NEW: Updated Top 100 Prospects list

July 6th, 2022

It’s a big day in these parts.

Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman has reached the 45-day Major League threshold, meaning he officially graduates from prospect status. That opens up a new spot at the top of MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospect rankings. In fact, it also means each of the top four prospects from our preseason list no longer belongs to prospectdom.

What better time than now, then, to give our Top 100 list a refresh. As with our last update in May, this edition comes with four components: a new Top 15, prospects moving up/down 10-plus places, Top 100 dropouts and fresh replacements. It isn’t a whole new Top 100, but it does have a new look.

The Top 15
Even after new voting on the Top 15, the previous No. 2 becomes the new No. 1. Tigers outfielder Riley Greene is the new Pipeline No. 1 overall prospect.

The 21-year-old entered the season at No. 5 overall and likely would have graduated by now, if not for a broken right foot that put him on the injured list to start the season. Greene has come very much as advertised since arriving in Detroit with plenty of hit and power tools to make him valuable at the plate, along with good defense (aided by strong instincts) at a premium position in center field. Because of his MLB experience over other potential No. 1 candidates, Greene represents a safe call at the top, but an exciting one for Detroit fans.

This is where it gets more interesting. Greene is followed by No. 2 Francisco Álvarez and No. 3 Corbin Carroll on the new 65 overall tier. Álvarez continues to be a powerful force at the plate as he joins the upper levels for the first time, so much so that there are questions about whether the Mets would consider using him at DH in the second half of this season. Add in that he’s only 20 years old and plays a premium position (catcher), and you get arguably the best prospect left in the Minors.

Carroll -- in the midst of hitting .313/.430/.643 with 16 homers and 20 steals in 58 games at Double-A Amarillo -- challenges Álvarez for that title. Some drastic home-road splits in the Texas League (slugging .769 at home, .509 on the road) and Carroll’s missed experience in 2021 due to shoulder surgery give us a little more pause, but not enough to keep us from pushing him into our Big Three. He’s a potential five-tool talent and still on the younger side at 21, two stops away from Arizona.

A pair of Orioles go at Nos. 4 and 5 in right-hander Grayson Rodriguez and Gunnar Henderson. Rodriguez holds onto his place as the top pitching prospect in baseball -- despite a lat strain that could keep him out for the rest of the season -- because of his previous dominance at Triple-A Norfolk. Henderson, who jumps 36 spots from No. 41, just arrived at the same level at just 21 years old and has shown much-improved plate discipline, alongside his traditional plus power and solid defensive ability at both short and third.

Rounding out the Top 10 are No. 6 Gabriel Moreno, No. 7 Jordan Walker, No. 8 Anthony Volpe, No. 9 Marco Luciano and No. 10 Marcelo Mayer. This represents Walker’s first-ever jump into the Top 10 after the 20-year-old third baseman has opened with a .312/.404/.500 line in 65 games for the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate.

Two pitchers hold fast just beyond that in Cleveland's Daniel Espino (No. 11) and Tampa Bay's Shane Baz (No. 12). Recently promoted D-backs shortstop Jordan Lawlar slides up four spots to No. 13. Braves outfielder Michael Harris II is our biggest jumper in the Top 15, moving up 37 spots from No. 51 to No. 14 following his impressive offensive and defensive start in the Majors. Don’t expect him to be there for long -- Harris enters Tuesday with 126 MLB at-bats, four short of graduation.

Dodgers catcher Diego Cartaya -- the 20-year-old with a career .921 OPS -- rounds out the group with his highest ranking ever at No. 15.

Moving up
Eury Pérez, RHP, Marlins (No. 29 to No. 17): It remains amazing that Pérez opened the season as an 18-year-old at Double-A. He’s handled the assignment well for any age with a 3.21 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 56 innings, and he has the mix of stuff, above-average control and size at 6-foot-8 to project as an impactful starting pitcher. Only Rodriguez, Espino and Baz rank higher among hurlers.

Kyle Harrison, LHP, Giants (No. 39 to No. 27): Harrison has reached Double-A in just his age-20 season and continues to display three impressive pitches to strike out 37.5 percent of his batters faced there. He becomes Pipeline’s top left-handed pitching prospect, having added significant power to his arsenal since the time he was taken in the third round of the 2020 Draft.

Taj Bradley, RHP, Rays (No. 61 to No. 35): Bradley led full-season Minor Leaguers with a 1.83 ERA last season. He’s somehow improved upon that mark with a 1.65 ERA through 65 1/3 innings at Double-A Montgomery this year. The 21-year-old relies on a mid-90s fastball and upper-80s slider that acts almost like a cutter to keep hitters off-balance, and his walk rate continues to shrink even in his first taste of the upper Minors.

Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers (No. 94 to No. 39): Chourio not only becomes Milwaukee’s top prospect, leapfrogging over fellow outfielders Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer, but he also is our biggest leaper in this update, having jumped 55 spots. The 18-year-old has taken comfortably to Single-A Carolina, where he’s hitting .316/.368/.574 with 31 extra-base hits in 52 games. He exhibits quick bat speed and an innate ability to find the barrel, making him project for at least an above-average hit and power tool. Mix in that he’s an up-the-middle talent in center, and Chourio’s name comes with a lot of rocket fuel.

Brayan Bello, RHP, Red Sox (No. 74 to No. 46): Bello could be Boston’s biggest starting pitching development success story since Clay Buchholz. The 23-year-old right-hander touches the upper-90s regularly and earns strong reviews for his slider and changeup too. His 16.2 swinging strike rate is best among Triple-A pitchers (min. 50 IP), as is his 63.5 percent ground-ball rate. Bello is slated to debut for the Red Sox on Wednesday.

Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Rockies (No. 92 to No. 59): We already thought of Tovar as one of the best defensive shortstops in the Minors; the 20-year-old has shown a good bat too with a .318/.386/.545 line in 66 games at Double-A Hartford. The jury remains out on his eventual power output in the Majors, but even if it’s just average, the other tools could make him special for the Rockies.

Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Royals (No. 96 to No. 60): The left-handed slugger was one of the most disciplined and impactful hitters in the Minors before his promotion to Kansas City. Since his callup, he’s walked six times in 24 plate appearances and produced the hardest-hit homer of any Royals batter this season at 112.7 mph. The only knock against him is his age (24) and position (first base only). Otherwise, he’s proven that he can clear the bar to provide value at such a demanding spot on the diamond.

Curtis Mead, INF, Rays (No. 85 to No. 62): The Australia native continues to build on his 2021 breakout and now sits at Triple-A Durham at just 21 years old. Mead hit .305/.394/.548 with 10 homers in 56 games at Double-A Montgomery, all while striking out less than 20 percent of the time. His doubles power is starting to turn into that of the over-the-fence variety, and whether he lands at third, second or first base, he should hit enough to be a valuable piece of a Major League lineup.

Ricky Tiedemann, LHP, Blue Jays (No. 90 to No. 65): The Jays promoted the 19-year-old southpaw to High-A after only six Single-A starts because he needed a challenge. He might need another soon. Tiedemann owns a 1.64 ERA with 47 strikeouts and eight walks in 33 innings at High-A Vancouver, where he continues to show a plus fastball and two above-average offspeed pitches in a slider and changeup. He could see Double-A before his 20th birthday on Aug. 18.

Gavin Williams, RHP, Guardians (No. 93 to No. 81): Last year’s 23rd overall pick already touches the upper-90s and flashes a good curveball and changeup. Those three pitches have been enough to earn him a 1.48 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 61 innings at High-A and Double-A. He doesn’t have an ERA above 1.70 at either spot, entering Tuesday.

Moving down
Noelvi Marte, SS, Mariners (No. 8 to No. 21):
We’re not abandoning ship on Marte by any means, but a lot of his prospect strength came from his plus power potential. We have more questions about how it’ll play after he’s slugged .393 over 68 games as a 20-year-old at High-A, thus the slide for now.

Brennen Davis, OF, Cubs (No. 15 to No. 30): Davis got off to a rough start with a .195 average and .585 OPS in 22 games at Triple-A Iowa and then underwent back surgery, hurting his stock further.

Nick Gonzales, 2B, Pirates (No. 16 to No. 31): Gonzales is currently on the 60-day IL with a right heel injury and wasn’t setting the world on fire with a .246/.366/.377 line in 43 games at Double-A Altoona before the issue. He can still be a potential plus hitter, but more lost time doesn’t help his case.

Orelvis Martinez, SS/3B, Blue Jays (No. 27 to No. 38): The good: Martinez has 17 homers in 66 games at Double-A in his age-20 season. The bad: He’s striking out 30.7 percent of the time. That, coupled with the increased time at third base and away from short, adds questions to his eventual ceiling.

Royce Lewis, SS, Twins (No. 35 to No. 42): It was rough news when Lewis suffered a second torn right ACL in late May. He’s already shown he can come back from such an injury strong, as he was looking pretty dynamic in his return this spring, but a second major knee injury requires at least some slipping.

Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Cardinals (No. 31 to No. 47): Liberatore hasn’t quite caught on in the Majors yet with a 5.66 ERA and 1.79 WHIP over five starts. MLB hitters are particularly feasting on his low-90s four-seam fastball, hitting .333 against it. The southpaw is still only 22 and has time to figure it out with added experience, but he has a ways to go to make his stuff mid-rotation quality.

Kahlil Watson, SS, Marlins (No. 19 to No. 52): The 2021 first-rounder remains raw at the plate, as evidenced by his 39.3 percent K rate at Single-A Jupiter. While the other skills still make him a good prospect, he needs to make more consistent contact to become the five-tool talent Miami thought it took 16th overall.

Brady House, SS, Nationals (No. 38 to No. 53): House is built like his last name at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, but only 11 of his 49 hits for Single-A Fredericksburg have gone for extra bases. That’s tough news for a player whose profile depended so much on his power. He appears to be struggling with the velocity of the pros, and he’ll need to make adjustments to catch up the remainder of the way in his first full season.

Luis Campusano, C, Padres (No. 34 to No. 56): Now in his second season at Triple-A, Campusano is performing well with El Paso (.328/.399/.492) but is struggling to catch on in San Diego. The 23-year-old has traded some power for contact too in 2022, which is notable for a catcher who slugged at least .500 in his previous two Minor League seasons. The longer he stays in the PCL, the more his prospect stock drops.

Nick Yorke, 2B, Red Sox (No. 44 to No. 66): A 65-grade hitter coming into the year, Yorke has struggled to build on his 2021 breakout with a .237/.310/.342 line at High-A Greenville, where he played 21 games a year ago. Without another big tool to fall back on, Yorke needs to hit to keep his place in the Top 100.

Luis Matos, OF, Giants (No. 50 to No. 67): The 20-year-old has hit just .174/.258/.242 in 42 games at High-A Eugene, calling into question his potential as a potential plus hitter. He also missed a month with a left quad injury but he hasn’t caught fire yet since his return in early June.

Josh Lowe, OF, Rays (No. 40 to No. 70): Strikeouts have been a problem for Lowe at both Triple-A and the Majors this season with K rates above 30 percent at both stops. His speed and glove still help the profile, and barring a move back to Durham soon, he’ll graduate from prospectdom later this week.

Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals (No. 49 to No. 72): Unlike Pasquantino, Pratto has shown enough athleticism to move around the diamond defensively. Also unlike Pasquantino, he’s struck out 31.7 percent of the time for Triple-A Omaha this year, dulling his ability to tap into his plus power. Pratto should still join Pasquantino, Bobby Witt Jr. and MJ Melendez on a rookie-loaded roster in K.C. in the second half, but he needs to make contact to force the issue.

Cole Winn, RHP, Rangers (No. 46 to No. 82): Winn battled an ankle injury early this season at Triple-A Round Rock and hasn’t been the same pitcher in 2022 with a 5.04 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and 44 walks in 69 2/3 innings. The control issues especially speak volumes about where he should be ranked right now. Time remains on his side, however, at just 22 years old.

Gabriel Arias, SS, Guardians (No. 60 to No. 83): Arias needed surgery to mend a fractured right hand in May, and that’s only part of a rough first half for the 22-year-old infielder. He’s hit just .190/.258/.345 in 21 games for Triple-A Columbus, while striking out 30.1 percent of the time. He’s seen the Majors too, but he is just 2-for-19 with eight strikeouts there. Arias still has decent power, a good glove and a plus-plus arm from the dirt.

Jordan Groshans, SS, Blue Jays (No. 65 to No. 87): The closer Groshans gets to Toronto, the more his power comes into question. The 22-year-old infielder is slugging just .316 through 206 plate appearances for Triple-A Buffalo. The overall hit tool remains good enough to make him a potential solid regular, but he could help his case by making more high-quality impact at the dish.

Brayan Rocchio, INF, Guardians (No. 68 to No. 88): Rocchio is repeating Double-A (where he got 203 plate appearances a year ago) and isn’t setting the world on fire with a .241/.332/.401 line through 61 games. A low .269 BABIP could be to blame, but as Rocchio is splitting more and more time between short and second base, he’ll need his above-average hit tool to play in games.

Tyler Freeman, INF, Guardians (No. 70 to No. 89): A career .310 hitter in the Minors, Freeman’s .261 average this season is by far his lowest over five pro campaigns. His 51.1 percent ground-ball rate is the highest of his career too. Luckily, Freeman strikes out only 9.1 percent of the time, showing an elite contact rate that gives hope he can still put those bat-to-ball skills to good use.

Matt Brash, RHP, Mariners (No. 79 to No. 94): On his day, Brash can showcase some of the wickedest stuff in prospectdom between his mid-90s fastball and high-spin slider and curve. However, the Mariners sent him to Triple-A Tacoma to become a reliever, and that change in role hurts his prospect status. He could still become a multi-inning weapon down the line, and that thought helps him cling to a Top 100 spot.

Moving out
Austin Martin, OF/SS, Twins (previously No. 55):
Drafted fifth overall in 2020, Martin was thought to be a potential plus hitter who could move quickly toward the Majors. He’s now in his second season at Double-A, where he continues to show an utter lack of in-game power (.313 slugging percentage in 63 games this season). Martin’s numbers have actually gotten worse in his repeating of the level, and until he does more offensively than walk at solid rates, he’ll be on the outside looking in at the Top 100.

JJ Bleday, OF, Marlins (previously No. 57): Bleday has shown improvement over last season, especially when it comes to tapping into his above-average power. His 17 homers at Triple-A Jacksonville are already a new career high. But with a .228 average and 26.7 percent K rate (another career high), his hit tool is holding him back from an elusive Major League debut. He’s yet to bat above .230 in the upper Minors.

Asa Lacy, LHP, Royals (previously No. 59): Lacy dealt with shoulder issues last season and missed almost two months with a back injury this spring. He’s walked 14 batters in eight innings during a rehab stint in the Arizona Complex League since his return, and until he can establish regular health and control, he slides out of this ranking.

New faces
Owen White, RHP, Rangers (No. 97):
Last year’s Arizona Fall League breakout pitcher has kept his momentum going into 2022, striking out 93 batters in 69 1/3 innings between High-A and Double-A. All four of White’s pitches have above-average potential, and he typically sits in the mid-90s with his velocity. He could pass No. 82 Cole Winn to become Texas’ No. 2 pitching prospect behind Jack Leiter soon.

Edwin Arroyo, SS, Mariners (No. 98): Still only 18, Seattle’s 2021 second-rounder was young for his Draft class but he doesn’t look it with a .318/.392/.524 line, 12 homers and 16 steals in 71 games at Single-A Modesto. Only Chourio (155) has a higher wRC+ than Arroyo’s 136 among qualified 18-year-olds at that level.

Kevin Alcantara, OF, Cubs (No. 99): Acquired from the Yankees in last year’s Anthony Rizzo trade, Alcantara has above-average hit, run, throwing and fielding tools. That’s quite the statement for a 6-foot-6 outfielder with lots of size to dream on. The 19-year-old is hitting .269/.361/.477 in 68 games for Single-A Myrtle Beach.

Adael Amador, SS, Rockies (No. 100): It isn’t often you see teenagers walk more than they strike out in their first taste of full-season ball. That’s just what’s happening for Amador, who owns a .302/.403/.463 line with 42 walks and 41 K’s in 322 plate appearances at Single-A Fresno. The 19-year-old also has the footwork to stay up the middle on the dirt.