2023 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Year in Review

by Mike Schneider
2023 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Year in Review

Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Year in Review.

As always the minor league baseball season was full of surprises with some highly touted prospects flying up the minor league ladder, some highly touted prospects struggling and other unknown prospects emerging.

This article is similar to my 2022 Fantasy Prospect Ranking Recap.

I group prospects into lists of between five and 15 prospects. There are three broad categories (general minor league prospects, MLB rookies, and recent MLB drafts).  It is interesting to look at last year's article and see what has changed since then.

2023 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Year in Review

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Co-Prospect of the Year

This is for prospects who will still have rookie eligibility in 2024. Two prospects were in a tier by themselves based on performance in 2023.

Heading into 2022, Jackson Holliday was considered to be a potential late first-round pick.  His stick went up during the year, but Druw Jones was thought to be the better prospect.  However, the Orioles selected Holliday with the first overall pick.

In 2023 Holliday, who turns 20 in December,  played at four levels showing well-rounded skills with 51 extra-base hits, 24 steals, and a .442 on-base percentage. With added strength, Holliday should be a big part of the talented Orioles core shortly.

In the 2021 off-season, the Rays did not room on their 40-man roster for pitcher Tobias Myers. Rather than lose Myers in the Rule V draft, which ironically ended up not taking place that year, the Rays traded Myers to Cleveland. In exchange, the Guardians dealt away an 18-year-old infielder, named Junior Caminero who had a 144 wRC+ in the Dominican Summer League.  The Guardians designated Myers for assignment in July 2022 without reaching the majors.

On the other hand, Caminero has done nothing but hit while being very young for the level since joining the Rays. In 2022 he finished the year at Single A with a .299/.359/.505 line in 26 games.  This year Caminero had 11 homers and a 1.092 OPS in 36 games earning a promotion to AA.  At AA, Caminero has hit 20 more homers with a .404 wOBA. The Rays called up Caminero on September 22nd.

Both Holliday and Caminero appear to be impact major leaguers likely beginning in 2024.

Pop-Up Hiting Prospects

These are prospects that were not on my radar at the beginning of the year but certainly are now.
Roman Anthony was the 79th player selected in the 2022 draft.  If there was a redraft of the 2022 Anthony would likely be a top-ten pick.
Blake Dunn had a 163 wRC+ in 77 AA games. Ben Rice had a 182 wRC+ in 48 AA games. Victor Scott II stole 94 bases in 2023.  Abimelec Ortiz led all of High A in homers with 26 despite not getting promoted to Hickory until May 23rd.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Abimelec OrtizTEX1BHigh A21
Ben RiceNYYCAA24
Blake DunnCINCFAA25
Chase MeidrothBOS2B/3BAA22
Dru BakerTB OFAA23
Jared SernaNYY2B/SSHigh A21
Moises BallesterosCHCCFHigh A19
Roman AnthonyBOSCFAA19
Victor Scott IISTLCFAA22

Pop-Up Pitching Prospects

AJ Smith-Shawver began the year in High A and was in the majors before the end of May.

Yankees prospect Chase Hampton was electric at the beginning of the year while fellow Yankees prospect Drew Thorpe was dominant at the end of the year.

ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
AJ Smith ShawverATLRHPMLB20
Chad DallasTORRHPAA23
Chase HamptonNYYRHPAA22
Christian ScottNYYRHPAA24
Drew ThorpeNYYRHPAA22
Jackson WolfPIT LHPMLB24
Spencer ArrighettiHOURHPAAA23

Leap Forward Hitting

These are prospects whose stock went way up.
Ethan Salas reached AA before his 18th birthday. Hunter Goodman hit 34 homers in 106 minor-league games but has only one homer in 76 major-league plate appearances.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Austin ShentonTB3BAAA25
Carlos JorgeCIN2BHigh A20
Darell HernaizOAKSSAAA22
Ethan SalasSDC /1BAA17
Hunter GoodmanCOL1BMLB23
Jonatan ClaseSEACFAA21
Kala'i RosarioMINRFHigh A21
Lawrence ButlerOAKCFMLB23
Lazaro MontesSEARFA18
Rece HindsCINRFAA23
Samuel BasalloBALC /1BAA19
Thomas SaggeseSTL 2BAAA21
Tyler BlackMIL3BAAA23
Xavier IsaacTB1BHigh A19

Leap Forward Pitching

Bubba Chandler appeared to be a completely different pitcher at the end of the year than he was at the beginning of the year.
Robby Snelling might be the pitching steal of the 2022 draft.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Anthony SolometoPITLHPAA20
Ben BrownCHCRHPAAA24
Bubba ChandlerPITRHPAA21
Carlos RodriguezMILRHPAA21
Carson WhisenhuntSFLHPAA22
Mason BlackSFRHPAAA23
Nick FrassoLADRHPAAA24
Robby SnellingSDLHPAA19
Yu-Min LinARILHPAA20

Downgraded

These are prospects whose stock went down this year. Asa Lacy, Austin Hendricks, Forrest Whitley, and George Valera are prospects whose value has been declining for several years.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Asa LacyKCLHPAA24
Austin HendrickCINRFHigh A22
Blake WalstonARILHPAAA22
Brennen DavisCHCOFAAA23
Cole WinnTEXRHPAAA23
Ed HowardCHCSSHigh A21
Erick PeñaKCCFA20
Forrest WhitleyHOURHPAAA26
Gavin CrossKCCFAA22
George ValeraCLEOFAAA22
JT GinnOAKRHPAA24
Nick GonzalesPIT2BMLB24
Peyton BattenfieldNYMRHPMLB26
Robert Hassell IIIWASOFAA22
Simeon Woods RichardsonMINRHPMLB22

Rebounded

These prospects had a down year in 2022 but came back to have a nice year in 2023.
Ryan Bliss had 55 stolen bases and 23 homers.
Xavier Edwards struck out just 6.9% of the time in 93 AAA games.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Kyren ParisLAASSMLB21
Landon KnackLADRHPAAA26
Luis MatosSFOFMLB21
Orelvis MartinezTOR3B/2B/SSAAA21
Ryan BlissSEASSAAA23
Shay WhitcombHOUSSAAA24
Xavier EdwardsMIA2BMLB24

Injuries Impacted 2023

While these prospects did not have the 2023 season that was hoped due to injuries, it should not have an impact on their long-term success.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Adael AmadorCOLSSAAA20
Andy PagesLADRFAAA22
Chase DeLauterCLEOFAA21
Colson MontgomeryCHWSSAA21
Dalton RushingLADCHigh A22
Druw JonesARICFAAA19
Dylan LeskoSDRHPHigh A20
Hunter BarcoPITLHPA22
Ian SeymourTBLHPAAA24
Marcelo MayerBOSSSAA 20
Ricky TiedemannTORLHPAAA21

More Severe Injuries

There is concern that these prospects may not reach their potential due to injuries.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Brennen DavisCHCOFAAA23
Cole HenryWASRHPAA24
Daniel EspinoCLERHPAA22
Forrest WhitleyHOURHPAAA26
Gunnar HoglundOAKRHPAA23
Hunter BishopSFCFHigh A25
Jairo PomaresSFLFHigh A23
Matt AllanNYMRHPRookie22
Nick BitskoTBRHP A21
Sixto SánchezMIARHPMLB25

Prospects that Will Move Up the Rankings in 2024

These are prospects that I expect to move up the prospect ranking next year.
Josue De Paula seemed to really be coming into his own at the end of the year.
Noah Schultz may have as much upside as any pitching prospect in baseball.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Bubba ChandlerPITRHPAA21
Cam CollierCIN3BA18
Chase PettyCINRHPAA20
Dylan LeskoSDRHPHigh A20
Jeferson QueroMILC AA20
Jerming RosarioLADRHPHigh A21
Jonatan ClaseSEACFAA21
Josue De PaulaLADRFA18
Lazaro MontesSEARFA18
Luis SernaNYYRHPRookie19
Noah SchultzCHWLHPA20
Rayne DonconLAD3B/2B/SSA20
Xavier IsaacTB1BHigh A19

International Teenage Prospects

These prospects were international signings that are still under 20 years old and are already advanced.
Jackson Chourio will finally turn 20 before the start of the 2024 season.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Ethan SalasSDC /1BAA17
Jackson ChourioMILCFAAA19
Josue De PaulaLADRFA18
Lazaro MontesSEARFA18
Luis LaraMILCFHigh A18
Nelson RadaLAACFA18
Roderick AriasNYYSSRookie19
Samuel BasalloBALC /1BAA19
Samuel ZavalaSDCFHigh A19
Sebastian WalcottTEXSSHigh A17

In the Majors

Highly Touted and Lived Up to Expectations

These prospects were highly regarded coming into the year and had strong rookie seasons.
ProspectOrganizationPositionAge
Bobby MillerLADRHP24
Corbin CarrollARIOF23
Eury PerezMIARHP20
Ezequiel TovarCOLSS 22
Francisco ÁlvarezNYMC21
Gavin WilliamsCLERHP24
Grayson RodriguezBALRHP23
Gunnar HendersonBALSS/3B22
Jordan WalkerSTLRF21
Josh JungTEX3B25
Matt McLainCIN2B/SS24
Royce LewisMIN3B24
Triston CasasBOS1B23

Rookies That Were Better Than Expected

These prospects had better rookie years than expected.
Andrew Abbott, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Bryan Woo began the year dominating the minors and once he was called up continued to be successful at the major league level.
Reese Olson and  Bryce Miller did not get off to good starts in the minors, this year but found success at the major league level.
ProspectOrganizationPositionAge
Andrew AbbottCINLHP24
Bryan WooSEARHP23
Bryce MillerSEARHP25
Carmen MlodzinskiPITRHP24
Chase SilsethLAARHP23
Christian Encarnacion-StrandCIN1B23
Edouard JulienMIN2B24
Maikel GarciaKC3B23
Patrick BaileySFC24
Reese OlsonDETRHP24
Yainer DiazHOUC25
Zack GelofOAK2B23

MLB Struggles

Not every prospect has instant success in the majors. These prospects struggled in the major league in 2023.
Josh Lowe and Spencer Torkelson were on this list last year but had strong second years.
ProspectOrganizationPositionAge
Brett BatyNYM3B23
Colton CowserBALOF23
Gavin StoneLADRHP24
Jared ShusterATLRHP25
Mark VientosNYM3B23
Matthew LiberatoreSTLSTL23
Miguel VargasLAD2B23
Oswald PerazaNYY3B23
Quinn PriesterPITRHP23
Tyler SoderstromOAKC/1B21

Next Year MLB Impact

These are highly touted prospects that are likely to be the top MLB rookies in 2024.
Several of these prospects such as Jackson Holliday, Jackson Chourio, Jordan Lawlar, and Junior Caminero have too much talent to be in the minor for much longer.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Ben BrownCHCRHPAAA24
Coby MayoBAL3BAAA21
Colt KeithDET3BAAA22
Drew ThorpeNYYRHPAA22
Jackson ChourioMILCFAAA19
Jackson HollidayBALSSAAA19
Jordan LawlarARISSMLB21
Junior CamineroTB3BMLB20
Landon KnackLADRHPAAA26
Matt ShawCHCSSAA 21
Ricky TiedemannTORLHPAAA21
Wyatt LangfordTEXLFAAA21

2024 MLB Redraft Hitting Sleepers

These are prospects that I would consider drafting very late next year in deep leagues.  For example after round 40 in a NFBC Draft Championship which has 15 teams and 50 rounds.
Justyn-Henry Malloy and Darell Hernaiz are in rebuilding organizations and have had success in the upper minors.
The Guardians gave up a lot to obtain Kyle Manzardo so he should get a chance.
Michael Busch and Justin Foscue may find it difficult to get an opportunity but they have excellent hit tools.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Addison BargerTOR3B/SSAAA23
Austin MartinMIN2BAAA24
Austin ShentonTB3BAAA25
Connor NorbyBAL2BAAA2B
Darell HernaizOAKSSAAA22
Justin FoscueTEX2B/3BAAA24
Justyn-Henry MalloyDET3BAAA23
Kyle ManzardoCLE1BAAA23
Kyren ParisLAASSMLB21
Michael BuschLAD2B/3BMLB25
Rece HindsCINRFAA23
Thomas SaggeseSTL2BAAA21
Tyler BlackMIL3BAAA23
Wenceel PérezDET2BAAA23
Xavier EdwardsMIA2BMLB24

2024 MLB Redraft Pitching Sleepers

Gavin Stone did not make the most of his opportunities this year.  However, I think he is better than he showed in 2023 and has a chance to rebound next year.
Freddy Tarnok and Nick Nastrini have skills and should get a chance to have a good chance next year.
The Brewers and the Orioles have done a good job of developing pitchers in recent years and each organization has a couple of pitchers on this list.
 
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAge
Cade PovichBALRHPAAA23
Chayce McDermottBALRHPAAA25
Freddy TarnokOAKRHPMLB24
Gavin StoneLADRHPMLB24
Jacob MisiorowskiMILRHPAA 21
Jake EderCHWLHPAA24
Jared JonesPITRHPAAA22
Mason BlackSFRHPAAA23
Nick FrassoLADRHPAAA24
Nick NastriniCHWRHPAAA23
Robert GasserMILLHPAAA24

Recent MLB Drafts

2023 Draft

First-Round Picks Off to Strong Starts
It seems like there were more 2023 draft picks that had success in their draft year in the upper minors than normal.
The Angels have been more aggressive than any other organization with recent draft picks.  It did not take the Angels long to bring up Nolan Schanuel.  Schanuel to not show much power but his hit tool is impressive.
Wyatt Langford, Matt Shaw, and Kyle Teel were particularly good as pros.
 
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
Brock WilkenMIL3BAA2118
Colt EmersonSEASSA1822
Hursten WaldrepATLRHPAAA2124
Kyle TeelBOSCAA2114
Matt ShawCHCSSAA 2113
Nolan SchanuelLAA1BMLB2111
Wyatt LangfordTEXLFAAA214
Later Picks that Have Impressed
These prospects were not drafted in the first round but put up strong numbers this year.
It is always important to keep in mind that these prospects may just be too advanced for the level and will not standout once they are at a more appropriate level,
Kyle Amendt and  Zane Russell were ninth and tenth picks by Arizona.  They were college teammates at Dallas Baptist and put up eye-popping strikeout numbers in the lower minors.
 
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
C.J. KayfusCLE1B/LFA2193
Jace BohrofenTORRFA21184
Jaden HammDETRHPA 21143
Kyle AmendtARIRHPA 23265
Mac HorvathBAL2B/3BHigh A2253
Tre' MorganTB1B/LFA2188
Trevor WarnerKC3BA23199
Yohandy MoralesWAS3BAA2140
Zane RussellARIRHPHigh A21295

2022 Draft

In their first full pro season, these prospects have stood out.

First-Round Picks Who Have Stood Out
The Angels are on a quicker schedule than everyone else.
In general high school players from the first round of the 2022 draft are looking better than college players from this draft.
 
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
Cade HortonCHCRHPAA 227
Chase DeLauterCLEOFAA2116
Cole YoungSEASSHigh A2021
Jace JungDET3BAA2212
Jackson HollidayBALSSAAA191
Jett WilliamsNYMSSAA1913
Justin CrawfordPHICFHigh A1917
Noah SchultzCHWLHPA2026
Termarr JohnsonPIT2BHigh A194
Xavier IsaacTB1BHigh A1929
Zach NetoLAASSMLB2213
Later Round Hitting Picks Who Have Stood Out

Only Jackson Holliday appears to be more advanced as a high school hitter in this draft than Roman Anthony.

Graham Pauley played at three levels finishing the year with a 141 wRC+ at AA in 20 games.

ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
Tyler LocklearSEA1BAA2258
Sterlin ThompsonCOL3BAA2231
Trey LipcombWAS3BAA2384
Roman AnthonyBOSCFAA1979
Jacob MeltonHOUCFAA2364
Chase MeidrothBOS2B/3BAA22129
Victor Scott IISTLCFAA22157
Wade MecklerSFOFMLB23256
Graham PauleySD3BAA23390
Later Round Pitching Picks Who Have Stood Out

Brock Porter and Robby Snelling were overslot high school pitchers that are looking like smart selections.

The Brewers seem to focus on junior college pitchers more than any other organization and it has been a successful niche for them.

ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
Ben JoyceLAARHPMLB2389
Brock PorterTEXRHPA 20109
Brody McCulloughCHCRHPHigh A23293
Carson WhisenhuntSFLHPAA2266
Chase HamptonNYYRHPAA22190
Drew ThorpeNYYRHPAA2261
Isaac CoffeyBOSRHPAA23309
Jacob MisiorowskiMILRHPAA2163
Robby SnellingSDLHPAA1939
Zack ShowalterSTL via BALRHPA19317

2021 Draft

High School Standouts

AJ Smith-Shawver, James Wood, Bubba Chandler, and Brock Selvidge were overslot picks that are looking very good.

Smith-Shawver was the 217th pick of the draft but turned out to be the first high school player in the draft class to reach the majors.

ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
AJ Smith -ShawverATLRHPMLB20217
Andrew PainterPHIRHPAA2013
Anthony SolometoPITLHPAA2037
Brock SelvidgeNYYLHPHigh A2192
Bubba ChandlerPITRHPAA2172
Chase PettyCIN via MINRHPAA2020
Colson MontgomeryCHWSSAA2122
Edwin ArroyoCIN via SEASSAA2048
Jackson MerrillSDSSAA2027
James WoodWAS via SDCFAA2162
Jordan LawlarARISSMLB216
Marcelo MayerBOSSSAA204
Mitch BrattTEXLHPHigh A20134
Disappointments

Kahlil Watson was expected to go higher than 16th.  When he fell to the Marlins it was considered a coup for them.  Two years later the Marlins sold low on Watson.  He was a little better with the Guardians hitting five homers and stealing 11 bases in just 23 games.

ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
Gunnar HoglundOAK via TORRHPAAA2319
Jay Allen IICINCFHigh A2030
Joshua BaezSTLRFAAA2054
Kahlil WatsonCLE via MIASSHigh A2016
Michael McGreevySTLRHPAAA2318
Ryan CusickOAK via ATLRHPAAA2324
Sam BachmanLAARHPMLB239
Steve HajjarCLE via CIN and MINLHPHigh A2361
Late Round Standouts

These are prospects from the 2021 draft that were selected in round five and later.

There was a lot of good pitching value later in this draft.

Blake Dunn and Ben Rice emerged seemingly out of nowhere in 2023 to become prospects.

ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
AJ Smith -ShawverATLRHPMLB20217
Alex PhamBALRHPAA23557
Ben RiceNYYCAA24363
Blake DunnCINCFAA25450
Bryan WooSEARHPMLB23174
Chase SilsethLAARHPMLB23321
Christian ScottNYMRHPAA24142
Emmet SheehanLADRHPMLB23192
Jimmy JoyceSEARHPAA24474
Julian AguiarCINRHPAA22360
Justyn -Henry MalloyDET via ATL3BAAA23187
Mason MontgomeryTBLHPAAA23191
Richard FittsNYYRHPAA23183
Ronan KoppLADLHPHigh A21372
Ryan BergertSDRHPAA23190
Tanner BibeeCLERHPMLB24156
Vaun BrownSFOFAA25296

2020 Draft

I am fascinated by the 2020 MLB draft.  This was of course the pandemic year when the high school and college seasons were either cancelled or very abbreviated.  The draft was just five rounds.
The player selected in the fifth round, headed up by Spencer Strider, may turn out to be better overall than the players selected in the first round.
High School Standouts

The first three high school players selected in the 2020 draft (Robert Hassel III, Zac Veen, and Austin Hendrick) have struggled to succeed in the upper minors.  However, there were a lot of high school talent selected later in the draft have turned out to be better prospects.

ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
Coby MayoBAL3BAAA21103
Colt KeithDET3BAAA22132
Connor PhillipsCIN via SEARHPMLB2164
Dax FultonMIALHPAAA2140
Evan CarterTEXCFMLB2150
Jared JonesPITRHPAAA2244
Jordan WalkerSTL via TEXRFMLB2121
Kala'i RosarioMINRFHigh A21158
Kyle HarrisonSFLHPMLB2285
Marco RayaMINRHPAAA21128
Masyn WinnSTL via TEXSSMLB2154
Mick AbelPHIRHPAAA2215
Pete Crow-ArmstrongCHC via NYMCFMLB2119
Thomas SaggeseSTL via TEX2BAAA21145
Tink HenceSTL via TEXRHPAAA2163
Tyler SoderstromOAKC/1BMLB2126
Disappointments
Asa Lacy was spectacular in four starts for Texas A & M in 2020 prior to the shutdown.  The Royals selected Lacy with the fourth overall pick.  As a pro, he has walked more than a batter an inning. It is reasonable to wonder if Lacy would have been exposed if there was a full college season in 2020.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
Aaron SabatoMIN 1BAA2427
Asa LacyKCLHPAA244
Austin HendrickCINRFHigh A2212
Austin MartinMIN via TOR2B/OFAAA245
Bryce JarvisARIRHPMLB2518
Carson TuckerCLE2B/OFA2123
Ed HowardCHCSSHigh A2116
Robert Hassell IIIWAS via SDCFAA228
Slade CecconniARIRHPMLB2433
Zac VeenCOLCFAA219
Late Round Standouts

These are prospects from the 2020 draft that were selected in rounds four and five.

I am not sure if there has ever been a better fourth or fifth round to a draft than in 2020.
The last three players in the draft (Kala'i Rosario, Shay Whitcomb, and Gavin Stone) have turned into legitimate prospects.
ProspectOrganizationPositionHighest LevelAgePick
Brandon PfaadtARIRHPMLB24149
Bryce ElderATLRHPMLB24156
Coby MayoBAL3BAAA21103
Colt KeithDET3BAAA22132
Gavin StoneLAD via TORRHPMLB24159
jack EderCHW via MIALHPAAA24104
Joe BoyleOAK via CINRHPMLB24143
joey WiemerMILCFMLB24121
Kala'i RosarioMINRFHigh A21158
Marco RayaMINRHPAAA21128
Nick FrassoLAD via TORRHPAAA24106
Shay WhitcombHOUSSAAA24160
Spencer StriderATLRHPMLB24126
Thomas SaggeseSTL via TEX2BAAA21145

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