Gunnar Henderson, Corbin Carroll, and others


There are a lot of baseball players. And a large number of them are very important before they become household names. Now, no one would expect the average fan to maintain an entire mental catalog of potential MLB pitchers, but knowing just a handful each year can enrich your understanding of the sport.


That’s what we’re here to talk about. Thanks to tireless scouting work published in Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, FanGraphs, and MLB Pipeline, among other outlets, we know more about future stars than ever before. What follows is just a mindful 30,000-foot summary of their tremendous work–work that I’d encourage you to click through, subscribe to, and enjoy if you’re interested in the crucial arena of minor league talent and player development. Here is where you can get started on this path:

If you want the top view first, let’s run down the 25 names you need to know. I’ve divided them into categories to answer one question: Why? What is the direct reason for knowing these expectations?

I won’t detail exactly where each player falls on the main lists – they’re behind paywalls for some reason – but the top 11 by simple consensus from the published lists are the first 11 names introduced here.

Elite Prospects are scheduled to arrive in MLB in 2023

Gunnar Henderson, Orioles Shortstop/Third Base Man: Baseball’s No. 1 player—honoured by both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America—is the second consecutive Oriole youngster to wear the crown, after catcher Adley Rutschman. Already in Baltimore, Henderson joined Rochman briefly in late 2022 as the O’s made a surprise push.

Sporting golden locks, Henderson could play short but potentially land third. There are not many holes in his game. His stellar 2022 jump from an intriguing Double-A bat to AL Rookie of the Year favorite showed his ability for 30 homers, a 0.25 average, at least a few steals and a solid defense in a tough situation.

Corbin CarrollAnd diamondbacks defensive player: If Mighty Mouse played baseball, he might live up to Carol’s. The 22-year-old left fielder has plenty of power packed into a fast 5-foot-10 frame.

But if you dream of an extension Mookie Pets Or a Jose Ramirez-style jab. Be warned: Carroll, at least for now, has a lot of swings and misses in his game. His ultimate upside will depend on how much contact he can make and whether he turns out to be a great centre-half or a great corner-player. However, across 93 games and three in the minors, then 32 games with Arizona, Carroll has hit 28 homers and stolen 33 bases in 2022. If you think of him from a fantasy baseball lens, Carroll moves to the top of the list.

Francisco Alvarez, mets Designated catcher/hitter: Do you like big chubby zingers? Alvarez was 21 years old Shows a lot of patience. The only conundrum is whether the Mets want to get more defensive spice behind the plate in Triple-A or unleash it for a full season in the majors.

Anthony Volpe, Yankees shortstop: The Yankees piled a lot of pressure on Volpe by sitting out two consecutive marquee shortstops from the free agent. They are counting on Volpe being a good star. His 2021 revelations have given way to some concerns about how he’ll swing too hard against advanced aiming, but . He is due to turn 22 in April and will likely test his mettle in the Bronx soon.

The most exciting possibilities in the palace

Jordan Walker, Cardinals third baseman/outfielder: Sometimes, the book matches the cover. Walker’s imposing frame, at 6-foot-5, is just the visual introduction to an express freight train heading toward a major league cleanup spot near you.

Jackson Chorio, Brewers outfielder: No prospect has won more hype in 2022 than Chorio. He jumped from A-ball to Double-A at just 18 years old, impressing scouts And athletics portend an established field center star of the franchise. Baseball America ranks him the third all-time hit.

James Wood Citizens defensive player: main address in Juan Soto Trade, Wood stands at 6-foot-7 and fell in the second round in the 2021 draft due to concerns that he might have strikeout problems that plague most of his fight. Then it was 2022 Basically one big “oh, maybe not”. If the communication abilities he showed last season remain relatively constant, . Baseball Prospectus ranked him the #3 all-time hit.

Eli De La Cruz, Reds shortstop: If you tune in to one minor league game in 2023, make it one involving De La Cruz. De La Cruz plays a short and dynamic 6-foot-5 the Off the ball (that’s a technical term there). It’s a mathematical marvel. —with one hurdle (discipline panel) left to clear before we get down to talking about MVP awards, plural. And even without removing that hurdle, De La Cruz could be a fantastically interesting player to watch.

Potential aces in the making

Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles right fielder: Yes, as estimated by Baseball Prospectus, the Orioles have the best overall prospect in baseball and the best prospect in baseball. Major League Baseball’s Rodriguez is one spot behind the next name on this list.

Along with Rutschman and Henderson if not for a back-body injury that kept him out for two months. Durability may be the only question left for him to answer. That’s the profile of a classic ace—a fastball that can swing in the zone, a devastating catch, a big throwback, and a couple of extra pitches he might not even need to win in the majors—along with a contemporary lack of experience pitching more than four or five innings per start. .

Andrew Pinter Veles Right-handed pitcher: pitcher who is MLB Pipeline and Baseball America He won’t be 20 until April, but he already boasts eye-catching handling and, yes, triple-digit heat. He reached Double-A to finish his strong 2022 campaign… striking out 37 batters and walking two (!) in 28 1/3 innings pitched. There is a non-zero chance that Painter will become the third pitcher since 1995 to start a major league game as a teenager, joining Felix Hernandez and Julio Urías.

Yuri Perez, Marlins right fielderAlso still just 19 years old, Perez stands (at least) 6-foot-8 and throws in . for him The frame lends itself to some concerns about how it will hold up to a rookie workload, and he missed the starter due to a shoulder strain in 2022, but Perez is on his way to becoming another success story for the Marlins.

Other top potential clients willing to contribute in 2023

Ezequiel Tovar, Rockies shortstop: Who is the Across two minors in 2022, Tovar, by most logical sequences, should take over the Rocky shortstop by June and aim for 15 hits and 15 or more steals.

Brett Batty, Mets third baseman: Sweet Swinging Patty Faces . The first is the tendency to ground the ball against throwing the ball from the top level. The other has nothing to do with swing: he needs to improve his defense in the hot corner soon or migrate to the field.

Taj Bradley, Rays right-handed pitcher: Having defeated every lower-level hitter and holding his own at Triple-A, Bradley will soon join Tampa. The former fifth-round pick exploded to become a top prospect in 2020 .

Michael Vargas, Dodgers Third baseman/player: Vargas fits the Dodgers’ latest mold of “the hitter who’ll stand anywhere.” He’s actually not a good fullback anywhere except probably first base, but he drives casually all over the place as he walks as far as he gets out. The Dodgers will be counting on Vargas to provide some offense after the major leaguers’ season is over.

Hunter Brown Astros Right-handed pitcher: after carbon copying Justin VerlanderIn his delivery, the Browns get to play with his idol in 2022. The 24-year-old could end up on the bullpen if his control doesn’t improve — or if he simply can’t crack the Astros’ loaded rotation.

Oswald Peraza, Yankees shortstop/second baseman: Often cited to end the phrase “Anthony Volpe and,” Peraza made it to the majors in late 2022 and had some impressive moments in the postseason. It is seen as having a lower cap than the Volpi cap due to its less pronounced energy potential. But he’s more confident in the short term, and if you’re looking for the guy most likely to win the Yankees’ Opening Day job, he’s the guy for you.

Logan Uhope, Catcher Angels: A tough offensive hunter with patience and overshooting power acquired at the Phillies’ trade deadline, O’Hoppe will join the starting lineup immediately.

Prospects deserve an eyes emoji in 2023

Marcelo Meyer, Red Sox shortstop: After three years of trading Mookie Betts and months of letting Xander Bogaerts walk away, the Red Sox Nation is restless. And the promised future has not yet arrived in Boston. If the sun is to shine under Bloom, it will likely require Meyer — the fourth overall pick in 2021 — to live up to the high expectations. So far, so good, but there’s a lot of development left for a 20-year-old still waiting for his first crack at Double-A.

Daniel Espino, right-handed starting pitcher: . Do Not He pitched often enough or regularly enough to hold your breath for his Cleveland debut. Espino enjoys sexy stuff, “Meet the new Spencer Strider.” It also may not remain healthy enough to be used. Fortunately for the ever-mixing Guardians pitching machine, they have two additional rookies among the top 100 prospects, Gavin Williams and Tanner Bibee, who look like better bets to claim rotation roles by the end of the season.

Ricky Tiedemann, Blue Jays left-handed pitcher: The southpaw has one professional season and 78 2/3 innings under his belt, but he has convinced some evaluators that he is a top 15 overall prospect. . Short track records spell uncertainty for the young pitcher, but if his progress continues apace, he could make it to the majors in 2023.

Curtis Mead, radiologist: The Australian swing has given scouts pause Right before his hands exploded toward the ball, but the industry agreed it just worked. Mead’s open question revolves around his glove. He played third and second but he doesn’t look great either. He may end up a bat who has to play in any suitable location.

Andy Rodriguez, Pirates catcher/outfielder: It probably means a 2022 year of minor league routs (. A great rise for the relatively unknown player the Pirates acquired from the Mets for Joey Lucchesi.

Noelvi Marty, Reds shortstop/third baseman: the Marty looks like a good hitter, but there is some question as to where he will play defensively. The Reds’ farm system full of middle pitchers will now be tasked with seeing if Marte can adjust to third base or needs to move to a less valuable spot.

Tink, then, is the Cardinals’ right-handed pitcher: Still a long way from the big ones, hence what looks like an exciting promotion prospect for a year or two before rising to the top of the rankings. The Cardinals have handled him very carefully so far, .

Follow Yahoo Sports’ Zach Crizer on Twitter @zcrizer.

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