Who is the best prospect not in MLB right now? Here are 8 top candidates

Since my Top 100 went up in February, a number of the top players on the list — including my clear top three — have entered the big leagues and some have lost prospect eligibility. Adley Rutschman, Bobby Witt Jr. and Julio Rodriguez all look like they are in the big leagues to stay, along with others from my Top 25: Spencer Torkelson, Alek Thomas, Hunter Greene, Nolan Gorman and M.J. Melendez.

In addition, C.J. Abrams made his big league debut, though he has since been optioned to Triple-A. Riley Greene looked set to open the year in the big leagues if not for a foot injury — he just returned in Triple-A. Meanwhile, Oneil Cruz has just caught fire (in, you guessed it, Triple-A) and seems primed for a call-up.

An updated Top 100 already looks totally different up top, which will be only more true in another month. So we decided to answer the question: Who is the top prospect in the minor leagues right now?

Position Players

After consulting some sources, we settled on a list of six position players under consideration for the honor:

  • Abrams (No. 4 in the February Top 100), SS, Padres
  • Greene (5), CF, Tigers
  • Anthony Volpe (6), SS, Yankees
  • Francisco Alvarez (9), C, Mets
  • Gabriel Moreno (12), C, Blue Jays
  • Corbin Carroll (21), CF, Diamondbacks

As mentioned above, Abrams got a 20-game big league look and played pretty well, but is now back in Triple-A. Moreno is also playing well at Triple-A and could get a big league look soon. Since those two — and Greene, as well — are still in the minors, they qualify for this list, but they might not for much longer.

We have three more candidates one level lower, at Double-A: Volpe, Alvarez and Carroll. Carroll is the biggest riser among this group — he missed almost all of the 2021 season due to a shoulder surgery, so we were waiting to see how explosive he would be in his return. So far, it looks like the answer is extremely.

 

Pitchers

On the pitching side we have two candidates to take over at No. 1: Orioles RHP Grayson Rodriguez (No. 8 in February) and Guardians RHP Daniel Espino (35).

My top pitching prospect in the Top 100, Rodriguez just suffered a lat muscle strain after a Triple-A start last week. It looks like he will miss significant time, so he has now fallen a bit behind the hard-charging, fireballing Espino. Espino came out of the gates red-hot in Double-A this spring, sitting near 100 mph with a hellacious plus-plus breaking ball and improved command before dealing with patella tendinitis. All that combined for an outlandish line for a 21-year-old: 18 1/3 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 35 K.

Rodriguez’s injury doesn’t change his long-term outlook, but the time he’ll miss is just enough of an opening in some scouts’ eyes to slide Espino into that top spot. It’s still a toss-up around the industry, though.

Author: Lucy Green