The 2023 Rookie of the Year races are over with Gunnar Henderson (American League) and Corbin Carroll (National League) crowned as this year’s unanimous winners. That marks the second time that MLB Pipeline’s preseason No. 1 and 2 prospects have won Rookie of the Year honors following the feats of Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. in 2018.
Here at Pipeline, we’re already turning the page to 2024.
Last week, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo drafted 10 Rookie of the Year picks on the MLB Pipeline Podcast. Now, we’re expanding that list to 30. Here is one 2024 Rookie of the Year candidate for every club. (Note: this does not include Yoshinobu Yamamoto or Jung Hoo Lee, who will be rookie-eligible next year but haven’t signed with MLB clubs as of Tuesday.)
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Ricky Tiedemann, LHP (No. 1/MLB No. 31)
After missing time with shoulder and biceps issues this summer, the 21-year-old southpaw looked healthy and dominant in the Arizona Fall League, winning the circuit’s Pitcher of the Year honors. His fastball-slider-changeup mix could all play in the Majors right now, setting him up for a noteworthy Spring Training. The Jays could certainly call on Tiedemann early, and given his ceiling, an innings limit might be the only detriment to a run at AL Rookie of the Year.
Orioles: Heston Kjerstad, OF (No. 3/MLB No. 24)
Could No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday force his way into the Orioles’ infield early in 2024? Absolutely. But the infield depth and his youth made us pause for a second, thinking he could spend more time in Triple-A. The outfield is also crowded, but look for Kjerstad and his left-handed swing to get enough at-bats in both corner spots and DH to compete for the hardware.
Rays: Junior Caminero, 3B/SS (No. 1/MLB No. 6)
Caminero clubbed 31 homers and slugged .591 over 117 games -- with the exit velocities to back up the numbers -- at High-A and Double-A last season, prompting the Rays to call him up at just 20 years old for the stretch run. Given the quality of the right-handed slugger’s contact, Tampa Bay shouldn’t be afraid to turn to him early in 2024 either as an infield option. Caminero would be a candidate to hit 25-plus homers over a full campaign; only Gunnar Henderson (28), Corbin Carroll (25) and Francisco Alvarez (25) reached that plateau in 2023.
Red Sox: Ceddanne Rafaela, OF/SS (No. 3/MLB No. 72)
One of the best and most versatile defensive prospects in baseball, Rafaela hit .302/.349/.520 and recorded his second straight 20-20 season in the Minors before playing in 28 games for Boston down the stretch. Signed for $10,000 out of Curacao in 2017, he plays bigger than his listed size of 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds and is capable of starting at just about any position the Red Sox might need.
Yankees: Everson Pereira, OF (No. 3/MLB No. 75)
Jasson Domínguez might have been our Yankees pick if he hadn't required Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow, but we'll go with a different Top 100 outfielder instead. Pereira turned pro for $1.5 million out of Venezuela in 2017 and has developed into a player with solid power and speed, batting .300/.373/.548 with 18 homers and 11 steals in 81 games between Double-A and Triple-A before making 26 starts for the Yankees in the season's final six weeks.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Guardians: Kyle Manzardo, 1B (No. 2/MLB No. 58)
Acquired from the Rays for Aaron Civale in July, Manzardo is one of the better pure hitters in the Minors and showed burgeoning power in the Arizona Fall League, where he finished third with six homers in 22 games. He batted .242/.343/.475 with 17 homers in 94 Triple-A contests despite dealing with a shoulder injury and could add some much-needed pop to Cleveland's lineup while filling a hole at first base.
Royals: Nick Loftin, UTIL (No. 5)
Loftin got his Major League career off to a solid start with a .323/.368/.435 line over 19 games in September while getting time at third base, shortstop and first base. He’s also seen time in center field, left field and second in the Minors, so Kansas City will have options to find him playing time. The 25-year-old didn’t expand the zone much in the Majors, and that hit tool will be the key to him getting consistent playing time at one or multiple spots.
Tigers: Colt Keith, 3B/2B (No. 2/MLB No. 25)
Keith enjoyed his first fully healthy Minor League season last year and finished with 27 homers, 68 extra-base hits and a .552 slugging percentage across 126 games at Double-A and Triple-A. The call didn’t come late in 2023, but it should early next spring. He notably played more second than third over the final six weeks, but the Tigers aren’t loaded with third basemen at present either. There will be opportunities for Keith to crack the roster, and it’s his easy plus power that will drive his candidacy.
Twins: Brooks Lee, SS (No. 2/MLB No. 18)
While there isn’t an obvious opening out of the gate for Lee, the 2022 first-round pick's advanced bat allowed him to reach Triple-A in his first full season and should allow him to compete in Minnesota whenever the phone rings for the first time. There’s more power to come after he hit 16 homers across two levels and he’s always going to draw walks and limit strikeouts. The Twins might have to get creative by having Royce Lewis play second or move him back to the outfield, with Lee settling in at the hot corner, but they’ll make it work.
White Sox: Colson Montgomery, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 17)
Tim Anderson's departure clears the way for Montgomery to start at shortstop for the White Sox in the near future, though he'll probably require some time in Triple-A first. The 2021 first-rounder from an Indiana high school continues to draw Corey Seager comparisons as a large shortstop with a ton of offensive upside, and he hit .287/.456/.484 with eight homers in 64 games between Rookie ball, High-A and Double-A after missing time with oblique and back maladies.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Nolan Schanuel, 1B (No. 1/MLB No. 98)
We’ve agreed that from now on, any talk of “quickest to the big leagues” in any Draft class will start with whoever the Angels selected. Schanuel, of course, was the first member of the Class of 2023 to make it to the highest level and it’s clear his approach (.402 OBP, more walks than strikeouts) is going to play just fine. The power hasn’t shown up that much as a pro (though he did slug .487 in 22 Minor League games), but after hitting 35 homers over his last two years at Florida Atlantic, it’s in there.
Astros: Spencer Arrighetti, RHP (No. 3)
The Astros have a seemingly endless supply of unheralded pitchers who become key cogs on their big league staff and their next could be Arrighetti, a 2021 sixth-rounder from Louisiana-Lafayette. With a pair of plus pitches in a 92-97 mph fastball with good metrics and a low-80s slider, he posted a 4.40 ERA, .217 opponent average and 141 strikeouts in 124 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
A’s: Mason Miller, RHP (No. 2)
We’re rolling the dice a little here because health/durability is a concern. A shoulder strain derailed him in 2022 and last year, a mild UCL sprain sidelined him for four months. To his credit, he did return to the mound late last season and showed the same triple-digit heat as he has in the past. The plan is to get him into the rotation and if he can stay away from the injured list, he could head the A’s rotation.
Mariners: Prelander Berroa, RHP (No. 15)
Emerson Hancock deserves a look, but health questions and a deep rotation had us searching elsewhere. Berroa’s full-time move to the bullpen paid dividends in 2023, and he made his big league debut last July. He struck out nearly 14 per nine and saved six games in Double-A last season, and his upper-90s fastball and his hard slider could see a lot of innings at the back end of the Mariners’ bullpen in ’24.
Rangers: Evan Carter, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 8)
Who else? Carter sparked the Rangers into the playoffs by batting .306/.413/.645 as a September callup, then starred in October as they won their first-ever World Series championship. With his uncanny plate discipline, five-tool potential and a guaranteed job in 2024, the surprise 2020 second-rounder from a Tennessee high school is the leading candidate to become American League Rookie of the Year.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 53)
After going from High-A to the big leagues in one season, it’s still not exactly clear what Smith-Shawver is, but we know his stuff will play. The fastball flirts with triple-digits and his bat-missing slider reaches he upper-80s, while he started folding back in a slower curve and the changeup can be effective. The signing of Reynaldo López makes the rotation competition a bit more stiff, but Smith-Shawver’s stuff and feel should get him plenty of big league innings.
Marlins: Jacob Amaya, SS (No. 5)
The Marlins may not have a prime Rookie of the Year candidate but the slick-fielding Amaya could take over at shortstop after getting into four big league games last season. Acquired from the Dodgers for Miguel Rojas in January, he also offers a disciplined approach and some sneaky pop that translated into a .252/.345/.407 line with 15 homers in 128 Triple-A games.
Mets: Ronny Mauricio, 2B/OF/SS (No. 4/MLB No. 87)
The 22-year-old switch-hitter can certainly hit the ball incredibly hard; his 117.3 mph double in his first MLB at-bat on Sept. 1 produced the highest exit velocity by a Met all season. Mauricio did expand the zone, however, leading to swing-and-miss in his game that wasn’t unexpected given his Minor League profile. That will need to improve to get the most of his pop, but the slugging ability alone will get the Dominican Republic native – who primarily played second in the bigs – looks in Queens.
Nationals: Dylan Crews, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 4)
Crews’ Double-A time didn’t entirely go to plan, but after a long spring at LSU that included a run to a College World Series title, that can’t be held against him. The second overall pick still has one of the best hit tools after massively improving his K/BB ratio in 2023, and he backs it up with plus power that helped him slug .713 in the spring. After an offseason of rest, Crews should be pushing for the Majors right out of the gate in his first full season, and it should be a fun race to see if he or James Wood reaches the capital first.
Phillies: Orion Kerkering, RHP (No. 7)
All Kerkering did in his first full season is pitch his way from Single-A to the Phillies’ postseason roster. His upper-90s fastball and nasty sweeping slider were very effective against hitters at all levels and he filled up the strike zone in his climb to the big leagues. He should get plenty of high-leverage opportunities for a playoff contender.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Jackson Chourio, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 2)
The Crew could have multiple ROY candidates next year with Jeferson Quero, Jacob Misiorowski, Tyler Black and Robert Gasser all expected to arrive in Milwaukee. But Chourio has the highest ceiling of the bunch and would fit the mold of recent NL winners Corbin Carroll and Michael Harris II as power-speed types who can provide defensive value on the grass as well. Even with young players like Sal Frelick, Garrett Mitchell and Joey Wiemer competing for outfield time, Chourio is the potential superstar a club makes space for when he’s ready.
Cardinals: Masyn Winn, SS/2B (No. 1/MLB No. 30)
Winn debuted with St. Louis on Aug. 18 but struggled at the plate with a .172/.230/.238 line over 37 games. (He fell eight at-bats short of graduation.) The good news: he didn’t chase, whiff or strike out much in that span, and both his arm strength and speed ranked among the best in The Show. Winn will need to focus on making more impact when he does swing, but he’ll still only be 22 come next Opening Day with a full offseason to adjust and prepare.
Cubs: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 12)
Crow-Armstrong likely will get some more Triple-A seasoning after going 0-for-14 in a September callup, but he's capable of winning a Gold Glove in center field as a rookie if the Cubs play him enough. Acquired from the Mets in a 2021 trade for Javier Báez and Trevor Williams, he also displayed his offensive upside by slashing .283/.365/.511 with 20 homers and 37 steals in 107 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
Pirates: Paul Skenes, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 3)
It’s a question of when, not if, the No. 1 pick in this year’s Draft makes it to Pittsburgh’s rotation. He touched Double-A last season and his premium stuff could get big league hitters out right now. If the Pirates are serious about taking a step forward, he should get a long audition in Spring Training and even if he doesn’t begin the year on the roster, he should get enough starts, and dominate enough, to pitch his way into contention.
Reds: Noelvi Marte, 3B (No. 1/MLB No. 23)
The guy most often brought up about not being taken in our ROY candidate draft on the podcast last week, and for good reason. He finished his big league debut last year with a .316/.366/.456 line and third base should be his from Opening Day on in 2024. There’s more power to come, for sure, and he should put up the kind of numbers that Rookie of the Year voters love.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Jordan Lawlar, SS (No. 1/MLB No. 10)
Arizona gave Lawlar a brief 14-game callup during the regular season and kept him around for every postseason roster, including in the World Series. The 21-year-old shortstop’s speed, defense and chase rate played best at the top level, and after he hit 20 homers at Double-A and Triple-A (albeit in hitter-friendly environs), there should be more power coming. Expect Lawlar to challenge Geraldo Perdomo for starting time at shortstop in the spring and to win the job outright eventually.
Dodgers: Michael Busch, 3B/2B (No. 2/MLB No. 44)
Busch has little left to prove in the Minors after winning Pacific Coast League MVP honors, leading the Triple-A circuit in slugging (.618, second in the Minors) and OPS (1.049, also second) and ranking second in batting (.323) and third in on-base percentage (.431). The 2019 first-rounder from North Carolina also homered twice in the Majors and could factor into the lineup at third base, second base or left field after working diligently to become an adequate defender.
Giants: Kyle Harrison, LHP (No. 1/MLB No. 20)
An over-slot 2020 third-round pick from a California high school, Harrison has a swing-and-miss 92-97 mph fastball and also dodges a lot of bats with a plus slider and solid changeup. He recorded a 4.15 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings during his big league debut after notching 105 whiffs in 65 2/3 Triple-A frames and looks to have sewn up a spot in San Francisco's rotation.
Padres: Jairo Iriarte, RHP (No. 6)
San Diego moved Iriarte to the Double-A San Antonio bullpen midseason with a potential eye on sending him straight to the bigs in the second half, but he moved back to the rotation instead, finishing with 51 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings at the Minors’ second-highest level. The 21-year-old right-hander has three potential above-average pitches in his fastball, slider and changeup, and with Blake Snell, Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo all free agents, the Padres have rotation openings to fill.
Rockies: Hunter Goodman, 1B/OF (No. 12)
His days of being considered a catcher may be over, but it’s pretty clear Goodman’s power is going to play after hitting 70 home runs over his last two years in the Minor Leagues. It’s a power over hit profile, but this guy could hit 40 out in a full year with Coors Field as his home.