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Top 10 Prospects: April 25

Jarren Duran

Jarren Duran

Ashley Green / Telegram & Gazette via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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A reminder on how this works: This is a list for the 2022 season only. It is not a list of the top overall prospects, but the players who have the best chance of making a difference in 2022.

Also, it’s only a list of prospects who are currently in the minors/have prospect eligibility, so players on MLB teams do not count.

Those warnings out of the way, here’s a look at the top prospects who have a chance to make a fantasy contribution in 2022.

1. Oneil Cruz, SS/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

2022 stats: 14 G, .204/.295/.333, 1 HR, 6 SB, 6 BB, 19 SO at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Last week the concern level here was zero. It’s still pretty low, but, it’s not zero. He did finally pick up that first homer of the season on Sunday, and is on a mini three-game hitting streak. Cruz has proven he can hit at every level. It’s frustrating that he’s stuck in the minors right now, but the skill set suggests fantasy relevance for the majority of the 2022 season, and he’s more than deserving of this top spot.

2. Nolan Gorman, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals

2022 stats: 10 G, .316/.371/.737, 8 HR, 0 SB, 4 BB, 20 SO at Triple-A Memphis.

Gorman saw his homer streak end at five, but started a new streak on Sunday with his eighth roundtripper of the season. He’s picked up 14 hits in his last 40 at-bats, and is slugging .800 over that frame. Gorman has massive offensive potential. It’s just a matter of the Cardinals finding a way to get his bat in the lineup. They should get creative and find a way. Soon.

3. Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles

2021 stats: 123 G, .285/.397/.502, 23 HR, 3 SB, 79 BB, 90 SO at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

Rutschman is still out with his triceps injury, but he’s about to begin a rehab assignment with High-A Aberdeen. The backstop will likely need to get at least a couple of weeks’ worth of games in because of the layoff, but this is a catcher who can hit for average, power and get on base. The risk with rookie catchers is widely known -- or should be, anyway -- but Rutschman can absolutely be an exception to the rule.

4. Alek Thomas, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

2022 stats: 15 G, .277/.324/.492, 2 HR, 1 SB, 4 BB, 11 SO at Triple-A Reno.

Thomas had a slow start to the PCL year, but he’s starting to pick things up for the Aces. Picking things up to the tune of .302/.340/.605 with a couple of homers over his last 10 contests. Thomas belongs here because of his talent, but also, have you seen the lines of some of the other Arizona hitters? Come on. Thomas isn’t going to fix everything, but he’s ready to contribute for Arizona and fantasy managers.

5. Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers

2021 stats: 124 G, .301/.387/.534, 24 HR, 16 SB, 63 BB, 153 SO at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

It looked like Greene was on his way to making the Opening Day roster with Torkelson for the Tigers, but baseball can be pretty cruel sometimes. Instead of squaring off against the White Sox on April 8, Greene will be out ‘thanks’ to a fracture in his right foot. He’s not expected to need surgery, but the fracture will keep him out 6-8 weeks. He still deserves to be placed on this list as an outfielder capable of helping in several categories, and he should be back with Detroit before the end of June. It’d be a lot easier to justify carrying him on the roster if you could place him on the injured list, but he’s a must-add as soon as Detroit gives him the chance.

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6. Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox

2021 stats: 7 G, .346/.469/.423, 0 HR, 5 SB, 6 BB, 8 SO at Triple-A Worcester.

One of the biggest issues for Duran during his time with Boston last year was that his approach left an awful lot to be desired; he walked four times in 33 games with the Red Sox. He’s already drawn six free passes in 2022, and while he hasn’t homered, he’s shown off his speed on the bases with the five swipes. Duran would be much higher if there was an obvious landing spot in Boston, but as soon as he gets the call, managers should add him ASAP.

7. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 3 G, 14.1 IP, 1.26 ERA, 2 BB, 23 SO at Triple-A Norfolk.

Just look at the numbers above. Small sample, to be sure, but keep in mind that Rodriguez was dominant in 2021 as well, and has established himself as the best pitching prospect in the sport. There’s obviously openings in the Baltimore rotation, and even without a lack of win opportunities, it’s very easy to see fantasy success early on.

8. Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox

2022 stats: 17 G, .262/.395/.508, 4 HR, 0 SB, 13 BB, 16 SO at Triple-A Worcester.

Casas has seen his average dip since being placed on the list, but the approach remains strong, and he added his fourth homer of the season on Wednesday. The Red Sox are currently having some offensive struggles, and despite an RBI triple from Bobby Dalbec on Saturday, they haven’t had much success from the first base position. Triston Casas plays first base. Just saying.

9. Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto Blue Jays

2022 stats: 10 G, .286/.324/.400, 0 HR, 0 SB, 2 BB, 5 SO at Triple-A Buffalo.

Just a so-so start to the season for Moreno, but his sample size is smaller than most of the players on this list because he got a late start to the year. The 22-year-old is considered to be the second best catching prospect in baseball, with a swing from the right side that suggests he can hit for average and power. He should be up helping the Blue Jays before the end of the summer, and there’s loads of fantasy upside in his bat.

10. Max Meyer, RHP, Miami Marlins

2022 stats: 4 G, 19.2 IP, 1.83 ERA, 5 BB, 27 SO at Triple-A Jacksonville.

We have one newcomer to this weeks list. Welcome, Max. We’ve been expecting you. Meyer is actually coming off one of his worst starts of the year with five innings of two-run baseball and seven strikeouts. The third-overall pick has one of the best sliders you’ll see of any prospect -- or pitcher of any level -- and he also has a quality fastball to keep hitters honest. Miami has a bunch of talented young hurlers, but Meyer has the most upside of any arm in the system (yes, I’m including Eury Perez, Sixto Sanchez and Edward Cabrera), and should be pitching for the Marlins soon.

Next in line: Shane Baz, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays; Royce Lewis, INF/OF, Minnesota Twins; Nick Pratto, 1B, Kansas City Royals; Brennen Davis, OF, Chicago Cubs