Format = Position Player | Age on 4/1/2024 | Highest Level Played | Estimated Time of Arrival
1. OF James Wood | 21 | AA | 2024
At 6’6” 240 lbs from the left side, Wood is always just a bit of contact away from a double and a barrel away from a bomb. Last winter, he was mostly untouchable in all my leagues. This time around, that shiny new bloom seems to be off the rose. I kinda get it. He slashed .248/.334/.492 in 87 Double-A games, but he also had 40 extra base hits (18 HR) and ten steals in about half a season as a 20-year-old in Double-A. I think I’m more impressed with him now than I was then.
2. OF Dylan Crews | 22 | AA | 2024
Slugged .278 at Double-A, but it was just 20 games, and Crews doesn’t have as much experience with wooden bats as the average top five type. The second overall pick in 2023 after a decorated career with LSU, Crews hasn’t played in the typical wooden bat leagues. It’s hard to overstate how different it is to hit with wood versus aluminum or whatever the hell kid bats are made from these days, but I think Crews will adapt in a hurry. The club had him skip High-A for whatever reason. Maybe he should go there to open 2024. Or maybe he’ll have a nice spring and start hot in Double-A. Pretty wide range of outcomes here.
3. 3B Brady House | 20 | AA | 2024
The 11th overall pick in 2021, House hotwired his prospect stock in 2023 by hitting well at three levels, culminating in a slash line of .324/.358/.475 across 36 Double-A games. He’d played hurt in 2022 and retains a lot of untapped potential in his 6’4” 215 lb frame.
4. RHP Cade Cavalli | 25 | MLB | 2022
He missed all of 2023 after having Tommy John surgery in 2022. It’s kind of anyone’s guess how he comes back, but if he’s still got a high-nineties four-seamer and four-pitch mix, he should secure a rotation spot early in 2024.
5. OF Elijah Green | 20 | A | 2027
The thing about Elijah Green is that the cost for being wrong gets higher every year he’s not great on the field. The 5th overall pick in 2022’s Rule 4 draft, Green would’ve required an early pick in 2023 First-Year-Player Drafts, but now I suspect he’d cost less after slashing .210/.323/.306 with four home runs in 75 Low-A games. If he does figure out how to make more contact, his 30 steals over that same stretch of his first full season gains an awful lot of value. And a 6’3” 225 lbs, this son of a former NFL tight end will always have more power potential than his outcomes indicate.
6. 3B Yohandy Morales | 22 | AA | 2024
A shortstop on the way up who just kept growing, Morales is 6 ‘4 ” 225 lbs with smooth enough infield actions to stay on the dirt and plenty of power to hold down a corner spot in a big league lineup. He covered four levels after being drafted 40th overall in 2023, slashing .349/.423/.494 across 42 professional games. This happened after he’d slashed .408/.475/.713 with 20 home runs in 61 games during his junior season at Miami. One of the most interesting bats to track early in 2024.
7. LHP DJ Herz | 23 | AA | 2024
A 6 ‘2” 175 lb three-quarters lefty who came over from the Cubs in the Jeimer Candelario trade, DJ Herz could be a solid five-inning starter or relief piece thanks to a double-plus changeup that mixes well with his fastball and slider. Gives me a bit of a Drew Smyly vibe, though from a different release point. Deception can help the WHIP a lot if command follows suit.
8. OF Robert Hassell III | 22 | AA | 2025
Bobby Barrels only works as a nickname when you’re making hard contact. That was not the norm in 2023, when Hassell struggled for 106 Double-A games and finished with a slash line of .225/.316/.324. The issues facing his future are not especially uncommon for smooth lefty swingers who catch a little more draft-year hype than their athleticism warrants. He needs to be quicker to the ball and more powerful on contact. Age can assuage the power piece if Hassell puts in the work. Experience and pitch selection can help with the quickness, but these are full-blown hypotheticals at this point, leaving Hassell way further down the lists than he’s ever been.
9. RHP Cole Henry | 24 | AA | 2024
Was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and had surgery in 2022. Made it back to the mound for 33.1 innings in 2023 but faces a tricky road to full recovery given the litany of injuries he has suffered and the poor track record of this particular injury. When he’s on his game, Henry mixes a curveball and changeup with two fastballs, giving him a four-pitch mix that works well in harmony.
10. RHP Jarlin Susana | 20 | A | 2026
The last of three players listed here who came over from San Diego in exchange for Juan Soto, a trade that looks better for Washington and worse for San Diego with every passing month. Oh Susana, don’t you cry for the Padres: they still get another season of Soto and will feel pretty good about the whole endeavor if they make a deep playoff run. On the other hand, there’s plenty of trade talk around him again, and there’s not much chance they can get back a sizable fraction of what they paid. To be fair, Susana himself hasn’t made it hurt much yet but at 6’6” 235 lbs with a 100+ mile per hour fastball, he probably will. It’s no small victory that he pitched 63 innings in Low-A as a 19-year-old, but it might take a while before he repeats his delivery well enough to bring that 1.52 WHIP and 5.14 ERA closer to a range that makes you want to bust out a banjo.
Thanks for reading!