Hitting Prospect Tiers for 2022

Hitting Prospect Tiers for 2022

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

This is a spin-off of the Rookie Tiers article I do for the baseball magazine every year. With NFBC leagues up and running, I wanted to get the first version of this article out sooner than ever before. This year, I'm breaking it up into separate articles for hitters and pitchers. With this being for the website and not the magazine, I was able to include essentially every hitter (103 total) who I think has a decent enough chance of playing in the majors this season. In the bigger tiers, I found it useful to break up the players by team, so that you can see who each guy might be competing with and compare players in the same organization. Please let me know in the comments if you think I left anyone out — chances are I left them out on purpose or they are no longer prospect eligible, but I'm sure there is at least one or two guys who I accidentally omitted.

High Cost, Total Package

Bobby Witt

There is only one hitting prospect who belongs anywhere near the top 100 picks of a redraft league, and that is Witt. He has similar tools to peak Trevor Story with a much worse home ballpark. Many, myself included, believe he could break camp on the big-league roster. I have no idea where his ADP will settle, but it will surely creep up during spring training. He has the power/speed/playing time combination we crave, but the gap between Triple-A

This is a spin-off of the Rookie Tiers article I do for the baseball magazine every year. With NFBC leagues up and running, I wanted to get the first version of this article out sooner than ever before. This year, I'm breaking it up into separate articles for hitters and pitchers. With this being for the website and not the magazine, I was able to include essentially every hitter (103 total) who I think has a decent enough chance of playing in the majors this season. In the bigger tiers, I found it useful to break up the players by team, so that you can see who each guy might be competing with and compare players in the same organization. Please let me know in the comments if you think I left anyone out — chances are I left them out on purpose or they are no longer prospect eligible, but I'm sure there is at least one or two guys who I accidentally omitted.

High Cost, Total Package

Bobby Witt

There is only one hitting prospect who belongs anywhere near the top 100 picks of a redraft league, and that is Witt. He has similar tools to peak Trevor Story with a much worse home ballpark. Many, myself included, believe he could break camp on the big-league roster. I have no idea where his ADP will settle, but it will surely creep up during spring training. He has the power/speed/playing time combination we crave, but the gap between Triple-A and the majors is so huge right now that I'm skeptical of how his hit tool translates initially. I probably won't have many, if any, redraft shares.

Blue Chippers Who Will Be Up Soon

Adley Rutschman

Spencer Torkelson

Riley Greene

Josh Jung

Nolan Gorman

-------------------------------------

Julio Rodriguez

Brennen Davis

Oneil Cruz

Triston Casas

Gabriel Moreno

There is a tier gap within this tier. The first five guys could conceivably break camp in the majors depending on the service-time rules in the new CBA. Even if they didn't break camp and even if the service-time rules remain the same, they'd probably be up within a few weeks. The next five could maybe earn a spot early in the season or even out of spring training, but I could also see them being held at Triple-A for a couple months, which makes it tough to justify rostering them in anything other than a draft and hold or mono-league format.

Proximity + Talent and/or Opportunity

ROYALS

Nick Pratto

MJ Melendez

Kyle Isbel

GIANTS

Joey Bart

TWINS

Jose Miranda

PHILLIES

Bryson Stott

CLEVELAND

Steven Kwan

Richie Palacios

PIRATES

Travis Swaggerty

Diego Castillo

ASTROS

Jeremy Pena

Pedro Leon

DIAMONDBACKS

Seth Beer

CUBS

Alfonso Rivas

TIGERS

Ryan Kreidler

This tier is the sweet spot for draft and holds. I'm really not sure how the playing time will shake out for Pratto and Melendez, so hopefully that will become clearer as Opening Day approaches. At the very least, both players deserve a look in the big leagues, so the Royals should find a way to make that happen sooner than later. Of the players in this tier, Leon is the best prospect for dynasty leagues due to his upside, but the readiness of his hit tool is still very much in question, which makes his ETA quite murky. I wouldn't be surprised if Pena, who will be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, got first crack at shortstop early in the year while Leon gets more reps at Triple-A. Bart, Isbel, Beer and Rivas are candidates to open the year in the majors, but Isbel is the only one who appeals to me for redraft leagues due to his well-rounded skill set. I like the Cleveland and Pittsburgh guys quite a bit if they are given a shot to play every day early in the season. The Tigers will probably keep Kreidler at Triple-A for a couple months.

Proximity Without Opportunity

RAYS

Josh Lowe

Vidal Brujan

WHITE SOX

Jake Burger

Romy Gonzalez

Micker Adolfo

CLEVELAND

Gabriel Arias

CARDINALS

Juan Yepez

Brendan Donovan

Alec Burleson

Nick Plummer

RED SOX

Jarren Duran

Jeter Downs

YANKEES

Chris Gittens

Oswaldo Cabrera

METS

Khalil Lee

ANGELS

Brendon Davis

Michael Stefanic

PADRES

Luis Campusano

REDS

Alejo Lopez

Every player in this tier is big-league ready or close to it. The two Rays guys are obviously the ones with the most pedigree and upside, but as things stand, they don't have a clear place to play in the majors. Even with them being blocked, I'd rather roll the dice on them than on the guys in the tier above. I've been lower on Duran this whole time, and I don't see a team as good as the Red Sox giving him legitimate playing time early in the season unless he has a monster spring training and/or they deal with injuries in the outfield. Burger and Gittens are guys I'd like as end-game plays if they had a clear path to playing time, but both are pretty firmly blocked.

Opportunity + Low Probability

CLEVELAND

Nolan Jones

Oscar Gonzalez

ATLANTA

Cristian Pache

Drew Waters

ROCKIES

Elehuris Montero

Colton Welker

Ryan Vilade

PIRATES

Rodolfo Castro

Tucupita Marcano

DIAMONDBACKS

Stuart Fairchild

Drew Ellis

Jake McCarthy

ATHLETICS

Nick Allen

Cody Thomas

RANGERS

Sherten Apostel

Sam Huff

PADRES

Jorge Ona

PHILLIES

Matt Vierling

NATIONALS

Donovan Casey

These guys all have clear avenues to the big leagues, but they all have some shortcoming that makes them unappealing to me for 2022. Montero, Fairchild, Ellis and Vierling probably have the best combination of likelihood of spending time in the majors and potential to be neutral or better fantasy options at some point during the season in a draft and hold.

Proximity and/or Opportunity Concerns

TWINS

Austin Martin

Royce Lewis

ROYALS

Vinnie Pasquantino

CLEVELAND

Tyler Freeman

DODGERS

Miguel Vargas

Michael Busch

Zach Reks

Luke Raley

Ryan Noda

BLUE JAYS

Jordan Groshans

Otto Lopez

Kevin Smith

Samad Taylor

METS

Mark Vientos

Carlos Cortes

Carlos Rincon

YANKEES

Oswald Peraza

Estevan Florial

GIANTS

Heliot Ramos

MARLINS

Peyton Burdick

JJ Bleday

ORIOLES

Kyle Stowers

Jahmai Jones

CUBS

Nelson Velazquez

DIAMONDBACKS

Geraldo Perdomo

RAYS

Jonathan Aranda

Miles Mastrobuoni

Garrett Whitley

Esteban Quiroz

RANGERS

Bubba Thompson

PADRES

Eguy Rosario

PIRATES

Mason Martin

Cal Mitchell

BREWERS

David Hamilton

Brice Turang

There is a wide range of prospect caliber within this tier, but the main takeaway is these guys are either firmly blocked, multiple months away from being big-league ready or not talented enough to worry about in most formats. 

Catching Depth

Shea Langeliers

Bryan Lavastida

Korey Lee

Mario Feliciano

Miguel Amaya

These catchers all have a decent chance to spend time in the majors, but I'd bet against them being positive contributors in fantasy in 2022.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
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