MLB Top 100 Prospects 2024 - Dynasty Baseball Rising Stars
Discover the top 100 prospects for dynasty fantasy baseball and gain an edge in your league. Get insights on the next wave of potential stars in the game.
Welcome to our preseason 2024 Top 100 Prospects for dynasty fantasy baseball. While baseball never sleeps for me, and it feels like we have been in full-throttle mode all offseason, with the turn of the calendar, it feels like many are checking back into baseball!
My goal in doing prospect rankings for dynasty is to bridge the gap between the scouting and fantasy communities. Many fantasy-created lists are stat-line driven, which is fine. But the scouting and real-life baseball community often values players completely differently than dynasty writers. I formulate these rankings using live scouting, video, and advanced analytics.
Each year, I spend more and more time at the ballpark, with this year being over 50 games. Film and data study among other things consume a lot of time in these rankings and writeups, but it is all to try and create the best list for dynasty players possible.
I often get asked what goes into my prospect rankings. My process begins with evaluating prospects on a team-by-team basis. I want to get my eyes on every player possible. It is a long process, but it is essential when ranking prospects. Live looks give you a different perspective than just watching games on MILB.TV, but you can gather plenty from watching film. I spend ample time watching every prospect I rank.
I rank each player based on how I would draft them in a prospect-only draft in a dynasty startup league. Essentially, I am looking for which prospects project to provide the most to my dynasty teams once they are in the Majors. I am not looking at a “what have you done for me lately” kind of deal.
Having access to MILB statcast and advanced metrics for every player is huge. It has undoubtedly helped solidify what the eye test shows in many circumstances.
Over the years, I have continued to refine my prospect evaluations and see what traits may cause a prospect to bust. Or what are underrated traits or undervalued prospects? All of that is incorporated into my process as well.
This year, I decided to provide the entire top-100 free for all to read. The list will actually expand out to a top-1,000 for the deepest dynasty leagues, but that will be for Dynasty Dugout members only. This year, we will also have detailed writeups on every player. Subscribe below as we will be dropping our top-1000 prospect and dynasty rankings over the next several weeks.
The Top-100 was too large to publish the entire thing here so I put it in PDF format you can find attached below.
SORTABLE EXCEL SHEET WITH TIERS
2024 Top Prospects for Dynasty Fantasy Baseball
1. Junior Caminero, 3B, TB, 20, 6’2”/215
While some would call Caminero a 2023 breakout prospect, he has been a dude dating back to his Dominican Summer League days in the Cleveland Guardians organization. With a list weight of 157 pounds, Caminero has bulked up significantly but has not sacrificed a ton of athleticism in the process. The power is among the best in all of baseball and he is only 20 years old.
Mashing 31 home runs in 2023 across 117 games, Caminero posted elite exit velocities, reaching 111 mph on his 90th percentile exit velocity, which would rank in the top five among all hitters in baseball. The power is evident to all fields, and he can hit opposite-field home runs with the flick of his wrist. You could argue for a 70 grade on his power, and I would not be upset.
The contact skills are average as Caminero posted a contact rate north of 73 percent and a zone contact rate north of 80 percent. He is not going to be a .324 hitter like we saw in the minors, but he is capable of being a .270+ hitter consistently. The bat speed and barrel control allow Caminero to make adjustments on the fly in his swing and cover the zone well without expanding it too often.
Speed will not be a part of his game, and while he may give you a near zero in stolen bases, it is balanced out by the elite power and solid feel to hit. Caminero is not only the Rays top prospect but also arguably the top prospect in all of baseball. He is a swing tweak away from putting up elite power seasons.
2. Wyatt Langford, OF, TEX, 22, 6’1”/225
Langford mashed in his career at Florida, hitting 47 home runs and slashing .363/.471/.746 while striking out just 14.6 percent of the time and walking 15 percent across 610 plate appearances.
Langford does not chase often and has a strong feel for contact in the zone. Chasing just 15 percent of pitches collegiately while making contact on 88 percent of pitches in the zone is rather impressive. Langford’s average exit velocity in college trailed Crews by a decent margin, but a number sitting near 91 mph is still very impressive, considering his higher-end exit velocities were stellar(110 mph, 90th percentile).
Langford exploded in his pro debut and made himself the number one in the draft class and, for some, the top overall prospect. Between four levels and 200 plate appearances, Langford slashed .360/.480/.677 with ten home runs and 29 extra-base hits.
The underlying data from college carried right over to pro ball as Langford made contact at a high clip, posting a zone contact rate north of 85 percent while his overall contact rate sat near 81 percent. The chase rate was right-in-line with his college number, and his 90th percentile exit velocity was north of 107 mph.
Langford was on the taxi squad during the World Series and was a legitimate candidate to replace Adolis Garcia on the roster when he went down with an injury, speaking highly of how the Rangers view Langford. There is a strong possibility he is on the 2024 Opening Day roster, but if not, it will not be long before he is roaming the outfield with the Rangers.
3. Jackson Holliday, MI, BAL, 20, 6’0”/185
What do you know, the number one prospect in baseball also happens to be the number one prospect on an Orioles-centric list. At just 19 years old in his first full professional season after being selected number one overall in the 2022 MLB draft, the son of former very successful major leaguer Matt Holliday raced through the minor leagues ending the year with AAA Norfolk, holding his own.
The surprises started early in 2023 when Jackson was invited to big league spring training and stuck around longer than your typical young prospect that has no chance of making the team. Despite that, he started his season all the way down in low A Delmarva where he finished 2022. A 226 wRC+ over 67 plate appearances got him quickly promoted to A+ Aberdeen, where he settled in with 259 PA’s to the tune of a 162 wRC+. Next was AA Bowie, where he didn’t slow down at all, 154 wRC+ over 164 PA’s, and then 91 PA’s in AAA, where he put up a measly 109 wRC+.
Holliday combines an elite hit tool with an elite batting eye at such a young age that he has set himself up to potentially make his major league debut not long after his 20th birthday perhaps as soon as opening day 2024. Checking in with a chase rate under 20 percent last season shows the elite batting eye as well as making contact on over 82 percent of pitches in zone.
If he doesn’t start next season with the Orioles it will only be a matter of time until he is called up. A lot depends on the improvements he is able to make over the offseason as well as the Orioles front office weighing the importance of a potential bonus first round pick (like the one they just received for Gunnar Henderson winning AL RoY) versus an extra year of control of the Scott Boras client.
Offensively the only thing missing is growing into a little more power, although he still had 30 doubles, 9 triples, and 12 home runs combined last season. The exit velocities were pretty respectable for a hitter with a smaller build that is 19, as Holliday posted a 91 mph average exit velocity and a 102.3 mph 90th percentile. The average exit velocity is firmly above average and the 90th percentile being average for the minor leagues.
He also needs to lift the ball more to get into 20+ home run territory and it shows as the harder he hit the ball, the lower the launch angle. Holliday had just a 6 degree launch angle on balls hit over 95 mph and a negative one degree launch angle to the pull side.
His defense has yet to catch up with his bat so he may start his career as more of a second baseman than a shortstop, but these are not long-term concerns. Holliday is about as safe of a prospect as you will find and could spend the entire 2024 season in the Majors as a 20-year-old.
4. Jackson Chourio, OF, MIL, 19, 6’1”/170
Chourio made waves in the prospect community in 2022 as a young 18-year-old who completely skipped the Complex and headed off to Single-A Carolina, where he hit the ground running. Chourio made it to Double-A in 2022 and, between three levels, slashed .288/.342/.538 with 20 home runs, 55 extra base hits, and 16 stolen bases in 99 games, elevating his stock to one of the top prospects in baseball.
2023 was a tale of two halves, and to me, it was clear the tacky ball had a large effect on him in the first half as Chourio spent his season in Biloxi, part of the Southern League. In the first half, he hit just .249/.304/.410 with 11 home runs and 23 stolen bases. The swing-and-miss issues stemmed mostly from changeups, which were moving much more aggressively with the pre-tacked ball. His contact rate in the first half of 75 percent jumped to 81 percent in the second half as Chourio mashed and made his way to Triple-A, finishing the second half with a slash of .324/.379/.538 with 11 home runs in 57 games.
Chourio already gets to big exit velocities and puts the ball out of the park to all fields. His average exit velocity hovered around 91 mph, while his 90th percentile exit velocity sat at 105 mph. Chourio has posted exit velocities as high as 113 mph, which is pretty impressive for his age, all while running hard-hit rates north of 55 percent.
From a plate discipline standpoint, Chourio is quite aggressive and has shown the propensity to chase pitches out of the zone, but he makes up for it with the amount of contact that he makes. As previously mentioned, the contact rate jumped significantly in the second half, but was solid even with the tacky ball in play in the Southern League. It is worth noting that despite a high chase rate of 35 percent, he showed a much better feel in Triple-A, chasing just 22 percent of pitches out of the zone.
The pure upside with Chourio compares to any hitter in the Minors. There is power, a strong feel for contact, and the speed to steal 30 bases per season consistently. Considering the data and poise he has shown as a young prospect, it is fun to dream on the kind of player Chourio could become.
5. Dylan Crews, OF, WSH, 21, 6’0”/205
Crews put together an illustrious career at LSU, slashing .380/.498/.689 with 58 home runs across 983 plate appearances. He struck out just 15.5 percent of the time while walking 16.2 percent.
Crews has massive power and as good of a plate approach as you will find. He chased less than 15 percent of the time and posted an average exit velocity north of 95 mph. Pair those with an 85 percent zone contact rate and a near 110 mph 90th percentile exit velocity, and you have an elite hitter.
With the Nationals, we can now dream of a future outfield that includes Crews, James Wood, and maybe Elijah Green if he can figure out his swing-and-miss issues. Crews will be pushed quickly, and I won’t be surprised if we see him in Washington by late 2024.
Some may be concerned with Crews’ struggles in Double-A, but some bad BABIP luck in the worst hitters’ park in the minors can do that. Still, Crews’ debut line was .292/.377/.467 with five home runs. Crews is an incredible player who got passed by Langford, not by taking a tumble.
6. Walker Jenkins, OF, MIN, 18, 6’3”/210
Jenkins is a slugger and the ideal mold for a dynasty stud that we rarely see in prep bats. Having an ideal frame, standing at 6’3”/210 pounds, and has one of the best swings you will see from the left side. Jenkins is an incredible athlete and has a ton of physicality. It is easy to see 30 home run potential in Jenkins’ bat.
In a small pro sample, Jenkins posted a zone-contact rate north of 90 percent and an overall contact rate of 82 percent. He chased below a league average rate and showed a good feel of hitting balls to all fields.
The contact skills are firmly plus with a beautiful swing. Pair that with big time power potential, and you have a potential stud. While the exit velocities were not overly impressive in his pro debut, there is still a ton of power upside. You can envision a .280/30 HR/10 SB type bat, which is huge for fantasy purposes.
On top of baseball skills, scouts rave about Jenkins as a human being. You would be hard-pressed to find a better all-around person on top of his baseball talent. The Twins got a good one.
Jenkins's debut confirmed what we thought pre-draft, a potential plus hit/power/speed, slashing .362/.417/.571 with three home runs, four triples, and five doubles while stealing six bases in 26 games.
7. Evan Carter, OF, TEX, 21, 6’2”/190
Carter has long been known as a high-floor hitter who gets on base at a high clip, dating back to his debut in 2021. Most teams did not even have Carter on their radar in the 2020 draft as a prep player that many thought would land at Duke, where he was committed. The Rangers liked him enough to snag him in the second round, and it looks like a steal.
Another strong Minor League season in which Carter slashed .288/.413/.450 led him to be called up to the Majors in September, where he mashed through the playoffs. With the Rangers, Carter hit over .300 and five home runs in 23 games, which was impressive considering he hit just 13 in 108 Minor League games.
Carter has a well-rounded skill set, but his hit-tool-and-plate approach is probably his best asset. Posting a contact rate of 75 percent with an in-zone rate of 83 percent in the minors, Carter saw a small tick back on both numbers from 2022. The chase rate of 19 percent this season was also a very impressive number, which helped lead to high OBPs. Carter has posted elite chase rates his entire career, and that carried over to the Majors as he chased just nine percent of pitches out of the zone in a small sample.
The power is the biggest question mark in his game, with average exit velocities of 85 mph and 85.5 mph over the last two seasons. In the majors, that jumped to 89, which was encouraging, but it was a small sample. Carter has a projectable body and is still 21 years old, leaving plenty of time for him to fill out and add power.
The in-game power does play up beyond the exit velocities because Carter hits the ball at ideal launch angles consistently. In fact, his sweet spot percentage in majors would have ranked at the top of the majors.
Carter does so many things well, having above-average contact with plus plate discipline and run times. He is a threat to steal bases, and if the power comes around, Carter could be a star. While he will need to improve against lefties, the numbers are not as bad as some make them out to be, with the contact rate dropping to around 71 percent. He will spend nearly the entire 2024 season as a 21 year-old in the Majors.
8. Jasson Dominguez, OF, NYY, 20, 5’11”/210
One of the most hyped prospects on the international market in the last ten years, Dominguez, deemed ‘The Martian” was unfairly compared to players like Mike Trout, Bo Jackson, and Mickey Mantle. No one can live up to those kind of comps, but Dominguez has been pretty dang if we say so ourselves.
After a strong Double-A season in 2023 in which he hit 15 home runs and slashed .254/.367/.414 with 37 stolen bases, Dominguez spent just nine games tearing it up in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before making his MLB Debut.
You could not have asked for a more picturesque debut from the Martian, who hit four home runs in eight games before unfortunately tearing his UCL.
A few mechanical tweaks helped lead to the breakout in 2023, including limiting his leg kick and hand load.
The power is legit as Dominguez posted a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106 mph, putting the power grade firmly plus. The contact rates also made a massive jump throughout the season. Through the end of June, Dominguez was rocking a contact rate just north of 70 percent through 303 plate appearances. Through July forward, we saw that number jump to 80 percent across 233 plate appearances.
The speed has remained despite Dominguez’s body fluctuating in size throughout the early parts of his career. He has gotten better jumps on stolen bases and swiped 41 in 49 attempts in 2023.
Dominguez is a crazy good athlete with power and speed. If the contact improvements stick into 2024 and the power comes back post-UCL surgery, there is endless upside in this profile.
9. Jordan Lawlar, SS, ARI, 21, 6’2”/185
Lawlar went from being selected sixth overall in 2021 to a top 10 overall prospect rather quickly. He has stayed in that range throughout his career due to solid performance, even making it to the Majors this season as a young 21-year-old.
Lawlar slashed .278/.378/.496 between Double-A and Triple-A this season with 20 home runs and 36 stolen bases. Through the season's first two months, Lawlar was slashing just .165/.299/.339 with a 68 percent contact rate. After that, Lawlar posted a 78 percent contact rate and saw the slash line jump to .325/.416/.565.
Lawlar controls the barrel and the strike zone well. The increase in the contact rate throughout the season was a significant step in the right direction. He also has shown respectable chase rates, which lead to walks and higher OBPs.
From a power standpoint, Lawlar’s exit velocities took a step forward this season from being below average to being slightly above average for his age and level this year. His 103 mph 90th percentile exit velocity sits right around the MLB average.
Speed is Lawlar’s best asset, checking in with 70-grade run times and a strong ability to steal bases. In his MiLB career, Lawlar has stolen 76 bases and been caught just 11 times.
Getting Major League experience was huge for Lawlar as he likely begins the 2024 season as the Diamondbacks starting shortstop. While the numbers may not be elite next year, we could see plenty of 20 home run/30 stolen base seasons with solid batting averages and on-base percentages.
10. Coby Mayo, CI, BAL, 21, 6’5”/230
The Orioles also have another very young infielder who will indubitably make his Major League debut in 2024, and this one has no questions remaining regarding his power. Mayo will spend the entire season next year as a 22-year-old with 267 plate appearances under his belt in AAA already.
The fourth round overslot pick from the COVID-shortened 2020 draft started 2023 with AA Bowie and dominated the pitching at that level over 347 PAs with a 178 wRC+. Repeating the level after getting 145 PAs with Bowie to end the 2022 season, Mayo doubled his ISO (.296), dropped his strikeout rate by nearly 10% (24.8), and increased his walk rate by 6.4% (14.7).
When he finally moved up to AAA his walk and strikeout rates only got even better (15.7% and 23.2% respectively) as he put up a 127 wRC+. Even better, after an early adjustment period he finished the season by hitting .308 with a 1.036 OPS and 162 wRC+ over his final 185 plate appearances with a 19.5% walk rate and 21.1% strikeout rate.
Mayo makes enough contact when you considering the quality of the contact, checking in with a 74 percent clip, while making contact on pitches in the zone at an 83 percent rate. He also posts low chase rates and is a selective hitter.
The power is massive and Mayo posted an average exit velocity of 92 mph to pair with a near 107 mph 90th percentile, putting the power in the plus or better range.
That is elite stuff at 21 years old. He also continued to improve his defense at third base giving him a very good chance to play the position in the majors, but he will also be getting reps in the outfield over the offseason, where his 70 grade arm can play.
11. Noelvi Marte, 3B, CIN, 22, 6’0”/216
After a strong performance across Double-A and Triple-A in 2023 in which Marte slashed .279/.358/.454 with 11 home runs and 35 extra-base hits in 99 games, he earned a call to Cincinnati, where he had an impressive showing in 35 games. Across 123 MLB plate appearances, Marte slashed .316/.366/.456 with three home runs and seven doubles.
Marte originally signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2018 before being the centerpiece of the trade that sent Luis Castillo to Seattle. Despite filling out the frame quite well and adding a ton of muscle mass, Marte has sustained his ability to play shortstop before settling in the hot corner in the majors.
There is massive raw power in the profile as Marte has explosive bat speed and strong torque from his frame. Both the power and the bat speed come easy, and it showed in the underlying data as Marte posted a 106 mph 90th percentile exit velocity in the Minors before turning around and posting an average exit velocity north of 91 in the Majors. Both these marks put the power firmly plus.
With the kind of slugger that Marte is, you might expect aggressiveness and swing-and-miss in the profile. Marte actually is fairly selective with his pitches and posts chase rates near league average, while making contact in the zone at a solid rate, posting an 86 percent clip in the minors and 83 percent in the majors.
To fully tap into his power, Marte will need to lift the ball more often, posting high ground ball rates and surprisingly low barrel rates despite the high amount of hard-hit balls. But given the skillset, Marte could be a consistent 30-home run with respectable batting averages, especially given the nature of Great American Ballpark.
12. Colt Keith, 3B, DET, 22, 6’2”/210
As a prep player, Keith was a talented two-way guy, showing solid skills at the plate but also showing potential on the mound. The Tigers drafted Keith in the fifth round and immediately moved him off the mound and shortstop, which he was comfortable with. Splitting time between second and third base throughout his time in the Minors, Keith has progressed as a hitter each year of his career.
Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2023, Keith mashed 27 home runs while slashing .306/.380/.552. With a strong lower half, Keith generates easy power backed by strong exit velocities, with a 90th percentile checking in near 106 mph and an average near 90 mph. Lifting the ball easily, Keith generates a very high barrel rate which helped lead to 68 extra base hits.
The contact skills are respectable as well and Keith posted a 75 percent overall contact rate with a zone contact near 84 percent. He knows the strike zone well and chooses his spots, not chasing often out of the zone.
The platoon risk feels minimal for the lefty as he mashed both-handed pitching with a .939 OPS against righties and a .909 versus lefties with a lower strikeout rate against lefties than righties.
Keith is known for being a hard worker who constantly looks to improve on his game, and that has been the case with his bat. Having a strong feel for contact and power, Keith should find his bat in the lineup in Detroit very early in 2024.
13. James Wood, OF, WSH, 21, 6’7”/240
Wood is an impressive athlete considering his 6’7” frame, and many will be quick to throw an Aaron Judge comp on him, as anyone who is over 6’5” tends to get. He moves well for his size and is a fast runner once he gets going.
This season, Wood spent time between High-A and Double-A, with the majority of his season being spent in Double-A Harrisburg. Wood slashed .262/.353/.520 between both stops, with 26 home runs and 18 stolen bases. The concerns come in when you see the 173 strikeouts, good for a 31.5 percent rate. The contact rate of 68 percent leaves plenty to be desired, but there are plenty of positives to take away from the lefty with long levers.
Wood has massive power, to no surprise, as he has 41 career home runs in 850 at-bats, with 26 of them coming this season. Wood’s 90th percentile exit velocity of 109 mph shows massive power and firmly puts him in the 60-70 grade range for power. In addition to the power, Wood also shows a solid approach, chasing just 26 percent of pitches out of the zone, which is better than average, and showing the ability to mash fastballs.
A lot of the struggles came against breaking balls and changeups. Wood saw 249 changeups this season, swinging at 50 percent of them and making contact at just a 51 percent clip. Wood’s highest chase rate of any pitch is against sliders, which is just a 32 percent clip, right around an overall league average, showing his plate discipline and pitch recognition.
Wood’s speed was previously mentioned, but he is also very efficient on the base paths, stealing 18 bases in 21 attempts. Throughout his Minor League career, he has been successful with 48 steals in 56 attempts.
There is a ton of upside in Wood’s profile, but it is also quite risky. Given the performance, power, and plate discipline, considering he spent the year as a 20-year-old, it does make you feel better about Wood’s potential output. If all clicks, he could be the top prospect in baseball.
14. Roman Anthony, OF, BOS, 19, 6’2”/200
Few Minor Leaguers enjoyed the kind of breakout that Roman Anthony did in 2023 after he was selected in the second round of the 2022 draft. After a decent 42 games in Single-A Salem, at least from a numbers perspective, Anthony joined High-A Greenville, where he took off, posting a .294/.412/.569 slash with 12 home runs and 29 extra-base hits in 54 games. Anthony even ended the season in Double-A Portland, where he slashed .343/.477/.543 across ten games.
Anthony is tall and projectable, listed at 6’2”/200 lb, but I would argue he is taller than 6’2”, and his frame still looks like it has room to add muscle despite already being well-built. He has long legs and a solid upper half. Considering he just turned 19 in May, he has an impressive build.
A patient hitter, Anthony chased just 18 percent of pitches out of the zone, but that number trended upward towards the end of the season as he began to see more breaking balls consistently, one of his few struggles. The overall zone contact rate of 85 percent is impressive, however.
From a power standpoint, Anthony can mash and show big power to all fields. Registering an exit velocity as high as 112, I saw him hit it 440 feet to the pull side, but he also hit plenty of opposite-field home runs, showing his strength. The 90th percentile exit velocity of 106 mph shows plus power.
Anthony ran well and stole 16 bases last year, but most importantly covers a ton of ground in center field, giving him the ability to stick in the position long-term. The future is bright for Anthony, who could be a consistent above-average regular with plenty of All-Star Game appearances. He is not only the Red Sox top prospect, but one of the best prospects in all of baseball.
15. Jackson Merrill, SS, SD, 20, 6’3”/200
Merrill was selected 27th overall in 2021 on an under-slot deal, but was a successful scouting find by the Padres. Since being drafted, Merill has done nothing but hit and has shown progress with his hit tool every season despite being young for the level.
From a pure contact standpoint, you would be hard-pressed to find a better contact hitter who also has a well-rounded skillset. After posting a 90 percent zone-contact rate in 2022 to pair with an 85 percent overall contact, Merrill followed it up with an 88 percent zone and 83 percent overall contact rate between High-A and Double-A, despite being a young 20-year-old. Merrill chased more in 2023(30 percent vs 26.5 in 2022), but it did not lead to more strikeouts due to the amount of contact he makes.
Given the frame plus bat speed, Merrill gets to solid exit velocity, especially as he has filled out his frame. Posting an average exit velocity and 90th percentile exit velocity firmly above average, Merrill has failed to turn it into home runs due to high ground ball rates. He did manage 15 home runs in 2023 as he saw the ground ball rate trend downward from 59 percent closer to 40 percent. A substantial change in launch angle was a key part of Merrill getting to more power, but there is still more in the tank.
If you like a high-floor caliber player who is a safe bet to be a solid major league bat, Merrill is a solid bet. While already having a solid frame, there is room for more, and Merrill could add more power to the profile. While the speed is average or slightly above, Merrill has shown consistent success on the base paths, swiping 15 bases this year in 19 tries. The potential is there for Merrill to provide seasons where he hits .300 with 25 home runs and ten stolen bases.
16. Ethan Salas, C, SD, 17, 6’2”/185
If I told you that a 16-year-old catcher would be getting reps in Major League Spring Training, would you have believed me? What if I told you that same catcher reached Double-A shortly after turning 17 years old? Well, Ethan Salas did those things in 2023 after signing for $5.8 million that same January.
Salas shows maturity well beyond his age, considering he should still be in high school. The contact skills and plate discipline were impressive for his first professional season. Checking in with a 77.5 percent overall contact rate and a zone-contact rate north of 85 percent is highly impressive and even better when you factor in a chase rate of 20 percent.
The power is already quite advanced for his age, hitting nine home runs in 66 games, but the exit velocities stood out for a 17-year-old. Salas checked in with an 87 mph average exit velocity and a 90th percentile above 102 mph, which would both be elite if we compared him to people his age. The frame also has a ton to dream on, and you can expect the power to tick up even more.
With elite makeup both behind the dish and at the plate for his age, the Padres have a lot to dream on. There is still plenty of development to be had there, and even though Salas reached Double-A, he probably needs at least another one to two full seasons of Minor League ball, and even if he debuted in late 2025, Salas would only be 19 years old. You can dream of the upside of one of the top catchers in baseball with Salas and not only becoming the Padres top prospect but also one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
17. Matt Shaw, MI, CHC, 21, 5’11”/185
Shaw had a successful career at Maryland, leading to him being selected by the Cubs in the first round of the 2023 draft, where he hit the ground running as a professional. After three games at the complex level, Shaw pushed to High-A and then Double-A to finish out the season, where he collectively hit .357/.400/.618 with eight home runs and 15 stolen bases across 38 games.
Despite not having the physical appearance of a top player on the field, Shaw plays much bigger than his listed 5’11”/185 frame and gets to a ton of power. He mashed 24 home runs at Maryland this year after posting a 22-homer season in 2022. His power is backed by a 90th percentile exit velocity of 107 mph, and saw his numbers get as high as 113 mph. He is an efficient base stealer as well, and while there is not true standout tool, Shaw flashes 55 grades across the board with arguably a plus hit tool.
In 2023 at Maryland, Shaw made contact on 83 percent of pitches and 88.5 percent of pitches in the zone while chasing just 20 percent of the time. As a professional, Shaw was more aggressive but also made more contact, swinging at 49 percent of pitches and making contact 85 percent of the time overall.
The Cubs seem to be fast-tracking Shaw to the Majors, and he could be an instant impact with his bat due to the high floor with his hit tool.
18. Adael Amador, 2B/SS, COL, 20, 6’/200
“The most talented teenage bat we’ve ever had,” is how some in the org viewed Amador in rookie ball. The switch-hitting Dominican has backed it over his minor-league career slashing .290/.399/.457, walking 155 times to just 136 strikeouts. 2023 culminated in a double-A cup of coffee at the end of his 20-yo season.
Amador’s strikeout and walk rates have declined as he’s moved along a system seemingly into more aggressive approaches. (13.5 BB% 2021 in CPX to 12.0% 2023 in A+/14.5 K% 2021 CPX to 10.0% 2023 A+.) It’s a 70-grade hit tool by those who speak the language. The contact rates checked in at 93 percent in-zone and 88 percent overall, some of the best in all of baseaball.
Lacking the stature and physique of your stereotypical middle infielder, Amador is capable of MLB-average play at both spots. With SS seemingly taken for the foreseeable future, 2B seems Amador’s best shot at everyday run with the Rockies.
With strength, bat speed, and ability to hit the ball out in front (47.5% pull rate in 2023) on his side, Amador’s power production outlook remains quite questionable. The home run pace in places they are supposed to be bountiful never exceeded 20, and groundball rates have been climbing over the last three seasons, reaching an ugly 2023 55%.
Amador is an interesting player to profile. The contact skills are some of the best in the Minors, but he does not profile as a high power or speed bat. At peak, he could be a .300 hitter who hits 15-18 home runs with 20 stolen bases.
19. Chase DeLauter, OF, CLE, 22, 6’4”/235
After a successful career at James Madison, the Guardians selected DeLauter with the 16th overall pick in the 2022 draft. While injuries have been a major factor in his career, when DeLauter was on the field, the performance was strong.
Standing at 6’4”, DeLauter has one of the best combinations of athleticism and size in the minors. The swing takes flack from some because it is compact and has a short follow-through, but that has not affected his ability to hit for power or make consistent contact. The barrel control is elite, and the swing creates a natural loft.
If you have questions about whether DeLauter’s swing can play, just take a look under the hood. The power is easily plus as his average exit velocity checked in at 89 mph with a 90th percentile firmly in the plus range. He lifts the ball with ease and posts ideal launch angles consistently.
The contact is strong, and DeLauter posted a zone contact rate of 88 percent with an overall contact rate of 86 percent. The plate discipline is strong as well, as he picks his spots well and chases just 20 percent of pitches out of the zone, putting the strike zone recognition at plus or better.
Delauter is a plus runner as well but has not been overly aggressive on the base paths. While he has only played in 57 games professionally, he has stolen just six bases. While the capabilities are there, how much he will run as he progresses through the system remains to be seen.
You could argue that DeLuater is a 60 grade with his hit tool, power, and speed. When you see him on the field, he just looks like the best player on the field, and there is a strong chance we'll see Delauter with Cleveland by midseason in 2024. The biggest key will be staying healthy.
20. Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, CHC, 21, 6’1”/185
Crow-Armstrong is a defensive wizard who stepped into the Cubs centerfield role down the stretch in 2023 and showed that he might just be one of the best outfielders in all of baseball. PCA is a much more valuable asset in real life than in fantasy because he is arguably an 80-grade centerfielder with a strong arm. He covers a ton of ground in the outfield due to his high-end sprint speed.
At the plate, PCA enjoyed a strong season between Double-A and Triple-A, mashing 20 home runs and stealing 37 bases while slashing .283/.365/.511 in 500 plate appearances. He gets the most out of his swing, posting a high fly ball rate and getting to the pull side power. The exit velocities suggest average game power, but given the amount of lift and pull that he gets in his swing, Crow-Armstrong is capable of being a 20-home-run bat consistently.
There is also a pretty aggressive nature in PCA’s swing, as he swung at over 51 percent of pitches he saw last year, putting him in the upper tier of MiLB hitters in swing rate. The contact rates are also a bit concerning as he had a 75 percent zone contact rate and a 68 percent overall rate. While those are below average, Crow-Armstrong has kept the strikeout rates reasonable.
A significant aspect of PCA’s game is his speed, and not only does it show in the amount of ground he covers in center field but also on the base paths. In 2023, Crow-Armstrong was successful on 37 of 47 attempts in the minors and has a 74 percent stolen base rate in his Minor League career.
Crow-Armstrong has all the intangibles to take over as the Cub’s everyday centerfielder in 2024, where he will make an instant impact in the field and on the base paths. There is a chance he struggles initially with the bat, but the power and speed give him a solid base to be a fantasy contributor, even if the batting average is lower in his first full season.
21. Samuel Basallo, C/1B, BAL, 19, 6’3”/180
The Orioles have had the best prospect in baseball for three straight years (Adley Rutschman entering 2022, Gunnar Henderson entering 2023, Jackson Holliday entering 2024) and if they’re going to do it again for the fourth straight season Basallo is the name to know.
Before Mike Elias took over the front office the Orioles simply didn’t participate in the international market. It took a year or two to build that operation from the ground up, but in January 2021 International Scouting Director Koby Perez signed Basallo to a then-team-record $1.3 million after his previous agreement with the New York Yankees fell through.
Signed as a catcher, the raw power was the standout tool from a guy who it was assumed would outgrow catcher fairly quickly. Not so fast, as his athleticism has him looking smooth behind the plate (and at first base) with a cannon for an arm.
The power is still eye-popping, and the hit tool has developed very nicely. Basallo’s 90th percentile exit velocity was one of the best for his age, checking in over 106 mph. The contact skills also play as Basallo posted a 73 percent contact rate on the season.
Basallo posted a 149 wRC+ over 352 plate appearances in low A and a 195 wRC+ in A+ over 115 PAs before getting a quick taste of AA in his 18-year-old season. He will be 19 for the vast majority of the 2024 season and starting the year in AA which is the early sign of an international superstar especially when you consider his excellent walk and strikeout rates at his age and level.
22. Colson Montgomery, SS, CHW, 21, 6’3”/205
Injury slowed down the 22nd pick of the 2021 draft in 2023, missing two months. Montgomery ended his campaign with 167 double-A PA, slashing .244/.400/.427 with a 15% walk to 21.6% strikeout rate. Montgomery tossed on an impressive AFL showing, making up for time lost. A 2024 debut for the transitioning White Sox may be in the cards.
Montgomery’s athleticism presents everyday shortstop potential on the Southside. The left side's high on-base, line-drive approach is patient and selective. There’s average to plus raw pop in the bat, but it’s not the name of Montgomery’s game, having hit 19 HR in 186 career MiLB games.
Montgomery doesn’t steal bases, only three on eight career attempts, and isn’t fast, presenting a ratios-driven fantasy profile from the dirt. There’s been speculation Montgomery may need to move to third base, but so far, that hasn’t happened, nor does it seem the plan, which bodes well for dynasty owners, as the offensive profile is more palatable in the middle infield.
The data looks solid, as well, as Montgomery posted a 78 percent contact rate and a strong in-zone contact rate as well. The exit velocities flash plus as well, giving us a look at a hitter with plus hit and power ability.
Montgomery was a decorated high school athlete in three sports and has only been a full-time baseball player for two/three seasons, leaving many to believe his best days are still ahead. For now, fantasy owners may need to be content with a relatively safer bet at an everyday job from a plus athlete profile with a high floor bat.
23. Curtis Mead, 2B/3B, TB, 23, 6’2”/175
A data darling with a great story, Mead originally signed with the Phillies in 2018 out of Australia for $200k but only to be traded a year later to the Rays, where he began to blossom. With no Minor League season in 2020, Mead headed back to Australia to play in the professional league there, where he really began to evolve as a hitter and came back to the States looking like a top prospect.
Injuries limited Mead to 65 Minor League games in 2023, but he got a cup of coffee in the Majors, playing 24 games with the Rays. In Triple-A, Mead slashed .294/.385/.515 with nine home runs and 32 extra-base hits.
Mead makes a ton of contact, posting an 88 percent zone contact rate, which is in the plus range while having an overall contact rate of 82 percent. Mead, a disciplined hitter who limits swings to pitches in the zone, chased just 28 percent of pitches out of the zone. His swing is smooth, and the barrel stays in the zone for a long time, allowing the hit tool to play up with the ability to hit all fields.
The power has been more double power to this point than home runs but thats’s not from a lack of exit velocities. With back-to-back seasons of a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106 mph, MEad has exhibited plus EVs.
Between 2022 and 2023, Mead has played 141 games while collecting 52 doubles and 24 home runs. Speed is not likely to factor into his game, but Mead has the potential to be an extra-base machine with a solid number of home runs, all while posting solid OBPs.
24. Kyle Manzardo, 1B, CLE, 23, 6’0”/205
After being selected by the Rays in the second round of the 2021 draft, Manzardo hit and hit some more, with his breakout coming during the 2022 season. After dealing with things off the field for most of 2023 as well as a dislocated shoulder, 2023 felt like a lost season in some ways, but Manzardo rebounded in a major way in the Arizona Fall League, getting back to the root of who he is as a player.
Manzardo has a strong feel for contact, leaving the barrel in the zone for a long time. He made contact on 80 percent of pitches in 2023 with a zone contact rate of 90 percent. The contact has always been strong, but some questioned the ability to get to power after 2022.
Making major strides in that department, Manzardo posted an average exit velocity north of 90 mph with a 90th percentile of 104.5 mph. Those numbers were up from 88.2 and 102.6 mph in 2022.
The contact and plate discipline skills are easily plus or better, and the blossoming power may end up being above-average or plus when all is said or done. The hit tool gives Manzarod a unique skillset at first base, and the blossoming power gives some intriguing potential.
25. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, MIN, 20, 5’10”/210
If any prospect has the upside to be the top prospect in baseball, it could be Emmanuel Rodriguez, who has one of the best toolsets of all minor leaguers. While the statistical output has not been the most impressive, Rodriguez’s numbers the last two seasons have been solid. Playing just 47 games in 2022 in Single-A, Rodriguez smashed nine home runs and stole 11 bases while slashing .272/.493/.552 in 199 plate appearances. He spent most of the season healthy in 2023, hitting 16 home runs and collecting 40 extra-base hits in 455 plate appearances while slashing .240/.400/.463.
From a power standpoint, Rodriguez is at the top of all prospects. Posting a 108 mph 90th percentile exit velocity(Data from Aram Leighton of Just Baseball. Check out his Top 100 here) would put him among the top MLB hitters and behind Minor Leaguers such as Junior Caminero and Owen Caissie. But it just shows how much power he really has. His 117 mph max would have ranked 10th among all MLB hitters in 2023.
One of the more passive hitters in baseball, Rodriguez swung at just 36 percent of pitches, which was one of the lowest swing rates in all of baseball. That is not a bad thing though, as he has one of the most discerning eyes, chasing less than 15 percent of pitches out of the zone. Anything below 20 percent is considered high-end, which shows how strong Rodriguez’s chase rate is.
The contact rates need to improve, as Rodriguez made contact on less than 70 percent of pitches for the last two seasons. It's highly possible that Rodriguez is a below-average batting average typer but has elite OBPs. The power and speed show 30 home run/20 stolen base potential as well.