Every new MLB season brings a fresh wave of young contributors making the leap from prospect to rookie, and the 2022 season saw one of the best crops of young talent in years with Julio Rodríguez, Adley Rutschman, Michael Harris II, Spencer Strider, Jeremy Peña, Steven Kwan and others all making an immediate impact.
So who’s next?
Ahead we’ve highlighted the most MLB-ready prospect in every MLB organization, and while some of these players have already seen big league action, they all maintain prospect status entering the 2023 season.
Players were chosen based on their performance in the upper levels of the minors and their path to a spot on the MLB roster.
American League East
Baltimore Orioles: SS/3B Gunnar Henderson
Expect to see plenty of Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall and Jordan Westburg in Baltimore this coming season, but Henderson proved he’s the most MLB-ready prospect in the organization when he logged a 123 OPS+ in 132 plate appearances as a late-season call-up. The 21-year-old is a lock for a starting job somewhere on the left side of the infield, and he will open the year as one of the AL Rookie of the Year front-runners.
Boston Red Sox: 1B Triston Casas
After taking a star turn for Team USA in the 2020 Olympics and raking in the upper levels of the minors, Casas has nothing left to prove down on the farm. Cutting ties with Eric Hosmer cleared a path for him to win the starting first base job this spring. Right-hander Bryan Mata and versatile Emmanuel Valdez who was picked up at the deadline from the Houston Astros could also be part of the Opening Day roster.
New York Yankees: SS Oswald Peraza
It’s hard to know what to make of the Yankees’ infield plans with Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa both still in the mix for playing time up the middle, but the double-play combination of the future is Peraza and Anthony Volpe. Peraza, 22, hit .306/.404/.429 in 57 plate appearances as a September call-up, and he could push Kiner-Falefa into a utility role from the get-go.
Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Evan Reifert
Top prospects Taj Bradley (No. 14 on B/R Top 100) and Curtis Mead (No. 29 on B/R Top 100) are both expected to debut in 2023. However, Reifert is the most MLB-ready prospect on the roster after a dominant 2022 season. The 23-year-old capped things off 11.2 scoreless innings in the Arizona Fall League, allowing just one hit and four walks with 25 strikeouts, and he could be the next out-of-nowhere bullpen ace to emerge in Tampa Bay.
Toronto Blue Jays: 1B/OF Spencer Horwitz
With a right-handed heavy roster, even after adding Daulton Varsho, Brandon Belt and Kevin Kiermaier, there’s a chance Horwitz could play his way onto the Opening Day roster. The 25-year-old hit .275/.391/.452 with 46 extra-base hits and a 15.1 percent walk rate in 114 games in the upper levels of the minors last season. Infielder Addison Barger and right-hander Hayden Juenger are also worth keeping an eye on.
American League Central
Chicago White Sox: OF Oscar Colás
Colás is on the fast track to the big leagues after hitting .314/.371/.524 with 24 doubles and 23 home runs in 117 games while reaching Triple-A in his pro debut. The 24-year-old will need to overtake Gavin Sheets to join Luis Robert and newcomer Andrew Benintendi in the outfield, and it’s not out of the question to think he could do that with a strong spring.
Cleveland Guardians: C Bo Naylor
The Guardians signed veteran Mike Zunino to a one-year, $6 million deal, but it’s only a matter of time before Naylor takes over the starting catcher job. Slow to develop after going No. 29 overall in the 2018 draft, he enjoyed a breakout 2022 season when he posted an .889 OPS with 26 doubles, 21 home runs and 20 steals in 118 games between Double-A and Triple-A. The only question now is if his defensive game is ready.