30 prospects who have turned heads this spring

March 6th, 2023

Every spring, there are prospects who shine so brightly that they either force their way onto their organization's Major League roster or at least accelerate their progress toward reaching the big leagues. Think back to a year ago, when Julio Rodríguez dazzled his way onto the Mariners' Opening Day roster en route to winning the 2022 American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Who will be this year's J-Rod? Or who will raise his prospect stock in a big way with a big spring? Here's a look at one standout prospect from each team so far during Spring Training:

American League East

Blue Jays: LHP Ricky Tiedemann
Tiedemann was the answer before he threw a pitch, but after his Grapefruit League debut, he’s the talk of camp. The 20-year-old blew away Javier Báez with a 99.4 mph fastball in his clean inning of work, striking out two. The lefty will open the season in either Double-A or Triple-A, but with outings like this, he’ll quickly force the Blue Jays into a decision on their No. 1 prospect. He should get a few more looks against MLB hitters in Spring Training games, too. -- Keegan Matheson

Orioles: SS Jackson Holliday
The O’s have eight players on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list, and they’re all in big league camp, so it’s hard to pick only one as a spring standout. But we’ll go with Holliday, who is still only 19, in case you hadn’t heard. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the talented shortstop -- and son of former All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday -- promptly hit a double in his first Grapefruit League at-bat on Feb. 25. He’s impressed everybody with his defensive work and maturity, as skipper Brandon Hyde recently noted Holliday “looks comfortable out there,” despite having only 20 games of pro experience. -- Jake Rill

Rays: INF Osleivis Basabe
The Rays’ No. 7 prospect has made consistently hard contact and controlled the strike zone this spring. The team already knew he had those tools, but this plate result might have really opened some eyes. For all of Basabe’s gifts with the bat, he has just nine home runs through more than 1,200 plate appearances in the Minors. He is working on ways to create and drive more fly balls, and his future will look even brighter if he can do that without sacrificing too much of his bat-to-ball skills. -- Adam Berry

Red Sox: SS Matthew Lugo
Perhaps lost in the shuffle due to the recent shortstops the Red Sox have taken in the Draft, Lugo keeps plugging away. Boston’s No. 14 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Lugo had a monster game against the Rays on Feb. 26, belting a double and a triple to go with five RBIs. Lugo, the nephew of nine-time All-Star Carlos Beltrán, was a second-round selection (No. 69 overall) by Boston in the 2019 Draft. He had a strong '22 season for High-A Greenville, leading the South Atlantic League in hits, extra-base hits, triples and total bases. He will start this season with Double-A Portland. -- Ian Browne

Yankees: OF Jasson Dominguez
Beginning with a moonshot homer in his first Grapefruit League game, the 20-year-old Dominguez has been one of the most impressive players in camp thus far. Manager Aaron Boone observes that "the game is moving slow for him," pointing out that Dominguez seems to be exhibiting advanced patience at the plate. Player development staffers have seen enormous progress over the past calendar year, noting that Dominguez’s performance improved at every Minor League stop. -- Bryan Hoch

AL Central

Guardians: RHP Hunter Gaddis
It’s rare for a team to be able to go all 162 games without having an injury to one of its starting pitchers. These six weeks in Arizona should help Cleveland figure out who could be the next man up, and Gaddis has made a strong impression. He came up in 2022, and got knocked around in his two outings, but the Guardians aren’t letting that define him. So far this spring, he’s given up one earned run in 4 1/3 innings and has displayed better fastball command by getting ahead in counts. If he’s able to prove he can remain consistent, he could either be a starting option at some point this season or a relief option as soon as Opening Day. -- Mandy Bell

Royals: SS Maikel Garcia
Garcia, Kansas City’s No. 3 prospect, is coming off a torrid winter ball season, when he slashed .323/.444/.498 for La Guiara in Venezuela, walking more than he struck out. He has continued that hot hitting this spring, hitting the cover off the ball and going 7-for-11 in Cactus League play. His bat-to-ball skills and production are forcing the Royals into a tough decision about their roster and how they can fit Garcia on it. The 23-year-old will get time at shortstop with Bobby Witt Jr. playing in the World Baseball Classic, but with the Royals committed to Witt at short this year, Garcia will also play third and start to get work in center field. -- Anne Rogers

Tigers: 3B Andre Lipcius
The former third-round Draft pick and nuclear engineering major at Tennessee caught the organization's attention with his plate discipline and extra-base power between Double-A Eerie and Triple-A Toledo. Those qualities have carried over to his first Major League camp, where he has put up tough at-bats while also showing some opportunistic power. He won't make the Opening Day roster, barring something crazy. But with third base in flux, he could put himself in position to get an in-season call if the Tigers need help. -- Jason Beck

Twins: SS Brooks Lee
Though Lee was playing college ball under his dad at Cal Poly less than a year ago, he’s already starting a large chunk of games at shortstop in Grapefruit League play -- and he’s already got Carlos Correa convinced that he could join the Twins at some point this season. His simple swing and approach from both sides netted him hits in each of his first three spring games, and last year’s No. 8 overall pick and the No. 1 prospect in the Twins’ organization finished last season in Double-A, putting him a stone’s throw from Minneapolis. -- Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: OF Oscar Colas
The 24-year-old left-handed hitter entered Spring Training as the favorite to win the right field starting job and has done nothing to change that mindset in Arizona. Through his first seven games, the No. 2 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline was 6-for-13 with one RBI and one run scored. Colas spoke at the start of camp about working this offseason to be more of a complete hitter and not just a power presence, and that plan has manifested itself in three of Colas’ first five singles going to the opposite field. He picked up his first extra-base hit and stolen base in a victory over the Reds Friday, showing he has the full array of skills. -- Scott Merkin

AL West

Angels: RHP Ben Joyce
Joyce first turned heads in college when he threw a 105.5 mph fastball with the University of Tennessee. He fared well at Double-A last season after the Angels took him in the third round of the 2022 Draft. Joyce, 22, has impressed in his first taste of Major League camp, showcasing his elite velocity as well as his two sliders. He’s thrown two scoreless innings and the Angels had him face the heart of the Royals’ order on Thursday to see what he could do against Major League hitters. Joyce has a chance to make the bullpen but the Angels could have him work on his control in the Minors before calling him up later this season. -- Rhett Bollinger

Astros: OF Justin Dirden
Dirden, a 25-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder who’s not on the 40-man roster, was 3-for-6 with two homers in his first four games of Grapefruit League play. He also made a diving catch in left field in Tuesday’s win over the Mets and threw out a runner at home plate from right field Wednesday. Dirden split last year between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land, hitting .302 with 82 runs, five triples, 24 home runs, 101 RBIs, 51 walks and 12 steals in 124 games. He started 31 games in left field, 46 in center and 34 in right, and he could push for a roster spot, especially if Michael Brantley isn't healthy to start the season. -- Brian McTaggart

Athletics: OF Lawrence Butler
Though A’s camp features other highly touted prospects who are closer to Major League-ready such as Tyler Soderstrom and Zack Gelof, it’s Butler who has been the talk of Spring Training for his exciting style of play. Through Sunday, he was hitting .600 with a home run, three doubles, a triple, six RBIs and two stolen bases. Likely to begin the season at Double-A Midland, Butler is taking advantage of his chance to make an impression on the big league staff and he could be knocking on the door of a call up to Oakland by season’s end. -- Martín Gallegos

Mariners: RHP Prelander Berroa
Much attention entering camp has rightfully been on Emerson Hancock and Bryce Miller, but it was Berroa who made the first strong impression, striking out Nelson Cruz and Xander Bogaerts -- guys he grew up watching in the Dominican Republic -- during the Mariners’ Cactus League opener. The fastball that he dials up to 99 mph wows, but it’s the late-breaking slider that could be a plus-plus pitch in the Majors as soon as this season. -- Daniel Kramer

Rangers: OF Evan Carter
Carter, now ranked No. 41 in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects, didn’t enter camp with any real shot to make the Opening Day roster, but the 20-year-old has impressed regardless. In eight Cactus League games, he’s hitting .330 with two steals and five walks, while also showing off the defense that won him a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award in center field in 2022. While he won’t be in Arlington to start the season, there’s an outside chance he makes his MLB debut before his 21st birthday in August. -- Kennedi Landry

National League East

Braves: SS Braden Shewmake
Shewmake has come to camp to prove he shouldn’t be considered the forgotten man. He has shown great range at shortstop and manager Brian Snitker says the 25-year-old’s “bat plays.” Had Shewmake not been injured in August, he may have been called up to Atlanta instead of Vaughn Grissom, who is now the favorite to begin the season as Atlanta’s shortstop. Shewmake hasn’t had much offensive success above the High A level. But if he shows something with the bat this year, he could find himself at the big league level. -- Mark Bowman

Marlins: RHP Eury Pérez
It's hard not to stand out when you're 6-foot-8 and light up the radar gun with 99.6 mph vs. NL MVP Award finalist Nolan Arenado. Pérez, who doesn't turn 20 until April 15, is by no means a finished product. But MLB Pipeline's No. 13 overall prospect is certainly trying to expedite his development by serving as ace Sandy Alcantara's shadow all winter and spring. -- Christina De Nicola

Mets: SS Ronny Mauricio
It’s not easy to be hotter than Mauricio, who hit three home runs in his first seven Grapefruit League at-bats. He later added a double to go 4-for-9 over the first week of spring games, with all four hits going for extra bases. Mauricio, the Mets’ sixth-ranked prospect who has gained more than 50 pounds since signing his first professional contract in 2017, seems destined for another position since Francisco Lindor is locked down at shortstop for another nine years. The Mets also have Brett Baty, who’s performed well this spring, vying for reps at third base. But if Mauricio continues to hit like this, the Mets will find a place for him. -- Anthony DiComo

Nationals: INF Jake Alu
Alu, ranked as the Nationals' No. 27 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was protected from the Rule 5 Draft and added to their 40-man roster following a standout 2022 performance. The 25-year-old lefty hitter has defensive versatility the Nats covet as they consider options for their 2023 roster. At the plate, last season Alu led all Nationals Minor Leaguers with a .299 batting average, .506 slugging percentage and .871 OPS. He was the recipient of Washington’s Minor League Nationals Way Award. -- Jessica Camerato

Phillies: RHP Andrew Painter
Who else could it be but Painter, who is baseball’s No. 6 prospect? Painter impressed in his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday against the Twins in Ft. Myers. He allowed three hits and one run in two innings. He got one strikeout. Perfect? No. But he showed the glimpses of why he was probably the favorite to be the team’s No. 5 starter before he was sidelined by elbow tenderness. The Twins were impressed, including Carlos Correa. “I believe this kid’s going to be a star,” he said. -- Todd Zolecki

NL Central

Brewers: RHP Abner Uribe
If there’s one area up for grabs going into this season, it’s the bullpen. That puts Uribe, Milwaukee's No. 12 prospect, in a good position to contribute later this season if he continues to stay healthy (he missed much of last season with a knee injury) and if he continues to impress the way he’s been doing so far this spring. After Uribe worked an inning against the Rangers this week, manager Craig Counsell said, “You're getting swings and misses on a two-seam fastball, lefties and righties. Early-count swings and misses. That's impressive. That's exciting. Professional hitters know the fastball's coming, and you get it by them." -- Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: OF/DH Jordan Walker
The Cardinals have several candidates for this question with how well shortstop Masyn Winn, right-handed pitcher Tink Hence and slugger Moises Gomez have performed thus far. But the answer today, tomorrow and the day after will always be a resounding "Jordan Walker." The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder showed off his advanced maturity by bouncing back from a slow start in drills with a stellar debut in his first Grapefruit League game. In a matter of three innings, the 20-year-old smashed a 430-foot home run, caught a deep fly ball against the wall and legged out an infield single. His five-tool talent is undeniable and he is already making a strong case to be included on the Opening Day roster. The team has even taken to hitting him leadoff and second in the order -- something he’s handled with the guile of a 10-year veteran. -- John Denton

Cubs: RHP Caleb Kilian
When Cubs manager David Ross listed off the candidates for the lone rotation vacancy this spring, Javier Assad, Adrian Sampson and Hayden Wesneski were named. Kilian could have been in that group, but the righty has something to prove in the upcoming season given the ups and downs of 2022. Ranked No. 18 on MLB Pipeline’s new Top 30 list, the 25-year-old Kilian was a key piece in the Kris Bryant trade with the Giants in '21. He reached Chicago in '22, but posted a 10.32 ERA in three outings before returning to Triple-A. In his Cactus League debut, Kilian sat 95-96 mph with his fastballs, topped out at 97 mph and retired the six batters he faced in a two-inning start against the D-backs. Maybe Kilian is not in the hunt for a rotation job right now, but he can very easily pitch himself back into the rotation picture this summer. -- Jordan Bastian

Pirates: C Endy Rodriguez
A week into Spring Training and Rodriguez is already picking up from where he left off last season. Rodriguez, the No. 55 overall prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, is already 3-for-9 with a pair of doubles while seeing time at both catcher and first base. Rodriguez burst onto the scene last year, hitting .323/.407/.590 with 25 home runs across three different levels and being named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year. Rodriguez likely won’t begin the season with the Major League team, but if the 22-year-old continues to impress, he could make the conversation all the more interesting. -- Justice delos Santos

Reds: 1B/3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Ranked No. 7 in the organization by MLB Pipeline, Encarnacion-Strand was acquired from the Twins in the Aug. 2 Tyler Mahle trade and came with a reputation for raw power. He slugged 32 homers with 114 RBIs combined last season between High A and Double-A, and has shown that power in camp. On Wednesday vs. Oakland, he clobbered a grand slam to left field and has also hit balls hard to the opposite field. The 23-year-old, who also batted .304/.368/.587 in 2022, has mostly played third base but has gotten much of his time in camp at first base. That could be his future position when the time comes to find a replacement for Joey Votto. -- Mark Sheldon 

NL West

D-backs: RHP Drey Jameson
Jameson debuted last September and was outstanding over four starts, which put him in the mix for the No. 5 spot in the rotation this spring. In his first two spring outings, he has thrown four scoreless innings and looked impressive in doing so. His two-seam fastball is a huge weapon when paired with his upper-90s four-seamer. Jameson also pitches with a lot of confidence -- he didn’t seem fazed at all last September despite the bigger stage. It’s early in camp, but so far he’s done nothing but help his chances of winning a rotation spot. -- Steve Gilbert

Dodgers: OF James Outman
At the start of spring, it appeared Outman would open the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, but with Gavin Lux going down with an injury and Outman’s strong play, the outfielder is making quite the case to be on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster. With Chris Taylor playing more shortstop following Lux’s injury, the Dodgers could turn to an outfielder to replace Lux in the Opening Day lineup. The fact that Outman hits left-handed also helps his chances. So far this spring, Outman is 6-for-15 with a triple and a homer, and has routinely hit the ball hard. After jumping out to a historic start to his big league career, Outman struck out in six of his last eight at-bats. But there’s no doubt the 25-year-old is opening eyes this spring. -- Juan Toribio

Giants: INF Brett Wisely
Wisely, who was acquired from the Rays in exchange for Minor League outfielder Tristan Peters over the offseason, has impressed by going 3-for-7 with two home runs through his first two Cactus League games this spring. The Giants don’t have a ton of shortstop depth behind 36-year-old Brandon Crawford, so the left-handed-hitting Wisely should be well-positioned to break into the Majors and contribute to the club’s infield mix in 2023. -- Maria Guardado

Padres: LHP Jay Groome
Top prospect Jackson Merrill has been an obvious standout in Padres camp, a 19-year-old shortstop who doesn’t look his age. But there’s little to no chance that Merrill will crack the big league roster. Groome, on the other hand? Suddenly there might be an opening for a rotation spot while Joe Musgrove is out with a fractured left big toe. Groome, the Padres’ return in the trade that sent Eric Hosmer to Boston, has pitched scoreless ball in each of his three spring starts. A 24-year-old former first-round pick, Groome has a chance to reset his career with San Diego -- and he appears determined to make the most of it. -- AJ Cassavell

Rockies: OF Zac Veen
Through his first eight Spring Training games, Veen was hitting .353 with a .421 on-base percentage and a home run. As big a part of his spring is his seven stolen bases. Veen stole 55 combined in High A and Double-A, and 16 more in 21 Arizona Fall League games. He’s been as unafraid in the Cactus League. His seven steals through Saturday led all of Spring Training. -- Thomas Harding