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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. Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles
2022 stats: 16 G, .304/.426/.446, 1 HR, 0 SB, 10 BB, 7 SO at High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.
The numbers above are solid, but it's worth pointing out that in nine games at the Triple-A level, Rutschman is hitting just .194/.359/.290 in 31 at-bats. Tough to be too upset about a small sample like that from a player as talented as he is, but just wanted to provide some context. Rutschman is the best catcher -- and best overall prospect -- in the minors, and it's just a matter of time until he's up with Baltimore and helping fantasy rosters. Be ready.
2. C.J. Abrams, SS, San Diego Padres
2022 stats: 5 G, .217/.308/.609, 3 HR, 3 SB, 2 BB, 8 SO at Triple-A El Paso; 20 G, .182/.270/.273, 1 HR, 1 SB, 4 BB, 14 SO at San Diego.
I'll be frank with you. When I heard Abrams was being sent down to Triple-A, my thought was that I was going to place him at the top of this list. That's no disrespect to Rutschman or anyone else, but a compliment to Abrams. Ultimately, I keep Rutschman in the top spot because it's easier to see him in the majors sooner, and that matters. That being said, Abrams has the chance to contribute in more categories, and his upside competes with any prospect in the sport.
3. Nolan Gorman, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
2022 stats: 32 G, .282/.360/.693, 14 HR, 2 SB, 12 BB, 49 SO at Triple-A Memphis.
It's been a bit of a rough patch for Gorman as of late, as his average dropped more than 20 points since we last updated, and that's largely because he struck out 15 times over his last 10 games. He also added two more homers including one on Sunday, so it hasn't all been bitter for the infielder. Gorman is going to be a wild card in the average category, but his plus-plus power from the left side makes him a must fantasy add when St. Louis adds him to their roster. It should be happening relatively soon, but no guarantees.
4. Oneil Cruz, SS/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
2022 stats: 30 G, .185/.302/.328, 3 HR, 8 SB, 18 BB, 38 SO at Triple-A Indianapolis.
121.7. On Friday, Cruz hit a single 121.7 miles per hour. This is not a misprint. I wrote it twice to make sure you understood that Cruz hit a baseball a 121.7 miles per hour last week. The numbers here are bad. I'm just having a hard time believing they're indicative of what Cruz is because he hit a baseball 121.7 miles per hour on Friday. There's just way too much upside to rank him any lower than this.
5. Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers
2021 stats: 124 G, .301/.387/.534, 24 HR, 16 SB, 63 BB, 153 SO at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.
For the first time since he fractured his foot in a spring training game on April 2, Greene was able to run on the ground for the first time last week. The plan now is to ramp up baseball activities with the hope that the outfielder can join the Tigers at some point in June. The fact he ranks this highly with no chance to be called up until that point should tell you everything you need to know about how talented he is.
6. Josh Lowe, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
2022 stats: 11 G, .275/.348/.675, 4 HR, 2 SB, 5 BB, 21 SO at Triple-A Durham; 19 G, .188/.257/.344, 1 HR, 6 BB, 27 SO at Tampa Bay.
Whew. Lowe got off to a bad start upon his demotion, but to say he's bounced back is quite the understatement. He's had multiple hits in three of his last five games including a three-hit effort against Gwinnett on Saturday, and it's a friendly reminder of why he was considered a top 50 prospect coming into the 2022 season. Lowe is too good for Triple-A, the only question is when the Rays will give him a second chance at the highest level. When they do, fantasy managers should do the same.
7. Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox
2022 stats: 22 G, .330/.404/.511, 2 HR, 10 SB, 11 BB, 21 SO at Triple-A Worcester; 1 G, .250/.400/.750, 0 HR, 0 BB, 1 SO at Boston.
Full disclosure, Duran is technically no longer a prospect after appearing in one game last week for the Red Sox. I'm still keeping him on the list because that rule is silly, and because quite frankly there aren't enough high-upside bats to place above him. His approach at the plate has shown marked improvement, and there's still the same power/speed combination for the 25-year-old. The only reason he ranks this "low" is because it's going to take an injury or deal for Duran to get playing time, but he's more than worth a roster spot when it happens again.
8. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
2022 stats: 7 G, 32 IP, 3.09 ERA, 10 BB, 46 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.
Rodriguez only made one start for the Tides over the week, but it was a good one; five innings of one-run baseball with eight strikeouts against Triple-A Memphis. His numbers are skewed by one bad start, as 5-of-11 earned runs given up by the right-hander came against Gwinnett in his outing on May 1. Rodriguez is ready to roll, and even in Baltimore where win chances won't be fruitful, the rest of the stats should make him fantasy relevant from the get.
9. Max Meyer, RHP, Miami Marlins
2022 stats: 7 G, 36.1 IP, 2.97 ERA, 10 BB, 43 SO at Triple-A Jacksonville.
Meyer proved he was human with easily his worst start of the season on Thursday, as the right-hander gave up six runs in five innings and allowed three homers to Nashville. Disappointing to be sure, but tough to get too worked up considering how good he's been in his previous outings. The Marlins lost Jesus Luzardo to a forearm strain this weekend, and while Edward Cabrera is already on the 40-man roster and intriguing himself, it'd be Meyer who I'd be stashing right now as a potential replacement.
10. Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto Blue Jays
2022 stats: 23 G, .295/.354/.352, 0 HR, 1 SB, 8 BB, 19 SO at Triple-A Buffalo.
Average? Check. On-base percentage? Climbing. Power? Not so much. Moreno has hit five doubles in his 23 games, but he has no extra-base hits since May 6. He's not an elite potential power hitter, but he does appear to have above-average pop in his right-handed bat, so it's at least a little concerning. Not enough to take him off this list, however, especially as a backstop who has an advanced hit tool and would get a chance to play in a loaded Blue Jays' lineup whenever they make the call.