Format = Position Player | Age on 4/1/2024 | Highest Level Played | Estimated Time of Arrival
1. RHP Andrew Painter | 20 | AA | 2025
Underwent Tommy John surgery in late July, so 2024 is mostly washed out. Can’t really put a clock on the value of elite pitching, so if he comes back at full strength, we’ll chart this blip up as a positive in the sense that it buys him a little safety window on the ticking time bomb that is a high-velocity elbow.
2. RHP Mick Abel | 22 | AAA | 2024
Despite some troubles with walks (13.5%) and home runs (1.24/9), Abel graduated Double-A at 21 years old, looking mostly the part of a major league starting pitcher with a functional three-pitch mix. The 15th overall pick in 2019, Abel should be part of the team’s postseason push in 2024, which makes him an outstanding pick for the real game even as he seems unlikely to become the kind of ratio-suppressing starter we savor in our game.
3. OF Justin Crawford | 20 | A+ | 2026
Batting left-handed at at 6’0” 175 lbs, Justin Crawford evokes his father at a glance and in the box score, where his speed helped him to a .344 batting average and .413 BABP in 69 Low-A games. He also stole 40 bases. He closed the season with 18 games in High-A and swiped another seven bags there, batting .288 with a 19.5 percent strikeout rate. The Phillies took Crawford 17th overall in 2022, and the game moved in his direction over the off-season. Making smart picks and spending smart money are pretty good ways to build a contender.
4. RHP Griff McGarry | 24 | AAA | 2024
2023 was going pretty great for Griff McGarry until he got promoted to Triple-A. In 54.2 innings across 13 starts at Double-A, McGarry recorded 74 strikeouts (32 percent) with a 3.13 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. In 4.1 innings across three Triple-A starts, he recorded five strikeouts with a 41.54 ERA and 5.08 WHIP, leaving his season-long ERA at 6.00, so the baseball card looks worse than reality, where McGarry wields three plus pitches in his fastball, slider and changeup.
5. SS Aidan Miller | 19 | A | 2027
The 6’2” 205 pound Miller looks like another first-round hit at 27th overall in 2023. He slashed .414/.528/.483 in ten games on the complex and then stole four bases with a .341 on base percentage in ten games at Low-A. Raw power was his calling card coming into the draft, but he’s hit zero home runs while demonstrating solid contact and plate skills. That’s typically a good sign among teenagers with size.
6. OF Carlos De La Cruz | 24 | AA | 2024
At 6’8” 210 with extreme power and athleticism, De La Cruz should get a long, long time to settle in at the top levels. He did fine in 129 Double-A games this year, slashing .259/.344/.454 with 24 home runs and a 118 wRC+. Trouble is, he might always strike out (27.5 percent this year), and the sum of his efforts might not be enough to secure a role on this club.
7. RHP Orion Kerkering | 22 | MLB | 2023
Decent chance Kerkering brings his dynamite slider to the ninth-inning picture at some point in 2024. Always risky to put eggs in a relief pitcher prospect basket, but Kerkering is coming off an incredible first pro season during which he traversed four levels and pitched in the playoffs.
8. SS Starlyn Caba | 18 | DSL | 2027
A smooth-defending switch hitter who signed for $3 million, Caba hit well in his first professional season, posting a .423 on base percentage with 16 steals, 16 strikeouts and 28 walks in 38 games. If he can add any power this winter, he’ll fly up the prospect lists before fall.
9. OF TJayy Walton | 19 | CPX | 2027
Built for the fantasy game at 6’3” 225 lbs with plus power and speed, Walton posted a 211 wRC+ in five game in the complex league, and I’m really trying to ignore that given the sample size, but I thought Walton was an intriguing pick in the fourth round of the 2023 draft, so I can’t help but raise an eyebrow at the loud opening week. Mostly just means I’ll be tracking him closely in the early going this year.
10. OF Simon Muzziotti | 25 | AAA | 2022
Might’ve gotten a longer look by now on a team with fewer options, but he didn’t force the issue at all with a 93 wRC+ in Triple-A this year. OF Emaarion Boyd has a great case for the spot here due to double-plus speed and a 50-steal season, but I’ll stick with Muzziotti for now and hope that the contact skills and speed can carry the profile.
Thanks for reading!