Riley Greene reigns supreme, Marcelo Mayer makes entrance

MLB.com has released their updated top 100 MLB prospect rankings of 2022.

The new MLB top 100 prospects rankings list features a lot of the same names; Bobby Witt Jr., Julio Rodriguez and Spencer Torkelson have “graduated” from prospect status and Adley Rutschman, the number-one rated prospect this time around, will be following in their footsteps shortly.

Joining holdovers Rutschman, Riley Greene, Grayson Rodriguez, Gabriel Moreno, Anthony Volpe, CJ Abrams and Francisco Alvarez are Marco Luciano, Noelvi Marte and Marcelo Mayer.

The new and improved top-10 prospects ranking reads as follows:

  1. Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
  2. Riley Greene, OF, Detroit Tigers (AAA)
  3. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (RHP)
  4. Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto Blue Jays (AAA)
  5. Anthony Volpe, SS, New York Yankees (AA)
  6. C.J. Abrams, SS, San Diego Padres (AAA)
  7. Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets (AA)
  8. Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco Giants (A+)
  9. Noelvi Marte, SS, Seattle Mariners (A+)
  10. Marcelo Mayer, SS, Boston Red Sox (A)

In a class shortstop-and-catcher-heavy, eight of the top-10 prospects play one of the two premier defensive positions with uber-prospects Riley Greene and Grayson Rodriguez being the two outliers.

Let’s break down the most recent MLB prospect rankings:

1

Adley Rutschman

Catcher Baltimore Orioles

24-year-old Adley Rutschman, arguably the most hyped-up catching prospect since Buster Posey, is a switch-hitting, offense-first type of backstop who needs work behind the plate but is certainly fully developed with the bat.

Rutschman went off last season in the Orioles’ system, splitting time between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, totaling 23 home runs, 75 RBI and a .285 batting average. He also managed to walk 79 times against just 90 strikeouts in over 540 plate appearances.

Heading into 2022, it was only a matter of time before he received the call. It came in the form of a fun announcement from manager Buck Britton.

Now that Rutschman has finally been promoted, he is here to stay. The Orioles have had a weak catching corps ever since Matt Wieters departed at the conclusion of the 2016 season. MLB Pipeline put Rutschman at a 60-grade hit tool and 65-grade power tool on the 20-80 scouting scale this season. He is projected to be a .280-plus hitter with 30~ home runs a season year in and year out at the big league level.

2

Riley Greene

Outfielder Detroit Tigers

21-year-old outfielder Riley Greene possesses incredible pop in his bat, speed on the bases, and has the range and arm to play all three outfield spots — and play them well.

Greene has risen up to the No. 2 prospect after reaching as high as fifth in the preseason prospect rankings. He has yet to play in a professional game this season due to a broken foot that will likely keep him out of competition until June.

The injury was a huge blow to a Tigers club that was looking forward to having its top-two prospects (Greene and Spencer Torkelson) make their major league debuts together.

When Greene returns from his injury he will need time to get going but he will certainly see time on the big league club before 2022 ends and, per The Athletic’s Keith Law, could end up being a .300/.400/.550-type of player if he reaches his offensive potential.

3

Grayson Rodriguez

Right-handed pitcher Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles just recalled Adley Rutschman from Triple-A and the belief around the industry is that Grayson Rodriguez will be right behind him.

Rodriguez, the lone pitcher on the top-10 list, finds his stock on the rise as well, moving up to the No. 3 spot after previously being ranked sixth. The 22-year old righty has been on a tear through his first nine starts and 43+ innings for Triple-A Norfolk, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.70 ERA and 66 strikeouts against just 14 walks. Notably, he has only allowed one home run so far, good for a HR/9 rate of 0.2.

Rodriguez has an electric repertoire featuring a 70-grade fastball, slider and changeup to pair with his 60-grade cutter and curveball. He hits triple-digits on his four-seamer occasionally but pretty routinely sits in the 96-98 mph range. Heading into this season, his command was something scouts wanted to see him improve on and he has responded with keeping walks way, way down and should find himself on a big-league mound in short order.

4

Gabriel Moreno

Catcher Toronto Blue Jays

Gabriel Moreno, another exciting catching prospect, slots in at No. 4 and has been lighting minor league pitching up since he joined the Blue Jays system back in 2017.

Moreno, 22, is one of four catchers on Toronto’s 40-man roster but he is likely (already) the most talented of the bunch. FanGraphs awarded him with some unique ratings, giving him a potential 60-grade contact ability with a 50-grade power, speed and fielding rating. While he hasn’t posted the power numbers that are expected of him just yet, he’s already drawing comparisons to J.T. Realmuto who is universally known as one of the more agile catchers in the game.

Moreno has shown off an incredible throwing arm in years past, posting a 40 percent caught-stealing percentage in 2021 between three minor league levels and already has a 48 CS percentage under his belt through his first 24 games and 189 innings of error-less ball in Triple-A Buffalo.

The Blue Jays have flirted with the idea of trying Moreno out at third base here and there and have given him a total of three full games at the position since last year where he has a perfect fielding percentage as of now.

Moreno’s MLB ETA sits at sometime this season as of right now and he is likely to meet that goal in the near future.

5

Anthony Volpe

Shortstop New York Yankees

Anthony Volpe, a Yankees middle infielder of the future, has hit Double-A for the first time in his young career and has been putting on a clinic to begin the 2022 MiLB season.

While his .197 batting average may not instill much positivity, Volpe has been showing an excellent eye, striking out 38 times but walking 21 through his first 34 games. His speed has also stuck out too, as he has 18 stolen bases already.

Volpe is currently playing at shortstop on a day-to-day basis but could ultimately end up at second base depending on where Oswald Peraza or Oswaldo Cabrera end up finding their defensive homes (although the latter has extensive experience at third base as well, something neither Peraza or Volpe have). The Athletic’s Keith Law went as far as to say of Volpe that “he’s almost certainly the reason the Yankees haven’t gone after one of the big shortstop free agents this winter, and I think they’re right. He’s going to be a star.”

Baseball America ranked the 21-year-old speedster as the No. 8 overall prospect heading into May of this season as well as the No. 1 Yankees prospect for 2022 as well as the No. 1 Yankees prospect in-season. On the heels of a 27-home run showing with 86 RBI and 33 stolen bases, Volpe showed off not only his speed on the basepaths but his power too, earning every bit of the 60-grade hit and game power tool that FanGraphs awarded him.

6

C.J. Abrams

Shortstop San Diego Padres

21-year old C.J. Abrams is the only other prospect on the list aside from Adley Rutschman to have already made his big league debut. Abrams somewhat surprisingly cracked the Padres Opening Day roster after Fernando Tatis Jr. went down with an injury that was expected to sideline him for 2+ months.

Aside from hitting his first major league home run in his brief tenure, Abrams showed that he may not quite be ready for the big leagues just yet. After all, he was sidelined for the vast majority of the 2021 season after sustaining a fractured left tibia and sprained left MCL in an ugly collision with teammate Eguy Rosario in June.

Abrams’ 42-game showing in Double-A San Antonio last season was the most playing time he had received to date and while he did look great (13 stolen bases, .296 batting average, above-average defense at second and shortstop), it may not have been a big enough sample size to bring about a major league promotion.

Abrams possesses a smooth, fluid swing that could ultimately result in 15-20 home run potential. Mixed with his 80-grade speed, he is a constant threat when he gets on base which, to this point in his MiLB career, has been often.

Baseball America highly values his range at shortstop but due to the presence of Fernando Tatis Jr., a position change may be on the horizon for the young Abrams. Notably, the Padres gave him some time at second base and right field in addition to his natural position of shortstop during his brief major league cameo.

7

Francisco Álvarez

Catcher New York Mets

Francisco Álvarez, 20, is still so young but already possesses veteran-like leadership and has drawn rave reviews from scouts around the industry as well as the Mets front office brass.

Álvarez has some serious pop in his bat and has an excellent and still developing eye at the plate. He hit 24 home runs last season and drove in 70, drawing 55 walks in just 99 games. He has a short and stocky frame that has him labeled as “built like an SEC fullback” on FanGraphs, but has a potential 50-grade hit ability paired with a 70-grade raw power tool that should have Mets fans very excited to see him in action.

While Álvarez is still young, a 2023 promotion to the big leagues is not an outlandish thought. He has already hit Double-A at the age of 20 and should easily find himself in Triple-A next season with a shot at some big league time perhaps in the second half of the 2023 regular season.

8

Marco Luciano

Shortstop San Francisco Giants

20-year-old Marco Luciano finds himself amongst the top-10 prospects in the major leagues for the very first time after the graduation of some notable names above him.

The power-hitting shortstop is the No. 1 prospect in the Giants system per Baseball America and did everything he had to to catch the eye of the baseball world with last season’s performance. Across 106 games in the Giants system, Luciano which he hit 19 home runs and drove in 71 runs.

One thing scouts would like to see him improve on is his defense at shortstop. BA has him listed as “questionable to remain at shortstop” due to the fact that he has been known to not have a very accurate throwing arm. His arm is strong, but he is said to have feet that don’t catch up with his body which leads to awkward throwing positions.

Luciano does, however, posses the arm strength to perhaps warrant a move to third base or even right field down the line. He showed glimpses of greatness at multiple points in his performance last year and could very easily find himself an All-Star-caliber player if he continues to develop at this rate.

9

Noelvi Marte

Shortstop Seattle Mariners

Noelvi Marte, 20, is yet another exciting shortstop prospect worth keeping an eye on. Last year was his first full season in professional ball after missing the 2020 season due to the COVID-cancellation of minor league play.

In 107 games between A-ball and High-A last year, Marte posted a slash-line of .273/.366/.460 with 28 doubles, 17 home runs, 71 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 31 tries. Through 34 games in 2022, the powerful youngster has four home runs and a .259/.357/.400 slash-line.

With power numbers like that, the tall and skinny Marte could easily find himself as a middle-of-the-lineup hitter down the line. MLB.com has his ETA at sometime in 2023 which is perfectly reasonable for Marte.

Keith Law of The Athletic has gone as far as to say that Marte could end up being a top-five player in all of baseball if he continues to show off a unique ability to combine power and speed in his game.

10

Marcelo Mayer

Shortstop Boston Red Sox

Rounding out the top-10 is the youngest player on the list in 2021 first round draft pick Marcelo Mayer.

Mayer, the Boston Red Sox shortstop of the future, entered the 2022 season ranked as the No. 14 prospect by Baseball America and No. 17 in Baseball Prospectus’ list. He made just 26 appearances for the Red Sox Florida Complex League last season but he looked sharp – hitting .275/.377/.440 with three home runs, 17 RBI and seven stolen bases. Mayer’s eye looked especially sharp as well, drawing 15 walks against just 27 strikeouts.

Mayer, like so many before him, is not a lock to remain at shortstop throughout his professional career but he often draws resemblance to Corey Seager who has remained a shortstop during his whole career to this point despite drawing similar reviews early on.

Since he is still just 19 years old, there is still quite a bit of development left in Mayer’s game. Should he add some more muscle and power potential, he is going to be one of the most exciting players in the game by the time he reaches the big leagues. MLB.com has his ETA listed as 2024 as of right now. The fact that Mayer cracked the top-10 prospect rankings at 19 should tell you all you need to know about who he is and what he’s capable of doing.

https://fansided.com/2022/05/24/mlb-prospect-rankings-riley-greene-marcelo-mayer/ Riley Greene reigns supreme, Marcelo Mayer makes entrance

John Verrall

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