Athletics With Eli: Top MLB Prospects by Position


Eli Floyd and Daniel Desmond

Outfield: Corbin Carroll – Arizona Diamondbacks

Carroll made his presence felt right away after arriving to the show on August 29th, joining the club on the road in Philadelphia. Carroll’s most noticeable attribute is his foot speed, he is graded out at an 80 on, making him one of the fastest players not only among his prospect peers, but in all of Major League Baseball. Carroll also has exceptional bat to ball skills, as well as a good presence in the box. Multiple advanced analytics services, such as FanGraphs, have him poised to post an OPS (on base plus slugging) of .765+ during the 2023 campaign. Interestingly enough, the rookie center fielder is also projected to post a 116 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) only 30 points lower than leading NL MVP candidate Ronald Acuna Jr. Carroll’s main downfall is his vision at the plate, with a projected 25.7% strikeout rate, which is 5 points higher than league average, Carroll more swing and miss than one could hope for. Although critics have noted his power as an area of weakness, while it is certainly not his strength, I disagree with the narrative surrounding the #1 overall prospects pop. Chase Field is a hitter friendly park, with one of the larger outfields throughout the league and Carroll with his foot speed can quickly turn singles into XBH (extra base hits). Carroll projects as an overall above average ballplayer, and I can’t wait to see where he leads this retooled Dbacks roster. 

Infield: Elly De La Cruz – Cincinnati Reds

Elly De La Cruz is the top rated Cincinnati Reds prospect and is the 10th best overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline. De La Cruz has a huge frame at 6’5 and is a switch hitter that hits primarily for contact but has some power. De La Cruz spent 2022 mostly in A+ ball before being called up to AA where he showed his potential to be a 5-tool player. In AA De La Cruz hit for a 134 wRC+, a .910 OPS, and a .357 OBP while stealing 19 bases and hitting 8 home runs in 47 games. De La Cruz is a rare combination of speed and power as a hitter but also has freakish athleticism in the field. De La Cruz played primarily shortstop last year, but because of Cincinnati’s depth at the position with Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo, De La Cruz might play third base or even outfield later in his career. However, as a shortstop De la Cruz had a prospect grade of 55 for both his fielding and arm talent. In 2022 De La Cruz had a 93.7 fielding percentage with 118 putouts in 702 innings. All in all, De La Cruz has the potential to be a 5 tool player in the MLB because of his raw athleticism and great production at the plate. His longevity is questionable because of his skinny frame at 6’5, 200 pounds, but will likely be a household name for the next several years.

RHP: Andrew Painter – Philadelphia Phillies 

Painter caught my eye in the latter half of the 2022 season, posting an impressive 1.56 ERA through 103 innings of work and 152 K’s to boot. He accumulated these numbers while simultaneously flying through the ranks of the Phillies low A, A+ and double A affiliates (Clearwater, Jersey Shore and Reading, PA respectively). Painter stands at 6’7, and with a lanky frame and high arm slot, his delivery offers a lot of deception, which in today’s day and age is sought after though he does not rely on his funky mechanics to be dominant. Painter’s fastball sits mid 90’s, but he has only shown improvement regarding the pitches velocity in the past three months, now having it routinely touch 97-98 mph. His secondary pitches compliment this velocity well, but could use some polishing if he wishes to continue this dominance with the big league ball club. Painter’s slider sits low to mid 80’s, while his curveball is a tick behind, regularly sitting below the 80 mph mark. For Painter, improving the change up was a big point of emphasis during instructional league play in the summer of 2021, and since then, the pitch is trending towards being his best secondary weapon. With more than enough armside run and a negative RV (run value), we could see him lean on this pitch more when he makes it to the upper echelon of the minor league affiliates, and eventually to the Phillies rotation.