Here are 30 prospects to watch in big league camp -- one from each team

February 15th, 2024

Spring won't officially arrive for another month, but Spring Training has. Pitchers and catchers officially have reported and the remainder of the position players will do so early next week.

Let the competition for big league jobs begin! Below, we identify an interesting prospect in each organization who’s vying for an Opening Day roster spot.

We're not including locks such as Jackson Chourio and Evan Carter, focusing instead on players whose immediate future is more uncertain but they're in a position to do something about it. Our contingent includes 16 Top 100 Prospects.


Blue Jays: Ricky Tiedemann, LHP (MLB No. 29)
On one hand, Tiedemann still hasn’t thrown more than 78 2/3 innings during a Minor League regular season, and the Jays might want to monitor him heavily at Triple-A early on with hopes of getting him 100-plus innings for the first time in 2024. On the other, his fastball-slider-changeup mix would play in the Majors, and with Toronto trying to compete in a crowded AL East, it might want to consider using Tiedemann as a bullpen option early and easing him into the MLB rotation. If the left-hander dominates like he could this spring, he’ll make the decision all the tougher.

Orioles: Jackson Holliday, SS/2B (MLB No. 1)
We know, we’re really going out on a limb by highlighting the best prospect in baseball. But for those who think it’s a matter of when, not if, the 2022 No. 1 overall pick ascends to Baltimore, seeing how he mixes it up with the big leaguers this spring will be essential.

Rays: Junior Caminero, 3B (MLB No. 4)
Caminero is a 20-year-old coming off a 31-homer season, and the Rays were so enthused by his plus-plus pop that they put him on the postseason roster. Typically, that’s a sign that the organization is going to make room for its future superstar. However, Isaac Paredes is coming off a 31-homer season of his own at Caminero’s best position, and for now, he is unlikely to move just to accommodate a player with no Triple-A experience. A slug-heavy spring could make Kevin Cash’s decision tougher and thrust Caminero’s future MLB spot into the present.

Red Sox: Ceddanne Rafaela, OF/SS (MLB No. 76)
Rafaela will get a chance to win the Red Sox's center-field job after producing consecutive 20-20 seasons and standing out as one of the best and most versatile defenders in the Minors. Signed for a mere $10,000 out of Curacao in 2017, he's not very physical at a listed 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds but plays very aggressively -- and his plate discipline may determine if he breaks camp with Boston.

Yankees: Chase Hampton, RHP (MLB No. 92)
Hampton probably won't make the Yankees' Opening Day rotation, but with all the age and uncertainty in that group, they'll need reinforcements at some point. The 2022 sixth-rounder from Texas Tech has four solid or better pitches and posted a 3.63 ERA with a 145/37 K/BB ratio in 106 2/3 innings while reaching Double-A in his pro debut.


Guardians: Deyvison De Los Santos, 3B/1B
De Los Santos is a Rule 5 pick from the Diamondbacks who has yet to play above Double-A and recorded scary strikeout (26 percent), walk (5 percent) and chase (40 percent) rates at that level last year. But he also has raw power and exit velocities that rank among the best in the Minors, which make him a nice fit on a Cleveland team that finished last in the Majors in homers in 2023. He batted .322/.340/.596 after reworking his right-handed swing in July.

Royals: Nick Loftin, UTIL
Loftin certainly made an impression by going 20-for-62 (.323) over 19 games in the bigs last season. He achieved that by staying in the zone and focusing on contact and skills that should continue to translate at the top level, and on the defensive end, he continued to show versatility by playing all over the dirt. Free-agent signing Garrett Hampson is a faster utilityman option for Kansas City, but Loftin should give him plenty of competition to crack his first Opening Day roster.

Tigers: Justyn-Henry Malloy, OF/3B
We know Malloy’s approach could play in the Majors right now. He led the entire Minor Leagues with 110 walks last season and finished with a .277/.417/.474 line and 23 homers over 611 plate appearances, all with Triple-A Toledo. Finding a defensive home will be trickier. The Tigers seem more likely to go with a Matt Vierling-Zach McKinstry pairing at third base, and they have plenty of other outfield options. But it isn’t out of the question that Malloy’s patience at the plate pays off if Detroit prioritizes offense in its pursuit of a postseason return.

Twins: Brooks Lee, SS (MLB No. 18)
Lee, the club’s No. 1 pick in 2022, was in big league camp last year, but that was mostly to allow him to dip his feet in the waters. After making it to Triple-A last season, though, this time should help him start knocking on the big league door. His approach is very advanced, and he almost never strikes out. Look for him to get some time at short, third and even some second base, so he can be ready to plug a hole in Minnesota whenever one arises.

White Sox: Colson Montgomery, SS (MLB No. 9)
OK, Montgomery probably isn't going to make the White Sox after they brought in Paul DeJong as a placeholder, but a phenom who looks like Corey Seager 2.0 could make things interesting. A 2021 first-rounder as an Indiana high schooler, he ranked as the Arizona Fall League's top prospect during the offseason and has a ceiling that rivals Luis Robert Jr.'s as the highest in the organization.


Angels: Ben Joyce, RHP
We all know how quickly the Angels like to get their prospects to the big leagues. Joyce was no different, making his debut in 2023 less than a year after being drafted in the third round. The fastball is elite – he averaged over 100 mph with it between Double-A and the big leagues last year – and his slider misses bats. The biggest questions are if he can throw enough strikes (combined 7.5 BB/9 in 2023) and if he can handle a big league reliever workload. A strong camp could help him impact the big league bullpen and answer those questions.

Astros: Forrest Whitley, RHP
The Astros have some bullpen spots open, which means that Whitley might finally make his big league debut. A 2016 first-rounder from a Texas high school, he once ranked as the game's best pitching prospect before being beset by injuries, including a lat strain that cost him the final four months of the 2023 season. But he still can run his fastball up to 100 mph and flash at least solid secondary pitches.

A’s: Joe Boyle, RHP
The A’s acquired Boyle for Sam Moll last summer and he came with a reputation of having an 80-grade fastball and good secondary stuff, but little idea of where any of it was going. In his three-start debut in the big leagues with Oakland, however, he walked only 2.8 per nine innings while still averaging 98 mph with his fastball while landing it, along with his slider and curve, for strikes. If Boyle can continue on that path this spring, he has a very good chance to break camp as the club’s No. 5 starter.

Mariners: Emerson Hancock, RHP
It’s not been the easiest road for the No. 6 pick in the 2020 Draft, with injuries having really stunted his progress and development. While his velocity has regressed since his days at Georgia, Hancock did show in his big league debut last year that when he’s healthy, he can get big league hitters out. A shoulder strain ended his time in Seattle last year, so he needs to prove this spring that he’s healthy and ready for whenever the call for reinforcements comes again.

Rangers: Wyatt Langford, OF (MLB No. 6)
The Rangers are the defending World Series champions and Langford has played all of 44 games as a pro, so how could he crack their lineup? The No. 4 overall pick last July out of Florida is that good, that's how. He has huge power, plenty of hitting ability and solid speed, a combination that translated into a .360/.480/.677 season that culminated in Triple-A.


Braves: Hurston Waldrep, RHP (MLB No. 90)
The Braves’ first-round pick out of Florida last year, not only was Waldrep a rare college arm who pitched more than a small handful of innings last summer, he made it all the way to Triple-A, striking out 12.6 per nine along the way. He also walked 4.9 per nine and his command is the one thing that would keep him from being a starter. One thing is certain: His splitter can get big league hitters out right now and fans will get to see it in Florida this spring. Seeing him make an impact as a reliever, at least in the short-term this year, is very realistic.

Marlins: Max Meyer, RHP
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 Draft out of Minnesota, Meyer is working his way back to the Marlins' rotation after blowing out his elbow in his second big league start in July 2022. He missed all of 2023 following Tommy John surgery but still has a lot of upside with a wipeout slider and a mid-90s fastball.

Mets: Christian Scott, RHP
Unlike last year with Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty, there isn’t a Top 100 prospect with a clear route to an Opening Day spot for the Mets in 2024. But pitching depth is always something that gets tested when guys start throwing again, and no hurler has more helium in the system than the 24-year-old Scott. The right-hander thrives on throwing strikes with his 93-97 mph fastball, and his slider and changeup are at least solid secondaries. His command would translate quickly if New York needs the help.

Nationals: Nasim Nuñez, SS/2B
A lot of focus will be on Dylan Crews, James Wood and Brady House, but all three are likely headed back to the upper Minors. In terms of Major League competition, Nuñez is an obvious pick given his Rule 5 status. The former Marlin is a plus-plus defender on the dirt, and his plus-plus speed has helped him steal 122 bags over the last two seasons, giving him another Major League-ready tool. But his power is bottom-of-the-scale and could stand in the way of him winning a bench spot.

Phillies: Mick Abel, RHP (MLB No. 49)
Looking to keep winning now, the Phillies have a veteran-laden rotation. But how often does a starting five stay intact all year? Just 22 for most of the 2023 season, Abel already touched Tripole-A at the end of last year. That’s likely where he’ll start the 2024 season, but he’ll get the chance in Clearwater to make a nice impression on the big league staff to be the first one up should the need arise.


Brewers: Joey Ortiz, INF (MLB No. 63)
Ortiz’s defense is a big reason why the Crew acquired him in the Corbin Burnes deal with GM Matt Arnold calling it “Gold Glove-caliber,” and with Willy Adames still entrenched at shortstop, the former Oriole might slide seamlessly into his new club’s opening at third base. That isn’t entirely a given, however, with Andruw Monasterio and fellow Top 100 prospect Tyler Black also in the conversation. Elevating better on contact to get the most out of his power would get Ortiz a leg up this spring.

Cardinals: Victor Scott II, OF
Masyn Winn has the shortstop job virtually locked up, so we’ll put him off to the side. The Cards have center-field options in Tommy Edman and Dylan Carlson, and their Major League experience will undoubtedly give them the inside edge over Scott for starting and bench duties. However, Scott’s 80-grade speed and plus-plus defense are legit game-changers, and if injuries pop up, it could be tough for St. Louis to deny his electricity of a Major League spot, especially if they can protect him against fellow lefties.

Cubs: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF (MLB No. 16)
If the Cubs bring in more bats, it will hurt Crow-Armstrong's chances of making their roster, and he didn't look quite ready after going 0-for-14 in a brief September callup. But he's an instant Gold Glover who batted .283/.365/.511 with 20 homers and 37 steals between Double-A and Triple-A at age 21. Getting him from the Mets for Javier Báez and Trevor Williams six games into his pro career looks like a huge steal.

Pirates: Paul Skenes, RHP (MLB No. 3)
Fans in Pittsburgh may want Skenes, the No. 1 pick in last year’s Draft, atop the Pirates’ rotation right now, but the Pirates brass will likely pump the brakes just a little bit. Still, the right-hander many feel is the best college pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg, if not ever, will get to whet everyone’s appetite of what’s to come. And don’t worry Buccos faithful, you won’t have to wait long.

Reds: Connor Phillips, RHP (MLB No. 70)
The Reds projected rotation is full, but it contains guys who have missed a lot of time with injuries. While Phillips showed what he needs to work on, namely finding the strike zone, he also showed he can miss Major League bats, striking out 11.3 per nine in his five starts last year. Still only 22 on Opening Day, a better feel for his impressive stuff this spring could give the Reds more confidence to bring him up if one of the starters can’t answer the bell.


D-backs: Jordan Lawlar, SS (MLB No. 11)
After serving on the D-backs’ bench during their run to the World Series, Lawlar opens his age-21 season in pursuit of a more permanent Major League role. His plus-plus speed and shortstop defense would play right away, but after he went 4-for-34 (.129) with no extra-base hits and 11 strikeouts, his offense could use more seasoning if he’s going to unseat Geraldo Perdomo. It’s more likely that Lawlar heads to Triple-A Reno in pursuit of everyday at-bats, but anything is possible with a player with his ceiling.

Dodgers: Gavin Stone, RHP
After leading the Minors with a 1.48 ERA in 2022, Stone regressed while struggling through the first half of last season, though he did make his big league debut and spent four stints in Los Angeles. Armed with a plus-plus changeup with devastating tumble and a mid-80s fastball, the 2020 fifth-rounder from Central Arkansas is poised to make a bigger contribution this year.

Giants: Keaton Winn, RHP
Kyle Harrison is the best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball but isn't the only rookie who could open the season in the Giants' rotation. A 2018 fifth-round choice from Iowa Western CC who logged a 4.68 ERA with a 35/8 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings in the Majors last summer, Winn can make hitters look bad with a mid-90s fastball that touches 100 mph with carry and run as well as a mid-80s splitter that dives at the plate.

Padres: Jackson Merrill, SS (MLB No. 12)
Merrill made news Tuesday when he said he’d been working out at shortstop, second base, left field and center in the offseason in the hopes of competing for a Major League spot. The 6-foot-3 left-handed slugger has the near-plus-plus hit tool that could translate to the top level, though he likely needs more than 46 games of Double-A experience first. Then again, San Diego does like to be aggressive with its top prospects, and Merrill fits the bill.

Rockies: Hunter Goodman, 1B/OF/C
Over the past two years in the Minors, Goodman has hit 70 homers and driven in 217 runs. The power is ready to play in Coors Field, where he did hit his first Major League homer last year, but is there a spot for him? His versatility might help him land a roster spot and he could spend most of his time helping out in an outfield corner, playing some first base, getting some ABs as a designated hitter and serving as a third catcher. If he starts launching balls into the seats in Cactus League action, it’ll be hard to send him down.