MLB Prospect Watch: 2022 minor-league awards, including Orioles as top team and Corbin Carroll as best hitter


Believe it or not, we’ve reached the last MLB Prospect Watch of the year. By this time next week, each level of the minors will have completed the regular season. Traditionally, we devote this space to our version of the year-end awards.

Below we’ve featured players and teams in six different categories of our creation. Needless to say, there are more individuals deserving of recognition than this format allows us to emphasize. After all, the minor leagues are a large piece of equipment. Keep that in mind in case your favorite prospect isn’t mentioned.

Now, onto the gas dredging.

Carroll has had an eventful career for someone with just over 160 professional appearances since being selected 16th in the 2019 draft. He missed most of last season due to a shoulder injury and he was robbed of a regular the year before. development cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carroll didn’t look worse this season, as he hit .307/.425,611 with 24 homeruns and 31 stolen bases in 93 games across three levels before being called up to the majors. (Most of those came in Double- or Triple-A.) Don’t be fooled by Carroll’s diminutive (5-foot-10) frame: He’s a well-rounded player who can punch and run and play a mean midfield. He was a strong contender for the No. 1 prospect position in the minors prior to his recent promotion to the majors, and the combination of his output, top position and background makes him our pick here.

Pitcher of the Year: Kyle Harrison, LHP, San Francisco Giants

Things didn’t go well for the Giants at the top level, as they fell short in their attempt to repeat in the NL West, but at least they kept Harrison on duty. He made 25 starts between High- and Double-A, hitting a 2.71 ERA and hitting a ridiculous 14.8 batters per nine. Harrison has a solid three-pitch mix, including a fastball that can hit into the 90s. Its pitch is supported by a forearm groove that creates a flatter surface and an optical illusion that hitters can’t seem to solve. The only thing holding Harrison back is his location. He has walked four per nine this season — and that was progress after walking almost five last year.

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There are many ways to define this category. We like to keep it simple: the goal of a minor league system is to improve the big league roster. This can be done through promotions; it can mean through transactions; or a combination thereof. With that in mind, we give the nod to the Orioles. they graduated Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson this season, who were both in the running for the No. 1 prospect position in all minors at the time of their promotion to the majors. (if it weren’t for his injury, righty Grayson Rodriguez would have been in the mix too.) Rival scouts have also praised progress by Colton Cowser and Colby Mayo, among other future arrivals. Factor in the addition of No. 1 choice Jackson vacationand the O’s minor league system had a great year no matter how you divide it.

We weren’t fans of what the Reds did last season when they threw away their paychecks Wade Miley and Tucker Barnhart to kick off their rebuilding. However, we liked their work this summer much better. Over the course of July, the Reds got infielders Noelvi Martea, Edwin Arroyo, Spencer Steerand Christian Encarnacion Beach (among others) in commerce. They also packed Cam Collier, a darkhorse contender to enter the draft first overall, in the middle of the first round. This is what the “talent accumulation” phase of a full teardown should look like.

Biggest climber: Jackson Chourio, CF, Milwaukee Brewers

Who else could it really be? Chourio, who won’t celebrate his 19th birthday until March, secured himself a spot close to the top of prospect lists this winter by hitting .288/.342/.538 with 20 home runs and 16 steals (on 20 attempts) over the course of 99 games divided into Class-A, High-A and Double-A. He did most of his damage in the Carolina League, where he led the Brewers’ A-ball branch in OPS, despite being nearly three years younger than his average competitor — with that kind of age difference, he would have done well. to stand alone. That Chourio instead flourished while displaying impressive physical aids suggests he’s well on his way to stardom.

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We love Martin going back to his collegiate days at Vanderbilt. In fact, we ranked him as the top candidate in the 2020 draft based on his bat-to-ball skills, approach and defensive versatility. It didn’t hurt that scouts who spoke to CBS Sports believed he had more juice in his bat based on his exit speed readings.

Unfortunately, Martin has yet to prove that they (or us) are right. In 90 Double-A games this season, he hit .241/.367/.316 with two homeruns and only 18 extra-base hits in total. His career total home runs now stands at seven in 185 professional games. It is possible for low wattage batters to succeed in the majors, but it is not easy. Martin’s .075 ISO would be the fifth lowest among qualified hitters. And that is if it is translated in its entirety.