11 reasons to be excited for the 2024 Minor League season

April 4th, 2024

It is all happening in Minor League Baseball. Every organization’s quest for a World Series title and every future star’s journey to big league greatness is built here. It’s where new fans are made and baseball lifers congregate in dugouts, front offices, press boxes and the stands. It’s where wild, wacky identities are invented and reinvented and concessions experimentation goes oh-so-right.

With the Triple-A campaign already underway and Single-A, High-A and Double-A opening on Friday, our staff provides 11 reasons to be excited for the 2024 Minor League season.

A new wave of talent in the wings

The dawn of a new Minor League season brings with it the thrill of new players and new adventures on the diamond. As is the case every year, it also brings with it an influx of talent from the prep and collegiate scene through the MLB Draft. With top prospects like Oregon State’s Travis Bazzana and West Virginia’s JJ Wetherholt leading the way, there’s no shortage of talent to look forward to from the Class of ’24! -- Michael Avallone, a writer for MLB.com and MiLB.com

Stunning breakouts

I can't wait to see who the breakout prospects of 2024 will be. Who will follow in the footsteps of Elly De La Cruz and Jackson Chourio in recent years and see their prospect stock shoot through the stratosphere? Roman Anthony (Red Sox), Jackson Jobe (Tigers), Chase DeLauter (Guardians), Noah Schultz (White Sox), Matt Shaw (Cubs), Dylan Lesko (Padres), Xavier Isaac (Rays), Aidan Miller (Phillies), Druw Jones (Diamondbacks), Roderick Arias (Yankees), Colt Emerson (Mariners) and Bryce Eldridge (Giants) are just some of the possibilities. And the coolest part is that there will be some names we never saw coming. – Jim Callis, Senior writer, prospects

Naming the new No. 1

Each of MLB Pipeline’s top seven overall prospects have ETAs of 2024, and three made Opening Day rosters, including No. 2 Jackson Chourio. With Jackson Holliday also expected to be in Baltimore before long, we’ll likely need a new person at the top spot this summer. Could it be catching phenom Ethan Salas? Five-tool star Walker Jenkins? A breakout star heretofore unforeseen? Will Holliday stick around prospectdom long enough to keep his throne? It could be a debate that rolls through the entire season, and it’s one I can’t wait to have. -- Sam Dykstra, Reporter, prospect coverage

Last year's Draft class arrives

Last summer, the electric 2023 Draft class got a taste of the Minors. This year, I’m excited to watch these prospects stretch their legs (and innings limits). Paul Skenes is already the most exciting pitcher in the Minors, while Max Clark and Walker Jenkins are becoming fan favorites. I’m also looking forward to Rhett Lowder and Chase Dollander’s much-anticipated pro debuts. And that’s just a few Minor League rookies to watch. – Kelsie Heneghan, Senior coordinator, prospect content

A whole lotta nothing

Nothing Night is what its name implies: A night at the ballpark with as few distractions as possible. No videoboard displays, no sound amplification, no between-inning contests … in short, just baseball. Contrary to what one may assume, nothing can evolve into something new. The Lake Elsinore Storm, progenitors of this promotional concept, have expanded its parameters and renamed it Sensory Friendly Night (taking place on July 14). Other variations of the Nothing Night approach will be undertaken by the Louisville Bats, Lynchburg Hillcats, Inland Empire 66ers and Lehigh Valley IronPigs. – Benjamin Hill. Senior writer, Minor Leagues

There's someone at the ballpark ... There's something at the ballpark!

On June 14, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A affiliate of the Mets) play as the Creatures in a tribute to the area’s favorite son: Rod Serling. This won’t be the first time the team salutes the creator of “The Twilight Zone,” but it figures to be the most nerd-pleasing. The Creatures are specifically an homage to the gremlin featured in the unforgettable 1963 episode “Terror at 20,000 Feet,” starring a young William Shatner and directed by the great Richard Donner. -- Josh Jackson, an editor for MLB.com and MiLB.com

Visiting classic Minors stadiums

I’ve lived within a short drive of Asheville for 10 years now, and visited the city probably 20 times in that span. But I’ve never been to McCormick Field. It’s time to change that. I love the places in baseball that connect us to the sport’s past, and fewer and fewer of them are still standing. I’m thrilled at the prospect of finally visiting another of them this year. -- Matthew Leach, Executive editor, prospects and Minor Leagues

MiLB returns to Rickwood

To say I’m fascinated by the Negro Leagues would be an extreme understatement. Any chance I get, I’m brushing up on Satchel Paige’s antics on the mound or the specs on Josh Gibson’s legendary 40-ounce, 41-inch bat. So, when I heard that baseball is being brought back to Rickwood Field – the home of hundreds of Negro Leagues games -- I was stoked beyond belief. The weekend, which will feature a Minor League game between the Montgomery Biscuits and Birmingham Barons – in addition to the contest between the Cardinals and Giants – will also have appearances from former Negro Leaguers, including, of course, former Birmingham Black Baron, Willie Mays. It’s shaping up to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. -- Brendan Samson, Contributor to MLB.com

When the best seat in the house will be a booth

I’m hungry for the Somerset Patriots’ Jersey Diners alternate identity. What an inspired idea! New Jersey -- the Diner Capital of the World -- offers hundreds of opportunities for people to sit down with comfort food. And in becoming the Jersey Diners for three games this season, the Double-A Yankees affiliate organically enters that landscape. The Fooser Studios logos are witty, colorful … and, yes, they’re comforting as well. I’ll be donning the apparel for games and restaurant visits before and long after the designated Jersey Diners nights. -- Paige Schector, Manager, prospect and Minor League content

Brand-new international connections

I am most excited about the Bhutan baseball day that will be hosted by the Hudson Valley Renegades on Aug. 20. Upon seeing that viral photo of the Bhutanese baseball players I was immediately hooked. Now, to not only have their story finally garner proper attention, but to also be able to contribute to it personally is an opportunity that I cannot pass up -- and I hope to see a packed house at Heritage Financial Park to partake as well. Also, those special jerseys that the Renegades are going to wear that day are absolutely fire! -- Rob Terranova, Writer for MLB.com and MiLB.com

The greatest mashup identity ever?

As the reigning kings of the “Why not?” theme night, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp continue to outdo themselves. “Steamboat Willie” entered the public domain in 2024, and with it being the talk of January, what better mashup could a team do then with King Kong and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” for a jersey? The three have nothing to do with each other, but that’s the fun of Minor League Baseball. -- Kenny Van Doren, Contributor to MLB.com