MLB Prospect Watch: 2022 minor-league awards, including Orioles as top team and Corbin Carroll as best hitter. It’s hard to believe, but this is the last MLB Prospect Watch of the year.
When next Monday rolls around, the regular season will be over for every minor league. Keeping with tradition, this section is devoted to our rendition of year-end accolades.
Below, you’ll see highlights of players and teams throughout the six categories we’ve created. There are more deserving people out there than can be highlighted using this method alone.
After all, the minor leagues constitute a sizable organization. Consider that as a backup plan in case your preferred candidate is overlooked.
Now, onto the gasbaggery.
Carroll, who the Cardinals picked up in the 16th round of the 2019 draft, has already had quite the adventurous career.
He was out for the majority of last season with a shoulder injury, and the year before, his usual growth cycle was cut short by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Despite playing at three different levels this season, Carroll showed no ill effects as he batted.307/.425/.611 with 24 home runs and 31 steals in 93 games before being promoted to the majors. (The majority of those occurred in Triple-A and Double-A.)
Carroll is a versatile player whose small stature (5 feet 10 inches) belies his ability as a solid hitter, speedy baserunner, and solid center fielder. We choose him because of his production in the minors, his potential for stardom, and his history of success in the majors.
The Giants’ quest to repeat in the NL West was unsuccessful, but at least they kept Harrison on the payroll. He struck out an absurd 14.8 batters per nine innings in 25 starts between High-A and Double-A, where his ERA was 2.71.
With a fastball that can reach the upper 90s and two more solid pitches, Harrison is a dangerous pitcher. His lower arm slot produces a flatter plane and an optical illusion that hitters can’t figure out, both of which contribute to the high quality of his pitches.
Harrison’s only limitation is his current location. He developed from his previous season, when he walked over five batters per nine, by walking only four this time.
That class can be defined in a variety of ways.
We want to keep things straightforward, so here it is: a minor league system exists to produce better players for the major league team. That can occur through trades, promotions, or a mix. In light of this, we’re going with the Orioles.
This year they promoted Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, considered top prospects in all of minor league baseball at their graduation. (Right-handed batter Grayson Rodriguez also would have been in the mix if not for an injury.)
Scouts from competing teams have also seen and applauded the development of potential players like Colton Cowser, Colby Mayo, and others. When you throw in the arrival of first overall pick Jackson Holliday, the O’s farm system had a terrific year.
We did not approve of the Reds’ decision to begin their rebuilding process by dumping the salaries of Wade Miley and Tucker Barnhart last summer.
However, this summer’s output was much more to our liking. Several infielders, including Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo, Spencer Steer, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, were acquired by the Reds in trades during the month of July.
Cam Collier, an early-round steal who was a potential first-overall pick, was also selected. That’s what it’s meant to look like during the “talent accumulation” stage of a complete dismantling.
Indeed, who else could it be? Chourio, who won’t turn 19 until March of next year, cemented his place as a top prospect this winter by slashing.288/.342/.538 with 20 home runs and 16 steals (in 20 attempts) across 99 games at the Class-A, High-A, and Double-A levels combined.
He did most of his damage in the Carolina League, where the Brewers’ A-ball club is located. He led the league in OPS despite being nearly three years younger than the average competitor.
Instead, Chourio thrived and displayed outstanding physical tools, which bodes well for his future as a star.
Since his days as a student at Vanderbilt, we’ve always had a soft spot for Martin.
His bat-to-ball ability, approach, and defensive versatility led us to rate him as the top prospect for the 2020 draft. His exit velocity readings were higher than average and led scouts to believe he had more power in his bat didn’t hurt, either.
Martin has not yet shown that he can disprove them (or us). He only managed 18 extra-base hits and a.241/.367/.316 batting line in 90 games in Double-A this year.
He has hit seven home runs in his professional career so far. Even though it’s difficult, low-wattage hitters can find success in the major leagues. Martin’s.075 ISO would place him fifth-lowest among all eligible batters. And that’s assuming it made it into English intact.
Read More: top 10 Best Hitters in Baseball (MLB) History