2024 Top 100 Prospects

Below is our list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. The scouting summaries were compiled with information provided by available data and industry sources, as well as our own observations. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but we use that as a rule of thumb.

All of the prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

And now, a few important things to keep in mind as you’re perusing the Top 100. You’ll note that prospects are ranked by number but also lie within tiers demarcated by their Future Value grades. The FV grade is more important than the ordinal ranking. For example, the gap between Paul Skenes (no. 10) and Chase DeLauter (no. 29) is 19 spots, and there’s a substantial difference in talent between them. The gap between Kyle Teel (no. 80) and Will Warren (no. 99), meanwhile, is also 19 numerical places, but the difference in talent is relatively small.

You’ll also notice that there is a Future Value outcome distribution graph for each prospect on the list. This is an attempt to graphically represent how likely each FV outcome is for each prospect. Before his departure for ESPN, Kiley McDaniel used the great work of our former colleague Craig Edwards to find the base rates for each FV tier of prospect (separately for hitters and pitchers), and the likelihood of each FV outcome. For example, based on Craig’s research, the average 60 FV hitter on a list becomes a perennial 5-plus WAR player over his six controlled years 26% of the time, and has a 27% chance of accumulating, at most, a couple of WAR during his six controlled years. We started with those base rates for every player on this year’s list and then manually tweaked them depending on our more specific opinions about the player. For instance, Jordan Wicks and Luis Morales are both 50 FV prospects, but other than the fact that they throw a baseball for a living, they are nothing alike. Wicks is a polished, big league ready starter, while Morales has much more arm strength and body projection than Wicks but might never throw enough strikes for it to matter. Our hope is that the distribution graphs reflect these kinds of differences.

A note on foreign professional players: They will no longer appear on our Top 100. Foreign professionals are players who are at least 25 years old and have played in a foreign pro league for at least six seasons. They aren’t subject to bonus pool restrictions when they sign, and importantly, under the new CBA, teams are not eligible to receive draft pick compensation under the Prospect Promotion Incentive if a foreign pro wins Rookie of the Year (which maybe means the BBWAA shouldn’t vote for foreign pros for ROY). Their reports will still appear on team lists as a reference point for readers who might not be familiar with players from foreign leagues, but since the CBA is distinguishing between foreign pros and those subject to bonus pool restrictions for the purposes of the PPI, so will our Top 100. On talent, Yoshinobu Yamamoto would have ranked second on this list, while Jung Hoo Lee would have stacked next to Drew Gilbert.

This was a light group that almost didn’t get to 100 names with a 50 FV grade or better. Like a lot of other publications’ Top 100s, the 2023 draft class has strong representation on this list. That’s partially because it was an uncommonly talented group, though we also think the talent level in the minors has been down of late. Roster rules that make it easier for players to graduate from rookie status also contribute to there being fewer players who you can feel good about grading this high. Prospect publications tend not to rank very many players from the complex or DSL, but minor league contraction means that for the teams that have two of each, half of their minor league players exist at the rookie levels. It’s going to become more important to identify who belongs on this list more quickly, and more difficult to do so as teams keep players in the DSL for a second year more often than before so they don’t have to use a domestic roster spot.

For a further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, please read this and this. If you would like to read a book-length treatment on the subject, one is available here.

2024 Top 100 Prospects
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Jackson Holliday BAL 20.2 AAA SS 2024 70
2 Wyatt Langford TEX 22.3 AAA LF 2024 65
3 Jackson Chourio MIL 19.9 AAA CF 2024 65
4 Junior Caminero TBR 20.6 MLB RF 2024 60
5 Ethan Salas SDP 17.7 AA C 2026 60
6 James Wood WSN 21.4 AA CF 2025 60
7 Samuel Basallo BAL 19.5 AA C 2027 60
8 Jordan Lawlar ARI 21.6 MLB SS 2024 60
9 Dylan Crews WSN 22.0 AA CF 2025 60
10 Paul Skenes PIT 21.7 AA SP 2024 60
11 Andrew Painter PHI 20.8 AA SP 2025 60
12 Evan Carter TEX 21.5 MLB LF 2024 55
13 Colson Montgomery CHW 22.0 AA 3B 2025 55
14 Roman Anthony BOS 19.8 AA CF 2026 55
15 Spencer Jones NYY 22.8 AA CF 2026 55
16 Jackson Jobe DET 21.5 AA SP 2025 55
17 Adael Amador COL 20.8 AA 2B 2025 55
18 Cade Horton CHC 22.5 AA SP 2025 55
19 River Ryan LAD 25.5 AAA SP 2025 55
20 Pete Crow-Armstrong CHC 21.9 MLB CF 2024 55
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
21 Carson Williams TBR 20.6 AAA SS 2026 55
22 Mick Abel PHI 22.5 AAA SP 2024 55
23 Coby Mayo BAL 22.2 AAA RF 2025 55
24 Heston Kjerstad BAL 25.0 MLB RF 2024 55
25 Masyn Winn STL 21.9 MLB SS 2024 55
26 Walker Jenkins MIN 19.0 A LF 2026 55
27 Kyle Harrison SFG 22.5 MLB SP 2024 55
28 Ricky Tiedemann TOR 21.5 AAA SP 2024 55
29 Chase DeLauter CLE 22.4 AA RF 2024 55
30 Jackson Merrill SDP 20.8 AA SS 2024 55
31 Curtis Mead TBR 23.3 MLB 3B 2024 55
32 Matt Shaw CHC 22.3 AA 2B 2025 55
33 Kevin Alcántara CHC 21.6 AA CF 2024 50
34 Jacob Misiorowski MIL 21.9 AA SP 2026 50
35 Noah Schultz CHW 20.5 A SP 2027 50
36 Max Clark DET 19.2 A CF 2027 50
37 Termarr Johnson PIT 19.7 A+ 2B 2027 50
38 Leodalis De Vries SDP 17.3 R SS 2030 50
39 Emmanuel Rodriguez MIN 21.0 A+ CF 2025 50
40 Jeferson Quero MIL 21.4 AA C 2024 50
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
41 Noelvi Marte CIN 22.3 MLB 3B 2024 50
42 Brooks Lee MIN 23.0 AAA SS 2024 50
43 Jordan Wicks CHC 24.5 MLB SP 2024 50
44 Rhett Lowder CIN 21.9 R SP 2024 50
45 Joey Ortiz MIL 25.6 MLB 2B 2024 50
46 Colt Keith DET 22.5 AAA 2B 2024 50
47 Austin Wells NYY 24.6 MLB C 2024 50
48 Jace Jung DET 23.4 AA 3B 2024 50
49 Cole Young SEA 20.6 A+ 2B 2026 50
50 Ceddanne Rafaela BOS 23.4 MLB CF 2024 50
51 Bryan Ramos CHW 21.9 AA 3B 2024 50
52 Drew Gilbert NYM 23.4 AA CF 2024 50
53 Jasson Domínguez NYY 21.0 MLB CF 2025 50
54 Jett Williams NYM 20.3 AA CF 2026 50
55 Harry Ford SEA 21.0 A+ C 2026 50
56 Max Meyer MIA 24.9 MLB SP 2024 50
57 Cade Cavalli WSN 25.5 MLB SP 2024 50
58 Edgar Quero CHW 20.9 AA C 2025 50
59 Brayan Rocchio CLE 23.1 MLB SS 2024 50
60 Dalton Rushing LAD 23.0 A+ C 2027 50
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
61 Jairo Iriarte SDP 22.2 AA SP 2024 50
62 Jared Jones PIT 22.5 AAA SP 2025 50
63 AJ Smith-Shawver ATL 21.2 MLB SP 2024 50
64 Bubba Chandler PIT 21.4 AA SP 2026 50
65 Owen Caissie CHC 21.6 AA RF 2025 50
66 Orelvis Martinez TOR 22.2 AAA 3B 2024 50
67 Tommy Troy ARI 22.1 A+ 3B 2025 50
68 Diego Cartaya LAD 22.4 AA C 2024 50
69 Marcelo Mayer BOS 21.2 AA SS 2026 50
70 Roderick Arias NYY 19.4 R SS 2027 50
71 Miguel Bleis BOS 20.0 A CF 2026 50
72 Thayron Liranzo LAD 20.6 A C 2027 50
73 Drew Thorpe SDP 22.4 AA SP 2024 50
74 Carson Whisenhunt SFG 23.3 AA SP 2025 50
75 Chase Dollander COL 22.3 R SP 2026 50
76 Dylan Lesko SDP 20.4 A+ SP 2026 50
77 Luis Morales OAK 21.4 A+ SP 2026 50
78 Noble Meyer MIA 19.1 A SP 2027 50
79 Tink Hence STL 21.5 AA SP 2025 50
80 Kyle Teel BOS 22.0 AA C 2026 50
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
81 Colt Emerson SEA 18.6 A SS 2027 50
82 Chase Hampton NYY 22.5 AA SP 2024 50
83 Victor Scott II STL 23.0 AA CF 2024 50
84 Michael Busch CHC 26.3 MLB DH 2024 50
85 Hurston Waldrep ATL 22.0 AAA SP 2024 50
86 Kyle Hurt LAD 25.7 MLB SP 2024 50
87 Royber Salinas OAK 22.8 AA SP 2024 50
88 Tekoah Roby STL 22.4 AA MIRP 2025 50
89 Brady House WSN 20.7 AA 3B 2026 50
90 Jonny Farmelo SEA 19.4 R CF 2028 50
91 Sebastian Walcott TEX 17.9 A+ 3B 2029 50
92 Joendry Vargas LAD 18.3 R SS 2029 50
93 Xavier Isaac TBR 20.2 A+ 1B 2027 50
94 Bryce Eldridge SFG 19.3 A 1B 2028 50
95 Starlyn Caba PHI 18.2 R SS 2028 50
96 Jeremy Rodriguez NYM 17.7 R SS 2028 50
97 David Festa MIN 23.9 AAA SP 2024 50
98 Christian Scott NYM 24.7 AA SP 2025 50
99 Will Warren NYY 24.7 AAA SP 2024 50
100 Mason Miller OAK 25.5 MLB SIRP 2024 50
Rk Name Team Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
101 Daniel Espino CLE 23.1 AA SIRP 2024 50
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70 FV Prospects

1. Jackson Holliday, SS, BAL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Stillwater HS (OK) (BAL)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 70
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/60 50/60 25/60 50/50 40/50 50

Holliday is a sweet-swinging shortstop with above-average feel for contact and burgeoning power. He needs to polish his defense before he’s ready for the big leagues, but he’ll likely have a five-tool skill set at peak.

Holliday exited his pre-draft summer as a mid-to-late first-round prospect. Among the high school prospects from that draft class, he not only had perhaps the best chance to remain at shortstop, but he also had one of the better bat-to-ball track records overall, accumulating a 3-to-1 ball in play-to-whiff ratio on the showcase circuit. He was also one of the better rotational athletes available, with one of the loosest, most beautiful swings in the class. It seemed plausible he might eventually grow into meaningful power, and by his senior year of high school, Holliday already had. He looked like a do-everything prospect as a senior and ultimately went first overall to Baltimore.

Jackson was then shot out of a canon in his first full pro season. He slashed .323/.442/.499 across four levels and ended the season with Triple-A Norfolk at age 19. Holliday isn’t an ironclad, fully actualized entity as a hitter just yet, but he’s unbelievably talented in terms of both his coordination and his in-the-box athleticism. He maintained above-average rates of contact in 2023 despite usually being 3-5 years younger than the typical player at High- and Double-A, tallied 101 walks in just 125 games, had 51 extra-base hits, and stole 24 bases (he was caught nine times). Again, this was Holliday’s first full professional season as a teenage shortstop.

There are all kinds of scouting traits to get excited about here in addition to his performance. Holliday has a big, slow leg kick, takes a huge stride forward, and has loose and explosive hips and hands that helped him post a 45% hard-hit rate last season (neck and neck with Wyatt Langford, even though Jackson is a couple years younger). Even though Holliday’s stride can sometimes pull him off toward first base, he finds ways to get his arms extended to cover the outer edge of the plate anyway.

He’s a very special young hitter, though there are a couple of nits worth picking; it is the very top of the prospect list after all. Holliday struggled to pull fastballs in 2023 and slugged less than .400 against them, per Synergy. His contact rates and chase rates are good, but they’re also a grade below what Langford did in pro ball across the board. Holliday’s measurable power is, in most respects, pretty comfortably below the big league average at the moment even though he just got done slugging .499. He also isn’t currently a big league-quality shortstop defender and definitely isn’t better than Gunnar Henderson is right now. Holliday played 20 games at second base in 2023 and that might be the path to an earlier debut for him, but he’s talented enough to project as a suitable shortstop within the next couple of years. His ability to make accurate throws from odd platforms is impressive, as are Holliday’s poise and internal clock. He’s most comfortable throwing on the move and often goes out of his way to do so even when it isn’t called for. Holliday lets a lot of choppers take an unnecessarily high hop, with the direction of that hop sometimes surprising him. He needs to do a better job of staying low and attacking this type of ball in play closer to the ground.

We’re splitting hairs because we’re talking about the top couple of spots on a universal pref list, and you could make an argument for Langford to be no. 1 because impact offensive ability is so clearly on board. But Holliday has all of the scout-y athletic traits that indicate that most of where he currently falls short will improve as his body matures. He’s a young middle infielder, and Langford might be a DH. It might take a year longer than Orioles fans want it to, but Holliday is very likely to become a 5-WAR shortstop who does everything well.

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65 FV Prospects

2. Wyatt Langford, LF, TEX

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Florida (TEX)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 70/70 35/70 70/70 30/30 45

Langford turns on fastballs unlike any other prospect on this list. He has a monstrous offensive skill set that is undercut by his lack of position.

Langford slugged an incredible .719 as a sophomore at Florida, a remarkable feat considering he barely played the season before. Then he slashed .373/.498/.769 as a junior and solidified himself as a top-three talent in a loaded draft.

After he signed, Langford lit pro ball on fire for the better part of two months, slashing a combined .360/.480/.677 as he climbed all the way to Triple-A. During that 200 PA span, Langford’s underlying TrackMan data was so good that you could use it to spearhead an argument that he should be first on the overall prospect list, with plus measurable power and plate discipline, as well as an 81% contact rate. If you buy that Langford is actually that good, then he’s perhaps the most complete hitter in the minors. It’s rare for hitters to hit the ball both as often as Langford has and as hard as he does, even among big leaguers. Buff and twitchy, the short-levered Langford’s arms are nearly as thick as they are long, and Mike Trout is a fair body comp. His compact swing allows it to enter the hitting zone very quickly, enabling him to stay short to the ball and crush letter-high pitches, which is how he does most of his extra-base damage. Langford is apt to swing inside pitches on the outer third of the plate, perhaps because his levers are so short and he can’t reach out there, and also because he’s a bit of a bucket strider whose style of swinging is pretty common around baseball (Davis Schneider and a bunch of other Blue Jays swing like this, Henry Davis too). Langford’s lower half is quite flexible and strong, and so are his hands. He has titanic power and is much better than a lot of the other top prospects at turning on velocity.

Langford is also incredibly fast for a player his size, and some of his home-to-first times are a 70 on the scouting scale. Even though he has the speed for center and has played there a little bit, his feel for the position (and for playing outfield defense in general) is very poor. He’s simply not comfortable out there, but his pure speed gives him a shot to be an impact defender if he can find his footing over time. Langford is a much more dangerous hitter than Jackson Holliday is right now. His power is fully actualized and he’s much more likely to play an impact big league role from the jump than Holliday is, especially if the Rangers just DH Langford. Risk that this might happen anyway, especially with Leody Taveras and Evan Carter both around, is why Langford slots in as prospect no. 2 overall.

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3. Jackson Chourio, CF, MIL

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 19.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/70 50/60 70/70 60/60 45

Chourio has been among the very best prospects in baseball for the better part of the past 18 months. His power, speed, and, more recently, his improvements on defense give him rare upside as a 30/30 threat and plus center field defender.

Chourio, who turns 20 in March, has been among the very best prospects in baseball for the better part of the past 18 months. He turned 19 just before the start of the 2023 season and slashed .280/.336/.467 in 122 games at Double-A Biloxi before the Brewers gave him a six-game shot of espresso at Triple-A Nashville in late September. His power, speed, and, more recently, his improvements on defense give him rare upside as a 30/30 threat and plus center field defender. During the offseason, Milwaukee signed Chourio to an eight-year (plus two options), $82 million contract that could earn Chourio as much as $140 million depending on whether those options are exercised.

Chourio checks most of the boxes from a visual scouting standpoint. He’s a plus-plus runner (routinely 4.10 from home to first, at times a jailbreak 4.00 seconds flat) who has grown into being a great center field defender even though the former second baseman has only played there full-time for two seasons and change. He also has plus-plus bat speed and is capable of putting balls into the seats to all fields. The length of his swing might make it tough for Chourio to catch up to major league velocity up around his hands, and there’s a rigidity to the way his hands work that we don’t love, which is where the little bit of hit tool risk comes from. But Chourio’s talent is so electrifying that even if he’s a flawed contact hitter, he’s still going to do enough other stuff at a high level to be a star player.

Plus, it’s encouraging that Chourio’s strikeout rate has improved since early in 2022, when he first began using this high-octane swing. It’s possible he’s just getting better feel for this relatively new style of swinging over time and that everything will be fine. He’s also developed a more dynamic approach during the last two seasons and is now cutting out his leg kick with two strikes. Because he’s already shown the aptitude to make adjustments like this, we can expect that he’ll be able to shorten up his swing if it turns out he needs to. Again, whatever qualms we have with Chourio’s swing he makes up for with his bat speed (which enables him to smash fastballs he’s a bit late on toward the opposite field) and the power he generates on contact. The Baby Acuña comps are a little overzealous, as Chourio’s body and athletic style are much more tightly wound than Ronald Acuña Jr.’s. Indeed, from a build and swing standpoint, Bo Bichette is a more apt comparison.

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60 FV Prospects

4. Junior Caminero, RF, TBR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (CLE)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 70/80 60/70 40/40 30/40 60

Caminero’s power is nearly elite and he’s only 20. He may outgrow the infield, but 35-plus homers are probably on the way.

Powerful and explosive, the exciting Caminero was among the DSL’s home run leaders in 2021 before coming over from Cleveland in a 40-man roster deadline trade for pitcher Tobias Myers that offseason. He mashed his way across five minor league levels in two years and reached the big leagues in 2023 just a couple months after his 20th birthday.

Caminero is a career .316/.383/.555 hitter in the minors and slugged 31 homers in 2023. He’s on a 39 HR per 162 games pace as a pro hitter when you also incorporate his LIDOM and Aussie League at-bats into the equation. Caminero has plus-plus bat speed and raw power right now at age 20, and swings with bloodthirsty effort. He loads his hands super deep and high and has a huge bat wrap. Caminero is often late into the hitting zone against fastballs, but his bat speed is so ridiculous that he’s still able to torch deeper-travelling heaters to the opposite field with home run power. Caminero’s cacophonous cut leaves him vulnerable to good velocity up around his hands, which is where he does a lot of his swinging and missing. His breaking ball recognition and overall plate discipline are both pretty crude, but his feel for contact has carried enough water to keep him from having any significant strikeout issues so far, as Cami has tended to K in the 14-18% range as a pro.

Caminero began to transition from shortstop to third base in 2023, and candidly he did not look good playing third in winter ball for Escogido during the offseason. With Wander Franco seemingly out of the picture and Taylor Walls recovering from hip surgery, we could see how readers might hope for the Rays to run Caminero out at shortstop again. More likely, they’ll try to “Wendle” José Caballero into the shortstop position and live with below-average defense from Caminero at third base like they did for a while with Yandy Díaz. Caminero’s size for his age and the inconsistency of his arm accuracy have us projecting him into an outfield corner, where we think he’ll perform like Marcell Ozuna.

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5. Ethan Salas, C, SDP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 17.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 45/60 30/60 50/40 45/60 60

Salas is a poised, mature, well-rounded catching prospect who is likely to be a plus defender and contact hitter. His frame should add power as he matures.

Salas was generally viewed as the best prospect in the 2023 international amateur class, and weeks after signing in January for a whopping $5.6 million, he went to Arizona and began to reinforce that notion. Salas, still just 16, was performing well in Double-A or big league “B games” against players who often had five to 10 years on him (he doubled off of George Kirby, for instance). After a few weeks in extended spring training (a level above where most 17-year-olds play), the Padres assigned Salas to Low-A Lake Elsinore just before he turned 17. He aced a two-month test there (122 wRC+), and the Padres promoted him to High- and then Double-A for the last several weeks of the season (he struggled).

Whether there was real value or merit to the way San Diego promoted Salas late last year is debatable, but it’s also immaterial. Salas has so far exceeded what were already reasonably high expectations. With huge physical tools (power projection, arm strength) already in hand before he signed, Salas has now also demonstrated skillful feel for contact against pro pitching and shown he is a prodigiously talented defender. He’s a do-everything prospect with a chance to be one of the best players in baseball. The game appears very easy and slow to him, and Salas is effortlessly good at every aspect of it. His hitting hands are explosive but also under control, and Salas has great vertical plate coverage and the makings of all-fields power. He posted a 75% contact rate and 83% Z-contact%, which are both close to big league average, but remember that we’re talking about a 17-year-old in full season ball. Salas’ hands can trigger late at times, leaving him tied up inside. It won’t be long before he’s strong enough to swing hard without having to wind his hands up in the way that causes this.

Salas projects to have a contact and power combination that would make him an impact regular at virtually any position, and he’s also going to be a dynamite defensive catcher. He throws to the bases effortlessly and accurately, his size and lateral agility should make him a great ball-blocker with time, and by the end of 2023, he was framing Double-A pitches with incredible skill for a catcher his age. The risk with teenage catching is extreme, and while the Padres pushed Salas aggressively in some respects, he only caught 34 games during the season (when you add up his pre-season activity and extended spring training, it’s probably more like 55-60), so Salas’ offense hasn’t yet had to withstand the physical erosion of catching 90-plus games. He could spend all of 2024 at Double-A and all of 2025 at Triple-A and still be on pace to debut before he turns 20. This is one of the best couple of prospects in baseball and the odds-on favorite to be no. 1 overall next year.

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6. James Wood, CF, WSN

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from IMG Academy (SDP)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / L FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 70/80 55/80 60/50 45/50 40

Wood compares to a young Adam Dunn as a power-hitting outfielder of considerable size.

Wood is one of only a couple minor leaguers with such immense physical potential that they have a realistic shot to be an elite, perhaps generational player, or at least a player of singular ability. Like Elly De La Cruz and Oneil Cruz before him, Wood has issues that threaten to undermine his profile, but he’s so overtly gifted that he’s one of only a few prospects with a realistic shot at being a 70-grade player or better on tools.

Wood was a divisive amateur prospect, with some scouts seeing him as a center fielder with elite raw power projection and others seeing him as an eventual first baseman with hit tool risk. He was unbelievable out of the gate as a Padres prospect; he only struck out 17% of the time at Lake Elsinore and hit .337/.453/.601 before the Padres traded him to Washington as part of the Juan Soto blockbuster, after which he hit .293/.366/.463. He did this amid multiple wrist injuries, which is something to keep in the back of our collective mind in the event that it becomes a chronic issue, as Wood’s wrists are an integral part of keeping his swing short enough to be manageable. Hit tool cracks were more evident in 2023, as Wood struck out in 32% of his PAs and was especially flummoxed by changeups. He still managed to hit .262/.353/.520 with 62 extra-base hits.

Because of how long-levered Wood is, it’s likely he’ll always strike out a lot, but he’s surprisingly dangerous on the inner third of the plate for a guy of his build. He’s shown flashes of covering high-and-away fastballs with power, as well as an ability to alter his posture to spoil soft stuff away from him, but he does neither of these consistently right now and those are the ways in which he’s most vulnerable to whiffs. Once his wrist and forearms get stronger, he might be able to be a little shorter to the ball without sacrificing power.

Wood is also surprisingly agile on defense. He takes a little while to get his legs churning, but once he’s moving, he’s a plus runner and has generated some home-to-first times in the neighborhood of 4.1-4.2 seconds. His huge strides enable him to cover a ton of ground in center field, and it’s incredible that he not only has a chance to play there, but could be plus. Wood looks super smooth going into the gaps and approaching the wall. His poise and feel for center are both currently superior to Dylan Crews’, but its much more typical for a compact athlete like Crews to stay up the middle for the long haul. Wood currently carries 240 pounds like a young Marcedes Lewis and is likely going to add weight commensurate with his frame as he matures, which might mean 30 pounds or more. The way that shakes out will have a significant impact on his defensive future. That said, Wood is already defying convention by looking as good as he does out there at his current size. In a lot of ways, Wood’s report reads like a young Adam Dunn’s, though we’d expect Wood to play better defense even if he ends up in an outfield corner. Admittedly a less stable hitter than a lot of the other elite prospects in baseball, Wood’s ceiling is on another planet.

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7. Samuel Basallo, C, BAL

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (BAL)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/70 35/70 30/30 20/40 70

Basallo has Gary Sánchez‘s skill set, except from the left side of the plate.

Basallo was last year’s “Pick to Click” who “clicked” the loudest, as the then-18 year hit .313/.402/.551, had 53 extra-base hits in 114 games and smooched Double-A in 2023. Basallo is a power-hitting kaiju catching prospect with Gary Sánchez’s toolset — plus-plus power projection and arm strength, with some profound defensive flaws — except from the left side of the plate. Lackadaisically listed at 180 pounds, Basallo actually carries around closer to 230 pounds like a high school edge rusher prospect. He has preposterous bat speed and rotational athleticism for a hitter his size, let alone for a potential catcher. His peak exit velos (nearly 112 mph) and hard-hit rate (45%) are already plus on the big league scale, and this data was generated by an 18-year-old whose performance didn’t dip at all after a month-long bump to High-A. He’s swing happy and could stand to cover the outer edge of the plate a little better, but Basallo has the talent to be one of the best hitting catchers in baseball.

With a full season of defensive reps under his belt, we have little better idea of what Basallo can and can’t do behind the plate. His arm strength is incredible. Basallo routinely pops below 1.9 seconds, though like a lot of catchers his age, he could stand to be more accurate and consistent coming out of his crouch. His receiving is not good, but it isn’t so terrible that it damns him to first base. His ball blocking might though, and it’s this area of Basallo’s game that most needs to improve. If this skill doesn’t progress, or if Basallo’s size quickly forces him to move out from behind the plate, then his issues with chase would suddenly become more of a problem, though we’re probably still talking about a strong enough hit/power combo for Basallo to be an everyday first baseman.

Basallo’s chalk 40-man evaluation year is 2025. He’s been promoted ahead of that pace so far, but it’s pretty rare for catchers with his issues to be in the express lane to the big leagues. If the Orioles just want access to Basallo’s bat and decide to fast track him as a DH, or proactively move him to first base knowing Adley Rutschman is in place as the franchise catcher for a while, then a late 2025 debut feels possible. If the Orioles want to give Basallo the best chance of having immediate success as a big league catcher, then he’s more likely on a late 2026 or spring 2027 trajectory. There are few other prospects in the minors who have this kind of offensive ceiling and a chance to play a premium position.

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8. Jordan Lawlar, SS, ARI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Jesuit Prep HS (ARI)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 55/60 45/60 70/70 55/60 60

Lawlar is a slick shortstop defender with big power and a somewhat shaky hit tool.

The highly touted Lawlar hit .263/.366/.474 in 89 games at Double-A Amarillo before he was quickly promoted up the rest of the ladder for a September call-up to Phoenix. The Diamondbacks only gave him about a week and a half of regular at-bats before Lawlar shifted into a pinch running and defensive replacement role down the stretch and on Arizona’s playoff roster. They perhaps should have given him more runway to adjust to big league pitching with the hope that Lawlar could quickly become a more threatening hitter than Evan Longoria and Emmanuel Rivera were in October, but the Snakes was fighting for their playoff lives and didn’t have the luxury to roll the dice.

Lawlar posted career-best strikeout rates at Double- and Triple-A in 2023, but he still has a pretty grooved swing and his underlying contact data on the season is near the very bottom of the everyday shortstop population (73% contact rate, 81% z-contact%), so we’re sticking to a below-average hit tool projection here. But Lawlar does everything else very well. He’s a stellar shortstop defender with premium range and defensive athleticism. His throwing stroke to first base can sometimes look a little odd, but he finds all kinds of crazy ways to contort his body and send the baseball where it needs to go, which is especially true of his feeds to second base. He has rare power for a shortstop (let alone a really good defensive one), plus plate discipline, and what is approaching elite baserunning speed. Not only did Lawlar show top-of-the-scale sprint speed in the big leagues (not our favorite way of assessing runners, but still), but his swing’s natural jailbreak, à la Rickie Weeks Jr., puts his home-to-first times in the 4.10 second range pretty regularly. His hit tool isn’t enough of an issue to threaten the rest of his profile — Dansby Swanson‘s contact rates in 2023 were nearly identical to Lawlar’s combined stats, but he plays great defense and hits for power, and Lawlar should too.

With Eugenio Suárez now slated to play third base, a key spring development to monitor will be how the Diamondbacks integrate Lawlar into their lineup. Ketel Marte is not a good defensive second baseman and should DH a lot so Geraldo Perdomo can start at the keystone. Perdomo has more experience playing a variety of positions than Lawlar does, and odds are he will open the year as a sort of superutility type while Lawlar gets most of the starts at short. There may be a prolonged initial adjustment to big league pitching, but Lawlar is going to be a power-hitting star and another young, build-around guy who can help sustain Arizona’s status as an NL contender.

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9. Dylan Crews, CF, WSN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from LSU (WSN)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/60 45/60 60/60 40/55 55

Crews is solid center fielder with plus opposite field power.

Crews went wire-to-wire as one of the best 2023 draft prospects, if not the best. He was the top unsigned high schooler from the 2020 class, a toolshed who swung and missed on the summer showcase circuit more than teams felt comfortable with and ended up at LSU rather than in pro ball. He was immediately dominant as a freshman there, generating exit velos in excess of 100 mph on 17 of his first 30 balls in play and finishing with a .362/.453/.663 line that included 18 bombs. He followed that up by slashing .349/.463/.691 with 22 homers as a sophomore, before hitting .420/.567/.710 with 15 bombs and more walks than strikeouts as a junior.

Crews can punish you to all fields. He’ll get extended on fastballs away from him and crush them the opposite way, or he can turn on slower pitches on the middle two-thirds of the plate and hit some titanic blasts to left. At times, the depth of Crews’ hand load will leave him late on fastballs. The bend and strength in his lower body is incredible, and he might be able to shorten up what he’s doing with his hands and still get to huge power because of how special the rest of his operation is. He’ll show you jailbreak-y, sub-4.1 run times, easily the speed to play center field, and his reads and routes (though still not great on balls hit in front of him) improved during his time in college after it first looked like he might be ticketed for right field. He sprints into the gaps with huge effort and is great at getting balls hit over his head. He should be an average big league center fielder, and his speed gives him bigger ceiling than that if his feel for the position continues to level up. Crews also does all kinds of little things well, be it procedural awareness on defense or how crisply he runs the bases. He’s tooled up and has performed at the highest level of amateur baseball for three years, a layup top-two pick in basically any draft and likely a quick-moving, impact player in pro ball.

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10. Paul Skenes, SP, PIT

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from LSU (PIT)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 55/60 45/55 35/55 95-100 / 102

Livvy Dunne’s boyfriend has one hell of a fastball/slider combo.

Skenes spent two seasons as a two-way player at Air Force before heading to LSU for a breakout campaign that saw him commit to pitching full-time. Changes to his delivery and physicality helped create a significant velo bump into the high-90s, as Skenes also made meaningful improvements to his arsenal of secondaries. The leap was so great that, in a fantastic draft class, nobody blinked that a pitcher went first overall. Skenes struck out 45% of the hitters he faced as LSU’s Friday starter, relying heavily on that fearsome upper-90s four-seamer (66% usage), which he consistently blew by his SEC opposition. While the heater was his pitch of choice during his final college season, he also made adjustments to his slider, which had previously been a north-south offering used largely for in-zone swing-and-miss. At LSU, his slider also added velocity and more horizontal sweep to make it a more effective out-of-zone weapon.

Skenes went on a tour of Pittsburgh’s affiliates after the draft and threw a grand total of 6.2 innings in five starts. His changeup usage was elevated during that span, which is something to watch for in 2024. Skenes’ low slot delivery creates a shallow angle on his fastball, but its tailing shape isn’t great for missing bats. He throws so hard that it probably won’t matter all that much, but most of Skenes’ fastball swings-and-misses come to the arm-side part of the plate, rather than across the top of the zone like most modern power pitchers. It will probably be important for his changeup to develop to give him a pitch that plays off his fastball movement. On the sheer force of nature that his fastball and slider are, Skenes is ready to compete at the big league level even though he’ll need to round out his repertoire to hit his front-end ceiling.

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11. Andrew Painter, SP, PHI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Calvary Christian HS (PHI)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 55/60 55/60 40/50 50/60 96-98 / 100

Painter will have been out for two entire seasons when he next throws a competitive pitch. He looked like a Justin Verlander sequel last he was healthy.

Painter ended 2022 as one of the best two or three pitching prospects in baseball. He overpowered hitters with his fastball at the lowest levels, but by the end of the year, he was carving Double-A and looked like a fully-formed, four-pitch monster. He entered the spring of 2023 with a legitimate shot to break camp in the Phillies rotation, like a pitching version of Fernando Tatis Jr. a few years ago. Instead, Painter’s elbow barked at him and he was shut down with a partial UCL tear after his first Grapefruit League outing. Painter and the Phillies opted for a plasma-rich platelet injection rather than an immediate Tommy John, which gave Painter a chance, with rest, to pitch at the end of a 2023 season in which the Phillies correctly anticipated that they’d be contenders. But Painter’s elbow didn’t heal completely from the PRP and rest, and he needed Tommy John toward the end of July; he isn’t expected to pitch until 2025, per Dave Dombrowski. It’s incredibly rare to value a prospect who will have missed two years this highly, but Painter has rare ceiling and the success rate of Tommy John surgeries is high enough to anticipate that he’ll return to his old self.

Healthy Painter has a prototypical pitcher’s frame and then some, standing in at a broad-shouldered 6-foot-7 (which Painter has sculpted since his days as a high school prospect), a stature you’d more often associate with NBA wing players than pro pitchers. Doug Fister is a fair baseball body comp. Good luck getting on top of Painter’s fastball when he locates it at the top of the zone. Even though he’s so big and his pitches travel downhill toward the zone, it has still been hard for hitters to snatch his high fastballs, similar to the way Justin Verlander’s fastball plays despite his size and release height. Painter will work six or more innings and never throw a fastball below 95 mph, sitting 96-98 for the bulk of the outing.

Both of Painter’s breaking balls have huge movement. His slider has two-plane sweep, while his curveball (more commonly used as an in-zone pitch and against lefties) is north/south and sometimes also has arm-side direction. If he can consistently create that arm-side finish on the curveball, it will give him a weapon against lefties. He had to whip out his changeup against upper-level hitters late in 2022, and some of those were quite good. Hitters seem to take more comfortable swings against his breaking stuff later in outings, so perhaps there’s something about Painter’s fastball angle that makes it easier for guys to see his breaking balls pop out of the hand once they’ve had a look at them. In a vacuum, though, he has a shot to have four plus pitches and an inning-eater’s frame. If he looks like his late-2022 self upon his return from TJ, then Painter will rocket toward the top couple of spots on our universal prospect list.

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55 FV Prospects

12. Evan Carter, LF, TEX

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Elizabethton HS (TN) (TEX)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 40/45 40/45 70/70 60/60 45

Carter has plus-plus plate discipline and speed, which make the rest of a leadoff-hitting left fielder profile sing.

In the Randy Arozarena vein, you just don’t want to overthink this one now that Carter has shown you what he’s capable of in the game’s most intense moments. We stayed relatively low on Carter (he was one of the top 50-FV players at the end of last year) for a while, considering him more of a soft skills left fielder than a likely star, noting Brandon Nimmo as a potential comp who became exceptional. It looks like Carter is, too. We don’t expect he’ll perform to the level he did during his god-like call-up — .306/.413/.645 in September, .300/.417/.500 in the playoffs — but he’ll produce enough to be a very good left fielder in the event Leody Taveras hangs around to play center for the foreseeable future.

Carter’s plate discipline is incredible, and his nerves of steel were on display during the 2023 postseason when he was very difficult for some of the best arms in baseball to make chase. He also has fantastic plate coverage and better ball-striking power on his more conservative swings than you’d expect from such a gangly and thin athlete. We don’t think the league hasn’t taken complete advantage of Carter’s issues against breaking stuff yet, especially back foot breakers, against which he was vulnerable in the minors. Carter struggles to contact these pitches when they’re well-executed (he actually had many more swings-and-misses than balls in play versus breakers in 2023), but he can punish the ones that don’t quite finish.

Defensively, Carter does some things very well in center field and some other things not so well. He’s great at running down balls in the gaps, and at finding the wall and then the baseball again as he approaches the warning track. His reads on balls hit in front of him aren’t as crisp (he’ll make some diving plays in front of him that other center fielders make standing up), and his hands and ball skills are below-average. His arm plays above its raw grade because Carter’s exchange is so quick — he knows his best chance to hose someone is to get rid of the ball quickly and accurately, so he does. He’s definitely a fit in center field, but he isn’t a Gold Glover or anything like that, and not as good as Taveras, which probably means Carter will be one hell of a left field defender for the next little while. Carter lacks the prototypical power of a starting left fielder, but his plate skills and speed are going to elevate his OBP enough to make him a very valuable player.

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13. Colson Montgomery, 3B, CHW

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Southridge HS (IN) (CHW)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 60/60 45/60 40/40 30/50 50

Montgomery is probably too big for shortstop, but his on-base skills and power profile well at third base.

Lots of high-level decision-makers ran to Indiana to see the high school version of Montgomery as part of a late spring 2021 jaunt through the Midwest, and he was one of the buzziest prospects just as the draft approached, with some pre-draft smoke near the top 10. He ultimately fell to the White Sox at 22nd overall, and a little over a year removed from his selection, that looked like an absolute steal. Montgomery raked his way to Double-A in 2022, where he spent the last couple weeks of his first full pro season. His 2023 got off to a delayed start due to oblique and back issues that kept him on the complex in Arizona until July. Once he was back, Montgomery posted some of the best surface-level stats (.287/.456/.484 combined across all levels) and underlying TrackMan data in all of minor league baseball. His lack of chase (just 16%!), and the quality and amount of contact he made (8% swinging strike rate, 113 mph max exit velo just to name a couple data points) had Montgomery looking, on paper, like a near-ready superstar.

We think there’s rare plate discipline and power for a lefty-hitting infielder here, but we’re fairly resolved that Montgomery won’t be a big league shortstop defender, and we have some reservations about his hit tool. Montgomery did not look good playing shortstop late in 2023, though we suppose you could argue he looked the way he did because he was still recovering from injuries that may still have been impacting his mobility. We buy that there’s variance around this evaluation, but most of what Montgomery is doing on defense happens too slowly, and runners end up safe on otherwise routine plays. His hands and range are both comfortably below average, and 21-year-olds this size rarely stick at short. Montgomery hasn’t played anywhere but shortstop yet in pro ball, so we have him speculatively projected to third base, where guys his size tend to wind up.

Skepticism that his hit tool is as good as his 2023 data performance comes in part from Colson feasting on low-level pitching for a large portion of his 2023 output. His swing is also long and cuts through the bottom portion of the zone. On tape and in the Arizona Fall League, Montgomery struggled with belt-high fastballs and with barrel accuracy in general. Again, the on-base skills and power here carry so much water that we think Montgomery will still probably be an above-average everyday corner infielder (unless he moves to first base), but this evaluation is probably a shade below the general industry consensus based on our eyeball scouting.

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14. Roman Anthony, CF, BOS

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) (BOS)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 50/60 40/55 55/50 40/45 55

Anthony developed into a better center fielder throughout 2023 and has the offensive foundation (plate discipline and contact) to be a top five prospect if he can more readily get to his power in games.

It took us an extra beat to get on this train because Anthony has some weird underlying data characteristics that have us doubting whether his plate discipline is as good as his walk rates might indicate; we also thought he needed a swing change to get to his power (he still kind of does). But Anthony looked much better on tape as a center field defender in September than he did early in the 2023 season, and re-evaluating his defensive home makes a gigantic difference in the way he’s projected overall because he can now have an offensive flaw or two and still be an impact everyday player. While he still isn’t a true big league-caliber speedster or dynamic defensive outfielder, Anthony’s long strides give him enough gap-to-gap range to play center field at an average level, and his reads and ball skills looked much better late in 2023 than they did when Anthony first transitioned from mostly right field to center in pro ball.

Anthony’s swing has become almost a carbon copy of Rafael Devers‘ cut, with a violent, mostly downward swooping bat path that relies on the bend in his lower half to go down and scoop low pitches with power like Devers does. While Anthony has shown some ability to do this (it’s absolutely gorgeous when he does), he isn’t doing so consistently. Opposing pitchers can limit his power by approaching him in the bottom half of the strike zone, as he tends to drive those pitches into the ground, and soft stuff precisely located down and away from him often eludes him entirely. Anthony slugged .466 at mostly Low- and High-A in 2023, but his expected slugging percentage based on his quality of contact was only .370; there isn’t consistent lift and power here yet despite his surface level performance. Again, this was way more of an issue in our estimation of him when he was projected as a corner guy. The rest of Anthony’s profile is pretty clean; he’s tough to make swing and miss, he has fantastic bat speed, he already has big league-average raw power as he approaches his 20th birthday, and he’s still physically projectable.

Anthony’s plate discipline evokes a baked good that has too much food coloring in it; there’s an air of artificiality to it that makes it feel a bit unnatural. We hypothesize this because Anthony lets a lot of tasty pitches go right past him. One team we source data from tracks players’ “cookie swing rate”; in essence, the rate of swing when a pitch is right down the middle of the plate. Anthony’s was among the lowest in the minors last year, and we think it speaks to an approach that includes premeditated takes rather than actual selectivity. We’re skeptical his elite walk rates will continue as he sees more upper-level time, but the all-around offensive package here is still a big deal for a viable center fielder. Like Spencer Jones of the Yankees, we’re projecting some on swing actualization and center field defense to get to this big time FV grade. Anthony will probably only kick down the door and force the big league issue if things click with his swing, and is probably on more of a late 2026 or early 2027 debut trajectory if they don’t.

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15. Spencer Jones, CF, NYY

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Vanderbilt (NYY)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/70 50/70 55/50 40/45 60

A former two-way player, here Jones is projected to develop in center field and shorten up his swing to get to his enormous power. He might also be a top five prospect a year from now.

As a SoCal high schooler, Jones was a big-ceilinged, late-first round prospect as both a hitter and a pitcher, but a surgery senior year to repair a fracture in his elbow was a blow to his draft stock and he ended up heading to Vanderbilt, where he re-injured his elbow as a freshman and required Tommy John surgery. Jones then focused solely on hitting. After an understandably rusty sophomore year in which it looked like the game was too fast for him, Jones moved from first base to right field and became a full-time starter in his junior draft season. He tweaked his swing throughout the spring and began to look more comfortable with the pace and difficulty of SEC baseball, as well as his gigantic body. The Yankees took him late in the first round and put Jones in center field, and he reached Double-A Somerset in a power- and strikeout-laden first full pro season.

Jones has enormous potential, with eventual 40-homer power in the tank, and I think over time he’s going to be able to shorten up and still get to enormous pop. His previous two-way prospect status, the pandemic, his college injuries, and Jones’ outlier size are all “tip of the iceberg” traits that suggest late development. The hit tool is the key variable here. There is probably going to be an initial adjustment period against big league stuff, but the two-way Jones’ stride length helps him galavant around center field with promise. He has rep-based projection there because he hasn’t done it for very long, but at his size, it’s entirely possible that he’ll get too big and slow to stay there by the time his feel for the position improves to the big league standard. Even though his swing has been simplified, there is always going to be a ton of swing-and-miss here because of Jones’ lever length. His 2023 whiff rates were only about one standard deviation worse than what’s typical of a big league center fielder, with an overwhelming majority of his misses coming at the top of the strike zone and against backfoot breaking balls. He needs to be able to lift the ball more to actualize all of that power, which might mean further simplifying his cut.

I don’t expect any of this will come together in a hurry, and Jones is still more of a risky developmental prospect with a huge ceiling than he is ready for the big leagues. But as far as ceilings go, in this case we’re talking about St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Jones is on a post-2025 40-man timeline and has only had a cup of coffee at Double-A. He could feasibly spend most of the next two seasons at Somerset and Scranton because, again, there are clearly things he needs to work on at this stage. So much of this depends on whether or not the Yankees are contending, but for now I’d expect a late-2025 call-up (preserving all of his option years), with the huge impact not arriving in a consistent fashion until 2027 or so.

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16. Jackson Jobe, SP, DET

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Heritage Hall HS (DET)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/60 50/60 55/60 45/60 40/50 93-95 / 99

Jobe had a bounce-back 2023 with upper-90s fastball velo, reworked breaking stuff, and an improved changeup. He’s racing to the bigs as a mid-rotation stalwart.

Jobe was the consensus top high school arm in the 2021 draft and earned a bonus of nearly $7 million as the third overall pick. He had a somewhat rocky first full season in pro ball; his velocity was down a bit compared to his peak pre-draft look and he ran a FIP over 5.00 across 18 starts with Lakeland. Hitters seemed unphased by Jobe’s trademark curveball despite its elite spin and huge depth. He struggled to throw strikes and the visual quality of his stuff regressed. Then Job was put on the IL to start 2023 and missed two and a half months recovering from lumbar spine inflammation, which is more a description of symptoms than a root cause, as this kind of inflammation can be brought on by arthritis, infection, or any number of other maladies. When Jobe returned in mid-June, he did so with a vengeance. Across 20 starts combined between the regular season and the Arizona Fall League, Jobe tallied 103 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 79.2 IP. His fastball velocity was living in the upper reaches of his career-long band, often touching 98-99.

Perhaps more significantly, Jobe has scrapped his curveball. He now utilizes a firm 87-92 mph cutter and a low-80s sweeper, and has upped his changeup usage considerably. Both of his new breaking balls have the same elite spin Jobe could create on his curveball, though neither of them has consistent shape nor finish yet. Considering he’s only used those new pitches for half a season and can spin them like he does, I’m projecting growth for both offerings. His changeup is arguably his most switched-on secondary now, as Jobe uses it against both lefties and righties. The changes he’s made in response to the ineffectiveness of his 2022 breaking ball have made Jobe a more complete pitcher. Will we see this kind of velocity from him across 120-140 innings? And will Jobe’s back issues be a persistent part of his career? These are reasonable things to wonder, but right now Jobe looks healthy, nasty, and fairly ready to pitch in the big leagues. Jobe isn’t on the 40-man yet (he doesn’t have to go on until after the 2025 season) and the Tigers have a ton of starter depth in front of him right now, but it’s feasible that at some point in the middle of 2024, he’ll be one of Detroit’s best five healthy starters.

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17. Adael Amador, 2B, COL

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr S / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/70 35/40 30/40 50/40 40/50 50

A hamate break diluted his power in 2023, but Amador has among the best contact skills in the minors and does enough on defense to stay on the middle of the diamond.

Amador has special hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills, as well as a tremendous idea of the strike zone, and those attributes, combined with the mechanical simplicity of his swing, give him one of the most exciting and stable hit tools in the minors. Amador is one of those short-levered switch-hitters who is so short to the ball that he gets an extra beat to diagnose pitches before he has to commit to swinging, and he takes advantage of this. He’s walked more than he’s struck out every year of his pro career, and ran a microscopic 5% swinging strike rate in 2023.

Over the past two years, Amador has thickened like a roux and become stronger, and while he’s capable of doing more damage than our previous, tepid projection expected, he still doesn’t have great power. A portion of his 2023 output was inflated by the hitting environment at Colorado’s Spokane affiliate (all their affiliates are great to hit) and a portion of it was likely deflated by a broken hamate, which cost Amador about a month and a half of mid-season reps. Amador is now close to physically maxed out. Any leap he takes in power from here on out is going to come from improving his feel for loft, but his true raw power might have been masked last year because of the broken hand. He was still hitting a ton of choppers and grounders in Puerto Rico during winter league, only showing flashes of leaning on pitches with lift and power. His feel for the barrel and for the zone together should enable him to hit dozens of doubles at maturity, more so as a left-handed hitter.

As he’s gotten stronger, he’s also gotten bigger and slower, and Amador’s defensive projections have shifted from shortstop to second base. Some scouts are concerned about how thick he is for a 20-year-old and worry the sun may set on his athleticism sooner than the average big leaguer. We also have some long-term concerns about that, but Amador is such a precocious hitter that he’ll likely be in the big leagues relatively soon and start his career long before that’s an issue. A plus-plus hit tool on a middle infielder is a big deal, even if he’s limited to second base. We’d love to see Amador maintain his superlative contact rates across a bigger sample in 2023 in order to feel greater resolve that his bat-to-ball skills give him an actual shot to be a star, but against lower level pitching it has so far.

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18. Cade Horton, SP, CHC

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Oklahoma (CHC)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 211 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 50/55 50/55 40/50 94-96 / 98

Horton went from two-way TJ rehabber to four-pitch dynamo very quickly.

Horton missed time during his University of Oklahoma tenure due to Tommy John surgery, but he was impressive enough toward the end of his college career for the Cubs to select him with their first pick in the 2022 draft. In his first pro season, Horton played at three levels of the minors, with most of his innings coming at High-A, where he issued 65 strikeouts against just 12 walks in 47 frames. He finished the year at Double-A, where his strikeout rate dipped below 30% for the first time all season (but not by much), and he kept the ball in the ballpark for his entire stint with the Smokies.

Horton’s fastball sits 94-96 mph, occasionally touching 98, and he mostly pairs it with a vertical slider that sat in the upper 80s when he was in college, but now inhabits the 83-85 mph velo band. In college, left-handed hitters presented Horton with a significant stumbling block, to the tune of a .918 OPS in 2022, but he’s drastically increased his changeup usage against the lefties he’s faced as a pro (going from 7% to 17% when there’s a lefty at the plate) and their combined OPS in 2023 was just .533. The emergence of the changeup as a viable offering constitutes a meaningful addition to his arsenal. Horton now looks like a much more convincing mid-rotation starter, one who could debut in the majors as soon this year.

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19. River Ryan, SP, LAD

Drafted: 11th Round, 2021 from UNC Pembroke (SDP)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 40/50 55/60 40/50 95-98 / 99

A former two-way player, Ryan is a fantastic athlete with plus arm strength and breaking stuff. He also hasn’t focused on pitching for very long.

Ryan was a two-way player at UNC Pembroke and one of the more exciting pitchers on the Padres backfields during their 2021 instructs period, when he hadn’t yet pitched in an affiliated game. A plus on-mound athlete with a great arm action and a carrying fastball that was in the 93-95 mph range, he was an exciting, tip-of-the-iceberg dev project for a Padres system that had recent success with two-way and conversion arms, most prominently Luis Patiño. Then the Dodgers plucked him away in a trade for corner role player Matt Beaty in late March of 2022, and we started to see parts of the iceberg that lay beneath the surface during Ryan’s first full season as a pro pitcher. He was more in the 95-97 mph range throughout 2022 and was dominant (if a little wild) across just shy of 50 total innings. In 2023, Ryan held mid-to-upper 90s fastball velo under the stress of twice as many innings. He posted a 3.33 ERA in 97 innings with Double-A Tulsa before two Triple-A starts ended his year.

In addition to the plus velocity, Ryan has two plus-flashing breaking balls in an upper-80s cutter/slider that he commands to his glove side and an 80-85 mph curveball with late vertical bite. Ideally Ryan will be able to refine his changeup over time. He’s using it less than 10% of the time right now and its results aren’t great, but he’s a great athlete who is relatively new to pitching, so we’re projecting on that offering. His curveball has enough depth to act as his go-to bat-missing weapon against lefties until his changeup improves.

The visual report here is pretty ironclad. Ryan’s build is a little bit more slight than the prototypical big league starter, but at 6-foot-2, he isn’t small. He’s sustained premium velocity over 100 innings of work, his breaking balls are plus to the eye and grade out as plus on paper, and his command is sufficient for Ryan to start and might continue to improve as he gets experience pitching. This is one of the better all-around pitching prospects in baseball, a pretty likely mid-rotation starter who might have significant skill development in his later 20s. It’s plausible Ryan could be one of the best five starters in the org at some point in 2024 and make his way into the rotation, but there are currently so many suitable options already on the 40-man roster ahead of him that’s it’s more likely he gets his footing in the big leagues in 2025.

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20. Pete Crow-Armstrong, CF, CHC

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Harvard Westlake HS (CA) (NYM)
Age 21.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 184 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 50/55 35/45 60/60 70/80 55

PCA is one of the best defensive center fielders in the sport and should hit for about average power.

PCA reached the majors at the end of 2023, but was used sparingly enough to excuse his hitlessness as a big leaguer; rather than harping on the 19 major league plate appearances he’s accrued thus far, we’ll focus instead on the 500 plate appearances that made up his rampage through Double- and Triple-A. He’s made adjustments to his swing ever since returning from the IL in 2021, including a more upright setup, a more pronounced leg lift, and a simplified, more compact load. While those changes may have been aimed at eliminating PCA’s upper-zone swing-and-miss issues, they have instead resulted in a power surge over the past couple seasons, the likes of which he’d never previously displayed. After sending out 16 bombs at Low- and High-A in 2022, he upped the ante in 2023 with 20 homers in roughly the same number of games, but this time at Double- and Triple-A, where he was far younger than most of his competition. The upper- and outer-zone whiffs are still present, though, and while we think PCA is going to get to his power, it’s likely that his hit tool and OBP skills will wind up comfortably below the big league average.

But of course, PCA boasts some of the most electric center field defense in the sport and could be a nearly three-win player on that basis alone. His proficiency and fearlessness on the basepaths is undeniable – a significant portion of his doubles in 2023 were of the hustle variety – and as long as he’s doing something offensively, he is going to be an impact big leaguer. Barring a sudden return of Cody Bellinger to the North Side, Crow-Armstrong will likely be the Cubs’ starting center fielder in 2024, which will afford him the increase in at-bats his debut season was lacking. He’ll continue to be challenged by the upper-zone heaters that have long confounded him at the plate. If he can plug that hole over time, he’ll be a five-tool superstar. More likely, he’ll have some 20-25 homer seasons amid a ton of strikeouts and a low OBP, with peak years resembling Mike Cameron’s (though almost certainly not to that level of annual consistency).

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21. Carson Williams, SS, TBR

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Torrey Pines HS (TBR)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 55/60 25/60 55/55 60/70 70

Williams has hit tool risk, but his power and shortstop defense make him a potential star.

Williams was a two-way high school player who was talented enough to be considered a prospect as both a shortstop and a pitcher. The Rays gave him a $2.3 million bonus to keep him from heading to Cal and have developed him solely at short. So far that looks to have been the correct assessment, as Williams has averaged 21 homers, 51 extra-base hits, and 24 stolen bases in each of his two full seasons of pro ball. In 2023, he slashed .254/.351/.506 at High-A Bowling Green, with a smattering of games at Double- and Triple-A as well. Then Williams had a no good, very bad Fall League stint in which he struggled mightily to parse breaking balls. He seemed totally gassed and very frustrated, the type of Fall League look you just kind of throw out. That’s not to say that Williams is a lock to hit. He’s struck out more than 30% of the time so far in pro ball and has severe breaking ball recognition issues that one optimistically wants to project on as Williams continues to develop as a position player only. But he already has such big power (his peak exit velos are a 55 or 60 on the big league scale and Williams is still a pretty skinny 20 year old) and defensive ability, especially for such an inexperienced player, that those two attributes will hold up his entire profile.

Williams is an unbelievable athlete and flashy shortstop defender. He makes a lot of plays that no other shortstops do, as if his beginner’s mind is conceiving of new ways to play the position. Occasionally into the upper-90s as a high school pitcher, Williams’ arm rounds out a panoply of elite physical skills that project to make him a premium defender at short. Scouts are mixed as to whether Williams is actually projectable. Some scouts consider him a little too thin and frail looking to project on, but they are in the minority, and here we have WIlliams projected for impact power. His hit tool will probably cap Williams’ ceiling somewhat and prevent him from being an elite all-around player, but his defense and power will make him an uncommonly good one.

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22. Mick Abel, SP, PHI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Jesuit HS (OR) (PHI)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/65 55/70 55/60 40/50 30/40 95-97 / 101

Abel is a prototypical power pitching prospect with huge arm strength, a plus breaking ball, and the frame to not only hold his velo all year but perhaps keep throwing harder and harder.

Abel didn’t have an especially good 2023, walking more than five batters per 9 IP at both Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In spite of this, I’m not inclined to slide him or adjust his FV grade from last year’s list. Abel still has most all of the ingredients needed to be an impact starter, he just isn’t totally baked yet. The 22-year-old is still a lanky and projectable 6-foot-5, he has tremendous arm speed and bodily flexibility, and he’ll occasionally touch triple digits (his fastballs averaged 96 mph throughout all of 2023) and show you plus secondary stuff, it’s just that the timing of his arm swing and release varies too much for him to throw strikes consistently. This has been the case since he entered pro ball and it needs to improve for him to hit his ceiling, but for a 22-year-old built like Abel is, and who throws as hard as Abel does, this is not unusual or alarming.

It is a little frustrating that some of Abel’s blemishes have persisted for the last couple of years. His fastball shape isn’t optimal, his slider would probably be nastier if it were harder and it often blends into Abel’s curveball, and he still doesn’t have great changeup feel. But Abel is freaky. His stride down the mound is huge, his hips, shoulders and upper back are incredibly loose and explosive, and all that energy ends up leaving his body through his fingertips and into the baseball. Ideally, he’ll have functional four- and two-seam fastball variants at maturity and be able to work both north/south and east/west with his fastball. Abel has a strong natural proclivity for spinning his breaking stuff, but because his release is so inconsistent, so too is the shape and quality of those pitches. His mid-80s slurve is already an above-average pitch and could be a 70-grade shove machine at maturity. Abel will also flash a really good changeup once in a while; that pitch tends to be in the 86-89 mph range and feasts on hitters who have to cheat to catch up to his fastball. I’m projecting heavily on Abel’s command in anticipation of him growing into his body and arm speed. If he can consistently locate his stuff, then Abel will be a front-end arm. If not, he’s going to be a high-leverage reliever thanks to what I anticipate will be a 98-plus mph fastball if he’s allowed to air things out one inning at a time.

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23. Coby Mayo, RF, BAL

Drafted: 4th Round, 2020 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) (BAL)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 70/70 55/70 50/40 30/40 70

Mayo keeps hitting despite his odd swing, and we think the hit/power combo will be enough for him to be an impact player, even with a move off the dirt projected.

Mayo’s swing is weird and he’s a flawed defender who still hasn’t begun playing the position we think he’s best suited for, but he now has a nearly five-year track record of mashing dating back to his 2019 showcase summer. In 2023, he slashed .290/.410/.564 across Double- and Triple-A at age 21. He executes a pull-and-lift approach geared for crushing mistakes in the upper two thirds of the strike zone, and Mayo has succeeded with this approach all the way up the minor league ladder despite his sometimes ugly looking cut, which has a strange, choppy stride. If most hitters’ strides back toward the pitcher are “outies,” Mayo’s is an “inny” — his front foot often lands closer to his rear foot than where it began in his batting stance. All of his swing’s components fire in a short period of time, and it’s an odd look, but it works for him. He does, however, swing inside a lot of sliders, even ones that don’t completely turn the corner. Mayo’s strikeouts will likely climb against big league pitchers who can exploit this, at least initially, but he’s going to get to such big power that it probably won’t matter.

There is still a lot of work to be done on defense here, as Mayo’s size makes it hard for him to move around at third base. Even though Mayo’s bat has him on pace for a debut late in 2024, unless he looks good at first base (where he saw increased action after his promotion to Triple-A) or in right field (where Mayo has been speculatively projected here at FanGraphs for a while because of his max-effort arm strength) pretty quickly, he’s more likely going to debut in 2025 barring trades involving the corner hitters nearing free agency ahead of him. Mayo projects to hit 35 annual homers, run a plus OBP, and consistently be one of the 10 most productive first baseman (or corner outfielders) in the game.

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24. Heston Kjerstad, RF, BAL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Arkansas (BAL)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr S / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 70/70 55/70 50/50 40/45 55

Kjerstad looked cut in 2023. He’s dangerous all over the strike zone and should be a slugging right fielder despite his chase-prone tendencies.

Kjerstad put up a 1.011 OPS during his three years at Arkansas and was the second overall pick in the 2020 draft. His pro career got off to a delayed start because he was diagnosed with myocarditis shortly after signing, which kept him out for all of 2021; a high grade hamstring strain put him on the IL for the first half of 2022, and it wasn’t until that June that he was finally cleared to be sent to an affiliate. Kjerstad has been an offensive force of nature since returning to the field, however. He’s a career .305/.382/.504 hitter in the minors and had 58 extra-base hits in 122 games at Double- and Triple-A in 2023 before he made his big league debut during the last few weeks of the season.

Kjerstad has monstrous all-fields power and enough feel for the barrel to weaponize it even though he tends to chase. His hands ignite in the blink of an eye, allowing him to turn on inside pitches with power and also to let outside pitches travel deep into the hitting zone before crushing them the other way. He has fantastic plate coverage but expands the zone too much, which is why he’s projected as having a below-average hit tool here.

Kjerstad is still going to have enough in-game power to support an everyday corner profile despite a potentially low OBP, and his defense has surprisingly improved. When he first returned from injury in 2023, it looked as though he’d end up in the 1B/DH bucket. But Kjerstad has looked more mobile and athletic as he’s gotten farther away from his health and injury issues, and he now has average range and footspeed, though he still is not a very comfortable outfielder. It might take one more trade to clear the deck for Kjerstad to play every day. Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Santander and Ryan O’Hearn are all in line ahead of Kjerstad, whose quickest path to playing time could be in a timeshare with Mountcastle and/or Austin Hays. Over time, he should be a homer-clubbing cleanup hitter on a contending Orioles team.

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25. Masyn Winn, SS, STL

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Kingwood HS (TX) (STL)
Age 21.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/60 40/50 35/50 60/60 40/50 80

Winn’s huge arm is icing on a cake made mostly of plus bat-to-ball skills and viable shortstop defense.

Once a two-way prospect and an incredible on-mound athlete, Winn has been developed solely as a position player in pro ball. The Cardinals have pushed him pretty aggressively and Winn began 2023 as a 21-year-old at Triple-A Memphis, where he slashed .288/.359/.474 and hit 18 homers in 105 games. He struggled against big league pitching during his six-week call-up at the end of 2023. Winn is not yet polished, especially on defense where he still mishandles a few too many routine plays. But he has the talent to play shortstop, his profile has a great bat-to-ball foundation, and because of his rare level of athleticism, the ceiling on Winn’s power separates him from some of his contact-oriented middle infield peers. Winn looks like he’s getting stronger and at the end of the year was swinging really hard. He was overmatched by big league pitching, but he’s still just the age of a recent college prospect. His all-world arm will help make up for some of his defensive maladies (his hands aren’t great) and, along with his speed, keep him at shortstop. It will probably take a couple of years before he really peaks, but Winn projects to be a well-rounded impact player and foundational piece in St. Louis.

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26. Walker Jenkins, LF, MIN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from South Brunswick HS (NC) (MIN)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 55/60 20/60 45/40 30/50 45

Jenkins has an exciting hit/power combo, even for a young corner outfield prospect.

The fifth pick in the 2023 draft, Jenkins crushed pro ball after signing to the tune of a .362/.417/.571 line, and he had a 90% z-contact rate during that span. Jenkins can move the barrel all over the zone with deft and explosive hands that spray hard contact everywhere. He looks most natural scooping low pitches, and because he’s still just had A-ball experience, he hasn’t been tested by big velocity at the top of the strike zone very often. Jenkins generates big power without an elaborate load of his hands, and it’s amazing how much damage he can do with such a simple swing. He had one of the better contact and power blends among hitters in the loaded 2023 draft, with above-average pop right now that projects to be at least plus at maturity. He posted a 2-to-1 ball in play-to-whiff ratio on the showcase circuit over the couple of summers prior to being drafted, which is only an okay ratio, and might indicate his near elite pro contact data was due to a relatively small sample. The makings of a middle-of-the-order force are here.

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27. Kyle Harrison, SP, SFG

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from De La Salle HS (CA) (SFG)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 55/55 45/50 30/40 92-97 / 98

Hitters have a really hard time getting on top of Harrison’s fastball. That alone should help him be a premium reliever if it turns out he’s too wild to start.

Harrison’s fastball sits in the 92-97 mph range but plays up due to the deception he creates in his delivery. The southpaw throws from a low three-quarter arm slot and further lowers his release point by way of a deep knee bend as he lunges toward the plate. It’s a hard look to face from either side of the plate, in particular as a lefty hitter, and Harrison has earned praise throughout his minor league career for the results it has produced. Heading into the 2023 season, his career strikeout rate was 37.8% as he climbed from Low-A to Double-A, with opposing hitters confounded by his arsenal, which also features a vertical, slurvy breaking ball and a changeup that has steadily improved over the course of his career.

Harrison started 2023 at Triple-A and spent most of the year there (minus a few weeks on the IL with a hamstring injury) before joining the Giants’ big league rotation in late August, where he finished out the season. During his time at Triple-A, Harrison somewhat underperformed the lofty expectations that his previous success at the lower levels had created. While his Triple-A strikeout rate was technically the lowest he’d ever posted, it was still in the mid-30s, which is hardly cause for alarm. But if the concerns surrounding his command had previously been mild throughout his career, they were ratcheted up to medium in 2023, with his Triple-A walk rate spiking to above 16%. Upon his promotion to the major league squad, Harrison managed to rein in his command and threw more strikes than expected, finishing his short big-league stint with a career-low walk rate (albeit over just seven starts). Still, his strikeout rate fell into the mid-20s and his HR/9 rose above two for the first time. He’s likely to stick in the Giants rotation to start the 2024 season, and with a larger sample, we’ll get a better sense for how he fits into that role, with the ideal outcome landing him in the middle of the rotation for keeps.

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28. Ricky Tiedemann, SP, TOR

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Golden West College (TOR)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 45/50 40/50 93-96 / 98

Tiedemann has an atypical mechanical look for a starter but a prototypical build. Whether his huge breaking ball will actually play against big leaguers we just won’t know until Toronto tries it.

Arm soreness and the strictly manicured workload that followed greatly limited Tiedemann’s 2023 regular season output. He spent most of the year at Double-A New Hampshire (with some rehab outings sprinkled in) before a Fall League stint that boosted his season-long innings total to 62. He’s yet to truly test his mettle as a professional starter, with the 78.2 innings he threw in 2022 representing his high-water mark thus far. While he’s still on track for an impact starter role, there’s an industry-wide desire to see Tiedemann prove he can hold his excellent stuff for 120 or so frames.

When he has been healthy, however, Tiedemann’s stuff has indeed been excellent. He relies heavily on a wicked, mid-to-high-90s four-seamer thrown from a deceptively low lefty arm slot that keeps hitters in either batter’s box uncomfortable. He primarily pairs it with a sweeper that has a boatload of horizontal movement, so much in fact that at times it’s easy for hitters to lay off of it. This is a great strike-getting weapon because it starts in the lefty batter’s box and finishes on the arm-side corner of the plate. Tiedemann’s changeup is also pretty good, though more because his command of it has progressed; on pure stuff, it’s only fair. You can get a detailed look at his delivery and pitches via the linked video. He already has two plus pitches and one that pretty comfortably projects to be above average, and with them Tiedemann posted a strikeout rate above 44% and a 1.68 FIP while holding opposing hitters to a batting average below .200 in 2023.

Aspects of Tiedemann’s delivery are unique in a way that makes him look reliever-y, but even if he ends up in the bullpen, he’s going to be such a dominant reliever that he’ll still belong about this high on a prospect list. He doesn’t have to be put on the Blue Jays’ 40-man until after the 2025 season, but especially if they feel like he can help them contend in 2024, it’s possible Tiedemann kicks down the door and cuts his teeth at the big league level as a long reliever before transitioning back into the rotation down the line.

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29. Chase DeLauter, RF, CLE

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from James Madison (CLE)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr L / L FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 55/55 40/55 45/40 45/55 60

After some injuries, DeLauter had a great 2023 and solidified the notion that his odd swing works for him.

DeLauter was a fascinating draft case, and in some ways is still a bit of a mystery prospect because he’s lost a lot of time due to the pandemic and injuries, and has a unique swing that creates division among scouts. He barely played as a freshman due to the pandemic, and a broken foot ended his uneven 2022 junior year early. DeLauter crushed the Cape prior to his draft year and was shy of 21 years old on draft day, so it seemed likely model-driven teams were going to be all over him despite his weird looking swing (which at the start of 2022 was totally out of whack); it’s unsurprising that Cleveland landed him in the first round. DeLauter didn’t play pro ball after the draft and his 2023 got off to a delayed start because he had to have another surgery on his foot. He disemboweled High-A pitching once he returned (.366/.403/.549) and then looked great in the Arizona Fall League, where six weeks of watching DeLauter hit made it easier to believe in his swing.

DeLauter’s truncated finish through contact and the way his lower body interacts with his swing are both pretty weird to watch. He is adept at altering the posture of his body to manipulate the barrel around the zone rather than just do it with his hands. There’s some risk he won’t be able to do this as readily against major league velocity, which he really hasn’t seen consistently yet. Even in instances where his swing isn’t well-connected, he’s strong enough to hit the ball hard somewhere. While he’s best at golfing low pitches, DeLauter is also capable of taking ones on the outer third deep to the opposite field. His background contact rates (88% z-contact%) and lack of chase both reinforce the hitterish scouting look. It’s tough to call a hitter who has only played about 60 games per year for the last four years “stable,” but from a skills and tools standpoint, DeLauter feels that way. He’s tracking like a middle-of-the-order mainstay who’ll first arrive in Cleveland late in 2025.

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30. Jackson Merrill, SS, SDP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Severna HS (MD) (SDP)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/70 50/55 35/45 50/50 40/45 55

Plus contact helps soften the blow of Merrill’s move down the defensive spectrum.

This is a slight downgrade for Merrill, who was a 60 FV during the last list cycle. His 2022 season was limited to 45 games by a wrist fracture and hamstring strain, and masked by the resulting small sample was subpar plate discipline, which became more evident in 2023 when Merrill was healthy and played more. Another body blow to Merrill’s forecast is a looming slide down the defensive spectrum. Ha-Seong Kim 김하성 and Xander Bogaerts are better shortstop defenders than Merrill, who has below-average hands. The Padres have many more question marks at corner positions than they do on the middle infield, and for the first time in his career, Merrill got reps at non-shortstop positions down the stretch in 2023 (mostly left field, with some first and second base); San Diego plans to experiment with him in the outfield in spring training.

Let’s not lose sight of Merrill’s carrying tool, though: He can still really hit. He has one of the prettiest swings in the minors and a lovely all-fields approach to contact. He’ll turn 21 early during the 2024 season, and it’s feasible that Merrill will still come into more raw power as he matures, with some of his current oppo gap doubles turning into home runs. By virtue of his contact’s precision, he might have peak years with 20 or so homers, and he’s very likely to overcome his tendency to expand the zone and be a young core position player no matter where he ends up playing defense.

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31. Curtis Mead, 3B, TBR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Australia (PHI)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/60 50/60 40/40 30/40 40

Mead missed a bunch of 2023 with injury but looked better at third base than before. He has a contact/power combo that would probably play in left field if it came to it.

Mead had a bit of a power outage in 2023 as far as his Trackman data is concerned. Mead missed nearly two months with a left wrist fracture, and his exit velos were down across the board even as hs slugged .515 in limited action at Durham (only 61 games). It’s common for hitters returning from wrist injuries to experience a decline in power, so we’re not sweating the underlying dip here. In fact, Mead also underwent a pretty significant swing change in 2023, one that incorporated more movement in his lower body, and it’s remarkable that he performed as well as he did amid both the injury and the changes. We have this down as the second significant swing change for Mead in the last three seasons.

Healthy Mead blends plus in-zone contact with above-average power. He’s much more athletic in the batter’s box than he is on defense, and the way his swing unwinds from the ground up is beautiful and violent. We also love how much his top hand is involved in driving the quality of his contact. Historically, Mead has raked despite having a hyper-aggressive approach at the plate. His swing decisions against fastballs were still pretty terrible in his small-ish 2023 sample but his breaking ball chase was fine. If he has at least learned how to parse breaking balls and fastballs from one another, he’ll have leveled up his plate discipline enough to stabilize his entire offensive profile.

Though the Rays deployed Mead at second base in their Wild Card round loss to the Rangers, we think he looked better at third base than ever before in 2023. He’s still quite tentative making routine throws but his range has improved. Plus, he doesn’t seem comfortable throwing back across his body, which second basemen have to do regularly but third basemen do not. An elbow sprain (which happened amid a throwing program to try to improve his arm strength) ended his 2022 and required a PRP injection, which is often a precursor to Tommy John for pitchers. That’s a useful medical detail to file away but not something that’s threatening Mead’s profile. We aren’t inclined to come off our 2023 grade for Mead because we think the reasons for doing so (his power looks pedestrian on a spreadsheet) are impermanent. He projects as an above-average everyday third baseman.

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32. Matt Shaw, 2B, CHC

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Maryland (CHC)
Age 22.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/60 45/55 60/60 40/45 45

Shaw is a power-hitting stick of dynamite who crushed pro ball after the draft.

Shaw’s final season at the University of Maryland was electrifying enough to earn him the 13th overall selection in the 2023 draft, and if the college season tired him out, he certainly didn’t show it. He immediately hit the ground running as a pro, putting up disgusting numbers on the complex and then leapfrogging to High-A, where he racked up a 197 wRC+ over 20 games before finishing the season with 15 games at Double-A. His numbers dipped slightly at the higher level, but he still performed well above the league average over his short stint in Tennessee, which is where he’ll likely begin his 2024 season unless his performance as a non-roster invitee to spring training forces a more advanced assignment.

Shaw’s pro Trackman data last year was elite: He posted a 91% zone contact rate and plus peak exit velos. He’s a powerful, short-levered hitter with really explosive wrists and a bit of an odd swing that, so far, has worked for him. His quick hands allow him to barrel up offerings throughout the zone, and he’s shown an ability to scatter hard contact all over the field. He’s also a fast dead-ahead runner, though Shaw’s lateral range on defense is not as good. Having stuck to the middle infield as an amateur, Shaw has now seen pro reps at all non-first base infield spots, including new work at third. With Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson entrenched on the middle infield, Shaw’s fastest path to Wrigley could be through the hot corner.

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50 FV Prospects

33. Kevin Alcántara, CF, CHC

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (NYY)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 55/70 20/60 55/50 45/50 55

Long, lanky and loaded with tools and projection, Alcántara is a loose, 6-foot-6 outfielder with massive potential.

Still very young and very toolsy, Alcántara is a volatile mix of high-risk and high-ceiling. Built like Jerami Grant, Alcántara’s long limbs provide him with some natural power, but also sometimes make his swing hard to time correctly, especially against breaking balls below the strike zone. His lanky build also has plenty of room for added muscle, and the fact that he’s already a 20-homer guy while still having room on his frame for 20 pounds or so portends a potent power profile down the line. Alcántara is is so long-limbed that he’ll likely always have swing-and-miss issues (they may get worse as he faces big league fastballs), and the fact that he’s chase-prone doesn’t help. He’s inconsistent in games, sometimes looking like a stud and other times looking somewhat uncoordinated and out of sync with his body. That’s a pretty common problem for young hitters built like this, and we don’t want to get fatigued with a player who has been on our Top 100 list since after his first pro season. Center fielders whose contact profiles resemble Alcántara’s include Jose Siri, Michael A. Taylor, James Outman, and Jazz Chisholm Jr., guys whose performance tends to vary a lot year-to-year, and the same will likely be true of Alcántara.

Importantly, he is a plus runner and is currently a defensive fit in center field. He’s gotten very good at the minutiae of the position, like running to a spot and positioning himself to throw before he’s collected the baseball. He’ll probably need to sustain competence in center field in order to make this projection hold true, but we think he will. Alcántara wrapped 2023 at Double-A and then had a stint in the Arizona Fall League. The 2024 season will be his second option year. With Pete Crow-Armstrong entrenched ahead of him, it’s possible that a combination of roster pressure and Alcántara’s value to other teams (who think he can play center field) relative to the Cubs (who have PCA) put him in the crosshairs of a trade fit.

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34. Jacob Misiorowski, SP, MIL

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Crowder College (MIL)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/70 30/40 95-99 / 102

Elite arm strength and slider movement give Miz huge ceiling if he can throw strikes.

The loose and lanky Misiorowski was up to 95 mph and sitting 91-93 early in 2022 while Midwest JUCOs were still dealing with cold conditions. Throughout the season, his velocity not only climbed back into the 94-97 range that he had shown during the fall of 2021, but blew right past it, and Misiorowski was often up to 100 leading up to the draft. He sat in the upper 90s and touched 100 several times during the MLB Draft Combine, while also flashing a plus slider with huge length. He was ranked 24th on the FanGraphs draft board but fell all the way to pick 63. By the time he was pitching at 2022 instructs, Misiorowski had already added a second breaking ball to his repertoire and looked incredibly nasty, though whether he’d find the plate in any given outing was highly variable. That continued in a caricatured way in 2023, as Miz accrued 20 starts across three levels, totaled 71.1 IP, struck out 35% of opposing hitters, and saw his walk rate climb at each stop culminating in a gnarly 15% BB% at Double-A Biloxi.

Misiorowski’s fastball averaged 97 mph in 2023 and touched 102. It was one thing to see him do that three innings at a time coming off prolonged rest during 2022 instructs, and another to watch him do it across 70 innings. He gets way down the mound and creates tough angle on his fastball at the top of the zone. His breaking balls also have elite quantifiable movement. His curveball bends in around the 82-85 mph range with gigantic lateral wipe, while his slider is more likely to be 84-87 mph. So many of Miz’s breakers are nowhere near the zone, and they generated a slightly below-average chase rate for a slider because hitters weren’t biting.

Misiorowski still hasn’t totally grown into his long-limbed body and has way below-average release consistency and command. Lots of scouts and clubs were very fearful he was a relief-only prospect before he was drafted and that’s still the case. You can’t walk as many hitters as Misiorowski has and be a reliable big leaguer, let alone a star, but as a JUCO prospect with just one year of pro instruction so far, there is huge developmental projection here, as well as the physical characteristics you’re looking for in an impact arm. The power and balance of his lower half is remarkable and at a loose 6-foot-7, Miz has the frame to withstand a starter’s workload as he adds strength. Obviously we’re projecting substantially on Misiorowski’s ability to command the baseball for him to grade out this highly. His ceiling as a reliever is big enough that this ranking might be correct even if he never throws enough strikes to start.

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35. Noah Schultz, SP, CHW

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Oswego East HS (IL) (CHW)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 9″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 70/80 35/45 30/50 93-96 / 97

Schultz looked incredible in 2023 but was only healthy for just shy of 30 innings.

After Schultz became the first high school pitcher selected by the White Sox in over 20 years, the lanky lefty missed much of his first season due to a flexor strain. Over the course of the 10 starts he did make, he allowed just four earned runs (all in the same game) and handily outmatched his Low-A opponents, who put a mere 13 balls in play while posting a measly .148/.179/.148 line. He pulled this off thanks to a mid-90s fastball and a devastating 79-82 mph horizontal slider that consistently sent confused bats a-flailing. The fastball/slider combo was more than enough to make Schultz stand out in 2023, and if he can improve on the consistency of his changeup, which currently flashes above average and saw an uptick in usage toward the end of the season, he could unlock a more robust arsenal and add to the impact of his slider.

His height, build, arm slot, and slider quality (seriously) have inspired inevitable comparisons to famed photographer Randy Johnson, though it’s far too early to hang such expectations on a 20-year-old with just 27 professional innings. His slider is that nutty, though. Schultz has filled out physically since being drafted, which is promising in terms of his durability and arm strength, but his season nevertheless came to an abrupt end when he went on the IL with a left shoulder impingement in mid-August. We want to see Schultz demonstrate starter durability before absolutely stuffing him on our overall prospect list, but he has the talent to be one of the top couple of pitching prospects in the sport if he can sit 94-95 like this across 120-plus innings.

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36. Max Clark, CF, DET

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Franklin HS (IN) (DET)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 40/45 20/45 70/70 40/55 40

Clark is a speedy center field prospect who makes hard line drive contact.

Clark was a well-known, top-of-his-class high schooler several years before he was draft eligible because of his consistent, superlative performance in travel ball tournaments. He has sublime feel for contact and can really run, presenting the Tigers with an old school leadoff hitter’s profile as he enters pro ball.

With barrel control well beyond his years, Clark has rare hit tool projection for a high school prospect, spraying flush, all-fields contact with remarkable consistency. Though his swing doesn’t feature big lift and Clark lacks overt, frame-based power projection, the amount of contact he makes and its quality should enable him to hit for plenty of in-game power in pro ball — it will just likely manifest as 40 or 50 doubles rather than 30-plus home runs.

Clark has Corbin Carroll‘s high school skill set with something closer to a prototypical major league build and more present physicality than Carroll had at the same stage. It’s not as though Clark is put together like high school Manny Machado or Ken Griffey Jr., but he’s sinewy and strong, especially in his lower half. While some weight room warriors (like Spencer Torkelson and Jarred Kelenic) may have gotten so muscular and stiff that they began to have problems dipping to contact pitches low in the strike zone, Clark’s natural barrel feel should help mitigate this. He has special hit tool projection and speed, the latter of which should help enable him to stay in center field even though his feel for the position is only fair. Clark projects as an everyday center fielder whose pathway to superstardom is dependent on him either developing more home run power than I expect, or having elite plate discipline and on-base ability. He chased so infrequently after the draft that I believe the latter scenario stands a better chance of happening.

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37. Termarr Johnson, 2B, PIT

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Mays HS (GA) (PIT)
Age 19.7 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 55/60 25/60 50/40 30/45 50

Johnson had an injured and rocky start to his pro career, but a huge second half has him looking like a power-hitting second baseman yet again.

The fourth pick in the 2022 draft, Johnson looked like he might be a quick-mover. His post-draft foray into pro ball featured its fair share of awkward swings, and Johnson missed the first month of 2023 with a hamstring injury. He struggled very badly with strikeouts upon return, but he cut his Ks down to 20% after the All-Star break and hit .260/.451/.487 the rest of the season, which includes five weeks at High-A Greensboro. More impressive was that he nearly matched his strikeout total with walks. By the end of the season, Johnson’s 21.9% walk rate across Low- and High-A was the highest of any minor leaguer with as many at-bats as he accrued. As that would imply, Johnson kept his chase rate in check at both levels, though his patience bordered on passivity, with a swing rate below 39%.

There is a lot of swing-and-miss happening here, more than we projected when Termarr was coming out of high school, because his swing is so completely geared for power that he sometimes corkscrews himself into the ground. Termarr has a lot of juice, and after he looked like a slap hitter at times during his 2022 debut, he clubbed 18 homers in 2023. He has huge offensive upside for a middle infielder, especially if the power can be combined with a high OBP. We thought Termarr could have played a passable college shortstop and that he might be developed there initially as a pro, but instead he’s played second base almost exclusively and he’s flashy, if a bit uneven there. With time he should be a slugging second baseman with peak years of 30 homers and plus OBP.

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38. Leodalis De Vries, SS, SDP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2024 from Dominican Republic (SDP)
Age 17.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 50/60 25/60 60/60 40/45 70

De Vries is one of the better international prospects of the last handful of years, similar to a high school prospect who goes near the top of a draft.

De Vries is a do-everything, switch-hitting infielder with power from both sides of the plate. There are international scouting personnel whose club reports on De Vries say “everything is at least plus,” that he’s a no-doubt shortstop with a 60- or 70-grade arm and a projectable frame, and one executive considers him the best international prospect in more than a half decade.

De Vries can really bang from both sides of the plate. He already has oppo home run power from the left side and can drop the bat head to golf out some emphatic pull-side shots. He isn’t so lanky and big-framed that you worry he’ll move off of shortstop, and his twitch and arm strength give him a great chance of not only staying there but being an above-average defender or better. It’s uncommon for an international amateur prospect to enter pro ball as a 50 FV player, and the track record of such players is mixed due to the volatile nature of this talent pool, but the word of mouth buzz around De Vries is deafening. He signed with the Padres for $4.2 million in January.

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39. Emmanuel Rodriguez, CF, MIN

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (MIN)
Age 21.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 60/60 40/55 50/45 55/60 55

Rodriguez is weird. He plays great defense despite being a stiff, three true outcomes hitter.

Rodriguez is one of the more bizarre and fascinating prospects in the minors, as he emphatically checks some key scouting and analysis boxes, but is very flawed in some other ways. Injuries (a knee sprain in 2022 and abdominal strain in 2023) and the pandemic have limited Rodriguez to 183 games since he signed in 2019, but when he has played, he’s posted a career .242/.413/.495 line, and hit 16 homers and nine triples in just 99 games last season. Rodriguez has absurd plate discipline rivaling that of org-mate Edouard Julien (chase rate below 20%, virtually no uptick with two strikes), as well as plus-plus measureable power (108 mph 90th% average), which is amazing at age 20.

Rodriguez can also really go get it in center field. His reads, routes, instincts and ball skills in center are all spectacular, and right now he has the foot speed to play there. “Right now” is key, and this is where Rodriguez’s profile takes a bit of a turn and becomes difficult to wrangle. Rodriguez is a stocky 5-foot-10, 215 pounds or so already at age 20. He glides around the outfield with ease but whether that will still be true even three or five years down the line is not guaranteed because his body is already maxed out. In many of Rodriguez’s swings you can see his stiffness, especially in his hips, which is atypical of impact career big leaguers. His compact build and short levers allow Rodriguez to turn on inside pitches with huge power, but he struggles badly to get on top of fastballs up and away from him, and his contact rates are near the bottom of the big league scale. It’s hard to predict how long some of Rodriguez’s skills will hold water, specifically his power and defense.

There are a lot of Trent Grisham similarities here in terms of Rodriguez’s build, elite minor league walk rates, and hit tool issues. Grisham has hit below the Mendoza line each of the last two seasons, and his contact rates both overall and in the strike zone are better than Rodriguez’s were in 2023. James Outman, who presents a more traditional athletic look but has similarly poor contact skills, is another okay comp to feel good about projecting Rodriguez this strongly despite what will probably be a hit tool near the bottom of the scale.

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40. Jeferson Quero, C, MIL

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 21.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 50/55 30/50 30/20 45/60 60

Quero has some approach risk akin to Jorge Alfaro, but is otherwise an exciting primary catcher prospect with pull power and a great arm.

Quero is a physical, mostly well-rounded catcher with an exciting hit/power combination and a plus arm. After he destroyed High-A for just 20 games at the end of 2022, the Brewers sent Quero straight to Double-A in 2023, and he responded by slashing .262/.339/.440 and upping his previously concerning walk rate to 10%. He also more than doubled his previous career home run total by swatting 16 of them, though Biloxi and many Southern League ballparks tend to inflate homers.

Quero gets right on top of the plate and is looking to pull the ball in the air as much as possible. He is best at snatching fastballs up around his hands and lining them down the left field line, which is how he does most of his extra-base damage. This approach can leave him vulnerable to stuff on the outer edge, which he sometimes struggles to even reach, but so far it was worked for Quero, who has never struck out more than 19% of the time at any minor league level. Quero’s 85% in-zone contact rate would be top 10 among big league catchers, but his overall contact rate is more toward the middle of that position group because, despite his uptick in walks, Quero is still pretty chase-prone. He’s swing rates (56-57% the last two years) are way up there with the Mario Felicianos, Francisco Mejías and Jorge Alfaros of the world, predecessors whose monster tools have been severely undercut by their voracious approaches. Yainer Diaz had a rock solid 2022 debut with similar rate stats, and Quero is a better defender than Mejía (identical rate contact stats), so we can project him north of Mejía’s outcome pretty comfortably.

Quero can get caught in between whether he wants to block or backhand pitches in the dirt to his right, but otherwise he’s a good defensive catcher, especially for a 21-year-old. He has a plus arm and routinely pops below 1.9 seconds, and his receiving and pitch framing is much better than most college-aged catchers. He’s now on Milwaukee’s 40-man and is a good enough defender that they should feel comfortable with him getting big league time in 2024 if anything happens to William Contreras or Gary Sánchez. Long-term, he projects as a primary catcher, though Contreras’ emergence might complicate things.

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41. Noelvi Marte, 3B, CIN

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (SEA)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/60 45/55 40/40 50/50 60

Marte is a well-rounded everyday third base prospect.

Marte’s stock has waxed and waned at this site, often in lockstep with his conditioning. He looked heavy and haggard during the 2022 Arizona Fall League after a long and eventful year during which he played some winter ball for Gigantes del Cibao, saw 520 regular season plate appearances, changed organizations as the highest-profile prospect in the blockbuster Luis Castillo deadline deal, went to Germany as part of Team Spain’s WBC qualifier roster, and then came back to the US and played for another six weeks in the Fall League. He looked rejuvenated in 2023 and slashed .279/.358/.454 split between Double- and Triple-A before debuting to the tune of a .316/.366/.456 line in 123 major league PAs. Marte continued to look svelte in the D.R. during the winter until he pulled a hammy. As of Top 100 publication time he isn’t running at full speed as camp begins, but assuming he recovers for Cactus League action, he’ll be part of a host of exciting young hitters competing for an Opening Day lineup spot in Cincinnati.

Marte is a fairly skilled hitter with good plate coverage, only really whiffing a bunch against well-executed sliders, which is true of most hitters. Though he’s incredibly physical and has above-average raw power already at age 22, Marte’s swing is not actualized for power. He tends to cut down on the baseball and can really only elevate hanging breaking balls and pitches toward the top of the strike zone. Some of this is caused by Noelvi’s swing path and some of it is caused by imprecise feel for sweet spot contact; Marte hits a lot of choppers and grounders even though he doesn’t whiff all that much. He’s still a well-rounded player who looked as engaged and agile on defense in the big leagues as he ever has. He projects as an everyday third baseman with a shot to be a more impactful player if he finds a way to get to his power more consistently.

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42. Brooks Lee, SS, MIN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Cal Poly (MIN)
Age 23.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 55/55 40/50 40/40 45/45 55

Lee’s mobility backed up a little bit in 2023 and he’s now a little more likely to end up at third base, where he still profiles as an everyday player.

Our 36th-ranked draft prospect as a high schooler in 2019, Lee was a coveted prospect as a prep player, but his strong commitment to Cal Poly (where his dad coaches) and some general concerns about his physical longevity due to a back issue pushed the industry’s assessment of him down, so he went to school. Knee and hamstring surgery effectively knocked him out for the 2020 season, then Lee raked in his sophomore and junior years with a great Cape Cod stint sandwiched in between. Before the 2022 draft there was again industry buzz that some teams were off Lee because of his medical, and he fell deeper into the draft than is typical for a college shortstop with his statistical track record.

Minnesota sent Lee to High-A almost immediately and he raked there, then had a very solid first three months of 2023 at Double-A Wichita before his performance and visual scouting look fell off late in the year at Triple-A St. Paul. There was a definite physical regression for Lee, who looked a little less trim and rangy than he did in 2022. Because of his size (Brad Miller is a fair body comp), straight line speed (he’s heavy-footed from home to first, in the 4.5s) and his medical, clubs have tended to project him to third base, and Lee began to see time there about once a week after he was promoted to St. Paul. Our projection has always been a little more bullish about him staying at short, at least for a while, largely based on Lee’s great feel for the position. He has quick actions and is adept at positioning his body to be ready to throw as he fields the baseball, his transfer is quick, and his internal clock is well-calibrated. He finds creative ways to make timely, accurate throws, and even though it sometimes looks awkward and like he is making the play harder than it needs to be, Lee makes a lot of fun, flashy plays for a bigger dude. We’re less certain about his shortstop projection now than we were a year ago because he looked less mobile later in 2023. It’s possible he was just gassed from playing many more games than he had before, or it’s possible Lee is more permanently outgrowing the position like a lot clubs anticipated prior to the draft.

Lee was also a little more chase-prone in 2023, especially after he was bumped to St. Paul, where his swing decisions on fastballs were particularly bad. He’s still capable of moving the barrel all over the strike zone and makes lovely, all-fields contact. A lot of Lee’s underlying data is still pretty strong, especially his 87% in-zone contact rate and his expected batting average and wOBA based on contact quality. It’s not such excellent hit data that we’re ignoring Lee’s pimply 2023 altogether — his grade has been down-shifted here — but he continues to project as an average everyday player even if that’s as a good-gloved third baseman.

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43. Jordan Wicks, SP, CHC

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Kansas State (CHC)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 50/50 60/60 45/50 55/60 91-94 / 96

Wicks’ changeup leads a well-commanded six-pitch mix.

Wicks is an athletic lefty with a six-pitch mix that allows him to keep hitters off balance thanks to impressive command of his arsenal. He has two distinct fastballs that sit in the low-to-mid 90s, as well as two distinct breaking balls — a high-70s curveball and a low-80s slider. He’s also added an upper-80s cutter to flesh out the middle part of his velocity range, but it’s a plus changeup with late life that allows the entire mix to play up. As noted in our previous write-ups, the lefty-with-a-changeup-and-command combo is one that tends to naturally earn a spot at the back of a starting rotation, and that’s where Wicks slotted in when he reached the majors toward the end of the 2023 season. In his first few big league starts, his changeup accounted for 44% of his pitches, but that steadily evened out, and he seemed more confident in his four-seamer as the season came to a close. Wicks will likely begin the 2024 campaign in the Cubs rotation. We consider him to be a super-high-floored, low-variance fourth starter.

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44. Rhett Lowder, SP, CIN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Wake Forest (CIN)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 60/70 50/55 40/50 92-95 / 97

Lowder is a quick-moving mid-rotation type with great secondary pitches.

Lowder’s performance steadily improved throughout his college career, which ended with a bang. He went 15-0 in 17 starts for Wake Forest prior to the College World Series and posted a sub-1.00 WHIP and sub-2.00 ERA, then did not pitch at an affiliate after the draft. He brings mid-90s heat, a plus-plus slider, and a potentially plus changeup to the party, and could be a mid-rotation option in Cincinnati by the middle of the 2024 season.

Lowder’s best pitch is his upper-80s slider, which has considerable length for a pitch that hard. The sink/tail action of his fastball limits its bat-missing ability in the strike zone, but its movement pairs nicely with his slider and it’s hard for hitters to cover both of those pitches when they’re located well in sequence. Lowder’s fastball also has utility running back over the glove-side corner of the plate, and he might be able to accentuate the sink on his fastball over time. His fastball/slider combo is very similar to Brady Singer‘s coming out of Florida, but Lowder’s changeup has much more natural action and movement than Singer’s did. If he can refine his command of that pitch, he will have a second consistent bat-misser to go with the slider.

A gangly, unspectacular athlete with a theatrical, cross-bodied delivery, Lowder clearly works hard to keep his somewhat awkward frame in great shape. His bow-legged front side and the stiffness in his hips and lower back contribute to a funky operation that aids in deception, but is an atypical look for a big league starter. He’s a high-floored, quick-moving mid-rotation starter who could contribute to a run at the NL Central crown in 2024.

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45. Joey Ortiz, 2B, MIL

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from New Mexico State (BAL)
Age 25.6 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 45/45 40/45 55/55 70/70 50

Ortiz is a slick infield defender who surprisingly added power in 2023.

A fourth rounder in 2019, Ortiz has a career .286/.357/.449 line in the minors and reached the big leagues in 2023. With so many other infielders also in the upper-level mix for playing time, chiefly Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday, the Orioles traded Ortiz as part of a package for Corbin Burnes. His profile was initially rooted in his plus combination of defense and feel for contact, but in 2023, he traded some of that contact for meaningfully more power. Ortiz’s underlying contact quality took a leap across the board, most notably his hard-hit rate, which rose from 31% in 2022 to 46% in 2023. This was coupled with a noticeable shift in his physicality, as Ortiz looked bigger and stronger. Ortiz’s contact rates, both overall and in-zone, dropped a tad compared to 2022 and he’s a bit chase-prone, but his well-rounded offensive output should clear the relatively low bar for middle infielders.

While a capable shortstop, Ortiz is not quite the defender that Willy Adames is. Unless Adames is also traded, Ortiz is more likely to wind up playing second base, where he is an exceptional, Gold Glove-caliber defender. His range and acrobatics are rare for that position. If not for Rhys Hoskins’ presence at first base, Milwaukee’s current projected group of Adames, Ortiz, and Brice Turang would be one of the best infield defenses in baseball. Ortiz projects as an everyday middle infielder at either position and is talented enough to be a part of Milwaukee’s core for the next half decade.

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46. Colt Keith, 2B, DET

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Biloxi HS (MS) (DET)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 245 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 70/70 45/60 30/30 30/30 30

He might be a DH, or at best a bad infielder, but Keith is a dangerous left-handed hitter with huge power.

Keith was a talented two-way high schooler who moved from Utah to Arizona to Mississippi over the span of just a few years, and his draft spring was interrupted by the start of the pandemic. Teams mostly understood his commitment to ASU to be pretty loose, and Keith signed for an over-slot $500,000 as a fifth rounder in the 2020 draft. Injuries limited him during his first two full seasons in the Tigers org, but he mashed when he played. He looked great during the 2022 Arizona Fall League, then clubbed nearly 70 extra-base hits in 126 games throughout a fully healthy 2023 split between Double- and Triple-A. During his stay in Toledo, Keith began to see more time at second base rather than his native third. He’s a bad defender at both spots but has a much greater chance at becoming passable (read: hidden) at second, where some of Keith’s issues with throwing are masked.

Keith’s offensive prowess is rooted in his raw power. He nearly killed managing editor Meg Rowley and her laptop in the auxiliary press box during his Futures Game BP when two or three of his dingers clanged off the face of the deck above her. Keith clocks fastballs well and is short to the top of the strike zone. He struggles with soft stuff in the bottom third of the zone, especially changeups, which he tends to swing over the top of. This will likely prevent Keith from being a plus contact hitter, but I don’t view him as being so risky in this regard that it threatens his whole profile. He’s a flawed player and his WAR output will be impacted by his lack of position, but Keith is going to slug enough to profile as either a DH or bad-gloved second baseman.

Keith has bulked up considerably since signing, and the effects of his increased size are evident on defense. Once a fair bet to stay on the middle infield, he is now fighting just to stay at third. He is stiff and bulky, his actions are well below average, and while he shows you a big arm when he gets to wind up and really let it eat, he struggles to throw from odd platforms. It’s feasible a team could live with him playing third base situationally, but it’s not ideal, and Colt is a 30-grade defender right now. He is similar to Nolan Gorman in the way he has trended athletically on defense, but there’s enough bat to support an everyday fit at the bottom of the defensive spectrum. Despite the underwhelming defensive forecast, Detroit clearly likes what they have in Keith: In January, the Tigers signed him to a six-year, $28.6 million extension with three club options and incentives that could push it’s value to $82 million.

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47. Austin Wells, C, NYY

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Arizona (NYY)
Age 24.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 50/55 45/55 30/30 40/45 30

We buy that Wells will hit, and feel better about his defense now than we ever have before during his lifetime as a prospect.

Wells grew on me pretty substantially during my offseason review. He still has some warts, which I’ll talk about in a second, but his overall offensive ability should provide enough impact for him to break the profound University of Arizona hitter drought the game has experienced since Scott Kingery‘s swoon.

Wells’ swing is beautifully connected from the ground up. The blend of his barrel control and the natural lift in his swing gives him a potent contact and power combination, which will likely make him a valuable hitter even if he ends up being unable to catch. His peak exit velos weren’t incredible in 2023, but Wells was working back from a rib injury that may have sapped his explosiveness. In the past, I’ve been concerned about his inability to make contact with fastballs running up and away from him, but he wasn’t as helpless against them when you put on his tape from late in 2023 tape. Anyone with a swing as uphill as Wells’ is going to swing underneath a lot of fastballs in that location, but he snatches his fair share of them and is dangerous enough in this part of the zone to alleviate some of my past apprehension. More of a problem during his big league stint toward the end of 2023 was Wells’ tendency to chase and swing over the top of changeups. Wells was a steady 11% (or better) walk rate guy in the minors, but he seemed to be pressing during his cup of coffee. I’m inclined to bet that his true skill level is closer to his historical norms.

Even an average hit/power combination would be a big deal if Wells can remain a catcher. Ever since a severe shoulder injury he suffered in high school, Wells has had issues throwing out runners. Runners have had a 82% success rate against him in pro ball (343 total stolen bases in 308 pro games). His pop times are fine (1.90 during his big league trial per Baseball Savant), but his footwork is inconsistent as he leaves his crouch, causing inaccurate throws. This issue needs long-term attention, but Wells has made considerable progress as a receiver and ball-blocker despite his below-average hands and limited lateral mobility, the result of his one-knee style. I’m now more bullish than I’ve ever been about him staying behind the dish. It looks like the Yankees might carry three catchers on their big league roster, which would give them the flexibility to catch Wells when the starting pitcher is good at holding runners and give him some run in left field on other days (he played left a little bit in college). This is a great way to get Wells’ feet wet as a big league defender while also getting his bat into the lineup regularly, but ideally he’ll improve enough as a thrower to simply be the primary catcher for the better part of the next half decade.

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48. Jace Jung, 3B, DET

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Texas Tech (DET)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 50/60 30/30 30/40 55

Jung’s uppercut swing produces enough power to fit at that whatever defensive position he ends up playing.

Jung hit .328/.468/.647 over his career at Texas Tech, with more walks than strikeouts every single year, and despite lacking an obvious defensive home, he was one of the 2022 draft’s most stable prospects because of his track record. Jung seemed gassed after the draft and hit just one homer in 30 games, but his power output exploded in 2023; he clubbed 28 homers, half of them in just 47 Double-A contests during the last month and a half of the season. After 128 regular season games, Jung was sent to the Arizona Fall League, where he played third base. Since his sophomore year of college he had only played second base, and while he’s a capable pivot man on double plays, Jung is otherwise a below-average keystone defender. Some of what Jung struggled with at second base will follow him to third, but his lack of footspeed will be less of an issue, and Jung’s arm looked suited for the left side of the infield during his Fall League trial. Ideally Jung can be capable enough to shuttle back and forth between both spots.

Jung is dangerous all over the zone. He can crush pitches on the outer third into the oppo gap, and he’ll hit some epic pull-side homers. His swing has big, aggressive launch and he has enough feel for the barrel to weaponize it, though his style of hitting does cause him to whiff quite a bit in the strike zone. He does skilled, hitterish things in order to slug, but because of his style, Jung is likely to make below-average rates of contact. Ryan McMahon, or perhaps the last few years of Max Muncy (without such good plate discipline), is a good barometer for what to expect from Jung: a below-average infield athlete who trades a little bit of contact to get to huge power. Jung is talented enough to win a job at some point fairly early in 2024. The newly extended Colt Keith is a second base-only fit if he’s going to play the infield at all, which would force Jung to third. Though flawed, Jung should slug enough to produce like a 2-ish WAR player annually and be a core build-around guy in Detroit.

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49. Cole Young, 2B, SEA

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from North Allegheny HS (PA) (SEA)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 45/50 35/45 50/50 40/50 45

Young is an OBP prodigy who has slipped down the defensive spectrum a tad.

Young’s profile has shifted pretty dramatically since he was drafted, as he has added considerable bulk to his frame. As a high schooler, he was among the more polished shortstop defenders in his class and was performing well from a bat-to-ball standpoint on the showcase circuit. He looked like a high-floor middle infield prospect with a modest ceiling. His upper body has become much stronger, and Young has traded some contact for power, while his increased size has detracted from his defense and has made it more likely that he ends up at to second base as he climbs the minors, though he’s still mostly playing shortstop now. His hands and exchange are still good, but his arm is not and his future range might not be, either.

The good news is that Young is a very well-rounded offensive player whose OBP skills and burgeoning power will profile at the keystone. Though he sometimes struggles to cover the high-and-away portion of the zone, he otherwise has great plate coverage and a patient approach. Most of his in-game power is currently isolated to lower pitches, which Young sprays all over the field. His surface-level SLG from 2023 (Young hit .277/.399/.449 combined in the Cal and Northwest Leagues) was above his current true talent level, but across parts of two seasons he now has an incredible .402 career OBP. More likely to be a good everyday player than a star, Young is on pace for a September 2025 cup of coffee.

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50. Ceddanne Rafaela, CF, BOS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Curacao (BOS)
Age 23.4 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/55 35/50 60/60 70/80 55

Rafaela is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder with a very immature approach.

Rafaela is a Gold Glove-caliber center field defender capable of making tough plays look easy and impossible plays possible, especially around the wall. He took to center field very quickly after moving there from shortstop (where he still plays on occasion) a few years ago. Especially if you’re inclined to project improvement here because he hasn’t played the outfield for very long, Rafaela has a chance to be the best defensive center fielder in baseball at peak. He is also capable of playing a couple of spots on the infield, though not nearly as well; unless his plate discipline is so terrible that he shifts into a premium utility role, he is probably just going to play center field all the time.

Even at 23, Rafaela still has a sinewy, projectable frame. He’s hit 21 bombs each of the last two seasons and we project he’ll add another half grade of power in his mid-to-late 20s. Whether he’ll get to that power is another matter — Rafaela is a very aggressive hitter who has chased at a 40% clip each of the last two seasons. There is some risk of his offense totally bottoming out the way Cristian Pache‘s did, but here he’s projected more like Kevin Pillar but with peak years of superior power.

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51. Bryan Ramos, 3B, CHW

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (CHW)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 55/60 45/55 55/55 50/55 55

Ramos is a relatively complete player with an athletic swing.

Ramos has a few well-defined warts, but we’re excited about the many things he does well on both sides of the ball, and think the good stuff will outweigh the bad enough for him to be Chicago’s everyday third baseman in the near future. For starters, Ramos is an astounding low-to-the-ground athlete whose powerful legs facilitate spectacular feats on offense and defense. He has plus range and is capable of making strong throws from all kinds of awkward body positions. The White Sox have tried Ramos some at second base, but we think the ceiling on his third base defense is big enough that they should just let him play there. For whatever reason, Ramos airmails routine throws more than is typical of a big league third baseman, or he at least misses enough to pull the first baseman off the bag and make things more interesting than they need to be. He has the physical ability to be a plus or better defender, but we’ll stop short of projecting him as such as long as this issue is present.

Similarly, Ramos has one specific offensive flaw that will require adjustment to remedy. His hands load late (there’s a little wrap, and he’s still separating while the pitch is in flight), and he is too long back into the zone to compete with fastballs around his hands. He’s easily at his best when he’s fully extended on pitches away from him. We love how loose and explosive Ramos’ hitting hands are through contact, though. His best swings are some of the prettiest righty cuts of any prospect in baseball, and Ramos is capable of doing huge all-fields damage because of his strength and bat speed. He’s also a discerning hitter. While a groin injury shelved him for the first month and a half of the 2023 regular season, thus limiting his data sample somewhat, Ramos barely chases and has especially steely nerves with two strikes. Many hitters have higher chase rates with two strikes than their all-count chase, but Ramos’ holds steady at an excellent 26%. There are going to be some pitchers whose fastballs live in Ramos’ Forbidden Zone, and they’ll be able to get him out at will if they can execute around his hands (barring an adjustment), but otherwise Ramos projects as a dangerous and exciting young position player the White Sox can build around.

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52. Drew Gilbert, CF, NYM

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Tennessee (HOU)
Age 23.4 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 50/55 40/50 60/60 45/50 60

Gilbert does a little bit of everything pretty well, but nothing truly plus.

Before the 2022 draft, Gilbert was written up here as a potential top-of-the-order catalyst who I thought was more likely to be a good fourth outfielder due to modest power. So far in pro ball, Gilbert is performing more like a do-everything player with a balanced hit and power skill set, and just enough center field defense to project there in the big leagues. He reached Double-A with Houston during the first half of 2023, then was traded to New York as part of the Justin Verlander deal and slashed a fantastic .325/.423/.561 during his post-trade time with Binghamton.

Gilbert has gotten stronger since signing (he was already yoked) and takes a mighty rip for a 5-foot-9 guy. He is a very dangerous low ball hitter, capable of tracking and adjusting to breaking balls mid-flight. When Gilbert collapses his back side and leans on one, he’ll show you emphatic pull-side lift, and he does most of his extra-base damage by yanking doubles down the right field line. While Gilbert shows some other hitterish characteristics with the occasional oppo liner, he is less of a bat control master than he is just a twitchy, short-levered hitter who is tough to beat because of how concise his swing is. His barrel is in the zone for a long time and he tends to find a way to put the ball in play, using his strength to muscle balls past infielders. He made what is roughly an average rate of contact for a starting big league center fielder in 2023, but also hit the ball harder than expected. It’d be surprising if Gilbert hit 25-plus annual bombs, as pitchers can stay away from him and limit his power, but he’s going to ambush 18 or so and hit a ton of doubles, which is great for a capable center fielder.

A plus runner, Gilbert can go get it in center field and has a great arm. His range is fine, but his hands and ball skills aren’t the best, and there are some scouts who think he’ll be plus in a corner rather than stick in center. Gilbert plays with an edge, the kind of guy you love to have on your team but hate to play against, with his on-field persona toeing the line between “fiery” and “excessively abrasive.” He’s a spicy heel with the ability to be a well-rounded regular and he’s on pace to debut ahead of his stock 40-man timeline.

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53. Jasson Domínguez, CF, NYY

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (NYY)
Age 21.0 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 55/60 60/50 40/45 55

The Zion Williamson of baseball, Domínguez is a bulked-up, switch-hitting toolshed.

Often described on this website as “Baseball’s Zion Williamson,” Domínguez signed for $5.1 million in 2019 as easily the toolsiest player in his signing class, a plus-running center fielder with huge switch-hitting power. In a bodily sense, he was also unlike any amateur prospect most scouts had ever seen. Built at age 16 like a late-20s Mike Trout, nobody was totally sure how Domínguez’s body and physicality would develop as he entered his 20s, and this (plus the internet hype) was what made him similar to Zion. Domínguez’s pro career got off to a delayed start because of the pandemic, which clouded the outlook for his hit tool even more than is typical for a risky amateur prospect like this. After some initial struggles in 2021, especially from a contact standpoint, Domínguez quickly climbed through the minors and reached the big leagues late in 2023 as a 20-year-old. He showed his trademark power during an eight-game stint before his UCL blew out. He had Tommy John late in September and is slated to miss nine or 10 months, which puts him on pace to return in June or July of 2024.

Domínguez’s impact power is the tool that floats his prospect boat. He has incredible strength and bat speed for a hitter his age, and he’s forecast here to slug enough to make up for other ills. Domínguez is not yet an especially comfortable or smooth outfield defender, and he doesn’t have great feel for the barrel from either side of the plate. Which of Domínguez’s skills should we continue to project on? I don’t want to project on his power as much as I normally might for a 20-year-old because his frame is already maxed out. In fact, Domínguez’s bulkiness makes me want to project a near-term regression in foot speed. If Domínguez is going to be an impact player, then his feel for either center field or for contact needs to improve. I think the former is more likely, considering how few reps he’s had there in pro ball. It will be important for Domínguez to stay as lithe and fast as possible during his TJ rehab to give him a better chance of remaining at a premium position, where his rather extreme power-over-hit skill set has the best chance to profile.

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54. Jett Williams, CF, NYM

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Rockwall-Heath HS (TX) (NYM)
Age 20.3 Height 5′ 6″ Weight 178 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/55 30/55 70/70 40/60 45

Williams’ defensive home isn’t settled, but it will almost certainly be up the middle of the field, and he’s going to have power.

Williams added significant strength between his junior and senior years of high school, which is how he elevated his stock into the first round of the 2022 draft. He then dominated A-ball in his first full pro season before he looked overmatched during a late-season cup of coffee at Double-A Binghamton. Williams posted walk rates near 20% at Low- and High-A, hit 13 homers and stole 44 bases in 115 games, and forced his way to the upper levels while still just 19 years old. He is a plus athlete, a 70 runner, and a short-levered gap-to-gap hitter who has the catalytic qualities of a dangerous leadoff man.

It’s too soon to call him a do-everything, five-tool prospect, but Williams isn’t far off. He has a sizable hole in his swing at the top of the strike zone, which is atypical of a compact hitter like this. But his feel for the strike zone is excellent, his hitting hands are super explosive, and Jett can adjust to breaking balls by bending in his lower half in a way that is rare even for good hitters. I do think the belt-high hole in his swing is more likely to be exposed in a meaningful way now that he’s reached the upper minors, but the power and OBP combo here will still be enough for him to profile as an everyday player.

He also has more developing to do on defense. Williams is athletically capable of playing all three up-the-middle positions but requires polish. In 2023, he played shortstop most of the time and got a start in center field about once a week. The reliability of his hands and arm strength are both on the fringe of what’s viable at short. Williams simply mishandles the baseball too much to be a good shortstop right now and doesn’t have a “from the hole” cannon. He is such a rangy, high-effort athlete that I consider him a “maybe” long-term defender there, and the makeup report on Williams indicates he’s going to work to improve in the areas he’s lacking, but young prospects whose defensive scouting reports read like his at the same age (the Roman Quinns and Billy Hamiltons of the world) tend to end up in center field. Even though Williams played once a week in center, whole games would pass without him seeing any action out there. His reads and routes are not comfortable yet, but his speed and ability to adjust when he has to flip his hips and change directions is incredible. While it might be more valuable for Williams to stay at short, I think his chances of becoming a special defender are greater if he and the Mets commit to center field. He projects as an impact up-the-middle player even though the specifics of the defense are still cloudy.

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55. Harry Ford, C, SEA

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from North Cobb HS (SEA)
Age 21.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 55/60 30/50 60/60 40/50 70

Ford has improved substantially on defense, and we’re not concerned about his 2023 dip in measurable power.

Ford is a very explosive, high-upside catching prospect with a rare collection of tools for a backstop, most notably plus-plus bat speed that gives him impact power potential at that position. Tightly wound and muscular, Ford looks incredible during BP and has crude but effective feel for contact in games. He’s kept his strikeout rates to a manageable level even though he has an obvious hole in his swing at the top of the strike zone, and he’s also a very discerning hitter with precocious feel for the zone. His offensive tools give him the chance to be an impact player if he can remain at catcher.

When Ford was drafted, he needed a lot technical development behind the plate. Indeed, he was so raw that there was talk of him being drafted as a center fielder. He has tweaked some aspects of his defense and is now catching on one knee. His hands and receiving began to improve during his first full season, and his ball-blocking took a step forward in 2023. With a huge arm spearheading his defensive profile, Ford now looks like a pretty solid bet to catch.

His power was somewhat absent in 2023, at least under the statistical hood. Ford hit 15 homers during the 2023 season but had surprisingly low peak exit velos. He played for Great Britain in the WBC, then caught 78 games during the regular season, then competed with GB again in the European Baseball Championship, then went to the Fall League. It’s possible this guy was gassed. Ford is always going to have a huge hole in his swing — it’s so big that his in-zone and overall contact rates aren’t all that far apart. His combination of power and patience should clear the offensive bar at catcher despite his issues with contact.

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56. Max Meyer, SP, MIA

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Minnesota (MIA)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 196 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 70/70 50/60 40/50 94-96 / 97

Small but electric, Meyer’s mid-90s heat and devastating slider leaves scouts drooling. He’s on his way back from injury.

The third overall pick and first pitcher selected in the 2020 draft, Meyer had arguably the best stuff in the class, touching 102 mph and bending in a low-90s, plus-plus slider during that year’s brief college season. His athleticism (he was a two-way college player), simple delivery, and easy arm action gave teams confidence in his ability to start despite a smallish frame and inconsistent command at that time.

Meyer passed his first professional tests with flying colors, finishing the 2021 season with a 2.41 ERA at Double-A Pensacola. His fastball velocity was down, “only” in the 94-97 mph range. He began 2022 at Triple-A and pitched well (28.4% K%, 8.3% BB%, 50% GB%, 3.47 FIP, fastball again in the 94-97 range) before Meyer hit the IL for a month with ulnar nerve irritation. It was a harbinger of things to come, as Meyer returned and looked normal for another month, made his big league debut, and then was suddenly shut down. He had Tommy John in August of 2022 and missed all of 2023. We’re inching closer to Meyer’s return, emphasis on “inching,” as Marlins minor league pitching coordinator Scott Aldred told Baseball America recently that Meyer’s return date is “unknown,” and that the team has only seen him throw on video. Meyer’s changeup was quickly improving before he blew out despite his longer arm action. It and his amazing 90-92 mph slider should give him to bat-missing weapons as he gets further away from surgery. His fastball was not missing bats at Triple-A prior to his surgery, even as it averaged 95 mph, and unless it has more hop when he returns, Meyer’s ceiling is probably capped in the mid-rotation area.

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57. Cade Cavalli, SP, WSN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Oklahoma (WSN)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 70/70 55/55 40/45 94-98 / 102

Cavalli has a huge arm and a good changeup, but also carries a considerable amount of relief risk due to past injury and his violent delivery.

Cavalli climbed the minor league ladder quickly in 2021, starting the season at High-A and closing it out at Triple-A, claiming the distinction of being the hardest thrower at that year’s Futures Game (touching 102 mph) along the way. He notched over 123 innings of work without an IL stint, which was a welcome development considering scouts had some injury concerns surrounding college Cavalli, whose arm action is quite long and whose delivery is pretty violent. Cavalli spent 2022 at Rochester, where he wasn’t as dominant as in 2021 but still pitched well, amassing a 3.25 FIP in just shy of 100 innings. He made his big league debut at the end of August, after which Cavalli was shut down with shoulder inflammation. While shoulder problems can derail a pitcher’s career, Cavalli looked fine during his first couple of 2023 spring training outings, again sitting 96-97 mph with the same powerful mid-80s curveball he began to emphasize more in 2022. He seemed poised to seize an Opening Day rotation spot but Cavalli blew out his UCL in his third spring outing and needed Tommy John, which shelved him for all of 2023. The rate of TJ recovery is encouraging, so Cavalli’s evaluation/valuation is unchanged — he still projects as a mid-rotation starter who is set to return sometime in 2024, having begun to throw bullpens sessions in spring training.

Cavalli’s fastball plays below its velocity, but his curveball is vicious and has ridiculous depth for how hard it is. His changeup also shows bat-missing ability and when it’s combined with the vertical curveball, it gives Cavalli two weapons with which to attack lefties. Pitchers who are built like this and are this powerful and athletic tend to pan out over time, even when they have suboptimal fastball shape, with Sandy Alcantara representing the best recent example. Cavalli’s changeup and slider quality aren’t quite to that level, but at one point, neither were Sandy’s. It’s common for pitchers with arm actions as long as Cavalli’s to re-map their arm path during rehab, so let’s be on the lookout for that when he returns this year.

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58. Edgar Quero, C, CHW

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Cuba (LAA)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 45/50 30/35 30/20 40/45 45

Quero is a bat-first catching prospect who has performed as a young-for-the-level hitter.

Quero is a switch-hitting bat-first catcher who started the 2023 season with the Angels’ Double-A affiliate, having leapfrogged his way there from Low-A after posting a 150 wRC+ at Inland Empire as a 19-year-old in 2022. His overall offensive numbers sagged slightly as a Trash Panda, but certainly not in an alarming way, and his walk and strikeout rates both moved in a favorable direction. He was dealt to the White Sox as part of the Lucas Giolito trade and spent the rest of 2023 at Double-A Birmingham, where he maintained a performance slightly better than league average despite being significantly younger than the average Double-A player. He’s impressively mature at the plate, rarely expanding the zone and boasting the third-lowest swinging strike rate in all of Double-A in 2023. It’s particularly difficult to sneak one by Quero as a righty; he’s more contact-oriented from that side of the plate and has a bit more power as a lefty. Quero’s swing is short and flat, which helps him make plus rates of contact.

While his bat is the most promising part of his overall profile, he’s made improvements on defense in the past year that sweeten the pot significantly. His receiving is cleaner, and he’s shown improvements in his lateral movement and blocking. And while many of Quero’s throws still one-hop second base, he has at least quickened his release enough to keep his pop times just below two seconds. Quero has rare bat-to-ball ability for a catcher and we think it will help him be Chicago’s primary backstop eventually. He doesn’t have to be put on the 40-man until after 2025, and it will probably be another season or two before we see him in the majors.

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59. Brayan Rocchio, SS, CLE

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (CLE)
Age 23.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 40/45 40/45 45/45 45/50 50

Rocchio’s feel for contact and his defensive ability drive a high-probability everyday profile.

Rocchio’s calling card is still his switch-hitting offensive ability, specifically his bat-to-ball skills, which have made him a 50 FV mainstay since he finished his first domestic pro season. He’s coming off his first full season at Triple-A, during which he hit .280/.367/.421 — right in line with his career .276/.349/.426 marks. He has lovely all-fields ability to hit, snatching hanging breaking balls and inner-third fastballs to his pull side and spraying lots of middle-away fastballs to the opposite field. He’s not quite as deft a hitter from the right side, but he’s still plenty dangerous. Rocchio has not developed power as hoped even as he’s filled out. He has shown progress in the plate discipline department and posted a career-high 11% walk rate in 2023, his second consecutive year with improvement in this area. Rocchio’s body has gotten thick enough that he’s more reliant on skills and actions now at shortstop than range and athleticism, but he still does enough to remain viable there. None of Cleveland’s many interesting middle infield prospects of the last few years has emerged as a Dude, but Rocchio does enough to be considered a solid everyday shortstop and is probably the on-roster favorite to break camp with the job after a 23-game big league debut last season.

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60. Dalton Rushing, C, LAD

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Louisville (LAD)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 35/45 45/45 40/50 60

It looks like Rushing is going to be able to catch. His best skill is his plate discipline.

Hidden under the Henry Davis bushel at Louisville, Rushing finally got to regular reps in 2022 and played himself into the draft’s first day. He was a bat-first prospect on draft day whose defensive issues (ball blocking, throwing accuracy, a general lack of polish as a receiver) might have simply been due to a lack of playing time. Indeed, Rushing has begun to solve those issues while he’s continued to have offensive success in pro ball. At High-A Great Lakes in his first full pro season, Rushing clubbed 15 homers, posted an 18.9% walk rate and slashed .228/.404/.452.

Rushing hasn’t suddenly become an elite receiver or pitch framer, but he’s progressed enough to comfortably project as a catcher. His ball blocking still needs to improve quite a bit, as too often he tries to pick balls in the dirt with his hands rather than move his body to block them properly, and he isn’t skilled enough to do it that way right now. Rushing’s throwing arm has gotten much better, however. By the end of 2023, he was popping sub-1.9 seconds to second base thanks largely to the quickness of his exchange, and his throws were remarkably accurate. It’s not a Gold Glove skill set, but it’s enough for Rushing to more comfortably project as a catcher.

Rushing’s offense is similarly flawed but is viable for a catcher. His plate discipline is a meaningfully good skill that should enable him to run OBPs well above the average at his position. His swing is somewhat grooved (he struggles to cover stuff riding up and away from him, as well as back foot breakers), but it’s geared for consistent pull-side lift and Rushing is going to hit for power when he does make contact. Rushing will likely be one of those primary catchers who hits .210 or so and still performs like an average starter because of his power and on-base skills. He’s on pace to be rostered after the 2025 season.

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61. Jairo Iriarte, SP, SDP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 45/55 30/45 94-97 / 100

Iriarte has plus stuff and the athleticism and fluidity to improve his control with time.

The uberloose Iriarte enjoyed a two-tick velo bump in 2023, with his fastball sitting 94-97 mph and touching 100 in his early-season starts before backing into the 93-96 mph range late in the year. He has had a plus sweeping breaking ball in his repertoire for some time now, and the movement of that pitch is mirrored by the nasty rise and tail action on his fastball. Watching Iriarte pitch is like watching Slender Man throw 97; he is extremely loose and has premium arm speed. He already features a huge stride down the mound and big hip/shoulder separation, and he still clearly has room for muscle on his frame. His low-90s changeup flashes huge tail, so much that Iriarte often struggles to command it, but his arm speed makes me want to project on this pitch in a big way. Iriarte is rather skinny and only showed premium velocity for roughly half of 2023. There’s risk he doesn’t maintain this velo bump, but because he’s still projectable, there’s also a possibility it will continue to trend up.

Iriatre was a must-add 40-man guy during the offseason, and he has huge long-term ceiling. In most situations, a pitcher like him would be poised to spend his entire first year on the 40-man continuing to develop in the minors, but because the Padres are still so in need of pitching at this stage of the offseason, it’s plausible Iriarte will be called upon to pitch in their rotation at some point in 2024.

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62. Jared Jones, SP, PIT

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from La Mirada HS (CA) (PIT)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 40/50 30/45 94-98 / 99

Jones looks like a developmental success as he’s improved his control of plus stuff.

Jones was a second-round selection in the 2020 draft and has steadily improved since then. Once a somewhat undersized high school draftee with an inconsistent feel for strike-throwing, Jones has grown into a much more steady hand on the mound. His fastball sits 94-98 mph, with occasional triple digits sprinkled in, and he has a knack for missing bats with it. He started the season at Double-A, where the heater played well at the top of the zone for in-zone whiffs. When he was promoted to Triple-A, he let it creep up over the zone where it continued to miss bats, and his chase rate on the four-seamer nearly doubled, finishing his time at Indianapolis with a 40% chase rate on the offering. While his strike throwing improved upon his promotion, his home run rate increased at Triple-A, perhaps as a side effect of his aggressiveness in attacking the upper part of the zone with his four-seamer. His secondary of choice is his upper-80s slider, which he uses for in-zone strikes thanks to its downward movement. He also throws a low-80s curveball with more exaggerated downward tumble, and he’ll challenge lefties with his improving changeup. The curve and the changeup aren’t yet as developed as his slider, but they are promising, up-and-coming weapons to further fill out his arsenal as complements to his plus fastball and slider. All in all, Jones looks the part of a mid-rotation starter with a solid four-pitch mix.

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63. AJ Smith-Shawver, SP, ATL

Drafted: 7th Round, 2021 from Colleyville Heritage HS (TX) (ATL)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/60 50/55 40/45 40/50 93-96 / 99

Smith-Shawver progressed quickly after he concentrated solely on baseball, and he’s succeeding against advanced hitters without having yet developed fastball command.

Smith-Shawver was a two-sport star in high school who committed to Texas Tech for football (quarterback) and baseball. He was drafted as a long-term project with a big frame (6-foot-3, 205 pounds), present arm strength, and a loose, efficient arm action that portended secondary pitch development. Smith-Shawver began to throw harder pretty quickly after he got to pro ball, with his riding fastball parked in the 93-96 mph range for entire starts in 2023 and peaking above. The Braves augmented his release point a little bit, and it has created more lateral action on his formerly velo-reliant slider than that pitch had in 2022. They also added a mid-70s rainbow curveball that has a shape that complements his fastball; it often has a little arm-side action on it that should help make it a weapon against lefties as Smith-Shawver gets feel for it.

Smith-Shawver rapidly ascended through High- and Double-A at the beginning of 2023, spent most of the year at Triple-A Gwinnett, and got a five-start cup of coffee in Atlanta before making the Braves’ playoff roster as a reliever. His surface stats leave a little bit to be desired — he walked 15% of hitters at Gwinnett, and his strikeout rate plummeted once he was in the big leagues — but let’s consider the context here. Smith-Shawver made the bigs less than two years after being drafted as a two-sport high school athlete. He did so while undergoing meaningful mechanical and repertoire tweaks, and he has the build, athleticism and mechanical attributes of a workhorse mid-rotation starter. He needs to find a more consistent release point to avoid a move to the bullpen, but it’s appropriate to project on this because many of AJ’s component parts are so new and malleable. Currently projected to be Atlanta’s sixth starter when camp breaks, Smith-Shawver is forecast here as an eventual mid-rotation stalwart and will be a superior option to Bryce Elder at the back of Atlanta’s rotation as soon as he can corral his feel for locating.

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64. Bubba Chandler, SP, PIT

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from North Oconee HS (PIT)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/60 40/55 40/50 93-96 / 98

Chandler has huge arm speed and a broad-shouldered frame. His delivery is pretty violent and he might be a reliever.

Chandler was a two-sport, two-way high schooler who could have gone to Clemson for baseball and football. Instead he signed for $3 million as the first pick in the 2021 third round and was developed as a two-way player for parts of two seasons before focusing on pitching in 2023. Things went well. Chandler made 25 starts, worked 111 innings (a 60-inning increase from the season before), and after all that, his fastball was still humming in at 95-96 mph in a dominant, one-hit season-capping outing for Double-A Altoona.

Chandler has now held mid-90s velocity across something close to a big league starter’s innings tote, and he flashes plus, velo-driven secondary stuff. Chandler’s slider and changeup both tend to live in the 85-88 mph range and are nastiest when they move late, though neither has a ton of quantifiable movement. Huge arm speed, a prototypical pitcher’s frame, and Chandler’s relative newness to pitching are all fantastic reasons to project on his secondary stuff, especially Chandler’s changeup. There’s relief risk here because Chandler’s delivery is pretty violent, and even though his walk rate got better in 2023 (10.9%), he’s historically been worse than that.

If you want to choose your own scouting adventure here and take a data-driven approach to projecting Chandler, you might be inclined to regress his strike-throwing to his career mean and value him just below the 50 FV tier with the likes of Nick Nastrini and other probable relievers. An approach that cares a lot about the context of Chandler’s development (as we’ve taken here) sees his 2023 as a sign of real progress. Chandler is still pretty rough around the edges, but he seems to be improving the way everyone hoped he would when he was drafted.

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65. Owen Caissie, RF, CHC

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Notre Dame Catholic HS (ON) (SDP)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/30 70/80 55/65 40/30 30/50 60

Elite power makes Caissie’s K-prone skill set viable in an outfield corner.

The ginger-locked Caissie has some of the biggest raw power in pro baseball, with the hardest-hit 10% of his balls in play averaging 110 mph, which is in Yordan Alvarez and Matt Olson territory. That power manifested in games more often in 2023 than it had in previous seasons, as Caissie doubled his homer count from 2022 and slugged .519 at Double-A Tennessee. His contact rate isn’t great, though; in fact, it’s at the very bottom of what there’s precedent for among corner sluggers in the majors. He sometimes has trouble timing his long levers, especially against breaking balls below the strike zone and fastballs at the top of it. His eye for the strike zone is worse with two strikes against him, resulting in a consistently high strikeout rate that he has yet to tamp down, and that is likely to be a continued area of focus for the young outfielder. He mostly mans right field, with a plus arm and average defensive instincts, and his power carries his offensive profile to a suitable place for an everyday corner outfielder.

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66. Orelvis Martinez, 3B, TOR

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (TOR)
Age 22.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 60/60 50/60 40/40 40/45 50

Orelvis has gotten to his plus pull power readily enough for us to consider him a future regular even though his defensive home is unsettled.

Martinez has been noteworthy for such a long time that it’s easy to forget that he’s still just 22. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018 and immediately started turning heads when he posted a 150 wRC+ as a 17-year-old in rookie ball, and while he’s hit stumbling blocks along the way, his power has never really been an issue. More questionable was whether or not he’d perform despite a free-wheeling, slider-chasing approach that resulted in enough swing-and-miss to dampen his slugging capability until 2022, when he started getting to his power at a new level. In 2023, he seemed to turn another corner, lowering his strikeout and swinging strike rates while working deeper counts against opposing pitchers. Not only did he reach significantly more full counts in 2023 (129) than he had in 2022 (86), but his performance in those counts improved, with his OPS skyrocketing from .610 to 1.061 on 3-2 offerings. His promotion to Triple-A came with a noticeable uptick in swinging strikes and strikeouts, but that type of hiccup is common as minor leaguers move up the ladder. Plus, Orelvis has now made relevant adjustments a couple of times. Even with the uptick in strikeouts, his slash line improved in every column at Buffalo, and he finished the season with a 105 wRC+ despite being several years younger than the average Triple-A player. Orelvis typically leaves the building to his pull-side, yanking hanging breaking balls out past the left field foul pole.

His bat is good enough to quiet the qualms about his best defensive fit. Orelvis has mostly played shortstop, but his time trended more toward third base and then finally second base, which he began to learn after his promotion to Buffalo. He’s not particularly rangy or skilled at any one spot. Martinez has good max-effort arm strength, but he throws from a weird, slingy, awkward-looking armslot. Second base seems the most comfortable fit for him overall, but even if he’s a defensive nomad, his power, along with the improvements he’s made at the plate in order to get to it more consistently, is enough to warrant finding room for him in a big league lineup.

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67. Tommy Troy, 3B, ARI

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Stanford (ARI)
Age 22.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 45/50 30/50 80/80 30/50 50

Troy has an exciting power/speed blend and looked to find a home at third base before last year’ draft.

Troy was a really fun little high school prospect whose perceived inability to play a pro shortstop was a big part of why no team would pay him to eschew his commitment to Stanford. He went to school and raked, slashing .339/.411/.607 while building experience at a variety of positions (2B, SS, 3B, LF) before transitioning to third base full-time during his draft year. He was one of the handful of 50 FV or better prospects from a loaded 2023 draft, and fell deeper (12th overall) than players of his caliber tend to because of the class’ depth up top. Troy spent about a month at High-A Hillsboro after signing and hit .247/.343/.447 with nine extra-base hits in 23 games (that’s a 56 XBH pace across 145 games), but also struck out much more (26% K%) than was usual for him in college (14-19% his last two seasons).

The Diamondbacks deployed Troy at shortstop but he didn’t look great there. He’s very tightly wound, much more an explosive athlete than an elegant and fluid one, and he can’t put his body in position to make all the throws a shortstop has to make. Troy looked like he was getting very comfortable at third base toward the end of the 2023 college season. He plays lower to the ground when his hips get to be square than when he has to flip them to range laterally as a middle infielder, and his throws are more crisp and accurate from third than shortstop. It might be worth it to give Troy some reps in center field. He’s a flat out 80-grade runner and, in our estimation, has a better shot of developing into a good center fielder than he does of becoming a passable shortstop.

Offensively, you can get Troy out by executing breaking stuff away from him, which he either rolls over or swings inside of entirely. He otherwise has really excellent plate coverage and packs surprising punch for a hitter his size, which has been a feature of his profile since high school. His scissor-kick-style swing is geared for banging high fastballs into the opposite field gap. Troy’s ceiling is highest if he can play an up-the-middle position, but his most direct path to the bigs is probably via exclusivity at third base. He’s projected here as an everyday third baseman, perhaps transitioning from a superutility debut into being the everyday guy at the hot corner when Eugenio Suárez’s contract is up.

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68. Diego Cartaya, C, LAD

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (LAD)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 219 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 50/60 40/55 40/30 40/55 55

Cartaya had a rough 2023, but we tend to give catcher’s a lot of leash when it comes to offensive performance.

After he slashed a disappointing .189/.278/.379 at Double-A Tulsa, Cartaya won FanGraphs’ 2023 Resolve-Testing Catcher of the Year award, a honor previously bestowed upon Bo Naylor, Henry Davis and M.J. Melendez. Some of the underlying hit tool issues that Cartaya performed in spite of during previous seasons became untenable in 2023, as upper-level opposing pitchers executed to the locations he struggles to cover, which are copious. This is nothing new — Cartaya has had elevated strikeout rates in the lower minors (26% or more) since 2021, and hit tool risk has been a part of his profile the entire time. It will continue to be, but if Cartaya can get to enough of his power and continue to develop on defense (more on that in a second), then he’s still likely to clear the low offensive bar at catcher. The physical punishment inherent in catchers’ duties can have a pretty serious impact on how they perform on offense for long stretches of time. Cartaya’s bat looked unusually slow in 2023 and his max exit velocity declined three ticks from the previous season; his issues were not as simple as him having a low BABIP (although he did at .216). The exit velo decline could point to some underlying malady, or at least is an indication that Cartaya wasn’t in peak physical form last year. He had multiple injury issues in prior seasons (mostly back and hamstring). At age 22, it’s fair to conclude that he’s not in physical decline, and that whatever his 2023 issue, it might be remedied or healed with an offseason of rest. If anything, broad-shouldered, 22-year-old hitters who are built like a castle drawbridge, as Cartaya is, tend to merit more projection into their mid-20s.

Cartaya still has developing to do on defense, but he’s a pretty good bet to remain a catcher. His receiving and ball-blocking are still below average (common for a 22-year-old, but it’s frustrating that Cartaya has been treading water in this regard), and too often he fumbles the baseball during his exchange, but his raw arm strength is very good and he has the big, durable frame typical of a primary catcher.

He is no longer on the expressway to Chavez Ravine like it seemed he was a year ago, but Cartaya is still a high-ceiling catching prospect who stands a chance to be an impact regular. One of Cartaya’s option years has now passed. Will Smith is entrenched ahead of him, and fellow catching prospects Dalton Rushing and Thayron Liranzo put themselves in the medium-term 40-man mix with great 2023 seasons. It’s very important for Cartaya to rebound in 2024 so he can enter his final option year as a viable big league option. You could point to any of the Dodgers good catching prospects as candidates for trade, and Smith’s presence increases the likelihood that any of them begins their career as a backup, which is especially true for Cartaya because he’s already on the 40-man roster. We’re not totally ignoring Cartaya’s 2023 flop, but our instincts here are to avoid overcorrection and continue to project Cartaya as a long-term primary catcher.

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69. Marcelo Mayer, SS, BOS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Eastlake HS (CA) (BOS)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 45/55 40/40 30/50 50

Mayer has now had two years of underlying issues and we’re starting to worry.

The pandemic definitely made it more difficult to evaluate Mayer’s draft class, but it’s still pretty shocking that this particular player, who for so long seemed like a lock to be a slugging big league shortstop, has now had two years of scary underlying issues against secondary stuff. Even as he hit .286/.406/.504 at Low-A and .280/.371/.494 at High-A across his first 126 full-season games, all as a young-for-the-level hitter, Mayer has had pretty gnarly splits against offspeed and breaking pitches for the past two seasons. His offensive performance collapsed when he was promoted to Double-A Portland and he was shut down in early August with a left shoulder impingement and inflammation. Synergy Sports has Mayer slashing .154/.221/.269 against secondary pitches in 2023, but with a .795 OPS versus fastballs. While Marcelo’s hands are explosive and powerful, his front side is so upright and stiff through contact that it makes it tough for him to cover the bottom of the strike zone. He swings over the top of a ton of softer stuff in the strike zone. There are players who have remedied similar issues in recent years — such as Max Muncy and seemingly Spencer Torkelson — and the ceiling on Marcelo’s power output is huge if he can do so too.

Compounding things was a regression in his defense. Mayer was a bit boxier than the usual elite shortstop prospect, but his hands and actions were so skillful and polished that he seemed likely to play there despite middling range. Perhaps because his mobility was compromised from the general discomfort of a shoulder issue, Mayer’s range backed up in 2023. His footwork and actions are still very polished, but his range and arm were on the fringe. He may be able to play short if just one of those traits is an issue, but probably not both. Again, there are recent examples of players who have undergone a rapid physical transformation while still a prospect (be it Bo Bichette and Julio Rodríguez in a helpful way, Kevin Maitan in a seemingly detrimental way), and it feels like Mayer is perhaps at a fork in the road of this kind. Lefty-hitting shortstops with plus power are rare, and we want to signal some alarm here while still holding Mayer’s grade in a place that values his upside in the event that this stuff gets resolved. Because of the missing 2020 summer, we aren’t long from Mayer having been frustrating for a longer than he was good, and whether or not he looks much better out of the gate in Fort Myers is an important thing to monitor. We will probably have a quick hook here here if things don’t look good.

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70. Roderick Arias, SS, NYY

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (NYY)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/60 25/60 50/50 45/60 60

Arias is a good shortstop defender with power.

Arias’ 2022 DSL performance was terrifying. After signing for $4 million in January of that year, he hit just .194 and struck out 32.9% of the time while dealing with a hand injury. His 2023 on the complex was much better, as Arias hit .267/.423/.505 in 27 games before he was shut down due to a broken finger. This is a power-hitting shortstop prospect with a below-average hit tool. Arias swings with bad intentions. He has premium bat speed and is looking to do big damage with each healthy hack. He is also a skilled and acrobatic shortstop defender with fantastic actions and arm strength. Those tools in concert with one another give Arias a good shot to be an impact player even though his style of hitting will likely limit his rate of contact. Arias has a classic low-ball lefty swing (he only had 12 PA as a right-handed batter in 2023) and is vulnerable to rise-and-run heaters in the top half of the zone. Because of his injuries, he’s had very few actual in-game reps to make adjustments in this regard, and it’s plausible his hit tool will polish with time and experience. Expect Arias to track like Ronny Mauricio, a big-framed, switch-hitting shortstop with power and strikeouts.

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71. Miguel Bleis, CF, BOS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 55/60 30/55 50/50 30/50 55

The time Bleis missed due to injuries adds variance to a profile that already had a lot.

Bleis signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in January of 2021, and after a solid showing in the DSL that year, he created huge buzz on the complex in Fort Myers throughout 2022 because of his bat speed and power. He was on the short list of players who entered 2023 with a chance to “Chourio,” i.e. leap into the top 10 overall prospect mix within the next year. Instead, Bleis had a bad first month of full-season ball, subluxated his left shoulder during a swing at the end of May, and ended up needing season-ending surgery.

Bleis has all-world bat speed and rare rotational athleticism. His timing at the plate and breaking ball recognition were pretty bad during his brief 2023 sample, and he often looked uncomfortable and erratic at the plate before he was shut down. Bleis’ best swings produce shocking raw power for such a lithe young hitter, and he might grow into more. In part because of Roman Anthony’s presence, Bleis played a mix of center and right field before his injury. He has the speed and range to play center, but is procedurally raw when it comes to things like communicating with the other outfielders and where he decides to throw the baseball. Projected viability in center is a big part of why Bleis is graded this high despite the volatility with his offense, which was already significant and became greater because of the missed reps last year. Would he have made an in-season adjustment had he stayed healthy? Or would he have endured an entire season of struggles and fallen away from this tier of player more starkly? If Bleis fails to make adjustments, then he’s on more of a Jose Siri trajectory. His talent is big enough that it should eventually shine through despite his approach.

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72. Thayron Liranzo, C, LAD

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (LAD)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 60/70 35/60 30/30 30/40 40

A below-average arm stands in the way of Liranzo catching. He might have enough power to profile at first if he can’t.

Liranzo still has too much to clean up on defense for us to feel comfortable stuffing him on the Top 100. When he can actually get a throw to the bag off, his Patrick Bailey-style sidearm release works ok, but he so often botches or fumbles his exchange that he doesn’t give himself a chance to get the runner. Liranzo mostly utilizes a traditional crouch when receiving and is a below-average framer and ball-blocker. Both those skills are more tenable and within the range of big league viability than his arm, but at Liranzo’s size and age it’s no guarantee they’ll stay that way.

There is huge switch-hitting power here — Liranzo hit 24 bombs in the Cal League, hit a ball 114 mph, and had a 48% hard-hit rate last year. He can hit for power from the left side even when he isn’t taking his best swing, and he’s dangerous from the right side even though he uses super conservative footwork, generating everything with a shift in his weight and the strength of his hands. Liranzo doesn’t have great feel for the barrel, which is typical for a young a switch-hitter, let alone one of atypical size. His 65% contact rate is below the threshold of any 2023 big league first baseman (Bryce Harper‘s was at 68%, the next lowest was 72%), so there’s substantial Quad-A risk here if Liranzo can’t catch. Whether or not he stays back there is the difference between Cal Raleigh and M.J. Melendez from a production standpoint. Arm strength is perhaps a little less teachable than other issues young catchers often need to fix, which is worrisome in this case. He has a little more minor league experience than some of the other prospects who present a combination of extreme ceiling and risk, and Liranzo’s high-end outcomes are driving his placement here.

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73. Drew Thorpe, SP, SDP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Cal Poly (NYY)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
35/35 45/50 40/45 70/70 40/55 60/70 88-92 / 95

Thorpe is a high-waisted righty with an elite changeup.

Thorpe came to the Padres in the Juan Soto trade and is poised to make an impact on their 2024 rotation. Pitchers with changeups as good as Thorpe’s and who throw as many strikes as he does tend to be high-floor propositions who pitch forever. His low-80s changeup, which he locates at will, has a ton of tail, and his ultra-short arm stroke helps trick hitters into seeing fastball out of his hand. The effectiveness of Thorpe’s slider (more average in terms of raw stuff) and fastball (below-average at just 90–92 mph) is enabled by his precise feel for location. He can sink his fastball down and to his arm side, or run a four-seam version of it past hitters at the letters. The Yankees coaxed a little more heat out of Thorpe (who sat 88–91 in college) during his time in their org, but not enough to give him impact velocity. He will throw the occasional cutter or curveball in an obvious fastball count to keep hitters guessing, but those pitches don’t currently have any more utility than that, though I think the cutter eventually will. This is a very polished 23-year-old who, given San Diego’s tendency to push prospects quickly, is likely to grab hold of a big league rotation spot in the upcoming season. We’re talking about plus command of a plus-plus changeup here; Jeremy Hellickson and Marco Estrada are fair recent comps.

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74. Carson Whisenhunt, SP, SFG

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from East Carolina (SFG)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 209 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 40/45 70/70 50/60 92-94 / 96

Whisenhunt’s changeup is very special.

At the time of his last writeup, Whisenhunt was tearing through the Giants’ minor league system; having started the season at Low-A, he climbed his way up to Double-A by early June. The quick ascent came to an abrupt halt in July, though, when the lefty was shut down for the rest of the season with an elbow sprain. As such, his writeup is largely the same now as it was then, with Whisenhunt’s changeup standing out as his obvious signature pitch, garnering obscene swing-and-miss and fueling an overall swinging strike rate of 19% across the three levels he played at in 2023. In his six starts at Double-A, hitters started showing a bit more patience, laying off the out-of-zone changeups that less advanced hitters had offered at, resulting in his walk rate ballooning 13.1% by the time he was shut down for the season.

Since he only played a handful of games after our last report, the top of his to-do list remains the same: namely, upon his return, he’ll be tasked with continuing to hone his command of his arsenal and bolster his fastball’s playability, with the aim being to miss more bats with the heater at the top of the zone in order to take some pressure off his stellar changeup. He should be back on the mound for spring training and could conceivably find his way back onto the fast track he was on before his injury last season.

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75. Chase Dollander, SP, COL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Tennessee (COL)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/55 55/60 40/50 30/45 94-97 / 99

Dollander is a loose-armed prototype with a mid-90s fastball velo and a good slider.

Dollander sat 93-95 mph as a freshman at Georgia Southern, then started throwing harder as a sophomore after he had transferred to Tennessee. Throughout 2022 and 2023, he sat 94-97 with riding life and would frequently top out in the 98-99 range. Dollander’s hard cutter/slider looks more like the latter the deeper into games he pitches. As that pitch slows down from the 87-89 mph range to the 84-86 mph band throughout a start, it tends to add length and have more typical slider shape. An upper-70s curveball and mid-80s changeup sit in the back seat together; each had less than 10% usage in 2022 and combined for just 14% usage in 2023. Those pitches are going to have to be leaned on more in pro ball — Dollander’s fastball is good, but not so good that he’ll be able to deploy it 65% of the time (his 2023 mark) against big leaguers. Dollander’s arm speed portends changeup growth, but the ones he throws now tend to sail on him. His curveball has distinct shape from his slider and has fine depth for an upper-70s curve, Dollander just doesn’t consistently land his location with this pitch either. He barely walked anyone as a sophomore even though he was throwing harder and threw 30 more innings than the season before, but then wasn’t as dominant as a junior. His BB/9 doubled and he became much more hittable, his WHIP “ballooning” from .797 to 1.24, which is still good but not top-of-the-draft good. He was drafted by the Rockies ninth overall and did not pitch after he signed. He’s very similar to the high-variance developmental arms on a typical Top 100 list.

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76. Dylan Lesko, SP, SDP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Buford HS (GA) (SDP)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 60/70 70/70 30/40 94-96 / 98

Lesko’s stuff is fantastic and he has one of the better changeups in the minors. His strike-throwing might improve as he gains distance from his TJ.

Lesko was arguably the most polished and complete high school pitching prospect to come along in a decade, with an ideal pitcher’s frame, a gorgeous delivery, mid-90s velocity with huge riding life, and one of the better amateur changeups most scouts had ever seen. His curveball looked like it had gotten better during his draft spring, then his elbow blew out and he needed Tommy John, which precipitated his fall in the draft. Lesko was already the consensus top high school pitcher in the draft before the curveball showed up and would have been a lock for the top 10 had he stayed healthy throughout the spring, but instead he fell to no. 15, where he was picked by San Diego. Lesko looked incredible when he first returned to the mound in 2023, sitting comfortably in the mid-90s with explosive vertical movement across an inning or two of complex duty in Peoria. He ended up pitching 33 innings, ending the year with a few walk-prone starts at High-A Fort Wayne.

This is a downward adjustment to Lesko’s 2023 in-season FV grade because of issues that cropped up as he got further underway coming off of Tommy John. His command and mechanical consistency and ease wavered when he was asked to throw more than two innings. This might be remedied simply through reps, as Lesko matures and gets further away from TJ. What might not be so easy to solve is that Lesko might have The Lucas Giolito Curveball Problem, which is to say that while Lesko’s fastball tends to have downhill trajectory, his huge, mid-70s curveball does not. It pops out up out of his hand on release and, at 20 mph slower than his fastball, is easy to identify. It was only chased at a 15% rate in 2023, per Synergy Sports; the big league chase rate on any given pitch was 29% in 2023. It’s a sexy-looking 73-77 mph curveball with big depth, and it will have strike-getting utility, but that may be it. Lesko’s changeup is also pretty slow, sitting 79-82 mph, approximately 15 mph slower than his fastball. It has ridiculous screwball action and Lesko makes frequent, non-traditional use of it as an in-zone weapon.

There’s still huge upside here. Lesko might eventually parlay his feel for spin into a good cutter or slider, or develop impact command (he’s barely pitched, after all), but all of those things are distant enough right now to dial down where he lines up on the Top 100.

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77. Luis Morales, SP, OAK

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Cuba (OAK)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 45/60 30/45 30/50 96-98 / 100

Morales has an ideal pitcher’s frame and some of the most electric arm speed in the minors.

Before he defected, Morales’ strikeout rates against Cuban hitters were eye-popping, earning him a significant amount of buzz before many stateside scouts had ever had a chance to see him play. After he defected, he earned a hefty signing bonus from the A’s, who had to outbid many other interested parties. He put up similarly staggering strikeout numbers in the DSL, his fastball sitting comfortably in the high 90s and occasionally hitting triple digits, with an uphill angle despite Morales’ lanky frame and long arm action. His strikeout numbers took a significant tumble when he joined the A’s Low-A squad and have settled into the mid-20s ever since, likely indicating how few guys in the DSL are as fearsome as he is. Morales complements the heater with two breaking balls, both of which he’s shown an impressive ability to spin, and while his changeup is the least developed of his offerings, it presents another way to further strengthen his arsenal if he can find a consistent feel for it.

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78. Noble Meyer, SP, MIA

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Jesuit HS (OR) (MIA)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/60 50/60 20/55 93-96 / 100

Meyer has an ideal pitcher’s frame, mid-90s arm strength, and plus-flashing secondary stuff.

Meyer is a prototypical high school pitching prospect who has a shot to be a do-everything impact starter. His 6-foot-5 frame is lanky and projectable, and his arm works loose and free and routinely generates mid-90s velocity, peaking at 99-100.

Meyer will also show you a devastating two-plane breaking ball featuring both huge depth and lateral action. At times it’s easy to identify out of his hand because it’s so much slower than his fastballs, sometimes 20 mph slower than the pitch before. His pro breaking balls were a little bit harder, sometimes as hard as 85 mph. The change in velocity is perhaps an indication that the Marlins are trying to tweak Meyer’s breaking ball, but the talent to have an impact sweeper is clearly present. The same is true of Meyer’s changeup, which he didn’t often have cause to throw in high school games, but it might end up being his best pitch. Meyer’s slot helps impart a lot of lateral action on his changeup, which has huge tailing action in the mid-90s. His arm swing is really long and yet he has pretty good feel for locating all of his offerings.

Meyer is an open strider from the first base side of the rubber. Most of his fastballs start on the glove-side corner of the plate before tailing up and to the arm side, while his slider works in the opposite direction, starting on the corner and bending away. The low release height relative to Meyer’s shooting guard frame will entice data-driven decision-makers because of his shallow approach angle (his slot actually looked a little higher at NHSI than during the 2022 summer) and potential to miss bats at the top of the zone. He’s risky like any other teenage pitching prospect, but Meyer has monstrous ceiling that we value within the top 100 prospects.

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79. Tink Hence, SP, STL

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Watson Chapel HS (AR) (STL)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 55/60 40/45 94-97 / 99

Hence’s changeup took a huge leap while his fastball backpedaled a bit last year. He’s still tracking like an impact arm but needs to get stronger.

Hence was picked up in the shortened 2020 draft, one of the youngest players taken that year. After he was brought along very slowly at the onset of his pro career, Hence has now maintained mid-90s velocity across 40-inning workload increases each of the past two seasons. He worked 96 frames in 2023 and, assuming a similar increase, he’s on track to work a starter’s load of innings as soon as he hits the 40-man.

Tink’s changeup took a huge leap forward in 2023 and it’s now his best pitch. He’ll also flash the occasional plus breaking ball, but not consistently. Hence’s fastball wasn’t finishing quite as well at the end of 2023 as it was when he looked like Bryce Miller with better secondary stuff. We’d like to see him continue to get physically stronger for the purposes of durability, an area where we think Hence plateaued in 2023. He’s a fantastic on-mound athlete, but he’s on the smaller side and added strength might help him have the stamina to finish his pitches more consistently. Hence has thrown strikes and projects to have a starter-quality mix. He didn’t take the leap we thought he might in 2023 and is tracking more like a no. 4 starter.

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80. Kyle Teel, C, BOS

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Virginia (BOS)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 50/55 30/45 45/45 40/50 50

Teel is a decorated college catcher with a fabulous offensive resume.

Teel’s high school senior season was wiped out by the pandemic, and he ended up opting out of that year’s draft in favor of committing to UVA, where he spent three years maturing as a hitter and tapping into his power. His 2023 stats were eye-popping, with a .418/.484/.673 slash line that helped earn him the 14th overall selection in last year’s draft. Teel climbed through Boston’s minor league system after being drafted, spending time on the complex and at High-A before wrapping up the season at Double-A; he finished the year with a 173 wRC+ across those three levels. That’s especially impressive given that he had already played a full season of college baseball before that, and as a catcher no less.

His swing is not particularly aesthetically pleasing, with enough violence to knock his helmet clean off with virtually every hack, but given the results it has yielded, it seems to be working well enough for him not to mess with it too much at this point, especially given how quick his hands are and how well he’s able to get his barrel on balls throughout the zone. While Teel’s chase rate crept up over the course of his college career (it was an uncomfortably high 28% his junior year), his early days as a professional haven’t been as plagued by chase as that would imply, though the sample is of course rather small.

Teel’s defensive movements are also rather mechanically maniacal, with a ton of extraneous movement as the pitcher completes his windup. Unlike the ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach to his offensive mechanics, his defense may need to be simplified as he’s tasked with receiving more advanced arsenals as he progresses. Teel’s arm is strong, but as with the rest of his movements, it’s an atypical look for a catcher, as he slings the ball from a sidearm slot that at times looks more like an off-balance cross-diamond throw from a shortstop. Odd duck as he may be across the board, Teel nevertheless presents a well-rounded overall profile and seems likely to stick at catcher.

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81. Colt Emerson, SS, SEA

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from John Glenn HS (OH) (SEA)
Age 18.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 45/50 20/50 50/50 40/45 55

Emerson was a buzzy post-draft prospect, a potential shortstop with exciting hitting hands.

Pre-draft Emerson was a potentially viable shortstop defender with deft hitting hands from the left side and medium frame projection. He crushed pro ball for a month after signing and there are now some scouts and executives who think he’s among the top 50 or so prospects in baseball. We’re not quite ready to go that far. Emerson was mistake-prone on defense after he signed, as the pace of the game was a little much for him on that side of the ball. His hands are alive with quickness and strength when he hits, though. Emerson has a very pleasing, compact swing geared for contact toward the bottom of the zone. He made above-average rates of contact in a small big league sample but we expect that Emerson’s Ks will probably climb because of his swing, and he bears some mechanical similarities to a lefty-hitting Keston Hiura. What was maybe more surprising about Emerson’s pro output was his power. Our pre-draft eval thought Emerson’s smaller frame capped his power production, but on a pro field he already looks like he has early average raw pop. Ironing out Emerson’s defense is important, and if the Mariners can, then he could be an everyday guy.

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82. Chase Hampton, SP, NYY

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Texas Tech (NYY)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 55/60 30/30 40/45 40/45 92-96 / 97

Hampton has a vertical fastball/breaking ball combo that’s driving a fourth starter projection.

Hampton’s fastball sat just 91-94 mph during his walk-prone (draft-eligible) sophomore year in Lubbock, but he still struck out 72 batters in 56 innings on the quality of his secondary stuff. He was shut down after the 2022 draft and debuted during 2023 big league spring training with much more velocity than he had previously shown, which he proceeded to maintain across 106.2 innings this season. Hampton blew away Sally League hitters (40.5% K%) in the first half of the year before he seemed to lose his legs a little bit in a second half spent at Double-A Somerset. His line to the plate became less consistent, the timing of his fairly long arm stroke wavered, and he had some walk-prone starts in the mid-to-late summer. It’s still pretty amazing that Hampton was able to sit 93-96 for much of the season (more 92-95 late) as he basically doubled his previous career innings high.

Hampton’s arm action is pretty reliever-y and long, but because of the way his fastball plays, he doesn’t have to have pinpoint command in order to remain a starter. His well-located fastballs work uphill with plus riding life, and Hampton is competent enough at peppering the top half of the zone with the pitch to project as a starter. The heater is one of a troika of offerings Hampton has to miss bats, along with a 12-to-6 hammer curveball and a mid-80s two-plane slider. He’ll be able to get ahead of hitters the second and third time through the order with his curveball and cutter, and then finish guys with high fastballs.

I suppose there’s still some amount of risk here, as Hampton has only really thrown consistent strikes for two months of his collegiate and minor league career. It’s possible he ends up on a trajectory like Clarke Schmidt‘s, where it takes him a while to establish himself as a part of the rotation, but I think the way Hampton’s fastball plays will mask some of his imprecision. He projects as a contender’s mid-rotation starter and he could debut in mid-to-late 2024.

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83. Victor Scott II, CF, STL

Drafted: 5th Round, 2022 from West Virginia (STL)
Age 23.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 30/30 30/30 80/80 70/70 40

Infielders beware, Scott is a bunt-inclined speedster and potential Gold Glove center fielder.

Scott put the nail in the coffin of our previous skepticism during his six-week Fall League blitz, in which he was the fastest player and best defender in the league. Scott slashed .303/.369/.425 during the regular season and .286/.388/.417 in Arizona; he also stole 112 bases combined between the two. Scott is an 80 runner with fabulous feel for center field and double-killing gap-to-gap range. His defense alone would be enough to make him a major league role player. Scott is rail thin and not especially strong, but he makes an above-average rate of contact and does have other soft skills like baserunning and bunting that act as the cherry on top of a catalytic offensive player. Scott reached safely on 17 bunts last year, which is reminiscent of TJ Friedl, who had a lot of success in 2023 as a very similar player. Premium center field defense and speed give Scott a fourth outfielder’s floor, while his rate of contact and pesky bat-handling abilities elevate his profile into more of a regular role.

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84. Michael Busch, DH, CHC

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from North Carolina (LAD)
Age 26.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 60/60 50/60 45/45 20/20 30

Busch is a bat-only prospect with a well-rounded offensive skill set.

After a few short big league stints with the Dodgers in 2023, Busch finished the season just shy of graduating from prospect eligibility; he was dealt to the Cubs in January. Since his selection in the 2019 draft, he’s put up solid offensive numbers at every step of his path through Los Angeles’ minor league system, culminating in 27 homers and a .323/.431/.681 line at Triple-A, where he spent most of 2023 in between big-league stints. Busch’s strikeout rate dipped below 19% at the highest minor league level and his walk rate climbed to almost 14%, with chase and swinging-strike rates well below league average, illustrating a refined approach at the plate. His performance at the major league level was somewhat atypical for him. His groundball rate spiked, resulting in a much lower BABIP than he’s posted throughout his minor league career, but it’s too small a sample to be alarming at this point. Jed Hoyer has hinted at first base being his likely defensive home as a Cub. We still think Busch is an excellent, well-rounded hitter who can be a top 15-20 player at that position even though we liked it better when he stood a chance of being an Uggla-esque defender at the keystone. Busch’s well-rounded offensive skill set and track record at the plate are enough to make up for his lack of defensive utility, and he’s much more likely to be the long-term answer at first base in Chicago than anyone else currently on their 40-man roster.

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85. Hurston Waldrep, SP, ATL

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Florida (ATL)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/55 55/55 60/70 30/45 94-97 / 99

Waldrep’s high-octane delivery might force him into the bullpen, but his splitter, slider and mid-90s fastball could combine to make him a great closer.

Waldrep worked just 16 innings as a freshman, but somehow managed to strike out 140 hitters in 90 innings as a sophomore at Southern Miss. He transferred to Florida for his junior year and had a nearly identical season, this time blowing away SEC hitters for most of the season. He ranked sixth on the 2023 Draft Board but fell to Atlanta at no. 24 overall due to perceived relief risk and the quality of the rest of the draft class. It has the feel of a Tim Duncan-era Spurs draft pick, an absolute coup for a contender that tends to get the most out of their own prospects and could use, at worst, another late-inning weapon in the near future.

The Braves pushed Waldrep so quickly after the draft that for a minute it looked like he’d be elevated to their postseason roster in a relief role. If the org chooses to put him on a more direct route to the majors, Waldrep certainly has the stuff to thrive in a high-leverage relief capacity, headlined by his vicious, screwball-style upper-80s changeup. It’s a devastating, airbender-esque pitch that plays against lefties and righties alike. Waldrep’s approach to pitching is such that he likely won’t work efficiently as a starter. His fastball is surprisingly hittable considering its velocity and Waldrep’s vertical arm angle, which should theoretically be helping him create bat-missing, riding life on his heater. He often has to work above the zone with his fastball for it to be effective, and Waldrep runs deep counts because of this. The ability to competently land a breaking ball for a strike contributes to his starter projection here. Waldrep has an upper-80s cutter/slider (or maybe he throws each of those now?) and threw a slower curveball in college, but the curve wasn’t so much a part of his attack after the draft (which is why we’re wondering if he’s added a cutter). Drey Jameson and Reese Olson present recent skill set comps to Waldrep, who has a no. 3 starter’s ceiling and an impact reliever’s floor.

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86. Kyle Hurt, SP, LAD

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from Southern California (MIA)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 40/50 45/45 80/80 40/40 94-97 / 99

Hurt’s changeup and ability to land his breaking ball for strikes gives him a shot to start despite his bulk and mechanical violence.

Hurt was a SoCal high school arm of some repute, a projectable 6-foot-3 guy with low-90s heat who went to school and didn’t get much better as an underclassman. Just before the COVID shutdown, Hurt shoved against TCU (6 IP, 9 K, 1 BB, 1 R) at a heavily attended tournament in LA, touching 95 mph several times. It was the best he ever looked at Southern Cal and he might have dramatically improved his draft stock had he pitched the whole spring. The Marlins drafted him, then later traded him and Alex Vesia to the Dodgers for Dylan Floro. Hurt spent most of 2021 on the shelf and only pitched about 20 innings during the regular season before he looked nasty — 94-97 mph with natural cut and a plus changeup — in the Arizona Fall League.

Over the last two seasons, Hurt has built his innings count to 100 while retaining the velo spike, his tailing changeup has continued to improve to the point where it’s now one of the best in the minors, and he’s improved his ability to land both of his breaking balls for strikes. Hurt’s 19.7% swinging strike rate was the highest in the 2023 minor leagues among pitchers who threw at least 80 innings. He’s a heavier guy with a high-effort delivery, definitely a look you see in the bullpen more often than in the rotation, and Hurt’s fastball command is not good. There’s a lot of relief risk here, but we’re buying that the combo of Hurt’s feel for spotting the breakers and his changeup’s ability to bail him out of any count will allow him to start. Hurt has only tended to work between 3-5 innings at a time. He’s an inefficient operator and will probably be a five-and-dive type of starter with elevated peripherals. He’s on the 40-man roster and got a two-inning cup of coffee in the majors last September. He might be on an innings count that pushes him into the big league bullpen toward the end of his rookie year.

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87. Royber Salinas, SP, OAK

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (ATL)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 260 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 60/60 45/50 45/45 93-97 / 98

Royber was very impressive when healthy in 2023, including in the AFL, where he showed many different pitches and enough command to start.

Salinas came to Oakland in the Sean Murphy trade and had a very hot start to the 2023 season, including a strikeout rate just shy of 40% in the month of April against just 6.8% walks. He showed signs of cooling after that, as his walk rate crept up and his strikeout rate came back to earth a bit, and he was shut down in early June with an elbow injury that kept him off the mound for about six weeks. After that IL stint, Salinas returned to Double-A Midland and closed the season out with similar numbers to what he had put up before the injury. His performance at the Fall League was exciting to watch, as he showed off an arsenal featuring a riding mid-90s four-seamer, a sinker, two distinct plus breaking balls, and a serviceable changeup. It’s an impressively robust mix, especially for a 22-year-old. He’s got a bit of a bowling ball physique, but that doesn’t mean he’s unathletic, with smooth, loose pitching mechanics and a fearless approach to attacking hitters with his full arsenal, such that if any one pitch isn’t working for him, he’s got a trusty bag of tricks to use as a workaround.

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88. Tekoah Roby, MIRP, STL

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Pine Forest HS (FL) (TEX)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 70/70 60/60 40/40 93-96 / 98

Roby has the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter, but whether or not he can stay healthy enough is another matter.

Roby was really breaking out before a shoulder injury shelved him in early June of 2023. He was consistently working with four plus pitches, sitting 94-95 mph with riding life, bending in one of the nastier curveballs in the minors, tilting in a similarly shaped slider in the mid-80s, and turning over a tailing low-80s changeup. He returned from the shoulder injury in late August and was sent to the Fall League, where Roby continued to show great stuff but wayward command. Some of his outings were dominant, while others were frustrating. At a stocky 6-foot-1, Roby’s build is atypical for a workhorse starter, and his delivery is pretty violent. His best role might be in as a vicious long reliever, where he can comfortably air out his best fastballs and feel free to work a little inefficiently. He doesn’t have to be put on the 40-man until after the 2024 season and, thanks to the Fall League reps, Roby’s still on schedule to be a starter from an innings count standpoint, so the Cardinals don’t have to ‘pen him just yet.

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89. Brady House, 3B, WSN

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Winder-Barrow HS (WSN)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/70 35/60 50/50 50/60 60

Plus power and defense help mitigate some of House’s issues with contact.

House became a very prominent high school prospect as an underclassman and his performance at an early age helped solidify his draft stock even before the pandemic threw a wrench into the 2021 class’ scouting calendar. He began 2022, his first full pro season, on a tear before injuring his back in early May. House did not look the same after he returned. He struck out a third of the time and posted an OPS of just .602 before being shut down for the remainder of the season in mid-June. We thought it was safe to assume he was playing through injury and House was left on last offseason’s Top 100 list under the assumption that he’d return healthy in 2023. He basically did, and while we still have some apprehension about aspects of his swing and his plate coverage, a fully actualized House has star-level ability, tools that give him rare enough ceiling to value him among the top 100 prospects even though he still has bust risk.

House rewarded our patience by pulverizing Low-A pitching, generating a 142 wRC+ in his first 36 games back with Fredericksburg and a 145 wRC+ in a couple of weeks at High-A Wilmington. He has plus raw power right now (48% hard-hit rate, 113 mph max exit velo) and should grow into more as he fills out. His contact and chase rates (68% and 36%, respectively) are suspect, and some of what we’re seeing with House’s swing does give us pause about him continuing to make sufficient levels of contact now that he’s reached Double-A. He’s got a very upright base when he swings and tends to step in the bucket, both of which leave House’s plate coverage lacking. His poor breaking ball recognition compounds this, and he’s going to have to do a better job of either closing his front side during his swing so he can contact sliders on the outer edge, or laying off them entirely. House definitely did a better job of pulling the ball in 2023 and he’s still played so few pro games due to injury that we’re bullish on his ability to make adjustments even though we’re quite sure he’s soon going to need to.

The oppo power and chase combo here isn’t all that different from same-aged Josh Jung. Perhaps most impressively, House’s defense has been fantastic. Because he’s so big, House (who was a high school shortstop) was sometimes projected to right field, as it’s rare for athletes his size to stay on the infield. But his ability to bend and move at his size is incredible, he has plus hands, he can throw on the run, and his feeds to the other bases are accurate and timely. He not only looks like a sure bet to stay at third but is potentially an impact defender there, which is especially impressive considering he’s not all that far removed from a season-altering back injury. There’s still a ton of volatility here but the power upside is significant, and House’s defense helps give him another slump-immune tool to keep his profile afloat if it turns out his hit tool is a long-term problem.

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90. Jonny Farmelo, CF, SEA

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from Westfield HS (VA) (SEA)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/60 20/50 70/70 45/55 50

Farmelo’s raw power and speed gives him immense potential if he can continue to refine his swing in pro ball.

Farmelo had the second-fastest 30-yard dash at the 2023 Draft Combine and showed impressive BP power, but his swing was a bit of a mess and seemed to change constantly throughout his high school career. We were relatively low on him here at FanGraphs prior to the draft, but after he signed, Farmelo stood apart from other backfield occupants his age for his physicality. The Mariners also made his swing better pretty quickly, though he still has a lot of extraneous movement in his hands. Farmelo can create big power in a short mechanical distance, he has pretty good bat control, and he should be able to iron out the clunkier aspects of his swing with pro instruction. His speed and power make him an enticing prospect on their own, and if the improvements to his swing lead to a more stable contact profile, then Farmelo will break out in 2024.

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91. Sebastian Walcott, 3B, TEX

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Bahamas (TEX)
Age 17.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 55/80 25/70 60/50 30/50 60

Walcott has elite power projection and detrimental K issues.

Walcott was seen some in the U.S. during the fall of 2021 and leapt off the field because of his physicality and power. The Rangers international scouting group was originally connected to a player named Camilo Diaz for a rumored bonus of $3 million but seemingly diverted to Walcott around this time (Diaz signed with Houston). Walcott signed last January and spent a big chunk of spring training in Arizona, where he stood apart from his peers on the backfields because of his bat speed. He went to the D.R. for the start of the DSL season, but was quickly promoted to the Complex League and lit things up for a month before opponents realized he couldn’t recognize a breaking ball. He ended up having a .273/.325/.524 line in Arizona with a terrifying 6.4% walk rate and 32.5% strikeout rate.

Those are red flag peripherals on the complex, but at the time of Top 100 publication, Walcott will still be 17 for another month. He was playing a level or two above what’s typical for a hitter that age (especially as DSL hitters repeat the level more often to avoid using a domestic minor league roster spot, it’d be typical for someone Walcott’s age to do that in 2024) and has immense physical ability and long-term projection. He looks like a future NFL wide receiver in his uniform and has the kind of pull power you’d expect from a prospect built like that. This is a 6-foot-4 teenager with elite hand speed and power projection. Walcott’s swing and feel to hit need a ton of polish, though. The timing of his footwork in the box isn’t great and he ends up lunging at breakers, plus Walcott’s swing is driven by his bottom hand in a path that slopes down unless he’s making contact way out in front, and he often has no chance at hitting pitches on the outer edge. Couple that with a fuzzy defensive projection because of Walcott’s size and error-prone early career look at short and there are teams that don’t think he carries this much weight. But he already has nearly plus raw big league power at age 17 and could feasibly produce on offense like peak Javier Báez if Walcott’s hit tool develops enough.

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92. Joendry Vargas, SS, LAD

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Dominican Republic (LAD)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/45 40/60 20/55 45/35 40/45 60

I hope that you’re the one. If not, you are the prototype.

Vargas was the fourth-ranked prospect from the 2023 international amateur class and among 2023 DSL prospects, he presented the best combination of on-field performance and overt physical projection. Vargas has the young Fernando Tatis Jr. build at a wiry 6-foot-4, he bends and moves around well at shortstop, he has enough arm for the position, and he slashed .328/.423/.529 in his first taste of pro ball. Vargas’ contact rate stats were excellent, but he’s a longer-levered hitter, so there’s still a ton of projection variability around his hit tool. His ceiling is huge if it continues to play like it did in 2023.

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93. Xavier Isaac, 1B, TBR

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from East Forsyth HS (NC) (TBR)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 60/70 35/60 20/20 20/30 40

Isaac is a power-over-hit first base prospect.

The Evan Carter of the 2022 draft, Isaac’s selection was borderline derided when it was first made. He didn’t have a ton of showcase experience, and while clearly a skilled hitter in the scant showcase PAs he did put on tape, he was a heavy-bodied first base prospect who’d need to mash to profile. Several teams drafting through around pick 60 or so were on Isaac, so the Rays weren’t alone in liking him, and so far the pick looks great, as Isaac hit .285/.395/.521 with 19 homers at mostly Low-A Charleston in his first full season.

Isaac has pretty dramatically remade his body and now looks more like Nate Lowe than coaching-era Sidney Lowe. He’s slimmed down without losing strength (on the contrary, he has 60-grade big league power right now), and Isaac has rare fluidity in his hips for a hitter his size. There are flashes of rare power and feel for hitting here; if you put Isaac’s balls in play on tape, he’s adjusting to all kinds of different pitches in different locations and using his immense strength to move the baseball all over the field.

Look under the statistical hood and things get more complicated. Isaac ran a sub-70% contact rate in 2023; only one qualified big league first baseman (Bryce Harper) did that in 2023. A couple of other successful role players (Luke Raley, Ryan Noda) were also in that range, but it’s rare for a first baseman to run a contact rate this low and be successful. While Isaac’s athleticism makes what he’s doing in the batter’s box look smooth and graceful, he probably has more going on with his swing than a young man of his prodigious strength needs to. He doesn’t always track pitches well and he swings inside a lot of stuff on the outer third, especially changeups, which Isaac offers at early in part because his cut is so involved. The good news is we think Isaac will have such enormous power at maturity (he also has above-average plate discipline) that he’ll offset his contact issues. We also think there’s a chance his hit tool progresses beyond its current state because we’re talking about a young hitter who hasn’t played against elite competition very much.

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94. Bryce Eldridge, 1B, SFG

Drafted: 1st Round, 2023 from James Madison HS (VA) (SFG)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 60/70 25/60 40/30 30/50 60

Eldridge was a two-way high schooler who has a chance to be a special first baseman with elite power.

At 6-foot-7, Eldridge has plenty of room to build on an already strong frame, and despite his long limbs, he manages to maintain a compact swing that is short to the ball with plenty of pop. A 2023 draftee with only 15 games above the complex under his belt thus far, the lefty has already shown maturity at the plate, with very little chase, even when behind in the count, which combines well with his propensity to hit the ball very hard. Having been a pitcher in high school, he is not being developed as a two-way player, and instead has thus far spent his time in right field, though his size and limited mobility may result in a move to first base, especially when his body fills out. But assuming that physical development comes with the expected additional power, he’ll be a good fit as a power-hitting first baseman.

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95. Starlyn Caba, SS, PHI

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 18.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/70 30/40 20/35 60/60 45/80 55

Caba is an acrobatic defensive shortstop who made elite rates of contact in the 2023 DSL.

This is an aggressive projection and value grade for Caba, who just got done hitting .301/.423/.346 in his DSL pro debut. Some of it is supported by his data. Caba’s 3% swinging strike rate and 90% contact rate in 2023 were both among the best in all of the minor leagues. The visual scouting report of Caba’s hit tool was strong when he was an amateur, and now the data (insofar as DSL performance data can be useful) indicates he may have a superlative future as a contact hitter. On tape, you can see him manipulating the barrel with precocious skill for a teenage switch hitter, enough that I feel comfortable pushing his future hit tool projection a grade above where I had it when Caba was an amateur.

I’ve buried the lede a bit here because what makes Caba very special is his defense. His footwork and actions are ridiculous, among the most deft and electric I’ve seen on a shortstop, reminiscent of José Iglesias. There are some overall similarities with a young Francisco Lindor in terms of Caba’s build, glove, and switch-hitting, though Lindor had substantially more power at Caba’s age.

Frequent readers know I love to the use the draft as a lens through which to FV pro teenagers, and in Caba’s case, I think you can argue he’d have gone as high as sixth in the 2023 draft (where Oakland took contact maven Jacob Wilson) and no lower than 22nd, where Seattle drafted hit-tool stalwart Colt Emerson (who probably should have gone much higher than that). I do worry about repeating my over-evaluation of Yankees shortstop Alexander Vargas here, but the possibility of two potentially elite carrying tools (and the early evidence we have that they’ll manifest) has me excited enough to put Caba toward the back of the Top 100 list.

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96. Jeremy Rodriguez, SS, NYM

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Venezuela (ARI)
Age 17.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/60 30/40 20/40 50/50 40/55 55

Rodriguez is a high-floored teenage shortstop prospect.

Acquired from Arizona in the Tommy Pham trade, Rodriguez’s skill set compares favorably to the high school infielders who tend to go in the first round of the domestic draft. He’s a skilled, well-rounded player with an unusually high floor for a teenage prospect thanks to his defense and bat-to-ball ability, the latter of which is heightened by his excellent plate discipline. I wrote Rodriguez up as a more of a utility guy when he was an amateur because he lacks the big-frame body projection typical of a star player, but now that he’s accumulated a DSL season’s worth of data, both his plate skills and contact ability are profile-driving attributes. We’re talking 86% contact, 93% in-zone contact, and only 19% chase. DSL metrics like this are only so meaningful, but put on Rodriguez’s tape and he looks like a really good hitter. He tracks pitches with bird-of-prey precision and makes flush, high-quality contact with a lovely and effortless left-handed swing.

Rodriguez is also a good shortstop defender. His exchange on slow rollers in on the grass is sometimes clunky, but otherwise he can make the requisite shortstop plays, his hands and range are plus, and I think something closer to prototypical arm strength will arrive with physical maturity. This is not a monster-ceiling’d DSL prospect — Rodriguez is more in the Brayan Rocchio-ish, high-probability bucket. Once again, using recent draft prospects as a way to triangulate more correct list placement for DSL guys would slot Rodriguez behind the Marcelo Mayer and Jordan Lawlars of the world, and closer to the Colt Emerson/Jett Williams tier of player who often belong in the 10-15 range of a draft board.

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97. David Festa, SP, MIN

Drafted: 13th Round, 2021 from Seton Hall (MIN)
Age 23.9 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 45/50 50/55 94-96 / 98

Festa has freakish body control for his size and has now sustained a velo spike into the mid-90s for a couple of years.

In the draft, the Twins have targeted big-framed, projectable college pitching from mid-tier schools that don’t tend to max out their pitchers. Festa has had a pretty significant velo spike in pro ball and in 2023 reached Triple-A at the very end of a solid season mostly spent at Double-A Wichita. Since turning pro, the 6-foot-6 Festa’s velocity has grown year-over-year until he he reached the 94-96 mph range his fastball has resided in for the last two seasons. His approach to pitching with his heater has changed and become less efficient as, due to a lack of explosive movement on the pitch, Festa has begun to take a slider-first approach. He often tries to get ahead of hitters with sliders that drop into the top of the strike zone, and when Festa is locating both his slider and changeup to opposite corners of the plate, each of them is capable of missing bats against hitters of either handedness. Both secondary pitches generated above-average rates of chase and miss in 2023.

Festa has pitched about 100 innings each of the last two seasons without seeing a drop off in velocity. All of his offerings are pretty firm — even his slider and changeup are often 87-88 mph — and without a pitch that more drastically alters hitters’ timing, he may end up generating more weak contact than outright whiffs against big league hitters. Even though Festa will be 24 this season, his rare combination of size and athleticism might portend another gear of arm strength and/or command as he continues to refine the feel for his endless limbs. He’s projected here as an innings-eating no. 4 starter on a contender who might have peak years as an impact mid-rotation guy if either his command or velocity levels up one more time. Festa could debut late in 2024, but he’s more likely to permanently entrench himself on the big league roster in 2025 and beyond.

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98. Christian Scott, SP, NYM

Drafted: 5th Round, 2021 from Florida (NYM)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 45/50 50/55 94-95 / 97

Above-average command of a plus fastball/slider combo has Scott on the fast track to Flushing.

Another of the many recent pitching prospects who were squeezed out of the rotation at the University of Florida by the program’s terrific depth, Scott worked out of the Gators’ bullpen throughout his college career but has been stretched out as a starter in pro ball; he shifted into the rotation in 2022, then broke out in 2023 as he enjoyed a little velo spike. After starting the year on the IL with an oblique strain, Scott mowed through A-ball hitters and quickly reached Binghamton, where he spent most of the year. Across as career-high 19 starts and 87.2 innings, Scott struck out 107 hitters and walked just 12 while not only holding his usual velo, but increasing it to 94-95 mph on average.

Scott has a huge wingspan and gets way down the mound, traits that combine to give him huge extension and a shallow approach angle. His fastball really jumps on hitters, and he missed a ton of bats with it at the top of the zone even though it’s technically a sinker. He’s always had a pretty juicy slider, but now Scott seems to have altered his changeup into a firmer split (its average velo has increased by about five ticks, often 84-88 mph), giving him a pretty complete mix. Some of what Scott is doing mechanically is pretty violent (he has a pretty nasty head whack), and you can see why he was ‘penned in the past, but he’s thrown a ton of strikes in pro ball (this is definitely a control over command guy) and has mostly proven he can sustain an impact fastball across a starter’s load of innings. From a craftsmanship standpoint, Scott is close to being big league ready. He still needs to build innings and doesn’t have to be put on the 40-man until after the 2024 season, so it possible he doesn’t debut until 2025. Scott projects as a mid-rotation starter.

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99. Will Warren, SP, NYY

Drafted: 8th Round, 2021 from Southeastern Louisiana (NYY)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 70/70 40/40 40/50 50/50 45/50 92-95 / 97

Warren checks every scouting box except the one marked “pretty delivery.”

Warren yo-yo’d between the bullpen and the rotation at Southeastern Louisiana and went unselected as a true junior in the shortened 2020 draft. He moved into the Lions’ rotation in 2021 and had a great season — 91 IP, 95 K, just 98 baserunners allowed — despite sitting mostly 90-91 mph. The Yankees shut him down for the post-draft period of 2021, and when play began in 2022, Warren had a new breaking ball and much more velocity, which he has sustained across the last two seasons at Somerset and Scranton.

Even though he isn’t on their 40-man roster, Warren is arguably in a better position to crack the Yankees’ 2024 rotation than other pitchers who are. He has a better track record of strike-throwing and recent health than Luis Gil or Clayton Beeter. Warren checks every scouting box aside from the one in the “pretty delivery” column. His cross-bodied mechanics and head whack are more violent than is ideal, but Warren has now sustained good stuff across anywhere between 90 and 130 innings in each of the last three years, evidence he can succeed despite this delivery. His repertoire has grown to five useful pitches, with the best two being his heavy sinker, which has periods where it’s parked in the 94-95 mph range, and his sweeper-style slider, which moves similarly to Blake Treinen‘s. These two pitches diverge horizontally in a way that gives hitters fits. Warren’s sweeper garnered swinging strikes at an incredible 20% clip in 2023, and his sinker generated a 67% groundball rate. Warren also has a four-seam variant that he runs up the ladder as a chase pitch, and he has an upper-80s cutter that has become a more useful way to attack lefties than his middling changeup, which has a good bit of movement but is too similar to his sinker’s shape and velocity to be very disruptive. There might be room for growth in the offspeed/changeup realm for Warren yet; some of his best cambios are the ones that cut on him and look more like splitters. A true splitter might give him a dynamic swing-and-miss weapon versus lefties, which he currently lacks. Otherwise, Warren does a little bit of everything. His pitch mix compares closely to Joe Musgrove’s (his command isn’t quite that great) and, similarly, Warren profiles as a big league ready, mid-rotation starter.

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100. Mason Miller, SIRP, OAK

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Gardner-Webb (OAK)
Age 25.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 55/60 55/60 45/50 97-99 / 101

Miller has huge stuff and has been hurt a lot.

Miller’s big league debut came early in the 2023 season, but a UCL sprain landed him on the IL after just four starts and kept him off the mound for several months. He returned to the minors in August for a few rehab games at Low- and then Triple-A before making his way back to the bigs in September, where he was used largely in relief or as an opener and was on a strict pitch count. Sadly, the injury was nothing new for Miller, who has struggled to stay healthy throughout his professional career, likely due in large part to the violence in his delivery. Miller’s big time velocities are a huge contributor to what makes him so exciting to watch, and he reaches those speeds thanks to explosive, late arm speed. When his foot lands during his delivery, his throwing arm is still pointing downward, then erupts in a whirr of motion, which puts added stress on his joints by the time he releases the ball. So while that arm speed is perhaps necessary for him to be the force that he is, it’s also possibly the reason he should limit his time out there. At the Winter Meetings, GM David Forst indicated a move to the bullpen was likely in 2024, saying that Miller and Lucas Erceg were in the mix to compete for the closer role. It’s a spot where Miller’s electric stuff can be more potent and less harmful to his health.

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101. Daniel Espino, SIRP, CLE

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Georgai Premier Academy (GA) (CLE)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
80/80 60/70 55/60 45/55 45/50 97-100 / 102

Espino looked like a front-end arm early in 2022, then missed most of the last two years with snowballing injuries.

Born in Panama, Espino had the best arm strength among the high school pitchers in the 2019 draft, but concerns about his delivery and arsenal depth dropped him to the 24th overall pick. His stuff got even better under the tutelage of Cleveland’s player dev system, and he dominated during his 2021 full season debut, putting up a strikeout rate north of 40% while shortening his arm action and altering his slot to impart more vertical movement on his heater. Espino had taken another leap at the onset of 2022, sitting in the 98-102 mph range with a fastball that sometimes had 20-23 inches of vertical break during the spring.

He dominated Double-A for a month before he was shut down with a knee injury at the end of April, and he started having shoulder issues during his rehab and didn’t pitch in games for the rest of the year. He worked out in Panama during the offseason and the Guardians thought he was a full-go for spring training 2023, the start of his 40-man evaluation year. Instead it was revealed that he still had a tear in his shoulder and would miss the first few months of the year, which later turned into the entire season as Espino had surgery in May for a capsule tear, which typically takes about a year to recover from. Cleveland still put him on the 40-man roster in the offseason. Chronic shoulder issues have derailed the careers of countless pitching prospects and that’s definitely in play here as it has been forever since Espino has gotten into an actual game.

Healthy Espino is a physical freak with exceptional talent and drive, and his continued presence on the 100 for the last couple of years is as much a bet on his demeanor and makeup as it is his ability. More striking than his velocity itself is the ease with which Espino generated it. Even as he has become more and more muscular entering his 20s, he has maintained a freaky level of flexibility, which he supposedly attains by stretching four times per day. His slider can bend in as hard as 94 mph and has late, two-plane finish. It would be an above-average pitch were it simply in the low-to-mid 80s, but at this velocity, it’s a 70-grade weapon, and Espino has consistent feel for locating it down and to his glove side. His curveball has 12-6 shape and plus depth and power, used as a way of garnering called early-count strikes, and the speed with which he has developed two distinct breaking balls despite pitching just one full minor league season is incredible. The curve has enough depth to have bat-missing utility below the zone and generate groundballs even when hitters sniff it out mid-air. Espino barely throws his low-90s changeup, but he still has good feel for locating it in an enticing location away from lefty batters, and even that and his rarely-used curveball (combined, he threw those pitches 8% of the time in 2021) could be above average at maturity. He has top-of-the-rotation stuff, but the injuries make it more likely that Cleveland proactively moves him to the bullpen.

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2 months ago

Thanks Eric & Tess – this is awesome.