Prospects Facing Positional Changes Heading Into 2024

How Positional Changes could impact today's top prospects.

It’s understood the road to the show can be a challenge for some of the game’s top prospects. It takes a lifetime of practicing the position and making the adjustments needed to warrant a call to the majors. Despite playing a single position since grade school sometimes the path to the Major League is learning a new position and, for these prospects, this is currently happening or could happen soon. This change could drastically alter their fantasy value moving forward. Keep reading to find out who could be impacted by this.

Be sure to head over to the Pitcher List Dynasty page for more prospect content from the team.


Prospects Likely to Change Positions


Jackson Merrill, SS/OF SDP


Coming out of high school Jackson Merrill was one of the best prep shortstops in the 2021 MLB Draft. The Padres selected Merrill with the 27 overall pick and was behind then CJ Abrams for the future shortstop job. Shortly after Abrams was traded for Soto, and Xander Bogaerts signed an 11-year contract with the Padres leaving Jackson Merrill without a clear path to the Major Leagues. 

Talks this spring of Jackson Merrill taking reps in the outfield sparked interest across dynasty managers as this could be the path he needed to the show. Known for his plus bat-to-ball skills and eye-popping slash lines at each stop of the Minor Leagues, Merrill had little else to prove but where he would fit in defensively. The 21-year-old excelled in Spring Training playing primarily in the outfield for 14 games while maintaining a .350/.395/.575 slash line across 43 plate appearances. 

The results were better than we all expected and the Padres selected Merrill to start the season with the Padres. Time will tell how Xander Bogaerts ranges ages at shortstop and if the Padres keep Merrill in the outfield long term if that is the case. Ultimately this is another case of drafting the talent and the rest (positionally) will work itself out. Dynasty managers should be excited to get multi-position eligibility out of Merrill in 2024 with a solid average and 10-15 home runs and stolen bases projected. 


Samuel Basallo, C/1B BAL


The prospect that is skyrocketing up not only the Baltimore Orioles farm system but up dynasty ranking is Samuel Basallo and for good reason. The 18-year-old catching prospect came into the 2023 season confident coming off a 43-game season in Complex Ball slashing .278/.350/.424 the year prior. With some mechanical changes to his swing in place Basallo climbed three levels of the Orioles system ultimately finishing the year in Double-A Bowie. 

Signed as a catcher back in 2021 and being blocked by one of the game’s best backstops for the foreseeable future Baltimore started to have Basallo play first base in 2023. Standing at 6’3” and listed at 180 pounds Basallo has the look of a power-hitting first baseman over a backstop long-term so this move isn’t much of a surprise. The advanced approach at the plate and the .313/.402/.551 slash line with 20 home runs, 53 extra-base hits, and 86 RBIs across 114 games played in 2023 has many excited. 

With Ryan Mountcastle holding down first for the time being at the Major League level, Basallo will head back to Double-A Bowie to start the season. If the results with the bat continue to be strong, and Basallo continues to make strides at first base, do not be surprised if he makes his Major League debut in 2024. Long term, we are looking at an advanced bat that can help in average, OBP, and potential 25-30 home run pop in a division that favors the long ball. 


Jett Williams, SS/OF NYM


The Mets had several prospects grabbing headlines in 2023. Some of these were by performance or bolstering the farm system via trade but one that continues to stand out is 20-year-old Jett Williams. Now, by this point, many have heard Williams make the statement that he expects to be up with the Mets in 2024. This could be a problem as Williams has primarily played shortstop in High School and since being drafted by the Mets in the first round in 2022. With Francisco Lindor firmly implanted at shortstop for the Mets long term where does that leave Jett Williams?

The young Williams impressed the Mets and dynasty managers alike with an excellent plate approach paired with elite speed on the basepaths in 2023. Encouragingly, Williams looks bigger this spring. This increased physicality could lead to more power in 2024. The plan is for Williams to get reps in the outfield and see how the bat continues to develop against advanced pitching. 

For dynasty managers this could be solid as Williams has the drive to be in the Major Leagues in 2024 and with his athleticism we could be in for a treat. Long term there is a real chance Williams could fill the same role Jeff McNeil fills with the Mets being everyday utility players batting near the top of the order. The major difference between the two is speed, Williams could be a 30-40 stolen base threat at the Major League Level and if he is able to get to 15-20 home run pop you will take that every time. 


Jace Jung, 2B/3B DET


This might just be the season the Detroit Tigers take the large step forward and win the AL Central. Already to this point, we have seen the aggressive approach promoting and signing Colt Keith to a long-term deal and bolstering a rotation that sorely needed a kick with Reese Olson. But for me, Jace Jung might be one we need to be watching heading into 2024. The Tigers took Jung 12th overall in the 2022 draft out of Texas Tech. Since joining the organization, Jung has primarily played second base.

Last season Jung ascended two levels starting in High-A with the West Michigan Whitecaps and finishing the season in Double-A Erie. Once with the Erie SeaWolves Jung’s bat came alive as he slashed .284/.373/.563 with 14 home runs and 39 RBIs in just 47 games played. Once the season was over Jung headed off to the Arizona Fall League where he played primarily at third base. With Colt Keith entrenched at second base for the foreseeable future, the Tigers continued to deploy Jace Jung as a third baseman in spring training. In 18 games played Jung slashed .318/.429/.455 with one home run and five RBIs across 28 plate appearances. 

For dynasty managers, this seems like a solid fit for Jung and the Tigers long term. Similar to Josh Jung, Jace has an advanced eye at the played posting double-digit walk numbers at each stop in the minor leagues. It’s the power that really pushes Jace above Josh as we saw that he is capable of hitting 28 home runs in 128 games played in the minor leagues in 2023. This could be a middle-of-the-order bat for the Tigers supporting Spencer Torkelson with 30 home runs annually and should be up in short order.

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