Ranking the 10 best Spring Breakout rosters

March 14th, 2024

The 2024 MLB Pipeline preseason Farm System Rankings were published Friday night, giving fans an idea of how the young talent of each organization lines up. Supporters for all 30 clubs will get a closer look at the next generation of stars this week during MLB's inaugural Spring Breakout -- a series of exhibitions played across Arizona and Florida showcasing the best prospects in the game.

But Breakout rosters, released last Thursday, aren't made up of entire farm systems. Every team had to make decisions based on injuries, pitching availability, Major League roster competitions, position battles and more to form their collections of talent.

Of course, the rosters have continued to evolve since they were first announced. The Padres began with the most exciting roster, but after Jackson Merrill made the Opening Day roster and Wednesday's deal sent three of the team's top eight prospects to the White Sox for Dylan Cease, their Spring Breakout team is thinner on top-end talent.

Looking at who was included in the rollout thus far, here are the 10 best Spring Breakout rosters:

1. San Diego Padres

Top 100 prospects (4): Ethan Salas, C (No. 8); Jackson Merrill, SS/OF (No. 12); Robby Snelling, LHP (No. 36); Dylan Lesko, RHP (No. 56)

Total Top 30 prospects: 19

Matchup: @ Mariners; Friday, March 15, 4:10 p.m. ET/1:10 p.m. PT (MLB Network, MLB Digital Platforms, Root Sports, Padres.TV, Mariners radio, SXM App, ESPN+)

This is subject to change with Spring Breakout overlapping with the Seoul Series, but the initial San Diego roster is as loaded as you'll find in this inaugural edition of the event. At 17 years old, Salas will get ample attention behind the dish, and the possibility of him catching a pair of Top 10 arms in Snelling and Lesko -- as well as upper-level hurler Adam Mazur -- is incredibly enticing. And yet, he isn't even the youngest player on the roster. That status belongs to 17-year-old shortstop Leodalis De Vries, who just signed in January but, in typical Padres style, is already working out stateside.

2. Milwaukee Brewers

Top 100 prospects (4): Jackson Chourio, OF (No. 2); Jacob Misiorowski, RHP (No. 33); Jeferson Quero, C (No. 35); Tyler Black, 3B/1B (No. 46)

Total Top 30 prospects: 24

Matchup: @ Royals; Sunday, March 17, 4:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. PT (MLBD)

Milwaukee is sending all four of its Top 50 overall prospects, including the shining star of the system in Chourio amid his push for a Major League Opening Day spot. Chourio's power-speed combo, Misiorowski's wicked stuff, Quero's defense and Black's plate approach give the Crew multiple elite tools to display against the Royals on Sunday. But the organization's depth will also be put on view. Upper-level arms Robert Gasser and Carlos F. Rodriguez bring ample experience to the mound, 19-year-old outfielder Luis Lara can stand out with his contact and defense and 2023 first-rounder Brock Wilken provides plenty of power.

3. Chicago Cubs

Top 100 prospects (6): Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF (No. 16); Cade Horton, RHP (No. 26); Owen Caissie, OF (No. 47); Matt Shaw, SS/2B (No. 54); Kevin Alcántara, OF (No. 65); James Triantos, 2B (No. 73)

Matchup: vs. White Sox; Friday, March 15, 5:05 p.m. ET/2:05 p.m. PT (MLBD, Marquee Sports Network, ESPN+)

Total Top 30 prospects: 17

The Cubs have a league-best seven Top 100 prospects, and of those seven, presumed Opening Day starter Michael Busch is the only one not on the Breakout roster. Crow-Armstrong was a late addition and brings plenty of acclaim as the best overall defender in the entire event. Keep an eye on Shaw, who continues to pop with a .571 slugging percentage over 12 Cactus League games in his first Spring Training. Horton is the only pitcher ranked among Chicago's top 13 prospects participating, and the longer look fans can get at him, the more interesting this roster gets.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates

Top 100 prospects (4): Paul Skenes, RHP (No. 3); Termarr Johnson, 2B (No. 44); Anthony Solometo, LHP (No. 82); Bubba Chandler, RHP (No. 93)

Total Top 30 prospects: 21

Matchup: vs. Orioles; Thursday, March 14, 7:05 p.m. ET/4:05 p.m. PT (MLBN, MLBD, SportsNet Pittsburgh, ESPN+)

We're getting the matchup of dreams when Skenes (2023 No. 1 overall pick) faces Jackson Holliday (2022 No. 1 overall pick) on Thursday, and the former LSU star's inclusion underscores just how good this Pittsburgh pitching group can be. Imagine facing 102 from Skenes one at-bat, seeing Solometo's Bumgarneresque delivery next and then wrapping up by facing Chandler's upper-90s heat at the top of the zone. Best of luck. Johnson, who homered twice back on Feb. 26, provides the lineup with some needed star power.

5. Washington Nationals

Top 100 prospects (3): Dylan Crews, OF (No. 7); James Wood, OF (No. 14); Brady House, 3B (No. 48)

Total Top 30 prospects: 22

Matchup: @ Mets; Friday, March 15, 3:10 p.m. ET/12:10 p.m. PT (MLBD, SNY, Nats.com audio, ESPN+)

With four straight fifth-place finishes in the NL East, the Nationals want to put as much spotlight on their future as possible, and they have the Spring Breakout roster to match that philosophy. Both the organization and its fans have been dreaming of seeing Crews and Wood share an outfield since the former was selected second overall last July, and after spending some time together in Double-A, the pair will pick up their partnership in Port St. Lucie. House will anchor the infield group with his loud bat, along with 2023 first-round pick Yohandy Morales. Elijah Green, Jarlin Susana and Travis Sykora -- each 20 or younger -- could provide loud tools at young ages.

6. Boston Red Sox

Top 100 prospects (4): Marcelo Mayer, SS (No. 15); Roman Anthony, OF (No. 24); Kyle Teel, C (No. 40); Ceddanne Rafaela, OF/SS (No. 76)

Total Top 30 prospects: 21

Matchup: vs. Braves; Saturday, March 16, 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT (MLBN, MLBD, NESN, Red Sox Radio, SXM App, ESPN+)

Boston continues to center its Big Three of Mayer, Anthony and Teel, and fans can expect that farm-system core to take up a lot of the spotlight against Atlanta. Rafaela provides another pleasant Top 100 addition, given his Major League experience, and his center-field defense could give the Breakout series some of its best highlights. While the Red Sox system isn't packed with pitching, the club kept things interesting in that department with top arm Wikelman Gonzalez and offseason acquisitions Richard Fitts and David Sandlin.

7. Baltimore Orioles

Top 100 prospects (3): Jackson Holliday, SS/2B (No. 1); Samuel Basallo, C/1B (No. 17); Coby Mayo, 3B/1B (No. 30)

Total Top 30 prospects: 16

Matchup: @ Pirates; Thursday, March 14, 7:05 p.m. ET/4:05 p.m. PT (MLBN, MLBD, SportsNet Pittsburgh, ESPN+)

It doesn't get better than No. 1, does it? Like Chourio, Holliday is fighting for a Major League spot to begin his age-20 season, but for the day, he'll be able to show what makes him stand out among his prospect peers -- namely his plus-plus hit tool and budding power from the left side. Basallo has been ruled out from catching due to a right elbow stress fracture, but after hitting .313/.402/.551 with 20 homers across three levels in 2023, he could give Pirates pitchers fits. Mayo's incredible raw power has made him one of Baltimore's spring standouts, and 2023 first-rounder Enrique Bradfield Jr. could be a menace on the basepaths. The O's, however, are light on arms with only two Top 30 pitchers scheduled to participate.

8. Minnesota Twins

Top 100 prospects (4): Walker Jenkins, OF (No. 10); Brooks Lee, SS (No. 18); Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (No. 42); Gabriel Gonzalez, OF (No. 79)

Total Top 30 prospects: 20

Matchup: vs. Rays; Saturday, March 16, 4:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. PT (MLBD, Bally Sports Sun, Rays audio webcast, ESPN+)

Minnesota's top two prospects come from opposite ends of the developmental spectrum; five-tool outfielder Jenkins is just about to begin his first full Minor League while 65-grade hitter Lee is closing in on The Show. Rodriguez and Gonzalez give the Twins two more talented options on the grass. Outside that Top 100 group, the organization's next top three prospects -- David Festa, Marco Raya and Charlee Soto -- are among its Breakout pitching staff. Soto, in particular, has already been up to 99 mph in backfields throwing sessions and is expected to get a long look on Saturday.

9. Seattle Mariners

Top 100 prospects (3): Cole Young, SS/2B (No. 37); Harry Ford, C (No. 38); Colt Emerson, SS/2B (No. 87)

Total Top 30 prospects: 21

Matchup: vs. Padres; Friday, March 15, 4:10 p.m. ET/1:10 p.m. PT (MLBN, MLBD, Root Sports, Padres.TV, Mariners radio, SXM App, ESPN+)

Even though they play similar positions, there should be some hope to get both Young and Emerson in the same Breakout lineup, giving M's fans a preview of a future Seattle double-play partnership. Ford is no stranger to the spotlight given his extensive international experience with Great Britain, and comparing him to Salas behind the plate should make this Peoria matchup an even more fun one. Seattle earns extra points for including each of its Top 10 prospects, including Lazaro Montes (and his 65-grade power) and 18-year-old Felnin Celesten who has still yet to make his Minor League debut.

10. Colorado Rockies

Top 100 prospects (4): Adael Amador, SS/2B (No. 28); Chase Dollander, RHP (No. 52); Yanquiel Fernandez, OF (No. 72); Jordan Beck, OF (No. 81)

Total Top 30 prospects: 19

Matchup: vs. D-backs; Saturday, March 16, 7:10 p.m. ET/4:10 p.m. PT (MLBD/MLBN/Rockies.TV/ESPN+)

Colorado's outfield group is the deepest here, headlined by two Top 100 talents in Fernandez and Beck and supplemented with four others from the system's Top 10 (Sterlin Thompson, Zac Veen, Cole Carrigg, Benny Montgomery). Given his 60 hit tool from both sides of the plate, Amador would highlight any infield group, and 2023 top pick Dollander gives the Rox a potential stud arm. Don't sleep on Hunter Goodman's power, either, with 70 homers combined over his last two Minor League seasons.

Honorable mentions: St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, New York Yankees