A reminder on how this works: This is a list for the 2022 season only. It is not a list of the top overall prospects, but the players who have the best chance of making a difference in 2022.
Also, it’s only a list of prospects who are currently in the minors/have prospect eligibility, so players on MLB teams do not count.
Those warnings out of the way, here’s a look at the top prospects who have a chance to make a fantasy contribution in 2022.
1. Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers
2022 stats: 14 G, .296/.377/.389, 1 HR, 3 SB, 7 BB, 9 SO at High-A Lakeland and Triple-A Toledo.
If you're looking for something to complain about with Greene's numbers, it's that he's not showing much power since his return from a foot fracture near the end of May. He's still getting on and hitting for average, however, and he has multiple hits in two of his last three games. Greene is a player who can do a little bit of everything, and a little bit of everything well. It's just a matter of time until he's playing everyday with Detroit.
2. Oneil Cruz, SS/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
2022 stats: 49 G, .236/.344/.440, 9 HR, 11 SB, 28 BB, 53 SO at Triple-A Indianapolis.
This is getting a little frustrating. I can't even imagine how frustrating it is for Cruz. Those numbers above aren't close to representing how good he's been for most of the season, and (obviously) not indicative of his talent. Cruz is an incredible talent, and fantasy managers who have him on their roster should be patient. Boy is this frustrating, however. There's been nothing since May that suggests he doesn't deserve to be on an MLB roster.
3. C.J. Abrams, SS, San Diego Padres
2022 stats: 25 G, .302/.357/.466, 5 HR, 7 SB, 7 BB, 19 SO at Triple-A El Paso; 20 G, .182/.270/.273, 1 HR, 1 SB, 4 BB, 14 SO at San Diego.
Abrams was starting to play better, but things really escalated over the weekend. The impressive 21-year-old went 5-for-6 against Albuquerque on Saturday, and followed it up with a 3-for-5 on Sunday with a stolen base. The only reason Abrams ranks this "low" is that there are no guarantees that he gets a chance to play for San Diego again. If he does get the chance, there's a bunch of categories he can contribute in, don't be fooled by the poor numbers in the small sample.
4. Josh Lowe, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
2022 stats: 32 G, .289/.370/.504, 5 HR, 5 SB, 16 BB, 43 SO at Triple-A Durham; 19 G, .188/.257/.344, 1 HR, 6 BB, 27 SO at Tampa Bay.
Lowe is starting to see the hits fall as of late, as he had a couple of three-hit games over the week to help boost his average by close to 20 points since our last update. He's also starting to draw more walks, and Tampa Bay has to be thrilled to see a better approach at the plate. Lowe isn't guaranteed to receive a promotion -- no one here outside of Greene and Cruz (?) is -- but the power/speed combination is awfully tantalizing in both the short and long term.
5. Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox
2022 stats: 42 G, .305/.376/.517, 5 HR, 11 SB, 19 BB, 48 SO at Triple-A Worcester; 3 G, .308/.357/.462, 1 HR, 0 BB, 5 SO at Boston.
Duran got a brief chance to play with Boston again last week before being sent down, and again, I must point out that he technically isn't a prospect. Some of you may wonder why I have Duran listed here but no Jarred Kelenic. The answer is it's different and I'm really not sure why, but it is (by the way, I still have a boatload of optimism for Kelenic, if you were curious). Duran is still an outfielder who can help in a few categories, and at some point, I believe Boston is going to carve out a regular role for him.
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6. Brayan Bello, RHP, Boston Red Sox
2022 stats: 11 G, 62 IP, 2.47 ERA, 24 BB, 84 SO at Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester.
Bello had one of his worst starts of the year last week while giving up a season-high three runs, but bounced back nicely with eight strikeouts over six innings of two-run baseball on Saturday against Buffalo. Also, it's worth pointing out that one of your worst starts being one where you allow three runs? Pretty good. Bello has excellent stuff, and the Red Sox rotation has some serious questions. If Boston gives him a chance, fantasy managers should do the same.
7. Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Kansas City Royals
2022 stats: 56 G, .286/.380/.631, 17 HR, 3 SB, 31 BB, 33 SO at Triple-A Omaha.
Pasquantino is just 7-for-35 over his last 10 games, but he added a pair of homers last week, and he drew six free passes to help the ole on-base percentage. Simply put, Pasquantino is one of the best pure hitters at the upper-level, and he looks more than ready to be helpful with the Royals, and in turn to fantasy managers. If he could play any other position, he'd rank considerably higher on this -- and any other -- list.
8. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
2022 stats: 9 G, 40.2 IP, 1.77 ERA, 16 BB, 55 SO at Triple-A Oklahoma City; 3 G, 11.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 11 BB, 13 SO at Los Angeles (NL).
Pepiot was only able to go 4 2/3 innings on Thursday, but he also allowed only a run while striking out six. Most importantly, the right-hander from Butler didn't walk anyone; the first time at any level that he didn't issue a walk in 2022. Pepiot's stuff is unquestionable, and he's shown as much in the majors. You just have to be cognizant of the fact that there are going to be free passes, so be prepared to take a hit in the WHIP when he's starting games for you. The loss of Walker Buehler could lead to more starts for him soon.
9. Gunnar Henderson, INF, Baltimore Orioles
2022 stats: 53 G, .309/.460/.560, 9 HR, 12 SB, 49 BB, 41 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
Welcome to the list Gunnar. We've been expecting you. Henderson got the promotion to Triple-A last week, and in his six games, the former second-round pick has hit .278/.519/.444 with a homer and eight walks over six games. The infielder is playing both shortstop and third base for the Tides, and is a left-handed hitter with the ability to hit for power, steal bases and has really improved his approach at the plate. Henderson is just as likely to finish the year in Triple-A as he is in Baltimore, but he deserves a spot on this list because the talent is too tough to ignore. Keep an eye on him.
10. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
2022 stats: 49 G, .323/.443/.646, 14 HR, 19 SB, 36 BB, 57 SO at Double-A Amarillo.
Carroll is just ridiculous. Over his last 10 games, the outfielder is slashing .425/.500/.700 with a pair of homers and four stolen bases in five attempts. Just like Henderson, the chances of Carroll reaching the majors isn't great, and in fact, it's more likely than not he's not going to make his debut in 2022. All that being said, Carroll is a special talent, and he has the ability to contribute in every category imaginable. He just might be the best prospect in baseball right now still in the minors.