Matt Eddy’s Breakout MLB Prospects Team For 2024


Image credit: Rockies OF Jordan beck (Photo by Eddie Kelly / ProLook Photos)

Ahead of minor league Opening Day each year, Geoff Pontes, Dylan White and myself publish our breakout MLB prospects teams.

In this exercise we focus on non-Top 100 Prospects, and wherever feasible we focus on those without a ton of pro experience. You can see Geoff’s team here and Dylan’s team here.

Players are listed with their projected Opening Day assignments and will be updated as minor league rosters are finalized.

C Alfredo Duno, Reds

Low-A Daytona | Age 18

Baseball is entering a golden era for catchers. Adley Rutschman, William Contreras, Francisco Alvarez, Gabriel Moreno and Yainer Diaz are all impact hitters who are 26 or younger. Duno follows in the rich tradition of Venezuelan catchers—see Contreras, Alvarez and Moreno above—and is coming off a strong pro debut in which he hit .303/.451/.493 with six homers in 45 Dominican Summer League games. An arm injury locked him into DH last season, but this year he is clear to catch and begin to show the power and feel to hit to stand out. 

Other catchers: Blake Mitchell, Royals; Eduardo Tait, Phillies; Yovanny Rodriguez, Mets

1B Ralphy Velazquez, Guardians

Low-A Lynchburg | Age 19

First base is a tough position to evaluate because the offensive bar is set so high to play every day in MLB. Despite his youth, Velazquez has the potential to clear that bar one day. Though drafted 23rd overall last year as a catcher, he is listed on Lynchburg’s roster as an infielder, presumably a first baseman. Velazquez and Walker Jenkins had arguably the best hit-plus-power combos in last year’s high school draft class. So if catching is out of the picture for Velazquez, then the lefthanded hitter could make a rapid ascent up the prospect ranks, a la fellow first baseman Xavier Isaac last year.

Other first basemen: Haydn McGeary, Cubs; Ryan Clifford, Mets; William Sullivan, Cardinals

2B Jeremy Rodriguez, Mets

Rookie-level Florida Complex League | Age 17

Rodriguez joined the Mets last August in the trade that sent Tommy Pham to the Diamondbacks. He performed in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .293/.411/.467 in 51 games, and then was appointed to the Mets’ Spring Breakout roster—he delivered an RBI hit—at the tender age of 17. Rodriguez has a sweet lefthanded swing and exemplary feel for the strike zone at a young age. He should hit the ball harder more consistently as he matures. Rodriguez is primarily a shortstop but many scouts project him to second base.

Other second basemen: Luke Keaschall, Twins; Mac Horvath, Orioles; Jansel Luis, D-backs

3B Trevor Werner, Royals

High-A Quad Cities | Age 23

Only first-rounders Wyatt Langford and Matt Shaw compiled more total bases than Werner among 2023 draft picks in their pro debuts last summer. He hit .354/.459/.699 with eight homers in 31 games for Low-A Columbia and wowed the Royals with his power display at instructional league after the season. Not many pro hitters hit the ball as hard as consistently. Werner faces questions about his fielding efficiency at the hot corner, his pitch recognition and pure bat-to-ball ability, but he said that being in a pro routine after four years at Texas A&M, including two spent as a two-way player, has hastened his development. If he makes the right contact on the right pitches, Werner’s power will definitely play.

Other third baseman: Aidan Miller, Phillies

SS Jefferson Rojas, Cubs

High-A South Bend | Age 19

Scouts who like Rojas see an athlete who can impact the ball. Those who are more lukewarm see a smaller-statured shortstop who lacks a carrying tool. But one thing is clear: Rojas trailed only Samuel Basallo in terms of offensive production from an 18-year-old regular in full-season ball last year. After adjusting for league and park context, Rojas’ 128 OPS+ was higher than better-known age peers such as Samuel Zavala, Josue De Paula and Nelson Rada. Rojas has a chance to alter perceptions with a strong 2024 season. The Cubs are clearly buying in, based on how rapidly they have promoted him.

Other shortstops: Joendry Vargas, Dodgers; Yoeilin Cespedes, Red Sox; Walker Martin, Giants; Angel Genao, Guardians

OF Jordan Beck, Rockies

Triple-A Albuquerque | Age 24

Beck somewhat quietly put together one of the better overall seasons in the minor leagues last year. The righthanded batter hit 25 home runs and 34 doubles, stole 20 bases in 25 tries and drew 73 walks in 126 games. Beck is a strong athlete who would be stretched in center field in Coors Field but is more than capable of handling one of the park’s spacious corners. The Rockies expect their 2022 supplemental first-rounder out of Tennessee to factor in the second half of this season, and so should you.

OF Jonny Farmelo, Mariners

Low-A Modesto | Age 19

Farmelo made draft history last year when the Mariners selected him 29th overall as the first ever Prospect Promotion Incentive pick. The well-rounded, lefthanded-hitting center fielder did not play during the regular season but helped propel Modesto the California League title with a homer, a triple and four RBIs in four games. Farmelo shows power, speed and strong athletic ability with the tools to handle center. If he hits in pro ball, he could be a fast riser up the ranks.

OF Dillon Head, Padres

Low-A Lake Elsinore | Age 19

Nobody bats 1.000, but the Padres have a great track record when drafting high school players. From CJ Abrams and James Wood to MacKenzie Gore, Ryan Weathers and Dylan Lesko, San Diego has generally found major league value when drafting from the prep ranks. Drafted 25th overall last year, Head is positioned to be next in line. He had some of the best speed and was one of the top defensive outfielders in a deep 2023 high school draft class. The athletic lefthanded batter hit .267/.363/.400 in a 27-game pro debut with strong plate discipline markers.

Other outfielders: Yophery Rodriguez, Brewers; Robert Calaz, Rockies; Jaison Chourio, Guardians; Rayner Arias, Giants; Alan Roden, Blue Jays

LHP Alex Clemmey, Guardians

Low-A Lynchburg | Age 18

As a Rhode Island prep, Clemmey had one of the best fastballs among high school pitchers in the 2023 draft class. He also throws a hammer curveball with plus potential. These traits convinced the Guardians to draft the 6-foot-6 Clemmey in the second round. He did not pitch last season but looked good enough this spring to make the Lynchburg Opening Day roster as an 18-year-old. If Clemmey throws enough strikes this season, he has the potential to emerge as a premium prospect.

RHP Adam Mazur, Padres

Double-A San Antonio • Age 23

Mazur allowed just five home runs and had the sixth-lowest walk rate among pitchers with at least 90 innings last season. Those factors contributed heavily to a 2.91 fielding-independent ERA that was topped by just two minor league pitchers. Mazur throws a deceptive low-to-mid-90s fastball and backs it with an outstanding slider and quality changeup. His three-pitch mix played up to Double-A last season, and his path to San Diego is clearer following offseason trades of Drew Thorpe and Jairo Iriarte.

RHP JR Ritchie, Braves

Low-A Augusta (IL) | Age 21

Ritchie had Tommy John surgery last May, so consider this more of a name to file away for the second half. In four starts last season, Ritchie struck out 25 and walked three in 13.1 innings, showing off a deadly fastball/slider combo with strong control and poise for a 20-year-old making his full-season debut. If he returns to the mound this summer and performs, Ritchie could position himself to fly up prospect ranks in 2025.

RHP Brandon Sproat, Mets

High-A Brooklyn | Age 23

The Mets drafted Sproat in the second round last year out of Florida, where he was one of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in the nation. He didn’t pitch after signing but made a huge impression at the Mets’ Spring Breakout game by generating multiple whiffs on his high-90s fastball and high-80s slider as he retired three Nationals batters on seven pitches. Sproat has the type of raw stuff and athleticism to start. It will come down to control and how well he adapts his Gators repertoire to more of a professional one, a la former Florida reliever and current Mets top pitching prospect Christian Scott.

LHP Thomas White, Marlins

Low-A Jupiter | Age 19

On best tools voting for the 2023 draft class, White scored the No. 5 fastball and No. 2 changeup among high school pitchers. That stuff combined with the fact that he is a 6-foot-5 lefthander are indicative of the raw ingredients he has for a major breakout. White throws mid-90s heat and backs it with a plus slider and strong changeup. He sliced through the top of the Cardinals’ order at Spring Breakout and is poised for a big year in the low minors.

Other pitchers: Justin Wrobleski, Dodgers; Logan Evans, Mariners; Henry Lalane, Yankees; Jaden Hamm, Tigers

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