Top 10 Graduating American League Prospects In The Class Of 2023


Image credit: Gunnar Henderson (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Prospect season continues at Baseball America.

But before looking ahead to the top prospects in each American League organization for 2024, let’s reassess the graduating AL prospect class of 2023 by ranking the top 10 based on projected future potential. 

Players are ranked in order of their updated end-of-season BA Grades, which gauge each player’s realistic upside on the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average. Risk is also assessed on a scale of Low, Medium and High.

In the vast majority of cases, these graduated prospects were also 2023 rookies—but not always. Players retain rookie status as long as they don’t exceed 130 at-bats, 50 innings or 45 days on an active MLB roster in a season or seasons. But in some cases, players with more than 45 days of service count as prospects for BA rankings.

This ranking was developed by the BA editorial team.

1. Gunnar Henderson

SS | Orioles

2024 Age: 23

Preseason: 70/Medium

Updated: 70/Medium

The 2022 Minor League Player of the Year entered June hitting just .201 with five home runs and a 31% strikeout rate in his first 50 games. He found his swing after that, hitting .276 with 23 homers and 23% strikeouts in his final 100 games. Henderson finished at .255/.325/.489 and topped all rookies with 28 homers and placed second with 82 RBIs as the primary No. 1 or 2 hitter for the 100-win Orioles. In July, he took over as Baltimore’s primary shortstop and graded well there—as well as third base—thanks to his superb athleticism and double-plus arm. UPSIDE ROLE: Franchise SS

2. Grayson Rodriguez

RHP | Orioles

2024 Age: 24

Preseason: 70/High

Updated: 70/High

Rodriguez pitched to a 4.35 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with 129 strikeouts in 122 innings. For half the season, he was much better than his final line. By extension, he was much worse than that for the other half. Rodriguez got hit around in his first 10 starts, running up a 7.35 ERA in 45.1 innings and earning a demotion to Triple-A. He lived up to his prospect billing when called up on July 17, recording a 2.58 ERA in his final 13 starts. The difference for Rodriguez was ditching his cutter and leaning into his four-seam fastball and changeup. UPSIDE ROLE: No. 2 starter

3. Royce Lewis

3B | Twins

2024 Age: 25

Preseason: 60/High

Updated: 65/High

After losing all of 2021 and about half of 2022 to reconstruction surgery on his right knee, Lewis finally was healthy enough to showcase his impact ability over a good stretch. No rookie outperformed Lewis on a rate basis. He hit .309/.372/.548 with 15 homers in 58 games, his 150 OPS+ easily leading the field among rookies who batted at least 200 times. After developing as a shortstop in the minor leagues and playing center field in Minnesota in his 2022 MLB debut, Lewis settled in as an at-least-average third baseman this season. To underscore his offensive upside, he slugged four homers in six postseason games and is poised to bat middle-order for the Twins for years to come. UPSIDE ROLE: All-star 3B

4. Triston Casas

1B | Red Sox

2024 Age: 24

Preseason: 60/Medium

Updated: 60/Medium

The Red Sox turned over first base to Casas and were rewarded—eventually. After stumbling through the first two months, he hit .299/.397/.556 with 18 homers in 85 games from June 1 onward, earning a larger share of playing time against lefthanders and pointing to a future in the middle of Boston’s lineup. His 24 homers and 70 walks were among the highest totals for rookies. Defensive metrics were not as kind to Casas, but he was viewed more as adequate than liability in the minor leagues, so it will be worth watching how that plays out. UPSIDE ROLE: All-star 1B

5. Gavin Williams

RHP | Guardians

2024 Age: 24

Preseason: 65/High

Updated: 65/High

The Guardians handily led all teams with 6.7 fWAR produced by rookie starting pitchers in 2023, and none of Cleveland’s rookie arms has the upside to match Williams. His mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider were two of the deadliest pitch types thrown by rookie starters. Williams’ changeup and curveball were less effective as change-of-pace weapons against lefthanded batters, who hit .237/.361/.434 with seven of eight home runs allowed. Finding a way to neutralize opposite-side hitters would quickly catapult Williams into a trusted, playoff-caliber starter. As a rookie he logged a 3.29 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with 81 strikeouts in 82 innings. UPSIDE ROLE: No. 2 or 3 starter

6. Tanner Bibee

RHP | Guardians

2024 Age: 25

Preseason: 55/High

Updated: 60/Medium

When the Guardians needed rotation fill-ins in late April, Bibee and lefthander Logan T. Allen were the first callups. The duo wound up finishing one-two on the Cleveland pitching staff in starts. Bibee was quietly one of the most effective first-year pitchers in baseball, his 2.98 ERA tying Kodai Senga for tops among rookies and his 3.52 FIP finishing a tick behind Bobby Miller. Known for his mid-80s slider, Bibee showed a remarkably well-rounded repertoire. His mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup all finished with positive run values. UPSIDE ROLE: No. 3 starter

7. Josh Jung

3B | Rangers

2024 Age: 26

Preseason: 55/High

Updated: 60/Medium

Jung was one of a record 10 rookies to hit at least 20 home runs in 2023, and then he added three more in the postseason as the Rangers rampaged to a World Series championship. He hit .266/.315/.467 with 23 homers in 122 games during the regular season, missing about a month with a fractured left thumb. Jung showed terrific power indicators—47% hard-hit rate, 12% barrel rate—tempered by poor walk, whiff and chase rates. His outstanding glove at third base and power should contribute to an extended peak as he adds to his total of All-Star Game appearances. UPSIDE ROLE: All-star 3B

8. Zack Gelof

2B | Athletics

2024 Age: 24

Preseason: 50/High

Updated: 55/Medium

Drafted out of Virginia in the second round in 2021, Gelof made his MLB debut virtually two years later to the day. He quickly seized the second base job for the 112-loss Athletics and ultimately led the team with 2.6 bWAR. Gelof hit .267/.337/.504 with 14 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 69 games, nearly going 30-30 between Triple-A and the majors. That athleticism helped him excel defensively at second base and lends hope he can make adjustments to curtail a 27% strikeout rate. UPSIDE ROLE: First-division 2B

9. Anthony Volpe

SS | Yankees

2024 Age: 23

Preseason: 65/High

Updated: 55/High

In a marquee spring training battle, Volpe outhit fellow prospect Oswald Peraza to win the Yankees’ shortstop job. He did not relinquish it all season. Volpe hit 21 homers and stole 24 bases in 159 games but was a below-average hitter overall with a .209/.283/.383 (81 OPS+) batting line. His positive value stems from his stabilizing defensive presence, strong baserunning, position value and durability. Volpe is not overly physical at 5-foot-9 and wore down in the second half, so building endurance will be key. UPSIDE ROLE: First-division SS

10. Zach Neto

SS | Angels

2024 Age: 23

Preseason: 55/High

Updated: 55/High

Neto went from mid-major star at Campbell to 13th overall pick in 2022 to Anaheim in the blink of an eye. He made his MLB debut on April 15, nine months after being drafted and after just 42 pro games. Neto proved himself capable as a solid defensive shortstop with plus on-base skills he modeled while reaching base at a 33.8% rate in his first 55 games before suffering an oblique strain. Later in the season he hit the injured list with lower back inflammation. Neto’s final batting line was .225/.308/.377 with nine home runs and five stolen bases in 84 games as he countered injury and fatigue. Owing to his lean frame, his ability to drive the ball and stay on the field are not yet proven. UPSIDE ROLE: First-division SS

55/High Risk

Cole Ragans, LHP, Royals

Bryce Miller, RHP, Mariners

Bryan Woo, RHP, Mariners

Taj Bradley, RHP, Rays

Hunter Brown, RHP, Astros

Logan O’Hoppe, C, Angels

50/Medium Risk

Yainer Diaz, C, Astros

Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins

Bo Naylor, C, Guardians

Jordan Westburg, 2B, Orioles

Chase Silseth, RHP, Angels

Matt Wallner, RF, Twins

Yennier Cano, RHP, Orioles

Masataka Yoshida, LF, Red Sox

50/High Risk

Logan Allen, LHP, Guardians

Reese Olson, RHP, Tigers

Kerry Carpenter, RF, Tigers

45/Medium Risk

Oswald Peraza, SS, Yankees

Luis Medina, RHP, Athletics

Maikel Garcia, 3B, Royals

Will Brennan, RF, Guardians

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