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Prospect Roundup

Top 10 Prospects: May 2

by Christopher Crawford

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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. Nolan Gorman, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals

2022 stats: 20 G, .321/.372/.769, 11 HR, 0 SB, 6 BB, 30 SO at Triple-A Memphis. 

It's time. It's time to make Gorman the top prospect on this list, and it's time for St. Louis to give him a shot at the highest level. That strikeout-to-walk ratio is a bit concerning, but the ball jumps off the 21-year-old's bat, and that power is going to play at any level. It's time. Add him to your roster now before it's too late. Easy call. 

2. Oneil Cruz, SS/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

2022 stats: 19 G, .176/.282/.284, 1 HR, 7 SB, 10 BB, 28 SO at Triple-A Indianapolis. 

The reason for Cruz dropping to the second spot has more to do with Gorman than it is insult to him. Having said that, the numbers here are ugly, and the Pirates aren't going to call up a hitter with a .566 OPS (note: this doesn't mean Pittsburgh was right to leave Cruz off the roster to begin the year). There's still plenty of reason to think he can help by the end of the year, but if you have the choice to roster Gorman or Cruz right now, go with the former.

3. Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 4 G, .462/.533/.692, 0 HR, 0 SB, 2 BB, 0 SO at High-A Aberdeen. 

Rutschman made the return to the field last week from a triceps injury, and as you can see from those numbers, it went well. He'll take his rehab assignment up to Double-A Bowie now. This is a switch-hitting backstop who can hit for average and power, and he looks like he's ready to contribute at the highest level. He has top-dozen catching ability the minute he's promoted to Baltimore. 

4. Alek Thomas, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

2022 stats: 20 G, .271/.344/.482, 3 HR, 1 SB, 9 BB, 15 SO at Triple-A Reno.

Thomas added a homer last week, and also drew five walks in that time frame. He's not running much, which is a bit of a concern because that's a big part of his fantasy appeal. Even without the thefts his chance to hit for average and power is something worth consideration, and he looks like he's ready to contribute at the highest level. It should happen relatively soon. 

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.

It looked like Greene was on his way to making the Opening Day roster with Spencer Torkelson for the Tigers, but baseball can be pretty cruel sometimes. Instead of squaring off against the White Sox on April 8, Greene will be out ‘thanks’ to a fracture in his right foot. He’s not expected to need surgery, but the fracture will keep him out 6-8 weeks. He still deserves to be placed on this list as an outfielder capable of helping in several categories, and he should be back with Detroit before the end of June. It’d be a lot easier to justify carrying him on the roster if you could place him on the injured list, but he’s a must-add as soon as Detroit gives him the chance. 

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6. Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox

2021 stats: 13 G, .360/.458/.560, 1 HR, 7 SB, 9 BB, 13 SO at Triple-A Worcester.

A massive week for Duran, one that saw him pick up his first homer of the Triple-A season. Over the last 10 games, the outfielder is hitting .368/.455/.605, and he's swiped five bags for good measure. The only reason Duran ranks this "low" is because there is no obvious landing spot for him right now. If/when he gets the call, the fantasy potential is significant. He may force the issue if he keeps this up. 

7. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 5 G, 21.2 IP, 4.15 ERA, 5 BB, 33 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.

Rodriguez has been so dominant over the last two years that seeing any sign of struggle is hard to believe. That being said, it was a rough week for the best pitching prospects in the sport, however, as he gave up eight runs in 7 1/3 innings. Considering how good he was in his previous three starts -- and considering how spectacular he was in 2021 -- it's tough to be too concerned. Rodriguez has sensational stuff, and should be with the Orioles by the time we get to June. 

8. Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox

2022 stats: 23 G, .262/.388/.500, 5 HR, 0 SB, 17 BB, 23 SO at Triple-A Worcester. 

Casas was struggling to end the month of April, but had a tremendous weekend against Triple-A Buffalo that culminated with a double and homer on Sunday. Even as the his weren't dropping the first baseman was still showing a quality approach at the plate, with four walks in his last five games. The Red Sox are struggling to score runs, and Casas along with Duran represent two of their best prospects that are a step below the highest level. It shouldn't shock anyone if either -- or both -- get a shot soon. 

9. Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto Blue Jays

2022 stats: 14 G, .275/.327/.353, 0 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 12 SO at Triple-A Buffalo. 

And speaking of Buffalo. Moreno is going through a rough patch to open the year and not driving the baseball, but he did have a two-hit game on Sunday, and the hits should start to fall in soon for one of the best catching prospects in the sport. Moreno is more of a two-catcher option to begin his career than someone who can be slotted right into the lineup, but those who are rostering weaker options should look at Moreno if Toronto turns to him.

10. Max Meyer, RHP, Miami Marlins

2022 stats: 5 G, 26.1 IP, 1.71 ERA, 6 BB, 33 SO at Triple-A Jacksonville. 

Yet another strong start for Meyer as he continues his impressive run for the Jumbo Shrimp. On Saturday he pitched into the seventh inning for the first time, and he allowed just a run with six strikeouts against one walk over 6 2/3 innings against Charlotte. There are long-term concerns that because of his size that Meyer may need to be a reliever, but in the short-term, he has the stuff to be successful, and it's not difficult at all to see early success for the 23-year-old. 

Next in line: Shane Baz, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays; Royce Lewis, INF/OF, Minnesota Twins; Nick Pratto, 1B, Kansas City Royals; Brennen Davis, OF, Chicago Cubs

Christopher Crawford

Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for NBC Sports EDGE and also appears on the Circling the Bases Podcast.