Crystal ball: Each team's top prospect in 2026

February 8th, 2024

MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list and our team Top 30 lists are ever-changing rankings. We update them several times a year, including replacing players once they graduate. That seems like it’s happening more and more quickly these days and the 2024 season shouldn’t be much different considering eight of the top 10 on the Top 100 have 2024 ETAs.

We are in the game of projecting who’s next, even among those not ready (yet) to become big leaguers, so why not try to predict who will rise to the top of the prospect rankings in two years' time? Below is a player for each team we feel will be their organization’s No. 1 prospect before the start of the 2026 season. The list has some well-known prospect names on it, with 13 current members of our new Top 100 being chosen. No doubt that several more will become more household names over the next couple of years.

How can we be confident? Two years ago, we picked a prospect who could rocket up the charts in 2024. A total of 10 of those players are on our current Top 100, and one, Elly De La Cruz, has graduated to the big leagues. That’s 11-for-30 and a .367 average will get us into Cooperstown.


Blue Jays: Arjun Nimmala, SS
Some swing-and-miss concerns caused Nimmala – ranked MLB Pipeline’s No. 11 prospect in the 2023 Draft – to drop to 20th overall to the Blue Jays. In this scenario, Toronto coaches and coordinators have two years to iron those out during the Florida native’s sojourn into pro ball. The other tools are certainly there. Nimmala shows plus raw power, and he has the range and arm to stick at short. Considering he only turned 18 in October, he has ample runway to achieve Top 100 status.
2022 projection for 2024: Gunnar Hoglund, RHP (2024 Top 100: NR)

Orioles: Enrique Bradfield, Jr., OF
Predicting a college hitter from a big program like Vanderbilt to still be on prospect lists in 2026 might be a little bit dicey, but given the depth the Orioles have, we’re taking the risk. Bradfield’s 80-grade speed will play on both sides of the ball, on the basepaths -- he went 25-for-27 in stolen base attempts during his pro debut last summer -- and in center field. He doesn’t need power, but how much impact he has will help determine the 2023 first-rounder’s ceiling.
2022 projection for 2024: Coby Mayo, 3B/1B (2024 Top 100: No. 30)

Rays: Xavier Isaac, 1B (MLB No. 58)
The 2022 29th overall pick has already taken nice steps forward in terms of his athleticism and agility, prompting his jump to No. 1 in our first-base rankings, and that might just be the start. Isaac went deep 19 times between Single-A and High-A in his first full season, and he has the raw power for a lot more as he continues to mature. He could be a 30-homer hitter in the Tampa Bay system by 2026 and should be knocking down the door to St. Petersburg by then.
2022 projection for 2024: Nick Bitsko, RHP (2024 Top 100: NR)

Red Sox: Miguel Bleis, OF
Signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2021, Bleis has more upside than any Red Sox international prospect since Rafael Devers. A center fielder with 30-30 upside and the possibility of solid or better tools across the board, he didn't get much of a chance to show what he could do in 2023 because he subluxated his left shoulder on a swing in late May and had season-ending surgery.
2022 projection for 2024: Blaze Jordan, 1B/3B (2024 Top 100: NR)

Yankees: Roderick Arias, SS (MLB No. 86)
MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect in the 2022 international crop, Arias collected a $4 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic. Wrist and thumb injuries cut his first two pro seasons short but didn't stop him from showing the potential for four plus tools and a double-plus arm. He hit .267/.423/.505 with six homers and 17 steals in 27 games in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League during his U.S. debut.
2022 projection for 2024: Arias


Guardians: Ralphy Velazquez, C/1B
A California high school product, Velazquez went 23rd overall in the 2023 Draft because he had one of the better combinations of hitting ability and power available. He homered twice in six games during a brief pro debut in Rookie ball. He’ll need time to develop behind the plate, though his solid arm strength should help him deter the running game.
2022 projection for 2024: Angel Martinez, INF (2024 Top 100: NR)

Royals: Blake Mitchell, C (MLB No. 94)
Last year’s eighth overall pick already lays claim to the top spot in Kansas City’s system, but it’s pretty well acknowledged that he has a long road of development ahead as a high-school catcher. Mitchell already pops for his above-average power potential and has an absolute cannon behind the plate. After a few years of showing it in the Minors – while continuing to hone his offensive approach and overall defensive work – he could be a top-three catcher in the Majors by 2026.
2022 projection for 2024: Ben Kudrna, RHP (2024 Top 100: NR)

Tigers: Max Clark, OF (MLB No. 13)
There’s a real temptation to say a tooled-up player like Clark could reach the Majors before his 21st birthday, but we’ll be a little more conservative than that. The 2023 third overall pick certainly has the speed to stand out in today’s game, and he already showed a decent approach in the lower levels that could help him settle in as a plus hitter in time. The in-game power will need time to develop, and that should keep Clark in prospect territory for two more years.
2022 projection for 2024: Cristian Santana, SS (2024 Top 100: NR)

Twins: Walker Jenkins, OF (MLB No. 10)
Courtesy of the inaugural Draft Lottery, the Twins were fortunate to land Jenkins at No. 5 in what could be a historic top of the first round. Already the organization’s top prospect, Jenkins was one of the five players who had legitimate No. 1 overall pick talent and he certainly didn’t disappoint during his 26-game pro debut, with a .362/.417/.571 line between the Florida Complex League and Single-A Fort Myers.
2022 projection for 2024: Chase Petty, RHP (2024 Top 100: No. 98)

White Sox: Noah Schultz, LHP (MLB No. 50)
A 6-foot-9 left-hander with a low arm slot, Schultz draws physical comparisons to Hall of Famer Randy Johnson but is much more advanced at this stage of his career than Johnson was. The 26th overall pick in the 2022 Draft, he has a 93-97 mph fastball and a nasty low-80s slider with tremendous sweeping action. A flexor strain and a shoulder impingement limited him to 10 starts in Single-A during his pro debut last year, but he dominated with a 1.33 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 27 innings.
2022 projection for 2024: Colson Montgomery, SS (2024 Top 100: No. 9)


Angels: Nelson Rada, OF
The Angels challenged Rada by sending him to full-season ball at age 17 in 2023 and he was up for the challenge, hitting .276 with a .395 on-base percentage and 55 steals (which led the California League). He needs to add strength so he can impact the ball more as he moves up the ladder, but his instincts and approach point to a future as a table setter who mans center field for a long time.
2022 projection for 2024: Arol Vera, SS (2024 Top 100: NR)

Astros: Luis Baez, OF
Baez landed the largest bonus in the Astros' 2022 international class, turning pro for $1.3 million out of the Dominican Republic. He fits the right-field profile with plenty of natural raw power and plus arm strength. He made his U.S. debut a year ago, batting .248/.357/.481 with 11 homers in 58 games between Rookie ball and Single-A at age 19.
2022 projection for 2024: Alex Santos, RHP (2024 Top 100: NR)

A’s: Myles Naylor, 3B
This came down to a choice between 2023 high school draftees, right-hander Steven Echavarria and Naylor, and we decided to go with the safer pick in the bat. The bloodlines don’t hurt either, as Myles is the younger brother of Josh and Bo and he’s seen as a bit of a middle ground between Josh’s raw power and Bo’s hitting ability. He had a rough summer debut last year, but bet on him to start looking like the A’s future third baseman in 2024.
2022 projection for 2024: Pedro Pineda, SS (2024 Top 100: NR)

Mariners: Colt Emerson, SS/2B (MLB No. 87)
The Mariners sure have a knack for finding high school bats in the first round of the Draft, don’t they? It started with Harry Ford in 2021 and Cole Young in 2022, and now Emerson, taken No. 22 overall last July, has joined them in the Top 100. The left-handed-hitting infielder certainly made a very strong first impression during his pro debut, posting an OPS of 1.045 over 24 games and showing little problem adjusting to full-season ball at the end of the year.
2022 projection for 2024: Harry Ford, C (2024 Top 100: No. 38)

Rangers: Sebastian Walcott, SS (MLB No. 71)
Walcott has the potential to become the best player ever produced by the Bahamas. Signed for $3.2 million in 2023, he advanced to Single-A at age 17 while slashing .246/.335/.471 with seven homers and 12 steals in 48 games between three stops. Both his raw power and arm strength grade as well above average and he has 30-30 shortstop ceiling.
2022 projection for 2024: Evan Carter, OF (2024 Top 100: No. 5)


Braves: Jose Perdomo, SS
This is a bit of a bold prediction because Perdomo has yet to play an inning of professional baseball. But he was No. 3 on our Top 50 international prospects list and the Braves liked him enough to give him $5 million to join the organization. He has the chance to become a plus hitter with plenty of power while being able to stick at shortstop for a long time. It’s possible he’ll be just making his full-season debut when 2026 comes around, but he could be that good.
2022 projection for 2024: Diego Benitez, SS (2024 Top 100: NR)

Marlins: Noble Meyer, RHP (MLB No. 57)
Meyer already ranks as the top prospect in the Marlins system after they selected him with the 10th overall pick in the 2023 Draft. He's very advanced for a high schooler but likely won't graduate to the big leagues before turning 21. He can reach 100 mph with his fastball -- and his mid-80s slider with two-plane break is an even better offering.
2022 projection for 2024: Jose Salas, INF (2024 Top 100: NR)

Mets: Ryan Clifford, OF/1B (MLB No. 97)
Clifford hit 24 homers in 2023, tied for the second-most among Minor League teenagers, while splitting time between the Astros and Mets systems. It’s that power potential that pushed him into the Top 100 this time around and could put him atop the New York list once Jett Williams, Drew Gilbert and Luisangel Acuña graduate before 2026. He’d earn additional credit if he could stick in an outfield corner rather than move full time to first base in that span.
2022 projection for 2024: Matt Allan, RHP (2024 Top 100: NR)

Nationals: Cristhian Vaquero, OF
There’s been hope for a big-time breakout by Vaquero since he signed for $4.925 million in January 2022, and we might get to see it soon. The 6-foot-3 switch-hitting outfielder is a burner with plus-plus speed, and he has the size to grow into above-average power. He’ll have to work on elevation on contact and evening out his left-right splits to reach his considerable ceiling, but by 2026, he could have enough at-bats and physical maturation to get there.
2022 projection for 2024: Vaquero

Phillies: Starlyn Caba, SS
Caba was one of the top players in the 2023 international signing class and got $3 million to join the Phillies organization. The switch-hitter got off to a very good start during his debut in the Dominican Summer League, showing an approach that belies his years with more walks (28) than strikeouts (16) en route to posting a .301 average and a .423 OBP. He runs well and should be at least a plus defender at shortstop for a long time.
2022 projection for 2024: Andrew Painter, RHP (2024 Top 100: No. 27)


Brewers: Yophery Rodriguez, OF
Each of the past two seasons, Milwaukee took talented outfielders from the DSL and aggressively skipped them over the Arizona Complex League to open their first stateside seasons at Single-A Carolina. Those were Jackson Chourio and Luis Lara. There are already whispers that Rodriguez could follow the same path. The left-handed-hitting outfielder has a mature approach and the potential to show good power and speed, making him another well-rounded option in center -- as if the Brewers didn’t have enough of those.
2022 projection for 2024: Jackson Chourio, OF (2024 Top 100: No. 2)

Cardinals: Leonardo Bernal, C
St. Louis has been fairly aggressive with the Panama native, beginning with sending him to Single-A for his age-18 season in 2022. He repeated Palm Beach as a 19-year-old and traded in some of his power for patience as his OBP jumped from .316 to .381. As is the case with many young backstops, Bernal just needs time to marry the many parts of his game – namely showing more impact from the right side of his switch-hitting duties – but his defensive work gives him a solid floor and the potential to see a Top 100 in time.
2022 projection for 2024: Joshua Baez, OF (2024 Top 100: NR)

Cubs: Moises Ballesteros, C/1B (No. 8 catcher)
One of the sweetest-swinging catching prospects in the game, Ballesteros won Chicago's 2023 Minor League player of the year accolades after hitting .285/.374/.449 with 14 homers while ending his age-19 season at Double-A. He earns comparisons to Alejandro Kirk because of his bat-to-ball skills, gifted hands and husky frame, and the Cubs are confident he'll improve his receiving and blocking and stay behind the plate.
2022 projection for 2024: Cristian Hernandez, SS/2B (2024 Top 100: NR)

Pirates: Lonnie White Jr., OF
Sometimes you just have to go with the longshot and this seemed like the right spot, especially with so many of the top Pirates prospects expected to graduate before the start of the 2026 season. Injuries limited White, a former two-sport star in high school, to just 11 games from the time he signed in the summer of 2021 through the 2022 season. The toolsy outfielder started to show what he could do in 2023, with an .882 OPS through 61 games. If he can get through a full season unscathed, the numbers could really start popping.
2022 projection for 2024: Anthony Solometo (2024 Top 100: No. 82)

Reds: Ricardo Cabrera, SS
No. 3 on our Top 50 international prospects list as the signing period opened in 2022, Cabrera joined the Reds for $2.7 million. He got his feet wet in the DSL that summer, but really started to show what he could do, particularly at the plate, during his U.S. debut last year. Cabrera finished second in the Arizona Complex League with his 1.028 OPS and earned a late bump to full-season ball, going 6-for-19 with Single-A Daytona. He might end up at third eventually and will keep playing short for now, but it’s the bat that has the Reds excited.
2022 projection for 2024: Elly De La Cruz, SS/3B (2024 Top 100: Graduated)


D-backs: Druw Jones, OF (MLB No. 78)
This is a vote of confidence that Jones can right the ship. The 2022 second overall pick was coming off left shoulder surgery and then battled quad and hamstring injuries for much of his first full season. Even when healthy, he still struggled to hit with a .252 average, .351 slugging percentage and 26 percent strikeout rate over 29 games at Single-A. He still has a lot of raw power and the plus-plus speed to be an aggressive baserunner and Gold Glove-caliber defender in center. More health means more at-bats means more opportunities to adjust for a high-ceiling talent.
2022 projection for 2024: A.J. Vukovich, 3B (2024 Top 100: NR)

Dodgers: Josue De Paula, OF
The second cousin of former NBA guards Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair, De Paula was born in Brooklyn, moved to the Dominican Republic and signed for $397,500 in 2022. He batted .284/.396/.372 while making his U.S. debut in Single-A at age 18 last year, and he has the tools and skills to become a .300 hitter with 30-homer power once he's fully developed.
2022 projection for 2024: Wilman Diaz, INF (2024 Top 100: NR)

Giants: Bryce Eldridge, OF/RHP (MLB No. 96)
The best two-way prospect in the 2023 Draft, Eldridge will get the chance to both hit and pitch as a pro, but teams strongly preferred him as a slugger. A Virginia high schooler drafted 16th overall last July, he generates tremendous raw power with bat speed, strength and the leverage in his 6-foot-7 frame. He posted a .905 OPS with six homers in 31 games and reached Single-A in his pro debut.
2022 projection for 2024: Aeverson Arteaga, SS (2024 Top 100: NR)

Padres: Leodalis De Vries, SS
The top international prospect from the 2024 class might make our Top 100 as early as this summer and has a good chance to reach Single-A before he turns 18. A basketball player with a point-guard background, De Vries has good lateral quickness that helps him on the dirt and the basepaths, and as a switch-hitter, he’s already impressing San Diego officials with his early zone awareness and power from both sides. At 17, Ethan Salas joined our Top 10 at the end of his first season. It might take De Vries a little longer, but he could certainly be at or close to the rankings mountaintop in two years.
2022 projection for 2024: James Wood, OF (2024 Top 100: No. 14)

Rockies: Chase Dollander, RHP (MLB No. 52)
As a college arm from the top 10 of the 2023 Draft, it’s possible Dollander will reach Colorado ahead of this, especially with the Rockies’ need for pitching. But he had some things to iron out and seeing him in the rotation on Opening Day 2026 would be just fine. He’s yet to throw an official professional pitch, but when he’s at his best, he has a legit four-pitch mix and three of them are at least above average.
2022 projection for 2024: Drew Romo, C (2024 Top 100: NR)