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Top 10 Prospects: August 1

Miguel Vargas

Miguel Vargas

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

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. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

2022 stats: 73 G, .308/.437/.634, 20 HR, 26 SB, 57 BB, 79 SO at Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno.

Here’s something to keep in mind with prospects going forward. A team can earn a first-round pick if the player wins Rookie of the Year. If a team calls up a top player right now, there’s a very good chance he won’t have rookie eligibility next year, and no chance to earn that selection. Just something to keep an eye on. Anyway, Carroll is the best prospect in baseball, but there’s zero guarantee he gets a call-up. He’ll be tops on my list until he does, unless we get a chance to cheat like we did with George Kirby last week, of course.

2. Francisco Álvarez, C, New York Mets

2022 stats: 83 G, .259/.368/.531, 21 HR, 0 SB, 51 BB, 91 SO at Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse.

The good news for Álvarez is that he’s on a five-game hitting streak and is starting to drive the baseball again. The bad news is that in those five games, he has yet to pick up more than one hit, and he has zero multi-hit games as a member of the Syracuse roster. Take the bitter with the better, and it’s worth pointing out that his approach has been outstanding. The Mets are being mentioned as contenders for Willson Contreras, and if that deal happens, the chances of Álvarez making a contribution are pretty slim. Still, his potential for producing at the position he plays justifies him being in the second spot. For now.

3. Gunnar Henderson, INF, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 87 G, .302/.429/.557, 16 HR, 16 SB, 66 BB, 80 SO at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

The hits are starting to fall again for Henderson. He raised his average nearly 10 points from the previous week, much of that due to a four-hit effort on Wednesday. Henderson has raised his profile from intriguing talent to legitimately one of the best prospects in baseball, and with Baltimore somehow (you know you’re surprised, too) in a playoff hunt, it’s not out of the question he’s helping both the Orioles and fantasy managers down the stretch.

4. Miguel Vargas, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers

2022 stats: 94 G, .291/.382/.497, 15 HR, 12 SB, 54 BB, 64 SO at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Vargas broke out of a mini power ‘funk’ over the week, adding a pair of roundtrippers to his total. His average has dropped slightly by going just 10-for-40 in his last 10 games, but the .840 OPS tells a better story than that average. Vargas isn’t likely to be dealt unless it’s a blockbuster deal, but be it for the Dodgers or possibly another club, he has a chance to help fantasy rosters before 2022 comes to pass.

5. DL Hall, LHP, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 18 G, 68.1 IP, 4.21 ERA, 37 BB, 114 SO at High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

Welp. For those who didn’t know, Hall had a disaster of an outing on Tuesday; getting only two outs and giving up six runs. That saw his 3.60 ERA as a member of the Tides increase to 4.45, and obviously he’s going to have to pitch better than this to justify a promotion. Considering he had given up two earned runs in his previous four outings, there’s lots of reason to believe he can put Tuesday in the past. But yeesh.

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6. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

2022 stats: 15 G, 75.1 IP, 2.27 ERA, 32 BB, 93 SO at Triple-A Oklahoma City; 4 G, 16.1 IP, 2.76 ERA, 12 BB, 19 SO at Los Angeles (NL).

You rarely see hurlers go deep into games at any level, but particularly the minors. Pepiot broke that trend last week with a pair of seven-inning efforts where he gave up a total of three runs, and it actually saw his ERA rise in the process. That just speaks to how good Pepiot is, especially when he’s able to get ahead of hitters. When the Dodgers give him another start(s) in the coming days, fantasy managers should definitely consider doing the same.

7. Shea Langeliers, C, Oakland A’s

2022 stats: 83 G, .277/.361/.522, 19 HR, 5 SB, 40 BB, 82 SO at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Langeliers keeps on hitting, and the rumors of a Sean Murphy trade keep on...rumoring. The former Atlanta prospect is slashing .302/.326/.628 over his last 10 games while hitting three homers and winning a Futures Game MVP in the process. Langeliers is only getting called up if Murphy gets dealt -- and it’s not even a lock then -- but there’s a chance for fantasy success immediately if the two things take place.

8. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Washington Nationals

2022 stats: 16 G, 76 IP, 4.03 ERA, 30 BB, 77 SO at Triple-A Rochester.

Cavalli returned to the mound on Tuesday and fired five scoreless innings while allowing just three hits against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The right-hander has not allowed a run in his last three appearances with the Red Wings, and an ERA that was once 7.62 is down over three and a half runs thanks to his strong pitching. Washington is going nowhere and might be trading a couple players you’ve heard of, and while Cavalli is far from a lock from making starts this year with the Nats, it’s not out of the question. On the contrary.

9. Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto Blue Jays

2022 stats: 46 G, .306/.376/.405, 2 HR, 5 SB, 18 BB, 33 SO at Triple-A Buffalo; 18 G, .276/.300/293, 0 HR, 0 SB, 2 BB, 7 SO at Toronto.

Moreno’s “low” ranking on this list is the reason why we offer the caveat at the beginning. If this was just a list of the top prospects in baseball, he’d be considerably higher. You’d also see Jordan Lawlar and some other guys on this list, too. But it’s not, and while Moreno didn’t stink in his time with Toronto, it seems very unlikely he’s heading up north -- literally and figuratively -- unless there’s an injury or trade. If either of those happen, swoop him up.

10. Curtis Mead, INF, Tampa Bay Rays

2022 stats: 72 G, .293/.387/.534, 13 HR, 7 SB, 34 BB, 56 SO at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.

It’s worth pointing out that Mead hasn’t played since July 23 with an undisclosed injury. He is another player who hasn’t hit for average at the same rate he has in Triple-A compared to the lower levels, as he was .305 with Montgomery compared to his .250 mark in Triple-A. That’s over only 50 at-bats, however, and he’s still registered an .840 OPS with the Bulls. Mead can do a bit of everything, and he’s the type of hitter who can hit for both average and power while also limiting the strikeouts. The only question here is if the debut comes this summer or the Rays wait until 2023. Here’s hoping it’s the former.

Next in line: Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox; Oswald Peraza, INF, New York Yankees; Matthew Liberatore, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals