How will Torkelson, J-Rod, Witt fare in 2022?

April 7th, 2022

Happy Opening Day Week! Let's get to your questions ...

Could you give us your predictions on how Spencer Torkelson, Julio Rodríguez and Bobby Witt Jr's rookie season in the majors will be?
-- @StevieDAles97

Witt ranks No. 1 on our Top 100 Prospects list, closely followed by Rodríguez at No. 3 and Torkelson at No. 4. I have them finishing 1-2-3 in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting in the order below, with these batting lines:

Rodríguez: .300/.380/.500, 22 HR, 13 SB
Witt: .260/.320/.520, 25 HR, 17 SB
Torkelson: .265/.355/.510, 28 HR, 2 SB

Of the Top 100 that didn’t make an Opening Day roster, who will be the first called up?
-- @zacharyhorner21

We tackled this question on the latest Pipeline Podcast, during which I tabbed Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz and Jonathan Mayo went with Orioles right-hander Grayson Rodriguez. But as I've thought more about it the last couple of days, I'm changing my answer because I think it makes more sense to pick a prospect on a team with a chance to make the playoffs.

Though he gave up four runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first start of the Triple-A season on Wednesday, Cardinals left-hander Matthew Liberatore has the stuff and polish to contribute in the Majors now. St. Louis doesn't have the sturdiest-looking rotation either, with 40-year-old Adam Wainwright, Steven Matz and three guys who combined for 63 1/3 innings last year (Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson, Jordan Hicks).

Marlins right-hander Max Meyer would be my second guess.

Given the amount of players that “should” debut in 2022, who do you foresee being the Top 10 SP at this time next year?
-- @JakeHobrock

There should be plenty of turnover among baseball's top pitching prospects during the next year, considering that 18 of the 29 arms (and eight of the first 10) on our Top 100 have 2022 ETAs. Here's my prediction for the top 10 starters on the 2023 Top 100:

1. Daniel Espino, RHP, Guardians
2. Jack Leiter, RHP, Rangers
3. Eury Perez, RHP, Marlins
4. Jackson Jobe, RHP, Tigers
5. Owen White, RHP, Rangers
6. Dylan Lesko, RHP, 2022 Draft
7. Kyle Harrison, LHP, Giants
8. Mick Abel, RHP, Phillies
9. Quinn Priester, RHP, Pirates
10. Taj Bradley, RHP, Rays

With Jack Leiter, Cole Winn and Owen White potentially coming up to MLB to start in 2023, is there a greater group of starters ready to alter a MLB rotation than what the Rangers have in the waiting?
-- @RangerPipeline

Leiter was the best pitching prospect in the 2021 Draft, Winn is another former first-rounder who was the Double-A Central pitcher of the year and White finally broke out as the Arizona Fall League pitcher of the year. All three Rangers right-handers possess multiple plus offerings in their four-pitch repertoires, they all mix and locate their stuff well and they all have strong competitive makeup. Winn should be the first to arrive in Texas and Leiter and White should join him in the big league rotation by mid-2023.

The Marlins have a similarly talented trio of right-handers in Edward Cabrera, Max Meyer and Eury Perez, but their big league rotation currently is in better shape, so the Rangers will get a bigger upgrade. Also keep an eye on the Reds (Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Brandon Williamson), while the Diamondbacks may have the best unhyped triumvirate (Blake Walston, Ryne Nelson, Drey Jameson).