MLB Pipeline will announce its 2023 Top 100 Prospects list on Thursday, January 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET with an hour-long show on MLB Network and MLB.com. In advance of the release of the Top 100, we’ll be examining baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.
While just four left-handed pitchers cracked our soon-to-be-revealed 2023 Top 100, the lowest number since we started compiling prospect lists in 2004, the position is far from without talent. Several southpaws are notable for their ability to miss bats.
Kyle Harrison (Giants) led the Minors in strikeout percentage (39.8) in 2022, and Ricky Tiedemann (Blue Jays) would have finished right behind him (38.9) had he had enough innings to close to qualify. Harrison also outperformed the Minors in puffs per nine innings (14.8), with DL Hall (Orioles) posting a similar rate (14.6) as a non-qualifier.
The 2022 draft was deep lefties with Top 100 on top. Brandon Barriera (Blue Jays) and Noah Schultz (White Sox) both started as high schoolers in the first round, while fellow prepsters Robby Snelling (Padres) and Jackson Ferris (Cubs) received $3 million in bonuses as later picks . Cooper Hjerpe (Cardinals) was the top healthy and active collegiate southpaw in a class marred by injuries to Connor Prielipp (Twins), Hunter Barco (Pirates) and Reggie Crawford (Giants) and a suspension for Carson Whisenhunt (Giants). .
1. Kyle Harrison, Giants (2023)
2. Ricky Tiedemann, Blue Jays (2024)
3. Ken Waldichuk, Athletics (2023)
4. DL Hall, Orioles (2023)
5. Dax Fulton, Marlins (2024)
6. Jordan Wicks, Boys (2023)
7. Matthew Liberatore, Cardinals (2023)
8. Jake Eder, Marlins (2024)
9.Brandon Barriera, Blue Jays (2026)
10. Blake Walston, D-back (2023)
Complete list “
Top 10 prospects by position:
RHP | LHP
1/26: Top 100
Fastball: Harrison, Tiedemann, Waldichuk, Halle (65)
All four of these lefties have well above average fastballs that stand out in different ways. Harrison had an insane 41 percent swing-and-miss rate with his heater in Double-A, working from 92-97 mph with driving action and a flat approach angle from a low three-quarter arm slot. Tiedemann has the best sink of the group, Waldichuk has the best carry in the hitting zone, and Hall has the most consistent speed (average 96.6 mph and a top speed of 100).
Curveball: Fulton, Liberator (60)
Both Fulton and Liberatore rely heavily on their curveballs, the only asset in each of their arsenals. Fulton’s bender has more power in the top 70s and his feel for spin extends to a tighter low 80s slider, which he focused on late last season.
Slider: Harrison, Eder (60)
When hitters focus on dealing with Harrison’s fastball, he can make them look bad with a sweeping slider in the low 80s. Eder owns a similar slide piece that helped him dominate in Double-A on his 2021 pro debut, despite blowing out his elbow in August and requiring Tommy John surgery.
Transformation: Tiedemann, Wicks (70)
Tiedemann was a revelation on his pro debut in 2022, thanks in large part to his mid-80s move, which falls and fades. Wicks has similar action and slightly less speed on his cambio, which scouts considered the best in the 2021 draft.
Control: Wicks, Barriera (55)
Wicks has an effortless performance and repeats it well, averaging 2.7 walks per nine innings while hitting a double-A in his first full pro season last year. Barriera, the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 draft, likes to attack hitters with three solid pitchers and is further along than most high schoolers.
Highest ceiling: Harrison
Harrison projects himself as a frontline starter thanks to his three-pitch repertoire, which also includes an improving mid-’80s switch with fade and sink. All three offers allow him to dodge bats in the attack zone.
Top floor: Tiedemann
Tiedemann has less of a track record than Harrison but a similarly devastating arsenal with better control and command at this point. The Blue Jays have handled him with extreme caution in his first full pro season so it remains to be seen how his stuff will hold up under a full workload.
Rookie of the Year Contestant: Harrison
The Giants don’t have a spare spot in their opening-day rotation, but Harrison’s stuff and performance (2.71 ERA, .196 opponent average, 186 strikeouts in 113 innings, mostly in double-A at age 20) will be hard to deny. He continues to hone his control and command, although the quality of his pitches mean he doesn’t have to be precise.
Highest climber: Tiedemann
Heading into 2022, Tiedemann was a third-round pick from Golden West (California) JC, who has yet to play pro ball. He is now challenging Harrison for the title of top left-handed baseball player after recording a 2.17 ERA, .149 opponent average and 117 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings while progressing from Single-A to Double-A .
Humblest beginning: Waldichuk
Waldichuk’s performance and stock slipped when he tried to throw harder as a junior at Saint Mary’s in 2019, causing him to fall back to the Yankees in the fifth round. New York helped him improve his fastball, slider and changeup before sending him to the Athletics in the Frankie Montas trade last August.
Most to prove: Liberatore
Liberatore, the top prep pitching pick in the 2018 draft, finished 16th overall with the Rays and joined the Cardinals in the January 2020 Randy Arozarena deal. His 5.17 ERA in Triple-A and 5.97 ERA in his big league debut last year underscored his need for a second, better-than-average pitch to pair with his curveball.
Keep an eye on: Hjerpe
Hjerpe manages a lot of deception with a low arm slot and shallow approach angle on a 91-95 mph fastball that college hitters couldn’t touch. The 22nd overall pick of the 2022 draft, he led NCAA Division I with 161 strikeouts while at Oregon State last spring he had a 2.53 ERA, .180 opponent average and 23 walks in 103 1/3 innings. His slider and changeup show the potential to become solid pitches.