Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

Most avid investors and minor league baseball fans know the names of top prospects like Adley Rutschman, Spencer Torkelson, and others. We already covered some of the blue chip prospects in our overview of 2022 Bowman prospects. The hype attached to these players has helped their card values skyrocket. These are fantastic prospects who will probably have stellar careers. However, many other future big leaguers fly under the radar and go unnoticed by investors and fans. I hope to shine a light on some under the radar 2022 Bowman prospects worth your attention.

Why Some Great Prospects Don’t Get Much Attention

Get a box of Bowman 2022 on eBay. 

“People are overlooked for a variety of biased reasons and perceived flaws,” explains Jonah Hill’s character in Moneyball. “Age, appearance, personality.” Although the movie is based on the 2002 Oakland A’s, baseball struggles with the same issues today.

The prospects who garner the most attention are usually off the board in the first or second draft round. Still, some talented players remain available. There are many reasons, one being that exposure varies greatly. For example, players whose families can afford travel teams and showcase tournaments spend more time in front of scouts.

Not every star starts out as a highly rated prospect like Spencer. Look for Torkelson autos on eBay. 

The Great Divide

Look for Bowman 2022 blasters on eBay.

When fans think of college baseball, most picture powerhouse Division I schools. Vanderbilt, Florida State, and Auburn, to name a few, are not only in the spotlight but also have their ballparks outfitted with the expensive technology. Unfortunately, however, not all schools have the ability or budget to invest in this innovative technology. As a result, student-athletes at Division II, Division III, and Junior Colleges can slip under the radar.

There’s a vast divide between players in a big-league team’s organization who received big signing bonuses and players who signed without one. The vast majority of players are in the latter category. A back-end prospect or unranked minor leaguer who signed for a small amount may be on a shorter leash than a bigger-name prospect. Teams may be more likely to cut ties with a player they have not invested millions of dollars in.

No matter how advanced or precise scouting becomes, there will always be players who are signed quietly, advance through the minors undetected, and then surprise fans on the big league stage. For this reason, investors should look beyond the big names and search for potential diamonds in the rough.

Players Who We Know and Love That Were Not Top Prospects

Mike Piazza exemplifies a once unknown prospect who became an all-time great. He went undrafted in high school before the Dodgers selected him in the 62nd round of the 1988 MLB Draft.

I don’t need to tell you how good Piazza was, but he holds the title of the lowest player ever drafted to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Other mid-to-late round draft picks include Jacob deGrom (9th round, 2010), Nolan Ryan (12th round, 1965), Albert Pujols (13th round, 1999), and J.D. Martinez (20th round, 2009).

International free agents also fly under the radar. There’s usually a handful of players who earn million-dollar contracts. However, the vast majority sign for $100,000 or less. In 2001, Martín Prado signed a $5,500 contract as a Venezuelan teenager. Prado had a 14-year career in Major League Baseball. José Ramírez signed a $50,000 contract out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. The All-Star third baseman has received AL MVP votes in multiple seasons and is one of the game’s best players.

Who Are The Hyped Prospects I Won’t Cover Here?

I want to focus on the talented players who aren’t getting enough attention for this list. I excluded prospects if they meet any of the following points:

  • Players on the most recent Top 100 Prospects list from MLB Pipeline or FanGraphs
  • Those ranked top five on their team’s prospect list from MLB Pipeline or FanGraphs
  • Players drafted in the first, second, or third round of the MLB Draft
  • Prospects who signed international free agent contracts worth more than $100,000

Therefore, prospects like Jacob Amaya, Ethan Elliott, Parker Meadows, and Ezequiel Tovar were not included. That is not because I don’t believe in them, but instead that they are included in their team’s top five prospects, were drafted in the early rounds, or signed for much more than the average international free agent.

10 Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

  1. Lawrence Butler, 1B/OF in Oakland A’s organization

Age: 21 | Bats: L | Throws: R | ETA: 2024

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 40

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 30/35 | Game Power: 35/60 | Raw Power: 60/70 | Speed: 50/40 | Field: 30/40 | Future Value: 40+

Season (Age) Name Level G H HR SB BB% K% BA OBP SLG
2018 (17) Lawrence Butler Rk 46 24 1 3 14.5% 34.7% .226 .339 .330
2019 (18) Lawrence Butler A- 55 34 4 1 11.8% 40.7% .177 .276 .286
2021 (20) Lawrence Butler A+ 102 105 19 29 13.1% 32.4% .273 .367 .504

Butler was still 17 years old when the A’s drafted him in the sixth round of the 2018 Draft. He seemed overwhelmed in his first two professional seasons. His strikeout rate was exorbitantly high, and his power was not on display. After missing the 2020 season because of the pandemic, Butler started strong and made huge strides. He led his Low-A team in home runs and stolen bases. Although his strikeout rate remained high, the A’s instructed Butler to lay off borderline pitches, hoping to help him rework his plate discipline. In his 14 games after moving up to High-A, he was at his best. Butler’s improvements from 2019 to 2021 were very promising, finally flashing his best tool: power.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

That patience started to pay off in 2021, as he began to convert his considerable tools into on-field production. Butler certainly looks the part, with plenty of size, strength, and athleticism on display. He has some of the best raw power in the system, combining bat speed with plenty of leverage and bad intentions. He struck out in nearly one-third of his plate appearances, and while he made significant strides in quieting his swing in the second half of the season, big whiff totals will likely always be a part of his game.

Lawrence Butler has a ridiculous amount of potential power. Look for his Bowman 1sts on eBay. 

  1. Elijah Dunham, OF in the New York Yankees organization

Age: 23 | Bats: L | Throws: L | ETA: 2023

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 40

FanGraphs Grades: N/A

Season (Age) Name Level G H HR SB BB% K% BA OBP SLG
2021 (23) Elijah Dunham A 93 89 13 28 11.9% 21.5% .263 .362 .463
2021 Fall (23) Elijah Dunham AZFL 23 30 2 11 13.9% 9.9% .357 .465 .571

Drafted in the 40th round of the 2019 Draft, Dunham did not sign and instead went to college. He played very well in his sophomore season and had a good start in his junior season at Indian. After going undrafted in the shortened five-round 2020 draft, Dunham signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent. He played very well in his first professional season at the Single-A level before putting himself on the map with a stellar performance in the Arizona Fall League. In addition to his .357 average and 1.037 OPS, Dunham’s 11 stolen bases led the league. He also walked more than he struck out to earn the AFL’s Breakout Player of the Year. Throughout his early professional career, the Yankees look like they got a steal with his performance.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

Dunham is a well-rounded offensive player. He has a relatively compact left-handed swing, manages the strike zone well, and has the bat speed and strength to hit for power. He’s not afraid to work deep counts in search of a pitch he can drive and will take walks if he doesn’t get challenged.

  1. Jake Eder, LHP in the Miami Marlins organization

Age: 23 | Bats: L | Throws: L | ETA: 2023

MLB Pipeline Grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50

FanGraphs Grades: Fastball: 55/60 | Curveball: 55/60 | Command: 30/40 | Future Value: 40+

Season (Age) Name Level G W L IP K BB H ERA WHIP
2021 (22) Jake Eder AA 15 3 5 71.1 99 27 43 1.77 0.98

Despite Eder’s inconsistencies in college, the Marlins liked what they saw from him in the highly esteemed Cape Cod League in 2019. The lefthander pitched exclusively in relief for Vanderbilt in 2019 with good, though uneven, results. The Cape Cod League, however, was where Eder shined. He walked four, struck out 15, and held a 1.20 ERA in four appearances. The Marlins directed Eder straight to Double-A, where he made 15 relief appearances. Eder works with a mid-90s fastball and above-average slider and curveball. His low ERA and a superb 3.67 strikeout-to-walk rate against upper-level competition were promising. Unfortunately, he suffered an elbow injury at the end of the season, forcing him to undergo Tommy John Surgery. He’ll likely miss the entire 2022 season, but Eder’s recent success makes him someone to monitor and potentially buy low.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

While Eder lacked consistency at Vanderbilt, that wasn’t an issue as he overmatched Double-A hitters. He maintained the velocity on his four-seam fastball, sitting at 93-96 mph and touching 98, and the quality of his low-80s slider, giving him a second plus pitch.

Jake Eder is one of the more promising pitching prospects, despite a lack of recognition. See what his autos are going for on eBay. 

  1. Heriberto Hernandez, OF in the Tampa Bay Rays organization

Age: 22 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2023

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 35 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 50

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 35/60 | Game Power: 35/60 | Raw Power: 55/65 | Speed: 30/30 | Field: 30/40 | Future Value: 50

Season (Age) Name Level G H HR SB BB% K% BA OBP SLG
2018 (18) Heriberto Hernandez DSL 60 52 12 5 22.2% 17.2% .292 .464 .635
2019 (19) Heriberto Hernandez Rk 53 69 11 6 12.4% 25.6% .345 .436 .635
2021 (21) Heriberto Hernandez A 73 64 12 7 15.3% 28.1% .252 .381 .453
2021 Fall (21) Heriberto Hernandez AZFL 5 2 0 1 15.0% 25.0% .133 .250 .133

Starting with the Rangers, Hernandez tore up the Dominican Summer League in 2018 and the rookie-level in 2019. He hit a combined .320 with a 1.085 OPS there. The Rays traded for Hernandez at the end of 2020. Heriberto didn’t produce the gaudy numbers the outfielder had previously. Nonetheless, Hernandez still put up a good season in Single-A. He makes solid contact, hitting the ball hard (95+ mph) about 62% of the time. He has incredible bat speed and power but strikes out a lot. Hernandez’s bat will get him into the lineup despite the lack of speed or defense.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

His on-paper stats, underlying TrackMan data, and my multi-year in-person visual evaluation give me a high confidence that this might be a special hitter whose hit and power combination will clear the high offensive bar in left field or first base.

  1. Gilberto Jimenez, OF in the Boston Red Sox organization

Age: 21 | Bats: S | Throws: R | ETA: 2023

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 40 | Run: 70 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 35/60 | Game Power: 30/40 | Raw Power: 45/50 | Speed: 70/70 | Field: 50/60 | Future Value: 45+

Season (Age) Name Level G H HR SB BB% K% BA OBP SLG
2018 (17) Gilberto Jimenez DSL 67 82 0 16 6.7% 14.1% .319 .384 .420
2019 (18) Gilberto Jimenez A- 59 84 3 14 5.1% 15.0% .359 .393 .470
2021 (20) Gilberto Jimenez A 94 114 3 13 4.7% 21.1% .306 .346 .405

Jimenez did not pick up a baseball until he was 13 years old. Thus, he flew entirely under the radar until the Red Sox discovered him at 16. He impressed scouts with his speed and arm, who noted his raw abilities but were encouraged by his upside. A switch-hitter, Jimenez hits for contact. He also has “game-changing” speed and is one of the best defenders in the Red Sox’s system. His upside is incredibly promising, and he may be a dominant talent.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

He’s now only a 70 runner who has a chance to lead off and play impact defense in center field… He has good natural feel for making contact thanks to impressive hand-eye coordination. And again, this is a plus-plus athlete with what the org thinks is plus-plus makeup, elite speed, and impact defense and arm strength.

We don’t love Gilberto’s autograph but we do like his skills. Look for more of his autos on eBay. 

  1. Caleb Kilian, RHP in Chicago Cubs organization

Age: 24 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2022

MLB Pipeline Grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Cutter: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45

FanGraphs Grades: Fastball: 55/55 | Curveball: 45/50 | Slider: 45/45 | Changeup: 45/50 | Command: 60/70 | Future Value: 45

Season (Age) Name Level G W L IP K BB H ERA WHIP
2019 (22) Caleb Kilian Rk 7 0 0 16.0 17 2 7 0.00 0.56
2021 (24) Caleb Kilian A&AA 19 7 4 100.1 112 13 75 2.42 0.88
2021 Fall (24) Caleb Kilian AZFL 5 1 0 14.0 18 5 12 5.14 1.21

Don’t be fooled by the deceptive stats. Kilian’s 2021 Arizona Fall League numbers don’t tell the whole story. After a terrible first game, he finished the regular season strong and was lights-out (six perfect innings, eight strikeouts) in the championship game. In those 20 total innings since the disastrous first appearance, he walks four batters and struck out 26 for a 0.45 ERA. In addition, he dazzled with his 97 mph fastball and got a handful of batters to swing and miss on the curveball. Along with five pitches, Kilian has an impressive command that would play in the big leagues right now. Therefore, don’t be surprised to see him pitch for the Cubs in 2022.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

Kilian added strength during his layoff and showed increased velocity in short stints at instructs, topping out at 98 mph…After battling inconsistency with his breaking balls at Texas Tech, he has added some power to his curveball and scrapped his slider in favor of a shorter, harder cutter. He also exhibits a feel for an average changeup.

  1. Logan O’Hoppe, C in the Philadelphia Phillies organization

Age: 21 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2023

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 50 | Run: 30 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 30/40 | Game Power: 30/45 | Raw Power: 50/55 | Speed: 30/30 | Field: 40/50 | Throws: 55/55 | Future Value: 35+

Season (Age) Name Level G H HR SB BB% K% BA OBP SLG
2018 (18) Logan O’Hoppe Rk 34 40 2 2 8.1% 22.6% .367 .411 .532
2019 (19) Logan O’Hoppe A- 45 35 5 3 6.8% 27.7% .216 .266 .407
2021 (21) Logan O’Hoppe A&AA 104 106 17 6 7.5% 17.4% .270 .331 .458
2021 Fall (21) Logan O’Hoppe AZFL 22 23 3 3 21.0% 15.0% .299 .440 .519

O’Hoppe was a 23rd-round pick who impressed on and off the field in the Arizona Fall League. His work ethic didn’t go unnoticed, and he was praised for his work with pitchers, earning him the AZFL’s Sportsmanship Award. Before playing this fall, O’Hoppe progressed from High-A to Triple-A in the Phillies’ system. He’s regarded as a strong defensive catcher who pitchers love working with, but his offensive profile isn’t lacking. This fall, he hit .299 with a .959 OPS while walking more than he struck out.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

O’Hoppe has shown the ability to impact the baseball from the right side of the plate… O’Hoppe is an excellent receiver, showing agility to get the low pitch and blocking well. He has an average arm now, but his quick release has helped that play up, and he continues to add strength. In addition, he gets very high marks for his baseball mentality and leadership behind the plate.

Think O’Hoppe is the catcher of the future? See what his autos are going for on eBay. 

  1. Michael Siani, OF in the Cincinnati Reds organization

Age: 22 | Bats: L | Throws: L | ETA: 2023

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 35/50 | Game Power: 20/30 | Raw Power: 40/45 | Speed: 60/60 | Field: 55/70 | Future Value: 45

Season (Age) Name Level G H HR SB BB% K% BA OBP SLG
2018 (18) Michael Siani Rk 46 53 2 6 7.8% 17.1% .288 .351 .386
2019 (19) Michael Siani A 121 118 6 45 8.7% 20.5% .253 .333 .339
2021 (21) Michael Siani A+ 97 76 6 30 12.3% 25.2% .216 .321 .327
2021 Fall (21) Michael Siani AZFL 14 12 1 10 19.6% 17.6% .300 .451 .450

Siani’s defense is what stands out about the 22-year-old outfielder. Scouts praise him for the reads he gets and how efficient he is when taking routes. He has a strong arm and also boasts good speed. The question here is what Siani can do with the bat. After a decent year in rookie ball in 2018, he struggled to produce offensively. As a result, much of his contact ends on the ground, mainly for singles.

Nevertheless, he stole 45 bags in 2019 and another 30 in 2021. A promising sign for Siani was his play in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit three doubles, one home run, and stole 10 bases. If he can continue to improve offensively, he’ll be a weapon the Reds would love to have.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

Siani is fast, and his defensive instincts are excellent, so he has a chance to be one of the better defensive center fielders in baseball at his peak. On offense, he creates a lot of infield action (oppo liner pokes and slaps, high infield chops, some bunts) but probably won’t grow into relevant power because he’s not a great rotator.

  1. Juan Then, RHP in the Seattle Mariners organization

Age: 21 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2022

MLB Pipeline Grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50

FanGraphs Grades: Fastball: 55/60 | Slider: 55/60 | Changeup: 40/50 | Command: 40/50 | Future Value: 45

Season (Age) Name Level G W L IP K BB H ERA WHIP
2017 (17) Juan Then DSL 13 2 2 61.1 56 15 50 2.64 1.06
2018 (18) Juan Then Rk 11 0 3 50.0 42 11 38 2.70 0.98
2019 (19) Juan Then A 11 1 5 48.1 48 13 33 2.98 0.95
2021 (21) Juan Then A+ 14 2 5 54.1 59 19 68 6.46 1.60
2021 Fall (21) Juan Then AZFL 4 1 3 13.0 16 9 20 12.46 2.23

The Mariners signed 16-year-old Then as an international free agent in 2016. Although his first starts were promising, they traded Then to the Yankees. He continued to pitch well for New York in rookie ball and found his way back to Seattle in 2019. Then got as high as Single-A in 2019, where he improved his fastball velocity and strikeout rate. 2021 was a bit of a step back for Then, who struggled with his control and gave up far more home runs than he ever had. Then took significant steps forward in 2019 and 2020. He did struggle in 2021. However, that may be more about finding a rhythm post-pandemic. Whatever the case may be, he’s someone the Mariners believed in enough to get him back.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

He had a velocity spike over the 2019-20 offseason and, after sitting 91-95 and topping out at 96 in ’19, was up to 99 mph in the bullpen last spring before baseball ceased operations due to the pandemic…His well-located sliders are easily plus. Then’s delivery is silky smooth for a guy who’s often parked in the upper-90s.

  1. Nelson Velazquez, OF in the Chicago Cubs organization

Age: 23 | Bats: R | Throws: R | ETA: 2022

MLB Pipeline Grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 40

FanGraphs Grades: Hit: 30/35 | Game Power: 40/50 | Raw Power: 60/60 | Speed: 50/40 | Field: 50/55 | Future Value: 45

Season (Age) Name Level G H HR SB BB% K% BA OBP SLG
2017 (18) Nelson Velazquez Rk 32 26 8 5 11.9% 31.0% .236 .333 .536
2018 (19) Nelson Velazquez A 103 87 11 15 7.3% 30.0% .231 .299 .380
2019 (20) Nelson Velazquez A 78 81 6 5 7.5% 26.8% .288 .341 .441
2021 (22) Nelson Velazquez A&AA 103 104 20 17 7.1% 31.1% .270 .333 .496
2021 Fall (22) Nelson Velazquez AZFL 26 40 9 0 13.8% 27.6% .385 .480 .712

Last but not least among under the radar 2022 Bowman prospects. Velazquez put up a gaudy slash-line (.385/.480/.712) in the Arizona Fall League, earning him the MVP Award. When prospect rankings were updated in 2021, MLB Pipeline had Velazquez at No. 29 and FanGraphs at No. 59 in the Cubs organization. This fall, everything came together for the outfielder, who spent a lot of time refining his approach after struggling early in his professional career. Despite losing the 2020 minor league season, Velazquez’s discipline paid off. His power and speed were on display, but he still struck out quite a bit.

What Scouts Are Saying About Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects

Velazquez’s bat speed and strength create some of the best raw power and exit velocities in the system. He’s doing a better job of tapping into his right-handed pop this year as he turns on more pitches and launches more fly balls to his pull side than ever before.

Nelson Velazquez doesn’t have a Bowman card yet. Look for his minor league cards on eBay. 

Which Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects I’m Sold On & Who I’m Not

 Nelson Velazquez’s performance in the Arizona Fall League is impossible to ignore. After his MVP-worthy campaign, he’ll likely shoot up prospect lists. The offensive upside is tremendous, especially if he can improve his plate discipline. He slots as a promising corner outfielder who the Cubs could rely on as they rebuild.

One player who I’m wary about is Michael Siani. If he continues to develop offensively, he’s going to be electric. However, if the bat doesn’t pan out, he seems like a Billy Hamilton-type. In other words, a player who comes off the bench as a pinch-runner or for his defense.

Bottomline On Under The Radar 2022 Bowman Prospects 

It’s always a thrill to pull a top prospect. Maybe as equally rewarding as investing in a lesser-known player who winds up being a big-league star. Not every prospect will pan out, but finding that unappreciated player and rooting for their success makes collecting and investing worthwhile.

Nicole Cahill

Nicole Cahill

Nicole Cahill is a freelance writer with sports bylines at Baseball Prospectus, Fish Stripes, and Pitcher List. She also writes about mental health and recently founded a nonprofit. When she’s not fighting stigma or exploring Baseball Savant visuals, you can find Nicole enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book. View her portfolio at NicoleCahill.com or find her on Twitter at @NicoleCahill_