Last week, I released my top-50 MLB prospects list after making some difficult decisions. This week, I’m highlighting 10 position players and 10 pitchers who just missed the cut. Here are 10 intriguing pitchers who I believe will crack my top-50 ranking in 2023 and go on to have success in the major leagues.

Stats are updated through games on Aug. 31. Players’ current minor-league level is listed in parentheses. Jim Bowden’s scouting grades are based on the 20-80 scale, in which 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. FB: Fastball; CB: Curveball; CH: Changeup; SLI: Slider; CTL: Control; CMND: Command. 


1. Dylan Lesko, RHP, Padres (Rookie-ball)

Age: 18
Height: 6-2 Weight: 195
Scouting grades: FB: 65 CB: 55 CH: 75 CTL: 55 CMND: 55

The Padres selected Dylan Lesko at No. 15 in this year’s draft, landing arguably the best available prep pitcher. Lesko fell that far in the first round only because he had Tommy John surgery in April. A typical rehab from the procedure takes 12-to-18 months. After he was drafted in July, Lesko estimated he was still “probably three or four months” from starting a throwing progression.

However, without a doubt, Lesko has one of the best changeups of any high school pitcher in the last decade; combine that with a mid-90s fastball with tremendous movement and a solid delivery and you have a potential No. 1 starter in the future, if he recovers from the injury. He also throws a plus curveball that has an excellent spin rate that will only get better. The Padres were very fortunate that the teams drafting above them passed on Lesko.


2. Tink Hence, RHP, Cardinals (Low A)

Age: 20
Height: 6-1 Weight: 175
Scouting grades: FB: 65 CB: 60 CH: 55 CTL: 50 CMND: 45

Hence will be flying up prospects boards after posting a 1.49 ERA, 43.0 K% and 0.85 WHIP in 15 starts in the Low-A Florida State League this season. He has 77 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings. He throws an overpowering fastball that is 97 to 99 mph, a knee-buckling curveball and a changeup that looks like a plus pitch more often than not. A second-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Hence has as high a ceiling as any pitching prospect in baseball. I’ll be watching Hence closely and expect him to catapult up my rankings over the next year or so.


3. Kumar Rocker, RHP, Rangers (Rookie-ball)

Age: 22
Height: 6-5 Weight: 245
Scouting grades: FB: 60 CB: 60 SLI: 70 CH: 50 CTL: 50 CMND: 50

The Mets will regret not signing Rocker, whom they selected with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2021 draft before nixing an agreed-upon $6 million bonus over concerns about the results of his physical exam. A year later, the Rangers benefited when they drafted Rocker at No. 3 and signed him to an under-slot bonus of $5.2 million. Rocker pitched this spring in the independent Frontier League, where Rangers scouts saw him throw as hard as 99 mph, and the organization decided to take a calculated risk.