For this list, I used the players’ ages as of today: July 9, 2023.

The cut-off lines for eligibility were 130 at bats for hitters and 50 innings for pitchers.


1. Reds SS Elly De La Cruz | 21 | MLB | 2023

Biggest gap I can remember between the top guy and any contenders.


2. Orioles SS Jackson Holliday | 19 | A+ | 2025

Takes the two spot thanks to an elite synthesis of safety and topside.


3. Diamondbacks SS Jordan Lawlar | 20 | AA | 2024

Season-long line (.245/.344/.459) doesn’t tell the full story: Lawlar has seven homers and fifteen steals in his last 31 games, slashing .318/.392/.576 with a 14.9 percent strikeout rate.


4. Giants OF Luis Matos | 21 | MLB | 2023 

Has ten strikeouts (13.7%) and eight walks (11%) through 19 major league games.


5. Guardians RHP Gavin Williams | 23 | MLB | 2023

Went toe-to-toe with Atlanta last time out after stifling the Royals and debuting against the A’s, leaving Williams with a 0.95 WHIP through three big league starts.


6. Rays 3B Junior Caminero | 19 | AA | 2024

The rich get richer, on the field and in the owners’ suites. Caminero has as much ability in the batter’s box as any player in the minors right now.


7. OF Dylan Crews | 21 | NCAA | 2024

Hit 40 homers in 133 games the last two seasons. Had a 46-to-71 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2023, slashing .426/.567/.713 in 344 plate appearances.


8. Nationals OF James Wood | 20 | AA | 2024

Wood just puts the ash to the rawhide, if you know what I mean. He’s struggling in Double-A, slashing .223/.319/.446 with a 30.5 percent strikeout rate, but six homers and five steals is a pretty good haul for a tough month (33 games) at a new level.


9. Brewers OF Jackson Chourio | 19 | AA | 2024

I’m a little worried about the organization’s track record with actualizing internal hitting talent. Chourio won’t turn 20 until March, so he’s lightyears ahead of the age-to-level curve, so I’m probably making mountains out of molehills here.


10. Tigers 3B Colt Keith | 21 | AAA | 2023

Detroit’s season is clearly not revolving around Colt Keith. If it were, they’d have fired him into the middle of that lineup a month ago. Instead, we were getting Schoop night after night like we’re Salt-N-Pepa hosting a throwback trivia show. Today, however, Schoop has been designated for assignment. Time to load that Colt.


11. Orioles OF Heston Kjerstad | 24 | AAA | 2023

Some people struggle to pronounce even the simplest names. I get it. Names don’t necessarily follow the phonetic rules of letters as we currently know them. Kjerstad is a salt for this sore spot. Can’t wait to hear all the different sounds those letters might make. 


12. Orioles OF Colton Cowser | 23 | MLB | 2023

Not many questions left about Cowser. He has a .500 on base percentage through ten big league plate appearances, and while I’ll take the under on a .500 OBP, it’s not a surprise that he looks good early. He’s looked good at every level.


13. Pirates OF/C Henry Davis | 23 | MLB | 2023

Yarrr. Sounds like the Pirates are making Dylan Crews walk the plank at pick 1.1 in this year’s draft, perhaps to take another Henry Davis type who’ll sign for slot value or less. Worked last time, I guess, but Crews feels like the kind of guy you’re just glad to have on the board. Don’t get one every year.


14. Rangers OF Evan Carter | 20 | AA | 2023

I’m encouraged that he went on the developmental list, figured something out (feels to me like he came back more aggressive), and is back on the field getting results. That’s huge for any player but especially one so young at an advanced level. The Texas front office and developmental team have earned a lot of trust over the past couple years.


15. RHP Paul Skenes | 21 | NCAA | 2024

At 6’6” with upper nineties heat that touches the low hundreds deep into his starts, Skenes comes into professional baseball with big league stuff and a 0.75 WHIP across 122.2 major-college innings in 2023. That’s a double-edged sword, of course. He’s as durable as any arm in the minors, and his drafting team could push him toward 180 innings and set him up to fight for a rotation spot next spring. Or they could do the hip-kid thing and pump the brakes, disrupting his rhythm in favor of saving 17 dollars seven years from now.


16. Rockies SS Adael Amador | 19 | A+ | 2025

Hello. Kind of an inverse Texas in that Amador locks down this spot despite his home organization. The devout Rockies prospect investor is the cocaine-iest rat in the lab.


17. Reds 3B Christian Encarnacion-Strand | 23 | AAA | 2023

Redraft players have been left stranded, but C E-S remains an adaptable power bat in a great setting.


18. Padres SS Jackson Merrill | 20 | A+ | 2025

Elevation questions remain, but Merrill has been listening to the old U2 songs that Apple keep forcing into his phone, so he’s been banging the gong a bit more often even as he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.


19. Rangers SS Sebastian Walcott | 17 | CPX | 2027

My favorite player in the lower minors, Walcott is hitting .385 with five home runs in nine ACL games.


20. Dodgers RHP Emmet Sheehan | 23 | MLB | 2023

Without the meticulous shifting behind it, Dodgers pitching looks downright beatable. Previous generations of young Dodgers have had to work their way into a starting gig over the course of a couple seasons. Kids today just get rushed right in there.


21. Orioles 2B Jordan Westburg | 24 | MLB | 2023 

The future is trickling into that Baltimore lineup. Westburg doesn’t have the neon topside of some names below him on this list, but he’s here now, and he’s pretty shiny himself. 


22. OF Wyatt Langford | 21 | NCAA | 2024

Tough beats for this kid in Ozark. Happy to see him bouncing back.


23. Brewers RHP Jacob Misiorowski | 21 | A+ | 2024

At 6’7” with good balance throughout a three-quarters whip delivery, J-Mizz is a nightmare factory for hitters. Kinda like that one night I went to an opera: real nightmare factory for me. 


24. Rays 3B Curtis Mead | 22 | AAA | 2023

Has come screaming off the injured list like a peak drunken boxer, slashing .333/.400/.600 with three strikeouts and four walks in eight games. 


25. Brewers OF Sal Frelick | 22 | AAA | 2023

Frelick’s on a seven-game hitting streak, but he’s batting .258 with a 69 wRC+ during the streak. I think his power will tick up in major league settings, but he’s only got one in 31 games this year, and I’m having developmental doubts again.

Thanks for reading!

The list continues next week.