Bold prospect predictions for 2024 -- one for each team

April 4th, 2024

We’re in the midst of multiple Opening Days at this stage of early April. The latest will come Friday when Double-A, High-A and Single-A leagues begin their regular seasons across the country in Minor League Baseball.

But it’s never too early or too late to make a few fun predictions about the season to come, and we’ve looked into crystal balls to provide a prospect-related one for every farm system in 2024.


Blue Jays: Arjun Nimmala, SS (No. 3)
Ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 11 Draft prospect in the 2023 class, Nimmala fell to the Blue Jays with the 20th pick, in part because of contact concerns. However, the 18-year-old shortstop has promising power and enough lift in his swing to get to it, and it was notable that he had an 8/14 K/BB ratio during his first dip into pro ball. Should the Florida native keep his K percentage relatively in check, he’ll join the Top 100 list at some point in his first full season.

Orioles: Jackson Holliday, 2B/SS (No.1/MLB No. 1) and Coby Mayo, 3B/1B (No. 3/MLB No. 29)
Sure, we were all rooting for Holliday to make the Opening Day roster, but we shouldn’t have to wait too long for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 Draft to make his big league debut. He already has a pair of homers and 1.070 OPS in his first four games at Norfolk as the door-knocking gets louder. Mayo, his teammate on the Tides, is off to a more modest 5-for-19 start, albeit with one mammoth home run, but he’s going to get hot and the power potential will be too good to pass up. He can slide over to first, Holliday can play second and they’ll take over the right side of the infield in Baltimore by the All-Star break.

Rays: Xavier Isaac, 1B (No. 3/MLB No. 54)
The 2022 29th overall pick got his career started on a terrific foot by homering 19 times last season. Six of those came in just a 12-game turn with High-A Bowling Green, and Isaac returns to the Hot Rods to begin his second full season. Armed with plus-plus raw pop, the left-handed first baseman will slug at least 30 homers in 2024, cementing his place among the game’s most powerful prospects.

Red Sox: Roman Anthony, OF (No. 2/MLB No. 23)
After thriving in High-A and Double-A as a teenager in his first full pro season, Anthony will more than double his home run production from 14 last year to 30 this summer. He'll become the first 20-year-old Boston prospect to reach the 30-homer plateau since Jim Rice in 1973.

Yankees: Roderick Arias, SS (No. 3/MLB No. 82)
MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect in the 2022 international class, Arias amassed six homers and 17 steals in 27 games in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League last summer before breaking his right thumb. He'll stay healthy in 2024, record a 20-20 season at age 19 and make a case for being the game's best shortstop prospect.


Guardians: Chase DeLauter, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 30)
A broken left foot ended DeLauter's 2022 college season prematurely and delayed his pro debut until June 2023, but the first first-round pick from James Madison batted .357/.417/.528 while advancing to Double-A last summer and starred in the Arizona Fall League. He'll end this year in Cleveland -- and rank among the top five prospects in baseball at season's end.

Royals: Blake Wolters, RHP (No. 7)
The Royals used part of their savings from Blake Mitchell’s under-slot signing to ink Wolters for $2.8 million as a second-rounder last year, and the 6-foot-4 right-hander has consistently impressed Kansas City officials in his first Spring Training, forcing the team to start him at Single-A Columbia. Armed with a fastball that can run up to 98 and an above-average slider, Wolters will flirt with the Top 100 overall list by season’s end and become Kansas City’s top pitching prospect.

Tigers: Jackson Jobe, RHP (No. 3, MLB No. 24)
Jobe’s lone Grapefruit League appearance, in which he touched 101.8 mph and struck out two in a perfect inning, was the talk of spring. The 21-year-old right-hander’s fastball, slider and changeup all earn at least plus grades, and after dealing with a back issue in 2023, he just needs to stay on the mound to solidify his ace potential. With his stuff taking another step forward, Jobe will strike out at least 35 percent of his batters faced at Double-A and Triple-A before debuting for Detroit in the second half.

Twins: Walker Jenkins, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 10)
The No. 5 overall pick in last year’s Draft served notice that he might be able to move a little more rapidly than the typical high school bat by reaching full-season ball during his summer pro debut and finishing with a combined .362/.417/.571 line that included 12 extra-base hits in 26 games. Look for him to make short work of the Florida State League and earn a bump up to High-A Cedar Rapids by the end of May. Jenkins won’t be done yet. We predict he’ll earn a second promotion to finish the year in Double-A, putting him in line to reach Minnesota by the end of 2025.

White Sox: Noah Schultz, LHP (No. 2/MLB No. 48)
Schultz has a build (6-foot-9, 220 pounds) and low-slot delivery reminiscent of Randy Johnson's, though he's much more advanced than the Hall of Famer at the same stage of their careers. After the White Sox handled him carefully and held him to 27 innings in his 2023 pro debut -- he posted a 1.33 ERA with 38 strikeouts -- he'll get an increased workload this season and become the best left-handed pitching prospect in the game.


Angels: Nelson Rada, OF (No. 1)
With the graduation of Nolan Schanuel, the Angels are without a Top 100 prospect. That won’t last long, however, because Rada, currently the top prospect in the org, is ready to break out in a big way. He did some very impressive things at age 17 during his full-season debut in 2023, including posting a .395 OBP with 55 steals. The extra-base impact is going to come a bit more and he’s going to lead the Midwest League in stolen bases while racing onto the Top 100.

Astros: Spencer Arrighetti, RHP (No. 3)
The Astros have had at least one guy receive a vote in each of the last five years of American League Rookie of the Year balloting, usually an unheralded prospect from what has become a perpetually underrated farm system. A mid-round pick (2021 sixth-rounder) from a mid-major program (Louisiana-Lafayette), Arrighetti will extend that streak to six. He'll continue to miss bats with his four-pitch mix and provide support to a big league rotation that already has four pitchers on the injured list.

A's: Jacob Wilson, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 64)
Wilson’s approach at the plate has been well documented, most notably his career 4.4 percent strikeout rate in three years at Grand Canyon University. The A’s top pick last July, he slashed .333/.391/.475 over 26 games during his pro debut, a sign that he’ll be able to move as quickly as anticipated. He’ll be able to handle an aggressive assignment to Double-A Midland right out of the gate, continue to hit for average and get on base and allay some concerns about his ability to impact the ball, all while rapidly climbing to Oakland by the second half of the 2024 season.

Mariners: Cole Young, SS/2B (No. 1/MLB No. 36) and Colt Emerson, SS/2B (No. 3/MLB No. 83)
It’s a battle for batting dominance between the Mariners’ last two first-round picks. Both Young and Emerson have 60 hit tools with the chance to sit at or near the top of many batting average leaderboards over the course of their careers. Young is on a fast track after posting an .847 OPS across two levels of A ball during his first full season, up in Double-A to start the season while Emerson is beginning his first full year after a .374/.496/.549 pro debut that got him to full-season Modesto. Both will vie for the organizational, and Minor League batting title. Young will hit well over .300, but Emerson will prove that we under-ranked him by winning both titles.

Rangers: Jack Leiter, RHP (No. 8)
Leiter's development has gone much rockier than expected since the Rangers drafted him second overall in 2021, as he spent his first two pro seasons struggling with his delivery while his stuff and control backed up. After working on his mechanics, he opened 2024 by striking out nine in five innings in his first start in Triple-A. He'll get back on track this year, join an injury-riddled big league rotation by midseason and make a significant contribution to an AL West title.


Braves: Hurston Waldrep, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 86)
Waldrep jumped on a super-fast track during his pro debut after being the Braves’ first-rounder last year. Sure, it was a small sample size of 29 1/3 IP, but it was hard not to be impressed watching him pitch across four levels to finish the year at Triple-A and with a combined 1.53 ERA and .179 BAA. He’s projected to begin the year in Double-A this year and can be stretched out as a starter. But he’s going to end the year in Atlanta, contributing to the big league bullpen while landing a postseason roster spot.

Marlins: Noble Meyer, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 53) and Thomas White, LHP (No. 2)
The Marlins spent their first two 2023 Draft choices and $8.6 million on the best prep arm in the class (Meyer) and top southpaw available, high school or college (White) last July. They're beginning the season together in Single-A, will earn promotions to High-A around midseason and will rival the Padres' Robby Snelling and Dylan Lesko as the game's top lefty/righty prospect tandem.

Mets: Christian Scott, RHP (No. 5)
Scott took a giant leap forward in 2023 as he transitioned from a sinking fastball to more four-seamers, and his control numbers (12 walks in 87 2/3 innings) were some of the best in Minor League Baseball. He’s added a sweeper this spring as well that can be a true weapon as he heads to Triple-A Syracuse for the first time. Given the rotation questions in New York, Scott will throw at least 75 innings for New York this season and be a solid starting option for the club heading into ’25.

Nationals: Dylan Crews, OF (No. 1, MLB No. 7); James Wood, OF (No. 2, MLB No. 14); Brady House, 3B (No. 3, MLB No. 46); Yohandy Morales, 3B (No. 5)
Wood has been pushed to Triple-A Rochester following his standout turn on the big league side of Spring Training. Crews, House and Morales are opening together at Harrisburg to make one of Double-A’s most talented lineups. The Nationals have put such a sharp focus on the farm system and the bright future it provides, and the bulk of that talent isn’t far away. All four of Washington’s top hitting prospects will feature in the same Major League lineup by September, giving Nats fans the ultimate coming-attractions trailer of the summer.

Phillies: Aidan Miller, 3B/SS (No. 3/MLB No. 57)
The Phillies are going to continue to be grateful for Miller’s broken hamate during his senior year of high school. That’s the only reason he lasted until No. 27 overall in last year’s first round. He’s already shown signs of being the steal of the round, if not the Draft, but he’s going to cement it by topping 30 home runs in his first full season and reaching High-A Jersey Shore in the process.


Brewers: Brock Wilken, 3B (No. 7)
Wilken ranked second in Division I with 31 homers last spring for Wake Forest, and that power made him a first-round pick by Milwaukee come July. The third baseman has tremendous strength that helps him drive the ball from a fairly simple setup at the plate, and even with an aggressive assignment to Double-A Biloxi to begin his first full season, the pop should play quickly. Wilken will finish among the Top 10 in Minor League homers in 2024, setting himself up to be a real option for the Brewers by next spring.

Cardinals: Cooper Hjerpe, LHP (No. 6)
There were high hopes for the Oregon State product in his first full season, but arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage from his left elbow limited him to only 41 innings at High-A. Should he be able to stay healthy in 2024, Hjerpe will jump back onto the Top 10 left-handers list on the strength of his funky stuff and crossfire delivery. His low-90s fastball can be difficult to pick up, and his upper-70s sweeper and mid-80s cutter can give batters fits.

Cubs: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 16), Cade Horton, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 25) and Matt Shaw, INF (No. 4/MLB No. 51)
Even with Michael Busch graduating from prospect status on Opening Day, Chicago still has more Top 100 Prospects than any other club with six. Though Crow-Armstrong currently is in Triple-A and Horton and Shaw are opening the season in Double-A, they'll all be starting for the Cubs in October as they win their first playoff series since 2017.

Pirates: Termarr Johnson, 2B (No. 2/MLB No. 42)
It was a bit of a strange first full season for Johnson with Bradenton in 2023, as he walked a ton (101 BB), struck out too much (120 K’s) and tapped into his power (18 homers). As one of the smarter hitters in the Minors, look for Johnson to learn from his year (He had a 1.052 OPS in 23 Grapefruit League at-bats this spring) and absolutely dominate in hitter-friendly Greensboro. He won’t be there long, earning a quick bump to Double-A Altoona and finishing the year hitting over .300 with 25-plus homers.

Reds: Rhett Lowder, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 33)
The No. 7 pick in the 2023 Draft has yet to throw an official professional pitch and the Reds are easing him in with High-A Dayton. But he won’t be there long. His combination of plus command and very good stuff points to a rapid ascent. He’ll reach Cincinnati by the end of the year and will finish as the Minor League leader in ERA and WHIP.


D-backs: Gino Groover, 3B (No. 5)
Predicting batting average can be a fool’s errand since there’s more that goes into the stat than skill alone, but the NC State product’s simple setup, quick hands and barrel control make it easy to dream on what he could do in the category. The prediction here is that Groover will bat above .300 in his first full season, an outlook that could be helped if he spends a good chunk of the season at hitter-friendly Double-A Amarillo.

Dodgers: Josue De Paula, OF (No. 4/MLB No. 99)
De Paula made his U.S. debut last summer by slashing .284/.396/.372 in Single-A as an 18-year-old and would have ranked in the California League top five in hitting and on-base percentage if he hadn't fallen just short of qualifying. He'll build on that momentum, climbing into the upper half of the Top 100 and ranking as the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect by the end of the season.

Giants: Rayner Arias, OF (No. 6)
After a spectacular 16-game pro debut (.414/.539/.793) in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2023, Arias will come to the United States, play two months in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League and mash his way to Single-A at age 18. Not only that, but he'll fare well at San Jose and force his way onto the Top 100 list.

Padres: Leodalis De Vries, SS (No. 5, MLB No. 97)
Let’s get a little nuts toward the bottom of the list. Even though both were the top international prospects in their classes, De Vries is a little different than 2023 breakout star Ethan Salas, but a lot of fun ingredients are already there, namely his ability to make solid contact and his plus speed. Those have already pushed him stateside at 17 years old, and his own breakout in full-season ball may not be far off. Following an impressive first season, De Vries will be a Top 25 overall prospect by the fall.

Rockies: Sterlin Thompson, OF/2B (No. 5)
One of the best pure hitters in the organization, Thompson will feel the sting of his buddy Jordan Beck getting the nod to start the year in Triple-A while he begins things with Double-A Hartford. They’ll finish in the same place, though: Coors Field. Expect Thompson to dominate the Eastern League and then really take advantage of the hitting-friendly environment in Albuquerque to earn his first big league callup, finishing with a .300/.400/.500 line before that phone rings.