Early Season Prospect Breakouts

Jackson Chourio, Carolina Mudcats. Photo credit Neal Hock/Carolina Mudcats, @neal_hock on Twitter

Here at Prospects1500, we want to help you identify prospects that can be of value to your dynasty league rosters. An average dynasty owner knows the top prospects to own since that information is easy to find. We believe that one of the keys to getting maximum value out of prospects is to get in on them early before they become household names in the mainstream. So we got our writers together and came up with a group of guys that they are adding to their dynasty squads from the organizations they cover. The goal was to give you one prospect per organization to consider but we ended up giving you a couple of bonus names. Here is our list of 32 that we think you need to know about. Some of these names will already be familiar to you if you follow our MiLB ⭐️s of the Day on Twitter or the Prospects of the Week articles.


Stats are current through June 14, 2022.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Luke Albright, RHP (Preseason NR)
Hillsboro Hops (High-A)
(11 GS, 52.0 IP, 44 H, 25 ER, 17 BB, 48 K, 8.3 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)
Albright has had a successful season so far at High-A, with a 4.31 ERA, 8.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 52 innings. The 22-year-old was left off the preseason Top 50 due to his high walk-rates, but he’s made improvements so far. Unlocking more strikeouts would help raise his profile considerably. (@hdouglasotto)

Atlanta Braves

Royber Salinas, RHP (NR)
Augusta GreenJackets (Single-A)/Rome Braves (High-A)
(12 GS, 53.1 IP, 32 H, 19 ER, 28 BB, 99 K, 16.7 K/9, 4.7 BB/9)
After dominating Low-A, Salinas has been promoted to High-A Rome, and has begun to get his feel for more advanced competition. The 16.7 K/9 is the tantalizing selling point here, albeit with a 4.7 BB/9 walk rate that should provide caution. There’s some back-end reliever risk for fantasy purposes with Royber, but I’d make a speculative pickup if he’s available in your leagues with over 200 prospects. (@MKelley_ND)

Baltimore Orioles

Darell Hernaiz, SS/2B (20)
Delmarva Shorebirds (Single-A)/Aberdeen IronBirds (High-A)
(43 G, .273/.337/.473/.810, 45 H, 9 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 28 R, 12 BB, 14 SB)
This Baltimore system has some serious talent, especially in the lower levels. Do not let Hernaiz get lost in all that talent. He proved early on this season that at 20-years-old, he was too advanced for Single-A. He makes great contact and if his power gains are for real his profile really takes a step forward. Starting next season in AA Bowie as a 21-year-old is not out of the question for Hernaiz.

Boston Red Sox

Ceddanne Rafaela, OF/SS (#29)
Greenville Drive (High-A)/Portland Sea Dogs (AA)
(52 G, .327/.369/.597/.966, 74 H, 20 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 41 RBI, 42 R, 12 BB, 14 SB)
Arguably the hottest hitter and most impressive prospect in Boston’s farm system after the first 2 months, Rafaela is quickly climbing the organization’s ladder. He was recently promoted to AA Portland after 45 stellar games in High-A Greenville. The 20-year-old slashed .330/.368/.594/.962, adding 30 XBH and 14 SB. Ranked 29th on Prospects1500’s preseason Red Sox Top 50, he’s primed to possibly break the Top 15, possibly even higher, when our midseason updates drop this summer. (@Scotty_Ballgame)

Chicago Cubs

Cam Sanders, RHP (Honorable Mention)
Tennessee Smokies (AA)/Iowa Cubs (AAA)
(12 GS, 50.1 IP, 29 H, 17 ER, 27 BB, 62 K, 11.1 K/9, 4.8 BB/9)
Sanders was a 12th-round pick in the 2018 Draft. Has garnered minimal fantasy interest but one of my minor league contacts told me he was “by far the best arm he has faced this season.” He said Sanders ran his fastball up to 99 with absolutely sickening movement and “He’s the guy you want to get for fantasy baseball.” (@slydanno70)

Chicago White Sox

Lenyn Sosa, SS (#15)
Birmingham Barons (AA)
(56 G, .341/.392/.565/.957, 79 H, 9 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 43 R, 18 BB)
Sosa has produced gaudy numbers, busting out as a 22 YO in AA. He was previously ranked in the White Sox top 20 . #15 preseason and #15 in 2021 midseason. Although some scouts have dinged him for his arm strength, his manager Justin Jirschele told me his defensive fundamentals are so sound he has the ability to stick on the left side of the infield. (@slydanno70)

Cincinnati Reds

Joe Boyle, RHP (#22)
Dayton Dragons (High-A)
(9 GS, 42.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 31 BB, 65 K, 13.7 K/9, 6.5 BB/9)
The 6″7″ Boyle possess an 80-grade fastball and a nasty slider which is eliciting strikeouts at a high rate. Ultimately the development of a viable third pitch will determine his ceiling in the rotation or as a back-end bullpen guy. As with most young pitchers his size, control and command can be spotty as evidenced by his current 6.5 BB/9. If he puts it all together he will be a serious weapon whether that be in the Cincy rotation or as a high leverage reliever.

Cleveland Guardians

Milan Tolentino, IF (#39)
Lynchburg Hillcats (Single-A)
(47 G, .333/.434/.423/.857, 56 H, 12 2B, HR, 26 RBI, 33 R, 32 BB, 8 SB)
Cleveland is another loaded system and I could have easily gone with break-out pitchers Hunter Gaddis or Will Dion here. Instead, the pick is a young middle infielder that has a top-of-the-order skillset. Tolentino is getting on base at a high clip and is showing above-average speed but currently lacks consistent extra base power. I am of the belief that power development can come as young prospects mature and make adjustments to their swing. A good hit tool and plate discipline like Tolentino has displayed, is harder to come by. He will be one to watch as he progresses through this system. If that power starts to show up, don’t be late to the party!

Colorado Rockies

Let’s get the obvious out of the way right up front. There is no argument that Ezequiel Tovar belongs at the top of any list where hot prospects for 2022 are being discussed. He was preseason ranked #7 in the Colorado system, but is currently being discussed in the industry as a top-20 overall prospect and is having a truly phenomenal season. If he is somehow not rostered in a dynasty league where 50 or more prospects are rostered, go get him as soon as you finish this read. For this article though, I wanted to highlight someone not as likely to be rostered.
Hunter Goodman, C/1B (#23)
Fresno Grizzlies (Single-A)
(56 G, .292/.358/.583/.941, 63 H, 13 2B, 3B, 16 HR, 55 RBI, 41 R, 18 BB, 3 SB)
Goodman was a 2021 4th-round draft pick out of the University of Memphis. In his final season at Memphis, he hit .307 with 21 HR in 56 games and entered the draft with several evaluators comping him to Kyle Schwarber. The start to his professional career has not disappointed as he has hit 16 HR and driven in 55 RBI in just over 200 AB this year. Most scouts believe that he will not stick behind the plate and likely moves 1B or a corner OF position. That power hitting in Coors Field is fun to dream on.

Detroit Tigers

Kerry Carpenter, OF (NR)
Erie SeaWolves (AA)
(54 G, .312/.367/.668/1.035, 63 H, 9 2B, 21 HR, 44 RBI, 41 R, 13 BB, SB)
If Carpenter keeps this up this is the very definition of a “breakout” as nothing in his previous seasons has pointed to this outburst. Carpenter started the season left off most prospect big boards. Possibly feeling slighted, all the 2019 19th round draft pick out of Virginia Tech has done through 49 games is rake. In 2022, Carpenter has seen his average increase by 74 pts, his HR:PA has tripled, and his OPS is over 1. If this stays all year, it will really be time to take note. (@Det_Guru_Kurt)

Houston Astros

Enmanuel Valdez, 2B/3B (#25)
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)/Sugar Land Space Cowboys (AAA)
(50 G, .354/.452/.656/1.108, 68 H, 17 2B, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 45 R, 35 BB, 4 SB)
Leading the Texas League in batting average and being top five in home runs and RBI warranted an early promotion to AAA Sugar Land for Valdez. So what does he do in his first two plate appearances? The lefty blasts two solo homers against a pitcher with Major League experience in Michael Grove. If he stays this hot it may not be long until he earns his shot in the show. I was late to add him in 3 of my dynasty leagues, don’t make the same mistake.

Kansas City Royals

Drew Parrish, LHP (#21)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA)/Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA)
(11 GS, 59.2 IP, 36 H, 17 ER, 15 BB, 55 K, 8.3 K/9, 2.3 BB/9)
Parrish does not possess a high octane fastball or the devastating breaking ball that will elicit high strikeout numbers. Which at the end of the day might limit his dynasty appeal for some. What he does possess is very good change-up and good enough command to keep hitters off balance and limit hard contact. His AA numbers were very good which led to his recent promotion to AAA Omaha. With the Royals struggling it might not be long until he sees innings in KC.

Los Angeles Angels

David MacKinnon, 1B (NR)
Salt Lake Bees (AAA)
(54 G, .321/.422/.611/1.033, 61 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 39 RBI, 38 R, 34 BB, 2 SB)
Senior sign out of Hartford College, he has had a Jared Walsh-type rise through the Angels system, doing well at every level and then exploding in AAA batting .321/.422/.611. He may be 27 but a bad knee injury and COVID had something to do with his delayed timing. I am really excited to see him at a Major League stadium whether that is the Big A or elsewhere. (@A_Rhodes77)

Los Angeles Dodgers

Gavin Stone, RHP (#22)
Great Lakes Loons (High-A)/Tulsa Drillers (AA)
(11 GS, 51.0 IP, 43 H, 9 ER, 11 BB, 68 K, 12.0 K/9, 1.9 BB/9)
That is not a typo, only 9 ER and 11 BB with 68 K’s through 51 IP! Stone has above-average command of all 4 of his pitches and that is simply proving to be too much for minor league hitters to handle. Stone was a closer in college at Central Arkansas but the Dodgers felt he profiled better as a starter. It looks like the Dodgers might be right again.

Miami Marlins

Jerar Encarnacion, OF (#28)
Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)/Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (AAA)
55 G, .315/.384/.528/.912, 68 H, 7 2B, 13 HR, 27 RBI, 38 R, 23 BB, 4 SB)
Encarnacion is the Marlins’ breakout prospect for 2022 – so far. He tantalized Marlins fans with light tower power in 2019 mashing 16 home runs but returning to action in 2021 things just didn’t seem right. He has regained his form and is tearing up AA and AAA pitching this season. In 216 AB he has mashed 13 home runs with a .315 average and .384 OBP. Jerar has already been promoted to Jacksonville and if he stays hot he will be bringing his talents to Miami. (@stoffer81)

Milwaukee Brewers

Jackson Chourio, SS/OF (#17)
Carolina Mudcats (Single-A)
(35 G, .350/.397/.608/1.005, 50 H, 13 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 30 R, 11 BB, 4 SB)
Jackson Chourio has burst onto the scene with an early season promotion to Low-A Carolina. Despite being the youngest player in full season ball, Chourio has put up incredible numbers, displaying all five tools and superstar potential. (@dgasper24)

Minnesota Twins

Spencer Steer, OF (#12)
Wichita Wind Surge (AA)/St. Paul Saints (AAA)
(52 G, .297/.383/.622/1.005, 62 H, 18 2B, 3B, 16 HR, 49 RBI, 47 R, 23 BB, SB)
Steer’s numbers to start the year have been impressive, to say the least. Over his first 35 games in Double-A Ball, he not only significantly lowered his strikeout rate and raised his walk rate, but he also reduced the number of groundballs off of his bat and heightened his line drive rate. Due to his impressive start there, he was subsequently promoted to Triple-A Ball and has hit the ground running with some power, speed, and patience at the plate. It remains to be seen if this can be maintained, but his small sampled numbers are very impressive with St. Paul, and a promotion to the Twins could be in the works. (@sportz_nutt51)

New York Mets

Mike Vasil, LHP (#33)
St. Lucie Mets (Single-A)/Brooklyn Cyclones (High-A)
(11 GS, 50.0 IP, 33 H, 16 ER, 16 BB, 59 K, 10.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)
Vasil was an 8th round selection out of the University of Virginia for the Mets in last year’s draft. Vasil and the Mets immediately got to work making changes to his delivery that resulted in a velocity spike from the 92-93 mph range up to 96-97. Armed with the higher velocity he needed only 8 starts in Single-A before earning a promotion to High-A Brooklyn. In an organization desperately in need of young, home-grown pitching, Vasil might be just that answer.

New York Yankees

Chandler Champlain, RHP (NR)
Tampa Tarpons
(10 GS, 45.2 IP, 46 H, 19 ER, 10 BB, 57 K, 11.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9)
Champlain 2021 9th rounder, listed at 6’5”, 220. Shows a FB that is 92-93 as well as a big curveball at 76-78 and a slider that’s at 80-83. His curve and slider spin rates range from 2500-3000 rpm plus. He projects as a prospect who should take some time to develop in the minor leagues and makes an intriguing arm to watch with his excellent spin rate and 3 potential above-average pitches. (@PaulWoodin1)

Oakland Athletics

Brett Harris, 3B (#32)
Lansing Lugnuts (High-A)/Midland RockHounds (AA)
(44 G, .315/.404/.543/.947, 51 H, 13 2B, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 31 R, 24 BB)
Harris was part of what is quickly becoming a really solid 2021 draft class for the A’s. He struggled a bit with in his introduction to High-A last season, but not this year. He was hitting .304/.415/.578 in High-A Lansing when he was promoted to AA Midland. Through 55 AB in AA he hasn’t slowed down much (.333/.385/.483). He also plays an excellent 3B, displaying all the tools to handle that position at the major-league level.

Philadelphia Phillies

Hao Yu Lee, 2B (#23)
Clearwater Threshers (Single-A)
(42 G, .283/.385/.472/.857, 45 H, 7 2B, 3B, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 24 R, 23 BB, 8 SB)
Lee was signed by the Phillies last summer out of Taiwan for $500,000 and was ranked 23rd in our January Top 50. Even though he did extremely well in the FCL Rookie league in 2021 (.364/.440/.773) it was a small sample size and he’s a few years away from the majors. Fast forward six months and Lee is still doing great this year in A ball and has also added some pop to his game with 7 home runs in just over 150 at bats. He’s seen time at second base, shortstop and third base giving the organization some options in managing his playing time as he climbs the ladder. As of now, he’s worked his way into top 10 considering in the system with potential for higher if he continues playing this way. Grab him if ‘s still available in your dynasty leagues. (@tonybps1)

Pittsburgh Pirates

Mike Burrows, RHP (#21)
Altoona Curve (AA)
(12 GS, 52 IP, 38 H, 17 ER, 19 BB, 69 K, 11.9 K/9, 3.3 BB/9)
Burrows is a 22-year-old righty who is having a stellar season in AA Altoona. He has an 11.9/9 K rate and a 2.13 ERA in 50.2 innings. Most importantly, his improved change up has given him an effective third pitch to round out his arsenal which already features an above-average fastball and plus curveball. With that third pitch, Burrows looks like a future mid-rotation starter for the Pirates. With his hot start in AA Altoona, he has earned a promotion to AAA Indianapolis. (@Bucfish67)

San Diego Padres

Esteury Ruiz, 2B (#23)
San Antonio Missions (AA)/El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA)
(56 G, .359/.483/.641/1.124, 75 H, 19 2B,2 3B, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 65 R, 37 BB, 41 SB)
The Esteury Ruiz breakout is one that a lot of people didn’t see coming, including myself. That is what happens when players show small gains in different areas over many years. It’s also a nice reminder of prospect fatigue as Ruiz was highly regarded (as high as #16 for me in 2021) and was always mentioned as having great tools. The phrase “if he can put it all together” was repeated throughout the years. When it didn’t happen right away, people seemed to forget about him. Don’t be that guy! As fast as people jumped off the bandwagon, they should jump back on the Ruiz train immediately. (@Alex_W_Sanchez)

San Francisco Giants

David Villar, 3B/1B (#29)
Sacramento River Cats (AAA)
(50 G, .282/.402/.626/1.028, 49 H, 10 2B, 3B, 16 HR, 47 RBI, 36 R, 29 BB)
Villar has never been regarded as a top Giants prospect, but he very well may represent their future at third base. After breaking the single season home run record for AA Richmond last season, Villar has not slowed down this year hitting 16 in 174 AB so far this year. With Evan Longoria’s contract being up at the end of this season, Villar might not have to wait much longer for his turn. If you like your prospects to have proximity to the majors it might not get closer than Villar.

Seattle Mariners

Bryce Miller, RHP (#23)
Modesto Nuts (Single-A)/Everett AquaSox (High-A)
(11 GS, 59.1 IP, 12 H, 12 ER, 19 BB, 74 K, 11.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)
The former Texas A&M star’s breakout might have actually started in Spring Training this year when he topped 100 mph during a bullpen session. Safe to say the Mariners organization took notice: “I wouldn’t say he surprised people, but I think it was a little bit of his coming-out party in spring training to the larger group,” Mariners farm director Andy McKay said. “Because the stuff—it was overwhelming. It’s electric, no matter how you break it down.” Along with his fastball, he has a hard, mid-80s slider, and a “useable” changeup. Whether he ends up in the bullpen or as a starter, his right arm is special.

St Louis Cardinals

Moises Gomez, OF (NR)
Springfield Cardinals (AA)
(50 G, .328/.389/.728/1.117, 64 H, 15 2B, 21 HR, 48 RBI, 47 R, 17 BB, 5 SB)
Gordon Graceffo, RHP (NR)
Peoria Chiefs (High-A)/Springfield Cardinals (AA)
(11 GS, 61.1 IP, 46 H, 12 ER, 6 BB, 66 K, 9.7 K/9, 0.9 BB/9)
These Springfield Cardinal teammates have both been so good that there was no way to pick between them.
The Cardinals took a chance on Gomez after he was released by Tampa Bay last October. Since putting on the “Birds on the Bat” he has done nothing but hit. He is tied for the AA HR lead with Kerry Carpenter and also tied for the lead in RBI. The only blemish is a 33% K rate that will likely need to come down to sustain this level of success in the big leagues. So what has Graceffo done to match that? Last year’s 5th round pick from Villanova has won Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month Awards in back-to-back months and leads all Cardinals minor league pitchers in innings pitched, ERA, wins, strikeouts, and WHIP. Thanks to outstanding control/command, he helps himself by walking less than a batter a game. Not too bad for two guys that were not ranked on any top 50 lists this preseason.

Tampa Bay Rays

Brett Wisely, IF (#33)
Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
(41 G, .264/.352/.472/.824, 42 H, 9 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 29 R, 22 BB, 11 SB)
In an organization routinely stacked with highly touted prospects, it can be easy for a former 15th-round pick to get lost in the discussion. With that being said, it is officially time to put some respect on Wisely’s name as a true breakout prospect for the Rays. After impressing with 19 HR and 31 SB in 100 games last season, he is on pace for similar numbers in Double-A against a higher level of competition, with six homers and 11 stolen bases across 40 games of the season. Wisely has also demonstrated the ability to play each infield position during his brief professional career, which provides him an advantage to make an impact at the Major League level in the near future if he can continue to produce at a consistent level offensively. (@GatorSosa)

Texas Rangers

Alejandro Osuna, OF (NR)
Down East Wood Ducks (Single-A)
(49 G, .294/.401/.465/.866, 50 H, 9 2B, 3B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 38 R, 27 BB, 18 SB)
Osuna was signed by the Rangers out of Mexico in October of 2020 just before he turned 18. Last year in 243 AB at Down East, he struggled a bit hitting .224/.349/.383 with a 30% strikeout rate. He showed steady progress every month despite being “young for the level”. 2022 is a different story as his numbers are better across the board and he has cut his K rate in half. His defense is reportedly below average which will put added pressure on his bat. However, being 19 years old and one of the top hitters in the Carolina League makes him a player to watch.

Toronto Blue Jays

Ricky Tiedemann, LHP (#15)
Dunedin Blue Jays (Single-A)/Vancouver Canadians (High-A)
(10 GS, 49.2 IP, 20 H, 7 ER, 16 BB, 77 K, 14 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)
The 19-year-old prospect was one of the best arms at the Single A level, and he showed it in each of his six dominant starts. In his 30 innings for Dunedin, the lefty posted a 1.80 ERA, striking out 14.7 batters per nine, walking 3.9, and allowing just one homer all year. That dominance earned Tiedemann a promotion to Vancouver where he will get the challenge against better hitters. Some in the industry have called him this year’s Eury Perez. That should get your attention.

Washington Nationals

Rodney Theophile, RHP (NR)
Fredricksburg Nationals (Single-A)
(10 GS, 53.2 IP, 36 H, 9 ER, 13 BB, 64 K, 10.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9)
Theophile was an unheralded signing out of Nicaragua in 2018, signing with the Nationals for $10,000. And some would argue that at 22 years old he is old for a Single-A pitcher. But when you factor in that Theophile missed all of 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and all of 2020 after the minor league season was canceled because of Covid-19, he is trying to make up for lost time. His numbers so far this year show that he might be able to get back on track. There is still a fair amount of development left here but the Nationals might just have a winning lottery ticket.

Want ongoing prospect coverage? I encourage you to follow us on Twitter @Prospects1500 where you will see our ⭐️s of the Day and also give the writers above a follow as well. They all follow their respective organizations closely.

Jeremy covers the Oakland organization and contributes on Prospects of the Week for Prospects1500. Born and raised in the Midwest, as a lifelong baseball fan he is passionate about the game from Little League to the Big Leagues. You can follow him on Twitter @JMahyfam for more baseball content.

"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too." -Yogi Berra




4 Comments

  1. TJ White for the Nationals (putting up better numbers than House) and Edgar Quero for the Angels are the guys in those systems I would posit as the breakout guys, although White is a bit of recency bias. It’s an even more recency bias, but Junior Franco is looking like a real pop up guy as well, hitting better than Deyvison as of this date.

  2. Thanks for your feedback Sean. You have brought forward three interesting names for sure. I absolutely love Quero, he is in my personal top-10 for catching prospects. It was hard pinpointing just one “breakout” in several of these organizations.

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