25 Rising MLB Prospects Early In 2024


Image credit: Mets RHP Christian Scott (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

With more than a month elapsed in the minor league season, there’s naturally been some movement in the prospect world. Players have graduated. Players have been traded. Some prospects have popped up, while others have disappointed. 

To reflect those changes, we at Baseball America updated our Top 30 lists for each club to reflect some of the changes, movement and early trends. We covered some of the notable additions to the Top 30s earlier this week. Today, here are some of the sport’s biggest risers since the beginning of the season, including a slew of previously unheralded pitchers making noise and a few hitters who have upped their games in the early going. 

Jefferson Rojas, SS, Cubs

Team rank: 5

Rojas is advanced beyond his years as a hitter. He has a fast, compact righthanded swing that is direct to the ball and makes loud contact off the barrel. Rojas has few holes for pitchers to exploit and controls the strike zone with a mature, consistent approach. He projects to be an above-average hitter and has above-average raw power that could get better as he gets stronger. He’s an average runner who makes tight turns on the bases and is an efficient basestealer. Rojas is a steady, smart defender at shortstop with good instincts and quick reactions. He isn’t overly rangy, but he positions himself well and makes all the routine plays. He has an above-average, accurate arm and projects to stick at the position as an average defender. So far this season, Rojas has overcome one of the biggest challenges in the sport—the early-season weather in the Midwest League. There, he’s been one of the best hitters while also being one of the youngest players in the league.

Jaison Chourio, OF, Guardians

Team rank: 3

Chourio stands out for his blend of athleticism, tools and projection. The switch-hitter combines excellent pitch recognition and plate discipline, giving him a mature, advanced approach at the plate. He has good bat-to-ball skills and shows a good feel for the barrel. Chourio entered the year with a reputation as a hit-over-power prospect, but some of his juice is starting to show up. He’s already produced max exit velocities of 111 mph, but he’s hitting the ball on the ground way too often. If he can reverse that trend, he has a chance to really up his offensive game. Chourio is a plus runner with good instincts on the bases and stole 20 bases in 22 attempts in 2023. His speed plays in center field, where he can become an above-average defender or better. He has easy defensive actions, good instincts and an average arm. 

Bradgley Rodriguez, RHP, Padres

Team rank: 22

Rodriguez is a short, stout relief-only prospect with high-octane stuff that would fit in high-leverage situations. Rodriguez returned to the mound in 2024 and has shown a powerful three-pitch mix highlighted by a fastball that sits 98-99 mph and touches 101 mph. While his fastball has below-average ride, its power and late armside run make it a difficult pitch for lower minors batters to barrel. His primary secondaries are a high-80s split-changeup and a high-80s cutter. His command is below-average but he has the sort of stuff that should work even with fringy control

David Morgan, RHP, Padres

Team rank: 23

Over his first professional season, Morgan cemented himself as one the more reliable relief-only prospects in the Padres’ system. Morgan mixes a four-seam fastball, curveball and a slider. His fastball sits 94-96 mph touching 97 mph at peak with average run and cut. His slider sits 87-89 mph with gyro-cut shape. Morgan will use a curveball interchangeably with his slider, a upper-70s two-plane breaking ball with above-average depth. His command is fringe-average but he could develop into an average strike-thrower.

George Klassen, RHP, Phillies

Team rank: 14

The Phillies chose Klassen knowing he was going to be a bit of a project, but his pure stuff was too loud to overlook. He was one of the hardest throwers in the college class, with a fastball that sat in the upper 90s and touched triple-digits. He pairs the fastball with a potentially plus slider with depth and sweep in the mid 80s that should be his best offspeed weapon as a pro. In college, his primary breaking ball was a low-80s curveball with a similar shape to his slider. The Phillies began Klassen’s pro career at Low-A, where he dominated the competition over the course of five starts in April and May. He exited his May 3 with an apparent injury but has not been placed on the injured list.

Brooks Baldwin, SS/2B, White Sox

Team rank: 23

Baldwin drew the attention of scouts in 2023 thanks to his ability to do a little bit of everything, even if he didn’t have a singular standout tool. The righthanded hitter has started hot in 2024 after a move up to Double-A Birmingham. He’s a potentially above-average hitter with 45s and 50s dotting the rest of his card. He’s played exclusively shortstop in 2024 after never playing the position in each of his first two pro seasons. If he keeps hitting, Baldwin will find a spot in the big leagues. His role is likely as a bat-first utilityman who gets a good chunk of playing time thanks to his defensive versatility.

Aldrin Batista, RHP, White Sox

Team rank: 24

Batista came to the White Sox from the Dodgers in 2023 as part of the two-player package Los Angeles used to gain extra international slot money. He ranked as one of the Top 20 prospects in the Arizona Complex League in 2023, when he tied for sixth in the league with 54 strikeouts. Batista works with a three-pitch mix fronted by a mid-90s fastball and backed by a slider and a changeup. Scouts have seen both offspeeds flash above-average, though the slider has been less consistent in the past. He’s started strong in his first turn at full-season ball with Low-A Kannapolis.

Agustin Ramirez, C, Yankees

Team rank: 10

Ramirez’s calling card is going to be the damage he can do with his bat. He marries bat speed with a stroke that keeps the barrel in the zone a long time. The combination helped him produce big-time average (91 mph) and 90th percentile (106.6 mph) exit velocities that will give him a ceiling as a thumper. Ramirez also makes a lot of contact in the strike zone but needs to rein in his chase rates a touch. He also could stand to make his path to the zone a little less steep. He has plus arm strength but needs plenty of polish when it comes to receiving and blocking. Ramirez has started 2024 hot, with an Eastern League-best 10 home runs and more walks (21) than strikeouts (20). 

Justin Slaten, RHP, Red Sox

Team rank: 18

Following an excellent stint in the Arizona Fall League, Slaten was one of the buzziest names leading up to the Rule 5 draft. After a command-plagued season in 2022, Slaten straightened out his strike-throwing in 2023. He cut his walk rate from 19.5% in 2022 to 8.5% in 2023. The improved control resulted in much better results at Double-A Frisco and earned him a late-season promotion to Triple-A. Slaten is a pure reliever who mixes four pitches with plenty of power across his arsenal. His four-seamer sits between 95-97 mph with ride and at times cut. He pairs his four-seam primarily with a mid-80s sweeping slider that generates heavy rates of swings-and-misses in and out of the zone. His cutter is his third pitch but is an effective weapon as a bridge between his fastball and slider. His cutter sits 89-91 mph. He’ll also mix in a low-80s, two-plane curveball from time to time. He’s been excellent in the big leagues so far, where he’s allowed just four runs in 20 innings in Boston’s bullpen through May 7. 

Will Sanders, RHP, Cubs

Team rank: 24

Since his time at South Carolina, Sanders has shortened his arsenal to fastball, slider and changeup, ditching his second breaking ball variation. While Sanders was capable of showing velocity as high as 98 mph as an amateur he’s sat mostly 92-93 mph with only average ride and armside run on his four-seam as a pro. His slider is a slurvy low-to-mid-80s pitch with more depth than a typical slider, and it borders on a power curveball shape. Sanders’ changeup sits 86-88 mph with good tumble and fade, while the pitch lacks significant velocity separation, it shows good vertical separation. Sanders has shown fringe to average command as an amateur and typically throws an average amount of strikes. 

Josue Briceño, C, Tigers

Team rank: 8

Briceno, like many tall catchers, needs to continue working on his defense. He has above-average arm strength, but his exchange and long arm stroke keeps him from consistently posting better than fringe-average pop times. His blocking also needs to continue to improve. The Tigers have reason to hope he can become an average defender someday, but opposing scouts see him more likely sliding to first base eventually. He has above-average power for his age, and with his big frame and leverage, should continue to develop as a power threat. He demonstrated better-than-expected contact skills in 2023 and was consistently a tough out in both the Florida Complex League and Florida State League. That trend has continued in 2024 in a return to the FSL, where Briceño has popped two home runs in his first 24 games in Lakeland. 

Hunter Owen, LHP, Royals

Team rank: 24

The Royals drafted Owen in the fourth round in 2023 out of Vanderbilt and then shut him down post-signing. He debuted this season at High-A Quad Cities and finished April with 23 strikeouts in as many as innings. After improving his control over the course of his college career, Owen moved into the rotation in his draft year at Vanderbilt and used his four-pitch mix, led by a fastball that peaked at 97 and a nasty cutter-slider hybrid—to vex hitters. As a pro, he’s continued to show the same level of effectiveness. Given his early success, Owen should see the upper levels at some point this season. He could fit as a back-end starter or middle reliever who relies mostly on his fastball-slider combination.

Christian Scott, RHP, Mets

Team rank: 2

Scott has the best mix of stuff and starter traits in the system. That is a credit to both him and Mets pitching development. A sinker/slider pitcher in college, Scott has remade his repertoire in pro ball to feature a four-seam fastball, slider, split-changeup and occasional curveball. He also added greater core strength and stability to help key his breakout. Scott pitches at 94 mph and touches 98 with plus ride and horizontal life. He throws a ton of strikes with his fastball and can get whiffs with it both in and out of the zone. Scott also throws strikes with a solid-average mid-80s slider that he favors when working ahead in the count. His mid-80s split-changeup has rapidly become a key pitch for whiffs and chases. He throws an occasional curve to steal a strike. Scott has plus control and holds runners well, with just 11 stolen base attempts against him in 19 starts in 2023. After dominating in Triple-A, Scott made his big league debut on May 4. 

Mitchell Parker, LHP, Nationals

Team rank: 10

Parker has intriguing fastball characteristics. The lefthander throws a 92-93 mph four-seam fastball from a high slot that has roughly 20 inches of induced vertical break and cutting action. He pairs it with two distinct breaking balls. His downer low-80s curveball is his best secondary and was a major focus last offseason. He also throws a tight low-80s slider that batters missed roughly a third of the time, as well as a splitter. After a strong spring training, Parker made his big league debut on April 15. He has performed well in Washington’s rotation. 

Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP, Twins

Team rank: 15

Woods Richardson was part of the two-player package—along with Austin Martin— that Minnesota received from Toronto in exchange for righthander Jose Berrios. Now, both players have made the big leagues, and Woods Richardson is thriving. To recoup some of his lost prospect stock, Woods Richardson needed to regain some velocity. He’s done just that, moving from 89-91 in 2023 to sitting at 93 mph in the big leagues. The results are a 1.74 ERA through his first four starts and roughly a strikeout per inning. 

Colby Thomas, OF, Athletics

Team rank: 12

Top 100 Prospects Mason Miller and Jacob Wilson off to red-hot starts for the A’s. But Thomas is another name to monitor. He was tabbed as a breakout pick entering the year after displaying an array of loud tools in 2023, albeit with some concerns about his hit tool that have lingered dating back to his amateur days with Mercer. So far, Thomas is showing a more keen eye at the plate in his first crack of the upper levels. The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .290/.342/.533 through 26 games with Double-A Midland while cutting his strikeout rate to 20.5%. He’s also stolen eight bases. Thomas has played left field with Midland but has the arm strength to fit at either corner. His combination of superb bat speed, running ability and early-season performance makes him one of the more intriguing names to watch in Oakland’s system throughout the rest of the season.

Bishop Letson, LHP, Brewers

Team rank: 19

Letson was an 11th-round pick by the Brewers who in 2023 who signed an above-slot bonus of $482,600. He lacked power and polish at the time, but showed an array of promising projection indicators. The Brewers are already coaxing more out of him. The 19-year-old lefty is sitting 92-95 mph and touching 98 after sitting in the low 90s during his senior spring. Milwaukee is building him up slowly. Letson has 11 strikeouts through just 8.2 innings so far this year, but he’s a lower-levels arm to watch.

Notable Additions

The following players were also included in Monday’s post featuring notable new adds to the Top 30s.

Moises Chace, RHP, Orioles

Team rank: 22

Chace pairs velocity around 93-95 mph with a flat plane that helps him get on top of hitters’ bats at the top of the strike zone. His 82-84 mph changeup is an excellent complement for his fastball thanks to plenty of separation. Against Class A hitters, it’s generating lots of swings and misses. Chace’s slider should develop into a third weapon. It’s a high-spin sweepy pitch that too often is an easy out-of-zone take for now  but has the potential to be a bat-misser eventually. Chace’s below-average control has long been his biggest issue. He’s showing signs of improvement, but he’ll still miss his target by a couple feet at times.

Luichi Casilla, LHP, Rockies

Team rank: 18

Casilla is a broad-shouldered lefthander with a thicker lower half and more strength projection to come. He works exclusively from the stretch using an exaggerated move to close off his front side before he drives toward the plate. Casilla has a fast arm and releases the ball from a higher arm slot with a shorter arm action. Casilla’s fastball sat 92-94 mph last year in the DSL but was sitting 95-97 mph touching 98 mph during minor league spring training. That kind of velocity from the left side equates to an above-average fastball. His curveball is his best secondary and sits in the low-80s with slurvy shape and high spin rates. He shows a changeup as well in the upper-80s but it’s a below-average pitch at present. Casilla’s command is below-average and that was true even prior to the velocity jump. Strike-throwing will be the difference whether he can be a starter or a reliever. 

Jaden Hamm, RHP, Tigers

Team rank: 17

Hamm’s 92-94 mph fastball has exceptional carry at the top of the zone, regularly clocking in at more than 20 inches of induced vertical break, which is well above-average. He doesn’t have an extremely flat plane to that fastball, so it’s more of an above-average pitch than a truly exceptional heater. He also throws an above-average downer curveball in the low 80s  that works well at the bottom of the zone, and an average changeup that shows deception and fade. He’ll mix in a slider as well. Hamm has the makings of four pitches and has improved his control to the point where he projects as a starter. He’s one of the breakout prospects of the early part of the 2024 MiLB season.

Zyhir Hope, OF, Dodgers 

Team Rank: 13

Hope has long had tools, but since joining the Dodgers he’s shown better hittability and enhanced his overall profile. If those gains continue, he could be a true five-tool talent. He has a chance to be a well-rounded outfielder whose near-elite speed and strong throwing arm could help him fit well in right field while still leaving center field open as a possibility. Unfortunately, he has landed on the injured list after tweaking his shoulder on a swing.

Jeral Perez, 3B, Dodgers

Team Rank: 19

Perez has a chance to be a well-rounded player who adds to the Dodgers’ stockpile of talent at the lower levels. Scouts don’t project him to have a true plus tool, but they also don’t see any area where he’s truly below-average. If he continues his upward trend, Perez could be a third baseman with both average and power that grade as at least fringe-average.

Jonah Tong, RHP, Mets

Team Rank: 22

Tong pitches at 92-94 mph and has topped out at 97, but velocity only tells part of the story. The vertical break on his four-seam fastball is elite and contributes to high whiff rates against batters on both sides of the plate. Tong’s repertoire is fastball-heavy but he can get chases out of the zone with a curveball and changeup that both have average potential. He also throws a mid-80s cutter to give him a gloveside weapon. Like most young pitchers, he works with control more than command. Tong’s upside will be determined by how his riding four-seamer plays against more advanced hitters and whether he can throw his secondaries for strikes.

Logan Evans, RHP, Mariners

Team Rank: 7

Evans was unheralded as an amateur but Seattle’s analysts saw something in the way he moved that made them believe he wasn’t near his full potential. They took him in the 12th round of the 2023 draft and bumped him to Double-A to start his first full season. The Mariners unlocked extra velocity with Evans, who now sits around 96 mph and has touched 97. He’s added a sweeper as well, and the pitch is one of the gems of his six-pitch repertoire.

Brett Wichrowski, RHP, Brewers

Team Rank: 10

In college, Wichrowski topped at 96 mph, sitting in the low-90s. In 2024, he pitches at 94-97 mph and has reached 101 mph. A sharp, low-80s slider was his best pitch in college. Now it’s a plus pitch with more power and hard lateral bite to miss a lot of bats. He throws an average cutter in the upper-80s, typically as an early-count pitch, and an occasional changeup that lags behind the rest of his arsenal. Wichrowski had below-average fastball command in college, though he has been a solid strike-thrower to start his Brewers career. Wichrowski has been one of the breakout pitching prospects of the 2024 season. While he still has to prove he can handle a starter’s workload, the stuff is there for him to develop into a midrotation starter with a chance for more.

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