2022 Bowman Chrome Checklist Review – Part 2 (AL teams)

It’s Bowman time again! The Bowman Chrome release is always highlighted by prospects from the most recent international free agent signing period (J15), and this release is no exception with 20 such names. As you’ll see, there’s much more than that though!

There are 112 prospect subjects in this, and all but one has autographs. Every single one of them has no previous Bowman auto, but some have previous cards. All those that have previous cards were specifically in 2022 Bowman or 2021 Bowman Draft. I’ve noted those players, but I’ve probably written about them previously so there’s no detailed breakdown for those.

Since there are so many players, I’m keeping this piece simple (no media) and have split it into two parts. Part 1 (NL teams) can be found here. Without further ado:

Baltimore Orioles

Isaac De Leon – The stat line says De Leon didn’t hit much this year, but was moved to High-A at age 20 regardless. Why? Well, he’s a solid fielder at either SS or 3B, and the numbers in his batted ball profile indicate all he needs to do is make more contact. He earned his promotion by slashing .322/.388/.544 for a month, but even in doing so struck out 32% of the time. There’s a dynamic player in there somewhere! He’ll deservedly be very cheap at release, but there’s some boom potential here.
Risk: 9, Ceiling: 5

Cesar Prieto – Sure, he has most measures of a plus hit tool. However, he had a sub .120 ISO paired with a sub-5 BB%. For a 3B, I don’t know if that really works at all. Already 23 and only 5’9”, this is a player that I’m out on for the hobby. He’ll probably ride that hit tool to the majors eventually though, so there is a floor at least.
Risk: 5, Ceiling: 3

Collin Burns – Drafted as an emergent bat-first college 2B in the sixth round last year, he’s been quite the opposite. Burns has played almost exclusively SS, and done so fairly well – it bodes well for his defensive ceiling at least. His bat and power are now just playing as fringe-average so he’ll need to maintain value as a utility player.
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 4

Greg Cullen – Now 26, a utility player that hit well enough to stick around in 2023 and maybe fill in the back end of a 40-man if needed.
Risk: 6, Ceiling: 2

Maikol Hernandez – Big frame, hasn’t come together at all yet. Likely to repeat the Complex.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 3

Donta’ Williams, John Rhodes, and Reed Trimble have autos here with previous cards in 2021 Bowman Draft.

Boston Red Sox

Eddinson Paulino – Among age-20 or younger players, only Elly De La Cruz, Jhonkensy Noel, and Yanquiel Fernandez had more extra base hits than Paulino. Unlike those guys though, his power likely only has an above-average ceiling. He should be able to continue with what he’s doing though, because his hit tool also looks much better than advertised – he makes good swing decisions and had a K% under 20%. He doesn’t have a projectable body, but even if what we’re seeing is all we get, there’s potential for a super-utility type here.
Risk: 6, Ceiling: 7

Nathan Hickey – Highlighted by big-time on-base skills and above average power for a catcher, Hickey had a solid first full season. He’s a weak defender but his bat has a good chance to play even if he moves to the OF. We just need to see it in the high minors now. Fun fact: he had a whopping 35 LD% in Single-A before being promoted!
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 6

Daniel McElveny – 6th rd 2021 pop-up prep catcher. Seems very raw, not much power yet.
Risk: 9, Ceiling: 3-5

Ceddanne Rafaela has an auto here with previous cards in 2022 Bowman – it will likely have the 1st Bowman logo.

Chicago White Sox

Wilfred Veras – The best thing Veras has going for him is the White Sox belief in him – he was moved to Project Birmingham after being ‘just fine’ in Single-A this year. Surprisingly, he actually maintained his performance against the more advanced pitching! And there’s more positives. Veras was one of only 4 teenagers to hit 20 HR this year – power is definitely his calling card. There’s still a lot of rawness to his hitting – that’ll need to be cleaned up as he moves to High-A next year. His ceiling is capped for the hobby by his being 1B-only.
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 7

Tanner McDougal – It was a TJ recovery year for the 2021 5th-round prep draftee. He has a big body and very flashy stuff – he looks the part of a dominant pitcher. However, he never pitched more than a few innings at a time even in high school, so with the TJ surgery now, it’s easy to say he’s just a far-away relief arm. That’s all speculation though – buy for the great stuff, fade for the extreme relief risk.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 3

Erick Hernandez – Unlike a lot of these 2022 J15, Hernandez’s ceiling is not so high. His $1 MM bonus was given based on a projection of a plus hit tool & defense in CF – and his DSL performance showed signs of that. His power projection, which we care most about for the hobby, is below average, and that also showed with a .064 ISO.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 4-6

Norge Vera has an auto here with previous cards in 2022 Bowman – it will likely have the 1st Bowman logo.

Cleveland Guardians

Jaison Chourio – Certain to have “brother tax” in this product, but Jaison stands on his own DSL merits. He was a 2nd tier signing in the 2022 J15 class but performed much better than that. He walked a whopping 22.5% of the time and had one of the best SwStr% in the DSL. Are those signs of a burgeoning plus hit tool? Maybe, but in the DSL I’d rather see a player show out with power than great patience. Jaison’s power numbers were a touch behind his brother’s in the DSL, but those weren’t special either. There’s simply no predicting what Jackson did.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 6-8

Detroit Tigers

Austin Schultz – A 2021 10th-Round pick from University of Kentucky, there’s not a lot of power in his smallish frame, but he does have good speed. If he can make enough contact there’s 4th OF potential. The second half of his 2022 season was mostly wiped out by an injury.
Risk: 8, Ceiling: 3

Houston Astros

Quincy Hamilton – If the expectation is a speedy 4th OF-type, Hamilton had a fantastic year. A collegiate 5th Round pick in 2021, Hamilton made quick work of the low minors this year. He struggled a bit in a small sample against more advanced AA pitching, but there’s plenty of promise. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in Houston by the end of 2023.
Risk: 5, Ceiling: 4

Enmanuel Valdez (now Red Sox) – I don’t know how many times this season I lamely said to myself “more like enMANuel Valdez, am i right?” whilst pouring over minor league box scores. He definitely broke out in 2022. Nothing really changed in his swing – he hit a few more line drives, made a few more good swing decisions, but the results speak for themselves. A .296/.376/.542 slash between AA/AAA leaves him as an option for the Red Sox in 2023. A defensive home is his last hurdle.
Risk: 4 Ceiling: 7

Roilan Machandy – At 21, still playing at the complex level. Poor swing decisions. Good speed.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 2

Kansas City Royals

Maikel Garcia – Speed is his best asset, but he just keeps hitting too. There’s not a lot of power, but to make it as a SS, do you really need it? He made it to KC this year filling in at that position – and he might have a more regular role next year. At 22, there might be a little more projection left, but this is a player who looks to be more valuable in real life than the hobby.
Risk: 2, Ceiling: 4

Herard Gonzalez – Moved up to High-A for 2022 but remains very raw. He’s only 21 – so moving up levels despite his struggles means the organization at least has faith in him. He did improve this year significantly, as his high K% went away – it just became poor contact. All said, he still has a decent chance of being fringe-average across the board, except for his speed (which is above average).
Risk:7, Ceiling: 4

Daniel Vazquez – Spent the entire year as an 18 YO at Single-A. He made enough contact, but lacked enough physical maturity for the level. Don’t knock him too much – he was a highly ranked, $1.5 MM bonus J15 in 2021. The skills are there for him to end up with really good hit with speed – some power could come as well.
Risk:10, Ceiling: 6

Los Angeles Angels

Adrian Placencia – In an Angels system that lacks much offensive punch, Placencia stands out. He and Edgar Quero were the only teenagers with double digit HR, and also the only teenagers with an OBP over .350 (min 250 PA). He has the hallmarks of being a raw (very high K%, very high BB%) prospect, but when we add in his good speed, he’s a dynamic one worthy of a flyer in the hobby.
Risk: 8, Ceiling: 6

Minnesota Twins

Yasser Mercedes – Only a handful of DSL players hit over .300 and stole 20 bases this year, and Mercedes hit for the most power amongst them. Big frame, big bonus, K% & BB% look good – there’s nothing to indicate we shouldn’t expect him to be a big name in this product with big expectations in the Complex next year.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 8-10

Jake Rucker – A 2021 7th round pick out of Tennessee who played mostly in the low minors in 2022, his strength is his defensive versatility. His offensive skills could also end up as fringe average, but that projection isn’t quite translating to games yet as it should with a 22 year-old. The organization did believe in him enough to test him at AAA to end the season.
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 4

Danny De Andrade – Showed off his excellent bat to ball skills in the complex this year, but his quality of contact needs to improve (.129 ISO, 25% IFFB, .277 BABIP). He’s only 18 so there’s plenty of time for that to happen with maturity. He doesn’t have much power projection so he’s better suited to 2B if he can’t stick at SS.
Risk: 8, Ceiling: 5

Noah Miller has autos here with previous cards in 2021 Bowman Draft.

New York Yankees

Roderick Arias – Yankee. $4 MM 2022 J15 bonus. Potential 5-tool SS. Enough said. OK OK I’ll go on. He got a late start in the DSL and looked very raw – just go ahead and ignore the numbers. He flashed power, he flashed speed, he confirmed what all the scouts had him pegged as. He will not be a fast mover, but if he progresses as expected in the Complex his ascent could be similar to fellow SS org-mate Anthony Volpe.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 8-10

Benjamin Cowles – 2021 10th round bat from Maryland who reached High-A. Utility profile, organizational filler for now.
Risk: 9, Ceiling: 2

Cooper Bowman has autos here with previous cards in 2021 Bowman Draft.

Oakland Athletics

CJ Rodriguez – A 2021 5th rounder from Vanderbilt, he’s a defense first catcher who’s already shown he can handle top-level pitchers well. He only saw Single-A this year at 22, so it’s with a grain of salt that I say he has excellent plate discipline (14.9 BB%, .380 OBP) and makes great swing decisions (7.2% SwStr). There’s no power so he’s a likely MLB backup, but there’s a good chance he gets there.
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 3

Junior Perez – Repeating Single-A in 2022, there were definite improvements from a rough 2021. The 21 YO outfielder hit for much more power and a better batting average. However, that said, his 30.7 K% and 12.5 LD% indicate he’s still very raw. He’s a slow burn prospect who still has a chance to make it to being average across the board, but if he does it while debuting at 25, how much juice is that for the hobby?
Risk: 8, Ceiling: 4

Denzel Clarke has autos here with previous cards in 2021 Bowman Draft.

Seattle Mariners

Cade Marlowe – He’s on the cusp of being able to show what he can do at the MLB-level – he was even added to the taxi squad for the playoffs.It still looks like a 4th OF, but there’s some dynamism to his power & speed games, which is most important for the hobby. Keeping his K% in check will be important as he moves to a season that will likely be split between AAA and the majors next year.
Risk: 4, Ceiling: 5

Andy Thomas (now Giants) – A 2021 senior sign, Thomas is already 24. He showed good power & some plate skill this year, but it was at High-A. The Giants (he was moved in the Matthew Boyd deal) took a look at him in the AFL where he didn’t make the quick adjustment to more advanced pitching. Age casts him to the side for the hobby but he could make it as a backup catcher.
Risk: 6, Ceiling: 3

Charlie Welch – 19th-round catcher from Arkansas. Good power, not a good defender and showed a poor hit tool.
Risk: 9, Ceiling: 2

Luis Chevalier – missed most of the year (undisclosed), but improvements on a poor 2021 Complex year were not apparent.
Risk: 10, Ceiling:3

Victor Labrada has autos here with previous cards in 2022 Bowman – it will likely have the 1st Bowman logo.

Tampa Bay Rays

Willy Vasquez – After July 1 Vasquez slashed .320/.376/.573 – it makes the May/June numbers look like the anomaly after his outstanding stateside debut last year. There’s a lot of intrigue here in a package that includes potential plus power. Don’t be fooled by the middling season stat line, he figured out Single-A and could be primed for a true breakout next year.
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 7

Alexander Ovalles – Ovalles had a perfectly fine season at High-A this year. He significantly increased his power & quality of contact (.258/.354/.445. 14 HR) from his 2021 campaign, and now looks like a solid fringe-average prospect. He’s a good defender in both OF corners and 1B, so should maintain organizational value to see if a bit more ceiling can be squeezed out.
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 5

Mason Auer – After a stellar season where he slashed .290/.372/.487 across Single-A/High-A, he was sent to the AFL where he showed more of the same for the first week of the season (before fatigue set in). With that sub-.500 SLG you want to see some speed, right? How about 48 SB with only 7 CS. He will be 22 in March, so for the Hobby it’s important that he hit AA running – that’s really the only negative. Also possessing a cannon of an arm, he’s a breakout talent with easy 5-tool potential.
Risk: 5, Ceiling: 7

Dru Baker – A Texas Tech standout, the Rays took Baker in the 4th round in 2021. He made quick work of his initial Single-A assignment this year but an injury ended his season in late June before he really got going at High-A. He has fringe-average power and a good feel to hit with great speed, however like most of these 2021 college bats, we want to see it at the higher levels sooner rather than later. Baker has the athleticism to handle CF – it’s a new position for him. If he’s able to stick there, it increases his organizational value.
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 5

Estanli Castillo – He’s now 21 and repeated the Complex, but all is not lost. He posted an OBP over .400 despite some major regression in his underlying numbers. If he can move up to Single-A and flip those back to the positive underlying numbers he showed in 2021, we could say he has an average or better hit tool. He’s 6’3”, so the levers are there for some power as well. If he makes it it won’t be for quite awhile.
Risk:9, Ceiling:4

Texas Rangers

Anthony Gutierrez – A rocketship of projectability is a good way to describe Gutierrez. He was the only 2022 J15 to be promoted from the DSL to Complex ball this year, and he held his own when he got there. There’s an excellent foundation that could end up as a plus hit tool. In fact, with more physical development all his tools could be above-average or better. He’s sure to be a highlight of this product.
Risk: 9, Ceiling: 8-10

Yeison Morrobel – Morrobel was one of several 2021 J15 standouts at the Complex who earned a promotion to Single-A to end their 2022 campaigns. His path to success is through his hit tool – hitting .329 with a sub-20 K% in the complex tells us it’s quite advanced for his age. There is some projectability in the power department as well, but it’s not showing up quite yet. He was the Ranger’s top international signee in 2021, for $1.8 MM.
Risk: 8, Ceiling: 7

Danyer Cueva – A risker prospect than his fellow 2021 J15 teammate Morrobel, but he likewise earned a promotion to Single-A to end 2022 by hitting .330 at the Complex. If he can stick at SS, his above-average across the board potential will carry him far. He needs to improve his plate discipline to have continued success – he’s more raw than Morrobel.
Risk: 9, Ceiling: 7

JoJo Blackmon – Drafted as more of a project than a prospect in the 11th round of the 2021 Draft, Blackmon blasted his way to Low-A this year despite an enormous K%. Hitting 20 XBH in 187 AB’s is impressive for a 19 YO no matter the warts. As a bonus, he has good speed to go with it and can play CF. If he can get his K% down to even 30% next year, he’ll be much, much more interesting. He’s a great hobby flyer.
Risk: 9, Ceiling: 5

Jose Rodriguez has autos here with previous cards in 2022 Bowman – it will likely have the 1st Bowman logo.
Cameron Cauley has autos here with previous cards in 2021 Bowman Draft.

Toronto Blue Jays

Sebastian Espino – His power is very real and easy to see as being above average or better – it’s shown up in games each of the last two years. However, in 2022 he had a superlative K%, and not in the positive way. Nothing about his profile last year screamed something like that would happen. He simply did not face the challenge of AA well. Only 22, he’s still got time to figure it out as he repeats the level next year. His bat will need to carry him as he does not hold strong defensive value or speed.
Risk: 7, Ceiling: 4

Jaden Rudd – A project pick in the 7th round last year, Rudd didn’t make much good contact in the Complex. What’s more interesting is that he hit a game-tying HR that ultimately led to Great Britain’s qualification into the 2023 WBC – if he shows out in the tournament, it would at least get a flash of hobby love. Otherwise, he’s just a far-away OF prospect who’s tough to project having an average tool.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 3

Luis Meza – One of the top catching prospects from the 2022 J15 class, he signed for a whopping $2.2 MM. It’s a huge bonus for a position that usually takes a long time to develop. Meza is no exception to that on the offensive side as evidenced by just a .267 OBP in the DSL. The defensive returns already look excellent – good enough to say he’ll definitely be at the Complex next year.
Risk: 10, Ceiling: 5-7

Victor Mesia – only 19, struggled in low minors. Good defender, lacks much projectability.
Risk: 9, Ceiling: 2

Estiven Machado has autos here with previous cards in 2022 Bowman – it will likely have the 1st Bowman logo.

Max Arterburn lives in the Milwaukee suburbs. He loves coaching baseball, karaoke, film, and spending time with his wife & 3 boys. He loves the Hobby & uses it as an avenue to obsessively follow prospects. He also loves critiquing card design & fancies 1998 UD3 as his favorite childhood set. He is not an Instagram model.

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