodriguez and OF Heliot Ramos
Analysis: Hjelle, 24, is one of the tallest pitchers in baseball at 6-foot-11 and has unique body control for a pitcher so tall. His varied assortment of solid but unspectacular stuff makes him best-suited for an innings-eating, back-of-the-rotation starter role.
Rodriguez was part of a pack of bullpen arms the Giants have developed at the lower levels. He sliced his walk rate and raised his strikeout rate considerably in 2021 from the marks he showed while pitching in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2019. It’s been a slow burn, but Rodriguez could be the next to follow in the path created by Gregory Santos and Camilo Doval on the way to the big leagues.
Ramos, 22, was the Giants No. 3 prospect at the midseason. He’s consistently hit the ball hard but not for much damage as of yet--his career-high in home runs is 16 and he doesn’t hit a ton of doubles either. But he’s still quite young for a player who has already reached Triple-A and has further development ahead of him.
Added: LHP Ray Kerr, OF Alberto Rodriguez and OF Julio Rodriguez.
Analysis: Julio Rodriguez being added to the 40-man was the most obvious decision of the offseason. He is one of baseball's best prospects and a potential future superstar who hits for average and power while playing above-average defense in right field.
Kerr is a great find for the Mariners. The 6-foot-3 lefthander was a nondrafted free agent signing in 2017 out of Lassen (Calif.) JC. Now, he can touch 100 mph from a low slot.
Alberto Rodriguez ranked 23rd on the Mariners midseason Top 30 Prospects. He is a lefthanded hitting outfielder with plenty of bat speed and excellent strike-zone awareness at the plate.
St. Louis (36)
Added: RHP Jake Walsh, RHP Freddy Pacheco, and INF/OF Brendan Donovan.
Analysis: Walsh, 26, was one of the early standouts in Double-A Central this season but missed two months with an undisclosed injury. He returned to pitch for Glendale in the Arizona Fall League and could fit into the Cardinals bullpen as soon as next year if he can start landing his curveball more consistently.
Donovan, 24, hit .304/.399/.455 while ascending to three different levels in 2021. He capped off his breakout season with a standout performance in the Arizona Fall League, batting .333/.450/.563. He is primarily a second baseman but can fit at a variety of positions defensively.
Pacheco, 23, was one of the most improved Cardinals prospects in 2021. He has long had shaky control, but he showed improvement in his strike-throwing over the second half of the season to begin to alleviate his biggest concern. His 94-97 mph fastball has plenty of carry and misses bats, and he complements it with a hard, slurvy slider. He has averaged 15 strikeouts per nine innings in his pro career.
Tampa Bay (39)
Added: INF Jonathan Aranda, RH Calvin Faucher, C/INF Ford Proctor and RHP Tommy Romero
Analysis: Aranda was one of the breakout stars of the Rays system in 2021. He consistently made hard contact as one of the most productive hitters in High-A and Double-A. There are questions about whether he ends up defensively, but he profiles as a bat-first second baseman who can play third in a pinch and is a solid first baseman. With his bat, that should work.
Faucher was acquired from the Twins in the midseason deal that brought Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay and sent righthanders Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman to Minnesota. Faucher allowed more than two baserunners per inning and had a 7.04 ERA in the Twins system but showed vast improvement after joining the Rays. He more than halved his walk rate, missed just as many bats and was a reliable reliever for Triple-A Durham. His cutter is his best weapon.
Proctor is a rarity. He’s capable of playing shortstop, second base and catcher all at an average or above level. His versatility is more notable than any one tool, but his ability to perform at a variety of positions while having solid bat-to-ball skills could make him a useful big leaguer.
Romero doesn’t blow hitters away with velocity, but the movement on his fastball makes it very hard to square him up. Much like Tobias Myers, the player the Rays traded on Friday to the Guardians, and Ryan, who they traded to the Twins at the trade deadline, Romero’s fastball-heavy approach has worked well so far.
Added: INF Ezequiel Duran, RHP Ricky Vanasco, RHP Ronny Henriquez.
Analysis: The slugging Duran was acquired from the Yankees in the Joey Gallo deal at the trade deadline. He shows easy plus power with exit velocity data comparable to MLB sluggers, Duran still maintains a hitter’s acumen at the plate has a chance to hit for average, too.
Henriquez, 21, is an undersized righthander with big stuff. His fastball boasts multiple positive analytical traits with a low release height, high spin efficiency axis and flat vertical approach angle. He pairs his mid-90s four-seamer with a bat-missing slider in the mid-80s and a firm changeup.
Vanasco, 23, missed all of 2021 recovering from Tommy John surgery but showed some of the highest upside of any Rangers pitching prospect when he was healthy. He sat 94-98 mph on his fastball before surgery and featured a power curveball that missed plenty of bats. He should return to game action in 2022.
Added: RHP Hagen Danner, RHP Bowden Francis, LHP Zach Logue, INF Leo Jimenez.
Danner, 23, was a two-way star in high school who spent his first three seasons as a catcher. He moved to the mound this year and made a quick transition. He can brush the high 90s with his fastball and he quickly took to spinning a slider.
Francis was acquired by the Blue Jays from the Brewers this season in the deal that sent Rowdy Tellez to Milwaukee. The 6-foot-5 starter spins a quality curveball, but his fastball is relatively pedestrian.
Logue saw his velocity jump by a couple of miles per hour in 2021, which helped all of his stuff play up. That induced the Blue Jays to protect him from the Rule 5 draft this year after leaving him unprotected last season. The lefty was one of the more consistent starters in Triple-A East this year and mixed his four pitches well.
Jimenez, the Blue Jays No. 10 prospect, works counts, draws walks and makes contact to be a premium table-setter. He posted a .523 on-base percentage in 59 games this season between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Southeast.
Added: OF Donovan Casey, LHP Evan Lee
Analysis: Casey was acquired from the Dodgers in the deal that netted Los Angeles Trea Turner and Max Scherzer. He participated in the Arizona Fall League and reached the Triple-A level late in 2021. He is a good athlete with power, speed and plus arm strength, but how much contact he will make is a question.
Lee was a 15th-round pick out of Arkansas in 2018. He is a starter who predominantly features a low-90s four-seam with above-average vertical movement and a high-spin, hammer curveball.