Inbox: Happy Opening Day!

March 30th, 2023

Happy Opening Day!

Let's tackle some prospect questions as we get ready to enjoy 15 big league games today.

I'm already on record as predicting that Orioles shortstop , the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 Draft, will emerge as the top prospect in baseball by the end of this season. On MLB Pipeline's 2022 Draft Top 250, Holliday actually placed second behind five-tool outfielder , who went No. 2 to the Diamondbacks.

Holliday and Jones rank with Bobby Witt Jr. as the best high school position prospects in the last decade. Crews entered this year as our top-rated 2023 Draft prospect and is enjoying a college season for the ages. The Louisiana State outfielder is leading NCAA Division I in all three slash stats at .542/.667/.988 and has many more extra-base hits (19) and walks (27) than strikeouts (12) for the 22-3 Tigers.

We graded Crews as a plus hitter with plus power, noting that some evaluators were even more bullish on his offensive upside, and it looks like we may have been right. He's also a good athlete with well above-average speed once he's underway, solid arm strength and a chance to play center field.

Though the track record of college outfielders going high in the Draft isn't great, Crews has been a known quantity since high school and has been so good throughout his college career before finding an extra gear this spring. I think he'd go ahead of Holliday and Jones in a combined 2022-23 Draft right now.

ranked 40th on MLB Pipeline's preseason 2021 Top 100 Prospects list and 15th on our preseason 2022 Top 100 before sliding to No. 92 on the current edition. To reverse that trend, he needs to prove that he can stay healthy and make more contact against advanced pitching.

Davis still has plus power, at least average speed, enough quickness to handle center field and the solid arm strength for right field once gifted defender Pete Crow-Armstrong takes over in center for the Cubs. But he has played just 221 games in five years as a pro because of right index finger injuries (2019), the pandemic (2020), a concussion (2021) and back surgery (2022). He also has adopted more of a power-based approach that has resulted in a 29 percent strikeout rate in Double-A and Triple-A.

In order of most likely to least likely to crack the Top 100, I'll rank those Nationals prospects in this order: right-hander Susana, outfielder Lile, first baseman White. Susana is already 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds after turning 19 years old last week, and he owns a fastball that has reached 103 mph to go with a low-90s slider. Lile was one of the more advanced prep hitters in the 2021 Draft but missed all of last year following Tommy John surgery, while White is a first baseman with intriguing power potential.

Susana has huge upside, but House is a better bet to make the Top 100 after slipping off it last season. The Georgia high school product had the best power potential in the 2021 Draft and signed for $5 million as the No. 11 overall pick. He batted .341/.424/.471 in April last year, then tried to play through a back injury he kept quiet about for a while and slumped to .220/.291/.286 in his next 25 games before getting shut down in June.

Healthy again this spring, House looked like his normal self. He's moving from shortstop to third base, and the lessened defensive responsibilities could help his bat take off.

A right-hander acquired from the Blue Jays in the Mitch White trade last August, has the best fastball in the Dodgers' system. It parks at 95-97 mph and peaks at 100, playing even better than its impressive velocity thanks to its armside run and impressive extension in his delivery.

The pandemic and elbow surgery have limited Frasso to 59 innings since he turned pro as a 2020 fourth-rounder from Loyola Marymount, and he did throw about two-thirds fastballs last year. He'll have to prove his durability and use his secondary pitches more often, but he has a reasonable chance to make it as a big league starter. He has improved the power and action on his slider, flashes some plus changeups and repeats his mechanics well.