10 MLB Prospects Outside The Top 100 Who Have Our Attention


Image credit: Jaison Chourio (Freek Bouw/Four Seam Images)

It’s early.

Yet even with all the noise inherent with small samples, there still can be signal. That could be the case especially for players at the lower levels where there’s less history to have stronger priors, but the same could be true for players who do have more track record and are already showing strong evidence of a change in skill level from last year.

These are 10 prospects outside the Top 100 who have popped early on, a mix of players who could find themselves on the Top 100 this year, sleepers and others where the initial looks this season have been favorable.

Ralphy Velazquez, 1B, Guardians

Velazquez was a catcher in high school when the Guardians drafted him in the first round (23rd overall) last year, but it was his ability in the batter’s box that stood out the most. A move to first base always seemed like a high probability, with the Guardians already pushing him to first base. Between last year in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League and this year in Low-A Lynchburg, Velazquez is hitting .345/.414/.741 with six home runs in 15 games. He’s still 18 and has a simple, fluid swing from the left side with good balance, helping him track pitches well with the ability to stay back and drive the ball with all fields. With the mix of hitting ability, strike-zone judgment and power, Velazquez has the offensive upside to push himself into Top 100 conversations this year if he keeps performing.

Santiago Suarez, RHP, Rays

Suarez received the second-highest bonus the Marlins gave to a pitcher in their 2022 international class when they signed the Venezuelan righthander for $385,000. At the time, he was a 6-foot-1, 175-pound righthander with a starter look between his delivery, projection to add to a riding fastball up to 94 mph and feel to spin a breaking ball. After Suarez pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2022, the Rays astutely pried him away from the Marlins along with righthander Marcus Johnson in the deal that sent righthander J.T. Chargois and shortstop Xavier Edwards to Miami, a move that could come back to bite the Marlins.

Suarez, 19, has 15 strikeouts, no walks and has allowed just three hits in 10 scoreless innings with Low-A Charleston. He has been a prolific strike-thrower and his stuff continues on an upward swing, touching 97 mph and sitting in the mid 90s, getting good extension out front from a sound, repeatable delivery. His curveball hasn’t been consistent early on, but it flashes as an out pitch in the low 80s when he’s able to execute it down or below the zone.

Cam Collier, 3B, Reds

Had Collier taken a conventional path, he would have been a 2023 high school draft pick who would be in Low-A for his first full season. Instead he reclassified and went to Chipola (Fla.) JC in 2022 before the Reds drafted him in the first round that year. We can’t just wave away any struggles Collier had last year by pointing to his age, but there are a lot of hitterish traits and power to be optimistic here.

The cold weather of the Midwest League in April typically isn’t much fun for hitters, but Collier is hitting .342/.359/.605, with his three home runs in nine games. He’s already halfway to the total he hit last year in 111 games. While a lot of young hitters can get pull-conscious, Collier is comfortable using the whole field. That’s something he showed last week when, with two men on and his team trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth, he got a fastball on the outer/lower third of the zone, let it travel and drove it out just to the left of the batter’s eye in center field. If he keeps raking, we’re looking at a player who could be in Double-A at 19 this year.

Zyhir Hope, OF, Dodgers

When the Dodgers traded first baseman Michael Busch to the Cubs in January, the top ranked prospect they received was lefthander Jackson Ferris. The other prospect they received was Hope, an 11th-round pick out of high school in Virginia who signed for $400,000. Hope generated attention as an amateur for his athleticism and power—he ranked No. 276 going into the draft—but concerned scouts with swing-and-miss tendencies. Since signing, Hope has shown outstanding raw power from the left side and it has come without as many whiffs as some were anticipating. Between the ACL last year and the Low-A California this season, Hope is hitting .296/.412/.634 with six home runs in 20 games, running a 19% strikeout rate in 2024. He’s one of the biggest arrow-up sleeper prospects in the lower levels right now.

Jaison Chourio, OF, Guardians

While Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio is a dynamic athlete with a tantalizing power/speed mix, younger brother Jaison stands out more for his polished approach and hitting ability. A high-profile prospect as an amateur as well—Jaison signed for $1.2 million in 2022—he’s a switch-hitter with strong bat-to-ball skills and an excellent eye for the strike zone, something he has shown with 95 walks and 81 strikeouts through 97 career games. Those keen swing decisions have continued this year as the 18-year-old center fielder is hitting .333/.524/.533 with more walks (11) than strikeouts (7) in 42 plate appearances for Low-A Lynchburg, with the foundation to be a high on-base threat with a hit-over-power profile.

Moises Chace, RHP, Orioles

In Baltimore’s first international signing class under general manager Mike Elias and vice president of international scouting Koby Perez, the Orioles signed a group of intriguing pitchers. One of them was Chace, a 6-foot righthander from Venezuela who had reached 93 mph, paired it with a high-spin curveball and showed good pitchability for his age. Now a 20-year-old in High-A Aberdeen, Chace’s stuff has ticked up and he’s off to an excellent start with eight scoreless innings and a 15-2 K-BB mark.

He can run his fastball up to 96 mph with good carry, getting a lot of swing-and-miss on that pitch this season, along with a high-spin slider at 2,700-2,900 rpm. His most effective pitch has been a lively, tailing changeup with more than 10 mph of separation off his fastball that has piled up whiffs. In one at-bat against Nationals lefthanded-hitting outfielder Jared McKenzie, Chace fell behind 1-0 with a fastball, then threw three straight changeups with empty swings on each one. Chace struggled with his control last year—he walked 53 in 68 innings—but there’s a starter pitch mix here if he can continue throwing strikes the way he has in his first two starts.

Diego Velasquez, SS, Giants

Velasquez was a key part of the Giants’ international class in 2021 when they signed him for $900,000 out of Venezuela. His offensive game took a leap forward last year when he batted .298/.387/.434 for Low-A San Jose and he has kept it going this year in High-A Eugene, hitting .313/.436/.438 through 40 trips to the plate as a 20-year-old. Velasquez doesn’t have the explosive power or speed that can immediately grab attention, but his compact swing, bat-to-ball skills and ability to draw walks give him the components to have good on-base skills while playing the middle infield.

Jesus Baez, 3B/SS, Mets

When the Mets signed Baez out of the Dominican Republic for $275,000 in 2022, his power and ability to translate that power against live pitching stood out as an amateur. Baez is showing that mix of contact and damage this year as a 19-year-old, hitting .271/.327/.479 through 52 plate appearances for Low-A St. Lucie. It’s an aggressive approach he might have to reign in, but he doesn’t swing and miss much, striking out at just an 8% clip this year while consistently barreling the ball with an average exit velocity of 92 mph. With shortstop Colin Houck (a first-round pick last year at No. 32 overall) at shortstop for St. Lucie, Baez is primarily playing third base, a better defensive fit for him than shortstop.

Zac Veen, OF, Rockies

There aren’t many positive takeaways from a season when a corner outfielder hits .209/.304/.308 in 46 games like Veen did last year in Double-A Hartford. Veen missed most of 2023 after having season-ending surgery on his wrist, so as disappointing as last year was, there’s at least a chance that playing with a damaged wrist early in the season was what had zapped his power and dragged down his overall numbers. The early returns this year have been encouraging, with Veen batting .375/.444/.719 through nine games in his return to Double-A. His six extra-base hits—including an opposite-field home run off a 94 mph fastball on Tuesday—are already more than halfway to the 11 he hit all of last season.

Cristofer Torin, SS, D-backs

The D-backs signed Torin for $240,000 in 2022, drawn to the Venezuelan shortstop for his instincts on both sides of the ball but particularly at the plate. He has been one of the most disciplined hitters in the lower levels of the minors since signing, with more walks (82) than strikeouts (64) in 124 career games. That includes 10 walks and five strikeouts this season as he’s off to a .481/.632/.704 start in nine games for Low-A Visalia. There isn’t a ton of physical upside in Torin’s 5-foot-10 frame, so while there are questions on how much power he will ever bring to the table, the contact skills and strike-zone judgment make for a promising foundation for a hitter who is still 18.

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