Who's the next No. 1 prospect after Holliday? We take a look

April 12th, 2024

MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 overall prospect Jackson Holliday is officially a Major Leaguer.

To answer a question on the minds of some baseball fans, no, Holliday doesn’t immediately come off our prospect lists. Players retain their prospect eligibility so long as they haven’t exceeded 45 days, 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues. If Holliday doesn’t go above the at-bat limit beforehand and doesn’t get sent down or injured, he’s scheduled to leave our lists on May 25.

Holliday’s time at the top is far from over, but since he’s up in the bigs, the question is only natural: Who’s got next at the No. 1 prospect spot? Below, we’ll lay out the next in the line of succession with some candidates closer to the throne than others.

Next in succession

Paul Skenes, RHP, (Pirates No. 1, MLB No. 3)
No. 2 overall prospect Jackson Chourio was in the Majors on Opening Day and will therefore likely graduate before Holliday leaves the list. That pushes us to Skenes, who was also Holliday’s successor as the No. 1 overall pick in 2023. The former LSU right-hander struck out 11 of his first 20 batters faced through two scoreless starts (six innings) for Triple-A Indianapolis, and his stuff backs up the dominant numbers. His four-seamer has averaged 100 mph -- making it the fastest pitch on average at the Minors’ top level -- and he has also shown a high-quality upper-80s slider, mid-80s curveball and low-90s changeup. He’s even flashed a “splinker” as catcher Henry Davis termed it in Spring Training. It’s ace-level stuff and results for the 6-foot-6 righty, and that could result in a callup of his own before much longer.

Junior Caminero, 3B/SS, (Rays No. 1, MLB No. 4)
Caminero technically will move up to No. 2 once Holliday and Chourio are out, but we do market corrections early in the summer and so long as he retains prospect eligibility, he’ll be part of the No. 1 overall discussion. The 20-year-old infielder is the best power-hitting prospect in the Minors after hitting 31 homers in 117 games between High-A and Double-A in his age-19 season in 2023, a performance that pushed him to the Majors for Tampa Bay’s stretch and postseason run. Caminero’s glovework has moved him from shortstop to third base, but it’s the bat that keeps him near (or possibly at) the top of prospect lists.

Midseason candidates

Dylan Crews, OF, (Nationals No. 1, MLB No. 7)
The above are next up on the conveyor belt, but there’s a decent chance they join Holliday and Chourio among the graduated ranks by the time of our next big midseason Top 100 update in August. So we need to expand our search a bit ... but not too far. Crews was last year’s Golden Spikes Award winner at LSU having slashed .426/.567/.713 for the national champs, and those numbers pushed him to the No. 2 spot in the 2023 Draft, one spot behind Skenes, his Tigers teammate. The center fielder has opened his first full season at Double-A Harrisburg, and he’s still as advanced a prospect as you’ll find at 22 years old with above-average-to-plus tools across the board. While he’ll rotate around the grass, Crews has gotten a lot of looks in center between Spring Training and the regular season, further enhancing his potential value. (Note: Fellow Nationals outfielder James Wood appears headed toward prospect graduation by midseason after his hot start to the season and therefore missed out on this section.)

Ethan Salas, C, (Padres No. 1, MLB No. 8)
Salas was a 2023 sensation, going from the top international signing in January to three different full-season Minor League clubs over the summer, including Double-A. He’s returned to High-A Fort Wayne (where he only played nine games last year) to begin his age-18 season, and with another year of physical maturation, he could be cleared for an even greater takeoff. The Florida-born backstop is advanced enough defensively to work with pitchers at any level, and offensively, he might have the best power projection of any San Diego prospect. He’s already in the Adley Rutschman and Francisco Alvarez tier of recent top-tier catching prospects, and he could take another leap in his second pro season.

Walker Jenkins, OF, (Twins No. 1, MLB No. 10)
Another member of last Draft’s Big Five, Jenkins went fifth overall to the Twins and immediately showed why many scouts thought he could have gone No. 1 any other year, slashing .362/.417/.571 with 12 extra-base hits and six steals in 26 games between Rookie ball and Single-A. Nicknamed Captain America by Michael Cuddyer, Jenkins is built like a superhero at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, and he has ample power and speed and an impressive bat-to-ball ability already at just 19. He’s currently on the injured list with a left hamstring strain, but if his IL stay isn’t a lengthy one, Jenkins has the potential to push right back into the No. 1 overall talks, this time for all of baseball.

Max Clark, OF, (Tigers No. 1, MLB No. 13)
Like Jenkins, the 2023 third overall pick earned a plus hit tool grade coming out of high school. Clark is even the faster of the pair with plus-plus speed, and he has a 65-grade arm that gives him another defensive weapon. Questions about Clark’s power have him lower in our current rankings, and even Detroit officials admitted Clark was fighting for survival in Single-A last summer. But the left-handed hitter focused on freeing up his bat path in the offseason in hopes to driving the ball to all fields more. If he can unlock even just above-average pop, that would round out an already strong profile.


Jackson Jobe, RHP, (Tigers No. 3, MLB No. 23)
Pitchers carry much more injury risk than their hitting counterparts, and Jobe’s back issues that limited him to 64 innings in 2023 kept him outside the Top 20 to start the season. But on a stuff level, he rivals even Skenes among Minor League arms. The 21-year-old right-hander can touch 101.8 mph (as he did in spring), spin a sweeping slider above 3,000 rpm, show a killer changeup and mix in an above-average cutter. In the age of the dwindling ace, Jobe absolutely has the potential to be a No. 1 in a Major League rotation. (And given recent trends, the first name can’t hurt, right?)

Chase DeLauter, OF, (Guardians No. 1, MLB No. 29)
Speaking of injuries, foot issues kept DeLauter from playing a full season in his 2023 debut, but his numbers were undeniable: .355/.417/.528, five homers, 22 doubles, 12.4 percent K rate in 57 games. He kept up that momentum in the Arizona Fall League and was arguably Cleveland’s most productive hitter in Spring Training, despite not even being a non-roster invite. He’s at least a capable defender in center and right field, and his bat speed and strength should help his plus power play anywhere. The more the former James Madison star plays, the more he looks like one of the best prospects in the sport.

Leodalis De Vries, SS, (Padres No. 5, MLB No. 94)
This is the longest shot we have here … at least for 2024. De Vries just signed for $4.2 million in January and has yet to debut in the Minors. Then again, these are the Padres. The 17-year-old switch-hitting shortstop is already stateside, and he’s on the path for a Salas-like surge once he joins an affiliate. De Vries thrives on showing discipline in his swing decisions, and he might be even more advanced offensively than Salas at the same developmental checkmark. He also plays a less physically demanding position than catcher but one just as valuable. He has future No. 1 overall upside, and don’t rule out that future arriving ahead of schedule.