Previewing the 2024 MLB Free Agent Class

Looking ahead at next offseason's free agent class.

If you thought this past free agent class to be shallow, brace yourself for the next one. Following the headliners with the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Julio Urias, the members of the 2023-2024 free agent class become middle-of-road players ever so quickly. The good thing is that a weak free agent class leads to bidding wars and sometimes outrageous contracts, which will only make things more interesting.


The Headliners


1) Shohei Ohtani (SP, DH)

2022 fWAR: 9.4

Ohtani’s best season at the plate was his 46-home run campaign in 2021 and his best season on the mound was 2022 during which he punched out a league-leading 11.9 batters per nine innings. The two-way player is by no stretch of the imagination at the peak of his career. He not only offers extraordinary numbers but is also arguably the most captivating player in baseball. Already the most valuable player in baseball, his value will only continue to rise with another successful campaign in 2023.


2) Julio Urías (SP)

2022 fWAR: 3.2

Since assuming his full-time role in the Dodgers’ rotation in 2020, Urias has not looked back. In 2022, he won the National League ERA title while posting a whopping 194 ERA+. Still only 26 years old, the southpaw’s best years may still be ahead of him. He offers a fastball in the 97th spin percentile and a curveball in the 94th spin percentile.


3) Aaron Nola (SP)

2022 fWAR: 6.3

Due to the Phillies’ struggles in past years, Nola has at times flown somewhat under the radar given his numbers. 2021 was one of the worst seasons of the righty’s career but he still threw 180 innings while racking up 223 strikeouts. Nola’s 2022 campaign was almost on par with his other top-five Cy Young finish. He held a 3.25 ERA through 205 innings and led the National League in walking only an average of 1.3 batters per nine innings.



Top 17 Pitchers


Since debuting at the age of 19, Urias has been one of the best pitchers in the game. Followed up by Nola and Ohtani, this free-agent class offers a solid but exclusive group of top starting pitching talent. If Luis Severino continues his post-Tommy John success on the mound, he could join the elite club next offseason when he finally hits free agency. Looking to join the elite class next offseason with strong 2023 comeback campaigns will be Lucas Giolito and Craig Kimbrel who both struggled mightily in 2022. It will also be interesting to see if Martín Pérez can replicate his career-high numbers from 2022 prior to hitting free agency.


1) Julio Urías (SP)

Age: 26; 2022 WHIP: 0.960

2) Aaron Nola (SP)

Age: 29; 2022 WHIP: 0.961

3) Shohei Ohtani (SP, DH)

Age: 28; 2022 WHIP: 1.012

4) Luis Severino (SP)

Age: 28; 2022 WHIP: 1.000

5) Clayton Kershaw (SP)

Age: 34; 2022 WHIP: 0.942

6) Blake Snell (SP)

Age: 30; 2022 WHIP: 1.203

7) Josh Hader (RP)

Age: 28; 2022 WHIP: 1.280

8) Jordan Montgomery (SP)

Age: 30; 2022 WHIP: 1.093

9) Miles Mikolas (SP)

Age: 34; 2022 WHIP: 1.033

10) Frankie Montas (SP)

Age: 29; 2022 WHIP: 1.247

11) Craig Kimbrel (RP)

Age: 34; 2022 WHIP: 1.317

12) Lucas Giolito (SP)

Age: 28; 2022 WHIP: 1.435

13) Martín Pérez (SP)

Age: 31; 2022 WHIP: 1.258

14) David Robertson (RP)

Age: 30; 2022 WHIP: 1.093

15) Carlos Carrasco (SP)

Age: 35; 2022 WHIP: 1.329

16) Noah Syndergaard (SP)

Age: 30; 2022 WHIP: 1.255

17) Hyun Jin Ryu (SP)

*Underwent Tommy John Surgery in June 2022


Top 10 Outfielders


If looking for their new superstar next offseason, teams will have to look elsewhere from the set of free-agent outfielders. Players of the likes of Teoscar Hernández and Ian Happ are as close to a guaranteed very productive, above-average player as you can get. Other than them, however, teams will be met with a group of players with a variety of high ceilings obstructed by statistical inconsistencies throughout their careers. Cody Bellinger and Joey Gallo are the key members of that group; both with at least one 40+ home run season on their belts, their success has subsided to the point they performed around 20% below MLB average in 2022. Jesse Winker, who only regressed to right around the MLB average, is the less extreme member of that group and will also look to find his stride in 2023.


1) Joc Pederson (OF)

Age: 30; 2022 wRC+: 144

2) Teoscar Hernández (OF)

Age: 30; 2022 wRC+: 129

3) Hunter Renfroe (OF)

Age: 31; 2022 wRC+: 124

4) Ian Happ (OF)

Age: 28; 2022 wRC+: 120

5) Jesse Winker (OF)

Age: 29; 2022 wRC+: 108

6) Michael Brantley (OF, DH)

Age: 35; 2022 wRC+: 127

7) Kiké Hernández (OF, 2B)

Age: 31; 2022 wRC+: 75

8) Cody Bellinger (OF)

Age: 27; 2022 wRC+: 83

9) Joey Gallo (OF)

Age: 29; 2022 wRC+: 85

10) Charlie Blackmon (OF)

Age: 36; 2022 wRC+: 89


Top 9 Infielders


Matt Chapman takes the top infielder spot with Manny Machado having been locked up for the next decade. Chapman offers an above-average bat with incredible defense, but he cannot be considered elite. Chapman is followed by Rhys Hoskins and a large group of players that will offer no more than average numbers at the plate.


1) Matt Chapman (3B)

Age: 29; 2022 wRC+: 117

2) Rhys Hoskins (1B)

Age: 29; 2022 wRC+: 122

3) Amed Rosario (SS)

Age: 27; 2022 wRC+: 103

4) Garrett Cooper (1B, DH)

Age: 32; 2022 wRC+: 115

5) Josh Donaldson (3B)

Age: 37; 2022 wRC+: 97

6) Kiké Hernández (2B, OF)

Age: 31; 2022 wRC+: 75

7) Ji-Man Choi (1B)

Age: 31; 2022 wRC+: 116

8) Whit Merrifield (2B, OF)

Age: 34; 2022 wRC+: 88

9) Adalberto Mondesi (SS)

Age: 27; 2022 wRC+: -3

(*Only had 54 plate appearances due to injury)


Top 5 Catchers


When it comes to adding offensively at the catching position next offseason, there will not be much. Yasmani Grandal, Mike Zunino, and Mitch Garver can offer some offense in small doses. However, as is the case most often with catchers, lack of offensive ability may be overlooked in favor of players that can best hold down the position on the defensive end.


1) Mike Zunino (C)

Age: 31; 2022 wRC+: 43

2) Yasmani Grandal (C)

Age: 34; 2022 wRC+: 68

3) Austin Hedges (C)

Age: 30; 2022 wRC+: 42

4) Martín Maldonado (C)

Age: 36; 2022 wRC+: 70

5) Mitch Garver (C/DH)

Age: 32; 2022 wRC+: 101


Top 5 Designated Hitters


After Ohtani, comes a group of players either in or approaching their mid-30s. If they can dodge the injured list, they have decent ceilings to offer significant pop and be integral parts of a Major League lineup. J.D. Martinez will be an interesting name to watch in 2023. Coming off a disappointing 2022 season during which his production fell completely flat in the second half, the Dodgers inked him to a one-year deal. If Martinez can once again find his swing, he could lift himself far higher in the overall free agent rankings come next offseason.


1) Shohei Ohtani (DH, SP)

Age: 28; 2022 wRC+: 142

2) J.D. Martinez (DH)

Age: 35; 2022 wRC+: 119

3) Michael Brantley (DH, OF)

Age: 35; 2022 wRC+: 127

4) Jesús Aguilar (DH, 1B)

Age: 32; 2022 wRC+: 86

5) Garrett Cooper (DH, 1B)

Age: 32; 2022 wRC+: 115


Players with Pending Options


Photos by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire, and Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

Gabe Goralnick

A senior at Yeshiva University studying political science and a diehard baseball lover from the Big Apple. He's either watching baseball, writing about baseball, or cooking some awesome food.

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