Here are 10 prospects who JUST missed the Top 100 list

February 1st, 2024

It’s basic math.

We can only fit 100 prospects on a Top 100 list. Of course, we talk about a lot more as part of the process, and there are always a few names that got bumped off early drafts or fell just short in the support department.

Here are 10 prospects who just missed making the Top 100 this time around, presented in alphabetical order by last name:

Moises Ballesteros, C/1B, Cubs
Ranked eighth on our Top 10 catching list – making him the first backstop off the Top 100 – Ballesteros climbed three levels in his age-19 season from Single-A to Double-A and slashed .285/.374/.449 with 14 homers over 117 games along the way. He was one of only two Minor League catchers with at least 14 homers and a strikeout rate below 16 percent in 2023, and the other (Jonathan Morales) was eight years his senior. He still needs ample development defensively, and he struggled against sameside left-handers, hitting only .208 with a .286 slugging percentage against them. Some evaluators have drawn Alejandro Kirk comparisons to the 5-foot-7 backstop, and time remains on his side as he’ll still only be 20 for the entire 2024 campaign.

Diego Cartaya, C, Dodgers
Cartaya ranked 14th on our preseason Top 100 a year ago and has since fallen off completely. In between, he slashed just .189/.278/.379 over 93 games at Double-A Tulsa. He did slug 19 homers over that time – third-most among Double-A catchers – and he was one of only two backstops aged 21 or younger to get more than 400 plate appearances at the Minors’ second-highest level. His struggles stemmed from chasing that power to his pullside and issues with offspeed stuff. However, the Venezuela native made strides defensively and continues to show plus arm strength. Cartaya will still only be 22 for much of the 2024 season with some developmental runway ahead, and he could push his way back toward reaching his considerable ceiling with a return to the Texas League.

Leodalis De Vries, SS, Padres
One year ago, San Diego signed MLB Pipeline’s top international prospect Ethan Salas and pushed him to Double-A San Antonio as a 17-year-old. Last month, San Diego signed MLB Pipeline’s top international prospect in De Vries and … well, we’ll see. The switch-hitter looks advanced from both sides of the dish with good plate discipline and pitch recognition, and he has the power to project for 20-plus homers. He has plus speed too, and that tool package will be valuable even if he must move away from shortstop in time. As with Salas, we’re waiting a tad longer to see the profile translate to the Minors before getting aggressive with De Vries’ ranking, but he too could skip the Dominican Summer League, start stateside and then take flight.

Jackson Ferris, LHP, Dodgers
Los Angeles may have moved a Top 100 prospect in Michael Busch to the Cubs this offseason, but it picked up a Top-100-adjacent arm in Ferris. The 2022 second-rounder posted a 3.38 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 56 innings at Single-A Myrtle Beach in 2023 during his first run of the Minors, and he flashes four above-average pitches, headlined by a 92-95 mph fastball with good carry and a downer 75-78 mph curveball. The 6-foot-4 southpaw can get lost in his mechanics, leading to command issues, and that held him off the Top 100 for the time being. But the Dodgers have a good recent track record of pitching development, and it wouldn’t shock to see Ferris take his profile to a new level in his second pro campaign.

Lazaro Montes, OF, Mariners
As Mariners beat writer Daniel Kramer noted last month, the 19-year-old Montes is aware of the Yordan Alvarez comparisons and embraces them. Both are hulking left-handed sluggers with solid approaches and powerful profiles that rely almost solely on their bats. A $2.5 million signing in January 2022, Montes pushed himself further onto the radar by reaching Single-A in his first stateside season and led all Minor Leaguers aged 18 or younger (min. 300 PA) with his .440 OBP, .560 slugging percentage, 1.001 OPS, .257 ISO and 17.9 percent walk rate. Montes is limited to the corner outfield spots and will need to keep driving the ball with authority, but everything is pointed in the right direction in that regard.

Edgar Quero, C, White Sox
Much like Cartaya, Quero saw his results dip in his first trip to Double-A in 2023. However, Quero skipped over High-A completely in the Angels' system and was the only 20-year-old catcher to get more than 400 plate appearances at the second-highest level of the Minors. The switch-hitter controls the strike zone and utilizes the whole field from both sides, even though he was more powerful from the right side in 2023. He’ll be even more age-appropriate back in Double-A in his age-21 campaign with the White Sox less likely to be aggressive, and his approach could lead to stronger results. Continued defensive improvements behind the dish would also solidify his standing back in the Top 100.

Thomas Saggese, INF, Cardinals
The 2020 fifth-rounder led all Minor Leaguers in hits (170) and total bases (294) between his work in Double-A and Triple-A and was the Texas League MVP after leading the loop in average (.318), OPS (.936), wRC+ (142), hits (158), extra-base hits (60) and total bases (274). Acquired from the Rangers in the Jordan Montgomery deal, Saggese is an aggressive hitter who likes to jump on pitches he can drive, but he might be better served by being more choosy the higher he climbs. He also doesn’t have an established defensive home with time at second, third and short. He’ll return to Triple-A to begin his age-22 season, and if the results are anything close to 2023 levels, it won’t much matter where he plays.

Victor Scott II, OF, Cardinals
Speed has never been more valuable in the game, and Scott has that skill in absolute spades. The 2022 fifth-rounder is an 80-grade runner who tied for the Minor League lead with 94 steals in 132 games. Once he reaches first base, everyone in the stadium knows he wants to steal second, and there’s little anyone can do about it. Those wheels make him a plus-plus center fielder as well. A lack of in-game power and struggles against fellow left-handers kept Scott from our Top 100 for now, but in truth, he might not need to be anything more than average with the bat to solidify himself as St. Louis’ center fielder of the modern game.

Gavin Stone, RHP, Dodgers
The 25-year-old right-hander was set to slide off the Top 100 after a rough first MLB season (9.00 ERA, .338 average-against, 22 K's in 31 IP), but some external evaluators argued for his inclusion during the feedback stage. Stone posted high chase, whiff and groundball rates in the small sample on the strength of the plus-plus mid-80s changeup that he threw more than one-third of the time. Major Leaguers feasted more on his 93-95 mph fastball and low-90s cutter as Stone often worked too much in the heart of the zone. Improved command could keep hitters more at bay, help the changeup play up even more and get Stone back to the ways that helped him strike out 32.6 percent of the Minor Leaguers he faced in his career.

Samuel Zavala, OF, Padres
There were only nine players aged 18 or younger who got more than 300 plate appearances at Single-A in 2023. Zavala led that group with a .420 on-base percentage, 19.4 percent walk rate and 14 homers during his 101-game spin with Lake Elsinore. (A late-season push to High-A Fort Wayne didn’t go nearly as well but was perhaps too aggressive for the teenager.) While his approach is undoubtedly advanced, Zavala has a broad-based profile with a mix of 50s and 55s. That’s certainly valuable for a player heading into his age-19 season, and he adds to that by way of being a solid center fielder. We just need to see a skill truly pop at the middle levels before finding him a Top 100 spot among players with higher ceilings.