One of the tough things about having a Top 100 prospect list is that you are literally limited to just 100 prospects. While comfortable with the names that were included in that list, there are certainly a great deal more than 100 players that currently qualify as potential impact MLB players.
So, we thought we’d share a few of the names that just missed the list, and tell you why they have a chance to be top 100 prospects before the end of the season.
And, of course, you can check out that Top 100 prospect list by checking out the NBC Sports EDGE 2022 Draft Guide. It’s available in stores now, or you can get the online version right here, which will be updated with lots of cool stuff in the coming weeks.
Harry Ford, C, Seattle Mariners -- Prospect 102. You’ll have to keep reading on to see who prospect 101 was. Drafted 13th overall by the Mariners over the summer, Ford has exceptional athleticism regardless of what position he’s projected to play, but things escalate when you consider he’s very likely to stick behind the plate. He has tremendous bat speed, and as he gains strength, the 18-year-old should be able to put up solid power numbers. The hit tool isn’t far behind, as Ford can make hard contact to all parts of the field, and has an advanced approach at the plate. Because of his age there’s some risk with Ford -- and the catching position being loaded is another reason for him just missing being on the list -- but the reward is a catcher who not only can hit for a decent average with 25-plus homers, but also a backstop who can steal bases with plus speed.
Matt McLain, SS, Cincinnati Reds -- The Diamondbacks took McLain with the 25th pick of the 2018 draft out of high school, but he instead went to UCLA. Three years later, the 22-year-old was selected by the Reds eight picks earlier, and was considered by many to be the best shortstop prospect in the class. The calling card here is his potential hit grade, as he has impressive bat-to-ball ability and can spray line drives to every part of the park. His power isn’t going to reach those marks -- barring a significant change in swing plane -- but he can turn on fastballs and should be able to hit 15-to-20 homers as well if he maxes out. McLain is also an above-average runner who reads pitchers well, so he has a good chance to put up a similar amount of steals. There are some defensive question marks, but wherever McLain plays, he has a chance to be a fantasy regular.
Andy Pages, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Pages impressed in 2019 with a .691 slugging percentage and 19 homers in just 63 games in the Pioneer League, and he showed that power was legit in 2021 with 31 roundtrippers and a .265/.394/.539 slash for High-A Great Lakes in 2021. Signed out of Cuba in 2017, the 21-year-old has slowly developed into one of the best prospects in the Dodgers system, in large part because there’s at least plus power in his right-handed bat. The length in his swing helps produce some of that pop, but also leads to strikeouts that will hurt his help in the average category. He does have a quality approach at the plate, however, and deserves a bump up in on-base percentage leagues. He needs to show he can do it at the higher levels, but Pages could be a 30-homer regular, and is more than worth consideration in dynasty leagues.
Geraldo Perdomo, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks -- This makes back-to-back years that Perdomo has made the “just missed” list, and it was tough to keep him off the Top 100 in both occasions. A 22-year-old who reached the majors in 2021, Perdomo should rank higher on lists that don’t have fantasy implications because he’s a very good defender at shortstop who should provide plenty of value with the glove. There’s some offensive upside here as well -- obviously, since he’s being mentioned here -- with a line-drive swing and the speed that suggests he can help in the steals category. Perdomo is more high-floor than high-ceiling because so much of his value is defensive, but there’s just enough offensive upside to suggest fantasy relevance in the coming years.
Miguel Vargas, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Vargas has been in the Dodgers’ system since 2017, and slowly but surely has developed into a potential fantasy regular, a la Pages. He has plus power in his right-handed bat, but unlike Pages, there’s a chance for average thanks to his ability to use the whole field and a controlled swing that keeps the contact issues to a low roar. He will need to continue to improve his approach at the plate, and also his lack of speed makes a move from third base to first base a strong possibility. Still, if Vargas can stick at the hot corner, he’s got the potential to help in a few categories, and there’s considerable upside in his right-handed bat even if he has to play first.
Mick Abel, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies -- The Phillies drafted Abel with the 15th pick of the 2020 Draft, and while the right-hander had a mixed first professional season in terms of results with a 4.43 ERA in 44 2/3 innings, he also showed off his potential with 66 strikeouts and a .174 average allowed in that timeframe. He’s still filling out his frame but already has a fastball that can get up to 98 mph, and there are three secondary pitches that get above-average grades. He generally throws strikes, but he’s still working on repeating his delivery, and the off-speed stuff will need to show more consistency. There’s time for him to do that as a player who doesn’t turn 21 until August, and if he does, he can pitch at or near the top of a rotation.
Sam Bachman, RHP, Los Angeles Angels -- Bachman was taken with the ninth pick of the 2021 draft out of Miami of Ohio, and while that’s not exactly considered a baseball powerhouse (all due respect to Charlie Leibrandt), he has a chance to be another impressive arm that comes out of a smaller school. He has gotten his fastball up to 101 mph without much effort and a decent amount of movement, and his slider gives him a second potential plus-plus pitch. There’s also a decent change here, but he needs to continue the development of that offering, and he can do a better job of throwing all three pitches for strikes. Bachman could be dominant in relief if he doesn’t improve his command, but the Angels will give him a chance to develop into a starter, and it’s not hard to see him being fantasy relevant in either role.
Matt Brash, RHP, Seattle Mariners -- Seattle acquired Brash in a deal for Taylor Williams from the Padres in 2020, and with all due respect to Williams, it’s a deal that the Padres could end up regretting. A lot. He struck out 142 hitters in just-over 97 innings with a 2.31 ERA while reaching Double-A, and even got a promotion to Seattle to end the year, although he didn’t get a chance to pitch. The 23-year-old has seen a big increase in his velocity and now can touch the high 90s, and his change is another plus pitch that comes from the same arm speed. He’ll need to improve his slider to start, but he throws everything for strikes, and the command isn’t far behind the control. Brash is basically a finished product, and looks like a mid-rotation starter who can miss enough bats for relevancy in most leagues.
Daniel Espino, RHP, Cleveland Guardians -- Cleveland has done as good of job as anyone at developing arms, and they appear to have another potential strong option in Espino. Drafted with the 21st pick of 2019 draft, the right-hander has three pitches that can miss bats; starting with a high 90 mph fastball and often finishing with a wipeout slider. His curveball is not far behind that level, and he’ll also show a fringy change to keep hitters honest. There’s no questioning Espino’s stuff, but the ability to locate it is still in doubt, and even when throwing strikes he doesn’t always hit his spots. That’s true of a lot of pitchers that are this young -- he spent the 2021 season as a 20-year-old -- but it’s just enough of a concern to keep him off the Top 100. For now.
Eury Perez, RHP, Miami Marlins -- Prospect 101, as promised. The Marlins are absolutely loaded with pitching prospects right now, but there are some in the industry who believe that it’s Perez -- not Max Meyer, Sixto Sanchez or Edward Cabrera -- who ranks as the top prospect in the system. It’s tough to argue based on the results, as he struck out 106 hitters in 78 innings against 26 walks while registering a 1.96 ERA at the Low-A and High-A levels, respectively. Standing at 6-foot-8, Perez can reach the high 90s with his fastball and there’s still projection left, and he complements that heater with a swing-and-miss curve and improving change. He needs to do a better job of locating his arsenal, and he’ll also have to show he can do it at the higher levels. All that being said, Perez has massive potential, and could easily pitch at the top of a rotation in the coming years.