Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio went from under-the-radar low-level minor leaguer to one of the top prospects in baseball during a breakout 2022 season.
Ricky Tiedemann (TOR), Ceddanne Rafaela (BOS), Wilmer Flores (DET), Gavin Stone (LAD), Emmanuel Rodriguez (MIN), Gordon Graceffo (STL) and Mason Montgomery (TB) are just a few of the other prospects who emerged as potential future stars during the 2022 minor league season.
Ahead we've highlighted one prospect from each franchise who is well outside consideration for a spot on Top 100 prospect lists but could make that leap during the upcoming season.
It's a combination of recent draft picks, players returning from injury and low-level prospects who have just scratched the surface of their significant upside.
American League East
Baltimore Orioles: RHP Carter Baumler (Age: 20)
Baumler made one appearance during his senior season of high school before COVID cut things short, but the Orioles saw enough upside to sign him to an above-slot $1.5 million deal as a fifth-round pick. Tommy John surgery and shoulder inflammation has limited him to four professional appearances since, but he has a 1.54 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 11.2 innings. The 6'2" right-hander has a polished three-pitch mix, good command, clean mechanics and plus athleticism that helped make him a two-sport standout in high school. He just needs to find a way to stay healthy.
Boston Red Sox: RHP Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz (Age: 19)
A projectable 6'3", 160-pound right-hander who was selected in the fourth round of the 2021 draft out of Puerto Rico, Rodriguez-Cruz made his pro debut last season and posted a 1.88 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 38.1 innings. He has four playable pitches and smooth mechanics; now the focus will be adding strength to his wiry frame. He has the upside to be the top pitching prospect in the Boston system by midseason.
New York Yankees: SS Roderick Arias (Age: 18)
The Yankees gave Arias a massive $4 million bonus as one of the top prospects in the 2022 international class, and he has five-tool potential if he develops as expected. While he hit just .194 in the Dominican Summer League, he backed it with a .379 on-base percentage and 11 extra-base hits in 31 games. His plus speed and elite defensive skills give him a high floor, even if he doesn't reach his peak offensively.
Tampa Bay Rays: RHP Evan Reifert (Age: 23)
Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for Mike Brosseau, Reifert logged a 4.58 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 37.1 innings while reaching Double-A during the 2022 season. He followed that by winning AFL Reliever of the Year, when he rattled off 11.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and four walks against 25 strikeouts. He could be the latest diamond in the rough to make an impact out of the Tampa Bay bullpen.
Toronto Blue Jays: 2B Cade Doughty (Age: 21)
A three-year starter at LSU who played all over the infield, Doughty hit .301/.379/.541 with 30 home runs and 124 RBI in 133 games during his time on campus before going No. 78 in the 2022 draft. He was sent straight to Single-A for his pro debut where he posted an .865 OPS with 11 extra-base hits and 24 RBI in 26 games, and he could be one of the first hitters from the 2022 class to reach the majors.