Statcast data for all levels of the minor leagues is not always available, so we’re often reliant on traditional stats, highlights and scouting evaluations to understand how top prospects are performing.
Thankfully, Spring Training parks are beginning to equip the technology so we can determine which prospects are tearing the cover off the ball.
Here are how the game’s top prospects are doing in terms of average exit velocity and max exit velocity. (Note: Don’t sell the farm on this list as it’s a small sample size warning; some players only have a few recorded batted ball events due to Statcast limitations in the Spring parks, but it’s still worth taking a peek at the data in our opinion.)
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Top Prospect Spring Training Average and Max Exit Velocity Leaders
|Average Exit Velo
|Max Exit Velo
1 Data courtesy of Baseball Savant.
2 Author evaluated Spring Training play-by-play data and filtered out erroneous batted ball events (BBE) that measured the exit velocities of foul balls. All stats in table are based on BBEs that were put into play.
3 List of prospects determined by including all hitters who were invited to Spring Training that ranked inside the Top 50 of the latest Fangraphs Top 100 and have since recorded multiple BBEs. A handful of Top 50 prospects recorded just one BBE and were excluded from the list.
OF Jordan Walker, Cardinals
Is it any surprise that Jordan Walker leads this list when he does things like this?
115.9 MPH off the bat of Jordan Walker!
His MLB-leading 17th hit and 7th XBH of the Spring. pic.twitter.com/rZfFQXQfOr
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 17, 2023
His 115.9 mph double on March 17th would have been the 16th hardest-hit ball in the entire 2022 MLB season and is harder than the 2022 max exit velocities of Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Jose Ramirez, and Rafael Devers.
Walker’s average in Spring Training (91.2 mph) would have ranked near the top 30 of MLB last year, right alongside names like Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, and Trout.
Oh, and as of that hit, he also led all of Spring Training in hits (17) and was fourth in OPS (1.058).
C Francisco Alvarez, Mets
It’s also not a revelation that the top catching prospect in the game by most rankings is also high on this list. MLB Pipeline gives Francisco Alvarez 70-grade power and it shows in his 113.2 mph max exit velo and his 92.3 mph average exit velo, the latter of which would have led all MLB catchers last season.
Of course, as you can see in the table above, we’re working with small sample sizes here, but it’s still notable that Alvarez is living up to his reputation as he approaches a major league call-up. Matt Heckman recently wrote Alvarez may need to improve his defense before that happens.
OF Coby Mayo, Orioles
Coby Mayo is a surprise on this list to those who don’t closely follow prospect rankings. In February, Fangraphs ranked Mayo the No. 36 prospect in baseball and notes that “despite his odd swing, [they] think the hit/power combo will be enough for him to be an impact player.”
Some loud BP from Coby Mayo before he starts at third base today. He’s in a hitting group with Joey Ortiz (who’s starting at short), Jackson Holliday and Terrin Vavra. pic.twitter.com/xpY3mar4Bq
— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) February 25, 2023
Mayo sure sounds like a slugger. We’ll have to see if he can overcome the left field wall of Camden Yards, which did sap the power numbers of right-handed hitters in the Orioles’ home park last year.
3B Brett Baty, Mets
The man who hit a home run in his first career major league at-bat last August continues to mash this spring, hitting .394/.512/1.027 over 33 at-bats with a manageable 21% strikeout rate. The knock on Baty as a prospect was always his elevated ground ball rates, something he fixed last season in Double-A and Triple-A prior to his call-up.
Baty is currently fighting Eduardo Escobar for the Mets’ starting third base job, though “fighting” is a strong word. Escobar said a month ago he was excited to teach Baty the position and as Escobar remains in the World Baseball Classic, Baty continues to show out.
The key factor on whether or not Baty makes the Opening Day roster may be his defense, which has looked better with plays like this.
— GENY Mets Report (@genymets) March 10, 2023
Either way, he should be up early in the 2023 season and has power and average upside for dynasty fantasy baseball managers in a relatively shallow third base pool.
OF Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks
Another mega-prospect is high up on this list. Excluding Josh Jung’s three batted ball events that were all above 100 mph in the one game he played in a park with Statcast, Corbin Carroll leads all top 50 prospects with an average exit velo of 95.5 mph.
Carroll averaged an 85.8 exit velocity in his 115 plate appearances last season, so the uptick in the limited spring sample size is notable. Carroll is already a 100th percentile sprint speed player — if he continues to replicate the power he showed in the minors, the Diamondbacks’ recent decision to extend Carroll for 8 years and $111 million might look like a steal in just a few months.
Also, he does things like this.
Corbin Carroll leads things off with a shimmy and a single. pic.twitter.com/urRcCiAbNV
— PHNX Diamondbacks (@PHNX_Dbacks) March 12, 2023
OF Jasson Dominguez, Yankees
Though he hasn’t transformed into Mickey Mantle yet, those comparisons were always ridiculous and unfair. Dominguez performed very poorly in the Arizona Fall League last year after the close of the minor league season, hitting just .157/.250/.217 over 69 at-bats.
He remained just 19 years old, though, and a month after his 20th birthday, he cranked 4 home runs in 22 at-bats in Spring Training before being optioned to minor league camp. He averaged 90.1 mph in 16 batted ball events, too, so it will be interesting to watch how he performs in Double-A this year.
3B Curtis Mead, Rays
Curtis Mead is a prospect darling with consistently elite plate discipline in the minors and glowing reviews from all prospect evaluation services. Baseball America gives his hit tool a 70 grade — plus-plus — and his power a 60. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the Tampa Bay Rays’ best hitting prospect and writes that he “commands the strike zone with a mix of discipline and bat control that leads to few strikeouts.”
He maintained that discipline in a small sample size this spring, K-ing 22% of the time while also adding a multi-homer game to his Spring Training resume. Mead’s homers were clocked at 105 mph and 94.1 mph.
Prospect Curtis Mead has gone deep twice today! pic.twitter.com/EoW0bws5mY
— Just Baseball (@JustBB_Media) March 4, 2023
1B Kyle Manzardo, Rays
Kyle Manzardo is lower on the list, but we thought it worth mentioning his consistency. In just 13 batted ball events measured, Manzardo had five above 100 mph including a 438-foot bomb to right center field.
105.6 mph, 438 feet for Kyle Manzardo:
— Rays Metrics (@RaysMetrics) March 12, 2023
Manzardo will most likely begin the season in Triple-A after putting up a .323/.402/.576 line in Double-A last year while striking out just 15.6% of the time. (With a 11.5% walk rate!) Manzardo’s profile reminds a lot of analysts of Royals left-handed slugger Vinnie Pasquantino due to the fact that he was relatively unheralded before breaking out statistically in the minors, and because he mashes from the left side with higher contact rates than are normally expected of power-capable first basemen.
The Rays just signed 3B/1B Yandy Diaz to a three-year extension and it’s been suggested he will play more first base, but with Manzardo and Mead waiting in the wings, it’s expected that Tampa Bay will find a way to give both players a chance by the end of the season.
Which rookies are you targeting this season? Let us know in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!