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Top 10 Prospects: August 8

Gunnar Henderson

Gunnar Henderson

Tommy Gilligan-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. Francisco Álvarez, C, New York Mets

2022 stats: 88 G, .258/.366/.531, 23 HR, 0 SB, 53 BB, 96 SO at Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse.

Álvarez is starting to see the ball travel over the fence on a more consistent basis, with three homers in his last six games. The reason he jumps to the top spot is that the Mets didn’t acquire Willson Contreras, and still aren’t getting anything close to elite production from their catchers right now. He’s going to have to be better in Syracuse to justify a call-up -- he’s hitting just .192 at this point -- but he’s the prospect that I’d be rostering for these final two months.

2. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

2022 stats: 78 G, .316/.436/.632, 21 HR, 27 SB, 58 BB, 86 SO at Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno.

Well, unless it’s this guy. Carroll had three hits in his last two appearances, and also homered on Sunday against Las Vegas. In his 18 games with Reno, he’s now slashing .310/.438/.563 over 71 at-bats with four homers and seven steals. Carroll is the best prospect in baseball, but it just seems a little less likely that he’ll make his debut in 2022 than Álvarez.

3. Gunnar Henderson, INF, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 93 G, .304/.429/.556, 17 HR, 16 SB, 69 BB, 96 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. DL Hall, LHP, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 20 G, 77.2 IP, 4.52 ERA, 45 BB, 126 SO at High-A Aberdeen, Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

Hall had a disastrous start the previous week where he didn’t get out of the first inning. He made two appearances over the week, and the results were mixed; six runs over four innings on Tuesday and two runs allowed over 5 1/3 innings on Sunday. Hall’s swing-and-miss stuff is unquestionable. The issue is whether or not he can throw enough strikes to make it matter. It sounds like we’ll see how it plays out in the majors before the season ends. It’s worth a look, depending on the matchup of course when it happens.

5. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Washington Nationals

2022 stats: 18 G, 85 IP, 4.02 ERA, 34 BB, 85 SO at Triple-A Rochester.

Cavalli also made a pair of starts over the week, and he allowed two runs in both; one over four innings, another over five. Again, that 4.02 ERA isn’t even remotely indicative of how well the 2020 first-round pick has pitched as of late, as that’s down three-plus runs since the middle of May. The Nationals are going nowhere -- they apparently traded Juan Soto? Have you heard about this? Have you read this in the news? -- and should give Cavalli a chance to pitch in Washington before the season comes to an end.

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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. Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto Blue Jays

2022 stats: 49 G, .299/.369/.391, 2 HR, 6 SB, 19 BB, 36 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 happens, swoop him up.

8. Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox

2022 stats: 51 G, .246/.350/.455, 8 HR, 0 SB, 30 BB, 51 SO at Triple-A Worcester.

For those who have been following the list all year (thank you), Casas was an early member, but an ankle injury caused him to miss significant time, and the results -- as you can see above -- have been only so-so. That being said, he’s back in Triple-A, and he’s starting to swing the bat at the level of expectations. That along with the fact that Boston is going nowhere pretty fast gives Casas a chance to finish the year with the Red Sox, and his power, solid approach and just enough hard contact give him a chance to be a fantasy helper.

9. Sal Frelick, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

2022 stats: 79 G, .315/.389/.462, 7 HR, 16 SB, 36 BB, 46 SO at High-A Wisconsin, Double-A Biloxi, and Triple-A Nashville.

Well, this is interesting. Shortly after the publication of last week’s list, the Brewers promoted Frelick to Triple-A, and in his six games with the Sounds, he’s slashing .375/.464/.458 with a stolen base. A first-round pick last year, Frelick can sting the baseball to all parts of the park, and has the speed to steal 30 or so bases at the highest level. He’s also a solid defender, which doesn’t hurt. Zero guarantees that he makes his debut in 2022 -- sorry for being a broken record, I really am -- but if he does get the shot, he can help in a couple of categories.

10. Bo Naylor, Cleveland Guardians

2022 stats: 84 G, .276/.421/.509, 13 HR, 15 SB, 66 BB, 80 SO at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.

Welcome to the list, Bo. There are quite a few catchers in Triple-A who could be fantasy relevant, but it’s Naylor’s combination of talent/opportunity that gives him the final spot. He’s capable of doing a little bit of everything, and while it’s unlikely he can steal bases at the level list, it’s not out of the question he can give a handful if/when he gets the promotion. The Guardians have Austin Hedges and Luke Maile behind the plate. Are those players really going to stop Naylor from making a debut for a team that is absolutely in playoff contention? Doesn’t seem likely to me.