Image credit: Anthony Solometo (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)
The first version of Baseball America’s 2024 Top 100 has arrived. The list is the result of lengthy discussions among the members of BA’s prospect team and feedback from scouts and executives throughout the industry.
The list will change plenty throughout the season, and the process that led to the list included far more than just 100 players. Below are 15 players who could find themselves on the list later in the season, especially when the major league season kicks off and players begin graduating from prospect consideration.
We’ve also included a complete list of every prospect beyond the Top 100 who received a vote from a member of the prospect team.
Anthony Solometo, LHP, Pirates
Pitching is the strength of Pittsburgh’s system, and Solometo is part of a strong wave of arms brewing in the upper levels. The lefthander mixes deception and stuff in a manner that allowed him to carve hitters in a season spent between High-A and Double-A in 2023. His control improved drastically upon a move to Altoona, where he whiffed 50 hitters and walked just 14 in 52 innings.
Daniel Espino, RHP, Guardians
When he’s been healthy, Espino has shown some of the best pure stuff in the minor leagues. The problem is, he hasn’t been healthy in a long while. His last start came in April 2022 and he’s dealt with injuries to his shoulder, elbow and hamstring in the duration. Espino will try to rebound again in 2024. If his stuff returns intact, he’ll prove to be worth the wait.
Josue De Paula, OF, Dodgers
Teams have become more aggressive in recent years when it comes to moving talented youngsters in and out of the complex leagues. De Paula skipped the Arizona Complex League entirely in 2023 and instead jumped directly to Low-A, where he posted a .769 OPS as an 18-year-old. De Paula is a talented hitter who should produce a blend of contact and impact as part of an offense-driven profile.
Joey Ortiz, SS, Orioles
Ortiz is a gifted defender who made his big league debut in 2023. He’s a standout shortstop who projects as a double-plus defender with an above-average arm. Ortiz makes plenty of contact but could stand to improve his swing decisions in order to up the quality of his contact. His defense should give him a solid big league floor, and offensive improvement would be icing on the cake and help him get playing time in a crowded Baltimore infield.
Nick Nastrini, RHP, White Sox
Nastrini was part of the package the White Sox landed at the 2023 trade deadline in exchange for righthanders Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly. The UCLA product struggled in college but saw his stock jump once he joined the Dodgers’ vaunted pitching program. All three of his pitches project as above average or better, and his fastball borders on double-plus. If he improves his control, he could fit as a nasty piece of a rotation. If not, he should be a weapon out of the bullpen.
Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Guardians
Manzardo moved from the Rays to the Guardians in the deal that sent Aaron Civale to Tampa Bay. The Washington State product burst onto the scene in 2022 with a season that made him one of the sport’s elite prospects at first base. He wasn’t quite as good in 2023, but also missed a hunk of time with a shoulder injury. He reignited some of his prospect stock in the Arizona Fall League, where his six home runs tied for second on the circuit. In a system bursting with contact-oriented skill sets, Manzardo adds a dose of thump.
River Ryan, RHP, Dodgers
Ryan was a two-way prospect coming out of North Carolina-Pembroke in 2021 and was a hitter in San Diego’s system when they traded him to the Dodgers as the return for outfielder Matt Beaty. He impressed on the mound in fall instructional league and has been a pitcher ever since. The athletic righty boasts four above-average or better pitches but control that projects as only fringe-average. Ryan is understandably raw and has never lasted more than five innings in a start but has considerable upside.
Ty Madden, RHP, Tigers
Madden answered questions he faced as a collegian by altering his fastball shape and finding quick success as a professional. The righthander earns 60 grades on his fastball and slider and complements those pitches with a potentially average changeup and a fringy cutter into a mix that should give him a future in the Tigers’ rotation. His debut could come as soon as the 2024 season.
Tommy Troy, 2B, D-backs
Troy was one of the most polished hitters available in the 2023 college class, and the D-backs popped him in the first round. He hits the ball hard and often, and could eventually get to above-average grades for both hittability and power. Troy’s defensive home is less certain, but if he hits the way scouts believe he can then he’ll find a way into Arizona’s lineup one way or another.
Moises Ballesteros, C, Cubs
The biggest question facing Ballesteros is whether he can stay in good enough shape to continue to produce the way he has in the early portion of his career. In 2023, he hit his way from Low-A to Double-A as a 19-year-old, and produced an .824 OPS with 14 home runs and 71 RBIs. He’s got soft hands and impressive mobility behind the plate, but he’ll absolutely have to keep his weight in check to avoid a permanent move to first base or DH.
Luisangel Acuña, 2B, Mets
Acuña was part of the return the Mets got from the Rangers in exchange for righthander Max Scherzer at the 2023 trade deadline. The younger brother of superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. has explosive hands and can put a charge into a baseball, but needs to become more selective at the plate and alter his swing to pull the ball in the air more often to help his natural juice play up. Severely blocked on the infield in Texas, Acuña has a chance to stick at second base in New York but has the speed and athleticism to move to the outfield if needed.
Ryan Clifford, OF, Mets
Clifford was part of the Mets’ summer system overhaul in 2023, when they dealt the best pieces of their roster to contenders for hauls of prospects. Clifford came from the Astros as part of the return for ace righty Justin Verlander. The powerful outfielder projects to be an above-average hitter with above-average juice, though he struggled mightily at High-A after the trade. His double-plus throwing arm would be an asset in right field, but he’s also seen time at first base during the course of his young career.
Bryan Ramos, 3B, White Sox
Ramos has shown hints of his potential in each of the last two years, each of which featured time at Double-A Birmingham. He spent the bulk of his 2023 season at the level and hit 14 home runs in 77 games. The Cuban missed time early with a groin injury and made up at-bats in the Arizona Fall League. All of his tools but his speed project to be above average, and he has the standout makeup to continue to work on closing the holes in his game.
Justyn-Henry Malloy, OF, Tigers
Malloy moved from Atlanta to Detroit after the 2022 season in exchange for righthander Joe Jimenez. The outfielder has an outstanding knowledge of the strike zone that helps get the most out of what projects to be above-average power. Malloy’s game is centered around his offense but he could be a fringe-average defender in the outfield, where his 55-grade throwing arm would nestle in nicely in right field. He could make his big league debut in 2024.
Kevin Alcantara, OF, Cubs
When everything is going right, Alcantara is one of the most aesthetically pleasing prospects in the sport. The lithe, lanky outfielder has a whip-quick swing that produces light tower power to all sectors, but his long limbs can lead to a disconnected swing, and he struggles against spin. Alcantara is a surefire center fielder who uses his long limbs and plus speed to gracefully cover large swaths of ground, though it can take a little while for him to get to full speed. He earns plus grades for his throwing arm as well.
Here are the rest of the prospects who received at least one vote for the Top 100 from our prospect team.
Arizona: Druw Jones, Ivan Melendez, Jansel Luis
Atlanta: J.R. Ritchie, Owen Murphy
Baltimore: Connor Norby, Enrique Bradfield Jr., Chayce McDermott, Dylan Beavers, Seth Johnson, Cade Povich
Boston: Yoeilin Cespedes, Wilyer Abreu, Miguel Bleis, Wikelman Gonzalez, Richard Fitts
Chicago Cubs: Jordan Wicks, Jefferson Rojas Alexander Canario, Ben Brown
Chicago White Sox: Edgar Quero, Jacob Gonzalez, Jake Eder
Cincinnati: Edwin Arroyo, Chase Petty, Carlos Jorge, Alfredo Duno, Sal Stewart, Leo Balcazar, Cam Collier
Cleveland: Ralphy Velasquez, Juan Brito, Welbyn Francisca, Alexander Clemmey, George Valera
Colorado: Jordan Beck, Sterlin Thompson, Zac Veen, Robert Calaz
Detroit: Kevin McGonigle, Parker Meadows
Houston: Luis Baez, Spencer Arrighetti
Kansas City: Blake Mitchell
Los Angeles Dodgers: Kyle Hurt, Thayron Liranzo, Diego Cartaya, Joendry Vargas
Miami: Thomas White, Xavier Edwards
Milwaukee: Garrett Mitchell, Yophery Rodriguez, Brock Wilken
Minnesota: David Festa, Marco Raya, Charlee Soto
New York Mets: Christian Scott, Blade Tidwell, Colin Houck
New York Yankees: Henry Lalane, George Lombard Jr., Will Warren, Brando Mayea
Oakland: Denzel Clarke, Joe Boyle, Lawrence Butler
Philadelphia: Aidan Miller, Starlyn Caba, Eduardo Tait, Orion Kerkering
Pittsburgh: Quinn Priester, Thomas Harrington
San Diego: Samuel Zavala, Jairo Iriarte, Dillon Head
San Francisco: Carson Whisenhunt, Walker Martin, Rayner Arias, Hayden Birdsong
Seattle: Gabriel Gonzalez, Tyler Locklear, Jeter Martinez, Felnin Celesten
St. Louis: Ivan Herrera, Chase Davis
Texas: Justin Foscue, Owen White, Brock Porter, Dustin Harris, Kumar Rocker
Toronto: Arjun Nimmala
Washington: Cade Cavalli, Yohandy Morales