Here are the Top 10 1B prospects for 2024

January 19th, 2024

In an ideal world, teams would have a real thumper at first base, a guy who can sit somewhere in the middle of the lineup and be a real run producer. The teams with prospects on this top 10 list hope these players can fit the prototype for the infield corner position.

There’s been a good amount of turnover from the 2023 preseason version of this list, with the top two -- Triston Casas of the Red Sox and the A’s Tyler Soderstrom -- graduating off prospect lists, as have fellow A’s prospect Jordan Diaz and the Rockies’ Michael Toglia. The Rays’ Xavier Isaac jumps from nine to the top spot while Kyle Manzardo moves up one slot, from three to two, albeit with a different organization.

The Cubs could have an interesting logjam in the future. If the recently acquired Michael Busch settles in at first in Chicago, they’ll then have two on the top 10 below at the upper levels of the system waiting for an opportunity.

The Top 10 (ETA)

1. Xavier Isaac, Rays (2026)
2. Kyle Manzardo, Guardians (2024)
3. Nolan Schanuel, Angels (2024)
4. Abimelec Ortiz, Rangers (2025)
5. Tyler Locklear, Mariners (2024)
6. Matt Mervis, Cubs (2024)
7. Blaze Jordan, Red Sox (2025)
8. Nathan Martorella, Padres (2025)
9. Spencer Horwitz, Blue Jays (2024)
10. Haydn McGeary, Cubs (2025)
Complete list »

Top 10 prospects by position:
1/16: RHP
1/17: LHP
1/18: C
1/19: 1B
1/22: 2B
1/23: 3B
1/24: SS
1/25: OF
1/26: Top 100

Top tools

Hit: Schanuel (60)
As a junior at Florida Atlantic in 2023, Schanuel led all Division I hitters in batting average (.447), on-base percentage (.615) and walks (71). He left FAU with a career .386/.516/.698 line and then made a beeline to the big leagues after the Angels took him in the first round last July, posting a .992 OPS over 22 Minor League games and then reaching base in all 29 games during his Major League debut.

Power: Isaac (65)
Isaac was a bit of a surprise first-rounder in 2022, but he started to show why the Rays liked him enough to take him No. 29 overall during his first full season of pro ball. He started to really tap into his considerable raw pop while playing across two levels of A ball, mashing 19 homers and slugging .521. He made a huge splash during his 12-game taste of High-A ball, with a 1.389 OPS and six homers.

Run: Schanuel (50)
There are no speedsters in this set, and teams typically don’t look for wheels at this position. Schanuel won’t win many races, but he’s a solid runner with good instincts, which enabled him to go 25-for-27 in stolen-base attempts in 2022 and 2023 combined at FAU.

Arm: Isaac, Schanuel, Locklear, Mervis, Jordan, Martorella, McGeary (50)
No hoses here, but some of these guys were third basemen in the past and had enough arm from the hot corner, although not necessarily the range, to stick there.

Field: Isaac, Manzardo, Schanuel (50)
This year’s set of first basemen don’t seem like they’ll contend for Gold Gloves at this point, but this trio will be just fine at the spot. Isaac has enhanced his conditioning to help his agility in and around the bag and Manzardo has worked to improve his overall defensive play as well.


Highest ceiling: Isaac
Isaac has a bigger up arrow next to his name than anyone on this list, with many evaluators feeling he’s just scratching the surface of his offensive potential. The left-handed hitter will be just 20 for all of the 2024 season and we might be looking at the best power hitting prospect in the game by the end of the year.

Highest floor: Schanuel
The power hasn’t shown up during his brief pro career, yet. But given how advanced his approach is -- he’s walked more than he’s struck out in 51 total games -- he’s a pretty safe bet to hit well enough to be a solid big leaguer ... and there is going to be some extra-base authority to come.

Rookie of the Year Award candidate: Manzardo
Opportunity and ability might meet up here perfectly. The Guardians got Manzardo from the Rays in the Aaron Civale deal last July. He’s long had a reputation as an advanced hitter and he started showing some developing power in the Arizona Fall League last year (.565 SLG), with more to come now that he’s put a shoulder injury that slowed him last year behind him.

Highest riser: Ortiz
Ortiz is a product of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico who went on to Florida SouthWestern State College, a two-year school, before signing as a nondrafted free agent in 2021 for just $20,000. Unranked on the Rangers’ Top 30 at the start of the 2023 season, he burst on the scene this past season, finishing among the Minor League leaders in home runs (31), slugging (.619) and OPS (.990) and then posted a 1.060 OPS in the AFL.

Humblest beginning: McGeary
McGeary wasn’t on the Cubs’ Top 30 either at the start of the 2023 season. Chicago nabbed him out of Division II Colorado Mesa University in Round 15 of the 2022 Draft and signed him for the slot for Day 3 draftees ($125K). He’s moved quickly through the system, reaching Double-A in 2023 while his raw power started showing up (19 homers).

Most to prove: Mervis
In 2022, Mervis jumped on the prospect scene by hitting .309 with 36 homers and 119 RBIs while reaching Triple-A, looking like the Cubs’ first baseman of the future. He didn’t get a lot of time to show what he could in Chicago, just 99 plate appearances, but had just a .531 OPS in that time. He did post a .932 OPS in Triple-A last year, but he’s turning 26 in April and the Cubs brought in Michael Busch to presumably play first in the big leagues, so Mervis will have to show he belongs in the lineup.

Keep an eye on: Garrett Forrester, Pirates
Forrester was a three-year starter at Oregon State and did nothing but hit there, culminating with a junior year in which he hit .341/.485/.522 with 10 homers. That landed him in the third round with the Pirates, an organization that does not have a lot of depth at this position in the system. Don’t be surprised to see Forrester at least make it to Double-A in his first full season thanks to his advanced approach at the plate.