MLB: Top 50 Prospects for 2022

MLB: Top 50 Prospects for 2022

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

I've provided version 2.0 of my big tiers for hitters and pitchers for 2022 value only, covering 193 prospects combined in those two articles. This article will essentially serve as version 3.0, but I'm narrowing it down to the top 50 prospects for 2022, combining hitters and pitchers and abandoning the tiers in favor of strict rankings with a quick blurb on each guy.

The rankings in this article are essentially a ranking of how I think these players will finish the season in earned dollars, so obviously the players who will be up in April have a better chance of accruing value, but the really good players who will be up in June or July will still factor in. I've included NFBC ADP for 50-round Draft Champions leagues over the past two weeks and my player shares from my nine NFBC drafts + my Tout Wars draft-and-hold league and my AL LABR league.

1. Bobby Witt, SS/3B, Royals; ADP: 90; Shares: 0/11

Witt is still trending toward opening the year as the everyday third baseman. He could pay off this draft cost, but I love too many other players going in this range to roll the dice.

2. Riley Greene, OF, Tigers; ADP: 280; Shares: 6/11

I've missed out on Greene in my most recent drafts. The more people see his beautiful swing and the more success he has this spring, the more his price will tick up.

3. Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates; ADP: 199; Shares:

I've provided version 2.0 of my big tiers for hitters and pitchers for 2022 value only, covering 193 prospects combined in those two articles. This article will essentially serve as version 3.0, but I'm narrowing it down to the top 50 prospects for 2022, combining hitters and pitchers and abandoning the tiers in favor of strict rankings with a quick blurb on each guy.

The rankings in this article are essentially a ranking of how I think these players will finish the season in earned dollars, so obviously the players who will be up in April have a better chance of accruing value, but the really good players who will be up in June or July will still factor in. I've included NFBC ADP for 50-round Draft Champions leagues over the past two weeks and my player shares from my nine NFBC drafts + my Tout Wars draft-and-hold league and my AL LABR league.

1. Bobby Witt, SS/3B, Royals; ADP: 90; Shares: 0/11

Witt is still trending toward opening the year as the everyday third baseman. He could pay off this draft cost, but I love too many other players going in this range to roll the dice.

2. Riley Greene, OF, Tigers; ADP: 280; Shares: 6/11

I've missed out on Greene in my most recent drafts. The more people see his beautiful swing and the more success he has this spring, the more his price will tick up.

3. Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates; ADP: 199; Shares: 0/10

Cruz is the most fascinating man in spring training. He is both a potential league winner and likely headed to Triple-A to start the year. He is truly unique from a body and tools standpoint.

4. Aaron Ashby, LHP, Brewers; ADP: 263; Shares: 2/10

So far Ashby has won the war of attrition with Shane Baz for top redraft pitching prospect. Look for the Brewers to utilize a six-man rotation for most of the year, barring an injury.

5. Reid Detmers, LHP, Angels; ADP: 392; Shares: 9/11

You should completely ignore this ADP in upcoming drafts. Detmers looks the part and he's at worst the Angels' fourth-best starter.

6. Joe Ryan, RHP, Twins; ADP: 222; Shares: 0/11

Some pitchers I prefer who are going later than Ryan: Alex Cobb, Steven Matz, Ashby, Eric Lauer, Detmers, Jose Urquidy, Yusei Kikuchi, Casey Mize

7. Spencer Torkelson, 1B, Tigers; ADP: 250; Shares: 0/11

I expect Torkelson to play every day and put up a solid line as a rookie, so there's nothing wrong with him. I've ended up with Luke Voit, Jesus Aguilar and Rowdy Tellez in this range at 1B.

8. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners; ADP: 278; Shares: 1/11

It's tempting to expect the Mariners to do the right thing and break camp with their best players. History has taught me to resist the urge to believe in good things. I'm loosely expecting the best prospect in the game to debut in June, but I really have no idea.

9. Josh Lowe, OF, Rays; ADP: 352; Shares: 4/11

The Rays still haven't cleared a spot for Lowe, but I think that happens soon. It's all about the 20/20 upside and the cost.

10. Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles; ADP: 207; Shares: 0/11

Obviously throw out this ADP as well (his low is 265). I'm not buying the 2-3 weeks timetable, and assuming he misses all of spring training, he'll be at Triple-A for another 2-3 weeks once fully healthy.

11. Shane Baz, RHP, Rays; ADP: 125; Shares: 2/11

I might be overreacting with this ranking, but any arm procedure could be followed by a setback in the recovery. Hope for 120 good innings and a return in mid-May.

12. Kyle Isbel, OF, Royals; ADP: 458: Shares: 4/11

Given his all-around game and the way he finished last season, I expect him to play everyday and steal 15-20 bases without hurting your batting average.

13. Nick Lodolo, LHP, Reds; ADP: 480; Shares: 3/10

Lodolo seems like the most ready of the Reds' upper-minors pitching prospects to have success in year one.

14. Roansy Contreras, RHP, Pirates; ADP: 427; Shares: 0/10

I'm a little bummed I don't have any Contreras shares, but this used to be the Reid Detmers zone! He's not a lock to break camp, but they might as well get those bullets fired permanently in the majors sooner than later.

15. Steven Kwan, OF, Guardians; ADP: 462; Shares: 1/11

I've comped Kwan's ceiling to Michael Brantley. That's a great outcome if it happens, but it's not a very exciting statistical profile if he only hits .260 as a rookie. His 2021 stats oversell how I expect his power to play against big-league pitching, at least in year one.

16. MJ Melendez, C/3B, Royals; ADP: 401; Shares: 0/11

I haven't been able to pull the trigger on Melendez at cost, but that could be my loss. He's arguably got a better hit tool than Witt and the power is obvious, it's just a matter of finding him at-bats. On a related note, I'll take the under on a .225 batting average from Nick Pratto this year.

17. Reiver Sanmartin, LHP, Reds; ADP: 511; Shares: 3/10

You've got to see Sanmartin in action to understand how deceptive his 89-90 mph fastball can be. It's dangerous to bet on a pitcher with that velocity (especially in that park), but he checks all the other boxes.

18. Jeremy Pena, SS, Astros; ADP: 448; Shares: 0/11

The opportunity is definitely there, as is 20-homer power and enough speed to steal double-digit bases, but I'm not sold that he gets on base enough to hold the job all season. He could, but it's not a forgone conclusion.

19. Bryson Stott, SS, Phillies; ADP: 447; Shares: 0/10

After the Phillies signed Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, it would seem that Alec Bohm either needs to lose a job or Didi Gregorius needs to move to the bench for Stott to break through early this year.

20. Brennen Davis, OF, Cubs; ADP: 542; Shares: 5/10

Davis' upside is too great for him to be going in the mid-500s. How long will he have to be raking at Triple-A before the Cubs pull the trigger? I'm guessing he's up in June.

21. Cody Morris, RHP, Guardians; ADP: 512; Shares: 5/11

How Morris pitches this spring will go a long way toward determining how quickly he'll be up. My hunch is he's got nothing left to prove, but we'll see.

22. Matt Brash, RHP, Mariners; ADP: 561; Shares: 3/11

It seems clear that Brash will be the first Mariners pitching prospect to join the rotation this season, perhaps to start the year.

23. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Nationals; ADP: 564; Shares: 2/10

Cavalli has a monster ceiling and nothing standing in his way, it's just a matter of when the Nationals think his command is ready.

24. Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds; ADP: 408; Shares: 1/10

I have a feeling Greene will be pretty frustrating this year in fantasy. He will be capable of shutting down a great lineup or getting chased early by a bad lineup, depending on how he's commanding his pitches.

25. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles; ADP: 461; Shares: 1/11

I'm guessing he debuts right around the same time as Rutschman, in roughly mid-May. Of course, he could get injured before then and he'll often be facing a very intimidating offense as a rookie.

26. Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox; ADP: 449; Shares: 3/11

He could be excellent right away, especially in OBP leagues, but we might not see him until June or July. It will be a FAAB event when he gets the call, as people are always in need of corner-infield help.

27. Vidal Brujan, OF/2B, Rays; ADP: 345; Shares: 0/11

This is a classic case of the potential fantasy value not matching the realistic real-life value. The Rays don't care about your fantasy team, and Brujan isn't as good as Taylor Walls.

28. Luis Gil, RHP, Yankees; ADP: 478; Shares: 2/11

I wish I knew how many starts Gil would make in the majors this year. I believe in the talent, but I don't really trust the Yankees to give him regular starts, especially in the first half.

29. Geraldo Perdomo, SS, Diamondbacks; ADP: 644; Shares: 1/10

I've started warming back up to Perdomo. He was a different hitter late last season, and there's no reason for Nick Ahmed to get starts over him for more than another month or two.

30. Alek Thomas, OF, Diamondbacks; ADP: 530; Shares: 0/10

Thomas has clearly spent a lot of time adding muscle over the past year. He's a potential five-category guy, and he should debut within the first few months.

31. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B, Twins; ADP: 382; Shares: 1/11

If Miranda weren't a below-average defender everywhere, he would have probably debuted last season, or at least been poised to play everyday this season.

32. Cole Winn, RHP, Rangers; ADP: 628; Shares: 4/11

Winn is so underrated in draft-and-hold leagues. He might even be a cheap add in FAAB if he isn't awesome in his first MLB start.

33. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Cardinals; ADP: 592; Shares: 1/10

The Cardinals' rotation depth is already getting tested, and Liberatore might already be one of their five or six best healthy options. Great team context for a rookie pitcher.

34. CJ Abrams, SS/2B, Padres; ADP: 557; Shares: 0/10

On maybe 29 other teams, Abrams wouldn't have a chance of debuting this summer. However, the Padres are very desperate, A.J. Preller's seat is very hot, and I could see him going down with his favorite, most tooled up players.

35. Kevin Smith, 3B/SS, Athletics; ADP: 543; Shares: 0/11

From likely blocked to not blocked at all. This might be reminiscent to a peak Niko Goodrum season, or it might be much worse. You're buying playing time, just know he could hit .220.

36. Travis Swaggerty, OF, Pirates; ADP: 648; Shares: 5/10

The Pirates don't have anything standing in Swaggerty's way. He could be up in a month if he is raking at Triple-A, and he has enough speed to steal 15-20 bases.

37. Cristian Pache, OF, Athletics; ADP: 519; Shares: 0/10

Pache wasn't a good enough hitter to play on a good team in Atlanta, but he's a good enough defender for a terrible team to give him a full season's worth of at-bats in an effort to develop him into a capable big-league hitter.

38. Edward Cabrera, RHP, Marlins; ADP: 445; Shares: 0/10

Things are pretty crowded in Miami's rotation, at least for now. Cabrera is also the type of pitching prospect who might go through a year-plus of growing pains before putting it together.

39. Max Meyer, RHP, Marlins; ADP: 522; Shares: 0/10

Meyer is great, but unless we think the Marlins will let him leapfrog older, more proven pitchers, he'll have to wait until June or July.

40. George Kirby, RHP, Mariners; ADP: 580; Shares: 0/11

Kirby's usage last season has me bracing for some sort of arm injury this year. The Mariners really babied him, and his velocity gains over the past few years put him in the high-risk camp. Hopefully I'm wrong about all that, and if I am, he'll be up within a couple months.

41. Gabriel Moreno, C, Blue Jays; ADP: 489; Shares: 0/11

He has an excellent hit tool for a catcher his age, but the playing time outlook is so murky and now it's clear he won't move to third base.

42. Joey Bart, C, Giants; ADP: 310; Shares: 0/10

Long term, he could be Mike Zunino in fantasy, but right now he's a much worse defender and his Triple-A production was deceptively bad for a hitter his age, especially when factoring in the plate skills.

43. Seth Beer, DH, Diamondbacks; ADP: 551; Shares: 0/10

If you want a UTIL-only guy in a strict platoon who could hit .270 with 20 homers, then Beer's your guy!

44. Jake Burger, 3B, White Sox; ADP: 613; Shares: 2/11

Context is so important with Burger, and his 2021 season was extremely impressive all things considered. I'll be adding him in mixed leagues if it looks like there's a spot for him to play every day.

45. Richie Palacios, 2B/OF, Guardians: ADP: 746; Shares: 5/11

Palacios has an excellent hit tool and plus speed. He is also in an organization with very few established options in left field or at second base -- his two best positions.

46. Diego Castillo, 2B, Pirates; ADP: 743; Shares: 2/10

Castillo needs to play every day and hit top-two in the lineup to put up the necessary counting stats to be viable in mixed leagues. It could happen, but I wouldn't expect him to get a shot until June or July.

47. Caleb Kilian, RHP, Cubs; ADP: 701; Shares: 0/10

When Kilian gets the call in June or July, I will spend a lot of time thinking about my FAAB bids. Hopefully he's still not a household name at that point. Unfortunately I did most of my draft-and-holds before warming this much to him being fantasy viable in 2022.

48. Jarren Duran, OF, Red Sox; ADP: 405; Shares: 0/11

If you really thought Duran was going to get significant playing time early this season, you only have yourself to blame. Granted, I'm guilty of having a bunch of useless shares of Christian Arroyo, but at least he was going 250 picks after Duran.

49. Miguel Yajure, RHP, Pirates; ADP: 687; Shares: 3/10

It's pretty concerning that his back issue slowed him this offseason. I still think he could make 20-plus starts and be streamable against the Cubs and Reds.

50. Ryan Vilade, OF, Rockies; ADP: 739; Shares: 3/10

He might not play much, but Vilade has a borderline plus hit tool, so if he does play, he's a prime streaming option in Coors.

DYNASTY CONTENT UPDATE

I'm currently taking part in The Highlander Dynasty Invitational startup draft (5x5 roto with AVG), which you can follow here. This is as loaded of a room as you will find for a dynasty startup and there is money on the line, so I'd recommend following the valuations here closely if you love the format. In a somewhat related note, I'm hoping to have the top 400 prospect rankings and top 400 dynasty rankings fully updated in early April prior to Opening Day.

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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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