Image credit: George Lombard (Photo by Tom DiPace)
The question we get every year as soon as the Top 100 Prospects list goes live is a logical one. So who’s going to make next year’s list?
Yes. The new list is just 24 hours old, but it’s time to look 364 days into the future to project how it will look a year from now. It’s fair to expect a lot of turnover, since much of our Top 10 is likely to graduate during the 2024 season.
But we’re looking a little deeper than that. Here’s a look at some players who have a good chance to be sitting on the 2025 Top 100 Prospects list.
Close, But No Cigar
Here are a few players who aren’t that far from making the Top 100 Prospects list right now who are logical candidates to be among the next up.
Kevin Alcantara, OF, Cubs
There aren’t many baseball players who are athletic enough to stand 6-foot-6 and be plausible long-term center field options. Nationals outfielder James Wood is one example, and Alcantara is another. Alcantara’s power potential is alluring, but he will need to continue to work to keep from letting his swing get too long and he chases too many bad breaking balls.
Enrique Bradfield, OF, Orioles
Bradfield has the chance to be an 80 defender with 80 speed. That by itself makes him fascinating. But he also is very patient as a hitter, which should help him get on base at an exceptional clip and allow his speed to play. Bradfield is the type of player helped by the current rules changes that emphasize speed and athleticism.
Josue De Paula, OF, Dodgers
You may not want De Paula tracking a ball down in the outfield with a game on the line, but you do want him at the plate in that situation. De Paula looks to be the next young Dodgers hitting prospect who could break out. His 18-year-old season at Rancho Cucamonga last year was impressive enough, but he’s only beginning to scratch the surface of what he could do as a hitter.
Jackson Ferris, LHP, Dodgers
The Dodgers added another high-upside arm to their farm system when they acquired Ferris in the Michael Busch/Yency Almonte trade. He’s been kept to strict pitch limits so far in his pro career, and he needs to add more strength and smooth out his delivery, but the pieces are there for him to blossom into a mid-rotation or better starter.
Thayron Liranzo, C, Dodgers
Liranzo was the best slugger in the California League as a teenager. The switch-hitting catcher is the next in the long line of promising Dodgers catchers. If he just continues to do what he did in 2023 in the Midwest League in 2024, he’ll be on next year’s list.
Chayce McDermott, RHP, Orioles
McDermott held hitters to a .167 average in 2023. He has a nice combination of durability and bat-missing stuff. The risk with McDermott is he could end up graduating in 2024, so maybe he won’t be around to crack the 2025 Top 100. If he’s a late-season callup, he could be a big-league ready Top 100 Prospect in 2025.
Chase Petty, RHP, Reds
If you remember Petty as the 100-mph flamethrowing pitcher he was in high school, you might have the wrong impression of the pitcher he’s quickly turned into. Petty is now as likely to spot his two-seamer, mix in a slider and a changeup and roll through a lineup. Petty doesn’t rack up a lot of strikeouts, but he rarely gets squared up. He didn’t give up a home run in 2023 while posting a 1.72 ERA.
Jefferson Rojas, SS, Cubs
Rojas didn’t look like an 18-year-old while battling much older pitchers in the Carolina League last year. He piled up loads of excellent at-bats and showed solid savvy in the field as well. Rojas has a shot to be a very well-rounded shortstop with average or better tools across the board. As players graduate off the list during the season, Rojas is a logical name to climb on and then up the list.
High Risk, High Reward
It’s likely a few names on the list below may not come close to cracking next year’s Top 100. But others will seem like slam dunks. Here’s a list of young potential stars, heavy on players who haven’t played in full-season ball yet, but who have the tools and skills to pop.
Robert Calaz, OF, Rockies
Calaz was one of the best hitters in the Dominican Summer League who should make the jump to the U.S. in 2024. He has a combination of solid contact skills and elite power potential while looking like a prototypical corner outfielder.
Yoeilin Cespedes, SS, Red Sox
Cespedes managed to combine big-time power potential and excellent bat speed with solid pitch recognition and contact skills in his Dominican Summer League debut in 2023. He’ll come to the U.S. in 2024 and may make it to Low-A Salem at some point. He has some more work to do defensively, but he has the tools to be a solid third baseman long-term.
Alfredo Duno, C, Reds
Duno was considered one of the two best catching prospects in the 2023 international class. Ethan Salas has already put himself in the Top 10 and reached Double-A. Duno was on a more traditional path as he spent his first year in the Dominican Summer League. A sore arm kept him from being able to catch last year, but he should be at full speed for 2024.
Dillon Head, OF, Padres
Head is yet another high-ceiling, toolsy outfielder in an organization that covets those type of players. He’s a speedster who should make an impact in center field and on the bases, but he also has an intriguing bat with gap power and a solid ability to spit on pitches out of the zone.
Welbyn Francisca, SS, Guardians
Francisca is a short, sweet-swinging switch hitter who was the Guardians’ top international signing in 2023. He should come to the U.S. in 2024 after impressing in his Dominican Summer League debut. This could be a year early in predicting Francisca’s Top 100 arrival, but his ability to hit for average and play solid infield defense is worth filing away as a name to know.
Henry Lalane, LHP, Yankees
Few young pitchers drew more lofty praise from scouts than Lalane. He’s yet to make his full-season debut, so it’s hard to be too aggressive with his ranking just yet, but it’s easy to get excited about an athletic 6-foot-7 pitcher with three potentially plus pitches. If he stays healthy and performs as expected in 2024, he could soar up the rankings.
George Lombard Jr., SS, Yankees
Lombard should be part of one of the most stacked teams in the Florida State League in 2024, as he’ll join Roderick Arias, Lalane and a number of other high-ceiling young Yankees’ prospects. The club’s 2023 first-round pick is a very well-rounded player who has a chance to be an above-average hitter with above-average power who’s above-average defensively.
Jeter Martinez, RHP, Mariners
This is a long-shot gamble, or maybe it could be a year early to put him on this list. Martinez has yet to throw a pitch outside of the Dominican Summer League. But the 6-foot-4 righthander has rapidly adapted to the mound, and has rapidly improving velocity and an ability to quickly refine his secondary offerings. Keep a close eye on Martinez’s development but he could quickly leap from deep sleeper to Top 100 prospect if everything breaks right.
Arjun Nimmala, SS, Blue Jays
If Lombard is a well-rounded shortstop out of the 2023 class who could climb onto the Top 100 with a solid first full season, Nimmala could be right alongside him playing just down the road in Dunedin. Nimmala has swapped from cricket to baseball, and that bat control showed up in excellent bat-to-ball skills and a discerning batting eye. He’s athletic with power potential as well.
Ramon Ramirez, C, Royals
The Royals do not have any players on the 2024 Top 100 Prospects list. But there are a pair of catchers to keep an eye on for 2025. Blake Mitchell, the team’s 2023 first round pick, is a solid candidate, but also watch for Ramirez, a low-cost 2023 signing who is yet another backstop in what looks like an exceptional year for international catchers. Ramirez has a shot to be a catcher who’s solid defensively with above-average offensive tools.
Eduardo Tait, C, Phillies
If Duno and Salas were viewed as the top two catching prospects in the 2023 international class, Tait was the surprise prospect who quickly popped. He isn’t polished defensively yet, but his hitting ability is apparent. He has excellent power for his age and he doesn’t have to sell out to get to it.
Joendry Vargas, SS, Dodgers
Vargas was the Dodgers’ top target and one of the best prospects in the 2023 international class. He lived up to those expectations in his Dominican Summer League debut, hitting .328/.423/.529. He’ll likely eventually outgrow shortstop and slide to third base, but hit bat should be more than enough to make up for that move.