The new Top 100 Prospects list is coming! Revised Top 30s for every organization too! Thursday evening, to be exact.
We give you a sneak preview below by identifying the prospect who has risen the furthest on each team’s Top 30 since the start of the season. As for the biggest jump on the Top 100, that will belong to Padres catcher Ethan Salas.
• MLB Pipeline | Top 100 prospects | Prospect video
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Alan Roden, OF
Selected in the third round last year, Roden was a wait-and-see prospect left on the outside of the preseason Top 30 while we evaluated how his high on-base skills translated to the pros. Verdict: quite comfortably in fact. Roden hit .321/.437/.459 with a 32/42 K/BB ratio over 69 games with High-A Vancouver after Blue Jays coaches worked with him on standing more upright in his stance to give him a better shot at tapping into some power. He moved to Double-A New Hampshire last month and continues to walk more than he’s struck out, though the pop warrants monitoring.
Orioles: Leandro Arias, SS
Signed for $600K at the start of the 2022 international signing period, Arias didn’t make many waves during his pro debut that summer in the Dominican Summer League. The 18-year-old switch-hitter has made a nice transition to the United States and has more than held his own in the Florida Complex League this year.
Rays: Dominic Keegan, C
A bat-first catcher out of Vanderbilt, Keegan continues to hit everywhere he’s sent, including Single-A and High-A with similar production at both levels in 2023. While he’s proven capable of hitting for both power and average in the pros, the 23-year-old has also impressed Tampa Bay officials with his defensive gains behind the plate, and his caught-stealing rate has actually gone up as he’s ascended. There will be further tests coming, but the Rays may be able to develop Keegan from a fourth-rounder into a well-rounded backstop.
Red Sox: Yoeilin Cespedes, SS
Cespedes received the largest bonus ($1.4 million) in Boston’s 2023 international class because he was considered one of the more advanced hitters on the market, and he has lived up to that reputation in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. Cespedes is batting .359/.409/.594 with six homers in 41 games and also earning praise for his baseball IQ and work ethic.
Yankees: Chase Hampton, RHP
A Texas Tech product, Hampton went from the sixth round of the 2022 Draft to the Yankees’ best pitching prospect in less than a year. His fastball, curveball and slider all play as plus pitches at their best, as does a cutter that he has added since turning pro. He has logged a 3.53 ERA, .208 opponent average and 129/33 K/BB ratio in 91 2/3 innings between High-A and Double-A.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Guardians: Welbyn Francisca, SS
Known for his hitting prowess, Francisca landed the largest bonus ($1.375 million) in Cleveland’s 2023 international crop when he signed out of the Dominican Republic. He makes hard contact from both sides of the plate and is batting .336/.431/.531 with three homers and 11 steals in 37 games in the Dominican Summer League.
Royals: Chandler Champlain, RHP
Kansas City acquired Champlain from the Yankees at the 2022 Trade Deadline in the Andrew Benintendi trade, and one year later, the 24-year-old right-hander has really hit his stride at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he has a 1.04 ERA and 22 strikeouts in his last four starts (26 innings). Champlain works well with a mid-90s fastball and a pair of impressive breaking balls in his curveball and slider.
Tigers: Enrique Jimenez, C
Detroit signed Jimenez for $1.25 million back in January, making the switch-hitting backstop their highest-ranked international addition in the latest signing window. The Venezuela native entered the Tigers system with a strong reputation as a defensive catcher, but he’s built on that with a strong offensive showing in the Dominican Summer League with a .296/.407/.443 line through 37 games. There’s plenty of development ahead, but for now, Jimenez is trending toward being a multi-tooled catcher and potential starter in Motor City.
Twins: Cory Lewis, RHP
The Twins’ ninth-round pick in the 2022 Draft, Lewis wasn’t even on the Top 30 at the start of the season. But armed with a four-pitch mix that includes a legit knuckleball, the 6-foot-5 right-hander has pitched his way from Single-A to High-A and dominated at both levels, looking like yet another late-round college arm find by this organization who’ll end up making starts in the big leagues.
White Sox: Jacob Burke, OF
Burke missed the first six weeks of the season with lower-back issues but since has batted .311/.413/.473 with five homers and 17 steals in 64 games at two Class A levels. An 11th-round pick from Miami in 2022, he’s an aggressive hitter who provides solid speed and center-field defense.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Jack Kochanowicz, RHP
He’s been on the list before, as high as No. 8 at the start of the 2021 season. But he’s had a lot of trouble staying healthy and had fallen off the list to start this year. He’s back in a good spot thanks to dominating over five starts in High-A and earning his first move to Double-A, where he started out well before stumbling a bit. But he’s already surpassed his career high in innings pitched for a season and is still only 22 years old.
Astros: Zach Dezenzo, 3B/2B
Dezenzo tied an Ohio State record with 19 homers in 2022 before the Astros made him a 12th-round pick, and he has stood out with his frequency of hard contact and high-end exit velocities since turning pro. He’s batting .329/.407/.545 with 10 homers in 66 games between High-A and Double-A.
A’s: Joey Estes, RHP
He was OK, but not great, for the A’s in 2022, his first season with the organization after coming over in the Matt Olson deal. He’s taken a very nice step forward this year in his first taste of Double-A, earning a bump up to Triple-A after posting a 3.28 ERA and .215 BAA in 20 outings with Midland.
Mariners: Alberto Rodriguez, OF
Rodriguez’s modest ranking to start the 2023 season was largely a result of a rather pedestrian season with High-A Everett in 2022 and the fact the Mariners designated him for assignment to make roster room in January. He cleared waivers and is making a very strong case to get added back to the roster by posting a .973 OPS in 72 games back with Everett that earned him a bump up to Double-A.
Rangers: Cameron Cauley, SS/2B
Cauley’s hitting ability and big swagger in a small frame drew comparisons to Dustin Pedroia when he signed for an over-slot $1 million as a third-round pick in 2021. The Texas high school product has had some swing-and-miss issues in pro ball, but he’s driving the ball with authority, displaying plus-plus speed and providing quality defense at shortstop. He’s hitting .250/.328/.427 with 30 extra-base knocks and 29 steals in 82 games between Single-A and High-A.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Luis De Avila, LHP
It’s been quite a journey for a guy who was released by the Rockies, signed by the Royals and then taken in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft by the Braves. Given a chance to start in 2022, he’s run with it, leading the South Atlantic League in ERA last year. The move up to Double-A hasn’t slowed him down as his 2.95 ERA was third lowest in the Southern League, and he’s fourth in WHIP and BAA.
Marlins: Dane Myers, OF/3B/1B
A two-way player at Rice who initially focused on pitching after the Tigers drafted him in the sixth round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Myers became a full-time hitter following the pandemic and came to the Marlins via the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft last December. He has developing power, plus speed, arm strength and the versatility to play all three outfield spots and both infield corners. He batted .288/.295/.373 in July with Miami and is hitting .336/.426/.523 with 13 homers and 16 steals in 75 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
Mets: Christian Scott, RHP
Scott was limited to only 58 2/3 innings at Single-A and High-A for what should have been his first full season in 2022. He’s already gotten more starts in 2023 and has ascended to Double-A with significantly improved control (12 walks in 76 2/3 innings this summer) while showing a mid-90s fastball, promising slider and developing changeup. A former reliever at Florida, the right-hander might have needed a little extra time to grow into starting, but he’s looking like a solid Mets option for the second half of 2024.
Nationals: Daylen Lile, OF
The 2021 second-rounder entered pro ball with a strong reputation as a hitter, but he underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2022, meaning we had to wait another year to see the bat play in pro ball. It’s certainly done that in 2023. Lile hit .291/.381/.510 with 34 extra-base hits and 21 steals in 66 games for Single-A Fredericksburg this summer before getting promoted to High-A Wilmington in mid-July. He lacks the loud tools of other Nationals outfielder prospects like Dylan Crews, James Wood and Elijah Green, but if Lile keeps hitting like this, Washington will find a spot on the grass for him at some point.
Phillies: Orion Kerkering, RHP
While starting during his junior year at South Florida didn’t work out, it’s clear Kerkering has a future in a big league bullpen, and soon. He might have the best combination of pure stuff and strike-throwing in the Phillies’ organization and has pitched his way to Double-A in his first full season, striking out 12.9 batters per nine innings while walking just 1.8. This guy is going to pitch in high-leverage situations in the big leagues.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Yophery Rodriguez, OF
Milwaukee signed Rodriguez — then ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 22 international prospect — for $1.5 million out of Venezuela back in January, and he’s been a prominent DSL performer so far, hitting .284/.432/.514 with six homers in 43 games. Even more astounding, he’s walked 39 times and struck out only 28 times for a 1.4 BB/K ratio that ranks second among DSL players with at least 190 plate appearances. Milwaukee knows how to develop outfielders, and Rodriguez could be its next success story.
Cardinals: Victor Scott II, OF
We knew the 2022 fifth-rounder was fast coming into pro ball, considering his 80-grade speed, and he’s lived up to that reputation with 73 steals in 97 games at High-A and Double-A. Where Scott has surpassed expectations has been in the box. The 22-year-old has kept the strikeouts in check and put the ball in play, thus allowing his wheels to rev. With only four homers and 25 total extra-base hits, there still isn’t a ton of pop, but Scott is showing that he could hit for a high average and be an old-school tablesetter in the Majors.
Cubs: Jefferson Rojas, SS
The Cubs liked Rojas’ hitting ability enough to sign him for $1 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2022 and further showed their faith in him by sending him to Single-A as an 18-year-old this season. He’s holding his own by batting .256/.335/.405 with 16 extra-base hits in 45 games while also getting the job done defensively at shortstop.
Pirates: Jared Triolo, 3B
It was hard to know what to make of Triolo after a year with not a ton of offensive impact, at age 24, in Double-A in 2022, even though he played outstanding defense at third and showed he can handle other positions almost as well. Though he started this season late because of hamate surgery, he was hitting better in Triple-A and has looked very solid in his time up in the big leagues to date.
Reds: Lyon Richardson, RHP
Richardson began his career back in 2018 as a high school draftee with the Reds and has looked good when he’s been healthy. He struggled in 2021 and eventually had Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2022. Reports of him throwing well at instructs last fall were not exaggerated, and he carried that over to a fantastic 2023 season that’s included his big league debut.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Kristian Robinson, OF
Due to legal issues (which Robinson has said stemmed from mental health concerns) and eventual visa problems, Robinson hadn’t played in a Minor League game since 2019 before he made his season debut with Single-A Visalia on May 30. The former Top 100 prospect still has a good power-speed combo but is showing some rust with decently high K rates. He’s still only 22 and could be at least a starting Major League outfielder if everything continues to click with playing time.
Dodgers: Payton Martin, RHP
More of a shortstop than a pitcher as a North Carolina high schooler, Martin nonetheless showed enough on the mound for the Dodgers to draft him in the 17th round in 2022. He has been a revelation, working with a mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider in his first full pro season. They’ve translated into a 2.04 ERA, .213 opponent average and 48/15 K/BB ratio in 39 2/3 Single-A innings.
Giants: Wade Meckler, OF
Meckler hit .367 in his pro debut last summer and has posted a .370/.455/.500 line this year, ranking second in the Minors in batting and on-base percentage while rising from High-A to Triple-A. A 2022 eighth-round pick out of Oregon State, he’s a contact-over-power guy with plus speed and capable defense at all three outfield spots.
Padres: Brandon Valenzuela, C
San Diego officials were pleased with how Valenzuela added strength ahead of his age-22 season, and that proved true with his improved impact at High-A Fort Wayne, where he hit .279/.372/.456 with four homers in 39 games before moving up to Double-A for the first time in late June. While he’s been challenged offensively with San Antonio, Valenzuela has a decently high floor as a gifted defender behind the plate, and the early improvements provide hope that he can hit at least enough to be a Major League backstop.
Rockies: Dyan Jorge, SS
The Rockies were confident that Jorge’s international competition experience would help him transition to pro ball and so far, they’ve been right. After hitting .320/.402/.451 in the DSL after signing in 2022, he’s hit his way from the Arizona Complex League to full-season ball and has a combined .315/.394/.472 line over his first 45 combined games.