We’re always on to the next thing. Or in this case, the next next thing.
Last week, we updated the MLB Pipeline Top 100 overall, Top 30 team and Top 10 positional lists to include Draft picks and breakout performers from the 2023 season. We do this with an eye on the future in our attempts to determine the Major Leaguers of tomorrow, but we’re also trying to predict the top prospects of the future, too, once many presently in the Minors graduate.
With that in mind, here are our predictions for each organization’s top prospect entering the 2025 season.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Arjun Nimmala, SS (No. 3)
Nimmala was a bit of a surprise to fall all the way down to the No. 20 pick in this year’s Draft, and the Blue Jays may reap the rewards of that drop. The Florida native already shows the potential for above-average power, and his solid speed and strong arm make him a decent bet to stick at shortstop. Swing-and-miss issues may ding the profile for now, but if he can overcome those with pro experience -- and a reminder that Nimmala is only 17 -- there’s the chance for real rocket fuel here.
Orioles: Samuel Basallo, C/1B (No. 5/MLB No. 50)
Much of the top of the Orioles’ Top 30 is already at the upper levels and there are some who feel Basallo already is their second- or third-best prospect. He just turned 19 and has already played his way from Single-A Delmarva, where he hit .299/.384/.503 in 83 games, to High-A Aberdeen. He has an advanced approach, there’s even more power to come and he’s throwing out 33 percent of potential basestealers from behind the dish.
Rays: Carson Williams, SS (No. 2/MLB No. 19)
Williams’ recent promotion to Triple-A Durham is expected to be a temporary one, and even after he returns to the upper Minors next season, we still expect the current 20-year-old to be prospect-eligible heading into 2025 (while we expect Junior Caminero to graduate in ’24). Williams’ power has played well early in his career, thanks to the strength and lift in his swing, and he provides Gold Glove-caliber defense at short. High strikeout rates may hold him back from truly elite status, but he’s certainly making it work so far.
Red Sox: Roman Anthony, OF (No. 2/MLB No. 37)
Anthony got off to slow start in Single-A this season but his underlying metrics were encouraging, so the Red Sox promoted him to High-A at age 19 -- and he has batted .302/425/.617 with 11 homers in 40 games since. Signed for an over-slot $2.5 million as a 2022 second-round pick out of a Florida high school, he has huge power potential and enough athleticism and instincts to possibly stay in center field.
Yankees: Spencer Jones, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 78)
Jones possesses uncommon athleticism for a 6-foot-6, 225-pounder, but his most impressive tool is the raw power he generates with a combination of bat speed, strength and leverage. A 2022 first-rounder from Vanderbilt, he's batting .261/.329/.444 with 12 homers and 30 steals in 93 High-A games.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Guardians: Chase DeLauter, OF (No. 4/MLB No. 90)
Repeated injuries to his left foot delayed the 2022 first-rounder's pro debut until June but DeLauter has hit .372/.393/.547 with 13 extra-base hits in 22 games since arriving in High-A. The James Madison product is a 6-foot-4, 235-pounder with a rare combination of size, athleticism, plate discipline and performance.
Royals: Blake Mitchell, C (No. 1)
Kansas City selected Mitchell eighth overall in July, in part to save money and in part because he has a high ceiling. The 19-year-old backstop brings a selective approach to the pros, and his power should translate quickly to the Minors. He’s a decent receiver who receives his best grades for a 70 cannon that could be advantageous in the modern, speed-driven game. Prep catchers can be projects, but Mitchell could sit atop the KC rankings for years to come.
Tigers: Max Clark, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 15)
As we’ve often written and said, Clark was one of the Big Five in this year’s Draft and could have gone first overall in many other years. Instead, he went third overall to the Tigers and easily slotted into their top spot, where he very well could remain until he graduates. The Indiana native brings plus-plus speed, an advanced hit tool and the skills needed to play a stellar center field. He could be the quickest high-schooler in his class to make the Majors, but he should still be prospect-eligible entering 2025.
Twins: Walker Jenkins, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 16)
No shock here, right? Jenkins was the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s Draft and was part of that very special quintet of players at the top of Draft boards. The North Carolina high school product could have been the No. 1 pick in any other Draft and has the chance to be a special offensive player with the ability to hit for average and power from the left side while potentially staying up the middle in center field. Over his first nine games in the Florida Complex League, all as a DH, he’s hit .342/.375/.605.
White Sox: Noah Schultz, LHP (No. 2/MLB No. 65)
It's easy to dream on Schulz, a 6-foot-9 left-hander with a wipeout slider, a 92-97 mph fastball and a surprising feel for pitching considering his youth and size. A suburban Chicago high school product who went 26th overall in the 2022 Draft, he didn't make his pro debut until June after coming down with a flexor strain during Spring Training but has posted a 1.33 ERA, .175 opponent average and 38/6 K/BB ratio in 27 innings in Single-A.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Nelson Rada, OF (No. 4)
The Angels move prospects so quickly up to Los Angeles, it’s a little hard to predict who will still be in the system. (That’s why 2023 first-rounder Nolan Schanuel isn’t the choice here.) Rada, who signed for $1.85 million in January 2022, has made an impressive jump from the Dominican Summer League to full-season ball this year at age 17. He’s got a really good approach, limits strikeouts and is approaching 50 steals, with the potential for more extra-base pop to come.
Astros: Jacob Melton, OF (No. 1)
The Astros considered Melton with their 2022 first-round pick and were delighted to find the Oregon State star still available with their second-rounder. He has the potential for solid tools across the board and is hitting .249/.344/.471 with 18 homers and 40 steals in 82 High-A games.
A’s: Jacob Wilson, SS (No. 2/MLB No. 81)
We paused for a minute on this one because Wilson, the A’s first-rounder this year, is the kind of advanced hitter -- he struck out 12 times in his last two college seasons … combined! -- who could really move fast. But we’ll give him one full year in the Minors before he’s knocking on the door. He’s off to a nifty little .341/.412/.455 start while playing shortstop. Keep an eye on the extra-base impact. If he starts driving the ball more than some expected, watch out.
Mariners: Cole Young, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 39)
He’s already No. 1 in the system and there’s no reason to think anyone currently there will overtake him, though Harry Ford is close and Gabriel Gonzalez keeps getting better. But Young, the club’s 2022 first-rounder, has used his advanced approach (same amount of walks as strikeouts to date in 2023) to perform his way from Single-A to High-A, and he has a .918 OPS in 28 games with Everett since his promotion.
Rangers: Wyatt Langford, OF (No. 2/MLB No. 13)
Langford signed for a Rangers-record $8 million as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 Draft after starring at Florida, topping NCAA Division I with 28 doubles and 52 extra-base hits while taking the Gators to the College World Series finals this spring. He features well-above-average power to all fields and is also a disciplined hitter with solid speed. He's off to a .333/.458/.688 start in pro ball with 11 extra-base hits in 13 games, mostly in High-A.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Hurston Waldrep, RHP (No. 2)
Current No. 1 AJ Smith-Shawver will have graduated, so going with the No. 2 guy -- and their first-round pick this year -- made a lot of sense. Waldrep has the pure stuff to top many lists, and if he can refine his command, he could quickly move onto the Top 100 and into the conversation of better pitching prospects in the game. Keep an eye on Spencer Schwellenbach if you’re looking for a backup choice here.
Marlins: Noble Meyer, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 59)
The top high school pitcher in the 2023 Draft, Meyer went 10th overall out of Jesuit HS (Portland, Ore.). He works at 94-97 mph and touches 100 mph with his fastball, misses a lot of bats with a mid-80s slider with two-plane break and has a promising changeup as well. He repeats his athletic delivery well and also earns praise for his intelligence and competitiveness.
Mets: Jett Williams, SS/OF (No. 3/MLB No. 83)
For the point of this exercise, we’re going to say Luisangel Acuña and Drew Gilbert will both graduate next season (and we feel more confident about the former than the latter). That leaves Williams in the top spot for 2025, and he’s certainly a capable candidate as an on-base machine with plus speed and the ability to stick up the middle, either at short or center. The 2022 first-rounder’s eye and ability to draw walks should translate the higher he climbs.
Nationals: Brady House, 3B (No. 3/MLB No. 43)
Dylan Crews and James Wood have a great chance at forming two-thirds of Washington’s Major League outfield next year, leaving House as our remaining current Top 100 candidate. Having recovered from a 2022 back injury, House has packed a significant punch at the plate this season, bringing his trademark power from the right side while also exhibiting the ability to hit for average. Owner of a plus arm, the 20-year-old is now a full-time third baseman and should get comfortable there before he sees D.C.
Phillies: Andrew Painter, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 29)
If things had gone according to plan, Painter would have made his big league debut this year, at age 20, and either graduated now or early in 2024. Instead, he had Tommy John surgery in July, which should keep him off a competitive mound at least until the very end of 2024. So it will be 2025 when we will see a fully restored Painter do his thing, with the expectation that he’ll get back to doing what he was doing and make a beeline to Philly.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Brock Wilken, 3B (No. 8)
Jackson Chourio, Sal Frelick, Jeferson Quero, Jacob Misorowski, Tyler Black, Robert Gasser, Carlos F. Rodriguez -- all are at Double-A or above and should be in the Majors by Opening Day 2025. So we’ll go with 2023 first-rounder Brock Wilken, the all-time ACC record holder with 71 career homers at Wake Forest. Wilken made decent strides with his swing decisions last spring, leading to the belief that he can sustain an approach that allows him to tap into his prodigious pop. Debating him versus Luis Lara -- an 18-year-old switch-hitter with a special hit tool but much less pop -- could be a fun debate for the 2024-25 offseason.
Cardinals: Chase Davis, OF (No. 3)
Tink Hence might cut it close next year if he continues to build innings and joins St. Louis in the second half, as his current trajectory might indicate. So that leaves the next-best candidate as 2023 first-rounder Davis -- a former Arizona outfielder with above-average power, 55-grade speed and a plus arm from the grass. His swing can be evocative of Carlos González’s from the left side, and his approach improved in the spring, giving evaluators hope his hit tool can be closer to average after earlier swing-and-miss issues.
Cubs: Matt Shaw, SS (No. 6)
The highest pick ever out of the University of Maryland, Shaw won the Cape Cod League batting title (.360) and MVP award in 2022 before going 13th overall this July. He combines aggressiveness and discipline at the plate and has hit .429/.481/.755 with three homers and five steals in his first 13 games as a pro, mostly in High-A.
Pirates: Bubba Chandler, RHP (No. 9)
The thinking is that Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh's No. 1 prospect and No. 1 pick, will get to the big leagues next year and have graduated, along with at least seven of the Pirates’ Top 8. Termarr Johnson might still be a prospect, and he’d be a fine choice, but we love Chandler’s upside and think he’s just waiting to break out the further removed he gets from playing both ways (not to mention playing football in high school).
Reds: Rhett Lowder, RHP (No. 2/MLB No. 44)
Rolling the dice here a little because it shouldn’t take Lowder long to be big league-ready, but here’s banking on him still being prospect-eligible to start the 2025 season. We always talk about Lowder, the No. 7 pick in this year’s Draft, and his incredible feel for pitching, his command and his competitiveness, but that might be giving his stuff short shrift. He might be much better than the “touch and feel” guy we’ve made him out to be, so don’t be surprised to see him front a big league rotation in the future.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Druw Jones, OF (No. 2/MLB No. 35)
Shoulder, quad and hamstring injuries have severely limited Jones’ Minor League playing time since the D-backs selected him second overall last year, and he’s also struck out more than anyone would like (in a small sample) when he has played. He may be more of an offensive project than many expected when he first entered pro ball, but the raw tools are otherwise too good to overlook. Jones is a plus-plus runner with 60-grade power and should stick in center. Even if the hit tool settles in slightly below-average, that is still a potential superstar.
Dodgers: Dalton Rushing, C/1B (No. 1/MLB No. 46)
Stuck behind 2021 No. 1 overall pick Henry Davis in his first two seasons at Louisville, Rushing blossomed in his third and became the Dodgers' top pick (second round) in 2022. He stands out with his left-handed power and his plate discipline and is batting .221/.402/.410 with nine homers in 74 games in High-A. He also offers solid arm strength and good leadership skills behind the plate.
Giants: Bryce Eldridge, 1B/RHP (No. 4)
Eldridge was the best two-way prospect in the 2023 Draft and will get the chance to both hit and pitch as a professional, though most clubs preferred him as a position player. A Virginia high school product who was the MVP of the 2022 18-and-under World Club after leading Team USA to the gold medal, he has big raw power, some feel for hitting and a promising three-pitch mix highlighted by a fastball that reaches 96 mph.
Padres: Ethan Salas, C (No. 1/MLB No. 5)
This hype train has no brakes. Since signing for $5.6 million back in January, Salas has skipped over the complex leagues completely, hit .267/.350/.487 in 48 games at Single-A and headed to High-A at just 17 years old. He’s an advanced receiver behind the plate too and works well with pitching staffs despite his youth and relative inexperience. It’s a possibility he could reach The Show before he turns 20, but he should still be prospect-eligible for 2025.
Rockies: Adael Amador, SS (No. 1/No. 21)
All Amador has done since signing is hit, with only surgery on his hamate slowing him this year. He has a .928 OPS this year and has hit .299/.406/.469 for his career with an approach that belies his age (20). Could he hit his way to Colorado next year? It’s not out of the question, but a full year at the upper levels wouldn’t hurt, especially after missing time in 2023, so look for him to be considered one of the top young pure hitters in the Minors when 2025 kicks off.