The Peanut Gallery's Top 5 Future Faces of MLB
Wherever these guys make their debut, they'll be can't-miss TV for MLB fans.
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, I wanted to take a look at a few prospects who may be dealt soon, particularly those who will one day be the faces of baseball. When analyzing these prospects, I not only took into account talent, but also “flashiness” and marketability.
Number 5: Noelvi Marte (SS, Reds)
The first guy on our list was already the headlining piece in a trade to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Luis Castillo from the Seattle Mariners. Noelvi Marte is a 55 tool-grade prospect playing an important position at shortstop. At a young age of 20, Marte has shown a lot of talent at the High-A level in 2022, slashing .270/.360/.820 in the Mariners organization. Not only does the young star rank 18th on MLB Pipeline's Top 100, but he has shown on-the-field consistency, posting a slash line of .273/.366/.459 collectively between A and High-A ball in 2021.
If I were to give him a player comp to a current MLB star, it would be Francisco Lindor. Although he does not switch-hit like the Mets shortstop, he plays the game very similarly, providing a mid-to-high average and providing a little pop at the plate. Another reason I give him a Lindor comp is that, like “Mr. Smile” himself, Marte shows a lot of joy while playing the game. Watch almost any highlight you can of Marte, and you will at some point see the big smile come across his face. He will be a fun player to watch in the coming years in Cincy.
Number 4: Jordan Walker (3B, Cardinals)
Cardinals former first round pick Jordan Walker looks like a surefire future perennial All-Star, whether it be with the Cardinals or not. His name has been brought up a lot with the Juan Soto rumors rapidly swirling around, much like many of the other top prospects around MLB. Walker is a third baseman who looks as if he could slide over to shortstop and make it work if Nolan Arenado continues to block him in the near future, as his 15 stolen bags in 79 games this season show he's got a little bit of speed. Walker has tallied 10 bombs this season, including two in one game last Friday (7/29). He was given the opportunity to show off his skill in the 2022 Futures Game for the National League, where he started hitting 4th and playing 3B.
The best player comp I can give based on profile and position is Kris Bryant, who won 2015 Rookie of the Year. It would not surprise me if the 6’5” prospect does the same when he gets the opportunity. Walker is a rare find, as he hits for a high average (.311 over his Minor League career) while still maintaining good power, with a career OPS of .914. An exciting player to keep an eye on as he makes his rise through the Minor Leagues.
Number 3: Eury Perez (RHP, Marlins)
If you are a baseball fan and have not had the blessing of watching this guy throw the ball, you need to go find some highlights right after you read this article. Eury Perez is electric on the mound, and is another absolute stud pitching prospect in the Marlins system. Quickly rising through the ranks, Perez is currently #14 on MLB Pipeline's top 100 prospect list, and could very well see the top 3 before getting the call to the Big Leagues. Perez was perfect in his outing in the 2022 Future’s Game in mid-July, including a strikeout of Guardians star prospect, George Valera, on a nasty changeup. The 6’8” 19-year-old features a premier fastball, cranking it up in the high 90’s to triple digit range, while also holding a top-tier changeup in his back pocket, keeping hitters off balance.
Crazy enough, my player comp for Perez is fellow Marlin Sandy Alcantara. However, Perez is making strides and advancements way faster than Sandy did. Eury has pinpoint accuracy with all his pitches, allowing only 17 free passes in 71.2 innings this season. He is making major jumps in progress, and could see the Majors as soon as September 2023; though I project him being on the Marlins in 2024.
Number 2: Bobby Miller (RHP, Dodgers)
Bobby Miller is yet another power-pitching right-hander in the Dodgers organization, showing the incredible depth that franchise has up and down the organization. Miller was a first round pick to the Dodgers back in 2020. He has looked very good throughout his time in Double-A Tulsa, with an electric fastball registering as fast as 102 MPH. Although struggling a bit in the 2022 season, Miller still has been very good at keeping runners off base with his career 1.09 WHIP. I do not see Miller making his debut with the Dodgers, as the 25th-ranked prospect in MLB is likely going to be a trade piece in the next day and a half to help the Dodgers in their quest for the 2022 World Series title.
Similar to Eury Perez, I believe the best player comp for Miller would be his organizational teammate Walker Buehler. Both pitchers have similar builds and pitch arsenals, including an electric fastball. That Buehler-like skill set, when Miller makes his debut with whichever team he ends up, will take the baseball world by storm. He will compete for multiple Cy Youngs in the years to come.
Honorable Mention: Gunnar Henderson (SS, Orioles)
Although he did not make this list, Gunnar Henderson is making huge strides in the Minors, and could be the starting shortstop for the O’s at any moment. Henderson has left anyone watching him in awe this season, hitting for power and average, and even mixing in a cycle a couple of months ago just to prove that he really can do it all. Although Henderson could be an MVP candidate for many years, the talent level and pure skill of the guys I put on this list just gives off a more flashy feel than what I have seen from Henderson. This list was just not big enough for MLB's #4 prospect.
My player comp for Henderson would be Brandon Crawford. Both are left-handed hitting shortstops that have continuously shown that they have drastically more power vs. right-handed pitching, while also featuring Gold Glove-level talent at the shortstop position, arguably the hardest position to play on the diamond. I personally am very excited to watch Henderson soon join fellow budding superstar Adley Rutschman.
Number 1: Jasson Dominguez (CF, Yankees)
The Yankees switch-hitting centerfield prospect ranks at #38 on Pipeline's top 100. However, I believe this is because of the poor 2022 statistics he has displayed thus far. Jasson Dominguez, aka “the Martian”, has an absurd amount of talent and “swag” on the baseball field, displaying all 5 of his tools throughout the 2021 season. Even though he is having a poor 2022, he participated in the 2022 Futures games, where he cranked a 415-foot bomb off highly-regarded Giants prospect Kyle Harrison. Not only does the Martian display a lot of power at the plate, but he can also run and possesses a cannon in centerfield.
I believe the best comp you can give to a guy like this is Orioles centerfielder, Cedric Mullins, but I believe Dominguez will persevere and not give up on switch-hitting like Mullins. Both players can run and play good defense in centerfield, while also showing a lot of power in smaller frame bodies. If Jasson Dominguez can figure out his bat-to-ball skills and erase the swing-and-miss in his game, I think we will see the 19-year-old begin to soar through the Minor League ranks, eventually becoming the next star in New York. He has already proven he can perform on a bigger stage, which is every game in Yankee Stadium.