The top three players on MLB Pipeline's 2023 Top 100 Prospects list all made their big-league debuts in 2022, as did 16 others, making a total of 19 players with top-level experience entering spring training. All 19 received in-depth writeups in Major League Debuts.
The top three were Orioles 3B/SS Gunnar Henderson, Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll, and Mets C Francisco Alvarez. Henderson graced the cover of Baseball America last August, when he made his debut on the final day of the month, homering off Guardians righthander Triston McKenzie in his second at-bat. He finished the night 2-for-4 and slashed .259/.348/.440 in 132 plate appearances with the Orioles. Carroll joined the Diamondbacks just two days earlier. He doubled in his first game, driving in a pair of runs in a 13-7 win over the Phillies. In 32 games for Arizona, he hit .260/.330/.500 with 15 extra-base hits in 115 plate appearances. Alvarez's intro was more of a cameo, as he first featured against the Braves on Sept. 30. He went 0-for-4 as the DH, getting the start against Atlanta's Max Fried. The Mets were hoping he could help boost their production from the DH spot against lefthanders. He went 2-for-12 in limited action, with both of his hits coming in the same game against the Nationals on the next-to-last day of the season.
The full list of players in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 to feature in the book, with their debut game highlights:
1. Gunnar Henderson, 3B/SS, Orioles. Aug. 31 vs CLE, 2-for-4, HR, R, RBI.
2. Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks. Aug. 29 vs PHI, 1-for-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, K.
3. Francisco Alvarez, C, Mets. Sept. 30 vs ATL, 0-for-4, K.
21. Brett Baty, 3B/OF, Mets. Aug. 17 vs ATL, 1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI. Homered in first at-bat.
23. Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox. Sept. 4 vs TEX, 1-for-4.
25. Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Rockies. Sept. 23 vs SD, 2-for-4, R. Singled on first two pitches he saw.
34. Josh Jung, 3B, Rangers. Sept. 9 vs TOR, 2-for-4, HR, R, RBI, SB. Homered in first at-bat.
37. Miguel Vargas, 3B/1B/OF, Dodgers. Aug. 3 vs SF, 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, SB. Ground-rule double in first at-bat, then stole third.
43. Hunter Brown, RHP, Astros. Sept. 5 vs TEX, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, W. Six shutout innings in a 1-0 win, Game Score-70.
45. Royce Lewis, SS, Twins. May 6 vs OAK, 1-for-4.
52. Oswald Peraza, SS, Yankees. Sept. 2 vs TB, 0-for-1, K. Struck out on three pitches as PH in ninth inning.
53. Logan O'Hoppe, C, Angels. Sept. 28 vs OAK, 1-for-3, K. Singled in first at-bat.
58. Cade Cavalli, RHP, Nationals. Aug. 26 vs CIN, 4.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO, 3 HBP, L, Game Score-27.
64. Bo Naylor, C, Guardians. Oct. 1 vs KC, 0-for-2, K. Entered game in 6th. 1-for-2 in throwing out base stealers.
67. Max Meyer, RHP, Marlins. July 16 vs PHI, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 2 HR, L, Game Score-38.
70. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, Dodgers. May 11 vs PIT, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 3 SO. In and out of trouble with poor command. Just 40 of his 77 pitches were strikes, Game Score-55.
76. Ken Waldichuk, LHP, Athletics. Sept. 1 vs WAS, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO, Game Score-52.
91. Alec Burleson, OF, Cardinals. Sept. 8 vs WAS, 0-for-4, BB, R.
97. DL Hall, LHP, Orioles. Aug. 13 vs TB, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, L, Game Score-34.
Major League Debuts contains much more detail on each player's first game, as well as a full bio and a recap of his 2022 season.
Lewis certainly would have ranked higher on the list if not for his two ACL injuries. You have to feel bad for him for all the time he's missed. Max Meyer also had some rotten luck tearing his UCL in just his second game with the Marlins last July. I personally like Waldichuk better than Pepiot, and maybe Cavalli. I would push him up the list a bit. Burleson is there for his bat, and he looks like a guy that will hit, despite his .188 showing in limited time with the Cardinals late last year.