Top 10 Prospects: July 25

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A reminder on how this works: This is a list for the 2022 season only. It is not a list of the top overall prospects, but the players who have the best chance of making a difference in 2022.

Also, it’s only a list of prospects who are currently in the minors/have prospect eligibility, so players on MLB teams do not count.

Those warnings out of the way, here’s a look at the top prospects who have a chance to make a fantasy contribution in 2022.

1. George Kirby, RHP, Seattle Mariners

2022 stats: 12 G, 64.1 IP, 3.78 ERA, 9 BB, 62 SO at Seattle.

So, this is kind of cheating, as Kirby has actually exhausted prospect eligibility. But I went and looked at his roster percentage in Yahoo, saw it was 34 percent, and realized no one else belonged in this top spot right now. Kirby's ability to miss bats and throw strikes is sensational, and while there have been a few clunkers in his rookie campaign, there's been considerably more good than bad. he faces Texas on Wednesday after spending the last couple of weeks in the minors, and he's more than just a streaming option. The only concern here is that Kirby's innings will be monitored, but while he's up, he's absolutely worth a roster spot.

2. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

2022 stats: 61 G, .311/.441/.646, 19 HR, 25 SB, 45 BB, 77 SO at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Carroll hasn't seen the hits fall in the way he did in Double-A since being promoted to Reno, as he's hitting just .250 in his 24 at-bats with the Aces (yes, that sample is terribly small, as well). But what he's lacked in average he's made up for with a .486 on-base percentage, .583 slugging mark, two homers and five stolen bases. He's sensational. No one is a lock to get a call-up on this list at this point in the year, but Carroll is someone I'd roster just because the potential reward is so great.

3. Francisco Álvarez, C, New York Mets

2022 stats: 72 G, .268/.363/.532, 18 HR, 0 SB, 38 BB, 76 SO at Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse.

The first 10 games of Triple-A action for Álvarez haven't gone particularly well. He's slashing .125/.318/.281 with Syracuse while striking out 15 times in his 32 at-bats. Tough to be too concerned about a sample this small, but you would have liked to have seen a little hotter run. We’re selfish. Álvarez is the best catching prospect in baseball -- not including Adley Rutschman, of course -- and his power would make him fantasy relevant the moment New York decides to promote him. Here’s hoping it occurs in the next couple of weeks, but there’s no locks here.

4. Gunnar Henderson, INF, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 82 G, .292/.424/.539, 14 HR, 15 SB, 63 BB, 76 SO at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

Henderson's average is inflated by his .312 mark with Double-A Bowie, as he's hitting 'only' .268 in his 35 games with the Tides. He's also getting on at a .386 clip with a .496 slugging mark in Norfolk, so it's not like he's struggling. Henderson looks like he's ready to roll, and there's significant fantasy upside in his left-handed bat if the Orioles give him that opportunity. There's just as good of chance that it takes place in 2023, however.

5. Miguel Vargas, INF, Los Angeles Dodgers

2022 stats: 88 G, .292/.385/.490, 13 HR, 10 SB, 52 BB, 60 SO at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

If Vargas played for any other team -- literally, any other team -- Vargas might rank in the top spot. This is an infielder capable of hitting for both average and power from the right side, and he’s looked outstanding for most of the 2022 season with the Triple-A Dodgers. Unfortunately, he does play for this team, and that makes things a bit more complicated. All that being said, Vargas’s talent is impressive, and at the very least someone worth monitoring in redraft formats. If he were to change organizations in a blockbuster trade? Quick escalation.

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6. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

2022 stats: 12 G, 55.2 IP, 1.94 ERA, 25 BB, 76 SO at Triple-A Oklahoma City; 4 G, 16.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 12 BB, 19 SO at Los Angeles (NL).

Pepiot hasn't pitched since July 12, but it appears that's just a way of limiting his workload rather than an injury situation, on top of the break, of course. When he's at his best, he has some of the best swing-and-miss stuff in the minors, and he's shown it off at the highest level. When he's not at his best, his command makes him someone you wish you hadn't started. A lot of risk, a lot of reward. It seems likely Pepiot makes more starts for the Dodgers in 2022 -- assuming he's not traded somewhere else, of course.

7. DL Hall, LHP, Baltimore Orioles

2022 stats: 17 G, 67.2 IP, 3.46 ERA, 37 BB, 113 SO at High-A, Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

Hall caused a bit of panic in his outing on Friday, as he let his start after just an inning of work. Turns out that was planned, as the Orioles are also monitoring Hall's workload. That's the reason why Hall ranks this 'low' on the list as well, as this is a pitcher who has never thrown over 100 innings, and is just as likely to be shutdown in September as he is to make starts with the Orioles. The swing-and-miss stuff is just too good to leave him off.

8. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Washington Nationals

2022 stats: 14 G, 67.1 IP, 4.54 ERA, 27 BB, 68 SO at Triple-A Rochester.

You may take a look at that ERA and wonder what Cavalli is doing here, but keep in mind that number was above 7.00 in May, and since then he’s been outstanding. A 6-foot-4 right-hander drafted with the 22nd pick in 2020, Cavalli has four pitches in his arsenal, and all four of those pitches will flash plus or higher. Control/command is well behind the stuff, but it’s getting better with age -- it usually does -- and it shouldn’t keep him from being a starter. Washington is going nowhere, and it would be a surprise if they didn’t give their best pitching prospect a chance in 2022.

9. Curtis Mead, INF, Tampa Bay Rays

2022 stats: 72 G, .292/.387/.534, 13 HR, 7 SB, 34 BB, 56 SO at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.

Mead is another player who hasn't hit for average at the same rate he has in Triple-A compared to the lower levels, as he was .305 with Montgomery compared to his .250 mark in Triple-A. That's over only 50 at-bats, however, and he's still registered an .840 OPS with the Bulls. Mead can do a bit of everything, and he's the type of hitter who can hit for both average and power while also limiting the strikeouts. The only question here is if the debut comes this summer or the Rays wait until 2023. Here's hoping it's the former.

10. Shea Langeliers, C, Las Vegas Aviators

2022 stats: 77 G, .267/.356/.503, 17 HR, 5 SB, 38 BB, 79 SO at Triple-A Las Vegas.

We didn't get a chance to congratulate Langeliers last week for winning the Futures Game MVP. Congrats, Shea. The backstop continues to hit for solid power at the Triple-A level, and there's been some smoke regarding a possible trade of Sean Murphy before the trade deadline. That move would have to happen in order for Langeliers to have value in 2022, but it's not out of the possibility. He's worth rostering if he's a starting backstop.

Next in line: Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox; Gabriel Moreno, C, Toronto Blue Jays; Matthew Liberatore, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals