Here are the 24 youngest players on Opening Day rosters

March 28th, 2024

When 20-year-old Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio takes the field in New York on Friday, he will become the first player born in the year 2004 or later to play in the Major Leagues.

MLB's No. 2 prospect is the youngest player to make an Opening Day roster this year, and he takes the distinction with a significant amount of clearance, as he's ten months and 22 days younger than the second-youngest player, Jackson Merrill of the Padres.

Ten of the 11 youngest players to open the season in The Show this year are position players -- the first four on this list will all be roaming outfields for their respective club. In fact, the most prominent positions are shortstop (nine) and outfielder (eight). Only two of the youngest 24 players to open the season in the bigs are hurlers -- Anthony Molina and Kyle Harrison.

The Cardinals boast the most youth with three players on this list. The Rangers, Rockies, Angels and Tigers have two apiece. 2023's AL Rookie of the year Gunnar Henderson enters the year as the 15th youngest player and 2022's NL and AL ROYs, Michael Harris II and Julio Rodríguez, still come in at No. 17 and No. 21, respectively, despite already impressive résumés in the Majors.

1. Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers (age 20, DOB: March 11, 2004)
Although he hasn’t played a game in the Majors yet, MLB’s No. 2 overall prospect earned an eight-year, $82 million contract, the largest ever for a player before their big league debut. It’s well earned: The Venezuelan phenom has consistently been one of the top performers at each Minor League level despite being one of the youngest. Between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville last year, he became the fifth 20-homer, 40-steal teenager in Minors history.

2. Jackson Merrill, SS/OF, Padres (age 20, DOB: April 19, 2003)
Merrill only played five games in the outfield prior to the 2024 season (all in left field), but MLB's No. 12 overall prospect earned San Diego’s starting center field job thanks to outstanding bat control and impressive athleticism. It’s obviously a small sample size, but all five times he made contact in the Seoul Series qualified as a hard hit with an average exit velocity of 101.6 mph, giving an idea of his power potential.

3. Evan Carter, OF, Rangers (age 21, DOB: Aug. 29, 2002)
Carter is an AL Rookie of the Year heavyweight after tearing up the Majors in a brief stint to end 2023: .306/.413/.645 with five homers in 23 regular-season games; .300/.417/.500 with one homer in 17 postseason games. MLB's No. 5 overall prospect has outstanding plate discipline and plus speed that gives him a high floor, and if his power continues to grow, he’ll be a true five-tool star.

4. Jordan Walker, OF, Cardinals (age 21, DOB: May 22, 2002)
MLB's No. 4 prospect heading into the 2023 season, Walker overcame an April demotion to slash .277/.346/.455 over the final four months of the season. Although he only hit 16 homers in 465 plate appearances, more should be on the way, as Walker derives plenty of power from his 6-foot-6 frame. His top-of-the-line arm strength helps counterbalance a lack of range in right field.

5. Masyn Winn, SS, Cardinals (age 22, DOB: March 21, 2002)
Winn is a solid defender with an above-average bat, but his two carrying tools are 70-grade speed (29.2 ft/sec average sprint speed) and 80-grade arm strength (92.4 mph average). Although his bat hasn't translated to the Majors quite yet (.211 wOBA in 137 PAs), Winn had some bad luck last year (.250 xwOBA and .196 BABIP) and hit .288 with 18 homers at Triple-A Memphis before his promotion.

6. Nolan Schanuel, 1B, Angels (age 22, DOB: Feb. 14, 2002)
Schanuel's rise to the Majors was historic last year, as he only needed 22 games in the Minors before making The Show after going 11th overall in last July's Draft. And he was quite effective mere months removed from playing at Florida Atlantic, reaching base in all 29 games and recording more walks (20) than strikeouts (19). The next question is whether his college power will follow to the pros after he slugged .330 in 132 PAs with the Angels.

7. Anthony Molina, RHP, Rockies (age 22, DOB: Jan. 12, 2002)
Molina is the youngest pitcher in the Majors, and he’s largely earned a spot because the Rockies selected him in the Rule 5 Draft. Colorado believes its No. 27 prospect can be a starter long-term, but the Venezuela native will start the year in relief. Molina's fastball can touch 97 mph, and his repeatable delivery has allowed him to register 3.43 strikeouts per walk across four Minor League seasons in the Rays' farm system.

8. Elly De La Cruz, SS/3B, Reds (age 22, DOB: Jan. 11, 2002)
No rookie -- and perhaps player -- had a more exciting 2023 season than De La Cruz, who was in the 79th percentile in average exit velocity (91.2 mph), 98th percentile in arm strength (95.9 mph) and the top percentile in sprint speed (30.5 ft/sec). All as a switch-hitting, 6-foot-5 shortstop. There are some rough edges to sand down -- he struck out at a 33.7 percent clip -- but De La Cruz is a walking highlight reel with limitless potential.

9. Francisco Alvarez, C, Mets (age 22, DOB: Nov. 19, 2001)
Alvarez has an elite combination of power (25 homers, .228 ISO in 423 PAs) and defense (95th percentile pitch framing). That’s a great season for any catcher, let alone one who was 21 last year. A .284 OBP held back his wOBA to just .310, although his .222 BABIP is sure to improve over a full season and make him one of the better-hitting catchers in the Majors.

10. Wyatt Langford, OF, Rangers (age 22, DOB: Nov. 15, 2001)
Only two hitters made their first Opening Day roster in fewer professional games than Langford. That’s a testament to the hitting ability -- which includes a .360/.480/.677 line across 44 games at four levels -- of MLB's No. 6 prospect. The fourth pick in the 2023 Draft generates plus-plus power thanks to natural strength and bat speed, and his plate discipline (36 BBs, 34 Ks in the Minors) portends an easier transition to the Majors.

11. Colt Keith, 3B/2B, Tigers (age 22, DOB: Aug. 14, 2001)
Fully healthy in 2023 after battling injuries earlier in his career, Keith, MLB's No. 22 prospect, slashed .306/.380/.552 in a breakout season that helped him earn a six-year, $28.6 million contract before making his Major League debut. The infielder produces excellent exit velocities from the left side and crucially maintained a manageable strikeout rate at 21 percent. He's passable on defense, and being able to stick at second base would boost his value.

12. Kyle Harrison, LHP, Giants (age 22, DOB: Aug. 12, 2001)
Harrison's stuff is good on its own -- particularly his riding fastball up to 97 mph -- but his excellent extension and low arm slow makes him even harder to hit. Opposing hitters can attest after striking out 105 times in 65 2/3 Triple-A innings last year. Harrison, MLB's No. 23 prospect, wasn't nearly as effective in seven MLB starts to end the season (5.53 FIP), but he can be a top-of-the-rotation starter with improved control.

The next 12:

13. Jared Jones, RHP, Pirates (age 22, DOB: Aug. 6, 2001)
14. Darell Hernaiz, SS, Athletics (age 22, DOB: Aug. 3, 2001)
15. Ezequiel Tovar, SS, Rockies (age 22, DOB: Aug. 1, 2001)
16. Gunnar Henderson, SS, Orioles (age 22, DOB: June 29, 2001)
17. Anthony Volpe, SS, Yankees (age 22: DOB: April 28, 2001)
18. Michael Harris II, OF, Braves (age 23: DOB: March 7, 2001)
19. Victor Scott II, OF, Cardinals (age 23, DOB: Feb. 12, 2001)
20. Zach Neto, SS, Angels (age 23, DOB: Jan. 31, 2001)
21. Brayan Rocchio, SS, Guardians (age 23, DOB: Jan. 13, 2001)
22. Julio Rodríguez, OF, Mariners (age 23, DOB: Dec. 29, 2000)
23. Curtis Mead, 3B/2B, Rays (age 23, DOB: Oct. 26, 2000)
24. CJ Abrams, SS, Nationals (age 23, DOB: Oct. 3, 2000)