Travis Sherer’s Top 24 Players Under 24

Travis Sherer continues his series with a look at the top 24 players younger than 24 years old.


We all know that at any given time, there are some players in the minor leagues who are better than many major leaguers, so why don’t lists act accordingly? I spent considerable time doing the mental gymnastics to get as close as I could to my own version of “the snap.” I endeavored to rank the top overall baseball players at every age from 21-25. Essentially, these would be the best players at their age or younger if they were all playing the same game together.


Top 24 Under 24


You might be disappointed in today’s list because there aren’t many new faces. Yes, in a five-part series there has to be a weak link, and right now, it’s 23-year-olds. It’s not their faultthere are some who are putting up real numbers for big league teams. This is just a difficult age where the phenoms have likely already been brought up, and there being not enough spots for guys grinding away and improving gradually in the minors.

That said, there are three minor leaguers left. I’d be surprised if more than one was still waiting for his shot by the end of the year.


24. Deivi Garcia, RHP, NYY, Age: 20
Highest Level: AAA


What else can I say about this kid? The Yankees didn’t trade for a starter. Bring this guy up! He will be useful in some capacity in your bullpen. Even if he is a reliever, Deivi Garcia is better than a few of the arms you have in there right now.

To read more about Garcia, go to the Top 23 Under 23, Top 22 Under 22, and Top 21 Under 21.


23. Jack Flaherty, RHP, STL, Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB


I really want to like Jack Flahery. At times, I think he’s special, and at other times, I think he’s no different than Griffin Canningpotential-wiseand he just happens to be lucky to pitch to in the NL. I’ll go with Flaherty here because it appears his control is improving (2.99 walk rate) while he’s maintaining his strikeout rate (10.31). To me, this is everything for Flaherty, who has swing-and-miss stuff but has trouble keeping an acceptable amount of hitters off the bases. In 2018, he was the benefit of an insane hits per nine innings of 6.44, which just wasn’t anywhere near his profile. That has regressed, and he’s adjusting admirably.


22. Dustin May, RHP, LAD Age: 21
Highest Level: MLB


Today is Dustin May Day. Thundercats, Ho!

To anyone paying attention, it’s not surprising that May (aka Lion-o) got his shot, even at 21. The kid has performed at every level in the minors, has big-time velocity and a nasty slider. I think his success in the show hinges on how well that changeup works. It’s probably his weakest pitch at this point and really the only change in velocity he’s got. I’m optimistic. To read more about May, go to the Top 23 Under 23 and Top 22 Under 22.


21. Bo Bichette, 2B, TOR, Age: 21
Highest Level: MLB


It didn’t take long for Bo Bichette to announce his presence with authority. Toronto fans have a lot to be excited about between Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. I get the feeling Bichette is going to adjust quickly in the majors despite not putting up eye-popping numbers in the minors. I’m not saying he wasn’t a very good minor leaguer, but he did not have the kind of numbers you normally see from a kid getting his shot this young. In fact, he’s been very steady in the upper levels (Double-A and Triple-A), which are the only ones that count, slashing roughly .280/.337/.462. To read more about Bichette, go to the Top 23 Under 23, and Top 22 Under 22.


20. Forrest Whitley, RHP, HOU, Age: 21
Highest Level: AAA


Is this Forrest Whitley’s last time on this list? Probably. I still believe that if he were healthy and brought up today as a reliever, he’d be lights out. I’m not as certain as a starter, although he has the potential to be a multiple Cy Young winner. Five plus pitches. Good control. Other than an unfortunate blip in Triple-A this year, he has shown what he can do.

To read more about Whitley, go to the Top 23 Under 23 and Top 22 Under 22.


19. Luis Robert, CF, CWS, Age: 22
Highest Level: AAA


The only knock on Luis Robert is that he has the tendency to swing and miss. So much for that. Against Triple-A pitching, Robert has a very respectable 19.23% strikeout rate. The walk rate is low (6.41%) but improving as well. All signs point to him getting stronger as the competition gets better. That is definitely a positive for a player who seemingly doesn’t have a negative. To read more about Robert, go to the Top 23 Under 23.


18. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, OAK, Age: 21
Highest Level: AAA


I do believe we will see Jesus Luzardo pitch in the majors this year as a starter. He seems to be mending from his lat strain. And my guess is he pitches three innings in a rehab game in 10 days. That puts him in line for a September call-up as the A’s make their push. I can’t wait to see this lefty’s 10.51 strikeout rate put to the test.

It’s pretty amazing that a kid can miss almost a whole season because of injury and still potentially debut before his 22nd birthday. That speaks to the kind of stuff he has. To read more about Luzardo, go to the Top 23 Under 23 and Top 22 Under 22.


17. Casey Mize, RHP, DET, Age: 22
Highest Level: AA


A little Casey Mize trivia for you: In his 92 MiLB innings, how many home runs has Mize surrendered? Hint: Don’t count on two hands. The answer is three. That’s it. Three home runs in 18 starts. How many walks? 17. That is one fewer than the number of starts. Can we just see him against the Twins now?

To read more about Urias, go to the Top 23 Under 23.


16. Brendan McKay, LHP, TB, Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB


You’ll notice that I do not list Brendan McKay as a 1B/DH. I’m not sold that he will be a two-way player. It’s possible he has the talent to do so, but his pitching is so far ahead of his hitting that he’ll never really get to gradually develop his offense against major league pitchers. As weird as it sounds, I think Shohei Ohtani has already made us think being a two-way player is easier. I mean, he’s basically been the first to pull it off well in about 100 years. But I digress. I have no reservations that McKay will be a good pitcher. He’s got plus breaking stuff (slider and curve) to go along with plus velocity. He’s above Mize because he’s one year ahead of Mize developmentally. Also, his stuff might play better in the long run.


15. Alex Verdugo, RF, LAD, Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB


We’ve been waiting a long time to see when the Dodgers would give Alex Verdugo a real chance. Now that he has gotten that chance, he is making the most of it, slashing .290/.341/.475 with 12 home runs and 20 doubles in 101 games. With just shy of a full season’s games under his belt across two years, Verdugo’s walk rate (7.68%) and strikeout rate (13.65%) are encouraging.


14. Julio Urias, LHP, LAD, Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB


We know Julio Urias can be effective as both a starter and a reliever. That makes him plenty valuable in today’s MLB, especially at such a young age. Urias has a couple of knocks against him, most notably his terrible shoulder injury a year ago and his small build, but it’s hard to believe that either will effect him until a few years down the road. To read more about Urias, go to the Top 23 Under 23.


13. Luis Arraez, 2B/3B/OF, MIN, Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB


I believe Luis Arraez’s OPS floor is .800 because of how fantastic his OBP is likely to be. The guy is going to put the ball in play a lot and has the ability to hit in the mid-.300s from time to time. There’s not very much power here, making the high floor and low ceiling a lot like a crawl space in your attic, but that’s better than having one in your basement.

To read more about Arraez, go to the Top 23 Under 23.


12. Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL, Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB


I’ll be the first to admit that I made a mistake. Keston Hiura should have been in the Top 23 Under 23. I’m not sure where I lost his name, but I will rectify this oversight post haste! He may not be a great fielder, but Hiura can stay at 2B and hit like he plays 3B. He’s a power-hitting, high-average offensive cog who also plays in a hitter’s park. Maybe the only thing that I can criticize about his approach is his 31% K rate, but his overall approach is so balanced that it shouldn’t take too long to deflate. I mean it — Hiura stays mostly up the middle (42.2%) while pulling the ball (29.4%) and going oppo (28.4%) almost the exact same. Meanwhile he maintains hard contact almost half the time and is in the top 10 in average exit velocity (92.9), ahead of such names as Mike Trout and J.D. Martinez. If he improves enough to take more pitches, Hiura has the potential to be the best offensive second baseman in the league.

What’s surprising is his speed. In only 45 games, Hiura has stolen seven bases, which puts him in the 20 SB category per 162 games. I doubt that rate continues, but 15 shouldn’t be out of the question.


11. Gavin Lux, 2B/SS, LAD, Age: 21
Highest Level: AAA


Want to hear something weird? G-Lux’s combined BABIP from 2018 and 2019 is somewhere around .385. That’s almost two full minor league seasons worth of batted balls. That explains why the man has had an excessive 97 extra-base hits in those 203 minor league games during those two years. What I want to know is can he keep up his generally high BABIP mark of .356 for his entire minor league career? How much does that drop?

To read more about Lux, go to the Top 23 Under 23 and Top 22 Under 22.


10. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, TOR, Age: 20
Highest Level: MLB


The junior Vlad has a launch angle problem. Right now that angle is averaging 7.4 degrees, which is probably the reason why he’s at a near 50% ground-ball rate, which is probably the main reason for his career-low BABIP of .291. That is two probablys in one sentence, but it’s the only reason I can think of that a guy this talented with a decent exit velocity (89.4 mph) isn’t hitting betterother than just plain bad luck.

To read more about Guerrero, go to the Top 23 Under 23, Top 22 Under 22, and Top 21 Under 21.


9. Chris Paddack, RHP, SD, Age: 23
Highest Level: MLB


For a prospect who needed Tommy John surgery, Chris Paddack absolutely flew through the minors. The average number of innings pitched in the minor leagues for a high school pitcher picked in the top 10 of the MLB Draft to get to the majors is 321. Paddack, an eighth-round pick in 2015, needed half that (176.2). All the guy did below the majors is dominate, and that has continued now into his rookie season. Riding one of the better changeups to come into the league in the past five years, Paddack has posted 104 strikeouts in 100 innings with a 2.78 ERA and an insane 0.90 WHIP. He’s got a few years, and some luck, before he starts pitching 180-200 innings, but the future is bright. And if I were to take a pitcher younger than 24 to start any game, Paddack would be my second choice.


8. Yordan Alvarez, 1B, HOU, Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB


Here’s the real question: Is Yordan Alvarez just tapping into his power? Or has he reached his potential? I’m not saying that he’s going to somehow improve on the 1.113 OPS with which he has begun his career. I mean, are we going to see similar power when he’s not sporting a .403 BABIP? Either way, I’m fine with it. This Cuban can mash. How else do you explain a home run rate of 8.16% and an average exit velocity of 92 mph? To read more about Alvarez, go to the Top 23 Under 23.


7. Mike Soroka, RHP, ATL, Age: 21
Highest Level: MLB


I get the feeling Mike Soroka is here to stay. Not just on this list but in general. One thing I like about him is his ability to limit hard contact. Hitters are only making hard contact against the young Brave 33.9% of the time. To put that in perspective, Max Scherzer has a hard-contact rate of 36.7% this year, and both pitchers are right near 20% soft contact. The results are clear: Soroka only has allowed five home runs in 107 innings in 2019. Not bad. In fact, pretty great. To read more about Soroka, go to the Top 23 Under 23 and Top 22 Under 22.


6. Ozzie Albies, 2B, ATL, Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB


I am glad to see that Ozzie Albies has stabilized. It still seems crazy to me the amount of power he’s capable of. He’s on pace this season to hit 25-plus dingers, which I was not expecting. You’ve got to go with what works for you, and it seems like what works for Albies is swinging, making contact and not striking out. Unfortunately, it really limits his on-base opportunities (i.e. stolen bases). It doesn’t really matter though. Second base is so thin that Albies is probably a top-five guy at the position right now. To read more about Albies, go to the Top 23 Under 23.


5. Fernando Tatis, Jr, SS, SD, Age: 20
Highest Level: MLB


Just how good are players younger than 23 in this league? Much better than players younger than 24. If you haven’t noticed, since Chris Paddack, the order has been exactly the same. That’s because players such as Fernando Tatis Jr. are raking. What else can I say about the kid? He’s defying his Statcast numbers. Right now, he’s ranking 100-plus in both average exit velocity (No. 247 at 89.2 mph), home run distance (No. 113 at 405 feet), and hard-hit percentage (No. 127 at 41.8%). Not all is gravy with this kid, but right now, he’s talented and lucky. That’s a good combination. To read more about Tatis, go to Top 23 Under 23, Top 22 Under 22, and Top 21 Under 21.


4. Gleyber Torres, 2B/SS, NYY, Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB


Can we take a minute to appreciate just how good Gleyber Torres is? Oddly enough, as a shortstop, he’s just good. That is how deep shortstop has become. As a second baseman, however, he’s maybe the second-best in the league. He’s a decent fielder with all-around hitting skill. He limits hard contact (14%), isn’t afraid to go the other way, and can reasonably work the count. What’s that result? A .291/.358/.504 triple slash at the shallowest position.

Why Torres over Albies? More power potential and a better approach. Sure, Albies strikes out more, but it also seems like he’s averse to taking a walk (6.64 career walk rate). To read more about Torres, go to the Top 23 Under 23.


3. Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS, Age: 22
Highest Level: MLB


When Rafael Devers debuted for the Red Sox in 2017, his .284/.338/.820 slash as a 20-year-old is a very high indicator of future success. Unfortunately, that success wasn’t immediate. Devers struggled so badly in 2018 that it was hard to remember the once-universal optimism everyone had for this youngster. He was so bad he might not have even made this list. A lot can happen in a year. Devers is a potential MVP vote-getter, leading the league in hits with 138. The crazy part about that number is that out of all of those hits, 44% of them go for extra bases. Now that’s power you can’t buy. That’s the power of fear.

To read more about Devers, go to the Top 23 Under 23.


2. Juan Soto, LF, WAS, Age: 20
Highest Level: MLB


Let’s try to find something negative to say about Juan Soto, shall we? He’s a pretty bad fielder … Oh, here’s something: For such a high-end hitter, he has a stunningly mediocre exit velocity. His average of 90.2 mph is about 100th-best. He’s in there with the likes of Trea Turner and Rowdy Tellez. There, I did it. It is not easy to find bad things to say about the first-time All-Star. I was going to say he’s slow, but he’s on pace for 12 stolen bases. To read more about Soto, go to the Top 23 Under 23, Top 22 Under 22, and Top 21 Under 21.


1. Ronald Acuna, Jr, CF, ATL, Age: 21
Highest Level: MLB


For the third straight day, Ronald Acuna Jr. owns the top spot. It’s almost as if he’s one of the best players in the league already at age 21 … Oh, he is. He’s not a top-five guy, but he fits nicely in that five to 10 range. Acuna has the potential to anchor an offense. You might say he’s doing that already for the Braves, but while solid marks, a .502 slugging percentage and a .879 OPS suggest his anchor hasn’t quite dug into the sand yet. To read more about Acuna, go to the Top 23 Under 23 and Top 22 Under 22.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter)

Travis Sherer

All Seattle Mariners fans have learned the future is all we have because the present is always too painful. I am Western Washington University alum, a local sportswriter, an official NCAA basketball statistician, a freelance radio and television production statistician, and a minor league standup comedian. Follow me @ShererTravis on Twitter.

23 responses to “Travis Sherer’s Top 24 Players Under 24”

  1. Dave says:

    Other than injury, what keeps Brendon Rodgers off this list? Thanks.

    • Travis Sherer says:

      Hey Dave — Thanks for reading. With Rodgers it’s a mix of performance in both the majors and the minors. I think he has the talent to make it on one of the next few lists in a few years, but he really wasn’t good in his debut. This list is about guys who are the most ready for major league competition right now. While Rodgers is just as talented as some of them, I don’t believe any of his tools are refined enough yet to make the list.

  2. Dave says:

    Also, what do you like better about Deivi Garcia than MacKenzie Gore? Thanks again.

    • Travis Sherer says:

      Again, this is about being ready for the majors today. I think Deivi is closer to that level right now than Gore is by experience and usefulness. I think Garcia could be a very useful as a reliever or opener today. I’d want to see more out of Gore in both Double-A and Triple-A first. In terms of overall talent, I’d go with Gore every time in the long run.

      • Dave says:

        OK, thanks, I understand. It doesn’t seem like Forrest Whitley fits this list very well with his poor performance this season (on top of his injury). Wouldn’t guys like Nate Pearson, Matt Manning, Ian Anderson, or AJ Puk be better? I guess since most of these guys haven’t played at the AAA-juiced ball level yet, maybe not.

  3. Vrotus says:

    There seems like quite a bit wrong here?

    1. Jack Flaherty plays for the Cardinals, not the Braves.
    2. Paddack rode through the minors on his changeup, not curve, which he’s still developing.

    • Travis Sherer says:

      You are right on both counts. I made edits. One of the things I wanted to do was make each player’s entry different regardless of how many lists they made. I thought that was going to make it more fun to write and in many cases it has. Turns out it’s also one more thing to keep track of while doing an already sizable project. It’s made me, unfortunately, overlook a detail or two. Thanks for keeping me honest.

  4. jose says:

    How did Devers/Torres swap positions between the two lists?

    • Travis Sherer says:

      Like I mentioned to Vrotus above, there have been a few details missed. Devers should higher than Torres and I will update this list to reflect that.

  5. M says:

    Devers (3-U23, 4-U24) and Torres (4-U23, 3-U24) have flipped positions since yesterday?

  6. M says:

    FYI, Hiura (22) is listed 12th-U24 but is missing from the U23 list entirely…

    • Travis Sherer says:

      Thanks. I address this in his blurb.

      • M says:

        Okay. Sorry to bitch and moan, but… Is it pitcherlist policy to not retroactively edit content? Seems like everything on this site is set in stone once published. e.g. double-start rankings aren’t updated on Saturday or Sunday as projected matchups shift, which they always do. etc. etc.

        • Travis Sherer says:

          No worries. I get what you are saying. I’m not sure that is pitcherlist official policy although generally I believe what you are describing is how the site is run. That is also why I didn’t insert Hiura in the under 23 post retroactively. Instead, I put him in the under 24 acknowledging the mistake from the day before. I think the most important part is to be transparent, but again, I understand where you are coming from and the need to not change things after they are published.

  7. J.C. Mosier says:

    Fun series, and nice job providing interesting blurbs for players that you had already featured on younger lists.

    • Travis Sherer says:

      Thanks for reading! I tried as much as I could to make each entry different. It becomes hard to keep track of what you have and have not said about players who have been on 3-5 lists for sure. It’s nice to know that someone is reading it all and not just skimming to see where people are ranked.

  8. Ted says:

    Jo Adell?

  9. Glenn says:

    Eloy Jimenez?

  10. Bump Bailey says:

    I like Luis Arraez a lot but do you think he’s more valuable than Bo Bichette? ¿Por que?

  11. Thomas Bockenstedt says:

    Is Robles intentionally left out of this series?

  12. Robert C says:

    Love the series! Let’s keep going till 40 under 40! Then do 5 over 40! Woo

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