Names to Know: 100 More Relevant Prospects

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Below we’ve compiled scouting snippets for 100 interesting prospects to monitor in 2024. Readers should think of this piece as dessert for the Top 100 Prospects list. Similar to the structure of the Other Prospects of Note section of the team lists, we have grouped players into buckets by prospect type. We tried to touch on players who we thought readers might be curious about for one reason or another, often guys who could have a meaningful 2024 impact, or whose development this season could be key for their careers. We tried to focus on players from orgs whose lists haven’t run yet this cycle. For those whose lists have been published, there is a link to their full scouting report next to their name in lieu of us taking up more space in this post. In some cases, we end up going into the reasons why a player was excluded from the Top 100, which is an attempt to anticipate your questions, not us trying to knock the player. After all, everyone here is considered a prospect.

Lower-Variance Starters
Thomas Harrington, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Robert Gasser, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Anthony Solometo, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Yu-Min Lin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Cade Povich, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
Cristian Mena, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Sawyer Gipson-Long, RHP, Detroit Tigers — Full Report

The 36th overall pick in the 2022 draft, Harrington efficiently marched through A-ball in 2023 and totaled 127 innings. A tad undersized, the 22-year-old sits 91-95 mph, throws quality strikes, commands a long-breaking slider, and has the athleticism to develop a second breaker (he may also have a cutter now, sources vary on this) or a better changeup to give him a second plus pitch. His lack of size is a bit of a barrier when it comes to projecting a better fastball, but his command gives him a high floor.

The best prospect Milwaukee received as part of the Josh Hader trade with San Diego, Gasser is an athletic, low-slot lefty with an ultra-short arm action and command of four or five different pitches. Nearly 25 years old, he’s quickly climbing to the big leagues and could arrive in the middle of 2024 given the amount of starter turnover ahead of him in the Brewers org. He was left off the Top 100 because of his fastball quality. Lower-slot lefties with 30- or 40-grade velocity tend to get bombed now and then, and Gasser often sits 92 or so, which isn’t great in today’s game. Solometo and Lin are in the same boat. Both have performed as young-for-the-level arms, and each of them has a plus pitch (Lin’s changeup, Solo’s slider) and plus command, but there aren’t many very good big league starters with their kind of velocity.

Povich was a Pick to Click last year who didn’t quite click, as his strike throwing dissipated down the stretch. Acquired from Minnesota as part of the Jorge López trade, he added a cutter in 2023 but didn’t have a hoped-for velo spike. He’s amassed the fourth-most strikeouts in minor league baseball the last two years, his statuesque frame and effortless delivery are innings-eater characteristics (though he lacks great tactile feel for release), and he remains projected as a high-probability no. 4/5 starter. Mena recently came to Arizona via the Dominic Fletcher trade, a deal Eric wrote up here.

Issues on Defense
Connor Norby, 2B, Baltimore Orioles
James Triantos, 2B, Chicago Cubs
Tyler Black, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Juan Brito, 2B, Cleveland Guardians

We like the offensive ability of this entire group and think they would probably be on the Top 100 list if they could actually play their listed positions. Norby, 23, had a monstrous 2022 and more of a solid 2023 at Triple-A Norfolk, where he began to see time away from second base and in left field. His hit/power combo is a tad shy of average, which would be fine at second base if Norby could play it. Triantos is a little bit different in that he has a plus-plus offensive tool (hit), but his lack of plate discipline and the way it limits his OBP and contact quality (power) makes his profile less enticing in left field. Could he be a righty-hitting Corey Dickerson?

Black is entertaining as hell to watch play baseball. He’s fast, he has a keen eye, he plays with lots of effort and he swings hard for a small-ish guy. He even looked pretty good at third base (he used to play second, gave center a try last year, and now it’s all 3B/1B) and might have found an actual position. Black’s throwing stroke from third sometimes looks odd and he lacks the power typical at that position. His swing also has a hole in it (up and away), so while he’s put above-average contact and OBP performance on paper for basically his whole life, there’s healthy skepticism about him doing it against big league velo and profiling at third. Brito, a 22-year-old acquired for Nolan Jones last offseason, has been a prospect favorite at the site for a couple of years because of his switch-hitting contact prowess. He still doesn’t move well enough on defense to be considered a viable middle infielder.

2024 Contenders’ Relievers?
Spencer Schwellenbach, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Chase Petty, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Connor Phillips, RHP, Cincinnati Red
Chayce McDermott, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Ben Brown, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Marco Raya, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Yilber Diaz, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
John McMillon, RHP, Kansas City Royals
Emiliano Teodo, RHP, Texas Rangers
Andrew Moore, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Yoniel Curet, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

This is a big group. Relievers aren’t usually projected to be good enough to merit inclusion on the Top 100, but they still have a big impact on contending teams and are valued just outside that range when they have something close to setup man stuff. They are listed here in descending order of who we think has the best chance to remain a starter. Especially with players in orgs that we expect to contend, there’s a chance their team needs them in a relief capacity at a moment’s notice and pulls the bullpen ripcord.

Schwellenbach was a college two-way player (shortstop and closer) whose pro career was delayed by a TJ and sidetracked in 2023 by a shoulder issue. He sits in the mid-90s, has a plus slider, and is a healthy season and a more consistent changeup away from profiling as a mid-rotation type. Petty (drafted by Minnesota, traded to the Reds for Sonny Gray) will soon turn 21. He has developed as a strike-thrower better than we anticipated and his grounder-inducing fastball is a starter trait. His arm action is still long and might be a barrier to changeup growth. He needs to find a third pitch, but the other elements are there.

Phillips hasn’t demonstrated the control to start, but he has shown the durability, and his fastball averaged just north of 96 mph across 120 innings in 2023. Despite its movement, Phillips’ stuff doesn’t garner a high rate of chase because he throws too many non-competitive pitches nowhere near the zone, and his fastball has a shockingly low swinging strike rate for such a hard pitch. Phillips is also built like a big catcher. He’s the sort of powerful, tightly wound athlete more commonly found in the bullpen. McDermott is 25, but something about the way he’s built and moves (his brother is a pro hooper, the McDermotts are super long and athletic) has us hopeful that he’ll reign in his wildness. He sits 94 mph with flat angle and ride, and he has two nasty breaking balls — a 75-78 mph curveball and a 82-85 mph slider — that have utility versus both lefties and righties. Brown, 24, still has a monster mid-90s fastball/breaking ball combo, but he walked more than 6/9 IP at the end of last year and the Cubs shifted him to the bullpen. He still has two option years left and the Cubs don’t have a ton of optionable, big league-ready starter alternatives on their 40-man, so maybe he’s still in the mix to be a short-term starter.

Raya, 21, is undersized, and the Twins have handled his workload pretty conservatively. He has the repertoire depth — mid-90s fastball, two good breakers, athletic projection on the cambio — and command to start, but not the physicality to be a slam dunk. There are folks who think Diaz, 23, is Arizona’s best pitching prospect by a lot. He’s walked 5/9 IP at his last three minor league levels, which is why he’s here and not on the Top 100, but he definitely showed starter’s stamina last year as he was still pumping 95-98 mph gas after working just over 100 innings. The D-backs might be incentivized to ‘pen and fast track him. McMillon has an 80-grade fastball and drew actual consideration for the Top 100 list despite being a pure reliever. Teodo is a lightning-armed little guy who’ll touch 102 and has a big curveball. Moore, 24, missed a lot of 2023 with a biceps injury but looked like his usual nasty self in the Fall League, where he often sat 97-99 with a huge sweeper. Curet, 21, has only made half a dozen appearances above Low-A and has struggled badly with walks, but he is now on the 40-man and has a premium upper-90s fastball that generates elite in-zone miss.

Big League-Ready Center Field Defenders
Kenedy Corona, CF, Houston Astros
Jonatan Clase, CF, Seattle Mariners
Jorge Barrosa, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Corona, about to turn 24, has impressive power for a player his size and can play center field as well as the other Astros 40-man members. He’s a sub-70% contact guy with below average plate discipline and is a more volatile hitter than the McCormick/Meyer/Dubón cluster ahead of him on the roster. Clase is an 80-grade runner with a 40/30 hit/power combo. If (Mariano forbid) anything happens to Julio, Clase (who ZiPS loves) might be next man up in center field, as nobody else on Seattle’s 40-man is really capable of playing there. Barrosa is a tiny soft-skilled center fielder with great plate discipline, feel for contact, and defensive instincts. He’s so small (and got smaller) that it’s tough to project him as anything more than a fourth outfielder, but he’s the second-best center field defender on Arizona’s 40-man behind Alek Thomas.

Strong-Side Platoon Look
Parker Meadows, CF, Detroit Tigers — Full Report
Colton Cowser, LF, Baltimore Orioles
Wilyer Abreu, RF, Boston Red Sox
Ryan Clifford, RF, New York Mets
Jacob Melton, CF, Houston Astros

We like this group, and everyone in it received thorough consideration for the Top 100, but they’re all more Matt Joyce/Seth Smith/Lucas Duda types than true 50-grade corner mashers. Cowser can’t play center field well enough to project him there and he has a below-average hit tool. A version of this is virtually true of this entire group. Abreu will probably perform better than this on a rate stat basis when he faces mostly right-handed pitching during a season, but overall he’s a 40-hit, 50-power corner outfielder with a swing geared to get to all the pop. Clifford has the same high-and-away hole in his swing that has either doomed or diluted the impact of many hitters before him, and he’s the worst defender of this group. He also has the best power projection of any of them and should hit for enough of it to be a good role player anyway. Melton’s the most athletic of this group, but his feel for center field isn’t great.

Guys Who Have Been Traded
Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Cleveland Guardians
Trey Sweeney, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Edwin Arroyo, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
Richard Fitts, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Darren Bowen, RHP, Minnesota Twins
David Sandlin, RHP, Boston Red Sox

Eric’s work on his “How’s My Driving” piece has influenced the way he looks at first basemen without huge power, which is why Manzardo fell from the 50 FV tier and is now graded as a 45. He’s still a good player, just not a star. Defensive issues kept Sweeney and Arroyo from the 50 FV tier. Sweeney’s size is prohibitive to his defense, and he doesn’t quite have the big offensive tools of an everyday third baseman. Arroyo’s swing has ultra-consistent lift from both sides of the plate, and he’ll probably end up with a Diet Ozzie Albies profile, where he gets to power and plays a fair second base amid a lot of strikeouts. Eric has updated notes on Fitts in Ben Clemens’ analysis of the Alex Verdugo trade and notes regarding Bowen in Ben’s writeup of the Jorge Polanco trade. Sandlin was acquired from Kansas City for reliever John Schreiber a couple of days ago. He’s a pretty typical three-quarters arm slot righty with a mid-90s fastball and presently average slider. His changeup’s rate stats from 2023 suggest he should be throwing it more, and we should all be looking to see if Boston tweaks the shape/grip of his slider this year. They have two years to develop him before he needs to be put on the 40-man.

Catchers
Carter Jensen, C, Kansas City Royals
Moises Ballesteros, C/1B, Chicago Cubs
Drake Baldwin, C, Atlanta Braves
Drew Romo, C, Colorado Rockies
Daniel Susac, C, Oakland Athletics
Dominic Keegan, C/1B, Tampa Bay Rays
Ben Rice, C/1B, New York Yankees — Full Report

Jensen was a 2021 third rounder who signed for just over a million bucks. He is still only 20 and is going to get to power by virtue of his raw juice and pull/lift style of hitting. He also has a great arm, but he’s likely to wind up with a bottom-of-the-scale hit tool and needs to improve his ball-blocking pretty badly. He’s risky but has primary catcher upside because of his power. Ballesteros is a young 20-year-old C/1B built like Daniel Vogelbach. If he can break convention the way Alejandro Kirk has, he’ll be an everyday catcher. More likely, he’s a first baseman who doesn’t quite have the hit/power combo to profile as an impact guy there.

If Baldwin continues to perform like he did last season, he’ll be bumped to the Top 100 pretty quickly. He’s a well-rounded defensive catcher who had an uptick in power last season. He clears the bar at the position from a bat-to-ball standpoint. Baldwin’s on the smaller side and hits the ball on the ground a lot, so we still have questions about durability and whether he’ll consistently be able to match his 16-homer output from last year. Romo has plus bat-to-ball ability, but his approach and lack of power put his offense more on the primary catcher fringe, and he’s only an okay defender. Big Daniel Susac was Oakland’s first round pick from the 2022 draft. He’s almost the complete opposite of Baldwin, a big-framed power hitter with hit tool and plate discipline question marks. He hit for power at High-A last year. The Rays tried to move Keegan behind the dish full-time in pro ball (he moonlighted there in college), and he’s hit well but doesn’t look the part on defense.

Spent Most of 2023 Injured
Druw Jones, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Kumar Rocker, RHP, Texas Rangers
Andy Pages, RF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Seth Johnson, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Felnin Celesten, SS, Seattle Mariners
Justin Campbell, RHP, Cleveland Guardians
Jordy Vargas, RHP, Colorado Rockies

Jones has dealt with a slew of injuries since turning pro and has looked a mess at the dish when he’s been healthy enough to play. He can still really go get it in center field, which gives him a floor of sorts, but he badly needs a swing change. Everyone would settle for him just being healthy and playing, at least initially. Remember that Rocker had Tommy John surgery last May, which puts him on pace for a mid-summer return. The Titans just hired his dad as their defensive line coach. Pages, still just 23, tore his labrum during a swing last year and had season-ending surgery. When healthy, he’s a strikeout-prone corner outfielder with plus power that he gets to consistently via huge launch. (Pages was averaging a 26 degree launch angle before he got hurt last year; Jack Suwinski led qualified big league hitters with an average launch of 22.4 degrees).

Johnson was a Top 100 prospect a couple of years ago before an unfortunately timed Tommy John knocked him out for a couple of seasons. The Rays traded him to Baltimore as part of the Jose Siri/Trey Mancini three-team swap at the 2022 deadline (Chayce McDermott came from Houston in that deal too), and Johnson didn’t pitch at an O’s affiliate until late in 2023. He looked like his usual self, sitting 95 mph across just five short starts. While in 2021 it looked like things were going to work out for Johnson as a starter, in part because of the timing of his surgery and the pandemic, he hasn’t pitched all that much for the last five years. At peak, he would sit 92-97 and feature two good breaking balls, which would play in a bullpen if the Orioles quickly shift him into that role.

Celesten was a prominent prospect from two international signing periods ago, a switch-hitter with the potential to be a do-everything shortstop. A severe hamstring strain limited his 2023 activity. Eric saw him in the fall for a couple of days, and he looked rusty at the plate but good on defense. Campbell could have been (and maybe should have been) in the Black Box Pitching group of this year’s Picks to Click. The graceful 6-foot-7 righty was Cleveland’s 2022 first rounder, but he has yet to throw a pro pitch at an affiliate because he was shut down post-draft and then had May 2023 surgery to relieve pressure on his ulnar nerve. He had premium extension/approach angle traits and a plus changeup when healthy. Vargas seemed ticketed for the Top 100 during the first couple months of 2023, but he blew out in early July and needed TJ. Hopefully he gets some action late in 2024; at this stage, he’s the site’s “fingers crossed for Fall League looks” prospect. Healthy Jordy has a great curveball, sits in the mid-90s, and has a spindly, loose, projectable frame.

Rule 5 Picks
Mitch Spence, RHP, Oakland Athletics (NYY)
Matt Sauer, RHP, Kansas City Royals (NYY)
Anthony Molina, RHP, Colorado Rockies (TBR)
Shane Drohan, LHP, Chicago White Sox (BOS)
Nasim Nuñez, SS, Washington Nationals (MIA)
Ryan Fernandez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (BOS)
Justin Slaten, RHP, Boston Red Sox (TEX)
Deyvison De Los Santos, 1B/3B, Cleveland Guardians (ARI)
Stephen Kolek, RHP, San Diego Padres (SEA)
Carson Coleman, RHP, Texas Rangers (NYY)

Rather than go over the scouting reports for this group (which you can find here), let’s quickly take stock of the roster situations around them as they all attempt to win a spot during camp.

Spence will almost certainly make the team because Oakland needs durable pitching and Spence is exactly that, plus we can’t imagine John Fisher taking a $50,000 bath on a Rule 5 pick. The many veteran bullpen additions in Kansas City perhaps put Sauer at risk of not making that team. If Jake Brentz looks like his old self this spring, that bullpen could suddenly be very crowded. Jonathan Bowlan and Angel Zerpa both have starting experience and could be instant long relievers (a role Sauer is currently projected for) if the Royals don’t feel like burning both of their last options. Molina has a pretty good chance to make the Rockies because of their lack of alternatives, plus they have two relievers (Angel Chivilli and Juan Mejia) who in their first year on the 40-man are still more developmental types than big league-ready arms. Drohan could be sent back to Boston if the walk issues he had later in 2023 persist; the White Sox don’t otherwise have the alternatives to push him off the roster. Nuñez might have a tough time sticking on Washington’s roster because CJ Abrams (who played high school ball 40 minutes from Nasim) is entrenched at shortstop. Unless Washington is ready to move on from Luis García Jr. or Carter Kieboom (both are out of options), it will be tough for him to make the team.

St. Louis’ bullpen isn’t destitute, but it would probably take a couple of the current NRIs (Ryan Loutos, maybe?) kicking the door down during spring training to domino Fernandez off the roster. Slaten has had bouts of wildness during his career and could conceivably be too wild to be rostered during Grapefruit League action, but most of the rest of Boston’s current relief corps has multiple option years left, so he isn’t getting squeezed off because of their roster structure. Cleveland has José Ramírez entrenched at third base and Josh Naylor seemingly ticketed for DH. That means De Los Santos will compete to claim the first base job; Jhonkensy Noel (on the 40-man) and Kyle Manzardo (NRI) are also in the mix. Kolek will probably have the toughest time making the team because San Diego has so many guys without options remaining, plus a couple of other good young arms who do but who might just beat him for a job. Coleman will still be rehabbing from his April 2023 TJ when camp breaks, so whether he makes Texas’ roster will depend more on how he looks once he actually starts pitching and what the Rangers’ bullpen looks like at that moment in time.

Monstrous Power
Zach Dezenzo, DH, Houston Astros
Lazaro Montes, RF, Seattle Mariners
Josue De Paula, LF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Abimelec Ortiz, 1B, Texas Rangers

The 23-year-old Dezenzo has very special physicality and power in the mold of Christian Encarnacion-Strand. It’s enough power for him to be an exciting role player. Apprehension regarding his defense and how he will perform against big league-quality fastballs limit his projection to that range. He’s a pretty bad third base defender and has a few too many strikeouts for comfort as a DH.

Montes is a mountainous teenager very similar in build to Kyle Blanks, and he is much, much bigger than his listed 210 pounds. He has plus raw power right now. How much he’ll grow into is up for debate, because Laz is already pretty maxed out. He struck out at a 25% clip on the complex and at Low-A in 2023, and that number will probably grow as he climbs. To give you an idea of how thin the margins between the Top 100 and this bucket are, let’s compare Montes to Rays first baseman Xavier Isaac, who made it. Isaac’s in-zone contact rates were a fair bit better than Laz’s (77% vs 71%), but they were nearly identical across the board by every other measure. Isaac’s conditioning has trended in a positive direction since he signed, while Montes’ has been more neutral/negative (there are some Franmil Reyes similarities), and Isaac has (in our subjective visual scouting opinion) better tactile feel to hit than Montes does.

De Paula was stuffed on last year’s Dodgers list in anticipation of a huge breakout. Instead, he only did okay, which is still good for an 18-year-old in full season ball. His power is not nearly as actualized as these other guys, either in terms of launch or exit velos. We still really like him — he’s a 45+ FV prospect. Because it’s a corner outfield fit on defense, we want to see him prove that the power is there more than he has so far before valuing him along side guys who have. Ortiz presents a lefty-hitting Yermín Mercedes look in the uniform and has about as much bat speed. His classic low-ball lefty swing produces huge airborne power, and he swings really, really hard, with a 45% hard-hit rate on the year at age 20. Ortiz is at least going to be some kind of lefty platoon stick as a 1B/DH and has a chance to be an everyday first baseman. Not bad for an undrafted free agent.

Pitching Prospects Beginning 40-man Platform Years
Chad Dallas, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays — Full Report
Jagger Haynes, LHP, San Diego Padres
Jean Pinto, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Yordanny Monegro, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Ky Bush, LHP, Chicago White Sox — Full Report
Will Dion, LHP, Cleveland Guardians
Keyshawn Askew, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Jack Leiter, RHP, Texas Rangers
Julian Aguiar, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Jaden Hill, RHP, Colorado Rockies
Dax Fulton, LHP, Miami Marlins
Christian McGowan, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies — Full Report
Austin Love, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

For this category, we tried to pick arms who are a little farther away from the big leagues but still have a chance to post such a strong 2024 that they climb a few levels and make a good 40-man case. Haynes, 21, was a 2020 high school draft pick who didn’t get on an affiliated mound until 2023 in part due to a TJ. When he returned, the prototypically-framed lefty was sitting 92-96 and had the makings of a good curveball. He’s still barely thrown in affiliated ball. Pinto, 23, is a stocky, catcherly righty who has good secondary stuff (plus slider and changeup), but whose fastball and command that are both below average. Ideally, he’ll polish his command enough to be a junk-balling starter; if not, he’s a MIRP prospect.

Monegro is a whippy-armed righty with mid-90s heat, plus breaking stuff, and prototypical size. His arm action is still quite long and he has considerable relief risk, but after he began 2023 on the complex, he should be given an opportunity to climb quickly now that he’s in his 40-man eval year. Dion is a softer-tossing lefty with a vertical arm slot and riding fastball that punches way above its weight. He also has a plus changeup. If he can throw harder, he’ll be an easy postseason 40-man add. Askew was acquired from the Mets for Brooks Raley last offseason. He has a low slot, low-90s/slider reliever look, but was being developed as a starter until last June. After moving to the bullpen, where Askew pitched two or three innings at a time, he struck out 75 and had a 1.25 WHIP in 51 innings. He’s probably a reliever. The same is increasingly true for Leiter, who can’t seem to walk fewer than 5/9 IP. His huge fastball should at least allow for a higher-leverage relief role.

The 22-year-old Aguiar throws lots of strikes with a 93-96 mph fastball, and commands a fairly pedestrian slider and changeup. He ended 2023 at Double-A and should be up by next year, profiling as a backend starter. Hill threw some of the best sliders Eric has ever seen in last year’s Arizona Fall League. He’s probably a reliever but looks nasty enough to be a team’s closer soon. Fulton was Miami’s 2020 second rounder and he was tracking like at least a no. 4/5 starter when he blew out in the middle of last year. The timing of his surgery was late enough that he’ll likely miss all of 2024, though he’ll likely be protected from the Rule 5 anyway to prevent other teams from stashing him on the IL early in 2025. Love missed most of 2023 with a forearm strain, but prior to that had shown plus velocity, strikes, and a great curveball across 125 innings.

Talented, Terrifying
Yanquiel Fernandez, RF, Colorado Rockies
Hunter Goodman, RF/1B, Colorado Rockies
Tyler Locklear, 1B, Seattle Mariners
Gabriel Gonzalez, RF, Minnesota Twins
Marco Luciano, RF, San Francisco Giants

Goodman and Fernandez garnered Top 100 consideration despite their overt flaws. Both chase enough that it fundamentally alters their profile, especially Yanquiel. Goodman had a 38% chase rate against sliders in 2023, per Synergy. He also swings about as hard as anyone in baseball and is dangerous all over the zone. He caught about a dozen games in 2023 and more often played an outfield corner, first base, or DH’d. He’s at the bottom of the defensive spectrum, yes, but he is fairly versatile. Fernandez’s best swings are some of the sickest, coolest-looking swings in the game, and Wiffle ball fields in Colorado will soon be populated with kids trying to mimic it. He’s at risk of having the rookie season Oscar Colás did. Yanquiel swings at a 57% clip, and chases north of 50% when he’s got two strikes on him. That’s a lot, and it’s a enough of a problem that a Jesús Sánchez comp is probably apt.

Locklear was a pre-draft favorite of Eric’s when he was at VCU and he had a fantastic 2023 on the surface, especially at High-A Everett, where he posted a 162 wRC+. Locklear’s bat path is so vertical that he struggles to reach fastballs away from him and we’re pretty skeptical that he’ll keep hitting the way he has so far. Gonzalez’s scouting report from the Jorge Polanco trade can be found here.

Luciano is in “Everson Pereira Purgatory” as far as we’re concerned. The muscular 22-year-old has plus-plus power, but he’s only truly dangerous in the very middle of the zone. He ran a 64% contact rate last year. If he could play short, that might be okay given how much power he has, but Luciano’s defense isn’t consistent enough to consider him a likely shortstop. He has the arm, but his range and hands are not as reliable. And there really aren’t many big leaguers, even at shortstop, who make contact at a rate this low. Trevor Story (also not the best shortstop defender, lots of strikeouts) has been a 74% contact hitter. We’ve moved off Lu pretty substantially.

Lower-Variance 45 FV Types
Jacob Wilson, SS, Oakland Athletics
Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
Justin Foscue, 1B/2B, Texas Rangers
Nick Loftin, 2B/3B/OF, Kansas City Royals
Austin Martin, 2B/LF, Minnesota Twins
Jorbit Vivas, 2B, New York Yankees — Full Report

Wilson had the lowest strikeout rate among qualified college hitters in 2022 at a microscopic 2.8%, and only swung and missed 18 times during his junior year. He posted a whopping 10-to-1 ball-in-play-to-whiff ratio during the 2023 college season and ended his career at Grand Canyon hitting .361/.419/.558. A lot of Wilson’s contact is incredibly light and on the ground. He is rail thin, especially throughout his forearms, and he needs to get stronger to withstand the day-to-day grind of pro ball, let alone have any kind of big league power. Whether or not he builds strength as a pro will be the difference between him having a Kevin Newman type of career or something more. The same is true of Schanuel, the Angels’ 2023 first rounder out of Florida Atlantic who shot through the minors after the draft. He’s a good hitter, but it’s tough to be an impact first baseman when you’re slugging under .400. Because he came from a smaller school, one can hope pro resources will coax more strength out of him. Foscue is a high-contact first baseman with 40-grade raw power. He should be able to play 2B/3B situationally and be a flawed but valuable role player, and sometimes guys like this become Wilmer Flores later on. Loftin and Martin have plus hit tools and 30 power. They both play a few positions but not all that well, especially Martin who fits best in left field. Loftin was given center field run two seasons ago, but has settled into a five-position mix at second base and all four corner positions.

Mystery Men
Reggie Crawford, LHP, San Francisco Giants
Walker Martin, SS, San Francisco Giants
Yohandy Morales, 3B, Washington Nationals
Ignacio Alvarez, 3B, Atlanta Braves
Gunnar Hoglund, RHP, Oakland Athletics

Crawford was a hard-throwing college LHP/1B who had TJ prior to the draft. The Giants developed him as a two-way player during his rehab but, after a rough looking 2023 Fall League, it seems like he’ll just be a pitcher going forward. Crawford’s fastball has been parked in the 96-99 mph range in limited action since returning from TJ and he has a deadly slider. Will a third pitch and starter-quality control arrive as he focuses solely on pitching? If it does, this guy will take a profound leap. Martin was an old-for-the-class 2023 high school draft pick who generated wildly variable hit tool evals from the amateur side. His swing is beautiful and he has rare lefty bat speed on a potential shortstop, but injuries limited his post-draft playing time and we essentially have no new info on the bat-to-ball front because of it. Morales was highly ranked prior to the draft and fell way beyond where Eric expected he’d go. His total inability to pull the ball may have something to do with it. Are his inside-out swings a sign he’ll struggle against upper-level velo? Morales checks virtually every other scouting box (frame, power, arm) except for plate discipline.

If you told us Alvarez was going to be a plus third base defender, he’d probably already be on the Top 100. Projecting on his third base defense in the abstract is difficult, but it’s going to be a very important part of his overall profile if/when Atlanta starts to play him there. He basically only played shortstop in 2023, where he presents an atypical look from a build and athleticism standpoint. Alvarez has a contact and OBP-driven profile with 40 or 45 power, which makes him a likely big leaguer but isn’t awesome for a third baseman. But if he’s going to be a really excellent defender, too? Then we’re talking about a guy who profiles in an everyday capacity.

Hoglund seemed tee’d up for a post-TJ rehab breakout. He was a slider surgeon with low-90s heat in college, the kind of prospect poised to take a leap if he could throw harder, which sometimes happens as pitchers strengthen their bodies during the rehab process. Instead, Hoglund returned with mediocre arm strength and averaged 91-92 in 2023. There’s some buzz that he’s currently throwing harder than that, which we hope carries into the season.

Guys Who Sit 97-plus
Quinton Low, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Walbert Urena, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Justin Martinez, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Lenny Torres Jr., RHP, Cleveland Guardians
Reynaldo Yean, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Carlos Lagrange, RHP, New York Yankees — Full Report
Luis Guerrero, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Jarlin Susana, RHP, Washington Nationals
Yerlin Rodriguez, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

Lowe was a Day Three high school pick in 2021 who has developed as a two-way player so far. His future in on the mound, where Lowe sits 96-97, will touch 100, and has a nasty vertical breaking ball. He walked nearly a batter per inning last year, but he’s pretty likely to be a 40-man add after the 2024 season unless things totally unravel for him. Urena is a lightning-armed 20-year-old who sits 95-97, will bump 99, and badly needs to improve his fastball control. The Angels had him throw 66% fastballs in 2023. His changeup occasionally has bat-missing action and gives him a shot at one day having a second finishing weapon. Will a third pitch and command develop here such that Urena can start? Probably not. You probably saw Justin Martinez in the big leagues last year. He sits 100, and his relatively new splitter gives him a second plus pitch. He’s talented and erratic and might have a window where he gives the D-backs bullpen exactly what it’s lacked the past couple of seasons. Torres has had a huge velo rebound and sat 96-97 in 2023. The former comp pick also had a spike in walks, but this arm strength is very new. Yean was the hardest thrower in the 2022 DSL, then averaged 98-99 mph in 2023 and reached Low-A Rancho as a teenager. He’s a reliever all the way. Guerrero had an uneven 2023 but sits 95-97 mph and will touch 100, scattering his location like dandelion seeds in a 100-mph wind. Susana was the most precarious part of the Juan Soto trade return and had a mediocre strikeout performance in 2023 even though his stuff is really nasty-looking. Rodriguez has more starer-y mechanical and athletic traits than anyone else in this bucket, but he’s slight of build and has struggled with walks in pro ball. He’s a lean 21-year-old who sits 96 and has a plus-flashing slider.





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py2slmember
1 month ago

If you are not yet a FG member, what more do you need?
Support Fangraphs!

catmanwayne
1 month ago
Reply to  py2sl

I live on a budget, and from what I gather you paying members get the same exact content as the rest of us cheapskates. I do turn my adblocker off for this site, though.

hdawg45
1 month ago
Reply to  py2sl

Ppl who have even the remotest knowledge of baseball or scouting would be nice to have, then maybe

Carson Kahla
1 month ago
Reply to  hdawg45

Okay troll. Multiple times people who work with Eric or under Eric have been hired by MLB teams. Kevin GoldStein just last year was hired away from FG to revamp the Twins developmental system. No they don’t have failed baseball execs, but honestly good, those guys failed for a reason.

rossredcaymember
1 month ago
Reply to  hdawg45

Why on earth are you here then?

hdawg45
1 month ago
Reply to  rossredcay

Gotta get my daily laughs in, and no place delivers that like these articles

SadaharuWhoamember
1 month ago
Reply to  hdawg45

Now I see why Eric doesn’t read the comments.

sharks2431
1 month ago
Reply to  hdawg45

Trolling a niche baseball website propect writer. We may have found the saddest person on the internet folks.

hdawg45
1 month ago
Reply to  sharks2431

Nowhere near as sad as using FG as a accurate source of info

casey jmember
1 month ago
Reply to  hdawg45

Pick any one report on a player, and show me what is inaccurate? Almost anyone reading is just a fan of the game, and we can go see these players for ourselves, and disagree with part of the reports. I don’t see the problem you have.

LCPCmember
1 month ago
Reply to  hdawg45

This has to be a bit…

Greg Simonsmember
1 month ago
Reply to  LCPC

If it’s a bit, it’s about the lamest one ever.

Some people just enjoy being @$$holes.

Last edited 1 month ago by Greg Simons
Cool Lester Smoothmember
1 month ago
Reply to  py2sl

Paycheck dropped half an hour ago, rejoined now.