Prospects of the Year for each organization

image

Now, let’s take some season-ending awards to the system level.

These are our picks for Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year for each of the 30 Minor League organizations. In order to qualify for this list, a player must have spent at least half the season in the Minors and appeared on their team’s Top 30 Prospects ranking at some point, meaning Major League graduates are eligible.

Addison Barger, 3B/SS (No. 13): The 2018 sixth-rounder showed improved swing decisions to tap into his above-average power in a breakout year that saw him climb three levels and finish with a spot in the Arizona Fall League. Barger led Jays full-season qualifiers in average (.308), slugging (.555), OPS (.933), hits (144), extra-base hits (61) and total bases (259).

Ricky Tiedemann, LHP (No. 1, MLB No. 33): The 20-year-old left-hander’s ascent from Single-A to Double-A in his first full season was the story of the year in the Toronto system. He finished with a 2.17 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 117 strikeouts over 78 2/3 innings and didn’t post an ERA above 2.45 ERA at any of his three stops. His 38.9 percent K rate led Blue Jays Minor Leaguers (min. 70 IP).

Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B (No. 1, MLB No. 2): Our Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Year, Henderson’s ability to greatly improve his overall approach allowed him to make his way from Double- to Triple-A and up to the big leagues, finishing with a combined 23 homers, 23 steals and 95 walks. And he’s only 21 years old.

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP (No. 2, MLB No. 4): If it hadn’t been for the lat strain, Rodriguez either would have graduated to the big leagues or been in contention for a second straight Pipeline Pitching Prospect of the Year award. The 22-year old may have only gotten up to 75 2/3 IP, but he still ended up with dominant numbers: 2.62 ERA, 13.0 K/9, 0.991 WHIP, .176 BAA.

Kyle Manzardo, 1B (No. 5): Our pick at first base on the Prospect Team of the Year, the 2021 second-rounder came flying out of the gate at High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery with a .327/.426/.617 line, 22 homers and a 65/59 K/BB ratio in 93 games. He was one of only three Minor League full-season qualifiers with at least a .300/.400/.600, joining Vaun Brown and Corbin Carroll on the list.

Mason Montgomery, LHP (No. 6): Montgomery led all Rays farmhands and finished sixth in the Minors with 171 strikeouts over 124 innings at High-A and Double-A. His 2.10 ERA and 34.2 percent K rate also led all Tampa Bay full-season qualifiers, thanks to his impressive three-pitch mix.

Niko Kavadas, 1B (No. 21): In his first full pro season after signing as an 11th-rounder from Notre Dame, Kavadas batted .280/.443/.547 with 26 homers in 120 games at three levels, ranking among the Minor League leaders in on-base percentage (second), walks (102, fifth) and OPS (.990, seventh).

Brayan Bello, RHP (Graduated): Before joining Boston’s rotation, Bello dominated in Double-A and Triple-A, logging a 2.34 ERA with a .186 opponent average and 129 strikeouts in 96 innings.

Anthony Volpe, SS (No. 1, MLB No. 5): After winning MLB Pipeline’s 2021 Hitting Prospect of the Year Award, Volpe batted .249/.342/.460 with 21 homers and 50 steals in 132 games between Double-A and Triple-A at age 21.

Jhony Brito, RHP (No. 22): He’s not overly physical, but Brito can reach 98 mph with his fastball, backs it up with a nifty changeup and recorded a 2.96 ERA, .230 opponent average and 91 strikeouts in 112 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

Will Benson, OF (Graduated): A 2016 first-rounder who struggled to make consistent contact during his first five pro seasons, then tightened his swing this year en route to batting .278/.426/.522 with 17 homers and 16 steals in 89 games before making his big league debut.

Gavin Williams, RHP (No. 3, MLB No. 53): The 23rd overall pick in the 2021 Draft, Williams made a spectacular pro debut this summer, leading the Minors with a .173 opponent average and ranking third with a 1.96 ERA and 14th with 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings (149 whiffs in 115 frames between High-A and Double-A).

Tyler Gentry, OF (No. 8): After missing time with knee injuries in 2021, Gentry came roaring back with a vengeance this season, hitting .326/.422/.542 with 21 homers and 10 steals in 108 games at High-A and Double-A. He posted a .972 OPS in 73 games with Northwest Arkansas, in particular, in a sign of just how well his hit and power tools carried to the upper Minors for the first time.

Noah Cameron, LHP (No. 28): Among Minor Leaguers with at least 60 innings this season, Cameron ranked in the top 20 in K rate (36.7 percent), K-BB rate (30.7) and K/BB ratio (6.2). He finished with a 3.56 ERA, 99 strikeouts and 16 walks across 65 2/3 innings at three levels, mostly Single-A and High-A.

Kerry Carpenter, OF (Graduated): Utilizing an offseason swing change that helped with his ability to elevate the ball, Carpenter finished as one of two Minor Leaguers to hit at least 30 homers (exactly 30 in this case) in fewer than 100 games. That number could have pushed higher if not for his Major League promotion in August. His .645 slugging percentage between Double-A and Triple-A was the highest in the Minors (min. 400 PA), while his 1.025 OPS placed third.

Wilmer Flores, RHP (No. 3, MLB No. 100): Flores was signed as an undrafted free agent after the shortened 2020 process and sits in the MLB Pipeline Top 100 two years later. The 21-year-old right-hander had a 2.79 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 130 K’s in 103 1/3 innings at High-A and Double-A in 2022.

Matt Wallner, OF (No. 5): The raw power has always been there, though he missed a bunch of 2021 with a broken hamate. He showed the pop will play, even with the swing-and-miss, this year, hitting 27 homers and slugging .541 across Double- and Triple-A this year, while adding two more during his big league debut. And he helped offset the 170 K’s with 97 walks.

Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (No. 6): What a difference a year makes. After seeing his stuff back up and results suffer while getting traded from the Blue Jays to the Twins, SWR used his four-pitch mix to post a 2.77 ERA and .200 BAA while striking out 9.6 per nine to earn a late callup to make his big league debut earlier this month.

Oscar Colas, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 95): Signed for $2.7 million in January after spending three years in Japan’s minor leagues, the Cuban Colas batted .314/.374/.524 with 23 homers in 117 games while climbing from High-A to Triple-A.

Cristian Mena, RHP (No. 10): After leading the Rookie-level Arizona League in strikeout rate in his 2021 pro debut, Mena made the jump to full-season ball and fashioned a 3.80 ERA with 126 whiffs in 104 1/3 innings while moving from Single-A to Double-A at age 19.

Jordan Diaz, 1B/3B (No. 7): Diaz rewarded the A’s faith in adding him to the 40-man roster this offseason, hitting .326/.366/.515 across Double- and Triple-A with 19 homers and a 14.4 percent strikeout rate. That led to him reaching Oakland for the first time, where he got his first 15 games under his belt a month after he turned 22.

Jeff Criswell, RHP (No. 18): The A’s 2020 second-round pick out of Michigan barely pitched in 2021 because of injury, but used a solid Arizona Fall League campaign to springboard him to a healthy and successful 2022 season. The right-hander began the year in High-A and ended in Triple-A, striking out a batter per inning while compiling a career high 118 1/3 innings.

Edgar Quero, C (No. 3): Quero took a huge leap forward on the prospect radar with a strong season, his first in full-season ball. At age 19, the switch-hitting backstop finished with a .312/.435/.530 line, 17 homers, 73 walks and only 91 strikeouts. He even stole 12 bags to boot.

Chase Silseth, RHP (No. 7): It’s unlikely anyone had Silseth as the first, and only, member of the 2021 Draft class to make it to the big leagues. And while his time with Los Angeles was uneven, at best, the 11th-rounder was lights out in Double-A, finishing with a 2.28 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 83 IP, holding hitters to a .182 BAA while striking out nearly 12 per nine (and walking only 2.9 per).

Justin Dirden, OF (No. 11): Signed as nondrafted free agent out of Southeast Missouri State in 2020, Dirden batted .302/.384/.558 with 24 homers, 12 steals and 101 RBIs in 124 games between Double-A. He ranked second in the Minors with 40 doubles and fifth with 69 extra-base hits.

Hunter Brown, RHP (No. 1, MLB No. 68): Before he posted a 0.89 ERA in 20 1/3 innings with Houston, Brown was the most dominant pitcher in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with a 2.55 ERA, .186 opponent average and 134 strikeouts in 106 innings.

Robert Perez Jr., 1B (No. 21): Signing back in 2016, Perez didn’t make much progress until last year, when he hit for power in A ball. It showed up, and then some, this year, across two levels of A ball, as the first baseman finished with a .923 OPS, 27 homers and 114 RBIs, tying for second in the Minors in that last category.

Taylor Dollard, RHP (No. 7): The Mariners had several pitching standouts to choose from, but while Dollard didn’t miss as many bats as a lot of pitchers on this list (8.2 K/9), he only walked 1.9 and gave up 6.6 hits per nine to lead to a nifty 0.951 WHIP and .203 BAA in Double-A. His 2.25 ERA led the Texas League by nearly a run and a half and while wins/losses aren’t all that informative, it’s hard not to see his 16-2 record.

Evan Carter, OF (No. 3, MLB No. 56): Carter has gone from surprise second-rounder in 2020 to one of the best prospects in baseball, hitting .295/.397/.489 with 43 extra-base hits and 28 steals in 106 games between High-A and Double-A in his age-19 season.

Mason Englert, RHP (No. 29): Tommy John surgery delayed Englert’s pro debut until nearly three years after the Rangers made him a third-round pick in 2018, but he’s back on track after posting a 3.64 ERA, .199 opponent average and a 136/31 K/BB in 118 2/3 innings between High-A and Double-A.

Vaughn Grissom, SS/2B (Graduated): Before filling a huge hole at second base in Atlanta and helping the Braves win the NL East, Grissom raked his way across High-A and Double-A, finishing with a combined .324/.405/.494 line in 96 Minor League games. The infielder hit 14 homers and stole 27 bases as well.

Jared Shuster, LHP (No. 2): The Braves’ first-round pick in 2020, Shuster amassed 139 1/3 inning in reaching Triple-A in his second full season of pro ball. The southpaw was dominant in Double-A (2.78 ERA, .198 BAA) to help him finish with a combined 3.29 ERA, .212 BAA, 1.05 WHIP, striking out 9.4 while walking just 2.5 per nine for the year.

Jerar Encarnacion, OF (Graduated): Encarnacion bounced back from a dismal 2021 season to hit .294/.363/.505 with 22 homers in 99 games between Double-A and Triple-A, and he also launched his first three long balls in the Majors this summer.

Dax Fulton, LHP (No. 8): Fulton has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery before his 2020 high school senior season and logged a 3.80 ERA with 150 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings between High-A and Double-A at age 20.

Brett Baty, 3B/OF (No. 2, MLB No. 18): The 2019 12th overall pick took his already strong reputation and jumped it another level by leading Mets Minor League qualifiers in all three slash-line categories (.311/.410/.533) and adding a career-best 19 homers in 95 games at Double-A and Triple-A. A right thumb injury after his MLB debut in August was the only thing to slow down the 22-year-old.

Dominic Hamel, RHP (No. 12): Last year’s third-rounder showed impressive consistency at Single-A and High-A in his first taste of full-season ball. He led Mets Minor League qualifiers with a 1.15 WHIP, 145 strikeouts, a 29.6 percent K rate and .194 average-against while ranking second with his 3.25 ERA between St. Lucie and Brooklyn.

Hao Yu Lee, 2B (No. 6): Lee had played only briefly after signing out of Taiwan in the summer of 2021, but impressed the Phillies early with his advanced approach and feel to hit. That was on full display, despite missing a month to injury, as the 19-year-old infielder hit his way from Single- to High-A at the end of the season and finished with a very solid .284/.386/.438 line. He walked in 12.3 percent of his plate appearances while striking out just 19.1 percent of the time.k

Andrew Painter, RHP (No. 1, MLB No. 24): Our Pitching Prospect of the Year was virtually unhittable in three stops in the Phillies’ system, becoming just the sixth high school pitching draftee to reach Double-A in his first full season this century. He led all pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched in WHIP (0.89) and K-BB% (32.4) while finishing second in ERA (1.56), fifth in K/9 (13.5), sixth in BAA (.181) and eighth in K/BB (6.20) … all as a teenager.

Jeremy De La Rosa, OF (No. 10): De La Rosa has shown promise in the Nats system since he jumped over the Dominican Summer League and moved stateside in 2019, but he took another solid jump in 2022, hitting .315/.394/.505 with 31 extra-base hits and 26 steals in 69 games at Single-A Fredericksburg. Though he struggled a bit at High-A, his overall numbers were still strong enough to be placed among those that were in the org all summer.

Zach Brzykcy, RHP (No. 26): A Prospect Team of the Year second-team honoree, Brzykcy was as dominant as they come for Minor League relievers. The 23-year-old right-hander, who sports a 95-98 mph fastball and above-average slider, had a 1.76 ERA and 1.01 WHIP with 95 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings across three levels, topping out at Triple-A Rochester.

Jackson Chourio, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 10): The breakout prospect of the year, Chourio skipped right over the Arizona Complex League and proceeded to hit .288/.342/.538 with 20 homers and 16 steals in 99 games between Single-A, High-A and Double-A. Oh, he did all that at just 18 years old, and he could be on track for a Major League debut before his 20th birthday.

Carlos Rodriguez, RHP (No. 19): The 20-year-old right-hander had a 3.53 ERA in 71 1/3 innings at Single-A Carolina to begin his career and got better at High-A Wisconsin, where he had a 1.98 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 36 1/3 frames.

Moisés Gómez, OF (No. 30): There were some solid Cardinals performances from Top 100 prospects Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn and Alec Burleson, but we couldn’t ignore the Minor League home run leader here. Gómez finished with 39 blasts in 120 games between Double-A and Triple-A, and his .624 slugging percentage led all full-season Minor League qualifiers.

Inohan Paniagua, RHP (No. 13): Armed with an above-average fastball and plus curve, Paniagua was a force in the Florida State League, where he finished with a 2.18 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 107 K’s in 99 innings. The 22-year-old right-hander made eight more mediocre starts at High-A but finished as the organization leader with 145 total punchouts.

Matt Mervis, 1B (No. 21): A 2020 nondrafted free agent from Duke, Mervis shook off a rough pro debut last year to bat .309/.379/.605 with 36 homers in 137 games while advancing from High-A to Triple-A. He led the Minors with 78 extra-base hits, 310 total bases and 119 RBIs while also ranking second in doubles (40), third in homers, fifth in slugging and eighth in OPS (.984).

Luis Devers, RHP (No. 26): Signed for just $30,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, Devers used his deceptive changeup to break out this year, ranking second in the Minors in ERA (1.91), third in wins (13) and seventh in WHIP (0.95) while striking out 122 in 117 2/3 innings between Single-A and High-A.

Endy Rodriguez, C/2B/OF (No. 6, MLB No. 97): It’s always a good sign when a prospect performs better as he moves up the ladder. That’s exactly what Rodriguez did, including finishing off with a torrid six-game stretch in Triple-A, to end with a .323/.407/.590 line, 25 homers and 95 RBIs, making his current Top 100 ranking seem decidedly light.

Mike Burrows, RHP (No. 8): While his time in Triple-A was uneven, the fact he spent so much time there at age 22 puts him way ahead of the curve. He dominated Double-A (2.94 ERA, .199 BAA) and even with some struggles up a level, he finished with a 10.6 K/9 rate over 94 1/3 combined innings.

Elly De La Cruz, SS/3B (No. 1, MLB No. 14): Few prospects did more to explode on the scene than the 20-year-old De La Cruz did in 2022. The 6-foot-5 switch-hitter made it to Double-A and finished with a combined .304/.359/.586 line and turned in close to a 30-50 season, ending with 28 homers and 47 steals.

Andrew Abbott, LHP (No. 10): The Reds’ second-round pick out of Virginia in 2021 made very quick work of High-A ball and spent most of the season in Double-A. Over 118 total innings, the southpaw whiffed 12.1 per nine and held hitters to a .230 BAA, finishing with a 3.81 ERA.

Corbin Carroll, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 3): The 22-year-old outfielder may have missed almost all of 2021 with an injured shoulder, but he certainly didn’t show it in 2022. Carroll slashed .307/.425/.610 with 24 homers and 31 steals over 93 games in the Minors. His 1.036 OPS at those spots was second-best among Minor Leaguers with at least 400 plate appearances, earning him a spot in The Show where he wasn’t too shabby either.

Brandon Pfaadt, RHP (No. 4, MLB No. 90): Pfaadt’s 218 strikeouts not only led the Minors but were the second-most in Minor League Baseball since 2000, trailing only Brandon Claussen’s 220 in 2001. His other numbers (3.83 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) weren’t quite as rosy, but hitter-friendly environments at Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno help explain that. He was still a Triple-A force too with a 2.63 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 10 starts for the Aces.

James Outman, OF (No. 13): One of the best athletes in the Dodgers system, Outman hit .294/.392/.586 with 31 homers and 13 steals in 125 games between Double-A and Triple-A, finishing fifth in the Minors in extra-base hits (69) and total bases (277) and ninth in OPS (.978). He also homered off German Marquez in his first big league at-bat and went 6-for-13 in a brief stint in Los Angeles.

Gavin Stone, RHP (No. 7, MLB No. 77): The penultimate pick in the truncated five-round 2020 Draft, Stone topped the Minors with a 1.48 ERA and placed ninth with 168 strikeouts in 121 2/3 while advancing from High-A to Triple-A.

Vaun Brown, OF (No. 10): Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Minors this season, Brown went from 10th-round fifth-year senior sign in 2021 to leading the Minors in hitting (.346) and OPS (1.060) while ranking third in slugging (.623) and sixth in on-base percentage (.437). He also totaled 23 homers and 44 steals in 103 games while rising from Single-A to Double-A.

Kyle Harrison, LHP (No. 2, MLB No. 21): Baseball’s best left-handed pitching prospect, Harrison led the Minors in strikeout rate (14.8 per nine innings) and strikeout percentage (39.8) while posting a 2.71 ERA, .196 opponent average and 186 strikeouts in 113 innings between High-A and Double-A.

Eguy Rosario, 2B/SS/3B (No. 5): In a year with much farm-system turnover due to blockbuster trades, Rosario was a steady performer in the Padres pipeline, setting full-season career highs in all three slash-line categories (.288/.368/.508) while nearly doubling his previous career best of 12 homers by slugging 22 in 124 games at Triple-A El Paso. He made his Major League debut in August.

Alek Jacob, RHP (No. 24): Jacob’s above-average slider and change from a difficult sidearm angle helped him make stops at the top three Minor League levels in the San Diego chain. The 2021 16th-rounder had a 2.68 ERA with 77 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 57 innings as a shutdown reliever.

Hunter Goodman, C/1B (No. 23): Goodman probably spent too much time in Single-A in his first full season this year, but he kept mashing homers once he did get up to High-A and that helped him finish the year in Double-A. All told, he finished with a .926 OPS, 36 homers (tying him for third among all Minor League hitters) and 106 RBIs.

Joe Rock, LHP (No. 16): The 2021 draftee out of Ohio, Rock pitched well enough to finish his first full season in Double-A. He held hitters to a .223 BAA while striking out 120 in 115 2/3 total innings (9.3 K/9).

Leave a Reply