Three days ago, on March 18th, MLB Pipeline released their 2022 Top 100 Prospects List. Google search “MLB Top Prospects” and this is the list the shows up – looked to as the leading rankings of baseball’s up-and-coming superstars. The list as successfully awarded their #1 Ranking to guys like Mike Trout in 2011, Byron Buxton in 2014/2015, Shohei Ohtani in 2018 and Vlad Guerrero Jr in 2019. Worth mentioning, this List has also had it’s fair share of “busts” over the years – see Matt Moore ahead of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout in 2012; Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy and six other guys ranked ahead of Gerrit Cole in 2013; and there’s still time but Gleyber Torres, Victor Robles and Nick Senzel ranked ahead of Fernando Tatis Jr in 2018 doesn’t appear to be playing out the way they planned either. Nonetheless, this is the List of all lists when it comes to MLB Propsects, so let’s take a look at what this new release has to offer.
Bobby Witt Jr tops Adley Rutchsman
What separates the first overall prospect from the second on MLB’s Top 100 list? If you ask those involved with creating the list, they’ll tell you it’s a matter of splitting hairs. Adley Rutschman has held the #1 Rank since Wander Franco graduated off the list last season, and rarely will you see the top prospect dethroned without significant reason. So why now? What has Bobby Witt Jr done to earn the top spot since being ranked behind Adley Rustchman and Julio Rodriguez in 2021? The easy answer, he plays Shortstop – the most talented and flashy position in baseball. Everyone that’s played Little League baseball is familiar with the concept of the Shortstop being the best athlete on the team, and as they move up to higher levels of baseball, most of those Shortstops are eventually weeded out by even better athletes. And when you find guys like Jacob deGrom, who started out as Shortstop prospects, it’s a worthwhile investment to continue the trend of scouting Shortstops, even if that’s not their long-term position. Well Bobby Witt Jr. hasn’t been weeded out yet. In fact, he continues to surpass expectations, most recently with 33 homeruns and 29 stolen bases during his 2021 Season. Adley Rutschman’s value differs in the fact that he’s a elite prospect at the most scarce position in baseball, Catcher. The switch-hitting Oriole hit 23 homeruns in 2021 and owned a .285 average. So when it comes down to splitting these hairs, I’d say Witt Jr. gets the edge because he presents elite 5-tool potential and could essentially play any position on the field, where as Rutschman will provide an elite 4-tool package and be one of the game’s best at a hard-to-come-by position.
Sliding Down the Board
Comparing MLB’s 2021 Top 100 Propsects to this newly published list, they are some interesting names that appear to be sliding in the wrong direction. MacKenzie Gore was the #3 Prospect in baseball per the 2020 list, but had fallen to the #55 slot in 2021 after some issues maintaining velocity plus his six starts at the AAA level that resulted in a 0-2 record and a 5.85 ERA. MacKenzie Gore is now the #86 prospect in baseball, a slide of 31 spots from last year to now. Gore has gone from being undoubtedly the best Pitching prospect in baseball, to now just the sixth best left-handed pitcher – however, if you saw his first 2022 Spring Training outing, the velocity appears to be back and there is plenty to still be excited about in Gore. Other interesting prospects sliding down this year’s rankings include: Austin Martin (-16 to #52), Vidal Brujan (-56 to #77) and Jaren Duran (-60 to #85).
Best Team Showings
The Detroit Tigers showcase two of the Top 5 Prospects in Spencer Torkelson, 1B and Riley Greene, OF. Which makes you wonder, which teams show the best over the full Top 100 List? To answer that question, we’ve simply awarded points to each prospect starting at 100 points for Bobby Witt Jr. in the #1 spot, 99 points to Rutschman at #2, etc. and totaled the points per MLB Team. And surprising, the Tigers just barely made the Top 5…
Best Teams on the Top 100 Prospect List:
- 1. Pittsburgh Pirates – 332 points
- 2. Seattle Mariners – 287 points
- 3. Arizona Diamondbacks – 245 points
- 4. Baltimore Orioles – 277 points
- 5. Detroit Tigers – 254 points
Worst Teams on the Top 100 Prospect List:
- 26. Oakland Athletics – 87 points
- 27. Los Angeles Angels – 80 points
- 28. Colorado Rockies – 65 points
- 29. Atlanta Braves – 36 points
- 30. Milwaukee Brewers – 32 points
HumBabe’s Best Available
Let’s bring this full circle and discuss what really matters here, the HumBabe Dynasty League’s top available prospects. Pablo and the Secret Weapon used a late FAR Draft pick to sweep up the #7 Prospect in Gabriel Moreno, C for the Toronto Blue Jays expected to play in the Show this season, but who’s still available for those teams that have Minor League roster spots to fill?
- #20 Prospect – Nick Gonzales, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates (ETA: 2022)
- #23 Prospect – Jordan Lawlar, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks (ETA: 2024)
- #24 Prospect – Henry Davis, C, Pittsburgh Pirates (ETA: 2024)
- #27 Prospect – Brett Baty, 3B, New York Mets (ETA: 2022)
- #28 Prospect – Diego Cartaya, C, Los Angeles Dodgers (ETA: 2023)