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2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings

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Welcome to the initial 2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings.

These prospect rankings reflect changes primarily as a result of the Arizona Fall League (AFL) which took place between October 13th and November 20th.

Each major league organization sent seven prospects to the AZL that are part of six AZL teams.

Arizona Fall League Results

There are a couple of items that it is important to note about the AZL.

There is a wide variance of experience in the AZL.  Some of the prospects are older and spent the entire year in the upper minors.  For other prospects, this is the highest level that they have played.

A top pitching prospect is unlikely to be sent to the AZL if he pitched a full year because they already met their innings limit.  If a pitching prospect did not pitch a full year they still may be recovering from an injury and unavailable.  A top hitting prospect is more likely to be in the AZL which makes hitting far ahead of pitching in Arizona.

Here are several prospects whose performance stood out in the AZL.

Owen White, RHP, Rangers (22-Years-Old)

White was the most impressive prospect in Arizona. He moved up in the rankings from 213 to 97. White was the Rangers 2nd round pick in 2018 and his career seemed to be jinxed for a while.

White hurt his arm before making his pro debut and underwent Tommy John surgery in May  2019.  With no minor league baseball season in 2020, White finally made his pro debut at Low A Down East in May of this year and then broke his hand in his first game.  White did not return to Low A until August and really got going in September.  He ended the regular season with three straight double-digit strikeout games.

That White was named Fall League Pitcher of the Year despite having only pitched 35.1 innings as a pro and never above Low A is noteworthy. White held batters to a .202 batting average and struck out 29 in 28.1 innings in the Fall League.

Marco Luciano, SS, Giants (20)

The Giants were aggressive with their prized prospect in the second half of the season and the results were not great.  After hitting 18 homers in 70 games to start the season at Low A San Jose, Luciano was promoted to High A Eugene.  In 36 games to finish the regular season, Luciano hit only one homer with a 37.6% strikeout rate and a 59 wRC+.

Luciano was one of the younger players in the AZL and did not stand out where he was among the leaders in strikeouts and only had three extra-base hits in 21 games.

The Giants could have kept Luciano in San Jose and not sent him to the AZL and he likely would have put up big numbers as Zac Veen did at the end of the year. I did not hold Luciano’s struggles against him in the rankings and kept him at six.

In the second half of the season, Luciano showed that he is not a super prospect like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr. were, but neither are any current prospects.  The key will be how Luciano adjusts in 2022.

Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Rockies (20)

Tovar is a month older than Luciano and followed a similar path to Luciano in 2021.  While he is nowhere near the prospect that Luciano is, he was excellent in 72 games for Frensco in Low A (11.7 strikeout rate, 21 steals and 35 extra-base hits).

The Rockies were very aggressive in sending Tovar to the Fall League and he had a .506 OPS in 25 games.  This should not be held against Tovar.

Curtis Mead, 3B, Rays (21) and Logan O’Hoppe, C, Phillies (23)

Both Mead and O’Hoppe emerged from obscurity in 2021 and their performance in the AFL provided more reason to believe that they are legitimate top prospects.

Mead is an Australian who the Rays stole from the Phillies.  He is an offensive first player who has a 60-grade hit tool and emerging power. Based on Mead’s performance in the AZL he moved from 199 to 137 in the rankings.

O’Hoppe was a 23rd round pick out of high school in Long Island in 2018 who spent most of the year in High A.  He even finished the year in AAA after a couple of weeks in AA.  O’Hoppe is strong offensively and defensively. O’Hoppe moved up 81 spots to 207 in the rankings.

Jose Tena, SS, Guardians, (20)

Tena is another young prospect with an advanced hit tool.  He led the AFL in hitting and struck out and walked the same amount of times.  Tena moved from 100 to 73 in the rankings.

Luke Waddell, IF, Braves (23)

It is unusual to see a player from the most recent draft in the Arizona Fall League but Waddell proved he belonged by finishing strong. Waddell may not have a high ceiling, but the floor is high as well.

Waddell and Braden Shewmake can potentially fill similar roles for the Braves as versatile infielders.

Cole Henry, RHP,  Nationals (22)

Henry struck out 30 batters in 19 innings in the Fall League. Henry missed time in 2021 but was very good when he pitched.

I think many are sleeping on Henry who I moved up to 79 in the rankings.

Nelson Velazquez,RF, Cubs (22) and Juan Yepez, 1B, Cardinals (23)

Both Velazquez and Yepez are minor league veterans who had by far their best year in 2021 and finished the year strong in the AZL. They both benefited from the weak pitching in the Fall League.

Yepez would be a candidate for the Cardinals’ designated hitter spot if the DH is approved in the NL. Without a DH he is blocked long-term by Paul Goldschmidt and does not really have another position.

 Yoelqui Cespedes, CF, White Sox CF (24) and Joe Gray Jr CF, Brewers (21)

Cespedes and Gray showed promise at times in the 2021 regular season despite hit tool questions. Both struggled big time in the AFL.

In the rankings, Gray moved down 50 spots to 255 and Cespedes went down to 202.

Random Thoughts

Texas Rangers

The Rangers have been big spenders in free agency and they have an interesting farm system.

There is no shortage of interesting arms.  There are former first-round picks in Jack Leiter (56) and Cole Winn (60) and close to major ready arms in A.J. Alexy (222) and Glenn Otto (228). Owen White (97), Ronny Henriquez (196), Yerry Rodriguez (262) and Ricky Vanasco (338) are talented. If several of these prospects find major league success, the Rangers could be good in a hurry.

Josh Jung (29) should fit in nicely in the infield with Corey Seager and Marcus Semien.

Even before the Rangers spending spree, the Rangers had three prospects in Justin Foscue (84), Josh Smith (140) and Ezequiel Duran (175) whose best position appeared to be second base and seeing how they planned to handle that was interesting.

Now with Seager and Semien locked in the Rangers middle infield for years to come, the Rangers will need to make decisions about moving these prospects to other positions likely the outfield.

Trading With The Rays

In the last few weeks, the Rays acquired two prospects in the bottom half of the rankings in Ronny Simon (238) and Kameron Misner (248).

The Diamondbacks traded Simon for Jordan Luplow and the Marlins traded Kisner for Joey Wendle.

Teams should be very cautious of trading with the Rays, who clearly a smart organization.  The trade of Simon was particularly odd since Luplow is a useful player on a contending team.  He crushes left-handed pitching. However, the Diamondbacks lost 110 games in 2021 and are clearly rebuilding.

Two Year Absence

It will be exciting to see prospects who were hurt all of 2021 and have not played since 2019 finally return to game action in 2022.  These prospects include Royce Lewis (21), Forrest Whitley (93), Colin Barber (218) and Ricky Vanasco (338).

2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings

*Note ECR column is not how much the players rank has changed, it is the difference between my ranks and Fantasy Pros Expert Consensus Rankings



About Mike Schneider

Michael grew up in the seventies and eighties watching This Week in Baseball and The Baseball Bunch. He played in his first fantasy baseball league in 1986. Michael lives in Frederick, MD where he developed a love for minor league baseball.

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