With the offseason now upon us, prospect ranking season is in full swing. I’ve already released my updated top-250 overall rankings on FantraxHQ and now decided I’d have a little fun. We’re always searching for the next big thing. It’s our natural instinct as dynasty players and prospect hounds. That’s what this piece today is all about. I’ve decided to hop in my time machine and fast forward two years to project the top-25 dynasty prospects in 2023. Well, really, you could say mid-2022 as my main objective here was to include both the 2021 and 2022 MLB draft classes. Why? You’ll find out soon enough.
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Projected Top-25 Dynasty Prospects in 2023
1. Noelvi Marte (SS – SEA)
Picking this #1 overall slot was more difficult than I anticipated. What it all boiled down to for me was the massive power/speed upside that Noelvi Marte possesses. While everyone was gushing about Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez (rightfully so), Marte quickly skyrocketed up prospect rankings with arguably the best power/speed ceiling of any current prospect. Thanks to near double-plus raw power and plus or better speed, Marte has legit 30/30 aspirations and has made strides with his approach at the plate as well. There’s still plenty of work to be done, both with the approach and defensively as well, but the upside here is enormous. Even if he moves off short, Marte has fantasy stud upside.
— Mariners Player Development (@MsPlayerDev) October 24, 2020
2. Marco Luciano (SS – SFG)
This is the player that I’m assuming many thought would be #1 overall when opening up this article. While Luciano possesses a higher AVG/HR upside than Marte, he only projects as an average runner for me down the road and the 10+ fewer steals give Marte the edge for me. That’s not to say Luciano can’t provide any speed. As I mentioned, he’s likely going to be around an average runner, maybe a tick above with the ability to get into the 12-15 SB range annually. Honestly, the speed is gravy on top of the massive Hit/Power ceiling Luciano brings to the table which could be in the 60-hit, 70-power range when his development is all said and done. With .300/35/15 upside, there aren’t many prospects in the minors today with more pure upside. You can count them on one hand.
Marco Luciano reached base twice vs the Rockies, including this 0-1 HR (119 EV). pic.twitter.com/EgxJ41g0FR
— SFGProspects (@SFGProspects) November 1, 2020
3. Bobby Witt Jr. (SS – KC)
While there’s a chance Bobby Witt Jr has exhausted his prospect eligibility by now, I’m going to include him anyway. The #2 overall pick after Adley Rutschman in the 2019 draft possesses a tantalizing power/speed blend that could lead to him pushing 30/30 down the road. That power and speed have been very apparent, but there are still questions surrounding his contact skills and pitch recognition at the plate. Witt has quieted some of those concerns since the draft but will need to continue improving in those areas if he wants to reach that lofty ceiling I mentioned above. If those improvements continue, watch out. There aren’t many prospects in baseball right now that have more pure offensive upside than Witt Jr.
4. Kristian Robinson (OF – ARI)
Speaking of big power/speed blends, prospect fanatics are very familiar with the compelling upside that Kristian Robinson brings to the table. The soon to be 20-year-old Bahamas native has racked up 21 homers and 29 steals in just 122 professional games so far with a .281/.366/.474 slash line. He’s still a little too groundball happy with a near 50% rate, but Robinson has flashed his plus power often as a professional, recording an estimated FB distance of 303.9 feet in 2018 and 313 feet in 2019 according to Prospects Live. With an above-average hit tool, plus raw power, and plus speed, Robinson brings the entire package to the table offensively with the chance to develop into someone we draft in the early rounds of fantasy drafts down the road.
5. C.J. Abrams (SS – SDP)
Honestly, I wanted to rank CJ Abrams higher than this, but couldn’t bring myself to put him above the two power/speed dynamos above him. With Abrams, it all starts with his plus hit tool and double-plus speed. Those, along with his advanced pitch recognition and eye at the plate, should allow him to slot in at the top of the Padres order in the future with .300/35+ upside.
But the beautiful thing about Abrams is that he has some power projection to add to that hit/speed mix as well. He’ll probably never be a 20+ home run threat, but I do believe he can get to around average power and add around 15 homers annually. He’s already shown the uncanny ability to barrel the ball up consistently with plus bat speed. Added bulk should come as well. Abrams dazzled in his brief pro debut, slashing .393/.436/.647 with 24 extra-base hits and 15 steals in 34 games, and is already one of the most exciting prospects in the game.
6. Zac Veen (OF – COL)
Of course Zac Veen was going to be incredibly high on this list. If you know me, this should come as no surprise. At this point, I’m expecting Zac Veen to be either in high-A or maybe even Double-A, mashing homers at a high rate. The #9 overall pick and my #2 for 2020 fantasy FYPDs combines a potential future plus hit tool and double-plus raw power with at least average speed and a great makeup and work ethic. Veen has already drawn comps to Cody Bellinger and it’s not hard to see why. This is a potential .280+/35+/10+ offensive stud in the making that will get to call Coors Field home someday. With that Coors Field magic, who knows how high the ceiling will be for Veen. One can certainly dream.
7. Jasson Dominguez (OF – NYY)
If you didn’t think Marco Luciano was going to be the top dog, I’m sure your money was on Jasson Dominguez. You’re probably also a little hot under the color that he’s not even in my top-5. Here’s why. We’ve all seen the videos on Twitter recently of an incredibly buff Dominguez hitting tanks from both sides of the plate. With all that added bulk, it’s fair to wonder if Dominguez’s long-term speed upside is going to be as high as originally thought. Dominguez still might not be done growing too. But hey, we’re really splitting hairs at this point. Even if he’s more of a 15-steal threat, Dominguez’s offensive upside is off the charts with easy plus or better raw power from both sides of the plate and a great feel for the barrel. This type of bat in Yankee Stadium is a match made in baseball heaven.
8. Elijah Green (OF – IMG Academy, 2022 Class)
Honestly, Elijah Green could be #1 on this list, but I’ll resist that temptation and slot him here at #8. I’m not sure I can remember a high school bat with this much upside since Byron Buxton was taken #1 overall way back in 2012. That will be a full decade before Green will be drafted in 2022, very likely with the #1 overall selection. Whichever lucky team gets that selection will be getting a player with plus tools across the board. It’s not very often that a prospect comes along that projects to have plus to double-plus grades on his hit tool, power, and speed. Green is already producing illustrious exit velocities for his age and is able to drive the ball with authority to all fields. It’s obviously many years off, but you can’t help but imagine the type of offensive numbers Green can put up one day.
Pump this swing in to my veins. One of the top 2022's in the country, Elijah Greene. Athletic, extremely strong phys specimen for age. Also ran a 6.28 sixty. @CanesBaseball commit pic.twitter.com/2lySki8bh5
— Kyler Peterson (@KPeterson813) June 14, 2020
9. Jud Fabian (OF – Florida, 2021 Class)
There’s not a clearcut #1 overall pick in the 2021 class as there was in 2020 with Spencer Torkelson, but the top position player for most is Florida Gators outfielder, Jud Fabian. With Fabian, he doesn’t have that one tool that wows and dazzles scouts, but you can throw above-average or plus grades on all of his offensive tools. Fabian possesses exceptional bat speed from the right side and has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He’ll likely never develop into a 30-homer masher, but with his power/speed profile, 20/20 or better with a good AVG and OBP is definitely possible.
10. Mick Abel (RHP – PHI)
The first pitcher on this list shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if you’ve seen/heard me gush about Mick Abel’s abilities and long-term upside. With the trio of Emerson Hancock, Asa Lacy, and Max Meyer likely in the bigs at this point, the road to top pitching prospect in the game is laid out in front of Abel. The electric right-hander from Oregon had arguably the best all-around arsenal in the 2020 draft class with four pitches that project as above-average, plus, or better. On top of that, Abel has a big 6’5 frame with plenty of physical projection left and very solid command and control for his age. These types of arms have the potential to blow the ceiling off the damn house. I’m expecting Abel to be talked about in 2022/2023 the way we talk about MacKenzie Gore now.
Mick Abel is a ⭐️ in the making. He is @EricCross04 and @RotoClegg fourth-ranked FYPD pitcher but has the upside to be the best in the class. Phillies fans should be excited!
Check out some highlights with commentary from Cross and Clegg.#FantasyBaseball #RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/MkZuInYd4a
— Fantrax Toolshed (@FantraxToolshed) November 6, 2020
11. Erick Peña (OF – KCR)
Erick Peña has future offensive beast written all over him. Listed at 6’3/190, Pena has a ton of strength throughout his frame, especially in his core and lower half which creates plenty of torque and rotation in his swing. Pair that with his lightning-quick hands and you get the bat speed you see below.
Working on my balance ⚖️ pic.twitter.com/LdRm1Kq1IT
— Erick Peña (@erickpena20_) November 20, 2020
Still just 17, Peña has shown an advanced feel for the barrel at the plate and can really put a charge into the ball. The power is easily plus, bordering on double-plus raw, hinting at plenty of 30-plus homer seasons in the future. Currently a slightly-above-average runner, Peña will likely lose a step as he continues to develop, but should still have the speed to add 5-10 steals annually to pair with his offensive contributions. This is a prospect to get extremely excited about in dynasty leagues.
12. Jordan Groshans (SS – TOR)
Over the last two seasons, the Toronto Blue Jays graduated the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., all of which I had the pleasure of scouting live when they were at Double-A New Hampshire. Now, Jordan Groshans, along with Austin Martin, Orelvis Martinez, and others make for the next exciting wave. With Groshans, his bat oozes all-star potential. He won’t bring much speed to the table, but both Groshan’s hit tool and power project as plus with future .300/30 aspirations thanks to electric bat speed and a strong frame throughout.
To reach that power mark, Groshans will need to increase his launch angle, but he’s shown that he’s more than capable of doing so. Groshans’ approach improved considerably in 2019 as well, nearly doubling his walk rate up to 13.9% while keeping his strikeouts in check at 21.9%. This is a very potent bat from the shortstop position or at the hot corner if Toronto moves him there and keeps Bichette at short.
13. Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI)
Contact and speed are the bread and butter of Corbin Carroll’s exciting offensive profile. While he doesn’t have quite the same power upside as Alek Thomas, I’d give the slight hit tool edge to Carroll and an even bigger speed edge. Carroll has a smooth swing from the left side with clean mechanics and plenty of bat speed. He’s more of a gap to gap hitter that will spray line drives all over the field, but does have some power projection to tap into. Not a ton, but I can definitely see Carroll peaking at around 10-12 homers annually to pair with a .280-.310 average and 35-plus steals. He looks every part of a future dynamic leadoff hitter. Any additional power he develops is just gravy.
14. Kumar Rocker (RHP – Vanderbilt, 2021 Class)
One of the odds on favorites to go #1 overall in the 2021 draft, Kumar Rocker has all the makings of a future frontline starter. Toeing the rubber at 6’5/250, Rocker looks like an outside linebacker on the mound, but employs one of the smoother deliveries you’ll see from someone his size. Rocker’s mechanics are fluid with his arm speed generating the electric velocity you see when watching him pitch. Rocker is the definition of easy gas with minimal effort in his delivery.
To sum up what we saw from @KumarRocker yesterday…
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAABaseball) February 16, 2020
Outside of his mid to upper-90’s fastball, Rocker’s slider is his best secondary offering and one that is absolutely filthy, thrown in the mid-80’s with sharp two-plane tilt. This is one of the best sliders in baseball, period. Rocker will also mix in an above-average to plus changeup with solid fading action and an occasional fringe curveball. With that robust FB/SL/CH combination and the potential for above-average command and control, Rocker is the entire package. We could be looking at a 200+ inning, 250+ strikeout arm down the road.
15. Alek Thomas (OF – ARI)
Those that have followed my work know that I’ve been a big Alek Thomas fan ever since he was drafted in the 2nd round back in the 2018 MLB draft. While he doesn’t have any standout tools, Thomas can do a lot of things well, especially offensively. From the left side, Thomas’ uses his strong hips and quick hands to create plenty of torque and bat speed with a silky smooth swing that is direct to the ball. Thomas has displayed above-average to plus contact skills with an advanced plate approach as well which has led to a 9.8% walk rate and 18.3% strikeout rate through 777 minor league plate appearances. Add in plus speed and around average power, and you have a potential .290/15/25 outfielder that looks tailor-made for the #2 spot in the batting order, likely right in front of Kristian Robinson.
16. Orelvis Martinez (SS/3B – TOR)
Remember everything I just said about Jordan Groshans? Well, Orelvis Martinez has a very similar longterm upside with the bat. Martines was one of the top 2018 J2 bats available, displaying insane bat speed and enticing raw power from the right side of the plate. Toronto ended up inking the Dominican shortstop to $3.5 million, one of the most lucrative amounts in the entire 2018 class. Like with Groshans, Martinez has shown a great hit/power blend, with Martinez even showing a bit more raw power than Groshans has with more natural loft in his swing as well. With that said, Groshans is a bit more advanced at the plate with a slightly better projected hit tool. Regardless, Martinez’s offensive upside is considerable with the potential to reach .275/30/10 at peak.
17. Luis Matos (OF – SFG)
This San Francisco Giants organization has a plethora of intriguing position prospects with Luis Matos arguably having the most upside outside of Marco Luciano. With Matos, it’s the hit tool and speed that currently stand out with the power projection that gives him real breakout potential. Both Matos’ hit tool and speed project as future plus tools and were on full display in his 2019 professional debut, slashing .367/.438/.566 with 21 steals in 60 games between the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona League. Matos also slugged seven homers and racked up 24 doubles as well. With his bat speed and physical projection, Matos could blossom into average or above-average power, making him an even more exciting prospect than he already is. Get ready to see him shoot up prospect rankings.
In the 11/2 game at Chase Field, Luis Matos went 1/2 with this HR (101 EV). pic.twitter.com/zyQ7preF9l
— SFGProspects (@SFGProspects) November 5, 2020
18. Hedbert Perez (OF – MIL)
The name Hedbert Perez has been garnering a ton of buzz in 2020, even without any minor league games being played. It would also be great if my phone would stop autocorrecting Hedbert to Herbert too. If you’re a fan of toolsy prospects with plenty of projection, then Perez is right up your alley. One of the few bright spots in Milwaukee’s farm system, Perez has the potential to develop into an outfielder that projects as above-average to plus (or better) across the board offensively.
Perez really stood out at fall instructs this year with many saying that he didn’t look like a 17-year-old kid getting his first taste of professional baseball in the United States. Overall, Perez ceiling projects as a 55-hit, 60-power, 60-speed player with legit 25/25 aspirations. He’s still very raw with plenty to work on at the plate, but all the building blocks are here for a future star.
19. George Valera (OF – CLE)
Honestly, George Valera is probably one of the more “boring” prospects on this list. He doesn’t bring much speed and his power isn’t elite, but man can Valera hit. With one of the prettier left-handed swings you’ll see, Valera projects for a plus hit tool and around plus raw power as well with close to average foot speed. His professional career has been a bit choppy due to a hand injury and inconsistent performance in 2019, but there’s no doubting the offensive upside Valera possesses. Overall, he’s not far off from Groshans offensively, but doesn’t have the luxury of playing shortstop or third base.
20. Jordan Lawler (SS – Jesuit Prep HS, 2021 Class)
When it comes to infielders, Jordan Lawler, Marcelo Mayer, and Brady House are the top trio in the class as it stands today for most people. For fantasy purposes, Lawler is the one I’m the most excited about. He’s a little old for a high school draftee (already 19), but the offensive upside here is immense. Lawler is one of the best pure hitters in the 2021 draft class and projects for plus grades on both his hit tool and power with at least average speed as well, maybe even above-average. Lawler has the type of offensive tools and projectability to dream on, which could allow him to develop into an all-star caliber shortstop at the highest level.
21. Termarr Johnson (SS – Mays HS, 2022 Class)
While Elijah Greene is on top of the mountain for 2022 draftees, Temarr Johnson is another to be incredibly excited about and a projected top-5 overall pick. A 5’10/175 shortstop, Johnson combines an advanced feel for hitting with plus raw power and above-average to plus speed. At a recent Perfect Game event showcase, Johnson posted a 95th percentile 60-time and 96th percentile exit velocity. This ranking is all about projection, but Johnson is one that could make this look really damn good if his offensive tools progress as expected. Johnson could wind up as a 55/60-hit, 60-power, 55/60-speed hitter with the defensive skills to stick at shortstop longterm. Get ready for this hype train to pick up steam as the 2022 draft inches closer and closer.
22. Robert Puason (SS – OAK)
People love strong and athletic shortstops with projection. Well, Robert Puason fits that mold perfectly. While not quite as sexy of a prospect as Jasson Dominguez, Puason’s potential power/speed projection has to make the people that roster him in dynasty leagues salivate at the mouth. Currently listed at 6/3 and 175 pounds, Puason has plenty of physical projection left on his frame and has already flashed above-average to plus raw power with similar speed. As he bulks up, the power and speed will likely trend in opposite directions, but with Puason’s athleticism, I can’t see him dropping down to average speed. This is likely a plus power, above-average speed shortstop with 25/20 upside in time. It’s all going to be about how his hit tool and approach develop, which are the main questions surrounding Puason’s game presently.
23. Austin Hendrick (OF – CIN)
With Austin Hendrick, the main reason why he makes this list is his power upside. Hendrick possessed one of the highest power upsides in the entire 2020 draft class with his powerful left-handed swing producing impressive exit velocities and natural loft. He’s far from an all-or-nothing masher though, projecting to have average to above-average contacts skills and around average speed as well. His borderline 70-grade raw power should flourish in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark, with 35-plus home runs annually well within reach.
24. Hudson Head (OF – SDP)
Hudson Head is a prospect that is going to continue to pleasantly surprise as he works his way up towards San Diego. He’s one of those players that doesn’t look imposing when you see him, but when he steps into the batter’s box, special things happen. It all starts with his ridiculously quick hands/bat speed and plus raw power. Head only socked a single home run in his 32-game Arizona League debut in 2019, but the power here could translate into 25-30 homers at peak once Head begins driving the ball in the air more consistently and adds a bit of bulk which he has room to do so on his frame. He’s also shown above-average contact skills with an approach mature beyond his years.
As he fills out a bit more, there’s a chance he’ll lose some of his current above-average speed, but Head should still have enough speed/athleticism to swipe 10-15 bags annually to add to a .275+ average, .350+ OBP, and 25+ home runs. Get him now before the infamous San Diego prospect tax really kicks in.
25. Christian Franklin (OF – Arkansas, 2021 Class)
This one might be a little bold, but I’m very excited about the power/speed blend that Christian Franklin brings to the table. He might not be drafted as highly as his former Arkansas teammate Heston Kjerstad, but for fantasy purposes, Franklin’s upside is a bit higher in my eyes. Franklin is one of those players who’s stronger than his frame lets on. At 5’10/190, Franklin is plenty strong and athletic with plus speed and athleticism that should allow him to stick in centerfield longterm. The power here is above-average as well thanks to his core strength and exceptionally quick hands. There’s legit 20/25 upside here with Franklin who could really shoot up prospect rankings if he can continue to improve his plate approach and contact skills as he did in the shortened 2020 NCAA season.
Pete Crow-Armstrong (OF – NYM), Robert Hassell III (OF – SDP), Shane Baz (RHP – TB), Austin Wells (C/OF – NYY), Isaiah Greene (OF – NYM), Greg Jones (SS – TBR), Misael Urbina (OF – MIN), Bayron Lora (OF – TEX), Luisangel Acuna (MI – TEX), Maximo Acosta (SS – TEX), Aaron Bracho (2B – CLE), Nick Bitsko (RHP – TB), Daniel Espino (RHP – CLE), Ethan Hankins RHP – CLE), Heriberto Hernandez (C/1B/OF – TEX), Alexfri Planez (OF – CLE), Luis Rodriguez (OF – LAD), Jack Leiter (RHP – Vanderbilt, 2021 Class), Brady House (3B – Winder-Barrow HS (GA), 2021 Class), Marcelo Mayer (SS – Eastlake HS (CA), 2021 Class), Hunter Barco (LHP – Florida, 2022 Class)
Chris Clegg’s Top-25
1. Marco Luciano, 2. Kristian Robinson, 3. CJ Abrams, 4. Bobby Witt Jr, 5. Noelvi Marte, 6. Jasson Dominguez, 7. Zac Veen, 8. Jordan Groshans, 9. Corbin Carroll, 10. Jud Fabian, 11. Elijah Greene, 12. Erick Peña, 13. Orelvis Martinez, 14. Kumar Rocker, 15. Alek Thomas, 16. Mick Abel, 17. George Valera, 18. Jordan Lawler, 19. Luis Matos, 20. Austin Hendrick, 21. Jack Leiter, 22. Pete Crow-Armstrong, 23. Nick Bitsko, 24. Maximo Acosta, 25. Hunter Barco
Media Credit: Erick Peña, MLB Pipeline, NCAA Baseball, Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire, Seattle Mariners/Mariners Player Development, SFGProspects, Kyler Peterson/Prospects Live, Fantrax Prospect Toolshed.
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