MLB Pipeline just ranked the top 100 baseball players. This is a lot of possibilities. Of course, we could have done a lot more because the game is so loaded.
We’ve broken down the top 100 in many ways, including the best tools and most loaded farm systems. But what about those who just missed the top 100 mark? We could easily have added 25 to 50 names that got into the top 100 considering ourselves and the residents across the game easily. For now, here are 10 notable names from abroad looking to start 2022:
Aaron Ashby, LHP, Brewers
Your view of Ashby’s top 100 chances depends on how you see his future role. His supporters point to his three above-average speedball pitches, slide and change — each already getting a whiff of MLB — and say he could get back to the start with Milwaukee. The mid-’90s fast ball and snappy passer, in particular, make him one of the best left-hand throw prospects at the moment. His critics might argue that driving concerns will keep him out of the game, as he did for a portion of last summer (including a postseason) with the Brewers. One thing is for sure, he’s ready for the major league now, and he’ll likely graduate before we have a definitive answer on his future status.
Sam Bachman, RHP, Angels
Halos appears to have taken the gold with the 10th overall pick of 2020 and the 21st overall Reid Detmers. They teased one pick from Bachman earlier this past July and have similarly high hopes for the 6-foot-1 right-hander outside of Miami (Ohio). Bachman sits in his mid-90s with his fast soccer ball and can touch three numbers. Its mid-80s slider is another potential move, while the change shows potential to be above average. We’re behind in the 100s at the moment because his size and short arm movement increases his comfortable risk in the pro ranks, but if he takes off like Dettmers did – and Bachmann has already seen a high – he could easily move up the list in his first full season.
Jordan Palazzovic, RHP, Twins
The 2016 fifth-rounder from Ontario has been in and out of the top 100 since the start of the 2019 season, and with a mid-90s fastball, above-average passer bar and improved finger shifting, there’s a good argument that he still must have been limited to his early shoulder problem 97 runs with Double-A Wichita in 2021, and it was notable that his strike rate dropped from 33.9% in 2019 to 23.8 once he hit the highs for the first time. Balazovitch is 23 years old and heading to Triple-A for the first time. Consistent success and a few jokes out there could make it into the top 100, if not rotating in Minnesota first.
Curtis Med, 3B/1B, Radiology
A year ago, the Australian National, acquired in a small deal in November 2019 with the Phillies, appeared to be far from the depth scheme of the Rays loaded system. Now, he is one of his most outstanding talents and arguably one of the best potential players in baseball. Med hit .321/ .378/ .533 with 55 extra hits in 104 games across three levels last season and looked pretty much the same batting as one of the Arizona Fall League’s youngest entrants. Hitting from an upright position with good control of the bat, Mead is already making good contact, and should strike for more power as the doubles turn into his extra experienced teammates. His defensive home is still in question. A lever and midrange are tested at best in third base, and it saw significant starting time as well. Rays might move it to second place in time, or it could become the organization’s newest Swiss Army knife. If Meade continues hitting this way, everyone will be paying attention to his racket anyway in 2022 and beyond.
Ren Nelson, RHP, D-Appearance
Arizona had several top 100 candidates, including Dre Jameson and Geraldo Perdomo. We’ll focus on Nelson here for mid-to-high ’90s fastball, pass slider and above-average curve ball and promising control. To boot, 163 hitters hit 116 1/3 innings between High-A and Double-A last season, and his 34.7 percent K average was the fourth-best among minor league players with at least 100 frames. Some of the early inconsistency with Double-A Amarillo’s control is cause for concern, though Nelson seemed to have settled that as he advanced his first dip at the top of the unders. Hitter haven Triple-A Reno will provide the next challenge.
Christian Patch, athletics
Patch dropped out of the Top 100 from number 38 to a spot on this list. The 23-year-old remains one of the most talented defensive midfielders in the Minors, with a 70-80 score on his glove, arm and speed gear. His squad and cannon will help any major league team at the moment. However, denizens began to wonder if Pache would hit enough to earn a place in everyday life. He outranked him in Majors (7 for 63, 25 knockdowns) and was average at bats in Triple-A (.265/.330/.414, 100 wRC+). Also for the player with his extra speed, he’s not much of a threat to the stolen base, he’s only gone 9 against 16 on theft attempts with Gwinnett. Pache’s defensive gifts give him massive ground, but leaving him outside the top 100 (for now) reflects the low probability of him hitting his once-great ceiling.
Jeremy Peña, SS/2B, Astros
If his left wrist isn’t injured in the spring of 2021, there’s a much better chance that Peña will have cracked our version of the Top 100. As the 2018 third-rounder is known as a talented defender in the middle, he could be Houston’s clear heir to Carlos Korea at six. Long-term questions about bats raise our concerns, and the appearance of 133 panels in Triple-A wasn’t enough to calm them. Adding strength from his days at the University of Maine has aided Peña’s ability to influence the ball, as he showed by 579 in his short role with Sugar Land in 2021. If that strength continues in a larger sample in 2022, expect Peña to slip into the top 100 and remain. There even graduates.
Drew Romo, C, The Rockies
This may be the deepest set of capturing horizons in recent memory. Twelve of the top 100 MLB Pipeline companies make their living behind the plate. Romo is very close to making it a dozen bakers. The 35th overall pick of 2020 is an undoubted defender behind the plate, earning solid ratings for his receiving, blocking and powerful arm. He’s faster and sportier than your typical back and made use of Low-A’s 23-base pass last season, the second-most in the Minor League and racked up an achievement in just 79 games. The hitter switches with a good amount of contact, resulting in an average of 0.314 with Fresno in 2021, so while he may not expect more than average power, he can withstand his attack as well. There were questions about the 20-year-old’s bat who dropped out of prep classes in Texas, and the more he proved he could hold his own on the board, the more interested the Top 100 became in him.
Jordan Westberg, SS/3B, Orioles
Baltimore already claims five of the top 100 chances, and it’s not far from adding a sixth. The 2020 No. 30 overall pick from Mississippi State was dazzled in his first full season, coming in at .285/.389/.479 with 15 attendees and 17 steals over 112 games across three levels. He topped the Double-A Bowie, a no-nonsense feat for a first-time pro player, and made loud calls almost everywhere he went. Although most of his starts came in short order, he plans more as a third baseman, as he must play his above-average arm well. There aren’t any 1960s in the Westburg Boy Scouts report, but there are enough 55 seconds to highlight him being a regular contributor at one point.
Brandon Williamson, LHP, Reds
Left 6-foot-6 with 153 strokes in 98 1/3 runs? Yes, that will catch our eye. The second player 2019 to drop out of the TCU had his first full season delayed due to the pandemic and made up well for lost time in High-A and Double-A last season. He’s got a full four-court combination, accented by Fastball plus and an above-average curve, and he’s delivered quite a few hits, especially for someone his size.