15 Lower-Level Prospects To Watch At MLB Spring Breakout


Image credit: Rayner Arias (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

On March 14, MLB will begin its first Spring Breakout series, a four-day event that should serve as a Michelin star-level meal sure to whet the appetite of prospect watchers around the country.

Each team’s rosters are dotted with their system’s best prospects, and seven of Baseball America’s Top 10 prospects—including Jackson Holliday, Jackson Chourio, Ethan Salas and Paul Skenes—are slated to participate.

The game’s lowest-level prospects—the understudies lurking behind the curtain for their moment in the spotlight—will have plenty of opportunities to shine in this format, too.

The following 15 prospects—listed in alphabetical order—did not escape the complexes in Florida, Arizona or the Dominican Republic last season, but should have a chance to open eyes during Spring Breakout in front of thousands of fans live and on television.

Rayner Arias, OF, Giants — If he’d stayed healthy in 2023, Arias might be already bordering on a household name in prospect circles. Instead, his first season as a pro was limited to just 16 games after he broke his wrist. When he was on the field, he showed the potential to be a true five-tool player, including 55-grade hittability and arm strength and plus power. San Francisco’s top two prospects—Kyle Harrison and Marco Luciano—are likely to graduate in 2024, and Arias could shoot to the top spot in the system with a strong stateside debut. 

Starlyn Caba, SS, Phillies Caba was the Phillies’ centerpiece signing in the international period that opened on Jan. 15, 2023. He showed well in his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League before a knee injury required season-ending surgery. At his best, Caba is a gifted player who could move even further up the Phillies’ Top 30 after returning to full health and moving stateside. He already earns plus grades for his hittability, speed and defense and has the potential to grow into power as well. 

Felnin Celesten, SS, Mariners — Had he stayed healthy, Celesten could have played himself into the same conversation as the rest of his high-upside peers from the international class that opened on Jan. 15, 2023. Instead, he missed all year with injuries and will make his official pro debut in 2024. At his best, he earns potential plus grades for speed, power and throwing arm, and grades as average or better for hittability and defense.

Alfredo Duno, C, Reds — Duno has yet to play a game in the US and he didn’t even get to catch last year in the DSL as he nursed a minor arm injury but he could be the Reds’ No. 1 prospect before long if it all comes together. The second best catching prospect in the international class that also produced Ethan Salas, Duno has massive power potential and a chance to be a solid defender as well.

Luis Guanipa, OF, Braves — Guanipa was Atlanta’s best prospect in the DSL, boasting double-plus speed and an array of fringe-average to above-average tools on the rest of his card. He needs to improve his approach at the plate and has already made progress in that regard. He has the upside of a true center fielder with value on both sides of the ball. 

Carlos Lagrange, RHP, Yankees — Lagrange was a hammer in the middle of the FCL Yankees’ pitching staff, providing a steady dose of upper-90s heat and a potentially double-plus slider. Those two pitches alone could help him reach the big leagues in a late-inning relief role. If he can bring forward a third pitch—neither his curveball nor his changeup grades as average—and add a bit more finesse to his game, he could raise his ceiling tremendously and serve as a fitting complement to system-mate Henry Lalane in the upper echelon of Yankees pitching prospects. 

Henry Lalane, LHP, Yankees — Lalane was the best pitching prospect on an absolutely stacked Florida Complex League team. The lefthander complemented a mid-90s fastball with a devastating slider and a potentially plus changeup and tied the mix together with control that could reach plus as well. His present stuff, big-time athleticism and remaining projection could lead to a prospect who fits in the front of a first-division rotation. 


Henry Lalane is a long ways away from the major leagues… But his combo of power and command is rare for a 19-year-old, even more rare from a 6-foot-7 lefthander 👀 #mlb#baseball#prospect#baseballszn#baseballprospects#baseballprospect#pitcher#pitch#mlbdraft#mlbdraft2024#milb#minorleaguebaseball#fastball#yankees#yankeesbaseball

♬ original sound – Baseball America

Dario Laverde, C, Angels After trading Edgar Quero to the White Sox last summer, Laverde now stands as the best catching prospect in the Angels’ system. He made his mark in 2023 in the Arizona Complex League with a well-rounded set of tools—albeit without a true separator on his card—and ranked among the league’s Top 20 prospects. Just 19 years old, Laverde has plenty of time to polish his game and up his chances of one day donning the gear in Anaheim.

Jansel Luis, SS, D-backs — Luis was one of the better prospects lurking in the lower levels of Arizona’s system. The shortstop also ranked among the Top 20 prospects in the Arizona Complex League. He’s a well-rounded player with 50s and 55s all over his card but no true carrying tool that has announced itself as yet. The switch-hitter has quick, simple strokes from both sides of the plate and could get to average power as he matures. He needs to polish a few areas to up his chances of sticking at shortstop, but he has the ceiling of a middle infielder with offensive and defensive value.

Jeter Martinez, RHP, Mariners — Martinez graded as one of the best pitching prospects in the Dominican Summer League in 2023. The righthander combined athleticism, present stuff and projectability into a high-upside mix. His fastball velocity ticked up as the season went along, and his frame has plenty of room to add more strength. His pro debut could be just the beginning of his ascent into another Mariners pitching success story. 

Ramon Ramirez, C, Royals — Ramirez was outstanding in the Dominican Summer League, so much so that he was one of a select few players Kansas City brought stateside for its fall instructional league program. He’s got an adjustable swing that helps him find the barrel with outstanding frequency. He makes loud contact that helps him put balls out to all sectors of the park. Ramirez has plenty of polish to apply defensively, but if he replicates his output from 2023 he will rise quickly up the Royals and overall ranks. 

Yophery Rodriguez, OF, Brewers — In 2022, Jackson Chourio jumped on the fast track. In 2023, Luis Lara announced himself to the world. In 2024, Rodriguez might be the next in line. The center field prospect has average or above-average tools across the board and is a mature hitter who stood out in the Dominican Summer League. Adding more loft to his swing might help amplify power that was somewhat muted by a flatter bat path in his pro debut. 

Eduardo Tait, C, Phillies — Tait was a sleeper in the Phillies international class for the period that opened on Jan. 15, 2023. After a whizbang pro debut, everybody should be awake. Despite being 16 years old for most of the season, Tait finished the year with a .333/.400/.517 slash line and three homers. He’s got the look of an offensive-minded backstop and could really up his stock with a strong stateside debut in 2024. 

Braylin Tavera, OF, Orioles — Tavera was the most intriguing of Baltimore’s prospects in the Florida Complex League. The outfielder showed an array of 50- and 55-grade tools across the board, with the higher grades for his power, speed and defense. He has bat-to-ball skills, athleticism and remaining projection, which could add up to a very interesting prospect in the coming years.  

Andres Valor, OF, Marlins — Valor was signed in 2023 and made a strong first impression in the DSL. There, the outfielder posted an .826 OPS that included 16 doubles and five home runs while showing strong in-zone contact rates and excellent exit velocity data. He’s got plenty of athleticism, too, and has a chance to stick in center field. 

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