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Players Making Significant Jumps Up West Top 30 Prospects Lists



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With the minor league season heating up we’re updating Top 30 lists for all 30 teams. Below are West Division prospects who made a big jump in our latest update.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Wilderd Patino, OF (Moved from No. 28 to 17)

Patino is finally turning his prolific tools into production at Low-A Visalia. He has cut down on his chase swings to reduce his strikeout rate, leading to the best offensive performance of his career to go with excellent defense in center field.

Dominic Fletcher, OF (Moved from No. 35 to 21)

A polished, heady player on both sides of the ball, Fletcher has reduced his chase rate to make better, more consistent contact and delivered a bounceback offensive campaign. He received a recent promotion to Triple-A Reno and is on the cusp of his major league debut.

Blaze Alexander, SS (Moved from NR to No. 23)

Always a player with loud tools, Alexander has done a much better job of playing under control on both sides of the ball this year and has been arguably the system’s biggest riser. He is taking much more controlled at-bats, with significant upticks in his on-base ability and extra-base hit totals as a result, and has been much more consistent defensively, particularly with his throwing accuracy.

Colorado Rockies

Adael Amador, SS (Moved from No. 10 to No. 4)

One of the most exciting prospects in the California League during the early part of the season, Amador has walked as much as he’s struck out while flashing average or better game power. He’s among the top 10 across a number of statistical categories in the California League and one of the league’s younger players.

Victor Juarez, RHP (Moved from unranked to No. 8)

Navigating the rough waters of the California League is no easy feat for any pitcher, let alone a teenager with only complex level experience. Juarez has dominated for Fresno in the early going. His three-pitch mix consists of a low-90s fastball, an above-average curveball and an above-average changeup. He's a strong performer with plenty of projection remaining.

Warming Bernabel, 3B (No. 16 to No. 11) 

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, Bernabel is a member of a talented group of young Rockies prospects on the Fresno roster. The third baseman has been a strong performer early, showcasing bat-to-ball skills, on-base ability, some power and speed. He's a well-rounded prospect with everyday regular upside.

Ryan Feltner, RHP (Moved from unranked to No. 13)

The former Ohio State Buckeye has flown under the radar in the Rockies system despite modern fastball traits that many teams are currently chasing. Feltner sits mid 90s with a flat vertical approach angle, pairing two average or better breaking balls off of the fastball. He's made a few starts for the Rockies over the last two seasons and has the fastball characteristics to succeed in a variety of roles.

Karl Kauffmann, RHP (No. 22 to No. 15)

Few players in the Rockies system have transformed as much as Kauffmann, in fact, it wouldn’t be absurd to label Kauffmann Colorado’s breakout player over the first two months. After an incredibly difficult 2021, Kauffmann made tangible changes to his arm slot and refined his pitch mix. The 2022 version of Kauffmann has cut nearly 10 inches from his release height, tabled his four-seam fastball and cutter and refined the shape of his primary three-pitch mix. Kauffmann added sink and run to his two-seamer and blended the shape of his slider and cutter into a “slutter” hybrid type of pitch. Most importantly, his changes have allowed his changeup to look plus in the early part of the season.

Jordy Vargas, RHP (Moved from unranked to No. 23)

The projectable righthander made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League last summer and flashed some of the best stuff in the system. In fact, it wouldn’t be far fetched to state that Vargas has the best fastball in the system—a mid-90s offering with plus vertical break. Vargas' fastball dominated DSL competition, so much so he used his curveball and changeup only sparingly. Vargas should debut stateside this summer with the Rockies Arizona Complex League affiliate. 

Juan Brito, 2B (Moved from unranked to No. 24)

Yet another talented young player from the Rockies Low-A affiliate in Fresno, Brito has showcased a balanced approach at the plate. He currently ranks within the top 10 for walk rate in the California League, while limiting his swings and misses and chase swings. With a strong foundational approach and average power projection and barrel control, Brito is another young Rockies prospect with everyday upside.

Juan Guerrero, OF (Moved from unranked to No. 29)

A fairly highly-touted signing out of the Dominican Republic, Guerrero was long lauded for his ability to hit in games. Since coming stateside, that reputation has not changed. Like many of the young talents in the Fresno lineup, Guerrero is balancing contact, approach and power early this season. His offensive prowess and well-rounded skill set make Guerrero a bat to follow in the coming years.

Houston Astros

Yainer Diaz, C (No. 15 to No. 6)

It’s been a tough early part of the season for the Houston farm system, but Diaz has been a bright spot behind the plate. A balance of catching skills with both above-average bat-to-ball skills and power at the plate have put Diaz on the periphery of the Astros catching depth, while still behind Korey Lee on the depth chart. Diaz could provide major league value in the coming years as a backup.

Chayce McDermott, RHP (Moved from No. 18 to No. 9)

The fourth-round pick out of Ball State has been one of the best pitchers in the Houston system early this spring as he’s struck out over 13 batters per nine innings while holding opposing batters to a batting average of .202. McDermott mixes five different pitches but works primarily off a trio of pitches in his mid-90s fastball, mid-80s slider and curveball. All three of his primary pitches boast whiff rates of 33% or higher.

Will Wagner, 2B/3B (Moved from unranked to No. 13) 

The son of former MLB star Billy Wagner, Will has been one of the best statistical hitters in the lower minors during the early part of the season and is the Astros prospect with the most helium. While Wagner has benefited from a heavily hitter-friendly home park, his combination of plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills will play in any environment.

Spencer Arrighetti, RHP (Moved from unranked to No. 14) 

The righthander pitched at three schools during his collegiate career, serving as Louisiana-Lafayette's Friday night starter his draft spring. It’s been an up-and-down spring for Arrighetti early as he’s shown the ability to miss bats, but has also struggled with command and been too hittable at times. Regardless of his production, Arrighetti has a good mix of pitches, with a mid-90s fastball with some ride and a flatter vertical approach angle. He pairs it with two breaking balls with above-average spin and a changeup.

David Hensley, SS (Moved from unranked to No. 16)

A 6-foot-6 infielder is rare to see at any position outside of first base, but Hensley has shown the ability to competently handle every position on the infield. At the plate he’s continued to develop, as he now combines above-average swing decisions with above-average bat-to-ball skills and above-average game power. A late bloomer, Hensley is on the cusp of the majors and could help the big league team this summer.

J.J. Matijevic, 1B/OF (Moved from unranked to No. 17)

The former highly-touted Arizona star made his major league debut earlier this season, as he’s continued to lay waste to Triple-A competition. He’s cut down significantly on his in-zone whiffs and is hitting for an average rate of contact for the first time in his career. With exit velocity data above major league average, Matijevic has been able to combine his above-average power with his newly developed contact skills.

Justin Dirden, OF (Moved from unranked to No. 20)

Signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Southeast Missouri State in 2020, Dirden has already risen to Double-A, where he ranks among Corpus Christi’s best hitters. Dirden’s ability to handle all three outfield positions competently gives him a solid all-around profile. He could contribute as a valuable bench player with some offensive upside and defensive versatility.

Misael Tamarez, RHP (Moved from unranked to No. 21)

Like many Astros pitching prospects, Tamarez has a loud and powerful pitch mix that’s somewhat negated by his inconsistent strike-throwing. His fastball sits 94-95 mph, and he pairs it with a slider in the mid-to-high 80s and a changeup. The slider is his most effective swing-and-miss pitch but his ability to land it in the strike zone comes and goes.

Enmanuel Valdez, 2B/3B (Moved from unranked to No. 22) 

Valdez is a bat-first second base prospect who's set the Texas League ablaze over the first few months of the season. Approach gains have paid dividends for Valdez’s production as he’s been among the league leaders in several categories in the Texas League. Without a true position, Valdez will need the bat to carry him.

Adrian Chaidez, RHP (Moved from unranked to No. 23)

Chaidez spent four years as a collegiate player, two with Cypress (Calif.) JC before spending a few seasons in the UCLA bullpen. His loud stuff has always been present with a good mix of velocity and pitch movement. He has already risen to Double-A, where he’ll face competition that’s age appropriate. There’s substantial risk in Chaidez’s profile but also reward if he can harness his big stuff.

Los Angeles Angels

Chase Silseth, RHP (Moved from No. 12 to No. 3)

An 11th-round pick out of Arizona last year, Silseth rose to the Angels rotation only 10 months after being drafted. Improved conditioning led to a better delivery and command and increased usage of his splitter allowed him to dominate hitters after scuffling to a 5.55 ERA in college last season. His improved command and pitch mix has made him not only one of the Angels top prospects, but have given him an argument to be the organization’s No. 1 prospect in the eyes of team officials.

Adrian Placencia, SS (Moved from No. 18 to 9)

The switch-hitting second baseman has been the most productive hitter on a prospect-laden Low-A Inland Empire team. He shows an ability to sting the ball from the left side in particular and an advanced feel for controlling the strike zone.

Oliver Ortega, RHP (Moved from No. 22 to No. 11)

Ortega has long possessed elite stuff and is now throwing enough strikes to make it play. He has been one of the Angels’ best relievers with a 1.80 ERA in 14 appearances.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Jacob Amaya, SS (Moved from No. 14 to No. 9)

Amaya has rediscovered his elite plate discipline after he lost it chasing power last season. With his patient approach back in play, he is picking out better pitches to hit and driving them with his improved strength.

Michael Grove, RHP (Moved from No. 24 to No. 14)

It took three years for Grove’s stuff to come back after he had Tommy John surgery. This year, in year four post TJ, his control came back. Grove’s newfound combination of loud stuff and plus control resulted in a dominant showing early at Double-A Tulsa and his first big league callup.

Ryan Ward, OF (Moved from No. 31 to No. 23)

Ward has always hit at every level and has continued to do so this year at Double-A Tulsa. Now that he’s proving he can hit for both average and power against higher-level pitching, he has put himself firmly in the Dodgers future plans.

Oakland Athletics

Zack Gelof, 3B/OF (Moved from No. 6 to No. 3)

Gelof was a consistent performer at Virginia, but with the exception of the abbreviated 2020 season, he struggled to hit for power. The A's have helped him more consistently pull pitches he can drive. Gelof has also shown he's an excellent athlete who can play second, third and center field.

Jeff Criswell, RHP (Moved from No. 19 to No. 12)

Criswell has struggled with a tendency to give up home runs this year (10 of his 15 runs allowed have come on home runs), but otherwise he's been exceptional. He has some of the best stuff in the organization with a plus changeup and a fastball that touches 97 mph.

Denzel Clarke, OF (Moved from No. 22 to No. 13)

The A's kept Clarke, a Cal-State Northridge product, close to home with an assignment in the Low-A California League. He's aced the assignment and is showing signs he's ready for a promotion with a strong first two months.

Logan Davidson, SS (Moved from No. 25 to No. 19)

Davidson was sent back to Double-A Midland after a poor 2021 season there. He's been better while repeating the level, posting some of the best exit velocities in the organization.

Brett Harris, 3B (Moved from unranked to No. 20)

Harris has shown better than expected power in 2022, raising hopes that he can be a regular and not just a versatile utility infielder. His plus defense at third base has been as advertised.

Luis Barrera, OF (Moved from No. 29 to No. 21)

Barrera was designated for assignment and unclaimed in April, but he found himself back in Oakland after Billy McKinney was DFA'd. Barrera is making the most of the opportunity. His first MLB home run was a walk-off shot. He projects as a backup outfielder, but a strong stretch of work with the rebuilding A's could help him earn a lengthy stretch of MLB service time.

Zach Logue, LHP (Moved from No. 30 to No. 23)

Logue has gotten some starts with the big league club. His second start was exceptional and his fourth start was awful, but overall he's been adequate. His inability to get outs with his fastball means he has to be precise with all of his secondaries.

Jonah Bride, C/3B (Moved from unranked to No. 25)

The A's have let Bride focus on catching at Double-A MIdland, although he's still capable of handling third base as needed.

Max Schuemann, SS/2B/3B (Moved from unranked to No. 28)

The influx of trade acquisitions has allowed the A's to bring a lot of last year's Midland team back to Midland in 2022. Schuemann is repeating the level, but his combination of a sharp batting eye and a contact-heavy approach is working for him.

San Diego Padres

Esteury Ruiz, OF (Moved from NR to No. 13)

Long a tooled-up player with a free-swinging approach, Ruiz has remade himself as a hitter in 2022 and exploded because of it. His chase rate, pitch selection and number of pitches seen per at-bat have all improved drastically, leading to a breakthrough season at Double-A San Antonio.

Jairo Iriarte, RHP (Moved from No. 25 to 16)

Iriarte has been one of the most eye-opening pitchers in the California League for his combination of athleticism and stuff. His mid-90s two-seamer has been a deadly pitch and his slider and changeup have each flashed promise. Most importantly, Iriarte is figuring out how to best deploy his weapons and get the most from his loud arsenal.

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San Francisco Giants

Casey Schmitt, 3B (Moved from No. 11 to No. 7)

In 2021, Schmitt started much slower than would have been expected for a player of his caliber and experience. He turned it on in the season’s closing months, however, and has opened the season strong at High-A Eugene. The San Diego State product has shown hittability, power and patience and no discernible split against pitchers of either hand. Combined with excellent defense at third base, Schmitt has rounded into the prospect the Giants believed they had when they drafted him in 2020.

Eric Silva, RHP (Moved from No. 23 to No. 8)

The Giants followed the same blueprint with Silva and Kyle Harrison when they bought Silva’s talented right arm out of a commitment to UCLA. The results so far have been overwhelmingly positive. The righthander shows an above-average fastball as well as the potential for an exciting array of secondaries, including a sweeper slider and an impressive changeup. There is a little bit of concern because Silva isn’t particularly physical, but those worries might be allayed because of his outstanding athleticism.

Mason Black, RHP (Moved from NR to No. 9)

The Giants’ Low-A affiliate at San Jose houses nearly all of their highest-end pitching prospects, with the notable exception of wicked lefthander Kyle Harrison. Black, their third-rounder from 2021 out of Lehigh, might have the highest ceiling of the group. The Giants used his post-draft period last year for development. This year, armed with two- and four-seam fastballs that can tickle the upper 90s, as well as a sweeper slider and a potentially average changeup, Black was dominant in the California League. In late May, he was rewarded with a move to High-A Eugene to take the rotation spot of Kyle Harrison.

Grant McCray, OF (Moved from NR to No. 11)

One of the best-kept secrets in the Giants’ system, McCray—the Giants’ third-rounder from 2019—has shown an impressive set of tools in his full-season debut. His double-plus speed contributes to his potentially plus defense in center field. McCray has big-time bat speed which contributes to at least plus raw power and potentially average in-game power. There’s still some swing and miss in his game, and some scouts still see a player whose vulnerability to breaking balls could lead to a fringe-average hit tool.

Adrian Sugastey, C (Moved from No. 22 to No. 14)

Sugastey signed with the Giants out of Panama in 2019 and was excellent in his official pro debut—entirely in the Arizona Complex League—in 2021. He’s continued to impress evaluators in 2022 while getting his first taste of full-season ball. Scouts see a player with bat-to-ball skills and burgeoning power who also can catch and throw behind the plate. He’s got a thicker body and will have to manage his weight going forward, especially in his lower half.

Vaun Brown, OF (Moved from NR to No. 28) 

Brown was the Giants’ 10th-round selection from 2021 out of Florida Southern. So far, with the caveat that he is a bit old for the level, Brown has made an impact on scouts thanks to a physical frame and impressive array of tools. He’s at least a plus runner and could easily handle center field if given the opportunity. He’s got excellent bat speed and raw power as well. There are some holes in his swing, however, especially on the outer half, that will need to be addressed in the long term.

Seattle Mariners

Edwin Arroyo (Moved from No. 14 to No. 8)

Arroyo has surprised even the Mariners with how much he’s hit at Low-A Modesto. A gifted defensive shortstop with a questionable bat when the Mariners drafted him in the second round last year, Arroyo is making more contact than anticipated and is driving the ball significantly more than expected.

Bryce Miller (Moved from No. 21 to No. 10)

Previously a hard-throwing but wild righthander, Miller has significantly improved his control and been one of the best starters in the minors as a result. He has a 0.94 ERA in seven starts with 49 strikeouts against just eight walks in 38.1 innings across High-A and Double-A. The control gains have increased the odds he can remain a starter, although many still expect him to be a reliever.

Taylor Dollard (Moved from No. 19 to No. 12)

Dollard’s velocity and ride on his fastball have each ticked up slightly, resulting in a multiplier effect that has made his fastball a significantly more impactful weapon. Combined with an above-average slider he throws liberally and plus control, he is slowly quieting questions about if his stuff will play at higher levels.

Texas Rangers

Evan Carter, OF (Moved from No. 7 to No. 2)

Carter entered last season as the youngest position player in the affiliated minor leagues and was off to an excellent start before a back injury ended his season. This year, he showed enough to jump to High-A and has wowed evaluators both inside and outside the organization with his universally excellent skill set, which includes outstanding speed and defense, an extremely polished approach, bat-to-ball skills, burgeoning power and a keen eye for the strike zone. Simply put, Carter is not only one of the organization’s best prospects but also a tremendous coup for the team’s core of evaluators.

Cole Ragans, LHP (Moved from No. 25 to No. 14)

The Cole Ragans comeback story continues rolling along. After injuries derailed the early years of his career, Ragans was finally healthy last season and scored a spot in the Futures Game. This year, in his first test at the upper levels, Ragans has thrived. He’s averaging nearly 92 mph with his fastball and pairing it with his signature outstanding changeup, a mid-70s curveball and a high-70s slider. Even in the hitter-friendly Texas League, Ragans is thriving.

Larson Kindreich, LHP (Moved from NR to No. 20)

The Rangers appear to have found a hidden gem in Kindreich, a three-pitch lefthander whom they selected out of Biola University in the eighth round of the 2021 draft. In his pro debut, Kindreich has been excellent at Low-A, where he’s carved the competition with a three-pitch mix headed by a lively, low-90s fastball and rounded out by an excellent changeup and curveball. He still needs to sharpen his command and control somewhat, but the makings are there for an interesting southpaw to add to the Rangers’ pitching mix.

Winston Santos, RHP (Moved from NR to No. 25)

Santos was signed by the Rangers out of the Dominican Republic in 2019 and started turning heads during the most recent spring training. The righthander’s signature pitch is a low-90s fastball with excellent cutting life and added deception through his delivery. His best offspeed pitch is a mid-80s changeup, and the Rangers are working to help him better spin his sweepy slider.

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