Bold 2023 Predictions for Top MLB Prospects
Bold 2023 Predictions for Top MLB Prospects
It’s out! ESPN MLB draft and prospect expert Kiley McDaniel ranked his Top 100 MLB Prospects for 2023 this week, and now, it’s time to have fun with it.
We asked our MLB experts to give us a bold 2023 prediction for the top 100 prospects they’re excited about entering the upcoming season, and there were plenty of electrifying options to choose from.
From which players will win Rookie of the Year honors to who will be a breakout star this season, here’s what our experts had to say about this year’s top prospects.
Which future star is number 1? Kiley’s Top 100 Prospects
Gunnar Henderson (3B): Will win American League Rookie of the Year
The easiest prediction to make is Henderson for AL Rookie of the Year because when Baltimore Orioles leadership eventually allowed him to ascend to the big leagues, showed the impact he will have. A rival member of the AL East had this to say: “Yeah, it’s going to be a problem.” His athleticism, presence and confidence will have evaluators wondering for years to come how he lasted until the 42nd pick in the 2019 draft. — Buster Olney
Corbin Carroll (CF): Will lead the National League in stolen bases and triples
It’s not exactly a bold prediction to say that Carroll will win NL Rookie of the Year honors given that he’s such a hot prospect. So let’s go bolder: With his blazing speed, Carroll will lead the NL in stolen bases and triples and become one of the best leadoff hitters and most exciting players in the game. And here’s the kicker: He’ll do it for one Arizona Diamondbacks team that wins a wild card. — David Schoenfield
Anthony Volpe (SS): Will be the Yankees’ starting shortstop in the second half
The New York Yankees they shouldn’t rush their top prospect to the big leagues when they already have Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Oswald Peraza i Oswaldo Cabrera on the list Considering Volpe doesn’t have much experience above Double-A, they should allow him to get more looks at upper-level pitching and ease him into a contributor spot at the major league level. The expectations placed on Volpe are huge given the complaints from Yankees fans about the shortstop. Putting him in the spotlight should allow for a smooth transition for a young player the franchise hopes can be a superstar. — Joon Lee
Francisco Alvarez (C): Will take over the Mets’ catching duties at some point this season
It’s true, at least according to one scout, that Alvarez needs a little more seasoning in Triple-A. After all, he only played in 45 games last year, but that doesn’t mean he needs another full season in the minors.
Remember when Steve Cohen thought New York Mets needed another bat, hence the search for Carlos Correa? Unless Omar Navarez returns to his 2019 form or Pres Niu Suddenly finding an offensive game, Alvarez will be needed in the batter’s box even if he’s not behind the plate every day. In June it will rise. — Jesse Rogers
Elly De La Cruz (SS): It will be this year Michael Harris II
To be clear up front, the Harris comparison is almost entirely about De La Cruz’s projected big league schedule, as well as his ability to make a serious push for Rookie of the Year honors. With his skill set, enthusiasm and lack of competition at the top level Cincinnati Reds list, De La Cruz will be in the majors sooner than you think, with a very real shot at a 19-homer, 20-steal rookie campaign. — Tristan Cockcroft
Andrew Painter (RHP): Will be the Phillies’ third starter in September
Painter, the 13th overall selection of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2021, dominated three levels of the minor leagues as a 19-year-old last season and was named Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline (1.56 ERA, 155-25 K-BB in 103 IP). His four-tone repertoire and precocious command have him on the fast track, one that could be left behind Aaron Nola i Zack Wheeler at the end of the season. — Paul Hembekides
Jordan Walker (RF): Will force his way onto the big league roster in St. Louis
It might not be from spring training, but Walker might as well. Obviously, it is more difficult for a prospect to crack the roster of a good team and the Saint Louis Cardinals have one of the best lineups in the MLB.
When you see the power that Walker’s bat generates and the consistency of his career record thus far, he will be too good to keep in Springfield. And if he’s in the majors, he won’t languish on the bench, so we could see the Cardinals hit the trade market to free up some cap space for him and add depth elsewhere, likely the bullpen. However, the Cardinals will be treated from a position of strength. So will Walker. — Bradford Doolittle
Kyle Harrison (LHP): Will be the Giants’ No. 2 starter in August
The San Francisco GiantsThe best starting pitcher prospect in years looks a little similar Madison Bumgarner until he lets go of the ball, and kind of like Carlos Rodon after. He’s only 21, but after two seasons at three levels and 14.6 K/9, he’s running out of leagues to dominate. — Tim Keown
Diego Cartaya (C): It will be the following Will Smith –or better
By the end of the year, it will be fair to wonder if Cartaya can be as good, if not better, than Smith, the current catcher Los Angeles Dodgers. Smith, 27, is already one of the best receivers in the sport. But Cartaya’s combination of skill and power, along with his plus-arm strength and steadily improving defense, will soon have industry executives wondering if Smith might be expendable.
“Will is an All-Star,” said a longtime scout. “Cartaya has a chance to be a cornerstone.” — Alden Gonzalez
Miguel Vargas (3B): Will win top rookie honors
Vargas would have helped the Dodgers last season if they had just let him go. Although he has typically played third base, this year he is his starting second baseman and his combination of power, patience and speed (we project .280/.360/.475, with 15 home runs, 15 stolen bases, 75 runs) worth it top NL rookie honors. — Eric Karabell
Tanner Bibee (RHP): Will be the latest success story from the Cleveland Pitching Factory
Last year, I picked a pitcher who was the third righty on his own team on Kiley’s roster and said he would be the best pitcher in baseball. Eury Perez made me look very smart. I’m not suggesting that Bibee, who is behind Daniel Espino and Gavin Williams, is the best pitching prospect in baseball, or even on his own team.
But maybeShane Bieber potential? Someone with excellent fastball command (and high-90s velocity), three other good pitches (his slider and changeup, mostly), and a high floor and ceiling? This is Bibee. Another low-round pick (fifth round, 2021), another success story, and another year in which theGuardians of ClevelandRemind the league that nobody develops pitchers better.— Jeff Passan
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