MLB The Show 22: Best Minor League Players at Each Position

Your Franchise has started, but you want to win NOW. Here are the best Minor League players at each position that you should target in MLB The Show 22.

Franchise Mode, the heart of every sports game, is as in-depth in MLB The Show as in any game. This year’s edition is no different.

While a previous article looked at the ten best Minor League prospects with little-to-no MLB service time, this article will identify the best prospect at each position, again with the service time requirements.

In The Show, the main reason this distinction is made is because injured and/or suspended players from the MLB end up on AAA or AA affiliates of the team in the game. This means that Jacob deGrom (injured) and Ramon Laureano (suspended) are available in the minors in The Show 22, for example.

It should also be easier to trade for the players on this list than a Mike Trout or deGrom, so that is another reason to target these players.

It’s also important to remember that not all players given the same overall rating are the same. Further, the mix of ratings with the position of each player also comes into play. Two 74 Overall center fielders may seem the same, but if one has bad defense with good speed and the other great defense and great speed, which player would you rather have?

There will be a few players here who were also listed in the previous article. This list will proceed with the numbering system in baseball (1 = pitcher, 2 = catcher, etc.), with 10 and 11 for relief pitcher and closer, respectively. The Major League team of the player will be listed in parentheses.

The criteria for each player chosen is as follows:

  • Overall Rating: Unlike prospects to target in a rebuild, this is purely about the best Minor League players by overall rating.
  • Service Time: However, those chosen on this list have one year or less of MLB service time as listed in The Show 22.
  • Positional Versatility (Tiebreaker): When necessary, positional versatility is taken into account.
  • Position-Specific Ratings (Tiebreaker): When necessary, ratings dependent on the position (such as defense for any up-the-middle position or power for corner positions) are taken into account.

Unlike the best prospects for a rebuild, there is no age limit, and there will be some players listed with low grades in potential (C or lower). Again, it’s about those that can make an impact quickly.

1. Shane Baz, Starting Pitcher (Tampa Bay Rays)

Overall Rating: 74
Notable Ratings: 90 Pitch Break, 89 Velocity, 82 Stamina
Throw and Bat Hand: Right, Right
Age: 22
Potential: A
Secondary Position(s): None

Shane Baz also ranks as one of the best prospects to target in MLB The Show 22, not just as the best pitching prospect to target. In Tampa Bay’s organization, Baz is ready for the leap to the Major Leagues, and only an injury prevented him from making the Opening Day roster.

Baz has great Velocity and Pitch Break to his pitches, a deadly combination. In particular, his slider should have tight and late movement to it, fooling hitters as they commit too late to a pitch out of the zone. He has good Stamina for a young pitcher, so even though starters don’t go as deep into ballgames as in the past, it’s still nice to know that you can give the bullpen a rest for the most part when Baz starts. That A grade in Potential means he can quickly become the ace of your rotation. One thing to watch out for is he may lose control and walk a few batters with a 47 in Walks per 9 Innings.

Baz had a quick callup with the Rays in 2021. He went 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in three starts. With Durham in 2021, he went 5-4 with a 2.06 ERA in 17 starts.

2. Adley Rutschman, Catcher (Baltimore Orioles)

Overall Rating: 74
Notable Ratings: 85 Durability, 68 Fielding, 66 Blocking
Throw and Bat Hand: Right, Switch
Age: 24
Potential: A
Secondary Position(s): First Base

Another repeat, only an injury prevented Adley Rutschman from being the Opening Day starter for Baltimore.

Rutschman has an A-grade in Potential while being rated 74 OVR. He is also the rare switch-hitting catcher, so this should counter any platoon splits, particularly with his balanced Contact and Power ratings from both sides. The best catcher prospect since Buster Posey, Rutschman will need to improve his defense a bit, but still has solid enough ratings to be a contributor on that side of the field. Having a Durability rating of 85 means that he will be out there every day with little worry of injury. Further, it should be noted that Rutschman is the rare player with an Opposite field hitting tendency, meaning he is unlikely to pull the ball.

Across AA and AAA in 2021, Rutschman hit .285 in 452 at-bats. He added 23 home runs and 75 RBI.

3. Dustin Harris, First Baseman (Texas Rangers)

Overall Rating: 66
Notable Ratings: 80 Speed, 78 Durability, 73 Reaction
Throw and Bat Hand: Right, Left
Age: 22
Potential: B
Secondary Position(s): Third Base

Dustin Harris hopes to develop enough to join Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and eventually Josh Jung to form Texas’ infield for many years.

Harris has great Speed and Durability, the former uncommon for a first baseman and corner infielders in general. He also has good defensive ratings so he could be another Mark Teixeira at first base, former Ranger great, if you keep him for more than one season. If you’re just focused on making an upgrade on the margins, having him as a pinch runner and defensive replacement with the occasional start will prove beneficial.

Across A and A+ ball in 2021, Harris hit .327 in 404 at-bats. He added 20 home runs and 85 RBI with 25 stolen bases in 27 attempts.

4. Samad Taylor, Second Baseman (Toronto Blue Jays)

Overall Rating: 75
Notable Ratings: 89 Speed, 85 Reaction, 76 Durability
Throw and Bat Hand: Right, Right
Age: 23
Potential: D
Secondary Position(s): Third Base, Shortstop, Left Field, Center Field, Right Field

The first player with positional versatility, Samad Taylor is already a 75 OVR player, but his D grade in Potential indicates he is less likely to improve. Still, for a one season acquisition, Taylor can play a pivotal role in your team’s success.

The second baseman can play every position except pitcher, catcher, and first base. He has high Speed and great defensive ratings, meaning he will do well in any of his secondary positions even with the defensive penalty. His hit tool is average, slightly favoring Contact, and he has what amounts to good Bunt ratings in The Show 22.

With New Hampshire in 2021, Taylor hit .294 in 320 at-bats with 16 home runs and 52 RBI. He did strike out an alarming 110 times in those 320 at-bats.

5. Buddy Kennedy, Third Baseman (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Overall Rating: 73
Notable Ratings: 77 Durability, 74 Reaction, 72 Speed
Throw and Bat Hand: Right, Right
Age: 23
Potential: B
Secondary Position(s): First Base, Second Base

Buddy Kennedy may see time with Arizona in 2022 if he continues to progress and the team continues to play bad baseball.

Kennedy is a rarity on the list – along with Baz, Rutschman, and Harris – with at least a B grade in potential. That Potential is why he has a chance to make the Diamondbacks’ roster in 2022. His Contact, Power, Defense, and Speed ratings are all great with nothing exceptional or lacking. His defense is his calling card, and he can play the right side of the infield as well.

Across A+ and AA in 2021, Kennedy hit .290 in 348 at-bats. He added 22 home runs and 60 RBI.

6. Oswaldo Cabrera, Shortstop (New York Yankees)

Overall Rating: 73
Notable Ratings: 84 Durability, 79 Speed, 76 Reaction
Throw and Bat Hand: Right, Switch
Age: 23
Potential: C
Secondary Position(s): Second Base, Third Base

A well-rounded player, Oswaldo Cabrera is another player with above average Speed and solid defensive ratings, all in the 70s.

Those ratings, along with his high Durability, should make him essentially a barrier that balls just cannot pass at shortstop. His hit tool is also good, slightly favoring Power over Contact. However, with his low Plate Vision (22), it’s a matter of being able to make contact with the ball. Still, his defense should keep him in games and at worst, he can act as a pinch runner.

Across AA and AAA in 2021, Cabrera hit .272 in 467 at-bats. He added 29 home runs and 89 RBI, but he did strike out a concerning 127 times.

7. Robert Neustrom, Left Fielder (Baltimore Orioles)

Overall Rating: 74
Notable Ratings: 78 Durability, 75 Fielding, 74 Arm Strength
Throw and Bat Hand: Left, Left
Age: 25
Potential: C
Secondary Position(s): Right Field

With Baltimore’s outfield one of its few bright spots, it may be difficult for Robert Neustrom to make the Orioles’ roster, so you can take that problem off of their hands in The Show 22.

Neustrom is the best defender listed thus far and also has above average Speed (73), helping him man either corner position. While it’s a bit disappointing he can’t play center, he’ll provide solid defense with a good throwing arm form either corner. He also has a good hit tool, fairly balanced, so he should be able to provide some offensive production as well.

Across AA and AAA in 2021, Neustrom hit .258 in 453 at-bats. He added 16 home runs and 83 RBI with 107 strike outs.

8. Bryan De La Cruz, Center Field (Miami Marlins)

Overall Rating: 76
Notable Ratings: 84 Contact Left, 83 Arm Accuracy, 80 Arm Strength
Throw and Bat Hand: Right, Right
Age: 25
Potential: D
Secondary Position(s): Left Field, Right Field

While not a part of Miami’s roster in The Show 22’s Franchise mode, Bryan De La Cruz did make the Opening Day roster at the last moment and is also playable in Diamond Dynasty as part of the Marlins’ roster.

De La Cruz is the highest rated player on this list at 76 with several standout ratings. He is a contact hitter who excels against lefties. He also has a strong and accurate arm, essential for any center fielder. His Speed is decent at 69, but he has good Durability at 75 to man center field almost every game.

With Sugar Land in 2021, De La Cruz hit .324 in 272 at-bats. He added 12 home runs and 50 RBI with 59 strike outs.

9. Dom Thomson-Williams (T-Williams), Right Fielder (Seattle Mariners)

Overall Rating: 72
Notable Ratings: 87 Durability, 81 Speed, 77 Reaction
Throw and Bat Hand: Left, Left
Age: 26
Potential: C
Secondary Position(s): Left Field, Center Field

Another outfielder blocked by the bevy of outfielders on the Major League roster, Dom T-Williams – note T-Williams is being used because that’s how the game lists him – may find time with Seattle should any of Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, Jesse Winker, and Mitch Haniger find themselves injured.

T-Williams is another speedster that plays solid defense. That high Durability makes it unlikely he’ll have to sit out games as the travel days may be enough for him to regain his stamina. His Reaction paired with his Speed should mean that he gets to the majority of fly balls to right field. He’s also a relatively good hitter, though his Plate Vision is paltry at 13!

With Arkansas in 2021, T-Williams hit .184 in 190 at-bats. He added five home runs and 28 RBI. He walked 17 times, but he struck out 71 times in those 190 at-bats.

10. Phil Bickford, Relief Pitcher (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Overall Rating: 75
Notable Ratings: 82 Hits per 9 Innings, 79 Velocity, 78 Pitch Control
Throw and Bat Hand: Right, Right
Age: 26
Potential: C
Secondary Position(s): None

Phil Bickford is a solid reliever blocked by what is the best roster in the Major Leagues as the Dodgers continue their run of sustained success.

Bickford has a high Hits per 9 Innings rating, which will help prevent base hits. This is crucial should he come in during pressure situations with runners on base. He also has good Velocity (mid-90s fastball) and Pitch Control, so he should rarely throw wild pitches or miss his spots. He could be a great reliever to serve as the bridge to the closer.

With the Dodgers in 2021, Bickford went 4-2 in 56 games over 50.1 innings pitched with a 2.50 ERA. He also had one save.

11. Ben Bowden, Closing Pitcher (Colorado Rockies)

Overall Rating: 64
Notable Ratings: 86 Pitch Break, 67 Pitch Control, 65 Velocity
Throw and Bat Hand: Left, Left
Age: 27
Potential: D
Secondary Position(s): None

Ben Bowden just makes the cut with exactly one year of MLB service time. He’ll probably see more time with Colorado in 2022 just based on Colorado’s seemingly endless need for pitching.

Bowden’s most impressive rating is his Pitch Break, making his circle change and slider effective pitches – the former against righties and the latter against lefties. He has lower Velocity than the other pitchers on this list, his fastball topping out in the low-90s. He does have a lower Home Runs per 9 Innings rating (46), so he is susceptible to the long ball.

In 12 games with Albuquerque in 2021, Bowden went 1-0 in 12 games over 11.2 innings pitched with a 0.00 ERA and two saves. He struck out 17 batters. With the Rockies in 2021, Bowden went 3-2 in 39 games over 35.2 innings pitched with a high 6.56 ERA, striking out 42 batters. Coors Field has that effect on pitchers.

There weren’t many relievers and closers who fit the criteria for this list, but overall, there are a lack of quality bullpen arms in the Minor Leagues in The Show 22. It’s more likely you’ll be better off upgrading your bullpen by targeting arms already on the Major League rosters.

Depending on your team needs, it would be prudent to target and acquire at least one (if not more) of the names on this list. Who will you target of the 11 players listed?





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