Earlier than we get to this yr’s winners, let’s have a look a earlier winners:
PITCHER: Matt Festa, RHP
HITTER: Julio Rodriguez, OF
PITCHER: Zack Litell, RHP
HITTER: Tyler O’Neill, OF
PITCHER: Edwin Diaz, RHP
HITTER: Tyler O’Neill, OF
PITCHER: Edwin Diaz, RHP
HITTER: Ketel Marte, SS
2022 Pitching Prospect of the Yr
Bryce Miller, RHP
Miller was the membership’s 4th-round decide in 2021, getting into professional ball an athletic right-hander with some arm pace and deception. In lower than a yr and a half, he’s reached Double-A Arkansas by including velocity past the mid-90s and lacking bats with three pitches.
Miller’s supply is extra aggressive than it was at Texas A&M, accounting for the rise in energy, and his management has taken a half step again, however stays playable.
There are remaining questions with Miller’s final position, nonetheless. Whereas the trouble within the supply isn’t a major concern in and of itself, the consequences could also be, together with the aforemention fringey management, and normal pitch consistency deep into video games.
If he stays within the rotation, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Texas native affords a a 65-grade fastball as much as 97 mph, a 50-grade slider that initiatives to overlook just a few bats however lacks dominant traits, and a promising changeup with good arms and a few sink and fade.
Like nearly any energy arm, Miller’s secondaries may tick up in a aid position, and if he’s to assist the 2023 membership its seemingly out of the bullpen. Regardless of being 24, nonetheless, Miller’s developmental dial is barely past the midway level — there’s nonetheless room for the form of progress that leads to Miller touchdown within the majors as a mid-rotation starter.
Specifically, Miller’s slider may use extra tilt, and he merely must develop a greater really feel for his changeup so he can use it extra typically. The pitch, thrown within the mid-80s, is Miller’s greatest groundball providing.
Miller dominated the Excessive-A Northwest League in 16 video games, posting a 31% Ok price and a stroll price under eight p.c. He hasn’t fairly replicated these numbers within the Texas League, however he’s competed very properly, and has held his 94-96 mph velocity properly into the 90-100 pitch vary.
Miller seemingly begins 2023 proper again in Arkansas, however witha likelihood to interrupt into the majors by season’s finish. He’ll be coming off a 135-inning season, so must be bodily ready to tackle a 150-plus inning workload, suggesting if he exhibits he can throw just a few extra strikes, it’d be a shock if he doesn’t get a minimum of a cup of espresso in Seattle.
Runner-Up: Prelander Berroa, RHP
Berroa, whom I nonetheless challenge as an influence reliever, doesn’t lack for stuff, punching out a 3rd or extra of the batters he confronted in 16 of his 22 begins after the Mariners acquired him in trade for IF Donovan Walton, and placing out half the batters he confronted in three of these.
He’s 93-97 with a slider and alter, all of which return good metrics. So what’s the issue? Strike throwing.
Berroa tossed underneath 61% strikes, walked 57 batters in 85.2 innings with the Excessive-A AquaSox and Double-A Vacationers, and hit 4 batters. He additionally has had some points holding runners, however that’snot actually any form of crimson flag at this stage. The overall management issues are.
He’s not a floor ball arm — it’s principally fly-ball stuff, but it surely’s not extreme, and he has finished an excellent job preserving the ball within the yard at first look, however a re-examination suggests maybe that merely on the energy of lacking bats.
Berroa is just a few years away from the form of supply and constant command of a big-league starter, however the stuff suggests a big-league reliever, at worst. He nonetheless wants time to discover a extra repeatable launch level — 60.6% strikes is fairly low even for a bullpen arm — however he’s simply 22, so there’s loads of time to repair it.
2022 Hitting Prospect of the Yr
Harry Ford, C
Ford began a bit sluggish, batting .208 with simply three extra-base hits the primary two weeks of the season, however since has posted a .284/.428/.456 slash with a 22% Ok price and 17% stroll price.
He’s an excellent athlete with plus instruments throughout the board, and his progress behind the plate isn’t essentially obvious throughout a fast look, however every little thing required of a long-term backstop is in his talent set.
I’ve seen him present high-level footwork and throwing method gunning down baserunners, although as anticipated there are some inconsistencies there. He’s a 60 runner now, with above-average quickness, however I don’t challenge a variety of quick-twitch to make a transition to second base a simple one, ought to the membership transfer him out from behind the dosh to accomodate a faster path to the majors.
Ford’s hard-hit price of 27% this season is under the upper-echelon amongst prospects at his degree, however he not often makes weak contact — 12.5% — and makes use of your entire area with a minimum of doubles energy from line to line.
My greatest projection on Ford defensively is he’ll become a minimum of a median catcher, but when his bat stays far forward of his glove and profiles properly at different positions I count on the membership will ship him out onto the grass, fairly than the filth, to make for a smoother and better probabiluty transition.
Second base has been talked about loads, however until that transfer is made comparatively quickly I worry it’s simply one other spot on the diamond that would sluggish his bat’s arrival. Having mentioned that, to this point his bat hasn’t fairly recommended elite standing, so we could also be one other yr or extra away from such a choice.
Ford is an excellent prospect, however has but to show elite manufacturing. It might simply be a matter of time, nonetheless, since he grades out very properly in strike zone judgment and scouts love the swing path.
Runner-Up: Jonatan Clase, CF
Clase makes loads stronger case to beat out Ford than Berroa to strain Miller. Whereas many see the 133 strikeouts on prime of a pace and protection profile, I see a minimum of projectable big-league hole energy, perhaps extra, and a gamers whose swap hitting wants a variety of work and draggged down his slash line and elevated his Ok charges to alarming ranges.
As a left-handed batter, Clase hit .276/.392/.455 with a way more cheap 25% strikeout price. As a righty, the 20-year-old struck out 32% of the time and batted .232/.312/.438. It’s not necessaeily time to desert swap hitting, but it surely does provide a minimum of a paryial clarification as to why he’s whiffing as typically as he’s.
He swiped 55 luggage in 65 makes an attempt (85%) and made some strides in middle area, displaying higher jumps and routes, although he nonetheless has aways to go right here.
Clase should enhance his zone self-discipline; he chases away, down, in addition to above his palms, and should make extra contact to have any shot to stay within the majors, not to mention play with any regularity.
There’s some uneven nature to his swing — it’s longer and loopier from the correct facet, however the lefty mechanics want some refining, too, although it’s actually principally about him acknowledges strikes sooner and extra typically.
His pace alone suggests a median middle fielder, however there could possibly be extra within the tank defensively. He’s not a slap hitter, both. although a part of his changes to make extra contact might embody a extra managed assault, so we’ll see the place the facility lands in a yr or two.
He received’t be 21 till late subsequent Might and locals will get an opportunity to see Clase in Everett. He’s a enjoyable participant with 70-grade pace and a variety of whippy, twitchy instruments, considerably resminscent of Kenny Lofton, although that’s not a participant I’d use as a comp at this stage.
Jason A. Churchill
Discover Jason’s baseball podcast, Baseball Issues, proper right here.