This is as loaded an outfield group as ever.
There is a potential star who signed a record $82 million extension. There are four of the top five picks in last year’s Draft. There is plus-plus power, speed for days and elite defense. There is the No. 3 hitter on a World Series team, for crying out loud.
To give you a sneak peek beyond the Top 10, there will be 26 total outfielders on the Top 100 heading into 2024. That’s the second-highest total for a single outfield group since MLB Pipeline began ranking overall prospects 20 years ago. Improved athleticism across the game has only made those who get to roam the grass pop all the more.
But here’s another thing – there could be a lot of turnover with this crew too. Seven of our Top 10 outfielders have 2024 ETAs and appear likely to graduate this summer, and there’s always the possibility that one or two more could beat their expected timelines and reach The Show early – at which point it will be time for the next loaded batch of outfielders to step forward.
The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Jackson Chourio, Brewers (2024)
2. Evan Carter, Rangers (2024)
3. Wyatt Langford, Rangers (2024)
4. Dylan Crews, Nationals (2024)
5. Walker Jenkins, Twins (2026)
6. Max Clark, Tigers (2026)
7. James Wood, Nationals (2024)
8. Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cubs (2024)
9. Colton Cowser, Orioles (2024)
10. Roman Anthony, Red Sox (2025)
Complete list »
Hit: Crews (70)
Last year’s Golden Spikes Award winner did a tremendous job of honing in on the zone in his final spring at LSU, posting a 46/71 K/BB ratio over 71 games that led to a .426 average and .567 OBP. Those numbers would pop anywhere but especially coming from a loaded conference like the SEC. Crews took some lumps at Double-A on the pro side following a long spring and summer but is expected to be back on the fast track toward Washington.
Power: Langford, Wood (70)
Langford launched 21 homers and posted a .784 slugging percentage in 64 games during Florida’s march to the College World Series and added 10 more and a .677 mark in 44 games on the pro side on his route to Triple-A. He would have plus-plus power regardless, but his swing decisions help him get to every ounce of it. Wood has a massive 6-foot-6 frame that mostly pointed to projection until he broke out with 26 homers of his own between High-A and Double-A in 2023. He’ll only be 21 on Opening Day and could push for 35-plus long balls no matter where he lands in the summer.
Run: Chourio, Carter, Clark, Crow-Armstrong (70)
An electric group of speedsters dominate the grass. Chourio led the group with 44 steals in the upper Minors last season with Crow-Armstrong (37) coming in just behind. Don’t be surprised if Clark -- last year’s No. 3 overall pick -- threatens or even passes those numbers in his first full season.
Arm: Clark (65)
The newest top Tigers prospect was up to 97 mph off the mound during his time as an Indiana high-schooler and registered four outfield assists in a short 23-game span in pro ball.
Field: Crow-Armstrong (80)
The Cubs center fielder already covers a lot of ground with his plus-plus speed, but he’s even better than his wheels alone due to his incredible instincts, first step and willingness to track the ball down everywhere. Asked recently about the wildest thing he’s ever seen on a baseball field, Nationals (and former Cubs) prospect DJ Herz said, “Watching Pete out there make plays is unbelievable.”
Highest ceiling: Chourio
The Brewers phenom was the first 20-40 teenager in the Minor Leagues since Ronald Acuña Jr. in 2017 and just the fifth overall since 1958. His power-speed combination is downright electric and suited well to the modern game, and if he continues to take steps forward with the bat, he has superstar potential.
Highest floor: Carter
Carter’s career could end tomorrow, and his Major League resume would still read World Series winner. Even if that wasn’t true, the 21-year-old has already proven that his excellent approach and discipline can play in the Majors, and his plus-plus speed would give him other avenues to contribute as at least a first-division starter.
Rookie of the Year candidate: Carter
Chourio signed the eight-year, $82 million extension that should pencil him in as Milwaukee’s Opening Day center fielder, and Langford and Crews are so talented that they could push to open their first full seasons in the bigs. (The Prospect Promotion Incentive certainly helps.) But for now, the early favorite has to be the outfielder, who hit .306/.413/.645 in the Majors already and has a .300 postseason average while ascending to the game’s biggest stage.
Highest riser: Anthony
Taken 79th overall in 2022, the Florida native climbed three levels in his first full season because Boston trusted the quality of his swing decisions and hard contact, even when he was hitting just .228 with a .692 OPS at Single-A Salem. Anthony’s approach certainly translated to High-A and Double-A, and the 19-year-old has become a big part of the plans for the future of Fenway Park.
Humblest beginning: Carter
Carter was slept on for much of the 2020 Draft and wasn't ranked among MLB Pipeline's Top 200 prospects in the class. Texas scouts thought they unearthed a gem, and the Rangers selected the outfielder in the second round before signing him for $1.25 million. Jim Callis has more on Carter's origin story.
Most to prove: Cowser
The Orioles are firmly in win-now mode and gave Cowser a look during their run to an AL East title, only for the 2021 fifth overall pick to go 7-for-61 (.115) with 22 strikeouts. As he showed at Triple-A however, he still has a chance to be an above-average left-handed hitter with the ability to impact the game with his running and throwing ability. But he needs to carry those tools to the top level if he wants to join Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and even Jackson Holliday in pushing Baltimore over the edge.