The minor league season from Low-A to AA starts tomorrow, and many exciting prospects will get to showcase their talents over the course of the 2023 season. And although there are many exciting prospects across baseball, there are some that you absolutely must keep an eye on. Here are my five must-watch prospects for the 2023 season.


Elly De La Cruz (CIN)

When it comes to top shortstop prospects, a lot of AL East fans like us here at Bleacher Brawls will bring up the names Gunnar Henderson, Marcelo Mayer, and Anthony Volpe. However, the shortstop that might have the most prolific toolset is Elly De La Cruz of the Cincinnati Reds, the number 10 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline.

De La Cruz, who was signed for $65,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, is arguably the most dynamic prospect in baseball. He is a true five-tool talent, can hit from both sides of the plate, and plays the game with joy and passion. For De La Cruz, it’s not just his skillset that stands out. At 6 foot 5, De La Cruz is very athletic and, despite his size, is still able to function as an above average shortstop.

De La Cruz hopes to carry his minor league success into 2023. He played in 120 games last season between High-A and AA, hitting .304 with 31 doubles, 9 triples, and 28 homers, while also swiping 47 bases. De La Cruz does strike out a lot, as most young minor leaguers do, but those stats should tell you how exciting De La Cruz can be and how much of a difference maker he could one day be for the Reds. De La Cruz will start 2023 in AAA once he is healthy, as he is currently on the 7-day IL due to a left hamstring strain.


Eury Perez (MIA)

Going from one of the most electrifying position player prospects in baseball to one of the most electrifying pitching prospects in baseball, Eury Perez is front and center in a Marlins system that is currently loaded with talented pitchers. Perez has a four-pitch mix that features a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. Perez is MLB Pipeline’s 14th ranked prospect in baseball. They grade his pitches at 70 (fastball), 55 (curveball), 60 (slider), and 70 (changeup) respectively. Perez also has a 60 grade for his control (all grades are on a scale of 20-80). 

Perez posted a 4.08 ERA in AA last year, but that doesn’t show the full picture. Perez had a couple rough starts to open the year, and also had a couple rough starts before going on the IL for a lat strain. But there was a two and a half month stretch last year where Perez was dominant, as in a 10 start stretch where he pitched 50 innings with an ERA of 1.98. Already standing at 6 foot 8 as a 19 year old, Perez has an uncanny ability to control his body when he pitches. He is easily able to repeat his delivery while pounding the strike zone, which is something pitchers of his stature normally struggle with this early in their careers. With Perez set to start the 2023 season in AA, don’t be surprised if he gets called up to AAA somewhat quickly, which would be Perez’ last test before he is ready to face big league hitters.


Jackson Chourio (MIL)

Originally signed as a shortstop, Jackson Chourio is the best center field prospect in all of baseball, and for good reason. Chourio only turned 19 in March of this year, and he will be playing AA baseball to start 2023. Chourio did get a week’s worth of AA ball at the end of 2022, and he hit .288 with 30 doubles, 5 triples, 20 homers, and 16 stolen bases between Low-A, High-A, and AA. Chourio still has to work on his plate discipline, but his tools make him MLB Pipeline’s eighth-ranked prospect in baseball.

Although not originally a center fielder, Chourio seems to have settled in well there largely due to his plus-plus speed. His speed is graded at a 70, and his fielding at a 60. Another thing Chourio has is the power to drive the ball to all fields, which Brewers officials have been “awestruck” by. And although Chourio has had his struggles with breaking pitches and plate discipline early on, that should be expected out of someone who played the entire 2022 season as an 18-year-old. The plate discipline should come with time, and Chourio could wind up being the clear top prospect in baseball heading into 2024. You’ll want to see him in the minors now before it’s too late.


Termarr Johnson (PIT)

Heading into the 2022 MLB draft, Termarr Johnson was one of the most interesting prospects for a few reasons. First, everyone knew that although Johnson played shortstop in high school, he was a clear second baseman in the pros. Second, Johnson is only listed at 5 foot 10, although some say that is generous. Third, he may have been the best prep hitter in the draft in decades. Johnson was described as having a combination of “Wade Boggs’ plate discipline and Vladimir Guerrero Sr.’s bat-to-ball skills.” That is a very, very lofty comparison for someone who was still in high school at the time. 

Johnson was the fourth pick in the 2022 draft, and he didn’t play much for the Pirates organization in 2022, only getting in 23 games between rookie ball and Low-A. Johnson will be in Low-A this season, where he can show off the best hit toolset of all high school and college hitters in the 2022 draft. Johnson will also get to show off his glove, as he should be a solid defender at second base. Some believe Johnson, who is MLB Pipeline’s 26th-ranked prospect in baseball, could be a future 25-30 homer threat at second base that could also hit for average in the Major Leagues. That is a long way away, but if you tune in to see Johnson play this year, you will get to see a guy with one of the best hit tools in the minor leagues officially begin his professional career.


Dylan Crews (LSU)

Since we are talking about prospects, let’s talk about the consensus number-one prospect in the 2023 MLB draft, LSU’s Dylan Crews. Crews could’ve been a first-round pick in the 2020 draft had he not decided to withdraw to play college ball. It also didn’t help that the 2020 draft was affected by the pandemic, meaning it was only five rounds (compared to the 40 rounds of previous drafts and the 20 rounds of the current system). That meant a lot of high school talent that would’ve been drafted and eligible to sign in a normal year ended up playing college baseball instead. Crews has excelled with LSU.

Currently in his junior season, he may be having one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen from a top prospect entering the draft. Crews has played in 29 games so far, where he has a slash line of .531/.659/.927/1.586. Yes, he’s hitting over .500 and has an OPS over 1.500!!! Now, it isn’t rare for top college players to hit extremely well, but no collegiate number one pick in the last ten years has put up numbers that high in their draft season. The closest is Adley Rutschman, who hit .411 with an OPS of 1.327 in his junior year of 2019. The college season is still only at the halfway mark, so Crews could fall back a little bit towards Rutschman numbers. But the fact that Crews has been putting up those numbers, plus the fact that he already has 11 doubles and 9 homers, shows that he is just absolutely raking.

Crews is also on pace to have his first collegiate season where he walks more than he strikes out, and the difference from 2022 to 2023 is crazy. In 2022, Crews walked 42 times and struck out 56 times in 62 games. In the 29 games Crews has played in 2023, he has only struck out 13 times while drawing 31 walks. He can play a good center field and should be able to stick there, although he could be a huge asset in right. Crews has also collected some big achievements in his collegiate career, picking up National Freshman of the Year honors in 2021 and being co-SEC Player of the Year in 2022, where he also played for the U.S. Collegiate National Team for the second straight year. All in all, if you are going to watch college baseball, make sure to catch some LSU games to see the consensus top prospect on his road to the MLB draft.


Those are my five prospects that you need to keep an eye on in 2023. There is a ton of talent across the minor leagues, and even in college, so there are many more names to be on the lookout for. If there is someone you think should’ve been mentioned, make sure to tweet to me @derrik_maguire and tweet to @BleacherBrawl and let us know who you think should’ve made the cut and why you are excited to see that player.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *