Here are 7 prospects standing out in winter ball

November 21st, 2023

With the Arizona Fall League recently declaring its champion and temperatures dropping, baseball in the U.S. has begun to slow.

But down in the warm-weather countries like Venezuela, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, the action is simmering. (Don’t worry, Puerto Rico and Australia, we didn’t forget you either!) An eclectic blend of youngsters and established veterans, the Winter Leagues are in full swing. (Fans can stream all LIDOM games on MLB.TV.)

Last season, notable prospects Elly De La Cruz, Ceddanne Rafaela and Ronny Mauricio used their time on the vibrant circuits to propel themselves toward their respective big league debuts. This time around, there’s still ample star power among the prospects, many of whom are garnering valuable reps ahead of the 2024 campaign.

Here are seven early standouts from players among their club’s Top 30 Prospects list, including a pair of supremely talented Top 100 overall youngsters.

Jackson Chourio, OF, Águilas del Zulia (Venezuela)
MIL No. 1/MLB No. 2

Chourio is suiting up for Águilas del Zulia for the third straight season in his native country of Venezuela. After tearing up Double-A as a teenager this year -- where he became the first player at the level under the age of 20 to post a 20-homer, 20-steal season since 2005 -- Chourio has dominated to the tune of a .379 average and .983 OPS with eight multihit performances.

Junior Caminero, 3B, Leones del Escogido (Dominican Republic)
TB No. 1/MLB No. 6

No stranger to winter ball, Caminero began to put himself on the map last offseason in an entirely different environment: Australia. At just 19 years old -- and only a middle-of-the-pack Rays prospect -- the Dominican Republic native headed Down Under and clobbered a plethora of baseballs over the wall -- 14, to be precise.

Now back in his homeland, much has changed since he tore up the Australian Baseball League for the Perth Heat. He delivered a 31-homer campaign between two Minor League levels and then made his big league debut in September, giving the Rays a taste of his all-around skillset.

During his time with Leones del Escogido, the now-20-year-old Caminero has performed as one of the premier hitters on the circuit with a .317/.328/.450 slash line.

Dane Myers, OF, Gigantes del Cibao (Dominican Republic)
MIA No. 13

What better way to cap your first season with a new organization -- which also included making your big league debut -- than with a trip to the Dominican Winter League? The 27-year-old Texas native has been a dynamo for Gigantes del Cibao, swiping nine bags in 10 tries while batting .328 with an .826 OPS.

Nabbed in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft last December, Myers ranked second among all Miami Minor Leaguers in average (.316) and third in slugging percentage (.489) and OPS (.895) during the regular season. Myers -- a former two-way player during his collegiate days -- is looking to parlay success during the winter into an everyday role with the Marlins next season.

César Prieto, 3B/2B, Águilas Cibaeñas (Dominican Republic)
STL No. 14

After playing in the Arizona Fall League last season, Prieto has put together an impressive campaign in his first time playing in the Dominican Republic. He entered the Cardinals’ system as part of the deal that sent Jack Flaherty to the Orioles in July, and though he scuffled across a 38-game stint with Triple-A Memphis, he has found his level on the LIDOM scene with a .292/.382/.458 slash line and a 1/1 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

Jared Serna, 2B/LF/SS/3B, Charros de Jalisco (Mexico)
NYY No. 20

In 2023, Serna experienced a power surge with Single-A Tampa, hitting 19 home runs in 95 games before reaching High-A for the first time in his career. After batting .284 across the two levels, he was named a Yankees Organization All-Star. He then returned to his native Mexico to play for Charros De Jalisco for the fourth winter in a row. Although he's homered just twice in 25 games, he's batting .276.

Cole Winn, RHP, Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico)
TEX No. 28

Winn made a name for himself in 2021 when he appeared in the All-Star SiriusXM Futures Game in the midst of a breakout season. He has been inconsistent the past two seasons, but he showed some flashes of his potential in 2023 with Triple-A Round Rock, twice taking home PCL Pitcher of the Week honors. So far in his first winter ball campaign, Winn has seven strikeouts in 10 innings -- good for second on the club in punchouts.

Ronny Simon, SS/2B, Toros del Este (Dominican Republic)

Simon is no stranger to starring on the offseason circuit. Last year, the Rays prospect posted a .952 OPS in 21 Arizona Fall League games, equally impressing thus far in his most recent stint with Toros del Este (.853 OPS, more walks than strikeouts).

It marks the third consecutive campaign that Simon -- a native of La Romana, Dominican Republic -- is suiting up for his hometown squad. While fellow prospects Jonatan Clase (SEA No. 8) and Thayron Liranzo (LAD No. 18) are yet to make a similar impact, the young roster is one of the more compelling on the LIDOM scene.