As Opening Day nears and fantasy baseball drafts everywhere get underway, now is the perfect time to start thinking about some players to stash on your roster—or at the very least get excited about their arrival to the bigs.
Despite a lockout that dragged on far too long, baseball is in an incredible place when it comes to young, developing talent. At the top of that list are a few future household names whose stat lines jump off the page.
For those looking for a reason to watch a bad team or just want a keeper they can rely on in their dynasty leagues, this list is for you.
Here are the top seven players who could—perhaps even should—make a huge impact this season.
The 25-year-old outfielder got a taste of the Big Leagues last season, appearing in 33 games and slashing .215/.241/.336 with two home runs and 10 RBI.
He’s already been optioned back to Triple-A this spring, but a strong performance during Boston’s exhibition slate (6-for-18) and some ridiculous wheels on the bases are sure to give him some more looks in the Majors sooner than later.
Thesis: Jarren Duran is fast.
Exhibit A: pic.twitter.com/qIRdIAhGuE
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 29, 2021
The Cubs want to see a bit more out of Davis in Triple-A before bringing slugger up to the North Side. Whenever he does arrive in Wrigleyville, it’s likely to be more than for just a cup of coffee.
He’s Chicago’s top prospect with grades of 60 power, 50 hit and 60 run (on a scale of 20-80). Davis turned heads last year during All-Star Weekend when he won Futures Game MVP. Hitting two home runs off the game’s top prospects will certainly do that for you.
Witt Jr’s inclusion here is mostly a hedge if for some reason he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster with the Kansas City Royals. The consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball will be a fixture in KC’s lineup for years (decades?) to come.
The 21-year-old provided as much by slashing .290/.361/.575 with 33 home runs last year across Double-A and Triple-A stints. His future from him is as bright as it gets.
MLB’s #1 prospect Bobby Witt Jr. with a home run that went WAY over the fence pic.twitter.com/4JrSUlDy9O
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 22, 2022
The Marlins big league roster might not inspire much confidence this year, but its farm system absolutely should. Meyer, 23, is one of the club’s closest prospects to reaching The Show and his fastball-slider combo should play just well once he gets there.
While mostly working at the Double-A level, Meyer twirled 111 innings with a 2.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 130 strikeouts and 42 walks. He may be too dominant not to bring up this year—especially if the Marlins continue to run into injury issues with Sixto Sanchez.
cost-cutting rebuilding Reds already announced one of their top pitching prospects, Hunter Greene, will break camp with the team having earned a spot in the rotation. Lodolo should be next—it’s just a matter of when.
A 24-year-old lefty out of TCU, Lodolo wowed in last year’s Futures Game despite injuries marring his season in the minors. If he proves he’s healthy—and continues shoving his 0.97 WHIP and 13.86 K/9 across the plate—he can start apartment hunting near Great American Ball Park.
A dark horse candidate for American League Rookie of the Year as training camp winds down, Kwan has the tools at the plate to make an immediate impact as long as Cleveland lets him.
The fifth-round pick from the 2018 draft slashed .328/.407/.527 with 12 home runs in Double-A and Triple-A last year. All he’s done in spring training is continue to show he’s MLB ready.
This may be more wishful thinking than anything, but the White Sox have a tendency to need healthy outfielders in recent years and the younger half-brother of Yoenis Céspedes could be someone who steps in.
Another day, another homer.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 20, 2022
That’s if Chicago is comfortable speeding up the 24-year-old’s development. He’s played just 27 games at the Triple-A level, though he did slash .298/.340/.404 with seven RBI in that stretch. Céspedes continued to turn heads this spring with a .263 average and a couple of mammoth home runs before he was reassigned to minor league camp.