It’s about to be a big month in prospectdom. The 2023 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game arrives in Seattle on July 8. One day later, the First-Year Player Draft begins its 20-round process in the same city. From there, hundreds of new prospects will descend upon the Minor Leagues, filling out rosters and making even the best farm systems more robust.
But before we get to all of that, let’s get the MLB Pipeline Top 100 in order.
We’ve made a new set of market corrections to our Top 100 prospect rankings as we close out June. As part of that process, which we last completed in mid-May, we’ve revoted on the Top 15 prospects in the game, moved around prospects who made the biggest leaps or drops (i.e., roughly 10 or more spots), removed some from the list and added those who have captured our attention through the first half of the 2023 Minor League season. Those who have held the course (or have the tools to believe they will hold the course) remained in their same spots.
The result: a new No. 1 overall prospect, multiple players making jumps of 25-plus spots and six brand-new names on the Top 100. Let’s dig in:
1. Jackson Holliday, SS, Orioles
2. Elly De La Cruz, SS/3B, Reds
3. Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers
4. Eury Pérez, RHP, Marlins
5. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Red Sox
6. James Wood, OF, Nationals
7. Jordan Lawlar, SS, D-backs
8. Evan Carter, OF, Rangers
9. Bobby Miller, RHP, Dodgers
10. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, Cubs
11. Andrew Painter, RHP, Phillies
12. Jackson Merrill, SS, Padres
13. Gavin Williams, RHP, Guardians
14. Kyle Harrison, LHP, Giants
15. Colton Cowser, OF, Orioles
It was a real debate among us for the new No. 1 spot.
Elly De La Cruz became one of the toolsiest players in the Majors upon his arrival with Cincinnati. Jackson Chourio, our most recent No. 1 following the graduation of Jordan Walker, has one of the best power-speed combos in the Minors and remains the only teenager to get more than 100 plate appearances in Double-A.
But Jackson Holliday won out as the member of the Big Three we’re most confident he’ll be at least a plus hitter in the Major Leagues. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick climbed quickly past Single-A in his first full season, and even now in the midst of what looks like a minor cold spell, he’s maintaining an almost even K/BB ratio with High-A Aberdeen. His ability to control the strike zone – along with his impressive left-handed power and defensive competence at shortstop – tipped him past De La Cruz and Chourio, who have more questionable hit tools.
Among the highest climbers into the Top 15, Bobby Miller joins the party after a strong start to his Major League career with his upper-90s fastball, slider, curve and changeup all looking quality weapons. Also, Colton Cowser gives Baltimore two top-15 representatives during a powerful season at Triple-A Norfolk in which he’s flirted with an OPS above 1.000 and reversed some of his extreme splits against lefties that held him back in previous rankings.
Five highest risers
+37 Junior Caminero, 3B/2B, Rays (54 to 17)
+37 Colt Keith, 3B/2B, Tigers (80 to 43)
+30 Ethan Salas, C, Padres (82 to 52)
+29 Andrew Abbott, LHP, Reds (90 to 61)
+27 AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP, Braves (95 to 68)
Junior Caminero was our largest leaper in May’s update as well, and that was before he moved to Double-A at 19 years old. Now like Chourio, the right-handed slugger is holding his own at the Minors’ second-highest level, thus cementing his place as one of the best hitting prospects in the Minors and Tampa Bay’s top prospect.
At the same level, Colt Keith continues to flex plus power for Double-A Erie, and that ability to tattoo balls has helped push his average above .300 for much of his age-21 season. Detroit officials are now fielding questions about whether the 2020 fifth-rounder could skip Triple-A and join the Tigers in the season’s second half.
We were high on Ethan Salas already as the top international prospect in the 2023 class, and the Padres backstop is holding his own at the plate while providing stellar defense for Single-A Lake Elsinore at the age of a high-school junior. Much higher on the pro ladder, Andrew Abbott and AJ Smith-Shawver rode breakout seasons to the Majors and look to be mainstays for two National League division leaders, thanks to separate four-pitch mixes.
Five biggest fallers
-58 Robert Hassell III, OF, Nationals (41 to 99)
-46 Zac Veen, OF, Rockies (28 to 74)
-33 Ryan Pepiot, RHP, Dodgers (51 to 84)
-28 Elijah Green, OF, Nationals (58 to 86)
-24 Jack Leiter, RHP, Rangers (72 to 96)
While Robert Hassell III’s power has always been somewhat of a question, he’s also striking out more than ever for Harrisburg, and the longer that happens, the more doubt is cast on his potential to be an above-average hitter for Washington. In Zac Veen’s case, we now know why he might have gotten off to a slow start; the Rockies outfielder was battling left wrist issues for much of the first half and underwent season-ending surgery last week.
Ryan Pepiot hasn’t pitched at all this season due to an oblique strain suffered in the spring, and he only just started a throwing program in Arizona in the second half of this month. The longer the 25-year-old is out, the more likely he is to slip past younger, more productive prospects.
While his other four tools are immense, Elijah Green continues to strike out 40 percent of the time at Single-A Fredericksburg, hindering his chances to be a superstar-level talent. Jack Leiter shows flashes of his former Vanderbilt greatness but keeps battling inconsistency in his second season with Double-A Frisco. Both might be in last-chance saloon territory when it comes to the Top 100.
Jacob Berry, 3B, Marlins (from 64)
Gavin Cross, OF, Royals (from 65)
Kevin Alcántara, OF, Cubs (from 68)
Alex Ramírez, OF, Mets (from 74)
DL Hall, LHP, Orioles (from 75)
Chase DeLauter, OF, Guardians (from 89)
We wanted to give 2022 first-rounders Jacob Berry and Gavin Cross more time to snap out of early first-full-season funks in our last update, but neither has quite come around enough with the bat to justify remaining in the Top 100. Kevin Alcántara and Alex Ramírez have similar skill sets with good power, above-average speed and promising outfield defensive ability but haven’t lived up to offensive expectations as 20-year-olds at High-A. DL Hall hasn’t shown the control to break through as a Major League starter at last, and to make matters worse, his velocity has dipped, prompting the O’s to send him back to Florida for in-season work. Chase DeLauter is just returning from a broken foot and fell behind more active prospects, though he could play his way back into consideration.
93. Jacob Misiorowski, RHP, Brewers
94. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 1B/3B, Reds
95. Nick Frasso, RHP, Dodgers
97. Yanquiel Fernandez, OF, Rockies
98. Bryan Woo, RHP, Mariners
100. Anthony Solometo, LHP, Pirates
Watch Jacob Misiorowski’s best pitches – like his triple-digit fastball and wicked slider – and you may think he has the best arsenal in the Minors. He’ll run into issues with control and high pitch counts, which gives us some pause for now, but his K-heavy performance punches his ticket onto the Top 100.
Similarly from a hitting side, Christian Encarnacion-Strand has questions about his defensive home and general lack of patience at the plate, but the longer he slugs .600 with the hard-hit rates to back it up at Triple-A, the more his power becomes undeniable.
Nick Frasso has ridden a plus-plus fastball and above-average changeup to post some of Double-A’s best pitching numbers and might not be far from joining fellow 2023 breakout Emmet Sheehan in LA. Bryan Woo jumped from Double-A to the Majors on the strength of a riding mid-90s fastball that he leans on heavily.
Yanquiel Fernandez just joined the Double-A level after hitting .319/.354/.605 with 17 homers in 58 games at High-A, and while Spokane can be a hitters' paradise, his home-road splits were even enough to justify his inclusion. Similarly, Anthony Solometo just moved to the Minors’ second-highest level with a Madison Bumgarner-esque delivery and two above-average pitches in his fastball and slider. His 16.1 percent swinging-strike rate ranked fourth in High-A at just 20 years old.