It’s prospect season in MLB: as we wait for a resolution on the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), specialized sites like Baseball America, FanGraphs, and Baseball Prospectus have released their top prospects lists.
Some teams are filled with top young talent, such as impact arms who can eventually lead a rotation, and middle-of-the-order, toolsy position players who could dominate the league for the next decade.
However, three players stand above the rest as far as prospects concern.
Here are the three best prospects in MLB for the 2022 season.
3. Bobby Witt Jr.
Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. did more than enough to warrant a call-up last season.
He was among the most productive minor leaguers of the season, absolutely mashing in Double-A and Triple-A.
He started the season in Double-A, where he hit .295/.369/.570, and earned a promotion to Triple-A, where he slashed .285/.352/.581.
He is a powerful, athletic specimen who can stay at shortstop long-term, and is a monster at the plate.
Between the two levels, he slugged 33 home runs and stole 29 bases.
Kansas City didn’t call him up last season even though it was evident he is ready for the majors, but he is expected to get a chance to make the team out of camp this year.
He almost made it last year, according to reports.
He is supremely talented and is firmly entrenched as the Royals’ shortstop of the future.
I think Bobby Witt Jr. could be a transformational prospect for the Royals. if he shows out this season… look out, those boys in blue might be making a push for another magical October run
— alex sindelar (@__sindelar) January 24, 2022
Better days are ahead in Kansas City.
2. Julio Rodriguez
MLB Pipeline’s number two prospect in baseball, J-Rod is a hitting machine: he is capable of batting for a high average and has impressive raw and game power.
The 21-year-old slugger played in High-A and Double-A in 2021: in the former, he finished with a .325/.410/.581 line, and in the latter, he was at .362/.461/.546.
He had 13 homers in 291 plate appearances between the two levels, but the power will eventually come.
His swing is smooth, and he has the potential to hit .300 with 30 homers in The Show once he is established, most likely in 2023.
He could earn a promotion this year, but will probably need to master Triple-A first.
In any case, Seattle’s future is bright.
1. Adley Rutschman
Adley Rutschman, the first overall pick in 2019’s MLB Draft, is the league’s best prospect.
Scouts say he has it all: a potent bat, capable of being a middle-of-the-order producer with contact and power; and a solid defensive package.
He has the arm, the instincts, the game-calling ability, and the leadership to be a star for years to come at the game’s most difficult position: catcher.
Between Double-A and Triple-A, Rutschman hit .285/.397/.502 with 23 home runs.
The Baltimore Orioles, his team, probably won’t compete in 2022, so if MLB doesn’t penalize service time manipulation, he could be headed that route.
But he is clearly ready for the majors, and his impact could be felt from day one.
At peak, Rutschman could be a .280/.370/.500-type of hitter in MLB, which could catapult him to MVP conversations if we include his excellent defensive skills.
Adley Rutschman in AAA (43 games):
➡️16 XBH (5 HR)
I am beyond excited to watch the former 1.01 play in the BIGS
— Matty Kiwoom (@MattyKiwoom) January 24, 2022
He is a stud.