Who will be the top RHP prospect next year?

January 19th, 2023

It’s list season! 

Our Top 10 by position lists are rolling out all this week and next in advance of the big Top 100 reveal on Thursday, Jan. 26 (tune in to MLB Network and MLB.com at 7 p.m. ET). Not surprisingly, the lists have evoked some opinions and plenty of questions. Some pertain to top 10 lists, some do not. Enjoy!

Since most of the Top 10 RHP list is expected to debut (and potentially graduate) in 2023, who do you predict will lead this list a year from now? -- @cbelliveau16

We tackled this one on this week’s MLB Pipeline Podcast, and Cotey Belliveau was very astute to point out that all but one on the Top 10 RHP list have an ETA of 2023. Now, it’s possible that not all nine of them will graduate. But working under the assumption that happens, it’s fun to look at who might top the list in 2024.

I went the easy route and took the one guy with an ETA of 2024 on the top 10, the Phillies’ Mick Abel. There’s a chance things click for him and he ends up in the big leagues, too, but I’m going to guess he still has rookie status, and after he wins MLB Pipeline Pitching Prospect of the Year honors (I predicted that on a previous podcast episode), he’ll be the choice to be No. 1.

My colleague Jim Callis took an interesting route and rather than pick from the very deep crop of right-handers who will be on the Top 100 but missed the Top 10, he went with someone yet to throw a professional pitch. His choice was Chase Dollander, currently No. 2 on our Draft Top 100. He’s clearly the top pitching prospect in the class as the spring season approaches, one who many think is the best college arm we’ve had in a Draft in quite some time. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he ends up going No. 1 overall to the Pirates and has the kind of profile where he could slot in high enough into the Top 100 to land atop this list.

Which pitcher(s) surprised you the most from being on or off the list? -- @StevieDAles97

I’d like to say none since we’re so plugged in that we knew exactly who would be on or off, but I’ll give it a shot. I will say that heading into sorting all of this out, I did assume that Grayson Rodriguez would be the top RHP on that list. I knew Andrew Painter would make a large leap and I had them initially back-to-back, in that order, on my personal list. But after getting feedback, including seeing the results of the best pitching prospect question in the recently conducted MLB Pipeline Poll, Painter belonged in the top spot (though it’s still very, very close). I also thought heading in that the Tigers’ Jackson Jobe would land on the list, but he needs to bounce back a bit after his 2022 season. There’s plenty of time for that. On the left-handed side, I thought Jared Shuster of the Braves had a chance to make it on, but maybe that’s because I do the Braves’ Top 30 list and have some familiarity bias.

What needs to happen in order for Gavin Williams to take a big league mound this season? -- @Seventy7NB

I think staying healthy is the main answer. The 2021 first-round pick sure jumped on the fast track with his first full season. Our No. 7 RHP spent most of the year in Double-A and was dominant, finishing with a combined 1.96 ERA, an 11.7 K/9 rate and a .173 BAA.

Which 2022 MLB draft pick will be the highest ranked prospect at the end of the 2023 season? -- @papafrishman

This one is a pretty easy choice for me, as it happens to be the guy who was the No. 1 pick in the Draft last year, Orioles shortstop Jackson Holliday. This should shock no one, as he was already at No. 13 on our Top 100 at the end of the 2022 (stay tuned to see where he is on the new list). We do have Druw Jones ahead of him on that 2022 Top 100, but something tells me Holliday is going to edge ahead by just a bit. It’s going to be a fun debate moving forward between the two of them, who went 1-2 in last year’s Draft, but I’m going with Holliday for now.

And now, the airing of grievances…

These lists get a lot of comments on Twitter. Some positive, some ... not so much. I’m not going answer them, but wanted people to feel like this is a safe space. Snubbed, robbed -- any other synonyms you’d like to use for a guy you felt got left out? One note: People really like Quinn Priester a lot.

Quinn Priester got snubbed -- @ActionJacks0n32
Mick Abel over Quinn Priester is laughable -- @BucsTankSzn
Able over Priester cannot be accepted -- @natsgonnawin
Keep sleeping on @matthew_allan2 -- @DaveKingman9
This list is a joke without @dillondingler17 on it. One of the best defensive catchers in the minors -- @horatio_stabler
Yeah. Endy Rodriguez isn’t a better prospect than Logan o hoppe lol -- @2000sSports
Mason Montgomery snubbed -- @sportsskeptics
Gordon Graceffo robbed. -- @CardNationFans