MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2023 Top 100 Prospects checklist at 7 pm ET on Thursday, Jan. 26, with a one-hour present on MLB Network and MLB.com. Leading as much as the discharge of the Top 100, we’ll study baseball’s prime 10 prospects at every place.
Now, it is a enjoyable debate.
Grayson Rodriguez completed 2022 as our prime pitching prospect. Andrew Painter shot out of the gate to win MLB Pipeline’s Pitching Prospect of the Year Award in his first full season. Eury Pérez flashed potential from his towering 6-foot-8 body in Double-A at simply 19 years previous.
So who’s the highest right-handed pitching prospect in baseball? In the tip, we went with the man in Phillies pink. But it was shut. Very shut.
It’s a debate we may very well be having for a while, albeit on the Major League degree quickly. Nine of the ten hurlers named to MLB Pipeline’s 2023 preseason Top 10 RHP Prospects checklist have estimated occasions of arrival of 2023. The just one who would not is No. 9 Mick Abel, who completed 2022 with 5 Double-A begins and will nonetheless minimize the road to make a debut this summer time in his personal proper. If these graduations all come to move as anticipated, subsequent yr’s checklist may have a really completely different look. We have a full season forward to review for that debate too.
The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Andrew Painter, Phillies (2023)
2. Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles (2023)
3. Eury Perez, Marlins (2023)
4. Daniel Espino, Guardians (2023)
5. Taj Bradley, Rays (2023)
6. Bobby Miller, Dodgers (2023)
7. Gavin Williams, Guardians (2023)
8. Hunter Brown, Astros (2023)
9. Mick Abel, Phillies (2024)
10. Gavin Stone, Dodgers (2023)
Complete checklist »
Top 10 prospects by place:
RHP | LHP
1/26: Top 100
Fastball: Espino (80)
The 2019 twenty fourth total decide appeared like he was on his method to an eye-popping season within the spring of 2022 when he was sitting 98-100 mph — whereas touching 102-103 — in Spring Training, and he stored the warmth coming over 4 begins with Double-A Akron, hanging out 35 batters in 18 1/3 innings earlier than an damage ended his season prematurely. As if the rate wasn’t sufficient, Espino’s fastball comes with a number of carry, additional solidifying its 80 diploma.
Curveball: Brown (65)
The 24-year-old right-hander climbed to the Majors and made Houston’s postseason roster, partly due to the dominance of his low-80s curve. The 12-to-6 providing has loads of energy and chew to generate whiffs. Without a high quality changeup, Brown used his curveball as his featured secondary in opposition to lefties within the Majors. The outcomes: a .148 opponents’ common in opposition to and a 30.4 % whiff charge.
Slider: Espino (70)
Espino would not solely throw his fastball exhausting. Last spring, he was zipping the breaking pitch within the low-90s, giving him a extra horizontal pitch, albeit one with heater velocity. Before that, the Cleveland righty had proven a capability to control the pace of the pitch, relying on how a lot depth he needed on it; the wealth of choices left hitters befuddled. So a lot for anybody even attempting to take a seat on the triple-digit fastball.
Changeup: Rodriguez, Pérez, Stone (70)
Lefties beware. These righties have one thing in retailer for you too. All three confirmed off mid-80s changeups that appeared near their fastballs out of their arms, solely to tumble and fade beneath waving bats. Neither Rodriguez (.157), Pérez (.204) nor Stone (.216) had lefties increased than .220 in opposition to them in 2022, on account of these spectacular modifications.
Control: Painter (65)
Hitters are supposed to be extra affected person as you climb the ladder, proper? Consider this: the 19-year-old Painter completed out his first full season at Double-A Reading, the place he was greater than 5 years youthful than the typical participant. He walked solely two batters in 28 1/3 innings throughout his time there. His 6.2 % stroll charge throughout three ranges was the bottom amongst teenage pitchers with at the very least 70 frames in 2022. The 6-foot-7 righty’s capability to pitch within the zone improved because the season wore on, and it may very well be plus-plus by the tip of 2023 if he continues on this trajectory.
Highest ceiling: Painter
The 2021 thirteenth total decide gave everybody a style of his ceiling with a 1.56 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 155 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings throughout these three ranges in his first full season, and he has the stuff to again up the outcomes with a fastball that may contact triple-digits, a plus high-spin slider and two extra pitches in his curve and alter that hold hitters guessing. That’s just the start. Painter solely turns 20 in April and certain has some growth forward of him nonetheless. Be scared, National League East.
Highest ground: Rodriguez
The O’s hurler nearly actually would have debuted within the Majors in 2022 if not for a Grade 2 lat pressure that stored him out for 3 months. He appeared nearly prepared by his return to the Triple-A rotation in September too, earlier than the season ran out on him. The 23-year-old’s deep four-pitch combine and plus management have lengthy made him a possible ace, however even when the stuff takes a slight step again sooner or later, he is possible nonetheless a mid-rotation possibility for Baltimore.
Rookie of the Year Award candidate: Rodriguez
If he can get by means of this spring wholesome, Rodriguez is a powerful candidate to open the season within the Orioles’ rotation and can be a ROY candidate from his first pitch. His innings would possibly must be managed some — he is but to throw greater than 103 in a Minor League season — however he is a greater prospect than Spencer Strider was at the moment final yr. We noticed what he completed when given a full yr within the bigs.
Highest riser & humblest starting: Stone
The Dodgers chosen the Central Arkansas right-hander within the fifth spherical of the shortened 2020 Draft, which means he was their closing decide that yr. Stone signed for simply $97,500 (nicely beneath the $327,200 assigned to his slot because the penultimate decide in the entire course of) and he wasn’t thought-about among the many Dodgers’ Top 30 prospects coming into his first full season. He’s fanned 306 batters in 212 2/3 innings over 4 full-season ranges since then and now suits comfortably on the Top 100 total checklist with three above-average pitches and good management.
Most to show: Espino
We’ve already listed how depraved the Panama native’s stuff could be. Now, can he be wholesome? Espino first missed time with a knee situation in 2022 and a shoulder damage stored him on the shelf all through the summer time. He completed the yr with solely 4 Double-A begins. In our latest Executive Prospect Poll, front-office members thought he’d be the most probably Minor Leaguer to turn into a dominant nearer sometime, partly as a result of the damage issues would possibly transfer him to the bullpen. It’s as much as him this yr to show he can take common turns within the rotation and turn into Cleveland’s subsequent homegrown beginning star.
Keep a watch on: Tink Hence, Cardinals
St. Louis has been very cautious in how he has utilized the 2020 63rd total decide so far — first giving him solely eight complex-level outings in 2021 after which capping him at 60 pitches down the stretch in Low-A final yr. The arsenal is extremely good, nonetheless. Hence was round 94-97 mph along with his fastball with Palm Beach and bought a number of swings-and-misses on his curveball and changeup, to say nothing of his slider with good depth. The child gloves will come off somewhat extra in 2023, and if the stuff holds up deeper into begins, Hence may simply discover his manner onto a Top 10 RHP checklist quickly.