Early Contenders For 2024 Minor League Team Of The Year


Image credit: Aidan Miller (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)

Each season, Baseball America chooses its Minor League Team of the Year. It’s not as simple as taking the league champion with the best record and calling it a day. Instead, we try to choose the team whose success on the field is propelled by plenty of prospect power.

The reigning champs, the Norfolk Tides, won the Triple-A National Championship and also had a roster that included Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo, Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, Connor Norby and Joey Ortiz, among many others.

All but Norby and Mayo have seen big league time, Holliday is the game’s top prospect, and Ortiz is thriving in Milwaukee after being included in the package Baltimore used to land ace righthander Corbin Burnes.

There’s four months and change left in the season, but already there are a few teams whose combination of talent and performance have given them a head-start toward taking this year’s honor.

  1. Modesto Nuts (Low-A Mariners, California League)
    Current record: 26-13. Run Differential: +90
    Modesto’s run differential entering the day on May 23 was the best in the sport, a full 19 runs ahead of the next-best squad. Their offense has been fueled in large part by breakout prospect Lazaro Montes, whose massive power has resulted in 10 doubles, seven home runs, 44 RBIs and a .998 OPS. Modesto has scored the most runs (263) in all of Low-A and also sport a Cal League–best 3.62 ERA.
  2. Midland Rockhounds (Double-A Athletics, Texas League)
    Current Record: 26-14. Run Differential: 71
    The Rockhounds have slugged their way to a gem of a season thanks to a balance of stellar pitching and an early offensive boost from a since-promoted prospect. Before he moved on, Oakland 2023 first-rounder Jacob Wilson had annihilated the competition with a .455/.473/.705 line with just 10 strikeouts in 93 plate appearances. He was backed up by upstart prospect Colby Thomas, whose 11 home runs are second in the Texas League. They’ve also gotten a boost from righthander Gunnar Hoglund, whose 41 strikeouts are among the top 10 in the TL.
  3. Birmingham Barons (Double-A White Sox, Southern League)
    Current Record: 26-14. Run Differential: 54
    As we detailed earlier, Birmingham is at the epicenter of the rebirth of the White Sox’s farm system. The Barons’ pitching staff is chock full of high-end arms, including Jake Eder, Jairo Iriarte, Drew Thorpe, Mason Adams and Ky Bush. The team also is about to get a boost from southpaw Noah Schultz, whose pure stuff is among the best in the sport. Birmingham also gets plenty of offense from the likes of Edgar Quero, Brooks Baldwin and Wilfred Veras.
  4. Clearwater Threshers (Low-A Phillies, Florida State League)
    Current Record: 28-13. Run Differential: 39
    The Threshers are the early kings of the Florida State League thanks to an offense that has scored the second-most runs (209) and a pitching staff that has allowed the third-fewest runs (170). Their hitters are paced by shortstop Aidan Miller, the Phillies’ first-rounder from 2023 whose batting average and on-base and slugging percentages are each among the top 10 in the league. His .556 slugging mark is the best by a wide margin. George Klassen is the brightest prospect on Clearwater’s staff, with an eye-popping arsenal and a newfound ability to throw strikes.
  5. Harrisburg Senators (Double-A Nationals, Eastern League)
    Current Record:
    25-16. Run Differential: 15.
    The Senators are led by two-thirds of the Nationals’ top three prospects: outfielder Dylan Crews and third baseman Brady House. Together, the pair has combined for 12 of the team’s 30 home runs, including nine from House, whose offensive output can be found up and down the Eastern League leaderboard. The team has also gotten contributions from Robert Hassell III, whose 11 stolen bases are tied for the team lead and third in the EL with Andrew Pinckney, who is having an upstart season of his own.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone