Top outfield prospects 2023
MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2023 Top 100 Prospects list at 7 pm ET tomorrow with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com. Leading up to the release of the Top 100, we’ll examine baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.
We saved our most exciting Top 10 positional list for last. Just look at these outfielders.
Corbin Carroll (D-backs) offers the best blend of hitting ability and speed among all prospects, with Sal Frelick (Brewers) not far behind. None can top Jordan Walker’s (Cardinals) jaw-dropping combination of raw power and arm strength.
Jackson Chorio (Brewers) was the breakout prospect of the 2022 season, and James Wood (Nationals) was right there with him. Drew Jones (D-backs), the No. 2 overall pick July, has the best chance of all these guys — and maybe among all prospects — to have at least plus tools across the board. Pete Crow-Armstrong (Cubs) is the consensus best defender in all the Minors.
Top 10 (ETA)
1. Corbin Carroll, D-back (2023)
2. Jordan Walker, Cardinals (2023)
3. Jackson Chorio, Brewers (2024)
4. Drew Jones, D-backs (2026)
5. James Wood, Nationals (2025)
6. Zac Veen, Rockies (2024)
7. Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cubs (2024)
8. Sal Frelick, Brewers (2023)
9. Robert Hassell III, Nationals (2024)
10. Colton Cowser, Orioles (2023)
complete list »
Hit: Frelick (70)
Frelick has as much hitting ability as any college player from the 2021 Draft, and all he’s done since turning pro is bat .331 in 154 games — including .365 in 46 Triple-A contests last year. He repeatedly barrels all type of pitching with his compact left-handed swing, and his plus-plus speed allows him to turn groundballs into hits.
Power: Walker (65)
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Walker not only has the bat speed, strength and leverage to create huge raw power, but also the hitting ability and zone control to translate it into production. He went deep 20 times in Double-A last season, matching his age, and he could double that total in his big league prime.
Run: Carroll (80)
Carroll showed off his top-of-the-scale speed after Arizona called him up in August, posting the highest average sprint speed (30.7 ft/sec) of any big leaguer in 2022. He uses his quickness to full advantage, beating out grounders For hits, stealing bases (33 in 39 attempts between the Majors and Minors last season) and chasing down fly balls from gap to gap.
Field: Crow-Armstrong (80)
Scouts give top-of-the-scale grades to Crow-Armstrong for his center-field skills. He covers a tremendous amount of ground with his combination of plus speed and precise reads and routes, and his solid arm strength also rates better than most players in his position.
Highest ceiling: Jones
MLB Pipeline’s top-rated prospect in the 2022 Draft, Jones reminds scouts of his father, Andruw, who made five All-Star Games and won 10 Gold Gloves in 17 seasons in the big leagues. He’s a potential five-tool center fielder with advanced feel for hitting, plus power potential and well above-average speed, defense and arm strength.
Highest floor: Carroll
At a bare minimum, Carroll should hit for average, create havoc on the bases and contend for Gold Gloves in center field. How much power he produces will determine how big a star he becomes — and he slammed four homers in his first 32 games in the Majors.
Rookie of the Year candidate: Carroll
Carroll is the frontrunner to win National League rookie honors, and Walker and Frelick both could make a run at the award as well. Cowser is a sleeper in the American League race.
Highest riser: Chorio
At the beginning of 2022, Chorio had yet to make his US debut. It didn’t take long for the scouting community to go nuts over him once he did. He became one of baseball’s best prospects after slashing .288/.342/.538 with 20 homers and 16 steals while rising from Single-A to Double-A as an 18-year-old. He’s an electric athlete who could have four plus tools, with his fringy arm the lone exception.
Humblest beginning: Chorio
There are no truly humble beginnings on this list, which includes eight first-round picks, a second-rounder who got first-round money and a seven-figure international signing. They average $4.08 million in bonus cash, with Chorio the low man at $1.8 million as the top prospect in the Brewers’ 2021 international class.
Most to prove: Hassell
Hassell endured a choppy 2022 season in which the Padres sent him to the Nationals in the Juan Soto trade, he slashed .273/.357/.407 with 11 homers and 24 steals between High-A and Double-A, then broke his right. hamate in the Arizona Fall League. Some evaluators are all-in on his bat and believe he’ll develop at least 20-homer power while remaining in center field, though others wonder if he’s more of a tweener with less pop and better suited for a corner.
Keep an eye on: Elijah Green, Nationals
Green had the highest ceiling in the 2022 Draft with a combination of double-plus raw power and speed to go with plus center-field range and arm strength. The son of former NFL Pro Bowl tight end Eric Green does come with swing-and-miss issues and had a 40.4 percent strikeout rate in his Rookie-ball debut.