Spring training is good for more than suntans and unchecked optimism. It's the time of the year when prospect list rankings and Opening Day roster projections are published on a steady basis. At some point, those concepts must converge -- more often than not this spring, that point has been after St. Louis Cardinals outfielder and No. 6 prospect Jordan Walker punishes a pitch.

Walker entered the week hitting .429/.429/1.000 with three home runs and three doubles in his first 21 at-bats. Baseball Reference tracks each player's quality of competition during the exhibition season based on where they played last season. Per their calculations, Walker's average opponent faced has been closer to Triple-A-quality than big-league-quality, yet that hasn't muted increasing calls for Walker to crack St. Louis' Opening Day roster. The Cardinals seem open to the possibility based on their comments thus far.

'We're a handful of games in and there's still a lot of camp left," manager Oli Marmol told Katie Woo of The Athletic. "But if it's a matter of if he's showing well and showing that he can hold his own at the big league level at the moment? Yeah, he's showing that he's capable."

Walker isn't the only top prospect fighting for a roster spot. Below, CBS Sports has highlighted 10 other players who are at least in consideration. You might wonder what makes someone a top prospect -- for the purposes of this article, the definition is "anyone who made CBS Sports' top 50 list." Easy enough.

Now, let's get to it. (Do note that the players are presented in order of their prospect rank.)


1. Gunnar Henderson, INF, Baltimore Orioles (No. 1)

The player: Henderson batted .259/.348/.440 (123 OPS+), fielded at three infield positions last season during a 34-game stint and ranked as my top prospect over the winter because of his impact potential on both sides of the ball. He pairs well-above-average raw power with a good approach, and he has the requisite footwork and arm strength to play the left side of the infield. The biggest knock on him right now is his lackluster performance versus lefties.

The situation: Henderson is certain to make the Opening Day roster, though how Brandon Hyde divides Baltimore's infield assignments is to be seen. It's probably fair to assume Henderson will be the shortstop most days, with Ramón Urías getting the nod at the hot corner. Free-agent signing Adam Frazier and last year's shortstop Jorge Mateo could form a platoon, with Frazier seeing action against right-handed pitching. The path of least resistance would have Mateo slotting in at second, leaving Henderson undisturbed. It's possible the Orioles would prefer to have Mateo play short on those days, with Henderson sliding elsewhere to make room. Whatever the case, Henderson will enter the year with favorable odds of becoming the second consecutive Oriole to finish highly in the AL Rookie of the Year Award balloting.


2. Corbin Carroll, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 2)

The player: Carroll too reached the majors late last season, batting .260/.330/.500 (133 OPS+) with four home runs and two steals in 32 games. Carroll possesses top-of-the-scale speed, empowering him to be a high-quality defensive outfielder. He both hits for more power and swings-and-misses more than his small, slight frame suggests he should. Nevertheless, Carroll has All-Star potential thanks to his wide array of tools.