Earlier this month, the dynasty team worked hard to bring you a detailed list on every pitching prospect with a chance to make his debut in 2024. In the same mindset, we are now bringing you a complete list of hitters that could debut. Every season we see hitting prospects make an impact in fantasy baseball. Elly De La Cruz, Jordan Walker, and Matt McLain just to name a few from this past season. Check out this list to stay ahead of the curve heading into 2024.
By: Matt Heckman (@heckman_matt115)
Carlos De La Cruz – 1B/OF (Double-A, RHB, 24, 6’8″)
2023 Stats:.259/.344/.454/24 HR/3 SB
Overview: The Phillies signed Carlos De La Cruz all the way back in 2017. You did not hear much about him until last season when he finally started to put things together. He hit 17 home runs last season and his massive frame screams projectability. Standing at 6’8″, he has as much raw power as any player in the Minor Leagues and is an easy player to dream on.
Hit-Tool: As with most players his size, this is the biggest question mark. Throughout his professional career, he has run extremely high strikeout rates which only profile to become worse as he continues to advance. The swing path showed improvements this season (22% line drive rate) which could help him maintain solid BABIPs.
Power: From a raw power standpoint, De La Cruz ranks amongst the best. He draws immense power from his frame allowing the ball to really jump off the bat. He has already shown an innate ability to pull the ball helping to fuel his impressive HR/FB percentages.
Speed: De La Cruz has a frame built for power, not speed. As he has continued to grow, he has slowed down. The transition to first base has already begun. Fantasy managers should not expect very many stolen bases from De La Cruz.
Plate Discipline: The plate discipline here is not great. There is plenty of whiff to his game leading to the high strikeouts he has posted. He routinely struggles to lay off breaking pitches down and away, but if you are looking for a silver lining, he did increase his walk rate from 6.7% in 2022 to 9.3% in 2023.
Biggest Concern: The strikeouts. If De La Cruz cannot lower his strikeout rate, he is never going to be able to make enough contact to show off his raw power.
Conclusion: De La Cruz is a high-risk high-reward player who is not going to cost you too much in dynasty leagues. If he can make more contact, there is easy 40-home run power in his bat. There is also a chance he is never more than a bench player with limited defensive ability.
ETA: August 2024
Simon Muzzioti – OF (Triple-A, LHB, 24, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.296/.358/.404/7 HR/26 SB
Overview: Many people forget, but Muzzioti actually made the Opening Day roster for the Phillies in 2022. He was not supposed to, but injuries at the end of Spring Training forced the Phillies’ hand and Muzzioti struggled in nine games. His 2023 Triple-A stat line looks nice on paper, but he was still seven percent below the league average according to wRC+.
Hit-Tool: Muzzioti has profiled to be an average to slightly above-average hitter throughout his professional career. His contact skills are excellent, but a high ground ball rate has been a red flag and is something that could prevent him from ever posting high averages.
Power: This is by far Muzzioti’s weakest tool. He does not have much of any power and his future game power is only graded as a 35 by FanGraphs. Across 463 career Minor League games, he has a total of 16 home runs.
Speed: Muzzioti moved away from stolen bases post-pandemic, but came back to it this season. he stole 26 bases this year although his speed is more thanks to great instincts than elite speed. He profiles as a ~15 stolen base player in the Major Leagues.
Plate Discipline: With his strong contact skills comes mediocre plate discipline. His strikeout rate has never been high, but this comes more so from an ability to make contact as opposed to laying off pitches out of the zone.
Biggest Concern: The lack of power in Muzzioti’s profile limits his fantasy relevance. A five-to-ten home run bat will never be a very relevant player.
Conclusion: Muzzioti lacks a true plus tool. He is a decent hitter with solid speed and no real game power. This does not translate to a player who will be an impactful bat for fantasy baseball. He could be a nice bench outfielder with strong defensive abilities.
ETA: June 2024
Ethan Wilson – OF (Double-A, LHB, 23, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.250/.307/.443/17 HR/12 SB
Overview: A second-round pick back in 2021, Wilson struggled throughout his first two seasons. Scouting reports cite that Wilson was caught between trying to be a contact hitter and power hitter. This past season, Wilson finally showed off some of the ability that made him such a high draft pick and is an intriguing bat to keep an eye on for 2024.
Hit-Tool: As mentioned before, Wilson was trying to show off an improved hit tool prior to 2023. This was not working as Wilson has never been able to hit for much average and his contact skills are nothing impressive. This is likely a slightly below-average tool.
Power: If Wilson is going to become a Major League hitter it is because of his power. A pretty left-handed swing with a small leg kick is a thing of beauty. He has enough power to hit it to all fields and can be a 25-home run bat if it all clicks.
Speed: As Wilson’s power returned, his stolen base totals dropped. After stealing 26 bases in 2022, his ceiling is likely a 15-steal player.
Plate Discipline: This is definitely below average. Wilson struggles with high fastballs especially. He has never walked more than 8.5% (that was in Low-A).
Biggest Concern: Hitters who struggle to lay off pitches outside of the strike zone tend to struggle more and more as they move through the Minor Leagues. More advanced hitters could exploit this weakness of Wilson’s.
Conclusion: There is 25 home run and 15 stolen base potential here in his profile. The issue is going to be whether or not he hits enough to make it to the Majors. He is more likely to be a fourth outfielder than a reliable fantasy asset.
ETA: September 2024
Gabriel Rincones Jr. – OF (High-A, LHB, 22, 6’3″)
2023 Stats:.248/.351/.427/15 HR/32 SB
Overview: Trying to do what his dad was never quite able to accomplish, Rincones Jr. was drafted by the Phillies in the third round of the 2022 draft. An athletic frame creates an intriguing upside for a player turning heads in the Arizona Fall League.
Hit-Tool: Rincones’ swing is not the most consistent, but profiles around average. His batting stance is very quiet and he has the ability to spray the ball to all fields. His high strikeout rate came with a solid swinging strike rate leading me to not be too concerned about this moving forward.
Power: The bat speed here is impressive and his power can be effortless at times. His desire to spray the ball to all fields limits his true game power potential, but he has enough raw power to be a 20+ home run bat.
Speed: Rincones’ athleticism is what helped him to steal 32 bases last season. FanGraphs only grades his speed as a 40 FV, although his instincts could help propel him to 20 stolen bases at the Major League level.
Plate Discipline: Rincones has already shown off an impressive understanding of the strike zone in just one season. He can sometimes be too patient at the plate, but he should maintain high walk rates.
Biggest Concern: To reach his fantasy potential, Rincones’ game power will need to continue developing. This likely means increasing his pull percentage which could impact his hit tool.
Conclusion: Not one tool jumps off the page, but his overall profile and athleticism create an intriguing profile. Some adjustments are needed, but the Phillies have shown an ability to work with left-handed batters making me excited to see how he continues to develop.
ETA: September 2024
Bryan Rincon – SS (High-A, SHB, 19, 5’10”)
2023 Stats:.234/.368/.361/8 HR/27 SB
Overview: A 14th-round draft pick that nobody paid much attention to, Rincon is one of my favorite dynasty sleepers. A blend of contact and speed with more pop than he gets credit makes him somebody to keep on your radar.
Hit-Tool: This is the carrying tool for Rincon. This past season he posted just a 7.2% swinging strike rate in Low-A and a 5.7% rate in High-A. He makes contact from both sides of the plate and has a solid swing path that should lead to plenty of line drives.
Power: The power is not there yet, but he has shown off an ability to pull the ball. He is still only 19 and could continue to add more muscle. FanGraphs grades this tool as a 35, but I think it could project better than that, especially from the left side.
Speed: Rincon is more quick than fast. A bit on the smaller side, he has good reactions and should continue to steal a decent amount of bases.
Plate Discipline: This is the most impressive part of Rincon’s game. not only does he make a lot of contact, but he lays off pitches out of the strike zone. This is an excellent base for him to work off of as he continues to develop in other areas.
Biggest Concern: If his power never develops, he profiles similar to that of JP Crawford prior to 2023. This is not a great fantasy asset.
Conclusion: The Crawford comp is why I am so optimistic. A strong glove and excellent plate discipline can carry him through the system and if his power develops, Rincon could take the next step. He cracks this list thanks to the lack of middle infield depth in Philadelphia’s farm system and is a name to keep an eye on.
ETA: September 2024
David McCabe – 3B (High-A, SHB, 23, 6’3″)
2023 Stats:.276/.385/.450/17 HR/10 SB
Overview: McCabe is a bat-first corner infielder out of UNC Charlotte. Atlanta took him in the fourth round of the 2022 draft. He impressed during his first full season of professional baseball hitting 17 home runs between Low-A and High-A. Power and on-base skills will carry him through the Minor Leagues at a fast rate.
Hit-Tool: McCabe’s hit tool is underrated. He makes more contact when swinging from the right side, but his swing path is designed to drive balls into the gaps. He hits a ton of line drives and his contact skills were quietly impressive despite the above-average strikeout rate.
Power: Most of McCabe’s home runs came from the left side of the plate. His 6’3″ frame screams power although his approach leads to more gap power than over-the-fence power. He currently projects to be a 20-25 home run bat.
Speed: Despite stealing 10 bases this past year, there is really no speed in McCabe’s game. FanGraphs gives his speed a 30 FV.
Plate Discipline: There are times when McCabe can be too patient at the plate. His high strikeout rate is more a product of that compared to expanding the zone. He walks a ton and profiles to maintain strong OBP numbers.
Biggest Concern: Contact-oriented corner infielders are few and far between. The development of his game power will be essential to maintaining fantasy relevance.
Conclusion: McCabe comes with a solid base especially if you are in an OBP league. His plate discipline is excellent and the raw power is readily available. The translation of his raw power into game power will be the key for him to take the next step.
ETA: September 2024
Braden Shewmake – SS (Triple-A, LHB, 25, 6’4″)
2023 Stats:.234/.398/.407/16 HR/27 SB
Overview: The former first-round draft pick has never been able to live up to the hype. Now 25, he projects as a utility middle infielder with plus speed.
Hit-Tool: Although his contact skills are close to average, Shewmake’s willingness to expand the strike zone leads to a ton of weak contact. He posts solid line drive rates thanks to a high sweet spot percentage, but this is likely a below-average tool moving forward.
Power: Shewmake made an adjustment post-pandemic to pull the ball more. This has helped him to tap into more game power although he has never hit more than 16 home runs in a season. His power has improved recently, but it is still below average.
Speed: This is the carrying tool for Shewmake. He stole 27 bases last year and has always had excellent success when running.
Plate Discipline: As mentioned earlier, Shewmake loves to expand the zone. His chase rate in Triple-A was over 37% which hurts his hit tool more than anything.
Biggest Concern: The lack of true power or a plus hit tool limits his offensive upside. There is not a ton to be excited about here.
Conclusion: Shewmake made his Major League debut last season although Orlando Arcia appears to have the shortstop position locked down. There is not really any plus tool in his profile and he is not worth keeping on fantasy radars.
ETA: May 2024
Drake Baldwin – C (Triple-A, LHB, 22, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.270/.384/.460/16 HR/0 SB
Overview: A third-round pick in 2022 that is absolutely flying through Atlanta’s system. MLB.com grades his defense as above average, while FanGraphs grades it as below average. The reports I have seen all praise his defense and he is quickly proving to be an offensive force.
Hit-Tool: Contact-wise, Baldwin is solid offensively. He makes enough contact to be relevant as a catcher. The issue is his swing path. Starting with his hands high, Baldwin swings down on pitches and hits a ton of ground balls. This will likely cause his BABIP/batting average to come crashing down. He profiles as more of a .240-.250 hitter compared to the .270 he hit this year.
Power: Baldwin comes with plus power and the potential for even more. He hit 16 home runs this past year despite a poor launch angle and willingness to drive the ball to all fields. There is 25+ home run potential here if he can ever tap into it.
Speed: Speed is not a part of Baldwin’s game. He has only stolen one base in his professional career and does not project to contribute very much to this.
Plate Discipline: Baldwin has plus plate discipline. FanGraphs notes his patient and passive approach which is part of the reason for his semi-high strikeout rate. His ability to lay off pitches out of the zone helps him get more pitches that he can do damage off of.
Biggest Concern: A high ground ball rate always concerns me. This is especially true when it is from a catcher with limited speed.
Conclusion: Baldwin is flying completely under the radar when it comes to dynasty. Improving defensive skills and enough power to be fantasy-relevant could turn him into an everyday catcher. He is somebody to keep an eye on and could be next in line if one of Atlanta’s catchers suffers an injury.
ETA: July 2024
Ignacio Alvarez – 3B/SS (High-A, RHB, 20, 5’11”)
2023 Stats:.284/.395/.391/7 HR/16 SB
Overview: A toolsy infield who is probably more likely to shift to third base long-term, Alvarez leaves plenty to be excited about. Alvarez has hit for excellent average with strong walk rates at every level so far and many believe there is plenty of power potential left to unlock.
Hit-Tool: This has been on full display early on in Alvarez’s career. His swinging strike rate during 2023 was under seven percent. This is a plus tool moving forward.
Power: Quick hands and bat speed create a projectable power profile. Alvarez uses a toe tap to unlock more power. Many project that as he continues to fill out his frame, more power will develop.
Speed: Right now, Alvarez has a frame and speed that is useful for stealing bases. The projection of his body points to declining speed as he continues to mature. Despite 16 stolen bases this year, I would not expect more than 10 at the Major League level.
Plate Discipline: Considering he is only 20 years old, his plate discipline is incredibly impressive. He has a strong understanding of the zone and is not afraid to pull the trigger once a pitcher comes into it.
Biggest Concern: How will Alvarez’s game power develop? His hit tool and plate discipline create a solid base, but if he is truly going to switch to third base the power needs to develop. This is the biggest question mark to determining his future fantasy value.
Conclusion: The love for Alvarez comes from projection. He has the tools and instincts necessary to take the next step, the key is just tapping into his power a bit more. There is .280 with 20-25 home run potential here, but 2024 will be a key year of development.
ETA: September 2024
Jesse Franklin V – OF (Double-A, LHB, 24, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.232/.315/.419/15 HR/21 SB
Overview: A left-handed hitting outfielder with a swing designed for power, there is plenty of variance in Franklin’s projection. He has the power and speed combination that fantasy managers look for, but a high strikeout rate and low average create considerable risk moving forward.
Hit-Tool: Franklin’s hit tool has profiled as well below average. High swinging strike rates have resulted in strikeout rates that leave plenty to be desired. If Franklin cannot start making more contact, he will never make it to the Major Leagues.
Power: Home runs per fly ball is one of the stickiest stats in the Minor Leagues. Franklin has posted rates well above average throughout his professional career. He has plenty of pull-side pop that he loves to tap into. If everything clicks he is a 25-30 home run bat.
Speed: Although his speed is unlikely to be good enough to keep him in center field, he has good instincts and is a solid base stealer. This is not his carrying tool, but combined with his power there is fantasy relevance here.
Plate Discipline: Although his Minor League walk rates are nothing special, he has shown improvements recently. From August 6th forward, Franklin walked over 12% of the time. Increased patience at the plate will only improve his power output.
Biggest Concern: The contact skills. Franklin is adjusting to lay off more pitches outside of the strike zone, but if he cannot make more contact, he will never hit enough to be fantasy-relevant.
Conclusion: The Braves are an organization that has the trust of fantasy players. Franklin’s raw toolset is enough to put him on fantasy radars. If Atlanta can help adjust his approach, he could soar up ranking lists.
ETA: July 2024
Brady House – 3B (Double-A, RHB, 20, 6’4″)
2023 Stats:.312/.365/.497/12 HR/9 SB
Overview: Injuries forced House’s 2022 season to come to an abrupt end and he wasted no time making up for the lost time in 2023. The former 11th overall pick played at three different levels posting a 137 wRC+ on the season. The team officially moved him over to third base which will put more pressure on his bat to play as he continues to progress through the Minor Leagues.
Hit-Tool: Entering 2023, one of the biggest concerns I had with House was his ground ball rate. He lowered this with each promotion although his swinging strike rate remained high. The improvements are encouraging, but I would still expect an average closer to .250 compared to the .312 he hit this season.
Power: His big frame lends itself to plenty of power. FanGraphs gives his raw power a 70 FV and he was able to tap into it more this season with the increase to his fly ball rate. FanGraphs cites House as having an issue tapping into his pull-side power consistently which is something to monitor moving forward.
Speed: As House has continued to fill out his frame, he is looking less and less like a threat to steal bases in the future. His speed is decent, but do not expect more than five to ten in a full season.
Plate Discipline: This is one of the biggest concerns with House. Not only does he have holes in his swing, but he has a high tendency to expand the zone. In a small Double-A sample size, his strikeout rate jumped up to over 28%. This is an area of his game that needs improvement.
Biggest Concern: House’s strikeout rate is a red flag. The frame makes it easy to dream of his power, but House is far from a finished product in the hitting department.
Conclusion: As with many first-round picks, House comes with plenty of potential. The power is obvious although he lacks the speed to contribute in many other areas of fantasy. His name recognition may be worth more than his actual fantasy production if he does not make big improvements to his contact skills.
ETA: August 2024
Trey Lipscomb – 3B/1B (Double-A, RHB, 23, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.272/.311/.419/14 HR/10 SB
Overview: After attending Tennessee, Lipscomb was drafted in the third round of the 2022 draft. Coming out of college, he was known for crushing baseballs, but this has not exactly been the case since transitioning to professional baseball. Playing the corner infield, Lipscomb’s bat will need to improve if he is ever going to make it as a Major League starter.
Hit-Tool: Lipscomb’s hit tool leaves some to be desired. His swinging strike rate has increased with every promotion leading to concerns about how pitchers at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues will attack him.
Power: MLB.com notes that Lipscomb played in a hitter-friendly ballpark in college which helped propel him to 22 home runs in college. He is slugging just .414 since joining professional baseball. His power profile is slightly above average.
Speed: Lipscomb is athletic, but not a threat to be a reliable base-stealer at the Major League level. Projecting 7-12 stolen bases is realistic.
Plate Discipline: The most concerning part of his stat line post promotion to Double-A is his walk rate dropping to 3.6%. Lipscomb has trouble identifying breaking pitches and chases plenty out of the zone. This could be an issue moving forward.
Biggest Concern: The lack of upside. Lipscomb is not bad at any one thing. However, he is not particularly good at anything either. If his power does not develop, he will never be a reliable corner infielder for fantasy.
Conclusion: Lipscomb has a strong chance to debut in 2024 for a rebuilding Nationals team. If he can bring back the power we saw in Tennessee, he can take the next step. However, I would not be looking to target him in fantasy even if he is promoted.
ETA: June 2024
Drew Millas – C (MLB, SHB, 25, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.291/.390/.442/7 HR/6 SB
2023 MLB Stats: .286/.375/.464/ 1 HR/0 SB
Overview: After disappointing offensive production, Drew Millas finally put everything together in 2023. His defensive aptitude behind the plate helped him work his way up through the Minor Leagues making offensive production the icing on the cake.
Hit-Tool: Quietly, there is a lot to like about Millas’ hit tool. He makes consistent contact and his swing path results in plenty of line drives. This is an underrated tool.
Power: Millas lacks the physical frame needed to be a power hitter. He makes a lot of weak contact and is more of a slap hitter than one to drive the ball out of the park. He only has 17 professional home runs since being drafted in 2021.
Speed: Millas stole four bases last year and quietly posted an 80th-percentile sprint speed in his Major League debut. He is never going to steal 20 bases, but there is sneaky potential in his legs.
Plate Discipline: This is his best attribute. He has an excellent understanding of the strike zone and has shown the ability to lay off pitches against tougher competition.
Biggest Concern: There is no power projection with Millas. His glove could carry him into semi-regular playing time, but it is difficult to envision him becoming a reliable catcher for fantasy baseball.
Conclusion: Millas profiles to be a better real-life player than a fantasy asset. In fact, he might even be underrated when it comes to ranking Nationals’ prospects. The hit tool is solid and his defense is excellent. That being said, he is unlikely to ever be a fantasy star or somebody you need to add to your teams.
ETA: April 2024
Dylan Crews – OF (Double-A, RHB, 21, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.292/.377/.467/5 HR/4 SB
Overview: Somehow people found a way to be disappointed with Crews’ first taste of professional baseball. Maybe it is because he was overshadowed by Wyatt Langford’s performance, but there is still plenty of reason for excitement here. The former LSU star was the second overall pick for a reason and has a chance to be the best of Washington’s prospects.
Hit-Tool: The biggest concern for me is Crews’ ground ball tendencies. He struggled to hit line drives in his small sample size and his whiff rate went up after a promotion to Double-A. This still projects as an average to slightly above-average tool, but it needs more refinement than originally thought.
Power: Crews hit for amazing power in LSU and projects to be a 25-30 home run hitter for Washington. A small toe tap helps with his timing and his hands explode through the zone. His power tool is a plus-plus attribute.
Speed: How much Crews is going to steal is yet to be determined. He is athletic and has the ability to run, but might not be a great base stealer at the Major League level.
Plate Discipline: Crews has a good understanding of the strike zone and projects to be solid to have solid plate discipline. He can get a bit aggressive at times, but not at an alarming rate.
Biggest Concern: The biggest concern is that Crews will be a better real-life player than a fantasy star. There is no doubting his talent, but instead of being elite at a couple of things, he is just good at a bunch.
Conclusion: Being such a high draft pick comes with plenty of pressure. Crews has played under the bright lights at the College World Series and should continue to find success at the Major League level. He projects to be a solid five-category contributor although the stolen bases are the one to keep an eye on.
ETA: July 2024
James Wood – OF (Dobule-A, LHB, 21, 6’6″)
2023 Stats:.262/.353/.520/26 HR/18 SB
Overview: In a deal filled with highly regarded prospects, James Wood might be the highlight of the return for Juan Soto. Wood stands at 6’6″ and screams athleticism. His frame provides plenty of pop without being too big to slow him down on the base paths. Wood is one of the highest-rated prospects in all of baseball.
Hit-Tool: Wood’s hit tool is still a work in progress, but has more pros than cons. He strikes out a ton, but this has more to do with his approach than a contact issue. His swing produces plenty of line drives and he has a unique ability to use all fields. Despite a mediocre batting average this season, this projects as a slightly above-average tool.
Power: From a raw power standpoint, Wood has as much as anybody. A pretty left-handed swing from a 6’6″ player is bound to produce impressive power totals. He has run high HR/FB percentages throughout his professional career. This is a plus-plus tool bordering on elite.
Speed: Although Wood has slowed down a bit as he has continued to fill out his frame, he still has plus speed. He is a good base stealer and somebody who projects to steal around 20 bases at the Major League level.
Plate Discipline: I mentioned Wood’s approach earlier. He can be overly patient at times but does an excellent job of laying off pitches out of the zone. He recognizes breaking balls well and projects for double-digit walk rates.
Biggest Concern: The strikeouts remain the only real concern here. These should lower as he learns to swing more at pitches in the strike zone.
Conclusion: Wood is an elite talent who has a chance to be a special player for Washington. He has all of the tools fantasy managers look for making him a prospect you need to keep your eye on.
ETA: August 2024
Troy Johnston – 1B (Triple-A, LHB, 26, 5’11”)
2023 Stats:.307/.399/.549/26 HR/24 SB
Overview: Originally drafted as an outfielder, Johnston made the move to first base after the pandemic. He has hit at every level of the Minor Leagues despite the lack of recognition from fantasy baseball communities. His age causes many to write him off, but he should get an opportunity in Miami next season.
Hit-Tool: Johnston has a strong hit tool. He makes contact at around league-average rates and hits a ton of line drives. Hitting around .260-.270 is a realistic outcome.
Power: His power really came on strong this past season. While in Double-A, he started to pull the ball more than ever before helping fuel his increased home run rate. His low barrel rate and mediocre max EV speak to a limited upside here especially playing in Miami.
Speed: What makes him an intriguing first base prospect is his rare base-stealing abilities. I do not expect him to steal 24 bases at the Major League level, but 10-15 is a realistic projection.
Plate Discipline: Johnston’s plate discipline is around average. He chases a bit but has posted strong walk rates throughout his Minor League career.
Biggest Concern: His Triple-A max EV sitting at 108.3 mph is a bit of a red flag. To be relevant in fantasy at first base, you need to hit for power. I am skeptical about how much power he will actually hit for.
Conclusion: Rarely do we see 26-year-old prospects come up and become superstars. Johnston has a solid hit tool and intriguing speed, but there is a reason he has yet to make it to the major leagues. Limited defensive skills will put pressure on his bat to play. I am not expecting big fantasy production from him.
ETA: June 2024
Jacob Amaya – SS (Triple-A, RHB, 25, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.252/.345/.407/15 HR/6 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.222/.222/.222/0 HR/1 SB
Overview: After spending six seasons in the Dodgers’ system, Amaya was traded to the Marlins prior to the 2023 season. He posted unspectacularly solid numbers in Triple-A for Miami and got a chance to make his Major League debut. He likely profiles as a utility infielder at the Major League level.
Hit-Tool: Amaya makes a ton of contact. His swinging strike rates are excellent and help him keep his strikeout rates low. He tends to hit the ball on the ground a lot which limits the projection on his batting average.
Power: Amaya put on muscle after the pandemic and saw his HR/FB rate increase significantly. He gets decent power from his leg kick although it is difficult to project anything more than average power.
Speed: FanGraphs gives Amaya’s speed a 55 FV but he has not shown a tendency to run throughout his professional career. Do not expect more than 5-10 stolen bases
Plate Discipline: This is by far his best attribute. Amaya knows the strike zone by heart and will not chase very often. He has great pitch recognition helping to fuel his double-digit walk rates.
Biggest Concern: His ground ball rate scares me. He struggled to get the ball in the air in his small Major League sample and that limits his offensive upside.
Conclusion: Amaya is never going to blow anybody away at the plate, but he profiles to be a useful Major League bench bat. He has enough power to put a charge into the ball from time to time and his defensive versatility adds value. Unfortunately, he is not going to be an impactful fantasy option.
ETA: May 2024
Dane Myers – OF (Triple-A, RHB, 27, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.316/.406/.489/15 HR/20 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.269/.286/.358/1 HR/1 SB
Overview: Myers is another prospect who joined Miami prior to the 2023 season. He hit well in Double and Triple-A before starting 22 games for Miami while Jazz Chisholm was injured. A strong blend of power and speed creates some intrigue around this 27-year-old, but you would think he would have already broken out if one was coming.
Hit-Tool: This is the red flag in Myers’ profile. Not only does he struggle to limit the strikeouts, but he is an extreme ground ball hitter. His average launch angle in the Major Leagues was negative which will limit his future batting average.
Power: With a 6’2″ frame, Myers has power. He taps into his pull-side power well. There is 20-25 home run potential here over a full season, but the ground ball tendencies will limit his potential. If he cannot fix this issue, he slots into the 10-15 home run range.
Speed: Myers has excellent speed. He ranked in the 89th percentile for sprint speed at the Major League level and stole 20 bases in the Minor Leagues. With regular playing time, he could be a 25+ steal player.
Plate Discipline: Chase rates are part of what got Myers in trouble a the Major League level. He especially struggles with off-speed pitches. He posted strong walk rates with Miami’s Minor League affiliates but that is an anomaly to his professional career.
Biggest Concern: The ground ball rate. If Myers cannot hit more balls in the air, he will never make it as a Major League hitter.
Conclusion: The tools are there for Myers to be relevant for fantasy. He has good power and excellent speed which should make him an asset. That being said, it is difficult to forecast a change to his batted-ball profile at 27 and Myers may never be more than a fourth outfielder.
ETA: April 2024
Jacob Berry – 3B/1B (Double-A, SHB, 22, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.233/.284/.388/9 HR/10 SB
Overview: The reaction to the Marlins taking Berry at seventh overall was a mixed bag. On one hand, people recognized the success he had at the plate at LSU. On the other, people questioned his defensive home and how his bat would fare against professional pitching. So far, the skeptics have been right as Berry has struggled to hit and looks like a future DH.
Hit-Tool: The report by FanGraphs does an excellent job of describing the issues with Berry’s hit tool. His swing is inconsistent and his pull-happy approach has not had much of any success. This is a below-average tool.
Power: Any power Berry had has seemingly disappeared. Despite a pull approach, Berry does not hit the ball hard enough to post high home run rates. This was supposed to be his carrying tool which now appears to also be below-average.
Speed: He managed to steal 10 bases this past season, but speed does not profile to be a large part of his game. He lacks real athleticism to be a sneaky base-stealer and will likely continue seeing his speed decline.
Plate Discipline: Coming out of college, Berry was praised for his patient approach. This has not fully shown up at the professional levels and his walk rates have been mediocre. His plate discipline does not hurt him, but it does not help him as much as he thought.
Biggest Concern: The lack of power is a major concern. There are a lot of concerns honestly, but the exit velocities being low are a major red flag.
Conclusion: With a defensive home likely at first base or off the field entirely, Berry needs to hit to be useful. So far, he is not and the projection on him is shifting toward a fringe big-leaguer.
ETA: September 2024
Victor Mesa Jr. – OF (Double-A, LHB, 22, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.242/.308/.412/18 HR/16 SB
Overview: It feels like forever since the Mesa brothers signed with Miami. Mesa Jr. was less notable at the time but has turned himself into an intriguing prospect. His power took off out of nowhere last season leaving many excited to see what he can do in 2024.
Hit-Tool: Back in 2018, Mesa’s hit tool was what carried him. Now that looks like a weakness. He whiffs a lot and profiles to struggle with strikeouts. There is a chance he can blend his past profile of contact skills with his new profile of a power bat to take the next step in his progression.
Power: Mesa’s swing is not designed to punish pitches up in the zone. His hot zone is down and in where his long bat path sweeps through the zone like a golf club and crushes the ball out. There is a significant power projection here although it is fair to wonder how this will be exploited against more advanced pitchers.
Speed: Mesa’s great speed is what has helped him remain an excellent center fielder. He also uses his speed on the base paths and is a 20-steal player at his peak projection.
Plate Discipline: Mesa’s plate discipline is below average. He chases pitches out of the zone leading to plenty of weak contact.
Biggest Concern: Mesa’s long swing concerns me in today’s day and age of high fastballs. It appears imperative that the power carries him to success and I worry pitchers will find the holes in his swing and cause him to struggle.
Conclusion: Mesa’s athleticism creates an intriguing profile. His new power is enticing, but his contact issues cast doubt over his future potential. He is a high-variance prospect who could debut next season.
ETA: August 2024
Jeremiah Jackson – 2B/SS (Double-A, RHB, 23, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.252/.328/.450/22 HR/27 SB
Overview: Jackson joined the Mets organization as the return for Dominic Leone. The second-round pick from 2018 has moved slowly through the Minor Leagues showing flashes of potential along the way. He has a career 111 wRC+ although there remain serious concerns over his hit tool.
Hit-Tool: Jackson’s hit tool is well below average. He swings and misses a ton which has led to some pretty low averages. His swing is pretty and produces plenty of line drives which adds a silver lining.
Power: His batting stance is loud, but there is no denying how fast his hands fly through the zone. He has posted strong HR/FB numbers throughout the Minor Leagues. This is a plus tool.
Speed: Jackson has plenty of speed giving him another plus attribute. His athleticism makes it likely he could steal 25+ bases over a full season.
Plate Discipline: The plate discipline is better than his contact skills. He has shown the ability to lay off more breaking balls as he has matured although this is still more of an average-at-best tool.
Biggest Concern: He needs to make more contact to ever fulfill his potential. Strikeout issues tend to only get worse as the competition increases.
Conclusion: Jackson’s overall profile is extremely intriguing. He generates strong power with speed which checks multiple fantasy baseball boxes. His glove is strong enough to earn him even more playing time. Keep an eye on whether or not the Mets can help solve his contact issues.
ETA: September 2024
Ronny Mauricio – SS/2B (MLB, SHB, 22, 6’3″)
2023 Stats:.292/.346/.506/23 HR/24 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.248/.296/.347/ 2 HR/7 SB
Overview: For the second straight season, he stole 20 bases and hit 20 home runs although this time his average was much higher. He earned a promotion to the Major Leagues and should be a fixture in the Mets’ 2024 lineup.
Hit-Tool: Mauricio does an incredible job of hitting line drives. His swing path is incredibly smooth which should lead to high BABIPs. Although he has high strikeout rates, his contact skills are also around league average. This is a plus tool moving forward.
Power: Mauricio’s body screams athleticism and potential. He is still filling out his 6’3″ frame but has incredible raw power. His Major League max EV this season was 117.3 mph. This is an elite raw tool.
Speed: Mauricio’s athleticism is better than his pure speed. He steals bases thanks to good baseball instincts and went a perfect 7/7 in just 26 games.
Plate Discipline: This is where Mauricio has struggled. He has a high tendency to chase pitches out of the zone with an over-aggressive approach.
Biggest Concern: Mauricio’s plate discipline could impact all facets of his game. If he cannot lay off the junk, pitchers will never give him something to hit.
Conclusion: Mauricio has as much upside as almost any other prospect. He has the power, speed, and hit tool to be an elite fantasy option. The issue will be keeping his chase rate in check. He carries some risk, but he is likely a player I will be targeting in 2024 drafts.
ETA: April 2024
Drew Gilbert – OF (Double-A, LHB, 23, 5’9″)
2023 Stats:.289/.381/.487/18 HR/12 SB
Overview: Gilbert was the headline piece coming back to New York in the Justin Verlander trade. Despite a smaller frame, Gilbert taps into his pull-side power extremely well. Quick hands and a pretty left-handed swing lands Gilbert inside the top 100 on all prospect lists.
Hit-Tool: Gilbert’s hit tool really started to shine once he joined the Mets’ organization. He hits a ton of line drives and has shown league-average contact skills so far. This is a plus-plus tool.
Power: Gilbert’s power comes from his ability to pull the baseball. His frame does not provide a great power projection, but this is still close to an average tool thanks to his talent.
Speed: FanGraphs gives Gilbert an FV of 60 on his speed. That being said, he has not shown an overt willingness to run and projects to steal 10-15 bases.
Plate Discipline: Gilbert has a mature understanding of the strike zone. He posted excellent walk rates this season and this should help him to get even more pitches to drive.
Biggest Concern: Size is a factor here. Gilbert is not so small that it is a major concern, but his home run projection is likely to be in the 15-20 range.
Conclusion: Gilbert is likely to be an excellent player for the Mets. He has the tools necessary to get on base at a high clip and drive the balls into gaps. If the Mets are aggressive with Gilbert, he should be on fantasy radars.
ETA: July 2024
Jett Williams – SS/OF (Double-A, RHB, 19, 5’6″)
2023 Stats:.263/.425/.451/13 HR/45 SB
Overview: The Mets took Williams 14th overall in the 2022 draft and he is fresh off an excellent first full season. His speed was on full display, but his second-half slash line (.302/.451/.567) is what has people really excited.
Hit-Tool: Williams makes a ton of contact with a gap-to-gap approach. He can use all fields and hits a ton of line drives. This is easily his best tool and a plus-plus attribute.
Power: Power was the biggest question, but Williams came on strong toward the end of the season. He started pulling the ball more as the season went along which helped fuel his breakout. This projects as more of a fringe-average tool.
Speed: His speed is elite. Williams is amongst the best base-stealing prospects in baseball and projects as a 30+ stolen base threat at the major league level.
Plate Discipline: Not only can Williams get on base with his hit tool, but he works a ton of walks. With a smaller strike zone from his 5’6″ frame, Williams will not chase very often and has very strong plate discipline.
Biggest Concern: You do not see very many 5’6″ Major League players. This is not to say Williams cannot be an exception, but it certainly is not the expectation.
Conclusion: Williams’ size casts some doubts over his Major League potential. That being said, he is blazing fast and should be a very strong OBP guy even if the power does not translate. He is not first in line for a promotion but could force New York’s hand with another impressive season.
ETA: September 2024
Luisangel Acuna – SS/2B (Double-A, RHB, 21, 5’8″)
2023 Stats:.294/.359/.410/9 HR/57 SB
Overview: Another top prospect who joined the Mets at the trade deadline; this time in return for Max Scherzer. The younger brother of some guy named Ronald Acuna Jr. has generated hype beyond just name recognition. Although he lacks the upside of his brother, his impressive minor league performances make him worth paying attention to.
Hit-Tool: The hit tool has been inconsistent so far throughout his career. His quiet batting stance and quick hands lead to solid contact rates although his swing can get a bit choppy at times. This is a slightly above-average tool likely to produce averages around .260.
Power: This is what prevents him from having the same upside as his brother. A big leg kick and excellent bat speed provide a glimpse of what Ronald can do but he lacks the same physicality as his brother. He projects as a 15-20 home run bat in the future.
Speed: This is Acuna’s best attribute. He is blazing fast with a knack for stealing bases. Assuming he gets on enough, he could easily steal 50 bases in the Major Leagues.
Plate Discipline: Luisangel is not quite as aggressive as his older brother. He has a more patient approach with a good understanding of the zone.
Biggest Concern: Inconsistencies in his hit tool have been the biggest red caution flag. His swing gets too big at times and prevents him from getting on base and utilizing his speed.
Conclusion: Sometimes, it feels like Luisangel is trying to match his brother Ronald. The tools are there for him to be a plus hitter with elite speed. However, he tries to hit for too much power which can get him in trouble. There is a significant fantasy upside here that should put him on radars in 2024.
ETA: August 2024
By: Matt Heckman (@heckman_matt115)
Wade Meckler – OF (Triple-A, LHB, 23, 5’10”)
2023 Stats:.371/.458/.510/6 HR/13 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.232/.328/.250/0 HR/0 SB
Overview: The Giants wasted no time moving Meckler quickly through their minor league system. After becoming their eighth-round pick in 2022, Meckler did nothing but hit at every level. Between his hit tool and glove, the Giants clearly like what they have seen from him already.
Hit-Tool: In 106 minor league games, Meckler is hitting an absurd .370. His contact numbers in the minor leagues were fantastic, but major league pitchers were able to routinely exploit him with non-fastballs. This is a plus tool, but might not be major league-ready just yet.
Power: Meckler’s game is not built around power. He posted horrendous exit velocity numbers in both Triple-A and the major leagues. He hit six home runs in the minor leagues, but I would not expect much more than five at the major league level. This is a well below-average tool.
Speed: Considering Meckler posted a 95th-percentile sprint speed, you would think he would have stolen more bases. Perhaps he was still just adjusting to professional baseball, but there is more upside to his speed profile.
Plate Discipline: Meckler’s plate discipline is fantastic. He routinely lays off pitches out of the strike zone. He can be too patient at times which is part of what got him in trouble at the Major League level (35.8% swing rate).
Biggest Concern: Meckler needs to steal more bases to be fantasy-relevant. He has the hit tool (even if the MLB strikeout rate does not show it) and we know that the power is not coming. Speed will be essential to his relevance.
Conclusion: Meckler’s rise through the minor leagues was impressive. That being said, it is fair to question what his fantasy relevance will ever be. He will undoubtedly see major league action in 2024, it is just a matter of if he can secure a starting role.
ETA: May 2024
Marco Luciano – SS (Triple-A, RHB, 22, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.223/.334/.442/15 HR/6 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.231/.333/.308/0 HR/1 SB
Overview: Luciano has often felt like a bit of a disappointment considering the expectations cast on him. Injuries and inconsistencies at the plate have plagued him throughout his professional career. Still, underneath the struggles, Luciano is a player with immense raw talent and projectability that could be special if everything ever finally clicks.
Hit-Tool: This is Luciano’s weakness. He struggles to make contact, especially on breaking balls. He routinely swings out of his shoes against these resulting in high strikeout rates. Luciano also has a tendency to swing down on the ball which results in ground ball issues.
Power: When Luciano connects, it is fun to watch. He has immense raw power stemming from his athletic frame. He hits the ball extremely hard and if he can get it in the air enough, he can be a 30 home run bat.
Speed: Despite his athleticism, he has slowed down as his body has continued to fill out. He is not much of a threat to steal bases and has league-average speed.
Plate Discipline: Although he struggles to make contact, he is not a free swinger. He is patient at the plate and is more than willing to take a walk. This should provide some level of stability to his high-variance offensive profile.
Biggest Concern: Luciano needs to learn how to hit breaking balls. If not, that is all major league pitchers will throw him and his strikeout rate will continue to be too high.
Conclusion: Luciano is a talented player with plenty of upside. His kind of power from a middle infielder is rare. However, he also carries plenty of risks that could prevent him from ever becoming a major league regular.
ETA: May 2024
Vaun Brown – OF (Double-A, RHB, 25, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.242/.311/.441/9 HR/20 SB
Overview: Brown posted excellent numbers in his first two seasons in professional baseball creating high expectations for 2023. Unfortunately for Brown, the more advanced pitching at Double-A exploited flaws in his swing. His long-term projection prior to the season looks a lot different than it does now.
Hit-Tool: This is the issue. The contact issues were evident even prior to Brown’s struggles but have become obvious now. He posted a swinging strike rate of 23% in Double-A last season. His swing path is smooth and consistent, but he does not make enough contact for that to matter.
Power: Brown’s power outputs are impressive. His career ISO sits at .250 and there is easy 25-30 home run potential in his bat. He utilizes his pull-side power well making this an above-average tool.
Speed: His speed might be even better than his power. Brown has the ability to steal a base at any time and profiles to be a plus-plus runner at the major league level.
Plate Discipline: Brown’s plate discipline is close to the league average. He has some trouble with breaking balls but is willing to work walks.
Biggest Concern: Brown needs to make more contact. If he cannot, his power/speed combination will never matter.
Conclusion: Brown has the tools that fantasy baseball managers look for. He has the potential to be a 20/20 player with room for even more upside. The issue is that there is just as much risk as upside and Brown may never make it as a Major League regular.
ETA: August 2024
Victor Bericoto – 1B/OF (Double-A, RHB, 21, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.272/.329/.511/27 HR/1 SB
Overview: A breakout 2023 season has officially put Bericoto on the map. A big right-handed swing produces plenty of power here. His increased ability to pull the ball and get it in the air more is the primary reason Bericoto experienced the success that he did last year.
Hit-Tool: Bericioto likes to hit off his front foot. He has enough raw power to make this work, but it can leave him susceptible to breaking pitches from better pitchers. His hit tool is probably slightly above average but can improve if he continues to hit more line drives in 2024.
Power: This is his calling card. Since the pandemic, Bericioto has posted impressive HR/FB rates with the potential for even more. He tapped into this potential last season with more fly balls and more pulled balls. This increases his ceiling and creates 30 home run potential.
Speed: As he has gotten bigger, the speed has declined. He is not much of a threat to steal anymore and this is part of the reason he will likely have a home at first base as opposed to the outfield.
Plate Discipline: Bericoto can be a bit aggressive at times, but this is not a major concern. He has solid pitch recognition and should be close to average in this department.
Biggest Concern: The batting stance from Bericoto scares me. He gets out ahead of pitches which helps him crush mistakes, but also leaves him exposed to more contact issues. This is something to watch in 2024.
Conclusion: Bericoto has enough power to be a fantasy-relevant player. The issue is where he finds his defensive home. If he is an outfielder, he has more fantasy relevance than a low-average first baseman.
ETA: September 2024
Aeverson Arteaga – SS (High-A, RHB, 20, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.235/.299/.410/17 HR/8 SB
Overview: I could not help but write about a prospect I am still way above consensus on. Arteaga has never posted the flashiest stat lines, but he has really good ISO numbers and the tools necessary to be an impactful player.
Hit-Tool: His swing path is smooth and produces a ton of line drives. He should post high averages if he can keep his strikeout rate in check. This number dropped by over three percent this past season and will be the biggest key to Arteaga taking the next step.
Power: Arteaga consistently makes loud contact and has shown the ability to drive the ball. His home run total increased again last season and there is more raw power potential for him to tap into.
Speed: He has an athletic build that should help him maintain his solid speed. He is not a threat to steal 30 bases but should settle into the 15-20 range.
Plate Discipline: Arteaga is aggressive at the plate. This has a tendency to get him into trouble in the strikeout department. This profiles as a below-average part of Arteaga’s game although he could continue to develop.
Biggest Concern: Arteaga needs to show more patience at the plate. He can do consistent damage on pitches in the zone but lacks the patience to get more opportunities to do that.
Conclusion: The love for Arteaga is about projection and athleticism. He is a toolsy player who has received love from plenty of big-name scouts like Keith Law. He is not a finished product but could move quickly if everything clicks.
ETA: September 2024.
Aaron Schunk – 2B/3B (Triple-A, RHB, 26, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.290/.350/.461/14 HR/12 SB
Overview: Schunk has not shown up on any top prospect lists, but he is quietly knocking on the door of a major league promotion. His infield versatility could get him to Colorado as a bench bat even if the upside is not that high.
Hit-Tool: Schunk posted his highest average since 2019 this past season although it came with a massive jump in his BABIP. His line drive percentage and ability to use all fields are impressive and should provide a stable floor for this tool. The issue is inconsistent contact skills that keep this tool slightly below average.
Power: Schunk does not barrel up the ball enough to ever hit for real power. His exit velocity in Triple-A was very poor and it is difficult to ever project more than 15 home runs across a full season.
Speed: Schunks’s speed is right around the league average. He has solid instincts that allow him to steal a handful of bases, but nothing that is ever going to make him a difference-maker.
Plate Discipline: This attribute still needs a lot of work. Schunk is super aggressive and runs extremely high swing and chase rates.
Biggest Concern: Shunk lacks both real fantasy upside and the safety of a stable floor. He swings too much and swings and misses plenty. This is not a good combination.
Conclusion: 26 years old at Triple-A makes a 2024 promotion likely. However, I would not be surprised to see a strikeout rate north of 30% during his first major league stint. This is not somebody worth keeping on your fantasy radar.
ETA: June 2024
Drew Romo – C (Triple-A, SHB, 22, 5’11”)
2023 Stats:.259/.317/.445/13 HR/6 SB
Overview: Romo has struggled to hit since his first professional season back in 2021. The former 35th overall pick has relied on solid glove play to help him continue his ascent through the Minor Leagues. Romo has shown flashes of power but is still searching for the consistency that could turn him into a fantasy asset.
Hit-Tool: Romo has routinely been praised for his contact skills, but those appeared to take a step backward this season. His swinging strike rate was the highest of his career and he got a little bit too pull-happy.
Power: Romo is a completely different batter from the left side of the plate. His power jumps up to a different level and it is fair to wonder if he should stop switch-hitting altogether. He has plus power from the left side and below-average power from the right.
Speed: Romo was caught stealing more times than he was successful this past season. That is an obvious indicator that he does not profile to be much of a stolen base threat at the Major League level.
Plate Discipline: Romo’s low walk rates are a product of an aggressive, swing-first approach. Romo makes enough contact to get away with this, but it limits the hard contact he produces.
Biggest Concern: Romo’s slash line from the left side of the plate was .162/.225/.243. Simply put, he was terrible. This needs to improve next season.
Conclusion: His glove has always kept him hanging around top prospect lists. This tool should carry him to the major leagues and keep his bat in the lineup even when it is not producing. That being said, he is not somebody I expect to have much fantasy success right away. There is a solid base here for production, but plenty of development is still required.
ETA: June 2024
Hunter Goodman – 1B/OF (MLB, RHB, 24, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.259/.338/.580/34 HR/0 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.200/.247/.386/1 HR/1 SB
Overview: Goodman demolished baseballs throughout the 2023 season. After starting the year in Double-A, he made it all the way to the major leagues after posting an emphatic 200 wRC+ in Triple-A. There are plenty of valid concerns in his profile, but this kind of power in Coors Field is always enticing.
Hit-Tool: The contact skills here leave plenty to be desired. Goodman swings and misses plenty and whiffed 38% of the time in his major league stint. This is a below-average tool that could be exploited at the major league level.
Power: His power is immense. Goodman has 35 home run potential. He barrels the ball up at an impressive rate and getting to play home games in Coors Field will only help.
Speed: Speed is not an element of Goodman’s game. He has decent speed which is why he might be able to play a corner outfield spot, but he is not a threat to steal many bases.
Plate Discipline: Along with contact issues, Goodman also has trouble laying off pitches out of the strike zone. He expands the zone frequently and this is another area major league pitchers can exploit.
Biggest Concern: Goodman’s contact skills worry me more than his plate discipline deficiencies. Goodman needs to make more contact if he is going to stay in the lineup.
Conclusion: A power bat of this magnitude is always at least a little bit intriguing. His fast rise through the Minor Leagues has generated some helium although it is fair to wonder if he will ever hit enough to maintain a starting role. He is worth streaming in Coors Field, but that is about it.
ETA: April 2024
Jordan Beck – OF (Double-A, RHB, 22, 6’3″)
2023 Stats:.271/.364/.503/25 HR/20 SB
Overview: In the lower levels of the minor leagues, Beck’s hit tool looked better than advertised. He was making contact at a high rate and hitting for a solid average. These contact skills took a massive step back in Double-A causing some concern moving forward.
Hit-Tool: FanGraphs notes that Beck has struggled some with high fastballs with a swing designed to golf the ball out of the park. This has been on display in Double-A as his strikeout rate has soared. He projects to hit in the .250 range.
Power: Beck’s power is immense. He has power to all fields in a way that is a little bit reminiscent of Aaron Judge. He gets the ball in the air a lot and is a 25-30 home run threat in the future.
Speed: Beck has solid speed for a player of his size. He is an effective base stealer and will likely settle in as a 15-steal player.
Plate Discipline: The plate discipline from Beck only adds to his power profile. He is extremely patient at the plate willing to wait to get a pitch to hit. This is a very strong attribute.
Biggest Concern: Beck’s regression in contact skills is a red flag moving forward. Coming out of Tennessee, he was older than the competition in the lower levels, and seeing how he adjusts to better pitching is the biggest thing to watch.
Conclusion: Even with a strikeout rate of over 30% at Double-A, he still posted a line eight percent better than the league average. He profiles to hold big-time value in points leagues thanks to his power and walks with the upside to be a valuable contributor in standard leagues.
ETA: July 2024
Yanquiel Fernandez- OF (Double-A, LHB, 20, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.265/.313/.486/25 HR/1 SB
Overview: Although he does not have a true defensive home, it is fun to watch Fernandez at the plate. Some have even started to call him “mini Yordan”. Fernandez is a big-bodied, power-hitting lefty who dominated High-A for the first half of the 2023 season. He is a high-variance, high-reward profile for fantasy managers.
Hit-Tool: Fernandez’s contact skills are below average. His big swing and aggression gets him in trouble against good breaking pitches. He profiles to hit around .240 where things stand. There is upside for more if he can make more contact and adjust his approach to use all fields.
Power: Fernandez has tremendous power. The ball flies off the bat when he connects. He taps into his pull-side power well and has 30-35 home run potential.
Speed: Part of the reason that Fernandez does not profile to be an outfielder long-term is his lack of speed. He is a burley runner who has a chance to play a below-average left field. He also is not a threat to steal many bases.
Plate Discipline: Fernandez is aggressive. This limits the number of good pitches he gets to hit and prevents him from working better walk rats.
Biggest Concern: His aggression at the plate is already getting him in trouble at Double-A. Better pitchers are able to exploit his weaknesses. Fernandez needs to prove capable of adjusting.
Conclusion: Defensive question marks could limit his fantasy upside if he is forced to first base or DH. However, the power in his bat is legit and he is a few tweaks away from becoming a dominant offensive force. His progression is worth tracking since his upside is so high.
ETA: September 2024
Andy Pages – OF (Triple-A, RHB, 22, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.277/.425/.482/3 HR/7 SB
Overview: Pages has been known as one of the best home run hitting outfield prospects in baseball for a few years now. Injuries cut his 2023 season short after just one game at Triple-A. His average has been inconsistent, but there is 35 home run upside in his bat.
Hit-Tool: This has been the biggest question mark for Pages. There is reason to be encouraged though as before his injury, he had brought his swinging strike rate under 10% in 2023. He also hits a ton of line drives which makes me think this tool is closer to average than the 40 FV it gets on FanGraphs.
Power: A muscular frame lends itself to plenty of power here. Pages utilizes a big leg kick that he times well and demolishes baseballs. He has enough power to consistently go the opposite way although he prefers to pull the ball. This is a plus-plus attribute and one that should translate well to the Major Leagues.
Speed: Prior to the injury, Pages was showing an increased willingness to run already stealing more bases than he had in 2021 and 2022. This however is a below-average tool for Pages. His body type is not one designed for pure speed although his strong baseball instincts help him in the field.
Plate Discipline: Pages has a patient approach which can sometimes be a little bit too patient. He works plenty of walks and is willing to lay off junk to get a pitch he likes.
Biggest Concern: How will Pages look after he returns from injury? A torn labrum is no joke and could impact his power moving forward.
Conclusion: Pages’ blend of power and on-base skills make him an intriguing profile moving forward in points leagues. His hit tool should be strong enough to return value in standard leagues as well. Hopefully, the Dodgers can convince him to start swinging a little bit more once he is healthy again.
ETA: July 2024
Jorbit Vivas – 2B/3B (Triple-A, LHB, 22, 5’10”)
2023 Stats:.269/.381/.407/13 HR/25 SB
Overview: A violent swing led by a huge leg kick, produces power beyond his 5’10” frame. Vivas has slowly worked his way through the Dodgers organization and is now one step away from the major leagues. He is a versatile infielder who has more offensive upside than many give him credit for.
Hit-Tool: If you watch Vivas swing, you would assume there are concerns over his hit tool. This is actually the opposite of the truth. Vivas’ makes excellent contact although he does have a tendency to swing down on the ball from time to time. This is a plus tool and a .280 average is realistic.
Power: His leg kick and pull-side power provide enough pop, but this is not a plus tool. His exit velocities are relatively poor with an inconsistent ability to barrel up the baseball. There is potential here for more power, but at this point, he projects for 12-15 home runs at his peak.
Speed: Vivas does not get great speed grades from scouts, but he saw his stolen base totals jump way up this season. He is an athletic player and is likely to steal 15-20 bases in a season at the major league level.
Plate Discipline: This is really where Vivas shines. He has an excellent understanding of the strike zone and is willing to be patient until he gets a pitch to hit. He has additional value in OBP leagues.
Biggest Concern: The exit velocities are concerning. His swing should generate more power than it does, but he needs to barrel the ball up more.
Conclusion: Vivas profiles to be an on-base machine. He has tremendous contact skills with a patient approach. Adding more power would allow him to take a huge step forward.
ETA: August 2024
Michael Busch – 2B/3B/OF (Triple-A, LHB, 25, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.323/.431/.618/27 HR/4 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.167/.247/.292/2 HR/1 SB
Overview: For the last few years we have been waiting for the Dodgers to give Busch a chance. He finally got some playing time at the major league level this past season, but the playing time was inconsistent. He seemed to make notable improvements to his game at Triple-A last season making it seem like it is 2024 or never for the now 25-year-old.
Hit-Tool: Despite high strikeout rates, Busch has always posted solid contact numbers. His swinging strike rate dropped all the way to 7.9% with by far his highest batting average as a professional. He hits a ton of line drives and can use all fields. This is a plus tool.
Power: Power potential is what makes Busch so special. He has hit at least 20 home runs in three consecutive seasons and 27+ in the last two. He hits the ball extremely hard and should continue to post strong home run totals at the major league level.
Speed: Busch has the hit tool and the power, but lacks speed. He is not much of a threat to steal bases.
Plate Discipline: So, Busch posts strong contact rates but high strikeout rates. Does this mean he must chase a lot? Nope, he actually has a relatively patient approach which can sometimes be too patient at times. This is close to the league average and could be even better if he swings at more pitches in the strike zone.
Biggest Concern: His defense. Busch does not have a true defensive home which could prevent him from ever locking down an everyday role with the Dodgers.
Conclusion: The Dodgers rarely waste time letting a prospect work through things at the Major League level. That said, Busch has shown all of the skills to be a very useful fantasy asset if he ever gets his chance at the Major League level. .275 with 25 home runs is a realistic outcome.
ETA: April 2024
Dalton Rushing – C/1B (High-A, LHB, 22, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.228/.404/.452/15 HR/1 SB
Overview: Rushing crushed eight home runs in 28 games after being drafted in 2022 creating immense buzz around his name entering 2023. The Louisville product needs to work on his defense some, but there is enough offensive upside here to put him on fantasy radars.
Hit-Tool: Rushing is an extreme pull hitter. This has resulted in opposing pitchers attacking him away and often getting him to roll over on pitches. This hurt his average and his hit tool appeared to be more average than above-average.
Power: The power was a little bit disappointing last year, but this is still a plus tool. Rushing drives low pitches out over the right field wall and still posted a .224 ISO this year. He has 25-30 home run potential.
Speed: Rushing has an athletic build for a catcher, but he is not much of a threat to run.
Plate Discipline: Rushing is incredibly patient. He walked over 18% of the time this past season and is more than willing to keep the bat on his shoulder. He can be a bit overly passive but has an excellent understanding of the strike zone.
Biggest Concern: Will Rushing be able to adjust to pitches on the outer third of the zone? His swing is pretty and the contact skills are strong, but tougher pitchers could continue to exploit his weakness.
Conclusion: With other catchers in the Dodgers’ system besides Will Smith, Rushing is a candidate to see time at first base moving forward. This puts more pressure on his bat to play, but if you are in an OBP league, Rushing is a prospect you need to know. The odds of a 2024 debut are relatively low but the upside is there for him to be an impactful fantasy bat.
Diego Cartaya – C (Double-A, RHB, 22, 6’3″)
2023 Stats:.189/.278/.379/19 HR/0 SB
Overview: The Dodgers always seem to have a never-ending surplus of catching prospects. Cartaya has effortless power from the right side of the plate and there is plenty of reason to believe he was unlucky in 2023. He has significant offensive upside from the catcher position.
Hit-Tool: This is where people are waiting for Cartaya to show improvements. He has trouble making contact consistently which has produced high strikeout rates. His low batting average is mostly a product of that, but his BABIP is due for positive regression in 2023. He has a quiet stance with a smooth swing that should produce plenty of line drives.
Power: Cartaya drives the ball out of the park with ease. He has tremendous raw power that is aided by his ability to consistently pull the ball. This is a plus tool and Cartaya has 25 home run potential which is rare for a catcher.
Speed: There is no speed to Cataya’s game. He is a true catcher who is never going to steal more than a couple of bases in a season.
Plate Discipline: Cartaya has contact concerns which is part of why his patient approach can get him in trouble. However, his patience also helps him work plenty of walks which has not slowed down as he has moved to higher levels of the minor leagues.
Biggest Concern: Cartaya needs to make more consistent contact at the plate. This is by far the biggest flaw in his game.
Conclusion: Cartaya has the defensive skills to be a real-life catcher and the offensive tools to be a useful fantasy catcher. That being said, he has yet to put everything together and needs to develop his hit tool. 25+ home runs from a catcher is rare which is what makes Cartaya’s potential so intriguing.
ETA: September 2024
Ivan Melendez – 1B (Double-A, RHB, 23, 6’3″)
2023 Stats:.272/.345/.578/30 HR/4 SB
Overview: First base-only prospects come with immense pressure on their bat to live up to expectations. So far, Melendez has been a force at the plate. He crushes home runs with ease and has a rare ability to barrel up the baseball. As with most sluggers, there are concerns with his hit tool that could dictate whether or not he ever becomes a legitimate fantasy asset.
Hit-Tool: There are major contact concerns in Melendez’s profile. Not only does he struggle to make contact on good breaking pitches, but he is also consistently a tick behind the high fastball. The ball travels far when he makes contact, but it is difficult to envision him ever with a strikeout rate below 30%.
Power: The power is effortless. The ball explodes off his bat thanks in large part to his 6’3″ 225-pound frame. He gets the ball in the air at a high rate and gets great carry when he connects. There is 40 home run potential in his bat making this an elite tool.
Speed: Speed is definitely not a part of Melendez’s profile. He is a bat-first offensive profile with one goal: drive the ball out of the park.
Plate Discipline: Although Melendez showed a decent understanding of the strike zone in college, his walk rate has consistently declined with every promotion. He is fooled by breaking pitches and too aggressive against the high fastball. This does not help his already weak hit tool.
Biggest Concern: Power hitters are a dime a dozen at first base. With a poor hit tool and suspect plate discipline, it is fair to wonder if Melendez has what it takes to set himself apart from a replacement-level player.
Conclusion: The power is captivating. Gravitating toward players with an elite tool is always easy, but it is important to evaluate the entire profile. Melendez does not run and he is likely to hit close to .230 at the major league level. Kyle Schwarber power potential with a slightly better average and less walks at first base is not usually what managers are looking for.
ETA: August 2024
Jordan Lawlar – SS (MLB, RHB, 21, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.278/.378/.496/20 HR/36 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.129/.206/.129/0 HR/1 SB
Overview: My highest-rated prospect prior to his debut, Lawlar did not look great in a small 14-game sample. However, he was excellent in the minor leagues showing off impressive power and speed. His strike zone awareness has improved as has his launch angle making him a player with as much upside as anybody in this article.
Hit-Tool: Entering 2023, there were plenty of question marks about Lawlar’s hit tool. After a slow start, he showed significant improvements in his contact skills and his swing path. This tool is going to be average at worst with the potential to hit around .280.
Power: Lawlar has power that extends to all fields. He is unlikely to be a 30+ home run bat but he should settle in around the 25 homers per year number. He drives balls into the gaps and has worked to utilize his pull-side pop more.
Speed: This is Lawlar’s best attribute. He ranked in the 99th percentile in major league sprint speed this year and is an instant threat for 35+ stolen bases.
Plate Discipline: Although Lawlar struggled to make contact at the major league level, he showed off strong plate discipline which should help him get pitches to drive. He has always posted strong walk rates which should continue.
Biggest Concern: Lawlar needs to be able to make more contact on non-fastballs. Major league pitchers could continue to exploit him with junk if he proves incapable of hitting it.
Conclusion: The speed and power combination possessed by Lawlar is exciting. The upside in his profile is huge and there is no reason to overreact to a small major league sample size. He will have a fantasy impact in 2024 and should be on your radars during draft season.
ETA: April 2024
AJ Vukovich – 1B/3B/OF (Double-A, RHB, 22, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.263/.333/.485/24 HR/20 SB
Overview: Since being drafted in the fourth round by Arizona back in 2020, there have always been question marks about where he will land defensively. He is playing more outfield now while coming off his best season as a professional.
Hit-Tool: There are pretty big concerns over whether or not Vukovich will ever be able to hit at the major league level. He has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game and his aggression can lead to some inconsistent batted ball profiles. He profiles to hit ~.240.
Power: If there is one thing that he does not lack, it is power. Vukovich has posted impressive HR/FB numbers throughout his professional career and profiles to have plus power at the major league level.
Speed: Playing a lot of corner infield initially, his speed was never something scouts expected much out of. However, he is playing center field now (FanGraphs says he looks solid out there) and his speed is evident in his stolen base totals. There is 15-20 steal potential here.
Plate Discipline: Vukovich is extremely aggressive at the plate. He swings early and often and is more than willing to expand the zone. He is not going to walk a lot.
Biggest Concern: The combination of poor discipline and poor contact skills is usually not a recipe for success at the major league level.
Conclusion: There is enough power and speed here for Vukovich to be an impactful fantasy player. His defensive versatility could help him reach the major leagues this year, but if he wants to have success, he will need to do a better job of making contact and laying off balls out of the strike zone. That is the most important thing to watch when evaluating his profile.
ETA: September 2024
Deyvison De Los Santos – 3B (Double-A, RHB, 20, 5’11”)
2023 Stats:.254/.297/.431/20 HR/4 SB
Overview: Here is a free-swinging third baseman with enough raw power to hit 30 home runs. De Los Santos moved quickly through the lower levels of the Minor Leagues reaching Double-A at just 19 years old. High ground ball rates have hindered his performances, but a swing change during the 2023 season might have unlocked the potential many have been waiting for.
Hit-Tool: De Los Santos’ hit tool is well below the league average. He swings and misses a lot and pounds the ball into the ground. He swings over top of too many pitches which gives pitchers a clear approach to attack him. However, his numbers looked much better during the second half after the previously mentioned adjustments making it possible he is hitting more fly balls. Even with the adjustments this tool is still likely to be a below-average one.
Power: The ball flies when De Los Santos is able to get it in the air. He drives the ball particularly well to the pull-side. The raw power is well above average, but his game power still profiles closer to average unless he can prove these launch angle improvements are here to stay.
Speed: A bigger build, De Los Santos is not going to be a threat to steal many bases. He does not run very well and is likely only going to continue slowing down.
Plate Discipline: The other issue with De Los Santos is his approach. He is extremely aggressive which is oftentimes not good for players with contact issues. He routinely expands the zone and is likely to produce low walk rates.
Biggest Concern: His career-long ground ball percentages are a major concern. Power is supposed to be what attracts us to him and he pounds the ball into the ground too much for that to matter. Hopefully, the adjustments he made last season continue to produce better results.
Conclusion: De Los Santos is still young for the level of baseball he is playing. Even though his power is attractive, he will need to show massive strides in his hit tool if he is going to be a legitimate fantasy asset in the future.
ETA: September 2024
Kristian Robinson – OF (Double-A, RHB, 22, 6’3″)
2023 Stats:.283/.382/.532/14 HR/23 SB
Overview: Robinson was once one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He then assaulted a police officer and ran into visa issues which prevented him from playing in a professional game from 2019-2022. He returned this past season and showed flashes of what made him a top prospect. His 600 PA pace for home runs was 31. His 600 PA pace for stolen bases was 51. The tools and upside are obvious for a player people might be hesitant to buy back in on.
Hit-Tool: This is the biggest area of concern. Robinson drives the ball from gap to gap when he makes contact, but the issue is making contact consistently. He does not have the best bat speed and has plenty of swing-and-miss in his game. This is a below-average tool although it is important to remember this was his first season of professional baseball since 2019.
Power: At 6’3″, Robinson’s athletic frame provides plenty of pop. Although his swing is designed to go gap-to-gap, he has the ability to crush balls out of the park without even trying. His HR/FB rates in the minor leagues have been absurd and he has easy 30+ home run potential.
Speed: Despite his size, Robinson is extremely athletic and still very fast. He did not miss a beat after missing so much time and profiles to be an above-average base stealer.
Plate Discipline: Robinson is aggressive at the plate, but not to the degree that it is going to cause major issues. He likes to hunt fastballs but is more than willing to take pitches the other way. He should post close to league-average walk rates.
Biggest Concern: Will Robinson ever be able to make enough contact? The hit tool was a concern prior to his absence and is still a red flag now. Three seasons of missed time is plenty of reason to preach patience, but this is the biggest concern.
Conclusion: If you want to chase a five-tool potential superstar, Robinson is your guy. The power and speed combination is enough to warrant adding him to your radar. The issue is that he could never hit enough to be a Major League regular. There is a lot of variance here, but if everything clicks he could make his way to Arizona very quickly.
ETA: August 2024
Jakob Marsee – OF (Double-A, LHB, 22, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.274/.413/.428/16 HR/46 SB
Overview: After flying completely under the radar for too long, Marsee is finally starting to generate some hype from his AFL performance. The former sixth-round pick is extremely athletic and managed to walk more than he struck out in his first full professional season. There is optimism that even more power is coming which would take his ceiling to the next level.
Hit-Tool: Marsee’s hit tool is excellent. Not only can he drive the ball consistently to all fields, but he hits a ton of line drives. He takes what pitchers give him and makes contact at an excellent rate. There is enough here to project a .285 average as a realistic possibility.
Power: The power is a work in progress, but 16 home runs are still impressive. His build does not lend itself to plus power, but if Marsee can just post average home run totals, the rest of his profile will carry him.
Speed: Marsee is extremely quick. He has plus-plus speed and is an excellent base stealer. He projects for 30+ stolen bases at the Major League level.
Plate Discipline: As mentioned earlier, Marsee walked more than he struck out last season. He combines good contact skills with a mature understanding of the strike zone. He gets an even bigger boost in OBP leagues thanks to this skill.
Biggest Concern: The power never fully develops. His HR/FB percentages were mediocre throughout the season and his frame does not suggest there is plus ability here.
Conclusion: Marsee is still incredibly underrated. The biggest question mark is his power, but a .280 hitter, who walks 12% of the time and can steal 35 bases only needs to hit about 15 home runs to be fantasy-relevant. His advanced approach makes him one of the safer prospects to target and there is a strong chance we see him debut in 2024.
ETA: June 2024
Jackson Merrill – SS/OF (Double-A, LHB, 20, 6’3″)
2023 Stats:.277/.326/.444/15 HR/15 SB
Overview: Merrill wound up making my preseason bust article prior to 2023. The hype was as high as his ground ball percentage entering the season, but at this point, he seems almost underrated. A mediocre slash line underrates the improvements that Merrill made at the plate. He is still the same big-frame, athletic, and extremely talented player who makes contact at an impressive rate and now has made the adjustments to see a power breakout entering 2024.
Hit-Tool: The only concern with Merrill’s hit tool was how often he pounded the ball into the ground. He looked more like a slap hitter than somebody who would drive the ball. Now he is hitting more line drives than ever before while still making contact at an excellent rate. There is reason to believe that a .300 average is realistic.
Power: Merrill’s 6’3″ frame provides plenty of power projection. The issue has been his willingness to adjust his approach to prioritize driving pitches. At this point, he is hitting more fly balls but still prioritizes contact over drive. This profiles to be a close-to-league-average tool, but there is potential for more.
Speed: What Merrill lacks in elite speed, he makes up for with excellent baseball instincts. He may never steal 30 bases (especially if he can add muscle to his frame), but he should always be able to grab at least 10-15 a year.
Plate Discipline: Merrill has league-average plate discipline. He likes to swing and makes too much contact to walk at a high rate, but he has solid pitch recognition and is willing to take a walk if pitchers do not throw him strikes.
Biggest Concern: Merrill’s power never develops and he slows down. His power and speed are already close to the league average, so losing one of these could seriously impact his fantasy value.
Conclusion: Merrill’s strong contact skills are what help make his hit tool the carrying tool. Elsewhere, he is not great at any one thing but good at almost everything. His defensive versatility should help him break through to the major leagues in 2024 and there is potential for even more development. He has an extremely high floor and there is more ceiling here than people realize.
ETA: July 2024
Nathan Martorella – 1B (Double-A, LHB, 22, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.255/.361/.437/19 HR/5 SB
Overview: Martorella utilizes a compact stance and frame to drive baseballs. Since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2022 draft, he has done nothing but mash. Being a true first baseman creates plenty of pressure on his bat to play up to expectations, but he has the looks of being a legitimate middle-of-the-order power bat if everything works out.
Hit-Tool: Despite his crouched stance, he has shown the ability to get around on high fastballs thanks to quick hands. He makes contact at a high rate with good bat control. The one concern I have right now is a high ground ball rate. This is part of the reason his batting average has been mediocre in the lower levels of the minor leagues. The floor is a .240 hitter with the ceiling likely being somewhere around .270.
Power: Martorella’s power really plays up to his pull side. He has good barrel control and should project for 20+ home runs. The raw power is well above average, but the inability to consistently hit the ball in the air limits his game power projection.
Speed: A bit of a stockier frame, Martorella does not project to be much of a speed threat at the major league level. This is a below-average tool.
Plate Discipline: Prior to his promotion to Double-A, Martorella had worked very high walk rates at every level of the minor leagues. He is patient at the plate and willing to lay off pitches out of the zone. This is a plus skill for him.
Biggest Concern: A high ground ball rate always concerns me, especially when a player is at a position where power is necessary for fantasy production. Martorella needs to get more launch on the ball to stay relevant at first base.
Conclusion: The prototypical power/high OBP projection fits for Martorella. He has strong contact skills and the barrel control to hit balls hard consistently. If he can get his ground ball rate up, there is fantasy upside here.
ETA: July 2024
Ethan Salas – C (Double-A, LHB, 17, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.248/.331/.421/9 HR/5 SB
Overview: Rarely is there this much hype for any international prospect, let alone a catcher. The Padres signed Salas at just 16 and he was playing in state-side games by May. He showed off an impressive defensive profile with outstanding bat control. The Padres have wasted no time moving him aggressively through the minor leagues despite his young age. Salas is a special talent that could debut before he even turns 19.
I want to shout out Prospects Worldwide for an amazing in-depth scouting report. Their reports are less fantasy-focused, but extremely well-written and informative. I gathered a lot of the information below from this piece.
Hit-Tool: Salas is much younger than everybody he is playing against, but you would not know that by his contact rates. His hit tool shined in his first professional season. His swing can get a bit choppy at times, but he has shown the ability to use all fields and I would not worry much about his strikeout rate. This is a plus tool.
Power: Salas’ frame is built for power. The home run totals showed up in a big way during his time in Low-A even though he did not hit any in 18 games after his promotion. Contact is his priority, but there is still a frame here for Salas to hit close to 20 home runs in a season.
Speed: As noted in the article by Austin Farmer, Salas does not move well at all. As is typical for a catcher, Salas lumbers around the bases and should not be expected to add many stolen bases.
Plate Discipline: If I watch a 19-year-old with great zone recognition, I praise the maturity of that batter. For a 17-year-old to have the zone recognition that Salas has, it leaves me speechless. He can be overly patient at times, but there is no doubt he has excellent plate discipline.
Biggest Concern: That everything we saw and loved came from a small sample size. With how aggressive the Padres have been, the praise for Salas is at an all-time high. However, he has only played in 66 professional games making it reasonable to suggest pumping the brakes just a tad.
Conclusion: I am throwing caution to the win and buying all in on Salas. His defense is already impressive and only profiles to continue improving while working with Major League coaches. His hit tool and plate discipline provide a solid base with the possibility for more power as he continues to grow. This is a special talent and the Padres do not have very much depth at catcher holding him back.
ETA: September 2024
Graham Pauley – 2B/3B/OF (Double-A, LHB, 23, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.308/.393/.538/23 HR/22 SB
Overview: After the Padres selected Pauley in the 13th round of the 2022 draft, he put together a solid showing in his first taste of professional action. Still, not many people were paying attention to the Duke product until he broke out in a major way during 2023. He flashed power and speed with very solid contact numbers making him somebody to watch in 2024.
Hit-Tool: Pauley is very good at making a lot of contact. The one hole in his swing might be a fastball up (which will be interesting to see how this unfolds), but he has excellent bat control. The lack of line drives and extreme pull tendencies scare me a bit from a BABIP regression standpoint. This is a tool that is slightly above average.
Power: Pauley has quick hands and his batted ball profile is designed to drive the ball. He barrels the ball up at a high clip with strong pull and fly ball rates. The issue is that I worry there is a bit of Michael Massey here. Good barrel control, but overall more weak contact than hard contact. This tool is right around average.
Speed: Pauley stole 22 bases last season, but is only graded with 40 speed on FanGraphs. At 200 pounds, it is difficult to envision him stealing 20 bases at the major league level and it does not look like he has that kind of speed on tape. I would expect more like 10-15 against more difficult competition.
Plate Discipline: His walk rates were very strong at the lower levels of the minor leagues but have moved close to average in High and Double-A. He has good breaking ball recognition although he does like to chase the fastball up. This tool is above average.
Biggest Concern: Pauley is an extreme fly ball hitter without great power metrics. I worry his home run totals are more about the favorable hitting conditions rather than his true power projection.
Conclusion: Pauley’s 2023 stat line is impressive to look at. That being said, I worry that there are more average tools here than anything to write home about. He has started adding defensive versatility to his profile which could help him reach the major leagues faster. He is worth keeping an eye on, but not somebody I am targeting during draft season.
ETA: August 2024
By: Martin Sekulski
Kevin Alcantara – OF (Double-A, 6’6″, 21)
2023 Stats: .284 AVG/.345 OBP/.456 SLG/13 HR/15 SB
Overview: #4 Organizational prospect; 2018 International signee (NYY); acquired for Anthony Rizzo; power over hit profile; athletic enough to play all three OF positions; super high ceiling with plenty of risk
Hit-Tool: Capable hitter with 50-grade tool; power over hit profile; short, compact swing makes hard contact; 50% GB rate, 20% LD rate; naturally longer swing due to size, can be exploited resulting in higher K rates
Power: Raw power with in-game power emerging; potential 30-homer upside; can drive the ball to all fields with authority, power is most often at pull-side presently
Speed: Above-average runner for his size; double-digit steals each of last two seasons; good instincts as a runner
Plate Discipline: Strikeout rates run 25-30%; at 6’6″, zone is larger so rates can be inflated; solid 10% walk-rate
Concerns: The strikeout rates are a concern, even with some built-in explanation. His frame is big but thin. If he adds bulk, will he continue to run?
Conclusion: Alcantara has intriguing tools, specifically his power/speed blend. The Cubs have a few outfielders nearing MLB readiness, including Pete Crow-Armstrong and Alexander Canario, who have debuted. Alcantara figures to join that group early in 2024 and figures to make an impact in fantasy leagues upon his arrival.
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Alexander Canario – OF (MLB, 5’11”, 23)
2023 Stats: .273 AVG/.356 OBP/.488 SLG/9 HR/2 SB
Overview: 2016 International signee (SF), pro debut in 2021; MLB debut in 2023; big power with plate discipline concerns
Hit-Tool: Average hit tool; lightning-quick bat with short stroke; natural loft and leverage in swing; 80% IZ contact rate in AAA
Power: Abundant raw power has translated well in Minors; 37 homers across three levels in 2022; pull-side heavy with power; 39% HardHit, 10% barrel rate in AAA
Speed: Average runner; ran often (44 for 55 on SB tries) prior to 2022 ankle injury, just two attempts in 2023
Plate Discipline: Extremely aggressive at the plate; tendency to be pull-happy, leaving outer half exploited; questionable swing decisions with elevated strikeout rates
Concerns: Significant platoon risk; value is lessened by lack of steals; MLB pitching will exploit noticeable gaps in swing coverage
Conclusion: Canario is more of a platoon OF and unlikely to see FT at-bats. When he does play, he offers big power potential albeit with plenty of swing and miss.
Super Loose ETA: Early 2024, possibly as 4th OF on the Opening Day roster
Matt Mervis – 1B (Triple-A, 6’2″, 25)
2023 Stats: .282 AVG/.399 OBP/.533 SLG/22 HR/2 SB
Overview: Huge hype entering 2023, struggled mightily in MLB debut (99 at-bats, .167 avg.); Big power bat with 30+ homer upside; solid contact skills with average plate discipline
Hit-Tool: Solid hit-tool overall; 82.5% IZ contact rate in AAA; potential to post .270+ batting average
Speed: Below average runner with no stolen base upside
Power: His best tool; legit power to all fields; easy 30-HR upside; 114.5 max EV, 107 mph EV (95th percentile); 36 HRs in 2022, 22 in 2023
Plate Discipline: Overall, he’s above average; swing decisions are generally fine; 28.4% chase rate in the MLB sample led to his demise
Concerns: Mervis excelled in the minors following his demotion but kept getting passed over in times of need. The concern is that the Cubs view Mervis as a 4A player and he may not get another elongated look
Conclusion: Mervis is a AAAA in my eyes despite all of the hype. Can he succeed in the big leagues? Sure. Will he get a chance and capitalize on it? I’m not so sure. If he gets prolonged at-bats, Mervis has the potential to be a 30-homer guy, but offers very little in the batting average and stolen base categories, limiting his upside.
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Owen Caissie – OF (Double-A, 6’3″, 21)
2023 Stats: .289 AVG/.398 OBP/.519 SLG/22 HR/ 7 SB
Overview: Cubs #3 prospect; acquired in Yu Darvish trade from SD; athletic body with above-average power but legitimate strikeout concerns; athletic body with room to add muscle
Hit-Tool: 45-grade tool; career .278 hitter in the minors with power, but high whiffs
Power: Plus power to all fields; big exit velocities for his age (93 mph avg. EV); has seen a steady jump in HR production over past two seasons
Speed: Average runner; 18/33 in steal attempts over last two seasons (54.5%); concerns that speed will diminish further as body grows
Plate Discipline: Ran poor IZ contact rate in 2023 (74%), 37% K-rate in 2023, 35.7% career
Concerns: Seems like a broken record for this organization, but it’s the strikeout numbers
Conclusion: Of the organizational prospects, Caissie and Alcantara have the best chance to stick. Caissie is just 21 years old and 2024 could be a big year for his career trajectory. If he can cut strikeouts down to sub-30%, Caissie has the power to be impactful for the Cubs long-term.
Super Loose ETA: Late 2024
Matt Shaw – SS (Double-A, 5’11”, 21)
2023 Stats: .357 AVG/.400 OBP/.618 SLG/ 8 HR/ 15 SB
Overview: 1st round pick in 2023; best hit-tool in the organization; well-rounded player on the fast track to MLB; made professional debut last summer slashing .357/.400/.618
Hit-Tool: Above-average contact skills; will hit for average and power; drives the ball gap-to-gap
Power: 55-grade power; back-to-back 20 homer seasons at Maryland; high EVs with power to all fields
Speed: Good speed, but better instincts; 15/18 stolen base attempts in 2023; with his power, should produce extra-base hits in bulk
Plate Discipline: above-average feel for the zone; selectively aggressive at the plate; even splits against LHP/RHP
Concerns: The one concern on Shaw is where he ends up defensively; With Swanson at SS, his path to the big leagues could be delayed slightly
Conclusion: Shaw is a stud. He has all the tools to be a very impactful real-life and fantasy player. He is an easy top-200 dynasty asset right now and will rise exponentially at his current pace
Super Loose ETA: Pre-ASB 2024
Disclaimer: The Reds promoted nearly every MLB-ready player from their minor league system last year. As a result, anything more than four hitters ready to contribute in 2024 would be a disservice to our readership.
Blake Dunn – OF (Double-A, 6’0″, 25)
2023 Stats: .312 AVG/.425 OBP/.512 SLG/ 23 HR/ 54 SB
Overview: 2021 draft pick; injuries slowed his development; “late bloomer” broke out in 2023; high energy player with intriguing tools
Hit-Tool: 50-grade; not a batting champion, but will hit for decent average; .302 career hitter in the minors; line drive hitter with developing pop
Power: Developing power took a big step forward in 2023; powerful swing with a slight uppercut
Speed: Former HS track star; well above-average runner; very aggressive runner with no hesitation to steal; stole 54 bases in 2023
Plate Discipline: Aggressive approach; Has improved over past few seasons, resulting in better power output; 13.8% walk-rate, 28.4% K-rate
Concerns: The path to playing time, coupled with the organizational depth
Conclusion: Dunn is an underrated prospect with huge power/speed potential. With Great American as his home park, his HR upside is massive. If Dunn gets a chance, he has a very interesting profile in that park.
Super Loose ETA: Post-ASB 2024
Rece Hinds – OF (Double-A, 6’4″, 23)
2023 Stats: .269 AVG/.330 OBP/.536 SLG/23 HR/20 SB
Overview: Big body with big arm; has averaged under 250 at-bats in 4 seasons in the minors due to extensive injuries; 2023 was his most complete season (109 games played) and performed well
Hit-Tool: Not his best tool; consistently over 30% strikeout rate; power over contact profile
Power: Enormous raw power generated by massive frame; career-high 23 homers in 2023 in just 109 games
Speed: Above-average runner despite his frame; very athletic and agile; 45-grade on speed, but should be closer to 50-55
Plate Discipline: Has varied his approach at times, especially deep in counts; had moderate success but still lacks contact skills
Concerns: Hinds has less than 1000 at-bats in four seasons, missing time with various injuries. His swing-and-miss concerns are significant, although his power is absolutely legit
Conclusion: At 23-years-old, Hinds has missed too much developmental time. He could get a look this year in the big leagues, although his profile is not ideal. In that park, he could hit 40 homers, but will he stay healthy?
Super Loose ETA: Late 2024
Jose Barrero – OF (Triple-A, 6’2″, 25)
2023 Stats: .258 AVG/.333 OBP/.540 SLG/ 19 HR/20 SB
Overview: Former top-5 organizational prospect; debuted as a shortstop, has transitioned to the outfield; has played 94 games at the MLB level with little success (.196 average)
Hit-Tool: Contact-oriented approach; has posted inconsistent batting average; short and compact swing through the zone
Power: Below average power, but has produced double-digit HRs two of last three seasons; when he can extend his arms, he finds most success; more likely to be a line-drive hitter than produce big power
Speed: Good speed with solid instincts; success rate over 75% in the minors
Plate Discipline: Makes solid swing decisions; tendency to chase out of the zone on off-speed; K-rates have fluctuated over his career
Concerns: I’m not sure how the bat will play at the next level. Barrero has shown flashes of power/speed in Minors, but his inconsistency has been troubling
Conclusion: Moving to the outfield opens up more opportunities for playing time. Reds are loaded in the IF with so many prospects up and more coming. Barrero has a chance to get back but will his offensive inconsistencies linger?
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Edwin Arroyo – SS (Double-A, 6’0″, 20)
2023 Stats: .252 AVG/.324 OBP/.423 SLG/ 13 HR/20 SB
Overview: Organizational prospect #3; acquired in Luis Castillo deal (SEA); ultra-athletic shortstop with major tools; switch hitter with plus glove
Hit-Tool: Switch hitter with solid stroke on both sides; line drive swing with gap-to-gap ability; hit over power
Power: Unexpected power production started in 2022; traditionally a line drive hitter; looking to add bulk and muscle to increase pop
Speed: Above-average runner with high success rates; 25+ steals in past two seasons; extremely athletic with advanced instincts on base paths
Plate Discipline: Inconsistent at times, really struggled following trade; draws a decent amount of walks with average strikeout rates
Concerns: The lone concern on Arroyo is if he will hit enough. His defense is elite and the bat will determine his future path
Conclusion: Arroyo has all the tools to be the next great Reds prospect. If he can improve his contact rates, the sky is the limit.
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Jackson Chourio – OF (Triple-A, 5’11”, 19)
2023 Stats: .282 AVG/.338 OBP/.467 SLG/ 22 HR/44 SB
Overview: Consensus top-3 prospect in baseball; 2021 International signee; broke out in 2022 at 18 years old; five-tool player with unlimited upside; Played in Futures Game at 18 years old in 2022
Hit-Tool: Plus bat speed with electric swing; makes solid in-zone and out-of-zone contact; easy power line to line; able to naturally create lift in swing without sacrificing contact
Power: Massive power potential; produces elite exit velocities; power to all fields; consecutive 20-homer seasons at age 18, 19
Speed: Double-plus speed, easily his best tool; great acceleration with elite top-end speed; impactful offensively and defensively with his speed
Plate Discipline: His swing and miss rates against breaking pitches are high; struggled in AA with pre-tacked ball, but recovered quickly on an even playing field
Concerns: The lone concern with Chourio is his ability to hit the breaking pitch. Aside from that, he is a can’t-miss talent and is well on his way to a very successful MLB career
Conclusion: Chourio is a no-brainer elite prospect. His power/speed blend is virtually unmatched and he’s just 19.
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024. I originally expected Opening Day, but the Brewers announced he’s starting 2024 in AAA.
Tyler Black – 3B (Triple-A, 5’10”, 23)
2023 Stats: .284 AVG/.417 OBP/.513 SLG/ 18 HR/55 SB
Overview: 2021 draft pick; had 2022 breakout cut short by injury; huge 2023 with 57 stolen bases and .284 average;
Hit-Tool: 60-grade tool; outstanding hand-eye coordination, bat-to-ball skills; lightning-quick bat speed; strikeout rate continues to improve each season
Power: Sneaky pop, but not his best tool; line drive hitter that thrives on hitting gaps; has 15-20 HR bat long-term
Speed: Easy plus speed; 73 steals in 213 career MiLB games; speed plays up even more at the plate with extra base potential
Plate Discipline: Outstanding approach; on-base monster with patience and speed; walks as much as he strikes out; rarely chases
Concerns: Offensively there aren’t many concerns, but defensively he’s average with a weak arm. That creates some playing time, long-term position concerns.
Conclusion: Black is an intriguing profile with his stolen base prowess and high OBP. If the power holds, Black should settle into an everyday role despite his defensive faults
Super Loose ETA: Early 2024
Jeferson Quero – C (Double-A, 5’11”, 21)
2023 Stats: .262 AVG/.339 OBP/.440 SLG/ 16 HR/5 SB
Overview: Venezuelan-born catcher; 2019 International signee; Injury-plagued pro career has slowed development; equally talented as offensive and defensive backstop
Hit-Tool: Overall contact is solid; bat speed needs improvement, but raw hitting talent is evident; power is developing, but profiles as a line drive hitter
Power: Makes consistently loud contact; has seen gradual improvement in HR production over last two seasons
Speed: Average speed for a catcher; moderate success as a base stealer (79%), but does not project as speed threat
Plate Discipline: Above average pitch recognition; reasonable strikeout/walk rates
Concerns: The injury bug has hampered Quero in his career, staying healthy is the main concern at this point
Conclusion: When he’s on the field, Quero is a solid all-around player with promising tools. The Brewers have a franchise catcher, but Quero has the ability to be an everyday player in the big leagues.
Super Loose ETA: Late-2024, likely as a backup
Brock Wilken – 3B (Double-A, 6’4″, 21)
2023 Stats: .285 AVG/.414 OBP/.473 SLG/5 HR/4 SB (203 PAs)
Overview: 18th overall pick in 2023; record-setting 3B at Wake Forest, tied ACC all-time HR record (71); classic corner infielder with huge power and solid frame
Hit-Tool: Average hit-tool at best; projects as a perennial .260-.270 hitter; pull heavy with power stroke, opposite field is more line drives
Power: Big homer bat; power over hit; best utilized to his pull side; plenty of loft and leverage in his swing
Speed: Poor runner with little to offer on base paths; decent enough speed to cover range at 3B, although he likely flips to 1B in the future
Plate Discipline: Improving, but inconsistent; plenty of swing-and-miss, especially against breaking pitches; tendency to sell out for power at times
Concerns: The main concern with Wilken is where he ends up defensively. His strikeout rate could be more of a factor in the future but will have time to adjust to better pitching.
Conclusion: Wilken has a big bat that is very intriguing. If he can hit enough (that .260-.270 range), he has a bright future with 30+ homers consistently in reach.
Super Loose ETA: Late 2024, but improved plate discipline could push that up significantly.
Wes Clarke – 1B (Triple-A, 6’0″, 25)
2023 Stats: .241 AVG/.392 OBP/.497 SLG/26 HR/6 SB
Overview: Collegiate catcher, converted to 1B; Raw power with plenty of swing and miss
Hit-Tool: 45-grade is generous; has improved contact overall; at-best .250 batting average projection
Power: His best tool; plus power with a compact stroke; has shown power to the opposite field, but more straightaway or to pull side; posted 26 homers this season at AAA
Speed: Not much speed; did convert six of seven attempts in ’23
Plate Discipline: Improved plate discipline, trying desperately to improve his contact skills; tends to sell out for power, leading to elevated strikeout rates; posted a career-high 22% walk-rate this season
Concerns: Clarke is a one-trick pony. He’s average defensively so his bat will have to carry him
Conclusion: The Brewers have a noticeable gap at first base, which they attempted to fill with Carlos Santana. Clarke is similar to Rowdy Tellez with a big power, low average profile. It’s possible Clarke gets a look sooner rather than later.
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Canaan Smith-Njigba – OF (Triple-A, 6’0″, 24)
2023 Stats: .280 AVG/.366 OBP/.473 SLG/15 HR/21 SB
Overview: 2017 draft pick from HS (NY); acquired in Jameson Taillon trade; big, strong frame with raw power; has struggled to get over the hump into big leagues
Hit-Tool: Not his best tool, 45-grade; in-zone contact rate below 80%; average has settled in .270s over past three seasons, but contact skills indicate regression at the next level
Power: 50-grade power; had advanced power grades in HS; has yet to find game power to mirror his raw ability; 87.2 mph average EV
Speed: With his big frame (6′; 230lbs) his speed is not great; is lauded for his high IQ and instincts as a base runner
Plate Discipline: Smith-Njigba is a free swinger (41.3% swing rate); high strikeout rates, north of 30%; posted 28.8% Whiff rate this season
Concerns: His overall offensive profile is flawed, and has been exposed in limited MLB at-bats. He’s also battled injuries throughout his career, which has limited his ability to reach his potential
Conclusion: Despite his flaws, Smith-Njigba is a candidate for playing time on a rebuilding Pirates team. He has skills that need to be refined and the team sees some potential in him.
Super Loose ETA: Early 2024
Malcolm Nunez – 3B (Triple-A, 6’0″, 22)
2023 Stats: .249 AVG/.338 OBP/.379 SLG/8 HR/0 SB
Overview: Member of Cuban National Team in 2015 as an amateur; acquired from the St. Louis organization; missed significant time with injuries in 2021, and 2023; has produced when healthy
Hit-Tool: Makes a lot of contact; above-average bat-to-ball skills; tendency to hit the ball on the ground (45.7% GB rate), but has improved slightly to a line drive hitter
Power: Has decent power overall, but the groundballs limit his upside; posted 23 homers in 2022; 110.9 max EV, 88.9 average EV
Speed: Poor footspeed; moves well enough to play his position; offers no SB potential
Plate Discipline: His approach is solid; just under 10% walk-rate, and just over 20% K-rate for his career; works deep into counts and has success getting his pitch
Concerns: Injuries are a major concern. Without them, he is probably in the show already. Can he find that power consistently and produce at the level he has shown flashes of?
Conclusion: Nunez should get a look sooner rather than later. The Pirates used 9 players at DH this past season, including Connor Joe. Nunez has to be better than most of them and I think he makes an impact this season.
Super Loose ETA: Pre-ASB 2024
Matt Gorski – OF (Triple-A, 6’2″, 25)
2023 Stats: .231 AVG/.291 OBP/.434 SLG/20 HR/23 SB
Overview: Collegiate star at Indiana; power/speed blend on high, but major strikeout concerns; similar profile as a minor-leaguer; has posted back-to-back 20/20 seasons despite missing time in 2022
Hit-Tool: Inconsistent contact skills; below league-average; sub-80% in-zone contact rate; 29.7% whiff rate
Power: Has flashed as plus; produces high max EVs, but average EV is poor (85.7) 107.2 95th percentile EV, 110.1 max EV
Speed: Above-average speed; dangerous on bases; 44/51 on SB attempts past two seasons; plus defender who utilizes speed to cover more ground in centerfield
Plate Discipline: Has been a cause for concern dating back to NCAA days; walk-rate has peaked over 11%, but strikeout rate hovers around 30%;
Concerns: The strikeouts and overall hit tool are worrisome; his power/speed combination is legit, but will he make enough contact to break out?
Conclusion: Gorski’s combination of plus tools is intriguing and the Pirates are a proving ground. He’s a late bloomer as a breakout candidate and holds value in super-deep leagues
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Jack Brannigan – INF (High-A, 6’0″, 22)
2023 Stats: .275 AVG/.390 OBP/.524 SLG/19 HR/24 SB
Overview: Two-way player in college; raw talent as a positional player with improving skills; excellent athlete viewed as a plus defender with plus arm strength
Hit-Tool: Brannigan is a work in progress; solid overall hit tool with grades still in question; I think he settles more as a 50-grade hitter but could reach 55 as he develops;
Power: Solid power stroke with short, compact swing; slugged 19 homers in 309 at-bats this season
Speed: A great athlete with decent quickness; stole 24/27 bases this season; quick first step with good straight-line speed
Plate Discipline: Has a great eye and has walked at high rates; has posted plenty of swing-and-miss as well, north of 30%
Concerns: Brannigan is still raw as a hitter, with just over 400 MiLB at-bats; needs to cut down the strikeouts but has a nice offensive profile
Conclusion: The Pirates believe in Brannigan, evidenced by his assignment to the Arizona Fall League. I think Brannigan starts this season at Double-A and with success, has sneaky upside to rise in prospect rankings
Super Loose ETA: Late 2024
Jase Bowen – OF/1B (Double-A, 6’0″, 23)
2023 Stats: .255 AVG/.327 OBP/.467 SLG/23 HR/26 SB
Overview: Two-sport (FB, Baseball) All-State player in HS; chose to play baseball at Michigan St., before Pirates went over slot to sign him; super athletic with strong, but wiry fra
Hit-Tool: Bowen is more of a power over hit profile; he has quick hands with a good stroke, but can be exploited by off-speed;
Power: Strong and compact swing; produces high EVs; plus raw power with near plus game power
Speed: Excellent runner and athlete; aggressive on the base paths and as a defender; very good instincts all around and feel for the game
Plate Discipline: Struggles with swing decisions and chasing out of the zone; strikeout rates are high 30+%
Concerns: The big concerns for Bowen are the high strikeout rates and the swing decisions. Improvements on those could result in a huge win for him and the Pirates
Conclusion: Bowen is a tremendous athlete with some big tools. He has impressed at the AFL this fall, and could be on the verge of a breakout in 2024. His plus power and plus defensive metrics show he could be an everyday CF in the big leagues.
Super Loose ETA: Post ASB 2024
Thomas Saggese – SS (Triple-A, 5’11”, 21)
2023 Stats (TEX/STL): .306 AVG/.374 OBP/.540 SLG/ 26 HR/12 SB
Overview: Acquired from TEX in Jordan Montgomery deal (2023); quick riser in prospect ranks; toolsy infielder capable of playing up the middle at 2B or SS long-term
Hit-Tool: 50-grade tool, but has shown plus contact skills; able to balance his power and contact; near .300 hitter in the Minors, likely settles .270-.280 in big leagues
Power: Production peaked this season, posting 26 homers, albeit in hitter-friendly environments; has plus power upside, but frame needs to grow
Speed: Decent speed, but nothing significant; three consecutive double-digit SB seasons, but likely not in upper levels
Plate Discipline: Tendency to be a free-swinger; swing decisions need to improve
Concerns: Plate discipline is a concern. His swing decisions and chase rates need to improve
Conclusion: Saggese has an intriguing profile, but has some noticeable flaws. If he can improve his plate discipline and add some bulk, he has plenty of tools to become an impactful offensive player. I think he’s got a realistic shot to debut early in 2024
Super Loose ETA: Early 2024
Luken Baker – OF (MLB, 6’4″, 26)
2023 Stats: .334 AVG/.439 OBP/.720 SLG/33 HR/0 SB
Overview: Injuries derailed NCAA career; massive power profile, but could be a AAAA player; MLB debut in 2023 (86 at-bats)
Hit-Tool: Not his best tool; definitely a power-over-hit profile; will struggle to hit .240 but could hit 40 HRs
Power: 60-grade or higher; easily plus power; 33 homers in 2023; massive frame (6’4″, 280 lbs.) generates huge EVs and power to all fields
Speed: None at all; no impact on bases; station-to-station runner
Plate Discipline: Walk rate spiked in 2023 (19.1%); overall his approach is to sell out for power with a below-average hit tool and poor IZ contact skills; Strikeout rates have remained under 30%
Concerns: There aren’t many concerns for Baker, he’s 26 and has established what type of player he is. His power bat is his only tool and every MLB team has a need for a 40-homer upside bat.
Conclusion: The Cardinals figure to give Baker an extended look at some point, whether it’s in 2024 or later. It’s a very real possibility that he’s just a really good Triple-A player. With the HR upside, it’s possible he’s a right-handed Crush Davis. The verdict is out.
Super Loose ETA: Early 2024
Jimmy Crooks – C (Triple-A, 6’1″, 21)
2023 Stats: .271 AVG/.358 OBP/.433 SLG/12 HR/2 SB
Overview: 4th Round Pick (2022); Plus defensive catcher; Offensive profile is solid, but not flashy; has stable long-term MLB player profile
Hit-Tool: 45-grade; left-handed bat with improving contact skills; lacks bat speed but still finds his way to the ball; posted reasonable .260+ batting average over first two seasons in the minors
Power: Sneaky pop; generates plenty of power despite bat speed woes; 109.5 max EV in debut season with hard hit rate around 40%
Speed: Like most catchers, he’s a well below-average runner; just three steal attempts in his professional career
Plate Discipline: A bit of a free swinger; has improved walk rates, but still makes questionable swing decisions
Concerns: Will he hit enough at the upper levels?
Conclusion: Crooks is glove first and is regarded as an outstanding defensive player. With Willson Contreras in the fold, Crooks figures to be on the short side of a platoon for the foreseeable future.
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024; could be sooner depending on backup C situation
Moises Gomez – OF (Triple-A, 5’11”, 25)
2023 Stats: .232 AVG/.293 OBP/.457 SLG/30 HR/5 SB
Overview: Signed in 2015 at 17 years old (TB); Signed as FA with STL in 2021; Plagued by massive strikeout numbers, despite plenty of pop
Hit-Tool: Well below-average tool, 40-grade; when he makes contact, he can produce; 75.9 IZ contact rate is poor; lots of moving parts in his swing
Power: Double-plus; massive EVs (90.3 avg. EV, 112.6 max EV, 107.6 95th percentile); Consecutive 30-homer seasons in 2022, 2023
Speed: Below-average speed; has caused a positional change from CF to corner; has 15 total steals last two seasons, but does not figure to be impactful in future
Plate Discipline: Free swinging with poor contact (51.6% swing rate); 35%+ strikeout rates over the past 4 seasons
Concerns: While Gomez has light tower power, he also has lights outs strikeout potential;
Conclusion: Much like Baker, Gomez could very well just be a Quad-A player. His power is very impressive, but his lack of contact is alarming. Anything is possible, but the likely outcome for Gomez is a one-trick pony
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Victor Scott II – OF (Double-A, 5’10, 22)
2023 Stats: .303 AVG/.369 OBP/.425 SLG/9 HR/94 SB
Overview: #4 Organizational prospect; 2022 5th Round pick; Speed, speed, speed; fast rising prospect literally and figuratively
Hit-Tool: Average hitter; improving swing plane; future lead-off hitter likely to run higher BABIP due to speed
Power: Moderate at best; more likely an extra base hitter with monster upside for doubles and triples
Speed: ELITE speed; easily an 80-grade runner; explosive first step and well above-average straight-line speed; stole 94 bases in regular season 2023
Plate Discipline: Has shown an ability to take walks; doesn’t chase much; limits strikeouts; has changed swing from power to contact
Concerns: Ideally I’d like to see more power from Scott, but his current offensive profile is best suited for his skills
Conclusion: Scott has significant upside, especially as a base stealer. With his speed and defensive prowess, Scott is an everyday player in the making, likely to hit at the top of the order
Super Loose ETA: Mid 2024; I think Scott has the ability to sneak into the big leagues faster, possibly pre-ASB
By:Matt Heckman/Martin Sekulski
Jasson Dominguez – OF (MLB, SHB, 20, 5’10”)
2023 Stats:.265/.377/.425/15 HR/40 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.258/.303/.677/4 HR/1 SB
Overview: Upon signing with the Yankees, scouts came up with some lofty comparisons/projections for Dominguez. Some called him the next Mike Trout; others the next Mickey Mantle. After failing to instantly live up to the unrealistic hype, Dominguez was labeled a bust by many and written off way too soon. An excellent 2022 season put his name on the map and he posted a 162 wRC+ in his first eight major league games before suffering a season-ending injury.
Hit-Tool: Dominguez has shown some inconsistencies with his hit tool so far. His line drive rates have always been excellent but his ground ball rate has also been pretty high. He can get a bit pull-happy at times and roll over on pitches. He also has whiff concerns on non-fastballs giving major league pitchers a path to attack him. This is a slightly below-average tool.
Power: If you make a mistake, Dominguez is going to make you pay. He has excellent power fueled by his ability to barrel the ball to the pull side. He hit four home runs in his first eight major league games and has the potential to be a 35-home run bat.
Speed: Dominguez’s speed has not slowed down as much as people originally thought it would. Yes, he is still filling out his body and could lose a tick or two, but he is an excellent base stealer. I would not expect the 40 he stole in the minor leagues, but somewhere around 20 could be expected.
Plate Discipline: Dominguez has always had an excellent understanding of the strike zone. He works counts and has very good pitch recognition. This increases his value in OBP leagues.
Biggest Concern: Will Dominguez be able to hit enough non-fastballs? This was a clear weakness for him in his small sample and has led to high strikeout rates in the minor leagues.
Conclusion: After undergoing Tommy John Surgery, we will not likely see Dominguez back in the major leagues until the middle of 2024. However, the upside he flashed in his first stint is indicative of the kind of potential he has. Dominguez is an excellent athlete with the power and speed to be a big-time fantasy asset.
ETA: June 2024
Everson Pereira – OF (MLB, RHB, 22, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.300/.373/.548/18 HR/11 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.151/.233/.194/0 HR/4 SB
Overview: Pereira made his professional debut for the Yankees back in 2018. Since then, he has slowly worked his way through the minor leagues with loud tools and strong offensive production. A torrid stretch between Double and Triple-A helped overshadow some underlying red flags and earn him a promotion to the major leagues.
Hit-Tool: His strong minor league average was inflated by an incredibly high BABIP. Pereira hits the ball hard and increased his line drive rate this year, but he does not make contact consistently. He has never posted a swinging strike rate below 15.1% at any level and struck out over 38% of the time in his 27-game major league stint. This is a below-average tool and one that could cause major issues.
Power: The raw power here is excellent. Pereira has the ability to drive the ball with excellent barrel control. His hands fly through the zone creating great pull-side pop. This is a plus-plus skill.
Speed: Although he has spent significant time in center field in the minor leagues, he does not have the speed to play there in the majors. His speed is above average but nothing special. 10-20 stolen bases is a realistic projection.
Plate Discipline: Despite his contact woes, Pereira has solid plate discipline. He can be a bit aggressive at times but has a good general feel for the strike zone. He should post close to league-average walk rates.
Biggest Concern: Pereira’s contact skills are not just a little bit bad. They are terrible and a major concern against major league pitching. This could prevent him from ever hitting enough to be fantasy-relevant.
Conclusion: Toolsy with potential is the best way to describe Pereira. He is capable of going on incredible stretches like we witnessed this year in the minor leagues. He is also capable of going into prolonged slumps like he did in the majors. There is plenty of upside here, but with that comes significant risk. He is a boom-or-bust fantasy prospect.
ETA: April 2024
Austin Wells – C (MLB, LHB, 20, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.240/.333/.442/17 HR/7 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.229/.257/.486/4 HR/0 SB
Overview: Wells has done nothing but hit since joining the Yankees organization. The former 28th overall pick has a profile that is built to thrive in Yankee Stadium. There are some defensive concerns, but Wells has worked hard to improve at the position. He has already made his major league debut and should get significant run as the Yankees’ primary catcher in 2024.
Hit-Tool: Wells’ extreme fly ball tendencies are not great for his hit tool. His contact rates are right around the league average (slightly worse), but a low BABIP holds down his average. He likely profiles to hit somewhere around .240-.250.
Power: The pull-side power is awesome. Being a fly ball hitter, Wells has plenty of opportunity to drive the ball out of the park. This is even more true in Yankee Stadium where his left-handed swing gets a boost. Wells has significant power for a catcher and could be a 25-30 home run bat.
Speed: Speed is not and will not ever be a big part of Wells’ game. He does not move particularly well and will not be a threat to steal bases.
Plate Discipline: Throughout his Minor League career, Wells has demonstrated great discipline at the plate. He works counts and forces pitchers to attack him in the zone. This all went out the window during his brief Major League sample size last year. He should be more relaxed entering 2024 and this still profiles as at least a league-average skill.
Biggest Concern: The biggest concern moving forward is the lack of plate discipline Wells showed in his first cup of tea. He is already likely to hit for a lower average thanks to his fly ball tendencies. If this is amplified by a high strikeout rate, he could see his value disappear.
Conclusion: Having seen Wells live a few times, the excitement for him in Yankee Stadium is substantial. The short porch and his pull-side home run power are extremely enticing from a fantasy perspective. He could be a difference-maker in the home run category from the catcher position.
ETA: April 2024
Trey Sweeney – SS (Double-A, LHB, 23, 6’2″)
2023 Stats:.252/.367/.411/13 HR/20 SB
Overview: Sweeney’s profile has always screamed upside. The young shortstop comes with the pedigree of being a first-round pick, has good underlying metrics, and comes with a 6’2″ athletic and projectable frame. Sweeney’s performances on the field have not been bad by any means, but have still left many feeling disappointed. Despite being 23 and yet to appear in a single game at Triple-A, there is still plenty of reason for optimism for those still in on Sweeney.
Hit-Tool: Sweeney’s averages have been disappointing, but I have a difficult time understanding why. He hits a ton of line drives with a smooth consistent swing, he drives the ball to all fields, and has posted very strong contact rates throughout the minor leagues. I still project Sweeney as a .270 hitter despite the lack of minor league success.
Power: When Sweeney gets into one, the ball flies. The issue is getting into one consistently. He posted strong HR/FB numbers early on in his career but saw that number come crashing down in 2023. His size lends itself to more power but considering it is yet to fully show up, this tool projects close to league-average.
Speed: Sweeney is more athletic than he is fast. He is yet to bulk up as much as many projected making his speed still close to average. He projects to steal 15-20 bases at the major league level.
Plate Discipline: He has an excellent eye at the plate. He lays off the breaking balls down and away and works plenty of walks. His value gets a boost in OBP leagues.
Biggest Concern: Standing at 6’2″, the power seemed like a given to show up eventually. The fact that it has not yet makes me skeptical that it ever will.
Conclusion: Although the season slash line feels like an overall disappointment, Sweeney was still 18% better than the rest of the league offensively. He has the hit tool to carry him and the patience at the plate to help his power take the next step. There is still a lot of projection here, but this is a profile that continues to fly under the radar. Volpe makes his path to the major leagues a bit more cloudy, but the team could start playing him at third base if they want to find room.
ETA: August 2024
Ben Rice- C/1B (Double-A, LHB, 24, 6’1″)
2023 Stats:.324/.434/.615/20 HR/11 SB
Overview: Rice’s name did not start showing up in prospect reports until the middle of the 2023 season. The former 12th-round pick did not generate much buzz, but a breakout season has surely changed that. He is showing off more power now than ever before even if he is likely to move to first base long term.
Hit-Tool: MLB.com refers to Rice as more hit over power. Rice can get a bit pull-happy at times and hits a ton of fly balls. However, he also produces plenty of line drives and makes contact at an above-average rate. I would not expect a .324 average moving forward but the .265 range seems realistic.
Power: Rice’s power showed up in a massive way once he arrived in Double-A. He hit 16 home runs in just 48 games. From his Double-A sample alone, he would have hit 43 home runs over 600 plate appearances. He generates most of his power to the pull side and this tool is now profiling as above-average.
Speed: Rice was able to steal 11 bases this season, but speed does not appear to be a large part of his game. He profiles to be a below-average runner capable of stealing a handful of bases each season.
Plate Discipline: This is a plus attribute for Rice’s profile. He has a good understanding of the strike zone combined with a patient approach at the plate.
Biggest Concern: Rice really struggled to hit left-handed pitching this year. He posted a .217/.329/.317 slash against them. This limits his upside and could cause issues with playing time in the future.
Conclusion: The concern against lefties prevents Rice’s profile from being one that I get excited about. The offensive upside is there but for a player with a good chance of shifting to first base, a platoon-risk scares me off. Improvements against lefties could vault him into the Yankees’ 2024 plans and he is certainly somebody to keep an eye on.
ETA: August 2024
Junior Caminero – SS/3B (MLB, RHB, 20, 5’11”)
2023 Stats:.324/.384/.591/31 HR/5 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.235/.278/.353/1 HR/0 SB
Overview: Caminero was one of the hottest prospect names throughout the 2023 season. After starting the season as a popular sleeper pick, he quickly evolved into one of the most sought-after prospects in all of baseball. His slash line speaks to the kind of tools and power in his profile and when you consider he is still only 20 years old the upside becomes even more enticing.
Hit-Tool: His hit tool is what provides me with the most concern. Overall, his contact skills are right around the league average. He does not strike out at an alarming rate, but he also is not Luis Arraez. The concern for me stems from his incredibly high ground ball rate. Maybe he has the skills to overcome that, but this tool still projects as slightly above average in my opinion.
Power: The raw power is immense. Caminero crushes baseballs and consistently gets the barrel on the ball. His stance is open with a big leg kick allowing him to really tap into the pull-side pop. The previously mentioned ground ball issue could impact how well his raw power translates to game power.
Speed: Caminero is a great athlete and posted strong sprint speeds at the major league level. That being said, he has not shown much aggression on the base paths and does not profile to steal many bases. He should not project for more than 10 steals in a season at his ceiling.
Plate Discipline: Caminero is an aggressive hitter. He loves to swing and can expand the zone on occasion against breaking pitches. With a big swing often comes big whiffs which can happen from time to time. Overall, his discipline is slightly below average although there is time for this to improve.
Biggest Concern: The ground ball rate for Caminero is extremely high. This worries me as he faces better defenders at the major league level. Power is his best tool which tends to work best when the ball is in the air.
Conclusion: Caminero has as much upside as anybody on this list. He has massive power and is still years younger than many of the names likely to debut. He should get consistent run as an everyday player in 2024. There are some concerns, but he has the upside to be a difference-maker.
ETA: April 2024
Curtis Mead – 2B/3B (MLB, SHB, 20, 5’10”)
2023 Stats:.294/.385/.515/9 HR/4 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.253/.326/.349/1 HR/0 SB
Overview: Perhaps no prospect in baseball gained more attention post-pandemic than Mead. After getting stranded in Australia for 2020, Mead looked like a different player upon returning. Mead lacks the same upside as other prospects, but he projects to have one of the safest floors.
Hit-Tool: His approach utilizes the entire field while making above-average contact. He drives balls into the gaps and has never struck out more than 18.7% at any level in the minor leagues.
Power: His frame suggests that there is more untapped power, but he has yet to display a high ceiling here. He does not hit the ball particularly hard and does not have an approach designed to launch balls out of the park. This is an average tool.
Speed: Speed is not a big part of Mead’s profile. He is below average in sprint speed and is not much of a threat to steal bases.
Plate Discipline: Mead has shown plus plate discipline since the pandemic. His approach has grown more patient with age and now profiles to be right around league average in this area.
Biggest Concern: When you combine the relatively low upside and lack of a defensive home, it is fair to wonder if Mead will turn into more of a utility player than a true fantasy star.
Conclusion: Mead is a very solid player and a guy the Rays like a lot. They reportedly tried to offer him a contract extension before he played a single game at the major league level. That being said, his home run totals project to be pedestrian and he does not steal very often. This fits the profile of a better real-life player than fantasy player.
ETA: April 2024
Kameron Misner – OF (Triple-A, LHB, 25, 6’4″)
2023 Stats:.226/.363/.458/21 HR/21 SB
Overview: The raw talent is what led to the Marlins selecting him at 35th overall in the 2019 draft. They were unable to suck the potential out of him so they traded him to Tampa who is now attempting to accomplish this. His extreme athleticism is frequently on full display but this is a profile that carries plenty of risks that could easily prevent him from ever becoming a major league player.
Hit-Tool: Here lies the biggest concern. While at Triple-A this year, Misner whiffed 38% of the time. His struggles to make contact result in high strikeout rates and prevent him from posting good averages. This tool is well below average.
Power: Misner has plenty of this. He generates most of it from his 6’4″ frame and loves to utilize the pull side. He gets the ball in the air with regularity and there is 30 home run potential in his bat.
Speed: Although his base stealing has slowed down a bit as he has gotten older, he still profiles to be a plus runner. His length and athleticism help him to get good jumps and he should steal around 20 bases a year at the major league level.
Plate Discipline: His strikeout rates are entirely a result of Misner’s poor contact skills and not reflective of his overall plate discipline. He understands the strike zone well and his patient approach leads to plenty of walks.
Biggest Concern: Will he ever make enough contact to play at the major league level? Whiff rates typically increase after a major league promotion making his Triple-A numbers even more concerning.
Conclusion: The upside makes it easy to understand why the Marlins took him so high in the 2019 draft. However, he is now 25 and still has yet to show much of any improvements to his hit tool. The Rays will likely have to make a decision on whether to add him to their 40-man roster which could make him more (or less) likely to debut in 2024.
ETA: August 2024
Austin Shenton – 1B/3B (Triple-A, LHB, 25, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.304/.423/.584/29 HR/0 SB
Overview: Shenton might be the best corner infielder that nobody is talking about. Drafted by Seattle back in 2019, he joined the Rays organization in 2021. The biggest key to his breakout season was health. He finally was able to play in more than 57 games for the first time in his career and posted a 158 wRC+.
Hit-Tool: Shenton’s hit tool only grades as a 35 on FanGraphs, but there is reason for more optimism. His contact rates are not that bad and he hit a ton of line drives this past season. He will not be a .300 hitter, but he could profile to hit between .250 and .260. Hit hit tool takes a step back against left-handed pitching.
Power: He crushed an impressive 29 home runs this past season. His large build is built for power and his swing generates even more to the pull-side. His exit velocities are not those of a typical power-bat, but he should still hit 25+ home runs with regular playing time.
Speed: Speed is far from a part of Shenton’s game. His lack of true mobility is what makes him far more likely to be a first baseman long-term. Do not expect any stolen bases.
Plate Discipline: Shenton’s approach at the plate can be categorized as overly patient. He lays off most pitches out of the zone, but deep counts routinely get him into strikeout trouble. The walk rates should be good at the Major League level.
Biggest Concern: Power is Shenton’s best attribute, but it is not a true game-changer. With his defensive home likely at first base, this puts more pressure on his hit tool to play up. Lefties could continue to exploit holes in his swing which would be a major issue for Shenton’s fantasy value.
Conclusion: The Rays love to platoon players. We saw it this year with Luke Raley and we will continue to see it in the future. Shenton has plenty of offensive upside, but likely profiles as more of a platooning first baseman than an everyday player.
ETA: June 2024
Tristan Peters – OF (Double-A, LHB, 23, 5’11”)
2023 Stats:..275/.361/.421/7 HR/14 SB
Overview: 2023 marked Peters’ third team in three years. After being drafted by Milwaukee in 2021, he was traded to San Francisco and then to Tampa Bay. The power has yet to show up and his overall profile hints that he is likely to have more real-life value than he will for fantasy purposes.
Hit-Tool: This is Peters’ best tool. He makes contact at an above-average rate which leads to low strikeout rates. The downside is that his swing path is not the most consistent and he can get a bit pull-happy at times. Pulling the ball is great for power, but I would prefer a contact hitter use the whole field.
Power: A slim build does not provide much of any power projection here. He swings with his arms and has yet to top eight home runs in a season. You should not expect more than 10 home runs from him in a full Major League season.
Speed: Slim and lanky builds are typically plus base runners. However, Peters only stole 14 bases last season and he does not profile to have very strong speed.
Plate Discipline: Peters has strong plate discipline. He recognizes breaking pitches well and profiles to walk 10+ percent of the time at the major league level.
Biggest Concern: The lack of power is a concern. Players can only hold so much fantasy value with limited home run production. This is a red flag.
Conclusion: Peters has a chance to be a solid big-leaguer. He can hit and profiles to be a solid defender. However, there is not much upside here for fantasy managers. I would not keep him on my radar.
ETA: September 2024
Spencer Horwitz – 1B/OF (MLB, LHB, 25, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.337/.450/.495/10 HR/9 SB
2023 MLB Stats:.256/.341/.385/1 HR/0 SB
Overview: After slowly working his way through the minor leagues, Horwitz finally got a chance to make his major league debut this past season. High walk rates and BABIPs have helped to inflate some of his minor league numbers. The jury is still out as to whether or not he will ever be an everyday player at the major league level.
Hit-Tool: His contact rates throughout the minor leagues have been better than average. He struggled with non-fastballs in his first taste of major league action. He also shown a tendency to try and pull everything from time to time making me skeptical of how high his average will ever be in the major leagues.
Power: Horwitz’s minor league home run totals have always left you wanting more. His power seems to be more average than above average. He also saw a major drop in his power production against left-handed pitching in Triple-A. He slugged .540 against righties and .342 against lefties.
Speed: At the major league level, Horwitz posted a sprint speed in the eighth percentile. With this kind of speed, he does not profile to have a defensive home in the outfield or to steal more than a few bases each season.
Plate Discipline: High walk rates have been a staple of Horwitz’s production in the minor leagues. He lays off junk out of the strike zone and is more than willing to take a walk to get on.
Biggest Concern: Power is essential for first basemen in fantasy. While there is some power potential to this profile, it is not anything special.
Conclusion: Horwitz will be turning 26 in November. At this point in his career, he is more than likely a platoon bat rather than an everyday starter. He struggles against lefties and lacks the true power to be a regular first baseman.
ETA: May 2024
Orelvis Martinez – SS/3B (Triple-A, RHB, 21, 5’11”)
2023 Stats:.243/.340/.496/28 HR/2 SB
Overview: Martinez is one of the more polarizing prospects in baseball. The power is immense and has shown up in everything from his minor league stat lines to spring training home runs. Consistently low batting averages cause many to fade him down prospect ranking lists. He made notable improvements in 2023 and earned a promotion to Triple-A. He could be the top option to replace Matt Chapman in 2024.
Hit-Tool: The hit tool is where Martinez struggles. He whiffs plenty leading to high strikeout rates. His low BABIPs have been fueled by extreme fly ball tendencies which have prevented him from ever posting decent batting averages. He made significant strides to his batted ball profile in 2023 to hit more line drives and saw his batting average and BABIPs increase as a result. This tool is still below average, but it is better than it was entering 2023.
Power: The power here is legit. 28 home runs in 2021, 30 in 2022, and 28 again in 2023 proves this is no fluke. His HR/FB rates have been well above the league average and he gets even more power to his pull side. He has 30-35 home run potential.
Speed: Speed is not going to factor into Martinez’s profile long-term. He does not steal many bases and his lack of speed likely shifts him to third base long-term.
Plate Discipline: As with most power hitters, Martinez tends to expand the zone from time to time, but his plate discipline is not bad. He works plenty of walks and punishes mistakes that pitchers make.
Biggest Concern: He has seemingly solved his fly ball issue making his contact skills the biggest concern.
Conclusion: Even with the shift to third base, Martinez’s power should play well from a fantasy perspective. He is especially intriguing in points leagues (even more Ottoneu) where the lack of steals does not hurt as much. The improvements to his hit tool provide fantasy relevance in regular leagues as well and he should get a chance to prove himself at the major league level in 2024.
ETA: May 2024
Addison Barger – SS/3B/OF (Triple-A, LHB, 23, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.243/.353/.392/9 HR/5 SB
Overview: Barger generated significant hype throughout spring training in 2023, but fell flat on his face once the season started. Injuries hampered him throughout the season which could be part of the reason for his struggles. He makes more contact than you would expect from a power hitter although the likely move to third base puts more pressure on his bat to live up to expectations.
Hit-Tool: Barger entered the league with concerns over how he would hit. Since then, he has adjusted his approach and now makes contact at an above-average rate. This shift in approach may have zapped some power, but he hits plenty of line drives and profiles to be a .270ish hitter.
Power: With an open stance, quick hands, and a swing designed to get launch on the ball, Barger profiles to have plus power. When he gets into one, the ball flies and he pulls the ball over 50% of the time which adds even more game power. The issue is that since his approach has shifted to favor contact, he is hitting home runs at a lower rate. He likely settles in around 20 home runs over a full season.
Speed: Speed is not a big part of Barger’s game. With a bigger frame, he does not move particularly well which is part of the reason he is likely to land at third base. Do not expect many steals out of him at the Major League level.
Plate Discipline: This is the best skill in Barger’s profile. He understands the strike zone well and does not chase very much. He works plenty of walks and gets a boost in OBP leagues.
Biggest Concern: The power output was extremely disappointing in 2023. Will this bounce back or is this a sign of what is to come?
Conclusion: After a down 2023 season, Barger’s profile has shifted to one that seems to have significantly less upside. His contact skills are solid, but the power is not as prolific as we once hoped. He profiles to be an above-average offensive player, but the lack of speed impacts his fantasy value.
ETA: April 2024
Leo Jimenez – SS/2B (Triple-A, RHB, 22, 5’10”)
2023 Stats:.270/.366/.401/8 HR/8 SB
Overview: A contact-oriented middle infielder who has seen his power tick up over the last couple of seasons. Even with this uptick, his power is still well below average. His profile looks more like a utility infielder than a fantasy star.
Hit-Tool: Jimenez makes a ton of contact. He is a slap hitter who can use the entire field. A lot of hitters like Jimenez have issues with ground balls which is not the case here. A .270-.280 average is a realistic projection.
Power: The uptick in power only brought his total up to eight. There is not a ton of physical projection here and I would not expect more than ten in a season.
Speed: A lot of contact hitters make up for their lack of power with speed. This is not the case for Jimenez who does not run very often. He is only going to steal a handful of bases each season.
Plate Discipline: His plate discipline is above average. He understands the strike zone well and lays off of pitches too far out. He does not work a ton of walks thanks to his excellent contact rates.
Biggest Concern: With a lack of both power and speed, it is difficult to envision Jimenez having a significant fantasy impact. Average only hitters are only relevant in deep leagues.
Conclusion: Jimenez could turn himself into a valuable major league player. Unfortunately, there is not a path that I can see where he holds any real fantasy value. His upside is capped and he does not need to be on your radars.
ETA: August 2024
Damiano Palmegiani – 1B/3B (Triple-A, RHB, 23, 6’0″)
2023 Stats:.255/.364/.478/23 HR/7 SB
Overview: Despite 24 home runs and a 127 wRC+ in his first full season of professional baseball, Palmegiani was not on anybody’s radar heading into 2023. His profile is built on power and patience. He is now turning heads in the Arizona Fall League and has an outside chance to make the Opening Day roster in 2024.
Hit-Tool: Pamegiani’s hit tool has never gotten strong grades and he has never posted high averages. Despite this, I am still encouraged. His contact rates hover right around league average and his swing is smooth with tons of line drives. This is an average tool for me.
Power: His compact stance gives Palmegiani a lot of power to tap into from his frame. With quick hands, he gets ahead on pitches driving them out to his pull side. This is a plus tool and there is 25+ home run upside here.
Speed: Despite a bigger frame, he has surprising athleticism. There is an outside chance he can stick at third base and will provide a handful of stolen bases each season.
Plate Discipline: There are times when he can be too patient at the plate. He works a ton of walks, but his lower swing rates get him into trouble with strikeouts.
Biggest Concern: Palmegiani’s numbers take a step backward against right-handed pitching. There are some concerns he could find himself on the short side of a platoon in the future.
Conclusion: There is some current buzz surrounding Palmegiani although he is still mostly flying under the radar. The power will play at the major league level and his hit tool is very underrated. His fantasy value is even higher in OBP leagues.
ETA: June 2024
Jackson Holliday – SS (AAA, 6′, 19)
2023 Stats: .323 AVG/.442 OBP/.499 SLG/12 HR/24 SB
Overview: At just 19 years old, Holliday is considered one of, if not the, best prospect in baseball. The son of Matt Holliday was the #1 overall pick in 2022 and has met, or exceeded, lofty expectations in his first 145 professional games. Holliday is a five-tool player with immense talent and is sure to make an immediate impact in real life and fantasy.
Hit-Tool: Holliday possesses an elite hit-tool, quite possibly the best in the minors. His short, compact swing generates fantastic bat speed. His hands are smooth and strong, allowing him to pull the ball down the line, or spray it into the opposite field gap. Holliday should consistently hover around a .300 batting average with plenty of extra-base hits.
Power: This is the one part of Holliday’s game that remains in question. His body is still wiry and in need of added strength. For now, Holliday projects as a 15-20 homer bat with the aforementioned extra-base hit impact.
Speed: Holliday is a base running threat, although he doesn’t offer high-end straight-line speed. In his pro career, he’s converted 74% of his stolen base attempts. Where Holliday excels is with his high baseball IQ and his instincts, which allow him to overcome average speed.
Plate Discipline: Elite is the best word to describe his approach. He was one of three players age 19 or younger to walk 100 times this season (H. Ford, T. Johnson). He walked at a 21.6% clip this season, compared to a 24.7% strikeout rate. If you need more proof, consider his career on-base percentage of .449….at 19 years old.
Concerns: The lone concern with Holliday isn’t as much a concern, as an unknown. The power is difficult to project right now, but I’m confident as he matures physically, we have a consistent 30-30 threat.
Conclusion: The Orioles are so loaded with young talent and Holliday is the cream of the crop. The team has already stated Holliday will compete in spring training to make the Opening Day roster. Personally, I think it is a foregone conclusion that Holliday will not only make the Opening Day roster, but he’s a heavy favorite for AL Rookie of the Year.
Super Loose ETA: Opening Day 2024
Colton Cowser – OF (MLB, 6’2″, 23)
2023 Stats: .300 AVG/.417 OBP/.520 SLG/17 HR/9 SB
Overview: Cowser was the top collegiate hitter in the 2021 draft, being selected 5th overall. He is a force offensively and has one of the best hit tools in the Minors. On any other team, Cowser is the top prospect. Made his MLB debut in July and played in 23 games before being sent down to Triple-A (.115 AVG, .286 OBP in MLB).
Hit-Tool: Cowser has a fantastic swing, complete with quick hands and lightning-fast bat speed. He is able to hit the ball to all fields and makes hard contact. He had a 47.3% HardHit rate and 90.8mph average EV at AAA. His in-zone contact rate is around 80% but he has struggled against off-speed pitching at times.
Power: Regarded as a hit first bat, Cowser has shown plenty of raw power in his career. He posted a 110 mph max EV in 2023, with a 107.4 95th percentile EV. His long-term outlook seems to be around 20 homers annually, but he could reach 25-30 as he develops.
Speed: Cowser is an average runner with some stolen base potential. His speed plays up more on the defensive side, making good reads and playing with high-level instincts in centerfield.
Plate Discipline: Cowser sports a 19.4% career walk rate, and makes sound swing decisions. He had a 44% whiff rate against off-speed pitching which exposed him a bit at the MLB level. Cowser still figures to be an impactful on-base contributor at the MLB level.
Concerns: The inability to make consistent contact, or any contact, with off-speed has to be the main concern. Cowser hits the ball hard on high-velocity pitches and hopefully will improve on the rest. The other concern is where he will play. The Orioles have Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, Ryan McKenna, and others to split the outfield reps. All of those players are arbitration-eligible and figure to remain with the club in 2024.
Conclusion: There are so many things to love about Cowser’s future. I think the bat is excellent and I believe in the skills. There are no reasons to think he cannot make adjustments and figure out off-speed pitching at the next level. Once he settles in, we are looking at an All-Star caliber player for many years to come.
Super Loose ETA: Opening Day 2024
Heston Kjerstad – OF (MLB, 6’3″, 23)
2023 Stats: .303 AVG/.376 OBP/.528 SLG/21 HR/5 SB
Overview: Kjerstad was a star at Arkansas prior to being selected 2nd overall in the 2020 MLB Draft. After being diagnosed with a heart condition, he missed nearly a full calendar year of action before returning in 2022. Kjerstad fought his way to the Majors late in 2023 and was a role player over 13 games for the Orioles.
Hit-Tool: Kjerstad has a power-over-hit profile although he maintained an impressive 87.2% IZ contact rate this season. When Kjerstad makes contact, it’s loud and hard. His 10% barrel rate is fine, but his 113.5 mph max EV and 107.4 mph 95th percentile EV are well above average. In addition, he cut his strikeout rate to 20.7% this year, down from 26.4% in 2022.
Power: Kjerstad has 55-grade raw power with improving in-game power. This season he slugged 21 homers in 479 at-bats and should be in the 20-25 range annually. His frame is pretty solid (6’3, 205 lbs.) but he has some room to add strength which could push him towards a 30-homer bat.
Speed: Below average speed with only a small impact on the bases. Kjerstad moves well enough to play in the outfield, but is best suited as a corner outfielder.
Plate Discipline: This is an area of strength for Kjerstad, despite his 50% Swing rate. We already discussed his high IZ contact rate and ability to hit the ball out of the park. His walk rate was 8.9% and is going to need improvement at the next level.
Concerns: Much like Cowser, he is in a pinch for at-bats. The Orioles are going to have to make a move to get Kjerstad and Cowser both regular at-bats, but they’re both worthy of the opportunity.
Conclusion: The story of Kjerstad and overcoming a life-threatening condition is an impressive one. His grit and determination to work his way to the big leagues show his character and motivation. I think Kjerstad starts the season at Triple-A and will be the first guy to get promoted this Spring.
Super Loose ETA: Pre-ASB 2024
Coby Mayo – 3B (AAA, 6’5″, 21)
2023 Stats: .290 AVG/.410 OBP/.563 SLG/29 HR/5 SB
Overview: Mayo is a prototypical power-hitting corner infielder with plus power and plenty of swing-and-miss. He posted his second consecutive double-digit homer season in 2023, belting 29 at Triple-A. Mayo is also a plus defender with an elite arm at the hot corner.
Hit-Tool: Mayo has a 45-grade hit tool. His bat speed is impressive, but he’s not always making contact. He ran an 82.1% IZ contact rate in 2023, which is well below average. Mayo has the ability to hit the ball to all fields but finds his power to the pull side.
Power: Power is Mayo’s best tool and the tool that will carry him to the show. He had a 51.5% HardHit rate this season and a 109mph 95th-percentile EV. With his size and strength, Mayo has a path to 40 homer upside in the future.
Speed: Mayo is an athlete, but is not a stolen base threat. He moves well laterally at his position and can get from point A to point B just fine.
Plate Discipline: As we discussed, Mayo has a significant amount of whiff in his profile. This season he struck out at a 29.4% clip, in line with his career average. His swing decisions need some improvement and he could benefit from an improved approach against breaking pitches.
Concerns: The big question with Mayo is where does he settle with batting average? He’s a .279 career hitter in the Minors, but the average is sure to regress. If he can settle at .260 with 30 homers, he is a very serviceable fantasy option.
Conclusion: Mayo is likely headed for a position change, moving across the diamond to first base. Gunnar Henderson is firmly entrenched at 3B, Holliday at SS, and Mayo is too big for 2nd. His athleticism and ability should make the transition smooth, but I’m not sure how soon we see Mayo.
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Connor Norby – INF (AAA, 5’9″, 23)
2023 Stats: .290 AVG/.359 OBP/.483 SLG/ 21 HR/10 SB
Overview: Norby is a much smaller body, standing just 5’9″. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in effort and heart. Norby is a gritty middle infielder with a quick bat and good speed.
Hit-Tool: His body is built for average, not power. Norby has a good bat with the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the diamond. His power has plateaued, but he should be able to sustain a .270+ batting average in the big leagues.
Power: Norby hit 21 homers in ’23, but that may be the peak of his power prowess. His frame is smaller and despite being strong, Norby is not a bopper.
Speed: Middle-of-the-road speed, but Norby has an aggressive mentality on the bases. He relies on his instincts and good jumps to gain an advantage, although he’s still not a big stolen base threat.
Plate Discipline: Norby is selectively aggressive at the plate, posting a 49.1% Swing rate. He rarely chases outside the zone and is able to make solid contact on any mistakes.
Concerns: Where does Norby fit? Norby is a solid defender and his bat is so consistent. He’s going to hit, but his power will be middling. The Orioles have Joey Ortiz in the fold as well, in addition to Jorge Mateo and Ramon Urias. Norby needs a strong Spring Training showing to cement his place in the Orioles’ future plans.
Conclusion: The bat and defense will play. Norby is a gamer and plays with a chip on his shoulder. The Orioles are going to have some tough decisions to make and Norby seems likely to be part of those decisions.
Super Loose ETA: Mid-2024
Ceddanne Rafaela – SS/OF (MLB, 5’9″, 23)
2023 Stats: .302 AVG/.349 OBP/.520 SLG/20 HR/ 36 SB
Overview: Rafaela is an interesting player, carried by his speed and defense. The bat is coming along, and he showed well in his Major League Debut in 2023. His frame is small, but Rafaela is very aggressive and has above-average feel for the game.
Hit-Tool: Rafaela has solid contact skills and produces plenty of pop. This season, he had an 84.6% IZ contact rate in AAA and a 45.9% HardHit rate. In his career, he is a .280 hitter but hit just .241 in his limited MLB sample.
Power: Despite his small stature, Rafaela packs a punch. His hands are fast and his body is strong. Rafaela posted consecutive 20-homer seasons in ’22 and ’23 with an OPS approaching .900. In addition to his home runs, Rafaela hit 31 doubles and three triples this season.
Speed: Rafaela poses a serious threat on the base paths, swiping 36 bags in 49 attempts this season. His speed is impactful defensively as well, as he is an elite defender in the outfield and shortstop. Overall, Rafaela has the ability to flirt with 40 steals at the major league level.
Plate Discipline: Swing decisions and chasing are two areas that need improvement for Rafaela. While he posts solid contact rates, his tendency to chase out of the zone and his aggressive swing approach could pose problems. Need more proof of his aggression? Rafaela had a 54.5% Swing rate with a 3% walk rate in AAA this season.
Concerns: How does the bat come together? His defense and speed are well above average and should lead to regular at-bats for Rafaela. If he can be serviceable offensively, the counting stats should catch up and he could be an OF3 in most leagues.
Conclusion: The Red Sox gave Rafaela a brief look in September last season, and he offered mixed results. He hit .241 with eight extra-base hits, but struck out 33% of the time with a 4.8% walk rate. His glove was great, but the bat was concerning. Rafaela needs a strong offensive Spring Training to give the Sox hope for his future.
Super Loose ETA: Opening Day 2024
Marcelo Mayer – SS (AA, 6’2″, 20)
2023 Stats: .236 AVG/.306 OBP/.433 SLG/13 HR/9 SB
Overview: MLB Pipeline ranks Mayer, the #4 overall pick in 2021, as the top organizational prospect for the Red Sox. Mayer is an elite defender in the middle infield, and many scouts feel he is ready now as a defender. A strong hitter historically, Mayer’s bat was slow to come around this season for Double-A Portland.
Hit-Tool: Mayer has all the tools to become an above-average hitter. His swing is compact and strong through the zone and he’s got a strong frame. He can spray the ball all over the diamond, or muscle the ball out of the park. The contact has been the biggest concern and will have to stabilize to find his best possible outcome.
Power: With contact, comes power. Mayer is strong and makes hard contact with the ball. His long arms and slightly uppercut swing have shown flashes of significant power, but again, the contact has limited his production. At the top end, Mayer is a 25-homer bat.
Speed: Speed is not a tool that Mayer possesses. He is a below-average runner, but moves well enough to man the “6”. If Mayer is going to contribute with steals, it’s going to need to come with his instincts and baseball IQ.
Plate Discipline: Mayer has shown the ability to draw walks and recognize pitches, but the strikeouts have piled up on him. However, the inability to hit off-speed pitching has shown, and his competition has taken advantage of him.
Concerns: Much like Rafaela, the glove will keep Mayer in the game. But will the bat catch up? He’s shown flashes of brilliance on both sides of the ball, but his consistency at the plate must improve.
Conclusion: Mayer is still an intriguing prospect with plenty of tools. The Red Sox are seemingly always looking for a shortstop and Mayer is the next man up. I still think he starts in Double-A, but a quick start could land Mayer in Fenway sooner than later.
Super Loose ETA: Post ASB 2024
Blaze Jordan – 1B/3B (AA, 6’2″, 20)
2023 Stats: .296 AVG/.350 OPS/.481 SLG/18 HR/ 2 SB
Overview: Jordan was a viral star crushing 500-foot homers in Texas as a middle schooler. That same kid was a 2020 third-round pick for the Sox out of DeSoto HS in Mississippi. His home run power still exists, but Jordan has become a solid hitter and defender.
Hit-Tool: Initially thought of as a power-only bat, Jordan has carried a solid batting average and contact rates as a professional. He is not a future batting champion, but he should land in the .250-.260 range in the big leagues with the plus pop.
Power: Jordan has some major thump in his bat, producing huge EVs for a kid who just turned 20. His 18-homer season in 2023 was an improvement over ’22 and he looks more comfortable in the box. His feel for pitch recognition and the ability to adjust has shown through, and it’s only a matter of time before the homer production skyrockets.
Speed: With below-average speed, Jordan is very much a station-to-station runner. He is athletic, but his lack of quickness has resulted in a move to first base, where he played the majority of 2023.
Plate Discipline: Jordan has a good approach and walks at a reasonable rate (9%). In addition, his strikeout rate is down near 15% over the last two seasons, a drastic improvement over his prep days.
Concerns: The main concern for Jordan is where he plays. He was blocked at third by Rafael Devers and is now blocked at first by Triston Casas. It’s possible the path to the big leagues is as a DH, which could pose problems.
Conclusion: Jordan is a sneaky hitter with more than one passable tool. He should be able to hit for a solid average while posting big HR totals. If he can find his way to regular at-bats, he has some upside as a fantasy asset.
Super Loose ETA: Late 2024
Roman Anthony – OF (AA, 6’2″, 20)
2023 Stats: .272 AVG/.403 OBP/ .466 SLG/ 14 HR/ 16 SB
Overview: In my opinion, Anthony is easily the best prospect in the organization. Anthony was selected in the 2nd round of the 2022 MLB Draft and should debut this season for the Sox. He offers five-tool upside with an athletic frame and advanced instincts for the game.
Hit-Tool: Anthony has a quick load and gets his hands to the ball. His body is well-positioned and he generates plenty of bat speed. His contact rates are consistently above 80 percent and he’s shown the ability to handle increased velocities. He is a work in progress against off-speed, but he just turned 19 years old.
Power: Anthony has easy raw power and it’s starting to show in games. He can leave the yard to all parts of the ballpark and has produced impressive exit velocities for a young player. He consistently makes hard contact (50%+ HardHit) and his power will continue to develop as his body grows.
Speed: He is a fantastic athlete with solid bursts. His first step is quick and he has shown improved straight-line speed. He stole 16 bases on 23 attempts this season and looks to run when he can.
Plate Discipline: Anthony has an aggressive approach, but has not sacrificed his contact skills. He has solid pitch recognition and makes good swing decisions. Anthony walked at a 21.7% clip this season and projects as an OBP monster.
Concerns: Anthony is still very raw and in need of refinement. The skills are there and he’s got future star written all over him. How fast do the Red Sox want to push him?
Conclusion: He just turned 19 in May, but Red Sox fans are counting the days until he’s patrolling centerfield at Fenway. My gut says we see Anthony this season, but I’d guess it’s well after the summer.
Super Loose ETA: Late 2024
Kyle Teel – C (AA, 6’1″, 21)
2023 Stats: .363 AVG/.482 OBP/.495 SLG/ 2 HR/ 3 SB (26 games)
Overview: Teel was the 2023 ACC Player of the Year at Virginia. The Red Sox grabbed Teel with the 14th overall pick this past July. Teel is the catcher of the future for the Sox, providing an impactful presence offensively and defensively.
Hit-Tool: Teel has an aggressive swing that generates high bat speed. His swing can get long at times, which could be exposed at the upper levels. He hits the ball hard to all fields and has improving power.
Power: Teel has average power and should peak around 20 home runs. His ability to drive the ball to all fields with power is an important attribute for playing at Fenway Park.
Speed: For a catcher, Teel runs well. His speed should help with extra-base hits and runs. Due to his position, his speed will likely regress long-term, and he should not be considered as a source of stolen bases.
Plate Discipline: Teel has a great feel for the zone and as a catcher, has strong pitch recognition skills. In a limited minor league sample, Teel has as many walks (21) as strikeouts (22).
Concerns: The main concern for Teel is how impactful he’ll be with the bat. He’s considered an elite defender, but his bat will control how far he goes.
Conclusion: The Red Sox have not had a franchise catcher since Jason Varitek. Teel fits the role perfectly. It’s unlikely that Connor Wong keeps Teel from being the everyday catcher, once he’s ready. I think that happens by the end of 2024.
Super Loose ETA: August 2024
By: Steve Dwyer (@SteveDwyer23)
Nolan Schanuel – 1B (MLB, 6’4″/220/ 21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .365/.505/.486/1HR/2SB
2023 MLB Stats: .275/.402/.330/1HR/0SB
Overview: Schanuel made his debut just months after being selected 11th overall and made a good impact at the MLB level. With a very advanced approach, Schanuel showed a great ability to walk and hit for contact. There are some questions about what the power numbers come out to but regardless Schanuel looks like the first baseman of the future for LA.
Hit Tool: The best tool for Schanuel is his ability to hit for contact. He sprays the ball to all fields evenly as he had a 33.3% pull, 34.4% centerfield, and 32.2% opposite field hit rate in 2023 for the Angels.
Power: The power from Schanuel remains the question mark as he may try to have a slightly more home run-based approach in 2024. If not, Schanuel will still need to put up 15 home runs a year or the value is on the lower end as a first baseman.
Speed: Schanuel has good speed but didn’t translate it to stolen bases in 2023. If the stolen bases and power are low, Schanuel isn’t a top option.
Plate Discipline: Great plate discipline, Schanuel walked at a 15.2% rate in his MLB debut with just a 14.4% K rate. He showed the ability to wait for his pitch as well as draw walks leading him to an on-base percentage over .400.
Biggest Concerns: Lack of power. Schanuel isn’t a typical power first baseman and his swing doesn’t have the lift to it for a ton of home runs. Just a 22.5% fly ball rate is his Major League debut, Schanuel may be more of a consistent hitter who adds 15-20 home runs a season.
Conclusion: Schanuel has value because his bat and approach are advanced but if he doesn’t hit for much power or steal many bases, he may not be a top first baseman. Schanuel may have the opportunity for a lot of runs as he often hit at the top of lineup in 2023.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Jo Adell – OF (MLB, 6’3″/215/ Years Old)
2023 Stats: .273/.375/.586/24HR/9SB
2023 MLB Stats: .207/.258/.448/3HR/1SB
Overview: One of the most “is this the year” prospects ever, Jo Adell has been in the Majors since 2020. The tools are there for Adell but he has yet to break in successfully for the Angels. Lack of consistent playing time combined with a subpar strikeout rate has made it tough for Adell. The Angels may lose Trout and Ohtani in the near future which could give Adell the shot he needs to break out.
Hit Tool: Adell hit for an average of .325, .290, and .289 twice in his first four seasons. He never saw that translate to the MLB level as he debuted in 2020 briefly and each year since. In 2023 he looked to be back as he hit .273 at Triple-A but once again struggled to maintain that in the majors.
Power: Adell put up his best power performance in 2023 at Triple-A as he hit 24 home runs in just 74 games and it seemed like he was hitting one every night. There is a lot of promise in the power department for Adell and at this point, the Angels need to play him every day to see what he can do.
Speed: Adell has good speed but never saw it translate to plus stolen base numbers. It helps him defensively but if Adell continues to hit for average or walk, he’ll need to take advantage of the stolen base to improve his value.
Plate Discipline: Subpar plate discipline, Adell doesn’t walk at a high rate. In 2023, it looked to be improving at the Triple-A level as he posted a career-best 12.1%. Sadly it was cut in almost half in his short MLB debut in 2023 at 6.5%.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeout concerns and lack of contact. Adell has a lot of swing-and-miss as he struck out 25 times in 17 games for the Angels in 2023. Strikeouts with a poor hit tool have always been the issue with Adell and we’re most likely at the point where that won’t change.
Conclusion: Adell has always had raw tools that have given him power potential but the consistency hasn’t been there. If Adell is given a chance to see consistent at-bats, maybe he reaches somewhat closer to what many people expected years ago.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Kyren Paris – SS (MLB, 6’0/180/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .255/.393/.417/14HR/44SB
2023 MLB Stats: .100/.200/.100/0HR/3SB
Overview: The 55th overall pick in 2019, Paris made his short MLB debut at the end of 2023. It wasn’t exactly a great debut as he struck out 17 times in 15 games. Paris looked to be putting things together in 2023 at Double-A where he hit 14 home runs and stole 44 bases. There are still major concerns with his ability to make consistent contact and stick as an everyday player.
Hit Tool: Paris has swing-and-miss in his game as we saw at the MLB level. 154 strikeouts in Double-A in 113 games will make it difficult for Paris to hit for a high average.
Power: 12 and 14 home runs in his last two seasons, Paris should see 10+ as an everyday player but 20 would be a stretch.
Speed: The best tool for Paris is his ability to run. 44 steals at Double-A show a plus tool that if put on base, he’s a threat to go. A utility man and pinch runner is a role Paris could be destined for if a starting position doesn’t work out.
Plate Discipline: In the last two seasons, Paris maintained good walk rates at 17.1% and 19.6% but he saw just an 8.7% walk rate in his MLB debut. Paris will need to be more patient at the plate, which in turn should improve his average.
Biggest Concerns: Utility role. Paris may not have a good enough bat to stick around as a starter but he should be given a chance in 2024 to prove one way or the other.
Conclusion: Paris has been up and down in his minor league career but has showcased his tools throughout his career. He’ll have to shift to second base in the Majors as Zach Neto is the shortstop of the future for LA.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Jordyn Adams – OF (MLB, 6’2/181/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .267/.351/.465/15HR/44SB
2023 MLB Stats: .128/.125/.128/0HR/1SB
Overview: Jordyn Adams and Trey Cabbage both put up gaudy numbers at Triple-A in 2023 which earned them a chance to play at the big league level late in the season. Both have some holes in their approach but the raw tools are what the Angels are relying on here.
Hit Tool: A below-average tool for Adams, he’ll need to be more patient and see better pitches to hit for his bat to have value.
Power: A career-high 15 home runs at Triple-A in 2023, Adams has good size and could be a threat to hit 15 yearly if he holds down the starting job.
Speed: Plus speed, Adams stole 44 bases at Triple-A in 2023. Adams excels both on the basepaths and defensively because of his speed. The best tool he has, Adams has the ability to steal 25-30 bases a year.
Plate Discipline: Like Cabbage, Adams doesn’t walk much which limits his ability to steal as he doesn’t make great contact. If Adams can be more patient and draw more walks, he’ll have the ability to showcase that plus speed.
Biggest Concerns: The bat. Adams hit .249 in his minor league career and really struggled in his 17 games at the MLB level hitting just .128 with 16 strikeouts. There is no doubt there needs to be improvement for Adams to be an everyday player and not just a pinch runner or defensive replacement.
Conclusion: Adams struggled to hit the ball consistently in his MLB debut and considering that is the biggest concern, he has some work to do in order to stick around.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Trey Cabbage – OF (MLB, 6’2/204/26 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .306/.379/.596/30HR/32SB
2023 MLB Stats: .208/.232/.321/1HR/1SB
Overview: Cabbage put up insane numbers in his time at Triple-A in 2023 which ultimately gave him a late-season promotion to LA. The major league debut was not as successful as he hit just .208 with a low .232 on-base percentage.
Hit Tool: In the last two seasons, Cabbage has put up an average north of .300 but has let his strikeouts climb too high. His hit tool is below average but the last two seasons are worth giving him a shot at consistent playing time to see what he can be.
Power: The best tool for Cabbage is his plus raw power. Cabbage hit some long home runs and tallied 30 in 2023 at Triple-A. The power may give him a shot to play for now but he may need to sell out for power less and improve the approach to play every day.
Speed: 32 steals in Triple-A is extremely impressive but his previous high is just 10. His .306 average in 2023 allowed him to be on base more which led to the 32 steals so Cabbage will need to draw more walks to continue the impressive stolen base numbers.
Plate Discipline: Walks are not part of the game for Cabbage. He strikes out a lot and is aggressive at the plate, which limits his success with the bat.
Biggest Concerns: Hit tool. Cabbage has good power and speed but it won’t matter unless he can improve his approach and get on base more.
Conclusion: There isn’t much left for Cabbage to prove in the minor leagues as he tore up Triple-A in 2023. There is no doubt the K to walk ratio needs to improve but that may not as it’s been consistently subpar for Cabbage so far in his career.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Jacob Melton – OF (AA, 6’3/208/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .245/.334/.467/23HR/46SB
Overview: Melton is one of the top prospects in the Astros system and he affirmed that by putting up a 23-46 season in 2023. Melton has good power and speed allowing him to be a potential top player if he can make more contact. His strikeouts need to decrease so his approach improves overall.
Hit Tool: Melton has been a bit unlucky with his average as he has a good ability to hit the baseball. Melton may need to change his swing a bit to be less clunky as there is a lot going on.
Power: Good power, Melton should be able to hit 20 home runs a year. He has good raw power combined with an open-faced stance to load up as much strength as possible.
Speed: Plus speed, Melton stole 46 bases in 2023 and is a threat to go whenever he’s on base.
Plate Discipline: Melton doesn’t display great walk rates and his patience could help him raise his average. Melton reached Double-A in 2023 and put up a subpar 7.1 walk percentage. The higher levels will be a test to see how the approach handles the eye against better pitching.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeout rate and average. The lowest K rate for Melton has been 21.1% at the High-A level in 2023. Melton has had a low average that can be partly attributed to a low BABIP.
Conclusion: Melton has no doubt power and speed but the rest of his approach needs to get to a higher level. A wildly low BABIP has hurt the average for Melton but he still needs to work on his swing and miss to improve the average.
ETA: August 2024
Zach Dezenzo – 2B/3B (AA, 6’4/220/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .304/.383/.531/18HR/22SB
Overview: Another Astros prospect that showed potential for a 30-30 season, Dezenzo went 18-20 in just 94 games. Similar to Loperfido, Dezenzo has swing-and-miss in his game.
Hit Tool: Dezenzo hits the ball to all fields as he put up a 37.5%/32.1%/.30.4% pull, centerfield, and opposite rate in 2023. He maintained a decent average but the swing and miss will make it harder to continue that as he faces better pitching.
Power: The best tool for Dezenzo is his raw power. Dezenzo has the ability to reach 30 home runs in a full season but it’s more likely he stays in the 20-25 range.
Speed: A bit on the bigger side, he runs well as he showed with 22 stolen bases in 2023. He may be more of a 15-20 stolen base guy a year but it’s promising to see 22 in a shorter season.
Plate Discipline: Walks aren’t a big part of the game for Dezenzo as he’s an aggressive hitter. He’ll need to be more patient and wait for a better pitch or draw a few more walks to cut down on his strikeout rate as well.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts. Dezenzo has had a 31.6%, 20.3%, and 28.5% K rate in his 3 levels across 2 seasons. As he continues to face more advanced pitching, he’ll need to lay off the pitches outside of the zone.
Conclusion: Dezenzo is a prospect to keep an eye on in an unimpressive farm. The power and speed potential should give him the ability to go 20-20 every season. The approach is what will need improvement in order to be a start at the big league level.
ETA: July 2024
Joey Loperfido – OF/2B (AAA, 6’3/220/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .278/.370/.510/25HR/27SB
Overview: One of the most hyped prospects by the fantasy community during the 2023 season, Loperfido threatened to have a 30-30 season. Loperfido has good tools with a good approach and with a full breakout in 2023, he should be the first called on in 2024.
Hit Tool: In the last two seasons, Loperfido has hit .316 and .278 which eliminated questions about the hit tool. There are strikeout concerns but if Loperfido maintains a high average it’ll have less of an impact on his game.
Power: Loperfido jumped from 12 to 25 home runs in 2023, propelling him to the next level of prospect. This consistent power gives Loperfido a chance to play in the outfield for Houston or second base when Jose Altuve needs a day off.
Speed: Loperfido has good speed that allowed him to steal 27 bases in 2023 after tallying 32 in 2022. The speed and potential of 30-30 player is a lot to be excited about.
Plate Discipline: Loperfido has had a sub 13% walk rate throughout his minor league career as he has an aggressive approach. He’ll need to cut down on chasing pitches outside of the zone to either see better pitches or improve his walk rate.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts. Loperfido did just about everything at an elite level in 2023 except a low strikeout rate. A 32.6% K rate in Triple-A was a large jump from his 22.2% at Double-A. It was only 32 games at Triple-A but Loperfido has had a K rate north of 20% every season of his career.
Conclusion: Loperfido showed plus power and speed in 2023 with a good average in the midst of his breakout season. The Astros should give him a shot to play every day despite his high strikeout rate.
ETA: June 2024
Colin Barber – OF (AA, 5’11/200/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .244/.358/.433/11HR/5SB
Overview: Barber was a 4th round pick in 2019 and has had some good and some bad in his minor league career so far. Barber has solid tools across the board that could give him 20 home runs and 10-15 steals a year.
Hit Tool: The questionable part of his game, Barber has hit in the high .200s and low .200s alternating every year.
Power: The best tool for Barber right now despite only tallying 11 as a career best, it was in just 79 games. Baber figures to hit 20 home runs a season with his quick left-handed swing.
Speed: An average tool, Barber should be able to steal 10-15 bases a year and stick in centerfield defensively with his quickness.
Plate Discipline: Barber has been consistently in the mid to high teens for walk rates. Barber hit .298 with a .408 OBP in 2022, both were career highs. He had a higher walk rate in 2023 at 14% and slight improvement gives him a shot at playing every day.
Biggest Concerns: Hit tool. Barber has been up and down with his average and his K rates have been above 20% consistently. If he can cut down on the K rate, he’ll have a good chance to maintain a .265-.270 average.
Conclusion: Barber has good potential to be a 20-20 player. He’ll need to be more consistent across the board and patient in his approach. Barber had a 41.6% fly ball rate in 2023 which led to his most home runs to date in a minor league season.
ETA: July 2024
Pedro León – OF/2B (AAA, 5’8/170/25 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .244/.343/.435/21HR/21SB
Overview: A top international signing in 2021, Leon was signed for 4 million dollars because it was thought he was close to MLB-ready. Two years later, the Astros have yet to promote León to the major leagues. A .220 and .228 average in his first two seasons makes it hard to justify bringing him to an already stacked offense. León looked to find himself more in 2023 as he raised his average to .244.
Hit Tool: León has a below-average hit tool and struggles to make good contact as his average has been sub .250 in his minor league career. The ability to walk makes up for it but he needs to cut down on the chase in his approach.
Power: The second best tool for León is his power. León is strong even though he stands just 5’8. He taps into his raw power at times and if an everyday role is attainable, he’ll hit 20-25 home runs per season.
Speed: The best tool for León, he stole 38 bases in 2022. He has plus speed and anytime he’s on base, he’s a threat to run.
Plate Discipline: León has decent walk rates as he has reached as high as 18.7 percent in Triple-A. He’ll walk enough to utilize his legs and rack up the steals.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeout concerns. León has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game as he struck out 160 times in 2023. With 145 strikeouts in 2022, León may not be able to make enough contact to play every day.
Conclusion: León has the ability to play a utility role for Houston as he can play outfield or second base. He has good speed and raw power that carried him to a 21-21 season in 2023. León may not reach the potential once thought when he signed but he can be a utility man often filling in for guys on off days.
ETA: June 2024
Darell Hernaiz – SS (AAA, 5’11/190/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .321/.386/.456/9HR/13SB
Overview: A sneaky prospect who had his best year in 2023, Hernaiz has shown his ability to make great contact. Hernaiz has an aggressive approach which will limit his walk and strikeout rate. There isn’t much power in his game but Hernaiz is a good runner that has stolen 22 bases in 2021 and 32 bases in 2022 but declined to just 13 in 2023.
Hit Tool: His best tool, Hernaiz shows a great ability to hit for contact as he hit .321 in 2023 between Double-A and Triple-A. Hernaiz has a chance to hit at the top of the order in an MLB lineup.
Power: Power isn’t in the toolshed for Hernaiz as his career high is 12 in a season. Power isn’t something to rely on in the game of Hernaiz while he may eventually reach 15 a year.
Speed: The second best tool for Hernaiz is his speed. He shows a good feel for stealing bases and should be able to steal 20 a year.
Plate Discipline: His plate discipline is limited due to his plus ability to make contact but he showed more patience in 2023. His on-base percentage will be tied to his average more than his ability to walk.
Biggest Concerns: Lack of plus tools. Hernaiz doesn’t possess much power and while he has good speed, he saw a big decline in steals in 2023. Hernaiz will need to see a jump in power to provide real value.
Conclusion: Hernaiz is a top-of-the-order type of hitter that Oakland could use in the 1 or 2 spot. After a breakout 2023, he should get a full season of at-bats on a bad Oakland Athletics team.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Brett Harris – 3B (AAA, 6’1/208/25 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .279/.383/.424/9HR/10SB
Overview: Harris is an older prospect at 25 years old, so it may be time for Oakland to see what they have with Harris. No plus tools, Harris has a utility man profile but he shows a good approach that gives him a chance to succeed at the MLB level.
Hit Tool: His best tool is his ability to hit for a good average with his good approach. Harris should maintain a .275+ average with a low strikeout percentage.
Power: Harris had 17 home runs in 113 games in 2022, but declined to 9 in 105 games in 2023. Harris may need to sell out a bit more to reach 20 home runs a year for solid value.
Speed: Average speed, Harris can steal double-digit bases a year. While it isn’t great speed, he’s successfully stolen bases and holds down a good third base defensively.
Plate Discipline: Harris has a good approach and makes solid contact which limits his strikeouts and walks. He has a good eye but doesn’t draw a ton of walks as he makes early contact in his at-bats.
Biggest Concerns: Lack of plus tools. Harris doesn’t have a tool that sticks out more than the rest but he maintains a good approach. For Harris to have some value he’d need to see his power jump back up to his 2022 numbers when he hit 17 home runs.
Conclusion: Harris doesn’t possess crazy power or speed so Harris will have to rely on his advanced approach and ability to hit for contact to carry him. Harris may struggle to hold down an everyday role with nothing that jumps off the page.
ETA: June 2024
Max Schuemann – (AAA, 5’11/186/26 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .276/.402/.430/10HR/23SB
Overview: A true contact hitter with a good eye, Schuemann proved his patient approach can provide solid value. Most likely a utility man in the MLB, Schuemann could provide a Jake Cronenworth-type of role for the Athletics.
Hit Tool: An average hit tool with a good approach leads Scheumann to a good average with a good on-base percentage. Nothing is above average here but he’s a solid hitter.
Power: There isn’t much power in the bat of Schuemann so home runs won’t be a stat to count on here.
Speed: His best tool is his speed. Schuemann stole 52 bases in 2021 and has had 20+ in 3 of his other 4 seasons. A good on-base percentage should give Schuemann a good chance to steal 25 bases if he locks down regular playing time.
Plate Discipline: With two straight years of an above .400 on-base percentage, Schuemann has regularly put up a walk rate over 20% at most of his stops in the minor leagues. The patient approach gives him a good chance to stick as a utility man.
Biggest Concerns: Starter potential. Defensively, Scheumann doesn’t have a real home as he played at every position except 1B and catcher in 2023. This could give him the ability to stay at the MLB level but might be a disadvantage to carving out a full-time role. Schuemann doesn’t have great power which means he’ll have to count on his speed to provide value. –
Conclusion: Schuemann could be carried by his approach and speed enough to hold down an everyday role. The Athletics have Zack Gelof holding down second base so it’ll be tough for Schuemann to beat him out.
ETA: June 2024
Denzel Clarke, OF (AA, 6’5/220/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .261/.381/.496/12HR/11SB
Overview: A toolsy outfielder who is the cousin of Josh and Bo Naylor, Clarke has above-average power and speed. There have been concerns about the bat for Clarke as his lowest K rate in a season has been 27.3%.
Hit Tool: The biggest “what-if” tool to decide if Clarke is not only an everyday player but a good one, is his ability to hit for a good average. In his first two stops in Rookie Ball and Low-A, he managed to hit .316 and .295 with a .417 and .411 BABIP. He struggled at High-A in 2022 but bounced back in 2023 with a .261 average at the Double-A level.
Power: Above average power, Clarke should hit in the high teens and low twenties for a full season. If Clarke gets a bump in power, it could take pressure off the swing and miss in his game.
Speed: The best tool for Clarke currently is his speed and athleticism. Clarke stole 30 bases in a down year in just 93 games in his 2022 season. His stolen bases will go hand in hand with his ability to get on-base so the success of Clarke will need an improved approach.
Plate Discipline: Clarke has had walk rates from 12.8% to 14.5% in his minor league career, but with his swing and miss that might need to improve. The A’s would love to see Clarke be more patient, giving him more of an even strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeout rate. Clarke has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. As he continues to climb through the minor leagues, he’ll need to really cut down on that. It’ll only become more difficult for Clarke as the pitching becomes more advanced.
Conclusion: A super exciting prospect, Clarke showed improvement in 2023 and could continue in the right direction as he reaches Triple-A early in 2024. Even if Clarke can just maintain his current approach, he’ll hold value due to his power and speed numbers over a full season.
ETA: July 2024
Max Muncy – SS (AA, 6’1/180/21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .275/.353/.411/10HR/13SB
Overview: Muncy was drafted 25th overall by the Athletics but his first two seasons left a lot to be desired. He hit .129 in 11 games of rookie ball and .229 in 123 games between Low-A and High-A. The positive was the 19 home runs and 19 steals Muncy tallied showing his athleticism and strength.
Hit Tool: Muncy has struggled to make consistent contact in his short career but he’s newly 21 years old and just had his best average at Double-A. Muncy cut down on his K rate and maintained a .302 average in 51 games at Double-A in 2023.
Power: Muncy has good raw power and a quick, strong swing that should make power his best tool in his career. Muncy could hit for mid to high 20s in the home run department as he continues to grow physically.
Speed: The best tool at the moment for Muncy, he shows good speed with a good feel on the basepaths as he has stolen 33 bases to just 9 caught stealing in his minor league career.
Plate Discipline: Muncy has an aggressive approach that the A’s will need him to refine to reach his potential as a 1st round shortstop. Sub 10% walk rates aside from his stop in Low-A in 2022, Muncy will need to improve his walk rate which in turn could give him a chance to steal more bases.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeout rate. Muncy has struggled with swing and miss as his lowest K rate was 23.2%. The positive is that his lowest K rate came at the highest level he’s ever reached, which was Double-A in 2023.
Conclusion: Muncy is a very good athlete, with a smooth swing that has good bat speed and power behind it. If the approach improves, Muncy has a great chance to be a 25HR-25SB everyday middle infielder in Oakland with Jack Wilson as his double-play partner.
ETA: July 2024
Ryan Bliss – 2B/SS (AAA, 5’6/165/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .304/.378/.524/23HR/55SB
Overview: A 2nd round pick in the 2021 MLB draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bliss had a major breakout season in 2023 and was traded to Seattle in the Paul Sewald deal. 23 home runs for a guy who is 5’6 shows the raw power Bliss possesses.
Hit Tool: The tool in question for Bliss is his ability to hit consistently for contact. Bliss started the year scorching hot with a .358 average in Amarillo for the Diamondbacks. A BABIP of .408 may have been what led to that breakout after he managed just a .196 average in 13 games at the Triple-A level for Arizona. After being traded to Seattle, Bliss got back on track with a .251/.356/.466 for the Tacoma Rainiers.
Power: A smaller and lighter prospect, Bliss went from 10 home runs in 2022 to 23 in 2023. It’s likely he’s somewhere in the middle of those two numbers but it’s promising to see the power potential.
Speed: The best tool for Bliss, he stole a career-best in 2023 with 55. Bliss has always showcased his speed during his 3 year minor league career and has a shot to be an everyday second baseman with 30-40 steals per season.
Plate Discipline: A sub 10% walk rate, Bliss was able to improve that while at Tacoma to 12.8%. Given the low walk rate, Bliss may be a bottom-of-the-order hitter unless this improves.
Biggest Concerns: Consistency. Bliss needs to sure up his hit tool and provide a consistent approach. His strikeout rate was low for Arizona but jumped back up towards his previous numbers at 23% for Tacoma. The walk rate could improve as well, giving Bliss more of an opportunity to steal bases.
Conclusion: Bliss is a toolsy player who can fill up the box score. If he can become more consistent, Bliss should get a shot as an everyday player. Bliss isn’t blocked at the MLB level, so there is potential to win the job out of spring training.
ETA: May 2024
Tyler Locklear – 1B (AA, 6’1/210/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .288/.405/.502/13HR/12SB
AFL Stats: .300/.403/.533/3HR/1SB
Overview: Locklear had a mini breakout in 2023 but missed some time due to injury so the Mariners sent him to the AFL. There has been a lot of buzz around Locklear due to his raw power, despite it not showing in his home run tally yet.
Hit Tool: Locklear has hit for a good average in both of his minor league seasons, hitting .285 in 2022 and .288 in 2023. Continuing that in the AFL with 18 hits in 60 at-bats, Locklear is showing why he was drafted 58th overall in 2022.
Power: The best potential tool for Locklear, his power could be 30 home runs a year type of power. Locklear has yet to see the power translate to massive home run tallies but he did show gap-to-gap power with 25 doubles in his half of a 2023 season.
Speed: Below average speed, Locklear is a first baseman so stolen bases and speed aren’t expected to be part of his game. That being said, Locklear stole 12 bases in 2023 in just 85 games. If this feel for stealing bases translates to MLB, Locklear could add 10-15 steals a year.
Plate Discipline: Average plate discipline, Locklear has posted decent walk rates. If he can work the count more, the bat could improve even more allowing him to reach his full potential.
Biggest Concerns: Locklear doesn’t have a “big” concern as he keeps a low strikeout percentage and has the potential to hit .280 with 25 home runs a year. His two potential concerns are if the bat can give him that .280 average and if he can draw more walks as his highest walk percentage has been 13.1%. Locklear had his lowest average at Double-A where he hit .260 paired with a slightly low .302 BABIP. Locklear has since reported to the AFL and has been scorching with a .300/.403/.533/3HR/1SB.
Conclusion: Locklear is potentially the first baseman of the future for the Mariners and the time in the AFL could prove an accelerated schedule to the Major Leagues. If Locklear begins 2023 at Triple-A, the Mariners may look to have Locklear in the MLB lineup by May.
ETA: July 2024
Jonatan Clase – OF (AA, 5’9/150/21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .242/.353/.449/20HR/79SB
Overview: Clase possesses unbelievable speed as a plus-plus tool that led him to steal 79 bases in 2023. There are concerts in the rest of the game for Clase as his hit tool isn’t the best and his strikeouts are high. Clase also provides good pop from both sides of the plate, as he hit 13 from the left side and 7 from the right side in 2023.
Hit Tool: Clase has a below-average hit tool with a good amount of swing-and-miss in his game. He tallied 165 strikeouts in 2023 between High-A and Double-A, with a .222 average at Double-A. If Clase wants to be an everyday player and take advantage of his speed he’ll need to work on his contact ability.
Power: A switch hitter, Clase showed he can hit for pop from both sides of the plate. It seemed as though the home runs came in bunches for Clase, often hitting two in one game. On the smaller side like other Mariners prospect Ryan Bliss, Clase is 5’9, but his swing is smooth with plenty of strength behind it.
Speed: World-class speed, Clase steals bases with ease. He’s a threat to run every time on base and even as a utility man should provide 25-plus steals.
Plate Discipline: Clase is able to draw walks, giving him a chance to use his advantageous speed. A 13.1 walk percentage in Double-A is impressive considering he only hit .222 and struck out at 28% clip.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts and contact against advanced pitching. Clase looked to be in the midst of a breakout at the High-A level to begin 2023, but a .423 BABIP may be why his average was so inflated.
Conclusion: The speed and power tools are there for Clase and he doesn’t turn 22 until May of 2024. With time on his side, the Mariners can be patient in 2024 with Clase to work on his ability to make more consistent content.
ETA: June 2024
Zach DeLoach – OF (AAA, 6’0/205/25 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .286/.387/.481/23HR/8SB
Overview: A 2nd round pick in 2020, DeLoach had his best season in 2023 at the highest level he’s reached in his professional career. A career high in home runs, RBI, steals, and hits, DeLoach showed why he was such a high draft pick. A tough team to fight for a spot on, DeLoach might end up as a utility outfielder when he makes his debut.
Hit Tool: His best tool, DeLoach showed he can hit for a high average making him a top candidate as an injury replacement. DeLoach struck out 173 times in 2023, he still managed to hit .286 but the strikeout total will have to come down as he faces MLB-level pitching.
Power: DeLoach had below-average home run power prior to his 2023 season, but broke out with 23 at Triple-A. 15-20 home runs a year are fair to expect from a full season of DeLoach.
Speed: Below average speed, DeLoach has stolen single-digit bases every year in his professional career. Speed isn’t much of a factor for DeLoach.
Plate Discipline: DeLoach has had a walk rate that has fluctuated from 11.2% to 14.2% throughout his minor league career. A good ability to work counts, DeLoach can draw a walk with a good approach.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeout concern and average tools. DeLoach may have a good approach and ability to draw walks, but his strikeout rates are elevated as well. His highest K rate came in 2023 at a 27.8% rate.
Conclusion: DeLoach should be given an opportunity in 2024 spring training to show what he’s capable of. That being said, there isn’t much opportunity for playing time in the Mariners’ outfield with Julio Rodriguez, Teoscar Hernandez and Jarred Kelenic holding it down.
ETA: June 2024
Alberto Rodriguez – OF (AA, 5’10/227/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .300/.380/.504/14HR/8SB
Overview: Signed as an international free agent way back in 2017, Rodriguez has shown an average all-around game. His profile is the fourth outfielder if he makes it to the MLB level. There isn’t a tool that sticks out for Rodriguez but he provides a solid average with decent power.
Hit Tool: The best tool for Rodriguez has been the most consistent one, his ability to hit for a solid average. A career .281 hitter for all of his stops in his minor league career, Rodriguez could be a trusted bat off the bench.
Power: Below average power, Rodriguez had a career-best of 14 in 2023. In a full season, Rodriguez can provide 8-12 home runs a year.
Speed: In his younger years, Rodriguez was stealing bases, but now he’s gained weight and is a high single-digit a year baserunner.
Plate Discipline: Rodriguez doesn’t draw a lot of walks as he’s often around a 10% walk rate. In order for Rodriguez to get a shot at an everyday role he’ll need to improve his plate discipline and draw more walks.
Biggest Concerns: No standout tool. Rodriguez is a consistently average player across the board but nothing is a plus tool to stick as a starter or provide consistent value. Rodriguez could be an injury replacement or bench hitter that fills in on starters’ days off. Rodriguez strikes out at a high rate that has continued to rise as he rises in levels of competition.
Conclusion: A player to watch as he seemingly put a lot of it together in 2023, Rodriguez could tap into some more power in 2024. Rodriguez spent half his 2023 season at Double-A and could begin there or aggressively in Triple-A given he’s a bit older.
ETA: September 2024
Wyatt Langford – OF (AAA, 6’1/225/21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .360/.480/.677/10HR/12SB
Overview: The 4th overall pick in the 2023 MLB draft got off to a scorching start and ended his season knocking on the door of an MLB debut. From Rookie ball to Triple-A, Langford did it all. Power, speed, plate discipline, and lack of strikeouts have made Langford the number-one prospect in baseball for 2024. The Rangers will have Langford and Evan Carter holding down the outfield for years to come, and both are most likely in the 2024 Opening Day lineup.
Hit Tool: Langford hit .373 in his final season at Florida and followed that up with a .360 average in his 161 minor league at-bats in 2023. Hard to knock the hit tool of Langford after he hit .405 in 42 Double-A at-bats at just 21 years old.
Power: Langford has plus power that could total 30+ a year in the middle of a lineup. Langford hit 26 and 20 home runs in his final two seasons at Florida. With 10 home runs in his first 44 minor league games, Langford has shown no signs of slowing down in the power department. There is a legit chance that Langford hits 40+ home runs a year.
Speed: Above average speed, Langford didn’t steal often in his time at Florida. This changed when Langford stole 12 bases in his 2023 minor league season. If this stolen base aggressiveness continues, we’re looking at a potential 30-30 superstar.
Plate Discipline: 36 walks to 34 strikeouts from Rookie ball to Triple-A, Langford had no problem working walks. Another above-average tool for Langford that has helped him rise quickly in his short professional career.
Biggest Concerns: There are currently no concerns with Langford’s game. The only thing working against Langford is that expectations may be too high after his torrid start. His .360 average clearly isn’t sustainable so his hit tool may be the biggest statistical fluctuation but it’s hard to label it a concern.
Conclusion: Langford projects as a power-over-hit prospect with good speed but has shown that all can be elite tools. To avoid projecting Langford as a top 10 MLB player, I would expect 30 home runs, and 15-20 steals with a .270 average as he begins his career. These numbers still put Langford at the top of the league and will be a fun kid to watch paired with Evan Carter in the Rangers outfield.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Evan Carter – OF (MLB, 6’2/190/21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .288/.413/.450/13HR/26SB
2023 MLB Stats: .306/.413/.645/5HR/3SB
Overview: Before Wyatt Langford caught fire, Evan Carter was in the middle of his 2023 breakout season for Texas. The then 20-year-old looked like an advanced hitter against older competition in Double-A. Carter impressed so much that he earned a late-season promotion to the Rangers and has often hit third in the ALCS.
Hit Tool: One of two plus tools for Carter, the bat is what catapulted him to the m ajors for Texas in 2023. Carter was 20 years old when he made his Double-A debut in 2023 and hit .284 in 377 at-bats.
Power: A lack of home runs in his short professional career, Carter could be a 15-20 home run-a-year player. He’s shown the ability to hit the ball over the wall, but the power tool is weaker than his other tools currently.
Speed: Carter possesses above-average speed that should lead to 15-25 stolen bases a year. He should have plenty of opportunities to run with his ability to get on base at a high clip.
Plate Discipline: The second plus tool for Carter is the ability to draw walks. In his short MLB stint, Carter has shown an incredible eye at the plate. Carter draws plenty of walks, but his plate discipline also allows him to get ahead and attack his pitch when he sees it.
Biggest Concerns: Power. Carter may not have plus power despite hitting 5 home runs in just 23 games in his first taste of MLB action. Carter has been known for his hit tool over his power but there is a chance he can hit 20 home runs a year at the MLB level.
Conclusion: Carter is going to be an everyday outfielder for the Rangers starting on Opening Day of the 2024 season. The young outfielder has already made a huge impact on the Rangers in the 2023 MLB playoffs.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Justin Foscue – 2B (AAA, 5’11/205/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .266/.394/.468/18HR/14SB
Overview: The 14th overall pick in 2020, Foscue has hit at every stop of the way. Foscue provides across-the-board production with a good combination of power, speed, and the ability to hit for average. Foscue has improved contact and made strides in lowering his strikeout rate from 30.8% at the complex league, 26% in High-A, and 27.9% in Double-A in 2021 to 14.3% at Double-A in 2022 and 12.4% at Triple-A in 2023. Foscue is one of just many Rangers prospects knocking on the door of the Major Leagues, a great problem for a team in the 2023 World Series to have.
Hit Tool: The best tool for Foscue is his ability to hit the ball. Foscue is an advanced hitter who could hit at the top of an MLB lineup but might be most beneficial hitting 5th or 6th with his ability to drive in runs.
Power: Foscue has good power for a second baseman as he stands 5’11 and 205 pounds. 20 home runs a year power is where Foscue should live if he sees 500 at-bats.
Speed: Foscue doesn’t have great speed but managed to swipe 14 bags in 2023. Stolen bases aren’t something to count on with Foscue but 8-15 a year is a nice added bonus.
Plate Discipline: Foscue made huge improvements in cutting down on his strikeout rate and improving his walk rate, putting up career bests in 2023 at the Triple-A level. Foscue raises his walk rate to 15.1% showing he has the ability to be an everyday player.
Biggest Concerns: Defensive home. Foscue is an average defender at second base and while he has seen time at third base, it’s unlikely he will move there with Josh Jung there for the Rangers. Foscue, like most MLB-ready Rangers prospects, doesn’t have a clear path to playing time.
Conclusion: Foscue has all the makings of an everyday second baseman at the MLB level, the only issue with that is the 5 years and 125 million dollars left on the contract of Marcus Semien. Foscue will most likely have to break in as a utility player for the Rangers and move around the diamond as needed.
ETA: May 2024
Dustin Harris – OF/1B (AAA, 6’3/185/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .259/.378/.431/14HR/41SB
Overview: Harris has been a well-known hitter in the Rangers farm system for five years now. Harris has always brought 3 to 4 promising tools to the table in his approach, speed, power, and hit tool. Harris limits his strikeouts and walks at a good percentage, thus adding to his value as a prospect. Now 24 years old, Harris has been blocked by the talent Texas has at the MLB level but 2024 could be his chance to see regular action.
Hit Tool: A .325 and .327 average between Rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A from 2019-2021, Harris has seen his average lower to .257 and .259 between Double-A and Triple-A. In 126 plate appearances in 2023, Harris hit .290 with a .429 on-base percentage against left-handed pitchers. As a left-handed batter, this is extremely encouraging towards Harris being an everyday player. Harris ended his 2023 campaign at Triple-A where he hit .273 in 67 games, showing the potential of a slightly above-average hit tool.
Power: Harris saw his power decline in 2023 as he only hit 14 home runs in 471 at-bats. Harris projects as a 15-20 home run hitter with a full season of at-bats.
Speed: Above average speed and a good feel for stealing bases, Harris set a career-high of 41 stolen bases in 2023. If Harris can see regular playing time, he should be able to swipe 20 bags a year with ease.
Plate Discipline: Harris has always worked counts and drawn walks. The plate discipline is above average as Harris posted the best BB% of his career at 14.8% in 2023.
Biggest Concerns: Hit tool and strikeout numbers. Prior to 2023, Harris kept his strikeout percentage under 20% but he saw that climb to 23.4% at Double-A and 21.9% in Triple-A during the 2023 season. The hit tool isn’t a big concern as I mentioned the phenomenal average off left-handed pitching and a solid track record of a good average.
Conclusion: Harris could split time between outfield and first base, filling in as a utility man for Texas in 2024. The speed, power, and on-base ability give Harris intriguing value, especially if he acquires first base eligibility.
ETA: May 2024
Abimelec Ortiz – 1B (A+, 6’0″/230/ 21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .294/.371/.619/33HR/1SB
Overview: Abimelec Ortiz first caught my eye in 2021 when he mashed 11 home runs in the DSL in just 40 games. With massive raw power, Ortiz broke out in 2023 with 33 home runs between 109 Low-A and High-A games.
Hit Tool: A .294 average in 2023 has Ortiz showing signs of an above-average hit tool. In the previous two seasons, Ortiz put up a .233 average in the hitter-friendly DSL and .226 in Low-A. Ortiz has made improvements as he slashed .297 against RHP and .268 against LHP. There is potential for a .285 average if Ortiz can continue to put up those numbers against left-handed pitching, making him a top-50 prospect.
Power: Ortiz possesses plus raw power that saw him tally 33 home runs and 20 doubles in 2023. Showing off his over-the-wall and gap-to-gap power, Ortiz could drive in plenty of runs as he showed with 101 RBI in just 109 games in 2023.
Speed: Below average speed, Ortiz will most likely be headed for a DH or 1B role and won’t be a threat to run on the basepaths.
Plate Discipline: Ortiz is an aggressive hitter with a 126 strikeout to 49 walk ratio and has an average ability to draw walks. If he can show patience and the ability to work counts, he may see better pitches, leading to even more success at the plate.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts. Ortiz will need to keep his strikeouts in check as he continues to rise through the minor leagues. Ortiz had a 27.8% k rate in 2023 which will certainly need to be reduced if he wants to continue his success.
Conclusion: The sound off the bat of Ortiz on some of his home runs is some of the loudest contact I’ve heard. Ortiz has a very smooth swing and shows power to all fields. Given that the Rangers are in the World Series, and they don’t have a need for Ortiz, they could show patience with Ortiz in 2024. Ortiz had his breakout season in 2023 but could see a Samuel Basallo-type rise in 2024 if he does this at the Double-A level.
ETA: August 2024
By: Steve Dwyer (@SteveDwyer23)
Oscar Colás – OF (MLB, 5’11/220/25 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .272/.345/.465/9HR/2SB
2023 MLB Stats: .216/.257/.314/5HR/4SB
Overview: One of the top international signings in 2022, Colás went from High-A to Triple-A in his first season in the White Sox organization. With a .314 average with 23 home runs, Colás looked like the rising star the White Sox signed him to be. But Colás struggled in his first taste of MLB action and played sporadically on a team that won just 61 games in 2023. 71 strikeouts to just 12 walks and a .216 average was not the start most expected from Colás after a successful 2023 season. 2024 should provide Colás with an opportunity for an everyday role in the White Sox outfield.
Hit Tool: The hit tool may be more of a question mark after 2023 as Colás hit below .300 for the first time since joining the White Sox organization. A .272 average at Triple-A and .216 average for the White Sox in 2023, may make Colás more of a .250 hitter at the MLB level.
Power: Colás has plus raw power that translates to hard-hit balls as he registered a Max EV of 114.2 in 2023. With only 5 home runs in his short 245 at-bat stint in the Majors, Colás will look to build on that as an everyday player. There are expectations of 25 to 30 home runs in the bat of Colás over a full season at the MLB level.
Speed: Below average speed, Colás picked up 4 steals with the White Sox but was caught 3 times. The White Sox could end up not letting Colás run unless he becomes more efficient.
Plate Discipline: The biggest weakness for Colás currently is the lack of walks he draws. Colás had a poor 27% strikeout to 4.6% walk ratio at the MLB level.
Biggest Concerns: The lack of plate discipline is the glaring concern for Colás but there are some questions about the hit tool. Until his MLB debut, Colás has done nothing but hit but the high strikeout rate and poor average are cause for concern.
Conclusion: Colás should see close to a full season with the White Sox in 2024 and the consistency of playing every day could bring better results.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
José Rodríguez – SS/2B (MLB, 5’11/175/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .262/.292/.437/21HR/31SB
2023 MLB Stats: .000/.000/.000/0HR/0SB
Overview: A plus hitter for the first 4 years of his minor league career, Rodríguez looked as if he was going to be an everyday speedster middle infielder. In 2023, Rodríguez saw his power tick up combined with his plus speed.
Hit Tool: A .283 average for his 5-year minor league career, Rodríguez has an above-average bat. The bat has a chance to be a 1-2 hitter but his approach will need to improve as he has an aggressive approach and rarely walks.
Power: Rodríguez saw his power numbers reach a career-high in 2023, with 21 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A. 15-20 home runs a year should be viable for Rodríguez given regular playing time.
Speed: The best tool for Rodríguez is his plus speed. Rodríguez has stolen 31,40, and 30 bases in his last 3 full seasons. If Rodríguez refines his approach at the plate and increases his on-base percentage he’ll have the ability to put up gaudy stolen base numbers.
Plate Discipline: Rodríguez fails to draw walks at an average level with a career-high of 7.9% in 2022. Rodríguez will need to see his approach and patience improve if he hopes to be an everyday player at the MLB level.
Biggest Concerns: Approach. Rodríguez has an aggressive approach at the plate and often makes early contact in the count. Low walk and strikeout rates are a sign of this approach and if he can start working counts, he may see better pitches to hit. His on-base percentage is often slightly higher than his average so if he does see regular MLB action, it will most likely be at the bottom of the lineup unless that improves.
Conclusion: The White Sox are in the middle of what should be a rebuild with no future second baseman, allowing Rodríguez the chance to fight for that spot in the spring of 2024.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Colson Montgomery – SS (AA, 6’3/205/21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .287/.455/.484/8HR/2SB
AFL Stats: .250/.281/.483/3HR/0SB
Overview: The best prospect in the White Sox organization, Montgomery was the 22nd overall pick in 2021. Reps have been the biggest enemy to Montgomery at this point as he’s only played in 186 games in 2.5 years. Montgomery did reach Double-A by the end of his first full season in 2022 at 20 years old. Montgomery had a late start to 2023 with an injury but was once again off to a hot start so the White Sox sent him to the Arizona Fall League for extra reps.
Hit Tool: The best and most consistent tool for Montgomery is his bat. His hit tool grades out as his best future tool with the potential to be a .285 or higher hitter.
Power: A potential plus tool for Montgomery, he’s drawn plenty of Corey Seager comps as a sweet-swinging left-handed bat. 19 home runs in 186 minor league games, Montgomery has showcased average over-the-wall power so far in his career.
Speed: A good athlete, Montgomery isn’t a speedster as he’s only stolen 3 bases in his minor league career. The lack of steals, combined with potential concerns he’ll move off shortstop don’t make speed part of his game.
Plate Discipline: With an advanced approach at the plate, Montgomery had a 56K:56BB through 64 games in 2023. He has the ability to stay patient, draw walks, and wait for his pitch, giving him plenty of opportunities to see the best pitch possible.
Biggest Concerns: Durability. Montgomery has missed some time due to injuries and while that isn’t 100 percent preventable, it’s the biggest knock against him now.
Conclusion: Montgomery is a top prospect in all of baseball and could be a cornerstone for the White Sox’s foreseeable future. 2024 spring training could open an opportunity after a stint in the Arizona Fall League for Montgomery to reach his everyday role with the White Sox as soon as possible.
ETA: June 2024
Bryan Ramos – 3B (AA, 6’2/190/21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .264/.358/.450/15HR/4SB
AFL Stats: .254/.313/.390/2HR/0SB
Overview: Ramos had a great breakout in 2022 at the High-A level, where he hit .275 with 19 home runs in 99 games. A late-season promotion to Double-A at 20 years old wasn’t as successful for Ramos, with a .225 average and 3 home runs in 21 games. Like Montgomery, Ramos missed time in 2023 due to injury and joined him in the Arizona Fall League for extra reps.
Hit Tool: A career .260 hitter in his minor league career, Ramos has an average hit tool with an aggressive approach. Ramos projects to hover around a .250 to .275 average but that could increase if he shows some patience at the plate.
Power: The most promising tool, Ramos has slightly above average power with the ability to hit 20-25 home runs a year. While that may not be typical home run numbers for a third baseman, Ramos has good bat speed that could allow him to live in the upper 20s yearly.
Speed: Below average speed, stolen bases aren’t a part of his game. Ramos is a good athlete but he may only steal 5-10 bases a year.
Plate Discipline: The aggressive approach at the plate limits the number of walks that Ramos will draw as his career-high walk percentage is 11.1%. This career high came in 2023 at the Double-A level so Ramos is improving his ability to work counts. That being said, Ramos isn’t going to draw a ton of walks.
Biggest Concerns: Average tools. Ramos has average tools minus his raw power. He profiles as a .250 hitter with a low .300 on-base percentage and single-digit steals, leaving him to rely on his raw power to translate.
Conclusion: Ramos has had some ups and downs to start his career but has shown great improvement in all aspects of his game. He’ll be just 22 for all of 2024, so Ramos has plenty of time to keep improving before being an everyday player at the MLB level.
ETA: July 2024
Wilfred Veras – OF/1B (AA, 6’2/180/20 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .286/.324/.466/17HR/24SB
Overview: Veras was 3 home runs away from a 20-20 season in 2023 at 20 years old. Veras has intriguing tools with power being his potential best. There are concerns throughout his game as he needs to improve his approach at the plate in a big way.
Hit Tool: Veras has an average hit tool as he maintained a .283 career minor league average but he has 319 strikeouts to 79 walks as well. If Veras can improve his approach, he may see better pitches to hit.
Power: The best tool is his raw power. Veras hit 20 home runs in 2022 and 17 in 2023. Standing 6’2, Veras has a powerful swing that if he can get more lift on, should lead to more home runs.
Speed: Veras stole 24 bases in 2023 whereas in his previous two seasons, he had 5 and 3. Not the fastest runner, Veras showed a good feel on the basepaths adding steals to his overall value.
Plate Discipline: There is no patience at the plate for Veras as he puts up sub-10 % walk rates. There is no doubt that if Veras wants to be an everyday player he’ll need to show patience at the plate to at least see better pitches and hopefully draw walks.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts. Veras has put up mid to high 20% strikeout rates every season. 145 strikeouts in 130 games between High-A and Double-A in 2023 are no improvement from his 132 in 113 games between Low-A and Double-A in 2022.
Conclusion: Veras has now put together two solid seasons in a row, but there is no question the high number of strikeouts and low number of walks both need to move dramatically in the other direction.
ETA: August 2024
Brayan Rocchio – SS (MLB, 5’10/170/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .280/.367/.421/7HR/25SB
2023 MLB Stats: .247/.279/.321/0HR/0SB
Overview: Rocchio has been one of the most promising Guardians’ middle infield prospects for a few years now. In search of consistent playing time, Rocchio has a better shot at that after Amed Rosario was dealt to the Dodgers.
Hit Tool: Rocchio has a good feel at the plate for making good solid contact. A switch hitter with a career .276 minor league average, Rocchio will probably hit at the bottom of the Guardians lineup unless he draws more walks. Everything in his game resembles current Guardians second baseman and future double-play partner, Andres Gimenez.
Power: Rocchio has solid power that should produce 15 home runs a year. There isn’t much more power in his bat unless Rocchio is able to gain some strength but it seems his profile is more of a contact hitter.
Speed: The best tool for Rocchio is his above-average speed which should lead to 20-25 stolen bases a year.
Plate Discipline: Rocchio has low walk rates and doesn’t have a very patient approach at the plate. If he wants to hit at the top of a lineup, he’ll need to see more pitches per at-bat.
Biggest Concerns: Plate discipline and power potential. Rocchio doesn’t walk at a high rate as he has put up a sub-10 % walk rate every season except his 2023 season at Triple-A. 5’10 and 170 pounds, Rocchio may never hit for too much power, leaving his value in his hit tool and stolen base potential.
Conclusion: Rocchio is a good defensive infielder which gives him a better shot to win an everyday role for the Guardians. There is potential for Rocchio to be a 20-20 player over a full season if it all comes together.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Kyle Manzardo – 1B (AAA, 6’0/205/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .236/.337/.464/17HR/1SB
AFL Stats: .265/.333/.603/5HR/0SB
Overview: Manzardo put up a monster season in 2022, where he slashed .327/.426/.617 with 22 home runs in just 93 games. It looked as though Manzardo was going to be a quick-rising first baseman for the Rays. After a slow start to 2023, Manzardo was dealt to Cleveland for Aaron Civale.
Hit Tool: A plus tool, Manzardo has a good ability to hit for contact. He saw a tale of two seasons with an inflated BABIP in 2022 and a low BABIP in 2023. Manzardo struggled to hit left-handed pitching in 2023 but regardless, Manzardo should be a .285 hitter at the Major League level.
Power: Manzardo has above-average power that should translate to 25 home runs a year. He’s more of a pure hitter but has shown he can tap into power and hit the long ball.
Speed: Speed is not a factor for Manzardo on the basepaths and being a first baseman, he doesn’t need too much speed defensively.
Plate Discipline: Manzardo has a good approach with a low strikeout rate plus a good walk rate. A patient and advanced hitter, Manzardo has excelled and advanced quickly because of his approach at the plate.
Biggest Concerns: No glaring concern for Manzardo, but seeing him succeed against advanced competition would certainly regain some confidence in placing Manzardo at the top of prospect lists.
Conclusion: Manzardo looked to turn things around when he was traded to the Guardians and continued to get reps in the Arizona Fall League. Mazardo has looked closer to his old form, hitting 5 home runs in the AFL but still has yet to see his average creep back up to his 2022 season. A .269 BABIP for Tampa and .233 for Cleveland in 2023 may be the reason for this and Manzardo is still a top first base prospect.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Chase DeLauter – OF (AA, 6’4/235/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .355/.417/.528/5HR/6SB
AFL Stats: .254/.351/.441/3HR/5SB
Overview: DeLauter feels like a forgotten prospect because of an injury that has limited him to just 54 games in 2023. DeLauter was one of the best college baseball bats in his final year at James Madison and was talked about as a top 5 pick. DeLauter ended up falling to 16th overall and the Guardians are ecstatic with the early results. DeLauter has been a plus talent across the board and looks like a potential star.
Hit Tool: An above-average tool, the bat allowed DeLauter to reach Double-A in just half of a minor league season. The bat is so advanced that he could fight for an everyday spot in Cleveland in spring training next year.
Power: A large prospect, DeLauter possesses plus raw power combined with a smooth swing and good bat speed. There is a chance for 30 home runs a year at his peak but 20-25 yearly is more likely.
Speed: Above average speed, DeLauter stole 6 bases in 57 games and it’s promising to see him run after having foot surgery prior to the season. DeLauter is a large prospect at 6’4 and 235 pounds which makes his good speed impressive. He should have no problem stealing 15 bases a year with the potential for 20.
Plate Discipline: A 12.1% walk rate in his first season, DeLauter showed a good eye with above-average pitch selection. DeLauter has reported to the Arizona Fall League and added 10 walks to 6 strikeouts in 16 games.
Biggest Concerns: DeLauter doesn’t have a concern currently. Coming into draft day, some evaluators questioned how the bat would hold up from James Madison, but he has quickly put that to rest as he hit .355 in his first half of a season where he reached Double-A.
Conclusion: If not for his injury, there is a chance that DeLauter would already have made his major league debut. With advanced tools across the board, DeLauter is going to prove extremely valuable for the Guardians.
ETA: June 2024
Juan Brito – INF (AAA, 5’11/202/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .271/.377/.434/14HR/7SB
Overview: Brito hasn’t played above Low-A until 2023 when he climbed from High-A to Triple-A throughout the year. Brito has a career .285 minor league average with an above-average hit tool and approach. Traded to the Guardians for breakout rookie Nolan Jones, the Guardians are hoping they acquired a young everyday player.
Hit Tool: His best tool is an advanced hit tool that was tested for the majority of the year at the Double-A level. Brito hit .276 at Double-A with a .373 on-base percentage as a 21-year-old. Brito could end up being a top-of-the-order hitter with his plus contact and patient approach.
Power: Below average power, Brito hit 11 and 14 home runs in his last two full seasons. 15 is a fair number of home runs to expect from Brito as he is a pull-heavy hitter with a mid 40% fly ball rate.
Speed: Brito isn’t the fastest runner and his stolen bases fluctuate from year to year but he could end up stealing 8-15 bases a year.
Plate Discipline: Tied in with his hit tool as the best part of his game, is the ability for Brito to work counts and draw walks. Brito had 78 walks to 88 strikeouts in 2023 in his 127 games, showing the ability to walk as well as make solid contact.
Biggest Concerns: Lack of power or speed. Brito doesn’t have a standout tool aside from his ability to make contact. If the power ticks up to 20 a year, Brito has a good amount of value but currently, he’s more of a contact hitter.
Conclusion: Brito is a switch hitter but in 2023 he slashed .287/.399/.476 and 12 home runs as a left-handed batter and a .229/.320/.328 with only 2 home runs as a right-handed hitter. Brito could end up being used as a left-handed bat off the bench to start his career.
ETA: June 2024
Angel Martínez – SS/2B (AAA, 6’0/200/21 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .251/.321/.394/14HR/11SB
Overview: Another mid-level middle infield prospect for the Guardians, Martínez has average tools across the board. With less of a patient approach, Martínez is similar to Rocchio and Brito without a plus power or speed tool.
Hit Tool: A switch hitter, like Brito, Martínez is much better from one side of the plate. Martínez put up a .233 average as a left-handed hitter and a .303 average as a right-handed hitter in 2023. A platoon role could be the start of his Major League experience.
Power: At 6’0, 200 pounds with good bat speed, Martínez has the ability for 20 home runs if it all comes together. Martínez showcases good power from both sides of the plate with 6 coming from the left-hand side and 8 from the right in 2023.
Speed: His best tool, Martínez hasn’t seen it translate to great stolen base numbers. If there is a tool that can take a jump to above average, stolen bases are the stat that should be most affected.
Plate Discipline: Martinez had an average walk rate from 2019-2022 but he saw that drop in 2023 as he was more aggressive. If he wants an everyday position in a crowded middle infield system, he’ll need to be more patient at the plate.
Biggest Concerns: Contact and approach. Martínez showed an extremely balanced approach from 2019 to 2022, but he saw his walk rate drop under 10% for the first time in his minor league career in 2023. Martínez doesn’t have a standout power or speed tool so he’ll need to get back to his old patient approach to maintain value.
Conclusion: Martínez is behind Rocchio and Brito in terms of development but 2024 could be crucial in seeing if he’s an everyday player. He should be one of the first call-ups for an injured infielder in 2024.
ETA: July 2024
Colt Keith – 3B/2B (AAA, 6’2/211/22 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .306/.380/.552/27HR/3SB
Overview: A 5th-round pick in the shortened 2020 MLB draft, Keith looks like a steal in that draft. Now a top 50 prospect in baseball, Keith has gotten there with his advanced bat and plus power. An offensive juggernaut, Keith has hit at every stop in his minor league career.
Hit Tool: Keith has a plus bat that has seen him hit for a career minor league average of .300 on the nose. Kieth tore up Double-A and Triple-A in 2023 to the tune of a .306 combined average, leaving him little to prove in the minor leagues.
Power: The best tool for Keith was on full display in 2023 with 27 home runs. He fully broke out in the power department and should be a 25 home run-a-year player in Detroit.
Speed: Below average speed, this isn’t a part of his game defensively or on the basepaths. Keith won’t be looking to steal often and he often hits for extra bases.
Plate Discipline: This is the part of his game that Keith can continue to improve as he gets more reps. His walk rate above Low-A has hovered around 10% and despite having an advanced bat, I’m sure the Tigers wouldn’t mind seeing Keith work a few more walks.
Biggest Concerns: Keith is a prospect who doesn’t have a ton of concerns as he’s a hitting machine but he can still improve his walk rate. He made strides in improving his contact rate and cutting down on the strikeouts in 2023 so there’s a chance the walk rate could do the same.
Conclusion: Keith has risen to a top prospect in baseball since being drafted and has done it with his ability to hit the baseball. Keith should get a chance to play every day at the hot corner in Detroit starting on opening day in 2024.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Justyn-Henry Malloy – OF/3B (AAA, 6’1/212/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .277/.417/.474/23HR/5SB
Overview: Much like Keith, Justyn-Henry Malloy hit at all stops of his minor league career. Traded from Atlanta, Malloy spent all of 2023 at the Triple-A level and showed signs of an everyday player. The Tigers should start Malloy every day in 2024 out of spring training as there isn’t much else to prove in the minors.
Hit Tool: Tied in with his approach as his best tool is his ability to hit for contact. With a .282 career minor league average with a .410 on-base percentage, Malloy hasn’t let his high walk and strikeout numbers influence his ability to hit for contact or power.
Power: Malloy hit 23 home runs in 2023 while also adding 25 doubles. The over-the-fence and gap-to-gap power are both above average allowing Malloy to rack up 20-25 home runs a year.
Speed: Below average speed, Malloy isn’t a threat on the basepaths as he has only stolen 14 career bases in 305 games.
Plate Discipline: Malloy has a good eye with a good ability to draw walks as he posted an 18% walk rate in Triple-A during the 2023 season. 110 walks in 2023 are enough to combat the amount of strikeouts Malloy posted as well.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts. Malloy has a good approach and like Keith, puts up good average, on-base, and home run numbers. That being said, Malloy did strike out 152 times in 2023. Swing and miss concerns have been a part of his game with a strikeout rate over 20% every season for Malloy.
Conclusion: Malloy is a good hitter with a patient approach which gives him a better chance to be successful at the MLB level. Malloy has done all he can at the minor league level so the Tigers should give him a full season to see what he can do in Detroit.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Jace Jung – 2B (AA, 6’0/205/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .265/.376/.502/28HR/5SB
Overview: The 12th overall pick in 2022, and brother of current Rangers third baseman Josh Jung, Jace had a great first full season between High-A and Double-A. Jung put up 28 home runs as a second baseman, which immediately gives him more value.
Hit Tool: Jung hasn’t had a great average in his minor league career until he hit Double-A in 2023 where he hit .284 in 47 games. Jung has some swing-and-miss in his game as he posted over a 20% strikeout rate in both of his minor league seasons.
Power: The best tool Jung has is his plus raw power. 28 home runs in his first full season showed his ability to hit the ball over the wall. Jung added 27 doubles in 2023, showing off his gap-to-gap power, and could provide a good amount of RBI per season.
Speed: Below average speed, Jung won’t steal many bases but he has enough athleticism to stick at second base.
Plate Discipline: Jung has seen his walk rate decrease from 2022 to 2023 and decrease in 2023 as he was promoted from High-A to Double-A. 18.7% down to 11%, Jung still can work the count and draw walks but it’ll be something to monitor as he reaches Triple-A.
Biggest Concerns: Hit tool. Jung has struggled to maintain a plus average and limit his strikeouts. As he continues to Triple-A, it’ll be the main two things to keep an eye on for his development as an everyday second baseman.
Conclusion: Jung is slightly behind Colt Keith and Justyn-Henry Malloy but he should provide a mid-season boost to a youthful Tigers team. Jung is next in line to a promising future in Detroit with Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene already at the MLB level.
ETA: June 2024
Parker Meadows, OF (MLB, 6’5/205/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .256/.337/.474/19HR/19SB
2023 MLB Stats: .232/.331/.368/3HR/8SB
Overview: Meadows went 19-19 in Triple-A in 2023 and ended up with a 22-27 total after a late promotion to Detroit. Meadows has two solid tools in his power and speed but will need to keep his strikeouts in check.
Hit Tool: There is some concern that Meadows may not be able to make good enough contact to be an everyday player. His approach helps counteract that as he can work counts and he has seen his average work back up the last 2 seasons.
Power: Much like his speed, Meadows saw his power increase in 2022 and stay similar in 2023. If Meadows can provide a 20-20 stat line, his on-base percentage should be high enough to keep him in the lineup.
Speed: Meadows’ best tool, he saw his stolen base number tick up the last two seasons to around 20. When given a full season, Meadows should be able to steal 20 bases.
Plate Discipline: Meadows walks enough to carry a good on-base percentage and he continued that in his small sample size of an MLB debut.
Biggest Concerns: Hit tool. Meadows doesn’t walk a ton and the contact is a concern at the moment but his ability to hit for power and steal bases should give him a chance to play every day.
Conclusion: Another Tigers prospect that should be given the full year to figure things out at the MLB level, Meadows showed he has 20-20 potential. The Tigers are trending in the right direction and Meadows could be a missing outfield piece with Riley Greene and Justyn-Henry Malloy.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Wenceel Pérez, 2B (AAA, 5’11/203/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .274/.368/.416/9HR/26SB
Overview: Pérez is a stereotypical small and speedy second baseman with good contact skills. Pérez won’t add much in the home run department but he’s a solid option to fill in around the diamond when someone needs a day off. Pérez still could be an everyday second baseman but the Tigers have Jace Jung coming up as well.
Hit Tool: His second-best tool, Pérez has an above-average hit tool that has given him a career .273 minor league average over 6 seasons. His ability to make good contact limits his strikeouts numbers and Pérez could see himself at the top of the Tigers lineup in 2024.
Power: Pérez doesn’t have a lot of power but he could end up hitting 10-15 a year. Home runs aren’t something to count on with Pérez but when they come it’s a nice surprise.
Speed: The best tool for Pérez, he stole a career-best 26 bases in 2023. 20-30 steals a year is where Pérez should live during a full season.
Plate Discipline: Pérez has a good eye but doesn’t draw a ton of walks. He also doesn’t strike out a ton because when he sees a pitch he likes, he goes after it. If Perez can be more patient and increase his OBP, he may see those stolen base numbers increase.
Biggest Concerns: Lack of plus tools. If Pérez doesn’t steal upwards of 20 bases he may not hold much value as the power is lacking. A good contact hitter, Pérez needs a second aspect to his game to become an everyday player as opposed to a utility man.
Conclusion: Pérez should get a good look in 2024 Spring Training and a good opportunity to be an everyday player. With Jace Jung waiting in the wings, it’s possible Pérez sees a utility role and may play some outfield.
ETA: July 2024
Nick Loftin – UTIL (MLB, 5’11/180/25 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .280/.362/.458/15HR/7SB
2023 MLB Stats: .323/.368/.435/0HR/2SB
Overview: Loftin was the 32nd overall pick in 2020 and finally got some MLB action in 2023. Loftin reached Triple-A in just his second full season but he struggled as he hit just .216. 2023 was a different story as Loftin spent most of his year at Triple-A and this time hit .270 with 14 home runs and 6 steals in 82 games. Loftin has versatility defensively and his bat and speed could give him a shot at an everyday role.
Hit Tool: His second best tool is his ability to make consistent contact and limit his strikeouts. This gives Loftin the chance to hit at the top of an order despite not drawing a super high walk rate.
Power: Loftin has put up 10,17 and 15 home runs in his first 3 seasons. Loftin has the ability to hit for 15-20 home runs when given a full season of at-bats.
Speed: The best tool for Loftin is his speed. He stole 29 bases in 2022 which is his only full season to date. Loftin is a threat to steal 20 bases a year when he plays a full season.
Plate Discipline: Loftin has had a walk rate that hovered around 10% in his 3 minor league seasons. He makes good contact so the slightly lower walk rate isn’t a concern.
Biggest Concerns: Consistency and lack of above-average tools. Loftin has hit the ball well, showed a good approach, hit for power, and stolen bases, but he has yet to put them all together at once. Regular playing time in 2024 may be his breakout season.
Conclusion: The Royals don’t have much blocking Loftin at the MLB level besides Bobby Witt Jr., so a full season of at-bats is possible in 2024. Maikal Garcia and Michael Massey did fine jobs but Loftin may have a higher ceiling.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Tyler Gentry – OF (AAA, 6’0/210/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .253/.370/.421/16HR/14SB
Overview: Tyler Gentry was all over the fantasy baseball radar after his 2022 season and with good reason. A .326/.422/.542 slash line with 21 home runs and 10 stolen bases, Gentry looked as though he was going to get some at-bats for the Royals in 2023. Instead, he saw a full season at Triple-A and put up solid numbers.
Hit Tool: Gentry has seen the most fluctuation in his hit tool as his 2022 season was around 60 points higher than his average in 2021 and 2023. His BABIP during his 2022 season was inflated to a .447 at the High-A level but it came back down when he reached Double-A. Gentry is around a .250-.270 hitter.
Power: The most promising tool for Gentry is his ability to hit for power. A full season of Gentry’s bat should provide 20-25 home runs a year with a decent amount of RBI.
Speed: Gentry has average speed and he has shown he’s a threat to steal some bases. Not one of the faster prospects, Gentry should be able to crack double digits in the stolen base category.
Plate Discipline: Gentry has put up good on-base percentage numbers with a walk rate above 12.1% at every stop. Gentry’s on-base ability should be able to keep him as an everyday player.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts. Gentry has improved his strikeout rate from the high 20s down to the low 20s from 2021 to 2023. The improvement is great to see but Gentry needs to continue to trend in that direction.
Conclusion: Gentry has solid tools across the board and they all take turns showcasing themselves throughout a season. Gentry didn’t replicate his 2022 season but he’s as close as ever to receiving at-bats in Kansas City.
ETA: May 2024
Tucker Bradley, OF (AAA, 5’9/206/25 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .277/.363/.446/7HR/11SB
Overview: Much like Tyler Gentry, Tucker Bradley had a breakout season in 2022 at the Double-A level. It looked as though both were headed to the outfield in Kansas City at some point in 2023 but neither made it. Both will look to impress in spring training in order to break camp with the Royals in 2024.
Hit Tool: The best tool for Bradley is his hit tool as he makes consistent contact. Bradley has posted low 20’s strikeout percentage numbers which will need to stay in that area if he wants to hit at the top of a lineup.
Power: One of the lower tools for Bradley, his power is limited due to his size. While he may not reach 20 home runs a year, 15 isn’t out of reach for him.
Speed: Like his power, his speed isn’t a plus tool but it should be good enough for 15 to potentially 20 stolen bases a year.
Plate Discipline: A bit on the smaller side, Bradley works the zone well and gets a pitch he wants to hit. His walk rates have ranged from 9.3% to 13.3% during his career with most coming over 10%. His approach adds to his ability to make consistent contact, giving him a good chance to play every day.
Biggest Concerns: Lack of power. Bradley is smaller at 5’9, so his home run power may be limited to 10-15 home runs a year. Considering power is the 4th best tool for Bradley, 10-15 home runs should be enough to keep him valuable.
Conclusion: Bradley is an older prospect at this point so the Royals will most likely give him a shot soon to see what he can do. Bradley could fill the role of a fourth outfielder given his ability to make consistent contact.
ETA: June 2024
Javier Vaz – 2B/OF (AA, 5’9/151/23 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .279/.373/.400/8HR/30SB
Overview: Another smaller prospect, Vaz is 5’9 and 151 pounds. He fits the mold of a stereotypical leadoff hitter with his size and he makes plus contact, maintains a low strikeout rate, and showcases good speed. Vaz is another Royals prospect who should fight for an opportunity in 2024.
Hit Tool: Arguably his best tool because of his contact ability and approach, Vaz has strikeout rates below 15% for his career. His ability to hit for contact gives him a real chance to be a leadoff hitter at the MLB level.
Power: Vaz is a smaller prospect that won’t hit for much power but he could hit 10 a year for the volume of an everyday player.
Speed: His best tool, Vaz stole 30 bases in 2023. He’s a plus runner that paired with his ability to get on base should give him a utility role at the MLB level.
Plate Discipline: Vaz had 64 walks to 50 strikeouts in 2023, showing his advanced approach at the plate. His walk rate may never jump to a high level as he makes good contact in his at-bats.
Biggest Concerns: Utility role. Vaz may not possess enough tools to be an everyday player despite his good contact and speed. The Royals aren’t exactly filled with MLB talent blocking Vaz so he could get a shot to stick as an everyday player in 2024.
Conclusion: Vaz doesn’t have much more than his contact and speed but that should be enough to earn a bench spot if an everyday role doesn’t work out.
ETA: July 2024
Peyton Wilson – 2B/OF (AA, 5’8/180/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .286/.366/.411/6HR/19SB
Overview: The 66th overall pick in 2021, Wilson is an athletic player with above-average speed and decent pop. Wilson has a utility player type of profile as he has the ability to play all around the diamond and utilize his good speed.
Hit Tool: Wilson has an average hit tool but held his own hitting .286 at the Double-A level in 2023. With a strong and athletic swing, Wilson hits the ball hard and can maintain a decent average.
Power: The power numbers are the question for Wilson as he’ll most likely hit anywhere from 8-15 home runs a year. His ground ball rate has been close to and over 50% which may limit the amount of home runs.
Speed: The best tool for Wilson is his speed. He has the potential to steal 25 bases a year if he can improve his on-base percentage.
Plate Discipline: Wilson has had some up and down walk rates but he should be able to draw enough walks to utilize his plus speed.
Biggest Concerns: Lack of power. Wilson hit 14 home runs in just 88 games in 2022 but he saw that decrease down to 6 home runs in 2023 in 128 games. If the power isn’t consistent Wilson will have to provide more stolen bases to provide value.
Conclusion: Wilson could see an earlier promotion due to his ability to step into almost any role on the field. The Royals would love to see Wilson add some pop to his bat to potentially give him a shot at a full-time position.
ETA: August 2024
Royce Lewis – 3B/SS (MLB, 6’2/200/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .353/.424/.745/6HR/5SB
2023 MLB Stats: .309/.372/.548/15HR/6SB
Overview: A tough start to the career for Royce Lewis as he tore the same ACL in back-to-back seasons. The former first overall pick, Lewis has been consistent at the start of his career. A breakout in 2023 as he flashed plus power and was great in the playoffs for Minnesota, Lewis looks to be everything they thought when he was drafted in 2017.
Hit Tool: What looks like the most consistent and maybe best tool for Lewis is his ability to hit for a good average. Lewis has fluctuated with his K rate but if he continues to hit for a 300+ average with good pop and speed, the Twins will live with the K rate.
Power: Lewis flashed plus power in 2023 and continued that display in the playoffs. Lewis has the potential to hit 25-30 home runs yearly.
Speed: The best tool for Lewis when he was drafted was his speed. After he tore the same ACL twice he still has shown the ability to run. Defensively it helps him make spectacular plays which he did often in 2023.
Plate Discipline: Lewis isn’t the most patient hitter but much like his K rate, it’s something to live with as he has had great success so far in his career.
Biggest Concerns: Health. Completely uncontrollable but Lewis has been injured for the majority of his career. Twins fans have been through this with Byron Buxton, a super toolsy player who can’t stay on the field. Here’s to hoping Lewis can stay on the field and put up great numbers.
Conclusion: Lewis looks like a potential superstar. Despite tearing his ACL twice he still is running on the basepaths with 6 steals in 58 MLB games in 2023. Lewis is going to be a future star for the Twins starting in 2024.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Brooks Lee – SS/3B (AAA, 5’11/205/ Years Old)
2023 Stats: .275/.347/.461/16HR/7SB
Overview: Lee was arguably the best hitter and most MLB-ready in the 2022 draft so the Twins loved being able to select him 8th overall. A switch hitter, Lee hit .287 as a left-handed hitter in 2023 and just .231 from the right side. Lee
Hit Tool: The best tool for Lee is his ability to make good contact. Lee is an advanced hitter who should hold up fine as he faces the best of the best in the MLB.
Power: His second best tool is his power potential. With just 16 home runs in 2023, Lee started to get hot at the end of the year with the long ball. There is a big belief that he can put up low to mid-20 home run numbers yearly.
Speed: Lee has good speed but hasn’t put up high stolen base numbers. With his current speed, Lee is good for 10-15 a year once he gets going.
Plate Discipline: Lee has a good eye but his walk numbers could use an increase. With just an 8.9% walk rate at Triple-A in 2023, Lee could hit for more pop if he can work the count and see better pitches.
Biggest Concerns: Lack of tools. Lee is a very good hitter but he only hit 16 home runs and stole 7 bases in 2023. There is hope that the bat can tap into more power and hit 25 a year but that remains to be seen.
Conclusion: Lee should get a good look in spring training to break camp as an everyday player for the Twins in 2024. With Royce Lewis and Carlos Correa on the left side of the diamond, Lee may have to move to the other side of the field. Either way, this is a good problem for the Twins to have with two young players in Lee and Lewis hoping to make an impact in 2024.
ETA: June 2024
Matt Wallner – OF (MLB, 6’4/220/25 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .291/.403/.524/11HR/0SB
2023 MLB Stats: .249/.370/.507/14HR/2SB
Overview: Wallner is a big power bat that has a good amount of swing-and-miss in his game, thus limiting his playing time at the MLB level.
Hit Tool: Wallner struggled against left-handed pitching and that might be an understatement. He hit just .119 against MLB left-handed pitching and .281 against right-handed pitching. Unless his left-handed approach improves, he’ll play only against RHP.
Power: Power is the calling card for Wallner as he has a strong, powerful swing that allows him to put up exit velocities north of 110 mph. Wallner should provide the Twins with plenty of power against right-handed pitching.
Speed: Speed is not an aspect of his game as Wallner has only 16 career stolen bases in 4 seasons.
Plate Discipline: Wallner walks at an okay rate for a power bat with poor contact with his biggest improvement coming in his 5-game MLB stretch in 2023, tallying 25%. Wallner will need to keep a consistent eye and walk rate to be trusted to hit every day.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts. Wallner has had a strikeout rate above 26% for his entire career with a high of 41.7%. There is no doubt Wallner needs to work on his ability to work the count and make consistent contact to be an everyday player.
Conclusion: Wallner has a ton of power in his bat as he stands 6’4 and 220 pounds. He has the ability to hit 30 home runs a year if given full playing time. Wallner needs to improve his ability to hit left-handed pitching or he’s destined for a platoon role.
ETA: Opening Day 2024
Austin Martin – 2B/SS/OF (AAA, 6’0/185/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .260/.381/.779/7HR/19SB
Overview: The former 5th overall pick by Toronto in 2020, Martin has had a somewhat quiet career despite playing his entire first season in Double-A. With good tools, Martin still has the potential to be a 20 home run and 25-30 stolen base a year player. The Twins have Carlos Correa and Royce Lewis on the left side of the infield so Martin may move to second and outfield full-time when he gets a shot.
Hit Tool: Martin makes great contact and displays low strikeout rates as he managed sub-22% strikeout rates in all 3 minor league seasons. Thought to be a plus tool when drafted, Martin has struggled a bit with the bat after his 2021 season.
Power: The weakest tool for Martin is his power. 7 home runs in 2023 has been his best and that came in only 64 games. If Martin can tap into his power he should be able to maintain 15-20 a year.
Speed: The best tool for Martin now is his speed as he stole 35 bases in 2022 and 19 in 2023. Always a threat on the bases, Martin would put up 20-30 in a full season.
Plate Discipline: Martin shows a good eye but his good contact limits the amount of walks he’ll have during a season. If Martin can draw more walks, he’ll have a great shot to steal 25+ bases a year.
Biggest Concerns: Consistency. Personally, I like Martin as a bounce-back prospect heading into 2024. He put up solid numbers at Triple-A in just 67 games. The hit tool is the biggest concern for Martin at the moment as he has never held a consistent average.
Conclusion: Martin was once thought to be a franchise player and while that may not happen, he can hold down an everyday utility player role. Martin is a type of Swiss Army knife defensively that gives him value to an MLB team.
ETA: June 2024
Yunior Severino – 2B/3B (AAA, 6’0/189/24 Years Old)
2023 Stats: .272/.352/.546/35HR/3SB
Overview: Severino had average tools until 2022 when he had a mini breakout hitting .278 with 19 home runs in 83 games. Severino continued his power surge in 2023 as he hit 35 between Double-A and Triple-A.
Hit Tool: A high strikeout rate is cause for concern but Severino did manage a .272 average in 2023. If he can keep his average above .250, the strikeouts may be tolerable.
Power: The tool that will carry Severino is his plus power which has been on clear display the last two seasons. The Twins know what they have in the bat here and even if the approach doesn’t improve the raw power still holds value.
Speed: Speed is not a factor in the game for Severino as he only has 6 career minor league stolen bases.
Plate Discipline: Severino doesn’t walk at a high rate as he was under 10% in 2023. Combined with his high strikeout percentage, Severino has to refine his approach to face MLB pitching consistently.
Biggest Concerns: Strikeouts. Severino had a 36.6% strikeout rate at Triple-A in 2023 and only a slightly better 31.2% strikeout rate in Double-A. This is the clear need for improvement in his game but a power bat off the bench could be the role he plays in 2024.
Conclusion: Severino has shown plus power in his last two seasons giving him great potential as an everyday player. 30+ home runs at any level is impressive and Severino will look to carry that into his potential MLB debut.
ETA: June 2024
Graphic adapted by Aaron Polcare (@bearydoesgfx on X)