Johnnie’s Top 100 MLB Prospects: 41-60

Johnnie’s Top 100 MLB Prospects: 41-60

by March 14, 2022 3 comments

The third installment of the top 100 prospects brings us into the top 50. Amazingly, only four of these next 20 players were drafted out of college. The rest were High School players or international signings. A few other notes about these next 20 guys. Only two on this list were actually drafted later than the first round. There are only three pitchers in this group of players. Only one of the 17 hitters throws left-handed.

Nevertheless, there could be a couple of stars in here including a few who could make their debut this season. Let’s dive into numbers 41-60 on the list and see if your team has their next superstar coming to the majors soon.

More of the Top 100: #1-20 | #21-40 | #61-80 | #81-100 

Now that baseball is back, be sure to check out all of our MLB coverage.

41. Tyler Freeman, Shortstop, Cleveland Guardians, 71st pick in 2017 (Etiwanda HS, CA)

DOB: 05/21/1999
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 190
Highest Level: AA
B/T: R/R
Hit: 70
Power: 40
Run: 50
Arm: 50
Field: 50

Freeman fits the old school model of a “pure hitter”. He is a throwback to a time when guys didn’t strike out and the object of every at-bat was to put the bat on the ball. Since being drafted 71st overall in 2017 out of High School, the right-hander has just hit. His career in the minors spans 1,172 plate appearances and he has slashed .319/.378/.446 with 42 stolen bases.

In that time he has struck out only 9.2 percent of the time. Obviously, the hit tool is there. He is a line-drive hitter who uses the whole field. While Freeman’s power may progress a bit, 15 homers could be his ceiling. He has decent speed which plays up due to his awareness and aggressiveness on the basepaths. Freeman has decent range and arm and would probably be an average shortstop. If the Guardians choose to move him to second, he could be above-average easily.

Check out Alex Kielar‘s interview with Freeman here.

42. Nick Yorke, Second Base, Boston Red Sox, 17th pick in 2020 (Archbishop Mitty HS, CA)

DOB: 04/02/2002
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 200
Highest Level: A+
B/T: R/R
Hit: 60
Power: 50
Run: 50
Arm: 50
Field: 55

Thus far, Yorke’s claim to fame is that the Red Sox drafted him out of nowhere in 2020. Soon, he might just prove them right for “reaching” on him with the 17th pick. The second baseman split his first pro season between Single-A and High-A, slashing .325/.412/.516 with 14 homers, 62 RBI, 52 walks, 69 strikeouts, and 13 stolen bases through 97 games. His offensive output was impressive for a relatively lesser-known prospect drafted out of high school. It’s worth noting that offense will be Yorke’s selling point going forward.

At best, he’s an average fielder, and his subpar arm and speed will definitely restrict him to second base long-term. It’s safe to predict that Yorke will open 2022 in High-A and finish in Double-A. Just 19 years old, the second baseman is still a few years away from getting big-league consideration. Still, it has been exciting to see his development through one season, and he should continue to impress during his second campaign in the Red Sox system.

43. Nick Pratto, First Base, Kansas City Royals, 14th pick in 2017 (Huntington Beach HS, CA)

DOB: 10/06/1998
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 215
Highest Level: AAA
B/T: L/L
Hit: 50
Power: 60
Run: 45
Arm: 60
Field: 70

Pratto was a first-round pick back in 2017 by the Royals. He has worked his way up to Triple-A with some ups and downs as he has progressed. However, last year Pratto showed the potential Kansas City saw in the High School kid five years ago. Combined between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021, the lefty hit 36 homers and chipped in 12 steals with a .988 OPS in 124 games. While he struck out at a 28.8 percent clip, he also walked at 15.2 percent.

Pratto’s ability to hit the long ball isn’t the only thing the 23-year-old does well. He could probably man third base or even right field in a pinch and be serviceable, but he has the best glove of any first-base prospect in the league. Multiple Gold Gloves are likely in the kid’s future. Nevertheless, it will ultimately be Pratto’s bat that gets him to the majors, possibly this season.

44. Nolan Gorman, Third Base/Second Base, St. Louis Cardinals, 19th pick in 2019 (Sandra Day O’Connor HS, AZ)

DOB: 05/10/2000
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 210
Highest Level: AAA
B/T: L/R
Hit: 50
Power: 60
Run: 45
Arm: 55
Field: 55

Gorman was a first-round pick out of High School in 2018. He has made multiple stops along the way and finally reached Triple-A Memphis for 76 games last year. His bat still played well despite being only 21 years old. With the Redbirds, Gorman hit 14 home runs and slashed .274/.320/.465 while keeping his strikeout rate below 20 percent. Defensively, he has made a successful transition to second base. Looking increasingly more comfortable at the keystone, Gorman is sure-handed and committed only three errors in 61 games there at Triple-A. While he is far from a speed demon, The Arizona native swiped seven bags last year and is a smart baserunner.

Gorman is ready to make his major league debut. The problem is where? Nolan Arenado is set at third base and Tommy Edman just won a Gold Glove at second. With the designated hitter now in the NL, it could allow the Cardinals to have Gorman there to get him regular at-bats. Much of this also depends on if Paul DeJong or Edmundo Sosa can actually take hold of the starting shortstop job. Whichever way this goes, expect Gorman to make his debut this season.

45. Diego Cartaya, Catcher, Los Angeles Dodgers, Signed July 2, 2018 (Venezuela)

DOB: 09/07/2001
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 220
Highest Level: A
B/T: R/R
Hit: 60
Power: 55
Run: 40
Arm: 60
Field: 55

Cartaya had much to prove coming out of Venezuela after Los Angeles grabbed him during the 2018 international signing period. Nevertheless, the young catcher has performed to his highest potential and still is seeking improvement. Starting out in 2019 with the Arizona Complex League Dodgers, Cartaya made a quick impression. He slashed .296/.353/.437 to go with 13 runs batted in through just 36 games.

In 2021 with the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the star catcher held his own. He posted a fabulous .298 average with 10 home runs paired with 31 RBI. The 20-year-old has great hands behind the plate along with raw power at the dish. Cartaya has struggled to put the ball over the fence, however, accumulating a total of 14 home runs in his minor league career. It’s early, and the Dodgers hope he progresses as his game matures.

Cartaya has been impressive since the beginning of his career. However, he is only 20 years old and needs time before his debut. Will Smith is the current Dodger backstop which creates is an issue for Cartaya. Hopefully, Los Angeles can compromise and make room for the up-and-comer. The young backstop should see a split between Single-A and High-A in 2022 with the possibility of hitting Double-A.

46. Daniel Espino, Right-Handed Pitcher, Cleveland Guardians, 24th pick in 2019 (Georgia Premier Academy, GA)

DOB: 01/05/2001
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 205
Highest Level: A+
Fastball: 70
Curveball: 55
Slider: 60
Changeup: 50
Control: 50

Espino has the stuff that pitching coaches dream about, and he has been setting down hitters at an incredible pace. Last year between Low-A Lynchburg and Advanced-A Lake County, the right-hander struck out an amazing 40.5 percent of the batters he faced. The promising part of that is he also walked 10.4 percent and gave up just 64 hits in 91.2 innings.

Espino features two distinct fastballs with a four-seamer that sits 94-97 and a two-seamer a little softer but with sink. Throw in the 83-86 slider and the kid has three wipeout pitches which he commands well. If he can get his offspeed stuff to develop, like a curveball he has been working on which sits in the mid-70s, then he could be the next ace for the Guardians.

47. Matthew Liberatore, Left-Handed Pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals, 16th pick in 2018 (Mountain Ridge HS, AZ)

DOB: 11/06/1999
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 200
Highest Level: AAA
Fastball: 55
Curveball: 60
Slider: 50
Changeup: 55
Control: 55

Liberatore spent the 2021 season with Memphis and turned in a solid campaign going 9-9 with a 4.04 ERA. He struck out nearly a batter per inning and his walk rate was only 6.3 percent. However, the southpaw was fairly hittable allowing nearly a base hit per inning. Unfortunately, 19 of them left the yard. Liberatore has worked a slider into his repertoire that includes a low-90s fastball along with a very good 12-to-6 curveball that he drops in the mid-70s. His changeup is also a solid weapon as he plays it off of his heater well.

Some feel and location may still be in the cards (no pun intended) for the lefty, but he should get a spring training invite and possibly battle for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Even if the Cardinals sign a veteran or two to fill in their rotation to start the season, one thing is clear…Liberatore will be pitching for St. Louis by the end of the year.

48. Miguel Vargas, Third Base, Los Angeles Dodgers, Signed September 7, 2017 (Cuba)

DOB: 11/17/1999
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 205
Highest Level: AA
B/T: R/R
Hit: 60
Power: 55
Run: 45
Arm: 55
Field: 50

Vargas has nearly 300 games of minor league experience with the Dodgers, and he has hit at every stop. Just last year he finished the 2021 season at Double-A Tulsa. In 83 games, the 21-year-old slashed .321/.387/.523 with 16 homers and had an impressive 15.4 percent strikeout rate. He swiped seven bags as well only getting thrown out once. While he isn’t a speedster by any means, Vargas is smart and knows when to take advantage of his opportunities on the bases.

The slugger’s bat is what will get him to the majors. He has always had an advanced approach at the plate and his mechanics are built to drive the ball no matter where it is pitched, but where does he fit on the diamond? He has played mostly at third base and has decent enough hands. His arm is above average so making throws across the infield won’t be a problem. Even if he winds up at first, Vargas has the potential to be a special hitter.

49. Luis Matos, Outfield, San Francisco Giants, Signed July 2, 2018 (Venezuela)

DOB: 01/28/2002
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 170
Highest Level: A
B/T: R/R
Hit: 60
Power: 50
Run: 55
Arm: 50
Field: 55

Along with fellow Giant prospect Marco Luciano, Matos was a signing from the 2018 international class. The Giants finalized a deal for $725,000 with the Venezuelan-born outfielder. Matos made his professional debut in the 2019 Dominican Summer League and was phenomenal. In 55 games he slashed .362/.430/.570 with a 1.000 OPS. Matos is well known already as an advanced hitter, despite being only 20 years old. He was promoted to the Low-A-West league in 2021 and did not disappoint, slashing .313/.359/.495 with 15 home runs and 86 RBIs over 109 games.

Matos is noted to have a high baseball IQ, a quick swing from the right side, impressive exit velocities, and great plate discipline. He has been working to improve his play in the outfield, but still possesses a solid arm. After dominating at the lower levels of the Minor Leagues, expect to see Matos move quickly through the Giants’ system. Matos could easily begin the year at the Double-A level, but do not be surprised if a strong spring earns him a spot on the Triple-A team. 

50. Tyler Soderstrom, Catcher, Oakland Athletics, 26th pick in 2020 (Turlock HS, CA)

DOB: 11/24/2001
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 200
Highest Level: A
B/T: L/R
Hit: 60
Power: 50
Run: 50
Arm: 60
Field: 45

Soderstrom was the A’s first-round draft pick in 2020 out of High School. He finally got his first taste of professional baseball last year at Low-A Stockton. The left-handed hitter showed up ready to play. He slashed .306/.390/.568 over 57 games and hit 12 home runs with 49 RBIs. The bat has never been in question, the glove has. Soderstrom caught 38 games and looked out of place gunning down just 21 percent of would-be base stealers and allowing 15 passed balls. Oakland believes he can get better behind the plate, and Soderstrom has a strong arm. The other aspects of catching, game management, blocking, etc., are where the California native needs work.

Whether Soderstrom is a long-term catcher in the majors has yet to be seen. Even if he is not, he should be able to play first, third, or a corner outfield spot at an average to an above-average level. It is his bat that will move him up the ranks quickly. He has great pitch recognition and has an advanced approach for a kid his age. If Soderstrom hits well to start the year, don’t be surprised to see him up by the end of the season, especially if the A’s move on from Matt Olson at first base.

51. Bobby Miller, Right-Handed Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers, 29th pick in 2020 (Louisville)

DOB: 04/05/1999
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 220
Highest Level: AA
Fastball: 65
Curveball: 50
Slider: 60
Changeup: 55
Control: 50

The 22-year-old Miller was selected by Los Angeles in the 2020 MLB Draft. Shortly after in 2021, Miller skipped the Dodgers Rookie League and went directly to High-A. With the Loons, the flamethrower proved his young arm is worth the wait. He held a low 1.91 ERA along with 56 strikeouts. After just 14 appearances with the Loons, Miller was promoted to Double-A to join the thriving Tulsa Drillers. Miller struggled in Tulsa and hopes to come back in 2022 with a fresh start. He has several attributes in his game which can mold him into a dominant starter. He has a high-class fastball which tops out at 99 MPH, along with a two-seamer and slider which boost his game to a new level. To complete his rotation, Miller mixes in a curveball that adds some depth to his repertoire.

The young and talented Miller has a lot in his game bag which the Dodgers hope can be a great addition to their rotation. He has spent most of his pitching career in the bullpen, but many are now seeing some potential as a starter. Fans will wait and see how things pan out, but Miller should see the majors sometime soon. As of now, the right-hander will most likely stay put in Double-A but could see a small workload in Triple-A.

52. Jeremy Pena, Shortstop, Houston Astros, 102nd pick in 2018 (Maine)

DOB: 09/22/1997
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 200
Highest Level: AAA
B/T: R/R
Hit: 50
Power: 50
Run: 55
Arm: 55
Field: 60

Pena was a third-round pick in 2018 out of the baseball hotbed that is the University of Maine. Son of former major leaguer Geronimo Pena, he has the pedigree although he is a different player than his father. The younger Pena is a defensive shortstop with smooth movements and soft hands. What his arm lacks in overall strength, he makes up for with accuracy and a quick release.

The question has always been his bat. That seems to have been answered this past season. After Pena’s promotion to Triple-A Sugar Land, the 24-year-old slashed .287/.346/.598 with 10 home runs. His 26.3 strikeout percentage is a little concerning especially coupled with a 4.5 percent walk rate, but if he can continue to show some power from his solid 6-foot, 200-pound frame, then he could see the majors as soon as this season.

53. Orelvis Martinez, Shortstop/Third Base, Toronto Blue Jays, Signed July 4, 2018 (Dominican Republic)

DOB: 11/19/2001
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 195
Highest Level: A+
B/T: R/R
Hit: 55
Power: 65
Run: 50
Arm: 60
Field: 50

Martinez is just 20 years old and was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. He played 98 games at Single-A and Advanced-A last year and slashed a respectable .261/.345/.549 but that isn’t the whole story. He blasted 28 home runs and had 26 doubles also. That’s what the Blue Jays love about this kid…his power. He can add even more strength to his 6-foot-1 frame in another year and be an exit velocity hero.

Defensively, he has struggled a bit at shortstop and may be destined for third base. Martinez has good awareness and a solid arm to be able to handle the hot corner. His range limits him a bit at shortstop but he has quick movements although he isn’t a base-stealer. If he can be at least an adequate fielder, his bat will get him to the majors and keep him there. The power is elite and he has already shown it in games against older competition. Toronto will likely let him marinate for a year or two in the upper levels but Martinez could be a middle-of-the-order hitter.

54. Brady House, Shortstop, Washington Nationals, 11th pick in 2021 (Winder-Barrow HS, GA)

DOB: 06/04/2003
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 215
Highest Level: RK
B/T: R/R
Hit: 50
Power: 60
Run: 50
Arm: 60
Field: 50

At one point, House was considered to be the future number one overall draft pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. Luckily for the Nationals, his stock fell off a bit during his senior year in high school and they were able to select him with the 11th overall pick in 2021. After the draft, the 6-foot-4 righty was assigned to Washington’s Florida Complex League team. Here, the 18-year-old flourished. Over 16 games he posted a .322/.394/.576 slash line, slugged four home runs, and had 12 RBI. House is known for his bat speed, raw power to all fields, and general strength. Late in his high school career, he began to sell out for home runs, causing his bat speed to drop. However, he has since fixed this hiccup and returned to his old ways.

House may only possess average foot speed, but he has a rocket for an arm. He once clocked in at 96 MPH off of the mound. As with any big, powerful shortstop prospect, there are some doubts if House will stick at the position. If not, he will become a more than capable third baseman as he matures as a player. Since he is still only 18-years old, House will likely spend a few full seasons in the minors before joining the Major League club in Washington. A top 60 ranked prospect in all of baseball, House projects to begin the 2022 season at the Low-A level.

55. Garrett Mitchell, Outfield, Milwaukee Brewers, 20th pick in 2020 (UCLA)

DOB: 09/04/1998
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 215
Highest Level: AA
B/T: L/R
Hit: 50
Power: 50
Run: 70
Arm: 60
Field: 60

After a hot start to 2021 at Advanced-A Wisconsin where he slashed .359/.508/.620, Mitchell got called up to Double-A Biloxi in July. He struggled to the tune of a .554 OPS in 35 games aided by an 0-for-24 slump in mid-August. The former first-round pick in 2020 out of UCLA has near-elite speed and can easily stick in centerfield. His hit tool is average and despite a 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame, he doesn’t hit for much power due to a choppy, level swing that doesn’t get much loft.

Mitchell will likely start the season at Double-A to see if he can improve on last year’s showing. It will take some improvements. The 23-year-old has always had solid plate discipline, but maintaining that will be more difficult as he advances. Adding some loft to his swing may also help Mitchell tap into some of his natural strength. With his speed and defense already very good, what Mitchell does at the plate will determine when he hits the majors.

56. Sal Frelick, Outfield, Milwaukee Brewers, 15th pick in 2021, (Boston College)

DOB: 04/19/2000
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 175
Highest Level: A+
B/T: L/R
Hit: 60
Power: 45
Run: 70
Arm: 50
Field: 55

Frelick was selected 15th overall in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Boston College. The Lexington, Massachusetts native made an immediate impact in his first taste of professional baseball. In 20 games between rookie and Low-A ball, he slashed .442/.505/.605 with nine stolen bases. The Brewers promoted him to Advanced-A Wisconsin, but Frelick struggled in his 15 games there. Nevertheless, the 21-year-old has an excellent all-around skillset. He has a quick stroke with limited movement which produces hard contact all over the field along with very good plate discipline. It allows Frelick to take what the pitcher gives and still be productive.

Defensively he played centerfield exclusively in 2021 and has shown he will be able to stick there albeit with an average arm. Frelick’s struggles are likely just a combination of some fatigue and small sample size at the end of a long season for him. While the Brewers aren’t expecting much power from the 5-foot-9 outfielder, he may be served well to use his pitch recognition and drive the ball more in the air. Frelick will likely start the season in Wisconsin to tweak his swing and get more acclimated to centerfield. He is similar to fellow minor leaguer Mitchell and although just a step behind him now, they should both see the majors in another year or two.

57. Kahlil Watson, Shortstop, Miami Marlins, 16th pick in 2021 (Wake Forest HS, NC)

DOB: 04/16/2003
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 180
Highest Level: RK
B/T: L/R
Hit: 55
Power: 50
Run: 60
Arm: 55
Field: 55

Watson was one of the top high school prospects in the 2021 draft after a tremendous senior season at Wake Forest High School in North Carolina. The Marlins wound up getting a steal as they took him with the 16th overall pick after he was being projected as a top-five pick. Miami dished out the largest bonus they’ve ever given to a high school position player, at $4,540,790. Watson plays up to his 5-foot-9, 178-pound stature as he has a great bat from the left side while having plenty of raw power. He has a history of making hard contact consistently and isn’t known to chase out of the zone.

Outside of the bat, the tools are oozing off of the soon to 19-year-old, as he has game-changing speed and has the athleticism and arm strength to stick at shortstop. Through nine games in the Florida Complex League (FCL), Watson posted a .394/.524/.606 triple slash with five extra-base hits, four stolen bases, and eight walks to seven strikeouts. He has the offensive upside and athleticism to profile at any position, so the Marlins could move him off shortstop if needed. After getting his first taste of pro ball, Watson should start the 2022 season at Low-A Jupiter and could move up quickly with solid play.

58. Luisangel Acuna, Shortstop/Second Base, Texas Rangers, Signed July 2, 2018 (Venezuela)

DOB: 03/12/2002
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 185
Highest Level: A
B/T: R/R
Hit: 50
Power: 50
Run: 60
Arm: 55
Field: 55

As a 17-year-old in 2019, Acuna played very well in the Dominican Summer League with an .893 OPS and 17 stolen bases in just 51 games. His plate discipline at such a young age was also a surprise as he walked more than he struck out. He also impressed the organization at instructs in 2020 and followed that up last year in Low-A. Acuna showed more pop, blasting 12 homers. The now 20-year-old’s speed and baserunning prowess were on display as well, stealing 44 bases at an 80 percent success rate in just 111 games.

Acuna’s athleticism is not in question and he has been diligent about improving his defense. Some believe he can stick at shortstop, while others feel he could be better suited for second base or even centerfield. Wherever he winds up on the diamond, Acuna will only go as far as his bat will take him. If he can continue to drive the ball and keep the strikeouts to a reasonable rate as he moves up, the Rangers will have him on the big club in a few years.

59. Liover Peguero, Shortstop, Pittsburgh Pirates, Signed July 2, 2017 (Dominican Republic)

DOB: 12/31/2000
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 200
Highest Level: A+
B/T: R/R
Hit: 55
Power: 45
Run: 60
Arm: 55
Field: 55

The Pirates made a shrewd move getting Peguero from the Diamondbacks for Starling Marte before the 2020 season. The 21-year-old is already a top 5 prospect in Pittsburgh’s system. Peguero is a well-rounded player with no real weakness. He spent the 2021 season at High-A Greensboro. In 90 games, he hit 14 homers and swiped 28 bags while maintaining a respectable .776 OPS and a strikeout rate just above 25 percent. 

Peguero will have to refine his approach and keep the swing and miss around its current level as he moves up. The power was somewhat of a surprise and although he could be a double-digit home run player at the major league level, his swing right now is more of a gap-to-gap one. Peguero has the chops to stick at shortstop with quick footwork and a good arm. He could also move to centerfield where his speed would be an asset tracking down balls in the gaps.

60. Vidal Brujan, Super Utility, Tampa Bay Rays, Signed October 14, 2017 (Dominican Republic)

DOB: 02/09/1998
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 180
Highest Level: MLB
B/T: S/R
Hit: 55
Power: 50
Run: 70
Arm: 55
Field: 55

Brujan made it to the Rays’ big club last year. He didn’t quite have the success that many had hoped for. Nevertheless, the talent is still there for the 24-year-old. At Durham, he slashed .262/.345/.440 while playing just about everywhere on the diamond. He stole 44 bases and his power potential started to show with 12 bombs. He is a switch-hitter that makes good contact and has a solid eye from both sides of the plate.

Defensively, Brujan can play anywhere. If the Rays decide to put him at a certain spot, he is probably best-suited for second base. His arm is fringy on the left side of the infield but his range and hands play up at the keystone. Speed is the name of the game for the young Dominican. He swiped 147 bags in his last 324 games in the minors. He steals bases efficiently as well with an almost 80 percent success rate.


Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk

Follow Johnnie Black on Twitter @jball0202

Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images

3 Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

Leave a Reply