Top 400 MLB Prospect Rankings Update

Top 400 MLB Prospect Rankings Update

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

I completed the final regular-season update to the MLB top 400 prospects on Wednesday. 

The next update will come in early October, right after the regular season, and then I'll update the dynasty rankings in late October. The big offseason updates to both sets of rankings will come in January.

Remember, to get the most value out of these prospect rankings, I highly recommend syncing up your leagues using the My Leagues feature on the site. You can also use our filters and click on "signed" and enter "< 2022" to exclude the first-year player draftees when searching for the best free agents in leagues without a universal player pool. 

As is the case on the final Thursday of every month (technically the first Thursday of September here), I'll be posting a written version of the Wednesday mailbag episode of the podcast.

You can listen to the RotoWire Prospect Podcast or subscribe on your podcast app by searching "RotoWire Prospect Podcast".

Minor League Enthusiast: Corbin Carroll or Bo Bichette long term in dynasty?

I can't overstate how high I am on Carroll in fantasy, both in the short term and the long term. His most obvious ceiling comparison to me is Trea Turner, who was the consensus top pick in 2022 and will likely be the consensus top pick again in 2023. Carroll over Bichette is an easier call in OBP leagues, but now that he's up, I'd take him over Bichette in all formats.

Joel Wesseling: Gunnar Henderson's

I completed the final regular-season update to the MLB top 400 prospects on Wednesday. 

The next update will come in early October, right after the regular season, and then I'll update the dynasty rankings in late October. The big offseason updates to both sets of rankings will come in January.

Remember, to get the most value out of these prospect rankings, I highly recommend syncing up your leagues using the My Leagues feature on the site. You can also use our filters and click on "signed" and enter "< 2022" to exclude the first-year player draftees when searching for the best free agents in leagues without a universal player pool. 

As is the case on the final Thursday of every month (technically the first Thursday of September here), I'll be posting a written version of the Wednesday mailbag episode of the podcast.

You can listen to the RotoWire Prospect Podcast or subscribe on your podcast app by searching "RotoWire Prospect Podcast".

Minor League Enthusiast: Corbin Carroll or Bo Bichette long term in dynasty?

I can't overstate how high I am on Carroll in fantasy, both in the short term and the long term. His most obvious ceiling comparison to me is Trea Turner, who was the consensus top pick in 2022 and will likely be the consensus top pick again in 2023. Carroll over Bichette is an easier call in OBP leagues, but now that he's up, I'd take him over Bichette in all formats.

Joel Wesseling: Gunnar Henderson's first two months: 40 BB, 31 SO. Gunnar's last two months: 22 BB, 60 SO. Does this worry you at all? Also, why Gunnar over Jordan Walker, even if it is splitting hairs?

That split seems like it coincides with Henderson being bumped to Triple-A as a young 21-year-old, so not that concerning. If he'd kept doing what he was doing at Double-A, he might be No. 1 ahead of Carroll. Proximity and being closer to fully developed is why I have Henderson over Walker.

Jake Leannah: Any chance Jackson Chourio gets a late call-up in 2023?

Yeah, I could see that, especially given the new incentivized trend of the best upper-level prospects debuting in September, rather than late April. Chourio could be the talk of Brewers big-league camp early in the spring, and he could get an aggressive assignment to Double-A as a 19-year-old. With a big 2023 season, he could be looking big-league ready in the second half.

Cam Anderson: Will Miguel Vargas have any redraft value to close out the year or are the Dodgers just bringing him up as a utility guy?

He'd probably need an injury to a veteran in order to start more than once or twice per week early this month, but he could gradually start earning more regular playing time in advance of the postseason.

Artur Domingues: Any playing time concerns with Miguel Vargas in LA? How do you expect him to be used in 2023? What do you believe his floor and ceiling can be for fantasy? 

I had a couple questions on this. I think he's a better player for 2023 than Justin Turner or Max Muncy, but they could break camp without him if everyone is healthy. That said, he's played 23 games in LF this year at Triple-A, so that will probably be something they try out more in spring training. Just be patient in dynasty. This could go down a similar path to Kyle Tucker with the Astros a few years ago, where he was clearly ready at Triple-A for months before getting a chance to play every day. Vargas has arguably the second-highest floor of any prospect behind Corbin Carroll, and he has the ceiling to be a .300 hitter who hits 25 homers and hits high up in one of the game's best lineups.

Mike Sheets: Is Kyle Manzardo's bat good enough for him to be a true everyday player in Tampa (like Wander Franco), or is there still legitimate risk that he'll be platooned like so many other Rays hitters?

Yeah, I wouldn't rank Manzardo (or Curtis Mead) as high as I did if I thought they wouldn't eventually settle in as everyday players. Manzardo has the ceiling to be the No. 1 fantasy first baseman. That may not be a likely outcome, with Vladimir Guerrero and Pete Alonso having plenty of prime years left, but I actually think peak Manzardo could be a more productive hitter than peak Franco.

Mike Greer: Kind of surprised James Wood didn't get a bump in the ranks. That said, I know the difference is minuscule but can you explain why Druw Jones is still ahead of him?

It's more about how high I am on Jones than any slight on Wood. If you feel better about Wood because we've got a nice sample of him in pro games, then that's fine. I could see putting Wood over Jones and _maybe_ over Anthony Volpe, but that's as high as I'd put him given how far away he is.

Dandy Chiggins: Is Colton Cowser OBP dynasty gold? How much power can you see him growing into?

Yeah, he might just be. I can picture Cowser, Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman hitting 1-2-3 in that lineup in the near future, which would be really fun. I'm projecting him for around 20 homers a year, maybe with a couple 25-homer seasons mixed in.

The Fair Poll: When the "industry" was slobbering over prospect Jarren Duran, you exercised extreme caution. It appears that was justified. Are there any current prospects, who are in favor with the community at large, that you'd push back on?

Two main things I disagree with is when any current pitching prospect is ranked top-10 or even top-15 for dynasty and when any of the current catching prospects show up in the top-30 range. With pitchers, they're too risky to have valued that high – you obviously need good pitching to win, but you should be acquiring it off waivers before the value soars or in first-year player drafts. With catchers it's a supply and demand issue. There are so many good young catchers right now that unless you're talking about Adley Rutschman or Will Smith, we shouldn't be paying full price for any of them.

Dandy Chiggins: For next season will Cody Morris be a starter or reliever?

They'll have to manage his innings, so he won't be able to operate as a starter for the whole season. He's at 21.1 innings now and probably won't get up to 50 innings even when factoring in the playoffs. I'd be hoping for around 12-15 MLB starts from Morris next year, with him potentially opening the year in the big-league bullpen before gradually getting stretched out.

Bobby Borges: What do you think the potential is for Marcelo Mayer in Boston and when do you see that happening?

The pretty standard comp from scouts is Corey Seager if it all works out, both offensively and defensively. My ETA for him is 2024.

JH Schroeder: Why no bump for Blaze Jordan? Second best wRC+ at High-A for anyone under 20…

That sample at High-A is pretty small and it comes with a .455 BABIP. I really like Blaze, but I think being a bit cautious with how far and how fast I push him up the rankings is the prudent way to go, as he will probably fit best at designated hitter. Double-A will be a big test for him.

Cam Gustafson: Favorite player to boost up the rankings and most heartbreaking to drop down the rankings?

Kyle Manzardo and Andrew Painter were a couple risers that I felt pretty confident in giving the big bump to. Aaron Zavala seems like one of the biggest sleepers in the minors — I'm surprised nobody asked about him getting bumped to 52. But Connor Norby is definitely the answer for my favorite guy to boost up, just given how much I loved him pre-draft and that he's making good on that promise.

Austin Martin now being a borderline top 300 prospect and Reginald Preciado falling off the rankings aren't heartbreaking, but with both those guys it's easy for me to dwell on how wrong I was about them a year ago.

Kyle Brown: Do you foresee Kyle Harrison rising to SP1 in the prospect rankings next season?

It's possible, but it would hinge on which pitchers graduate and when. I would also like to see better control from Harrison before putting him in the top spot.

Cale Loken and Jock Thompson (and a couple others) both think James Outman should be a bit higher…

I could see a case for having him higher in a different organization, but if a guy like Miguel Vargas is having a hard time breaking in, I don't think we can assume there will be a spot for Outman next season. He's 25, and his 27.1 K% and 13.2 BB% at Double-A and Triple-A are almost identical to what Riley Greene did (27.4 K%, 11.3 BB%) at age 20 last year at the same levels. The age/strikeout issues don't guarantee he won't hit enough, but I think people are underestimating how rare it is for a player that age with that high of a strikeout rate in the upper minors to hit enough in the majors.

Toolsy: Would you try to get in on Tink Hence early?

Getting in early would have been getting in back in June when I had Bailey Srebnik on the podcast and he was talking up Hence. It's possible that Hence is the top pitching prospect in the game in a couple years, but it's also possible he gets Tommy John surgery at some point on the way up the ladder and doesn't debut until 2026.

Prospect Sauce: Do you think Endy Rodriguez ultimately sticks at catcher, and how would a positional change affect his value?

My hope with Rodriguez is that he plays some other positions besides catcher while maintaining catcher eligibility. He is one of the most athletic catchers in the minors, along with Harry Ford and Bo Naylor, so playing outfield or third base or second base could be options. Henry Davis and Rodriguez could share the catching duties, with Davis playing first base or designated hitter when he's not behind the dish.

Cam Gustafson: What changed for Oswald Peraza?

I just had a bad rank on him on the last update, so just righting a wrong.

ToaD: What's Vaughn Grissom's ceiling and where might he rank for next season?

He's at 17 HR and 30 SB so far this season. Could be something like 20 HR and 20 SB with an elite AVG and elite runs scored, where RBI are still strong but are his weakest category. So the ceiling is quite high, and I think his plate skills and hit tool give him a nice floor as well. If I were drafting right now for 2023, I'd take him in the 120-150 range, but part of that would just be assuming I wouldn't need to take him any higher than that in a draft.

DJ: Does Edouard Julien get the love he deserves? Looks like a future OBP monster...

He doesn't have a position, and he probably won't run at all, despite his MiLB SB totals. The Twins already have a few bat-first players as part of their core, so he not only has to be close to as good of a hitter as those highest on him think he could be, but the Twins have to be willing to give him a shot as a regular either at designated hitter or as a subpar defensive second baseman. Any projection/stats model will love Julien, but he's terrible at everything those models aren't aware of (defense, actual speed/athleticism).

CW: How high can Carlos Jorge be this time next year?

Impossible to say. He's got a lot of strong traits, but he might struggle with strikeouts in full-season ball.

Toosly: Gavin Williams seems to be undervalued. What kind of ceiling does he have? There are only so many spots available in that rotation…

I wasn't aware that people were lower on him than I am, but I think he's a pretty clear top-10 pitching prospect. He has the upside to be a high-strikeout top-25 fantasy starter.

CW: Talk us off the Nick Yorke ledge

Lost season due to injuries and bad luck following an elite first full season. Patience is the reason you should get off the ledge, but if you can't be patient, you should still be able to move him for something solid.

Scott: A bit surprised to see your renowned love for Pedro Leon has faded with the dreaded double down arrow, especially since I feel like he was pretty hot before the injury, and the injury was not self-inflicted, kinda fluky. Thoughts?

All the guys with down arrows in that 59-67 range didn't do anything to actually go down. All the big risers into the top 55 on this update were ranked behind Leon previously. I still think he's got a really high power/speed ceiling, thanks in part to how well his swing/approach would play with the Crawford Boxes. He's also still a high-risk hit tool guy though.

St. Louis Perfectos: Does a healthy Matt Allan compare to the prep arms of Dylan Lesko or Brock Porter?

If all were healthy, I'd rank them Lesko, Allan, Porter, with the biggest gap being between Allan and Porter.

JH Schroeder: Any favorite minor-league relievers in the mold of Emmanuel Clase, Jhoan Duran and Felix Bautista?

I like Marc Church with the Rangers a decent amount. I didn't see Bautista coming at all. It was easy to see Duran coming once they moved him to the bullpen. Clase and Andres Munoz are the most recent examples I can think of for elite true reliever prospects that ended up panning out, so the predictable guys don't come along very often.

Griff McGarry, Emiliano Teodo, Brayan Bello, Ben Brown, Freddy Tarnok, DJ Herz, Yosver Zulueta, Matt Canterino (post TJS), any of the non-Gavin Stone Dodgers guys are all potential closers down the road as failed starters, which is still the best bin to pick from in my opinion when trying to find future closers.

Field of Schemes: Is Emmanuel Rodriguez moving up just due to others moving down or is it due to what he was able to accomplish statistically etc prior to the injury?

Kind of a hat tip to the great people out there who do the stats-based lists. His hard-hit rate and walk rate were elite, so you can really dream on a high ceiling, even if it comes with a ton of risk. 

Toosly: Would you rather roster Emmanuel Rodriguez or Dustin Harris?

I'd rather have Harris due to the longer track record and performance in the upper levels, but it's basically a coin flip and I could see going with Rodriguez if you're in a rebuild and just chasing upside.

ChzBeef: Seems like Victor Acosta has not slipped as far as his uninspiring ACL might suggest. If you're still holding him in this range, what do you see in his future? Looking at later players like Matthew Lugo, Jonathan Mejia, Leonardo Balcazar, who all look like more exciting players at this time…

Acosta hasn't done anything special, but he hasn't been awful, so I'm giving him a bit of a mulligan by not completely tanking him down the rankings. That said, feel free to keep churning that spot if you're not going to be patient with Acosta/not in a very deep league.

CW: Louie Varland back on your radar with these impressive Triple-A performances?

This one was an oversight by me. Varland should be ranked around 200.

Joshua Roberts: Where is Loidel Chapelli for you? Does he have to prove more because he is old for the level?

He's WAY too old (turns 21 in December) for the Dominican Summer League. 17 is age-appropriate for DSL hitters.

Bricks: Josue De Paula has an intriguing power/speed blend and looks like an absolute stud in the making, why no love?

Another oversight! He's someone to consider around 300.

Shrimp Boat Captain: What about Denzel Clarke?

Running a 36.2 K% as a 22-year-old at High-A is a disqualifier for me. Love the physical tools and frame, but I fear the hit tool will be his undoing.

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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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