2022 Midwest League Primer (Part 2)

Masyn Winn, Palm Beach Cardinals, Low-A Southeast, May 18, 2021. Photo credit Ryan Dowd/Blue Leprechaun Photography, Blue Leprechaun Photography on Flickr

Since we last checked in on the re-renamed Midwest League preview for 2022 (formerly High-A Central), the lockout was still breaking baseball fans’ hearts far and wide. It has since mercifully ended, bringing the 162-game 2022 MLB season back from a disastrous precipice. While this doesn’t change anything for the Midwest League 2022 season, it at the very least reopens an opportunity for dynasty managers to get a leg up on league mates who would rather pay closer attention to the majors. With that said, let’s get familiar with the rest of the Midwest League as the 2022 season is here. I’ve picked out my most anticipated player for each team and highlighted a few other interesting names to know.

This is the second part of a 2-part series previewing the Midwest League for 2022. Click here to see Part 1.

Lansing Lugnuts (Oakland Athletics)

Tyler Soderstrom, C, 20, #1 Oakland Athletics 2022 Prospect
Soderstrom has quickly established himself as the consensus top prospect in the Oakland Athletics farm system after being drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft. He looked the part of a future masher at Low-A Stockton, but missed some significant time due to injury. The bat seems more than ready for High-A, but whether the A’s continue to play him at catcher is the biggest question surrounding his future. If his defense lags, don’t be surprised to see him get time as a corner infielder. He has a chance to lead a suddenly stacked Lugnuts squad.

Other Names to Watch:

  • Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, 22, #4 Toronto Blue Jays 2022 Prospect (Traded to Oakland after list publication): 2021 polished 1st rounder had TJ surgery before the draft, could make pro debut midway through the season.
  • Brayan Buelvas, OF, 19, #7: Young outfielder showed impressive counting stats production with solid plate discipline skills.
  • Ryan Cusick, RHP, 22, #8 Atlanta Braves 2022 Prospect (Traded to Oakland after list publication): Braves’ 2021 1st round draft pick showed supreme strikeout skills in short Low-A pro-debut, limiting walks will determine role.
  • Joey Estes, RHP, 20, #11 Atlanta Braves 2022 Prospect (Traded to Oakland after list publication): Breakout pitcher held a sterling 24.7% K-BB% in Low-A as a teenager; considerable upside here.
  • Jorge Juan, RHP, 23, #12: Towering 6’9″ righty had High-A debut cut short due to elbow injury but has enough positive attributes to suggest starter future.
  • Lawrence Butler, 1B/OF, 21, #14: Big power bat struggles with strikeouts but walks a ton, shows impressive stolen base ability.

Peoria Chiefs (St. Louis Cardinals)

Masyn Winn, SS, 19, #5 St. Louis Cardinals 2022 Prospect
Winn was drafted as a two-way player, but after pitching just one inning in 2021, the Cardinals announced he’ll be focusing on hitting full-time. He was very good at Low-A Palm Beach but seemed overmatched at High-A. At his best he shows good speed on the basepaths and impressive plate discipline. It will be interesting to see if focusing purely on hitting and SS can help him conquer High-A in 2022.

Other Names to Watch:

  • Edwin Nunez, RHP, 19, #13: Flamethrower touches triple digits on fastball and could be formidable closer if control ever straightens out.
  • Michael McGreevy, RHP, 21, #16: College arm has long track record of elite control and four solid pitches. Could ascend to ace status with uptick in stuff.
  • Noah Mendlinger, 2B/3B, 21, Unranked: Under-the-radar DII Georgia College product had sneaky excellent Low-A pro debut based on premier plate discipline (1.29 BB/K). Little fantasy impact projection, but a fun player nonetheless.

Quad City River Bandits (Kansas City Royals)

Darryl Collins, OF, 20, #15 Kansas City Royals 2022 Prospect
Collins doesn’t project to be the most impactful prospect, but there aren’t too many of those types of players projected for High-A Quad Cities to start the 2022 season. Still, Collins showed enough advanced plate discipline and stolen base ability as a 19 year-old in 2021 to at least be an exciting prospect. How much power he can get to in-game will determine whether he can project to be a major league starter or more of a bench piece. His pro career is nonetheless off to a good start.

Other Names to Watch:

  • Ben Hernandez, RHP, 20, #19: Athletic pitcher adept at limiting homers and inducing ground balls; winning combo despite lack of swing-and-miss.
  • Peyton Wilson, 2B, 22, #34: 2021 3rd-round pick projects for plus speed and average power; potential future utility role-player.

South Bend Cubs (Chicago Cubs)

DJ Herz, LHP, 21, #8 Chicago Cubs 2022 Prospect
Herz had something of a breakout at Low-A Myrtle Beach in 2021 before getting a taste of High-A to close out the season. A jump in velocity helped him facilitate other-worldly strikeout numbers (40.4% K%, 16.5% SwStr%), though his control could use refining. His delivery and control blemishes draw out reliever projections, but I don’t think it makes sense to give up on starting just yet. 2022 could be a big year in deciding his future role, but one thing’s for certain: he’s going to strikeout High-A batters.

Other Names to Watch:

  • Jordan Wicks, LHP, 22, #10: 2021 1st rounder out of college pairs advanced command with a plus changeup and could reach majors quickly.
  • Kevin Made, SS, 19, #15: Spent most of 2021 performing as 18 y.o. at Low-A, but needs to improve plate discipline, game power for fantasy relevance.
  • Yohendrick Pinango, OF, 19, #23: Teen hitter reached High-A in 2021 thanks to excellent contact/plate discipline skillset. Buy hit tool, pray for power growth.
  • Kohl Franklin, RHP, 22, #24: Hasn’t pitched since 2019 due to injuries, pandemic, but shows strong starter’s profile when on mound. Now healthy and ready to get back on track at High-A.

West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers)

Ty Madden, RHP, 21, #6 Detroit Tigers 2022 Prospect
Madden fell to the Tigers at the 32nd pick in 2021 and was considered by many to be one of the biggest steals of the draft in terms of pure talent. He has yet to make his pro debut, but his high-end velocity, strike-throwing capabilities, and potent slider portend a quality starting pitcher. He figures to begin in High-A, but depending on his performance, could move to Double-A and beyond fairly quickly.

Other Names to Watch:

  • Dylan Smith, RHP, 21, #11: 2021 college draftee showed improved command and ability to start in 2021 after relieving previously. Shows quality pitch mix with athleticism and uptick in velocity.
  • Colt Keith, 3B, 20, #14: Young hitter impressed at Low-A in 2021 before struggling in small stab at High-A. Showed strong BB% all year with hints of power upside. Breakout potential for High-A returnee.
  • Tyler Mattison, RHP, 22, #45: College pitcher showed intriguing velocity uptick in 2021, and could be quick mover if velocity, control continue developing.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers)

Tyler Black, 2B/3B, 21, #9 Milwaukee Brewers 2022 Prospect
Black was considered one of the best college hitters when he was selected with the 33rd pick in the 2021 MLB draft. He makes consistent quality contact thanks to his excellent eye at the plate and quick bat speed. Like fellow 2021 Brewers draftee Sal Frelick, his Low-A performance was relatively muted but showed some hints of his on-base ability. He’ll get a chance to show he’s ready for full season ball at High-A in 2022.

Other Names to Watch:

  • Freddy Zamora, SS, 23, #11: Shows solid defense at SS with contact-oriented batting profile, but lacks impact.
  • Antoine Kelly, LHP, 22, #16: High-velocity pitcher with wicked stuff struggled with injury, control woes in 2021.
  • Russell Smith, LHP, 23, #20: Giant lefty makes up for lack of stuff with premium control, increase in velo could boost ceiling.
  • Abner Uribe, RHP, 21, #25: Reliever regularly hits 100+ MPH, reaching 103. Desperately needs control improvement.

Doug Otto is the High-A Central league correspondent and Arizona Diamondbacks correspondent for Prospects1500. He is an avid follower and consumer of prospect news, rankings, and data. He also has experience playing fantasy baseball, mostly in deep dynasty formats. When Doug isn’t researching prospects, he’s either watching movies or baking dessert. He can be found on Twitter at

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