Each team's best non-Top 100 prospect
There's never enough room on the Top 100 Prospects for all the talented young players we'd like to list. Our new 2023 edition features several prominent phenoms who were absent a year ago, including Phillies right-hander Andrew Painter (No. 6), Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio (No. 8), Nationals outfielder James Wood (No. 17), Padres shortstop Jackson Merrill (No. 19), Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar (No. 25) and Cubs outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong (No. 28).
Which unranked players could jump onto the Top 100 during 2023? Below, we present a candidate from each of the 30 organizations.
We didn't undertake this exercise last year, but looking back at our season-opening lists, the best non-Top 100 Prospects would have included rookie stars Jeremy Peña, Spencer Strider and Vinnie Pasquantino as well as several current Top 100ers such as Painter, Wood, Rays infielder Curtis Mead (No. 33) and White Sox shortstop Colson Montgomery (No. 38).
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Orioles: Connor Norby 2B/OF
Norby was certainly in the Top 100 discussion and he would’ve given the O’s nine players on the list. He still made our Top 10 2B rankings and can play the outfield, too, though it’s his bat that has him in this conversation and close to knocking on the big league door. Norby hit 29 homers and slugged .526 in mashing his way from High-A to Triple-A last year.
Red Sox: Mikey Romero, SS/2B
The Red Sox have selected California high school middle infielders with their last three first-round picks, including Romero last July. He had some of the best bat-to-ball skills in the prep class, plays a smooth shortstop with advanced instincts and hit .304/.368/.506 in his 19-game pro debut between Rookie ball and Single-A.
Yankees: Everson Pereira, OF
One of the best all-around players in the 2017 international class, Pereira signed for $1.5 million out of Venezuela. He still shows the potential for solid tools across the board and hit .277/.350/.469 with 14 homers and 21 steals between High-A and Double-A at age 21.
Rays: Junior Caminero, INF
This time last year, Caminero was just joining the Tampa Bay system in what seemed like a minor deal with Cleveland for Tobias Myers after showing some intriguing pop in the Dominican Summer League. Since then, he hit .314/.384/.498 with 11 homers and a fairly low 15.9 percent K rate over 62 games in the Florida Complex League and Single-A Charleston – all in his age-18 season. Questions about where he’ll land defensively – he’s likely a third baseman -- might be his biggest drawback right now, but if Caminero comes close to reproducing that performance in a larger sample in 2023, he’ll shoot up into a prominent Top 100 spot by midseason.
Blue Jays: Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B
Toronto was aggressive by sending Martinez to Double-A for his age-20 season, and he responded by setting a New Hampshire record with 30 home runs in 118 games. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he struck out 28.5 percent of the time, finished with a .286 OBP and sported a below-average 96 wRC+ despite the power. The hit-tool concerns, along with some worries he’ll move over to third full-time before long, moved Martinez out of the Top 100, but he’ll still be the age of a college junior in the upper Minors in 2023, meaning he has time to make adjustments and jump back in.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
White Sox: Bryan Ramos, 3B
One of several Cuban prospects in the White Sox organization, Ramos signed for $300,000 in 2018. He batted .266/.338/.455 with 22 homers between High-A and Double-A at age 20 and is one of the most well-rounded hitters in the system.
Guardians: Logan Allen, LHP
A Top 100 Prospect in the past, Allen thrived in Double-A (3.33 ERA, 4.7 K/BB ratio, .216 opponent average) but got rocked in Triple-A (6.49 ERA, 2.5 K/BB, .269 opponent average). The 2020 second-rounder from Florida International stands out with his plus low-80s changeup with fade and sink and his ability to command his four-pitch mix.
Tigers: Colt Keith, 3B/2B
Ranked as Pipeline's No. 8 third base prospect, Keith showed an impressive mix of power and approach at High-A West Michigan and the Arizona Fall League last year in a season that was limited by a June shoulder injury. Having gotten much bigger physically since his days as a 2020 fifth-round pick, the left-handed slugger should continue to make the most of his quick swing and added strength to show above-average pop as he climbs toward Detroit, but he needs to play more than 65 games in a full season before getting more consideration for the Top 100.
Royals: Ben Kudrna, RHP
To be clear here, Kansas City didn’t have anyone else truly close to any of our Top 100 drafts, but Kudrna certainly can jump into the conversation in his second full season. The 2021 second-rounder has the upside of a No. 3 starter in the bigs with a fastball that regularly touches the mid-90s and a slider and changeup that both flash above-average. Coming from a Kansas high school, Kudrna has the 6-foot-3 projectable frame to indicate that another jump in stuff could come as he gains the innings that should come in his age-20 season in 2023.
Twins: Edouard Julien, 2B
Coming in at No. 7 on our Top 10 2B list, there is a lot of confidence that Julien will hit once he reaches the big leagues. He’s drawn more walks than any player in the Minors over the past two years and posted a .931 OPS in 2022, followed by hitting .300 in the Arizona Fall League. The only thing dampening his profile is a lack of a true defensive home.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Astros: Yainer Diaz, C
Perhaps the most underrated catching prospect in baseball, Diaz signed for just $25,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016 with Cleveland and went to the Astros as part of a trade for Myles Straw five years later. A career .321 hitter in the Minors, he batted .306/.356/.542 with 25 homers in 105 games between Double-A and Triple-A while showing improved power and receiving and blocking skills.
Angels: Edgar Quero, C
Our No. 10 catcher this year, Quero isn’t far off from the Top 100 either and it’s easy to see him climbing on to the list if he builds off of his outstanding full-season debut in 2022. He’s a switch-hitter who has the chance to hit, and with power, after finishing with a .312/.435/.530 line in the Single-A California League last year and showing the makings of good all-around defensive skills behind the dish.
A's: Zack Gelof 2B/3B
Gelof was on our Top 100 last year and narrowly missed this time around, though he’s still No. 5 on our Top 10 2B list. He got off to a very strong start up in Double-A for his first full season, but then tore his labrum on his non-throwing shoulder and that sidelined him for an extended period before he headed to the AFL. He should see time on Oakland’s infield this year.
Mariners: Cole Young, SS
One of the better high school players in the 2022 Draft class, Young went No. 22 overall to the Mariners. The Pittsburgh-area native certainly made a very strong first impression during his pro debut last summer, hitting his way to full-season ball and finishing with a .367/.423/.517 line in 17 total games.
Rangers: Dustin Harris, OF
After the Athletics signed Harris as an 11th-rounder out of St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC in the 2019 Draft, the Rangers stole him in a trade for Mike Minor a year later. He has an advanced feel for the barrel, along with 20-20 upside, and he slashed .257/.346/.471 with 17 homers and 19 steals in 85 games at Double-A last year despite battling a sprained left wrist.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Jared Shuster, LHP
The Braves’ top prospect -- we’re not exactly giving something away here given that the Braves didn’t have a Top 100 guy this year -- Shuster should get the chance to contribute to the big league staff at some point in 2023. The lefty out of Wake Forest wasn’t quite as effective in Triple-A, but he’s shown he can make adjustments, is durable and knows how to use his three-pitch mix effectively.
Marlins: Dax Fulton, LHP
Fulton had Tommy John surgery in the September before his Oklahoma high school senior season, but he was highly regarded enough that the Marlins still took him in the second round of the 2020 Draft and paid him late first-round money ($2.4 million). Using a plus downer curveball, an intriguing slider and a fastball that reaches 97 mph, he posted a 3.80 ERA, 150/42 K/BB ratio and .252 opponent average in 118 1/3 innings between High-A and Double-A at age 20.
Mets: Jett Williams, SS
Kevin Parada might be the Mets’ 2022 first-rounder who jumped into the Top 100, but Williams was a favorite of a lot of scouts when he went three picks later at 14th overall. Despite his size at 5-foot-8, the right-handed hitter does a good job of finding the barrel at the dish, projects for an above-average hit tool and has more power than many would expect. He’s also a plus runner and likely just needs reps before becoming at least average defensively at shortstop. If those raw tools translate quickly to pro ball -- as the Mets believe they will -- Williams will be a Top 100 talent in short order.
Phillies: Griff McGarry, RHP
From a pure stuff standpoint, McGarry probably belongs on a Top 100 list, with a fastball that’s in the upper-90s consistently, and a complement of above-average secondary stuff led by a slider that flashes plus, that allowed him to strike out 13.4 per nine in 2022. But he also walked 5.5 and that could mean an eventual move to the bullpen.
Nationals: Brady House, SS
It’s still about projection with the 19-year-old shortstop. House got off to a fast start in his first full season at Single-A Fredericksburg but fell off a cliff in May and June, in part because of a back injury that held him out the rest of the season. When healthy, the 6-foot-4 slugger has ample power from the right side and a strong arm that helps him defensively at the six -- tools that could push him back into the Top 100 with more playing time in 2023.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Cubs: Cade Horton, RHP
Horton missed all of 2021 recovering from Tommy John surgery, opened last season as Oklahoma's third baseman and finished it as the best pitching prospect in the 2022 college crop. He went No. 7 overall to the Cubs after taking off in the postseason, leading the Sooners to the College World Series finals while displaying a 94-98 mph fastball and a wipeout slider that sits in the mid-80s and reaches 90.
Reds: Spencer Steer, 3B/2B
The Reds got Steer from the Twins in the Tyler Mahle Trade Deadline deal last summer and after hitting 23 combined homers in the Minors, he spent September up in the big leagues. The bat has the chance to play, with plenty of pop, and the third-base job in Cincinnati is his for the taking.
Brewers: Garrett Mitchell, OF
You could make a case for Mitchell or Brice Turang as the next-best prospect in the Milwaukee system. We’re leaning on the former here because of his top-line speed, impressive arm strength and the likelihood that he heads into the spring as the Brewers’ starting center fielder. Mitchell’s biggest weakness is his propensity to keep the ball on the ground, which dilutes what could be solid power from the left side, but the other tools are loud enough for him to be a potential everyday player in the bigs.
Pirates: Nick Gonzales 2B/SS
Gonzales may have fallen out of our Top 100 after being there since the Pirates took him No. 7 overall in the 2020 Draft, but he’s still our No. 8 second baseman. Injuries in 2021 and 2022 have really cut into his development time, though he’s shown glimpses of being the pure hitter the Pirates thought they were getting in the first round at times, even if there’s been more swing-and-miss than anticipated. A full, healthy season could let him finally show what he’s capable of offensively.
Cardinals: Matthew Liberatore, LHP
We already know our No. 7 left-handed pitching prospect can pitch in the Majors because he did it over 34 2/3 innings last year for the Cards. What he can be in The Show is still up for debate. Headlined by a plus curveball, he has the four-pitch mix to latch onto a rotation, but fastball velocity around 92-94 mph calls into question whether he can be more than a No. 4 starter. The 23-year-old touched 97.7 mph in the Majors last year, so getting there more consistently would go a long way.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Devyison De Los Santos, 3B/1B
De Los Santos makes some of the loudest contact in the Minors and has near top-of-the-scale raw power. He backed it up with 22 homers over 126 games at Single-A, High-A and Double-A last season and showed a decent hit tool by winning the California League batting title with a .329 average at Visalia. Arizona has been aggressive with the corner infielder, who still won’t turn 20 until June, and he lost some steam late because of the larger workload. Even if he does land at first base long-term as expected, the offensive pieces are there to make De Los Santos a powerful young talent.
Rockies: Benny Montgomery, OF
The Rockies’ first-round pick in 2021 out of the eastern Pennsylvania high school ranks, Montgomery dealt with some injury issues during his first full year. But he did show off glimpses of all of his tools when he was healthy, hitting .310/.385/.494 in 62 games, mostly with Single-A Fresno. There’s work to be done in terms of his approach, but he has the chance to be a dynamic up-the-middle player with power to spare.
Dodgers: Dalton Rushing, C
Blocked by 2021 No. 1 overall pick Henry Davis in his first two seasons at Louisville, Rushing blossomed into the Dodgers' top pick (second round) last July after homering 23 times as a junior. He continued to mash in his pro debut, batting .424/.539/.778 with eight homers in 28 games in Single-A, and is an all-around hitter with solid arm strength and decent receiving ability.
Padres: Samuel Zavala, OF
It’s always telling when a player moves off the complex quicker than expected. In his first stateside campaign, Zavala played only 10 games in Arizona -- going 10-for-29 (.345) with five extra-base hits -- and was pushed to Single-A Lake Elsinore, where he still held his own with a .254/.355/.508 line and seven homers in 33 contests. The left-handed slugger has looked advanced with sound swing mechanics since signing in January 2021, and if he can show a little more speed to help him stick in center, he has a future Top 100 place in store for him.
Giants: Grant McCray, OF
The son of former big leaguer Rodney McCray, Grant was a relatively unheralded third-round pick as a Florida high schooler in 2019 and broke out last year when he stayed healthy and improved his swing and approach. He hit .289/.383/.514 with 23 homers and 43 steals between Single-A and High-A, displaying solid power, well above-average speed and quality center-field defense.