Here's the All-Speed Prospect Team

January 12th, 2023

One question I expected to get for the latest Pipeline Inbox was when we'd release the 2023 Top 100 Prospects list. I didn't get that query but I'll provide the answer nevertheless.

The Top 100 will debut on Jan. 26 in conjunction with a one-hour special that evening on MLB Network. We'll lead up to the Top 100 with top 10 lists by position next week, starting with right-handers on Monday.

If you did an “All-Speed Prospect Team” made up of the fastest prospects in baseball who would start at each position? -- @CreamCityPro

I'm going to approach this question in two ways. My least favorite profile is the speedster who can't do much beyond run, so I'm first going to put together an All-Speed Team of guys based on a combination of prospecty goodness and quickness relative to their primary position (but not necessarily the fastest player there):

Harry Ford, C, Mariners
Michael Toglia, 1B, Rockies
Ji Hwan Bae, 2B, Pirates
Cayden Wallace, 3B, Royals
Elly de la Cruz, SS, Reds
Corbin Carroll, OF, D-backs
Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers
Druw Jones, OF, Diamondbacks

And now here's an All-Speed Team focusing solely on sheer speed and nothing else:

Harry Ford, C, Mariners
Dustin Harris, 1B, Rangers
Xavier Edwards, 2B, Rays
Keoni Cavaco, 3B, Twins
Casey Martin, SS, Phillies
James Beard, OF, White Sox
Corbin Carroll, OF, D-backs
Chandler Simpson, OF, Rays

I couldn't come up with a primary first baseman with better than average speed, so I cheated and went with Harris. He's a solid runner who spent most of his first three pro seasons at first base before getting most of his playing time in left field last year.

The Nats have a plethora of outfield prospects, however an MLB outfield only has three players, so which three do you view as the most likely to be the long-term solutions? -- @fnnswt

The easy answer is to just go with the three Nationals outfielders on our end-of-season Top 100 Prospects list: James Wood, Robert Hassell and Elijah Green. All joined Washington last summer, Green as the No. 5 overall pick in the Draft and Wood and Hassell as part of the Juan Soto blockbuster with the Padres. Wood and Green have two of the loftiest ceilings in baseball, while Hassell stands out for his high floor.

But the Nationals also are loaded with outfield prospects. If the swing-and-miss concerns that dogged Wood and Green at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) prove real, or if Hassell is more of a tweener than a regular, Washington could turn to Cristhian Vaquero -- the best outfield prospect in the 2022 international class. He's a potential five-tool player who could jump onto the Top 100 when he makes his full-season debut in 2023.

Other Nationals outfielders worth monitoring include Jeremy de la Rosa, T.J. White, Roismar Quintana, Daylen Lile, Brenner Cox and Jared McKenzie. Washington has a lot of holes to fill after posting an MLB-worst 55-107 record in 2022, but it should have a formidable outfield in the next couple of years.

Is [Ethan] Salas seen immediately as a Top 100 prospect? -- @SergioMQuintero

The 2023 international signing period opens on Sunday and Venezuelan catcher Ethan Salas ranks No. 1 on Jesse Sanchez's International Top 50. One of the best foreign catchers in years, he's a switch-hitter who's advanced at the plate and behind it. He could have plus hitting ability, receiving skills and arm strength to go with at least average power once he's fully developed.

A catcher with that kind of upside wouldn't be out of place on the Top 100, but Jonathan Mayo and I discussed on the latest Pipeline Podcast why we'd wait to include Salas. He's just 16, so there's a large gap between his present ability and his ceiling. I believe we've put only two international amateurs immediately on the Top 100, with Kevin Maitan a bust and Jasson Dominguez a quality prospect but also initially overhyped.

Can you provide some insight on Baty's defense at third? -- @Darnell66007543

Brett Baty's ability to hit for average and power made him the 12th overall pick by the Mets in the 2019 Draft and has established him as one of the best young offensive prospects in baseball. When he was a Texas high schooler, there were questions about whether he'd be agile enough to remain at third base or outgrow the position. He has answered them by working to become a capable defender at the hot corner, where his strong arm is his best asset and his range is decent.

Baty won't win any Gold Gloves at third base, but he's can play there for a while. Among Mets prospects who could wind up at the hot corner, he's a lesser defender than Ronny Mauricio but better than Mark Vientos. New York should give him its third-base job at some point in 2023 because he'd offer more offense and at least as much defense as 34-year-old incumbent Eduardo Escobar.