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After the release of our 2024 Top 100 Prospects list, we can’t help but look ahead to all that is to come in baseball this year and beyond. That sentiment prompted us to take a stab at exploring who our No. 1 prospect in baseball may be in 2025.
Below you will find who each BA staffer believes could top our list at this time next year.
See the full Top 100 entering the 2024 season headlined by Orioles SS Jackson Holliday.
Jenkins was viewed as one of the best players in a 2023 draft class that was loaded at the top. A year from now, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him top the Top 100. Now, partly that’s because it’s likely that Wyatt Langford and Dylan Crews will graduate at some point in 2024, but it’s also because of Jenkins’ potential. His pro debut was auspicious. He showed a rare combination of massive tools and advanced skills. Jenkins should combine the power and hitting ability to be one of the best right fielders in the game someday. And that could make him the No. 1 prospect in baseball next year.
— J.J. Cooper
Fourth time’s a charm? The Orioles have now seen their top prospect rank as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball for three consecutive seasons. Could Samuel Basallo continue that trend in 2025? It’s possible, especially when you factor in the rarity of both Basallo’s power and hitting ability for a teenager, and his unicorn offensive profile for a catching prospect.
Three catchers have ranked No. 1 overall dating back to our first Top 100 list in 1990, and all three were ranked within the last 20 years. Joe Mauer ranked as the No. 1 prospect leading into 2004 and 2005, Matt Wieters ranked as the No. 1 prospect heading into 2009 and Adley Rutschman ranked as our No. 1 heading into 2022. While Basallo’s defensive chops are not yet on par with that trio, he easily has the highest power upside of the group. Among teenagers who saw 400 or more plate appearances in full-season in 2023, Basallo’s 105.9 mph 90th percentile exit velocity ranked second behind only the Rays’ Xavier Issac. Basallo’s power is more than just a circus trick, as he has the best expected weighted on base average and the best expected wOBA on contact of any teenager in minor league baseball.
Basallo is still refining his plate approach and improving his bat-to-ball skills, and could continue to grow as a hitter in the coming years. If he’s able to prove his metal behind the plate and become an average defender behind the plate, his double-plus throwing arm could be an asset in the more run-happy major league environment. There’s more important elements to making it as a big league catcher than hitting, but an everyday catcher with a plus bat is a rare commodity and one heavily valued by all 30 major league clubs.
— Geoff Pontes
I went back and forth between two names on this one. Ultimately, I decided to go with Padres catcher Ethan Salas, who, in 2023, showed off one of the best combinations of tools and poise in the minor leagues. By now you know the story. Salas signed in January 2023 and skipped both the DSL and the ACL before debuting at Low-A days before his 17th birthday. He was astoundingly good in the California League, then spent the next two weeks zooming from High-A to Double-A before an injury brought an end to his fabulous freshman campaign. He’s as precocious as they come, and in 2025 he’ll rank as the game’s best prospect.
— Josh Norris
Teenage catchers aren’t supposed to be this polished. Salas’ production as a 17-year-old and upside as a franchise catcher just scream future No. 1 prospect in baseball to me. Baseball is in a golden age for young catching talent. Salas has a chance to be the best of them, with plus potential on both sides of the ball and a potential big league ETA of 2025 when he will be just 19 years old.
— Matt Eddy
In a little more than 365 days, Ethan Salas went from signing a contract with the Padres as the most talented player in the international class to now ranking as a top 10 prospect in baseball. As highly as I thought of Salas at the time, I did not expect him to be finishing the 2023 season in Double-A as a 17-year-old.
Both offensively and defensively, the reviews on Salas have been glowing. It’s a sweet lefthanded swing, an extremely mature hitting approach for his age, with power trending up while still far from physical maturity. Behind the plate, it’s hard to ask for a catcher his age—or even a catcher five years older than him—to check all the boxes that Salas does, both in terms of the physical skills he has and the intangibles that managers adore having in a catcher. If Salas goes back to Double-A and rakes there, he’s going to have a great case as the game’s next No. 1 prospect.
— Ben Badler
This is not exactly “going out on a limb,” but I do think Crews is the most likely player to rank as the No. 1 prospect in 2025, and that’s what this exercise is after all. Each of the five players in front of him has a strong chance to graduate from prospect status given their minor league experience and/or the competitive window of their major league clubs—looking at you, Wyatt Langford. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Nationals put Crews on the Adley Rutschman track and let him spend a full season between Double-A and Triple-A since they aren’t expected to be competitive in 2024. The PPI program and the fact that Crews has already logged 20 games at Double-A could speed this timeline up, and he’s certainly a hitter I would expect to have no issues in the minors in his first full season.
— Carlos Collazo
There is one wild card: Roki Sasaki.
Sasaki would be eligible for our Top 100 Prospects list if he came over next offseason. Because he will be only 23, he will not be eligible to qualify as a “foreign professional.” If he opted to come to the U.S. next offseason, he would be following in Shohei Ohtani’s footsteps and signing as an international player subject to the bonus pool rules as well as being restricted to signing a minor league contract. There has been one report out of Japan from Sponichi that first suggested Sasaki was looking to be posted this offseason, and then it followed up to say it could happen next offseason. There haven’t been many others corroborating that report as of yet.
Everyone loves a sneak preview. Roki Sasaki gave baseball fans one this March.
Sasaki would sacrifice millions of dollars in his first U.S. contract if he comes over next year. Even a team that traded for more bonus pool money would max out at somewhere around a $10 million bonus. He then would be subject to MLB minimum salaries for the first couple of years of his career before reaching arbitration. If Sasaki waits until he’s 25, he could come over as a foreign professional who can sign an MLB free agent contract.
From a scouting point of view few players in the world garner the type of admiration and acclaim that Sasaki does. He has an exceptional 98-100 mph fastball that touches 102, and his splitter is a devastating pitch as well. He also throws a cutter and a sweepy slider. Hitters rarely know what’s coming, in part because he can manipulate his splitter. Sasaki does have room to develop further as far as his feel for pitching and setting up hitters, but his high-octane arsenal already allows him to dominate.