1. Matt McLain, SS, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
McLain had another bang-up week with 3 homers and 2 steals that earned him a promotion to Cincinnati. The 23-year-old went 9-for-21, which combined with 7 walks made for a .600 OBP, to go with a .952 slugging percentage. On the season, McLain has put up a scintillating triple-slash of .348/.474/.710 with 12 homers and 10 steals in 38 games for Louisville. He will start out at shortstop for Cincinnati, but the 5-foot-8 McLain is better suited for second base in the long term. With Jonathan India entrenched there in Cincinnati, McLain could wind up moving around a lot, possibly in a super-utility role until the Reds decide on a long-term defensive alignment. With power, speed and patience, McLain could be a force in fantasy as early as this season.
2. Elly De La Cruz, SS/3B, Reds (Triple-A Louisville)
Elly started the week by homering from both sides of the plate on Tuesday, finishing the game with three batted balls with exit velocities over 116 mph, a feat that no entire team had accomplished in the statcast era. On the week, De La Cruz was 7-for-20 with an eye-popping 10 walks, which made for a.581 OBP to go with a .900 SLG. He chipped in 2 steals, but also was caught twice, so he’s just 4-for-9 on stolen-base attempts for the season – a concerning development. The 21-year-old has been playing a lot of third base, but with McLain headed to the majors, De La Cruz should be able to focus on shortstop now. Elly is up to a .958 OPS with 6 homers in 21 games for Louisville. He could eventually force his way to Cincinnati this season, but the Reds may be wanting to keep him under 130 at-bats so they can take a shot at being awarded a draft pick if Elly can win NL Rookie of the Year in 2024.
3. Colton Cowser, OF, Orioles (Triple-A Norfolk)
Cowser went 11-for-22 with 8 walks on the week, adding up to a .613 OBP to go with 2 homers and 2 steals. The 23-year-old is up to a 1.044 OPS with 7 homers and 5 steals on the season. With Anthony Santander getting more ABs at DH and first base, there’s a bit of an opening in the Baltimore outfield, so Cowser could get the call any day now. Terrin Vavra is set to get the start in right field on Monday, but he’s more of a utility man. Cowser had struggled against lefties in the past, but this season he has a 1.077 OPS vs. southpaws, even better than his 1.038 OPS against righties. Primarily a center fielder, Cowser has the defensive chops to handle anywhere in the Baltimore outfield, so combined with an advanced hit tool, plus power and good speed, he is primed to make some noise for the Orioles this season.
4. Bryan Woo, SP, Mariners (Double-A Arkansas)
Woo had it going on Thursday against Northwest Arkansas, tossing 7 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits with 7 strikeouts and no walks. The 23-year-old right-hander lowered his ERA to 1.93 with a 0.71 WHIP and a sparkling 27-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 28 innings. The Mariners have shown that they have no problem jumping pitchers from Double-A straight to Seattle, so Woo could be an option if any opportunity arises in the Mariners’ rotation. Just a sixth-round pick out of Cal Poly in 2021, Woo cruised through three levels last year before pitching in the finishing school that is the Arizona Fall League. With a mid-90s fastball to go with a plus slider and a solid change, Woo has a chance to hit the ground running in Seattle, much like George Kirby and Bryce Miller have over the past year.
5. Ben Brown, SP, Cubs (Triple-A Iowa)
Brown has been dominant in every single start this season, but his 10-strikeout gem on Wednesday against Toledo may have been his best. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed just 2 hits in 5 innings, although he did walk 3. In 2 starts for Iowa, Brown has a 0.84 ERA with a 17-5 K-BB in 10 2/3 innings. In 4 starts for Double-A Tennessee, Brown had a 0.45 ERA with a 30-6 K-BB in 20 innings. The Cubs pilfered Brown from the Phillies at the trade deadline last year for reliever David Robertson. Brown has a 96-mph fastball to go with a filthy power curve and a plus slider, an arsenal that could see him reaching the Chicago rotation by this summer.&nbsp;
6. Gavin Williams, SP, Guardians (Triple-A Columbus)
Williams has been lights-out in every outing this season as well, culminating in a 10-strikeout showing against Louisville’s explosive lineup on Wednesday. The 23-year-old right-hander gave up just 2 hits in 5 2/3 innings, with the one blemish being a solo homer to Matt McLain. Williams has posted a 1.13 ERA with a 21-7 K-BB in 16 innings for Columbus after a 0.63 ERA with a 20-3 K-BB in 14 1/3 innings for Double-A Akron. We have Williams as the third-ranked pitching prospect behind just Eury Perez and Grayson Rodriguez, both pitching in the majors. Williams should join them very soon, possibly in Peyton Battenfield’s turn in the rotation as soon as this week.
7. Ryan Bliss, 2B, Diamondbacks (Double-A Amarillo)
Bliss has kept his batting average hovering around .400 all season, but last week the 23-year-old was particularly explosive by going 12-for-24 with 2 homers and 3 steals to go with a 1.455 OPS. Drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft out of Auburn, the diminutive infielder (5-foot-6, 165 pounds) has blown up in the hitter-friendly confines in Amarillo, although he has a 1.032 OPS on the road to go with his 1.163 OPS at home. For the season, Bliss is batting .406 with 6 homers and 11 steals, good enough for him to&nbsp;move into our next weekly-updated RotoProspects Top 500 Rankings.
8. Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B, Tigers (Triple-A Toledo)
Malloy went 9-for-22 with 3 homers and a 1.364 OPS on the week. The 23-year-old has flat-out raked all season for Toledo with a triple-slash of .323/.455/.526 to go with 7 homers. With 30-year-old journeyman Andy Ibanez currently starting at third base in Detroit, Malloy should be getting his first taste of the majors soon. The Tigers acquired the 6-foot-1, 212-pound Georgia Tech product from the Braves in December in the Joe Jimenez deal. Malloy’s calling card is a plus hitting tool, but there are questions about how much power he can unlock, so this past week was an encouraging sign.
9. Eric Brown Jr., SS, Brewers (High-A Wisconsin)
Brown Jr. started the week with an 0-for-3 on Tuesday to drop his batting average to .176, but he caught fire by going 8-for-18 with a homer and 7 steals over the next 5 days to raise his average to .228. The 22-year-old is up to a .648 OPS with 16 steals. Drafted 27th overall last year out of Coastal Carolina, Brown has a fantasy-friendly blend of tools that could see him reach his ceiling as a power-speed starting infielder for the Brewers by 2025.
10. Yunior Severino, 3B, Twins (Double-A Wichita)
Severino had multi-hit performances in all 5 of his games last week, putting up a scorching triple-slash of .500/.577/1.136 with 4 homers and a steal. The 23-year-old is partially repeating Double-A, as he put up an .835 OPS in 37 games for Wichita last year, so he should be getting moved up to Triple-A soon. For the season, Severino has a .994 OPS with 10 homers and 2 steals, good enough for him to move into our next weekly-updated RotoProspects Top 500 Rankings.
11. Cade Povich, SP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO, 0.80 WHIP
12. Parker Messick, SP, Guardians (Low-A Lynchburg): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 0.14 WHIP
13. Yanquiel Fernandez, OF, Rockies (High-A Spokane): 14-fo-26 (.538), 7 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBIs, 1 BB, 5 SO, .517 OBP, 1.038 SLG, 1.555 OPS
14. Jack Leiter, SP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 0.80 WHIP
15. Jacob Melton, OF, Astros (High-A Asheville): 8-for-20 (.400), 7 R, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 4 SB, .455 OBP, .700 SLG, 1.155 OPS
16. Dalton Rushing, C, Dodgers (High-A Great Lakes): 7-for-22 (.318), 5 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB, .467 OBP, .818 SLG, 1.286 OPS
17. Orelvis Martinez, SS, Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire): 7-for-23 (.304), 6 R, 1 2B, 5 HR, 10 RBIs, 1 BB, 8 SO, .360 OBP, 1.000 SLG, 1.360 OPS
18. AJ Smith-Shawver, SP, Braves (Double-A Mississippi): 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO, 0.80 WHIP
19. Emerson Hancock, SP, Mariners (Double-A Arkansas): 1-0, 1.59 ERA, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 1.06 WHIP
20. Ceddanne Rafaela, OF, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 5-for-21 (.238), 3 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO, 11 SB, .304 OBP, .286 SLG, .590 OPS